Belgian Metal

Bones – Sombre Opulence Review

Bones – Sombre Opulence Review

“I have been in a weird space with death metal in 2022. While quality releases have trickled in at a reasonable rate, not much has really blown me away and shaken me to the core. In fact, I’ve spent ample periods revisiting the past, leaning on old favorites, while the latest dominating platter from reliable legends Immolation has remained in solid rotation. Yet as the last chunk of 2022 dawns upon us, optimism is high due to the often-fruitful later-year riches. Belgium’s Bones intend on bludgeoning their way into focus on their debut full-length, Sombre Opulence.” Lovely bones?

Oerheks – Cagghenvinna Review

Oerheks – Cagghenvinna Review

“I know pretty much nothing about Oerheks. Normally, that’s the kind of thing that gives me pause—I’d rather know who I’m writing about, what I’m supporting, and all of those fun details, but given that this Cagghenvinna is the debut album for a Flemish black metal band… well, it comes with the territory. As for what I do know, I’m fairly certain it’s a one-person project, with “H.” as its mastermind; I believe “oerheks” is Dutch, translating into something to the effect of “primal witch;” and I understand H. writes his music inspired “by local myths and lore.”” Flick of the witch.

My Diligence – The Matter, Form and Power Review

My Diligence – The Matter, Form and Power Review

“Allow me to be contrite for a moment. Three and a half years ago I casually dropped a 3.5 rating on My Diligence’s second album, Sun Rose. I’m not too proud to tell you that, after circling back to the album many times since, I definitely had my overrating cap on. At best Sun Rose was a 3.0, more likely closer to a 2.5. But I was somehow smitten at the time and threw caution to the wind. I’ll admit it now: I was too enamored of the strong songs, and ignored the chaff. Now here we are with The Matter, Form and Power, and I am determined to approach this stoner-prog platter with open eyes and an even keel.”” Doom Diligence.

Schizophrenia – Recollections of the Insane Review

Schizophrenia – Recollections of the Insane Review

“In the Year of Our Plague 2020, a lusty and savage dose of black/speed/thrash hit the planet with the force of a 6-megaton billy buck. I speak of Bütcher’s sophomore platter, 666 Goats Carry My Chariot. It was such a wild, unruly paean to excess that it proved nigh impossible to resist. 2022 sees a band emerge from Bütcher’s bloody Belgian backyard carrying fewer goats but much of the same speed-drenched lunacy. Schizophrenia’s Recollections of the Insane debut assaults with a thrashing, skull-bashing style of death metal sure to conjure nostalgia as it curb stomps the unwary with lightning riffs and flashy chops.” Mad Maximum.

Lhaäd – Below Review

Lhaäd – Below Review

Below is the debut full-length from one-person ambient black metal project Lhaäd. This description is likely to conjure up worrisome images of self-indulgent hours-long snoozefests that use tepid atmospheres to mask lazy writing. But Belgian multi-instrumentalist Lykormas, Lhaäd’s prolific mastermind, is not so easy to pigeonhole.” Pigeons without homes.

Zaäar – Magická Džungl’a Review

Zaäar – Magická Džungl’a Review

“It’s no secret that I love Neptunian Maximalism. Since the Belgian collective’s 2020 debut, magnum opus Éons, I’ve been craving more. For better or worse, its disciples and side projects have since attempted to fill that whack-ass void. With the likes of Sol Kia, Ôros Kaù, Wolvennest, and even NNMM themselves making metal-adjacent free jazz, however, I’ve met nothing but vague disappointment. As such, the NNMM offshoot Zaäar fell across my lap.” Zaäar she blows!

Aborted – ManiaCult Review

Aborted – ManiaCult Review

“There’s no such thing as a truly objective review so let’s get one thing straight: I fucking adore Aborted. Their brand of pulverizing death metal appeals to me on a primitive level and I’ve followed these Belgians for years. For the most part, I have enjoyed being reduced to DNA and endorphins every few years. And it’s that time again. 2018’s TerrorVision was good but it had some issues. Or rather it had one big issue. It just seemed to ramble on too long, which, for a band with grind sensibilities, isn’t optimal. ManiaCult is the definitive younger model.” Culted nuts.

Neptunian Maximalism – Solar Drone Ceremony Review

Neptunian Maximalism – Solar Drone Ceremony Review

Neptunian Maximalism took the metal world by storm last year. Éons was an absolute monument of an album, fusing drone, jazz, and psychedelia into one of the most evocative listens in recent memory. It spoke to something primal, something ancient that lived at the bottom of a listener’s subconscious, and snuck its way into my year-end list at number 2. Conjuring the likes of Sunn O))), Sun Ra, Swans, and Miles Davis, it was a concept album regarding the fate of Earth and its inhabitants, resulting in mass extinction and planetary destruction. Only nine months later, we’re treated with a new offering; can Solar Drone Ceremony continue where its predecessor left off?” Maximal effort.