Belphegor

Vassafor – To the Death Review

Vassafor – To the Death Review

“The band sport a Mitochondrion or Adversarial styled take on death/black metal with a thrashy assault-heavy relentlessness combined with eldritch melodies and passages of doomy ominousness. These New Zealanders laid it on thick with 2012’s double LP The Obsidian Codex, expertly balancing relentless blackened death with ritualistic atmosphere and dense doom to create an experience that felt far shorter than its immense hour-and-thirty-five-minute runtime suggested. Enter 2017’s Malediction, which wasn’t… that. While offering a “shorter” listen at fifty-four minutes, it never managed to truly escape the doomy drudgery and wallowed in uneventfulness for nearly an hour. Enter 2020’s To the Death.” Death be not quick.

Voltumna – Ciclope Review

Voltumna – Ciclope Review

“How convenient! An extreme metal record distributed by none other than Extreme Metal Music. Can’t get much more straightforward than that! The band is Voltumna, who I am sure every single person here has heard of before. The record is Ciclope. The time is now. The place is here. The reviewer is me. Time to crack open this cyclopic skull and see what lurks inside! Blackened death metal? Just what I wanted!” Extreme gifts.

Nihility – Thus Spoke the Antichrist Review

Nihility – Thus Spoke the Antichrist Review

“It’s been said that the scariest monsters are those which are vaguely familiar. From zombies to the shape-shifting alien in The Thing, it seems the best way to leave a sense of lasting fear in your audience is to take familiar traits and twist them into something grotesque and appalling. Metal (usually) isn’t designed to scare people, but the same basic principle applies. The new releases I enjoy the most are those which take recognizable features from other bands and morph them in their own unique way. Portuguese quintet Nihility are a great example of this. With their Thus Spoke the Antichrist debut, the group take the Behemoth and Belphegor influence promised in the promo blurb and mutate it with an injection of brutal death metal.” Familiar Hell.

Deiphago – I, the Devil Review

Deiphago – I, the Devil Review

“Pretense is a bitch. I’ve found myself being more and more cynical through the years about people who claim to be the best at what they do. From athletes and artists to people I interact with on a daily basis, I prefer action and art to speak for itself. Therefore, I found myself suspicious with Filipino blackened death metal three-piece Deiphago, who proclaim to be ‘arguably the most violent band on the planet, as well as one of the most envelope-pushing.'” Heavy is as heavy does.

Valkyrja – Throne Ablaze Review

Valkyrja – Throne Ablaze Review

Valkyrja is a Swedish black/death outfit intending to channel “violence, deprivation, and loathing through means of extraordinarily potent audio emissions.” There are a million different directions black/death can take, and fourth full-length Throne Ablaze revels in a groovy, thrashy style a la Vredehammer or Horizon Ablaze. While it is flawed, there’s a likable simplicity about these Swedes, as it feels that their music makes no pretense about being the most atmospheric, heavy, or “kvlt.” Shame of Thrones.

The Modern Age Slavery – Stygian Review

The Modern Age Slavery – Stygian Review

“There’s nothing wrong with modern death metal, and The Modern Age Slavery make no attempt to rebel against the status quo. Formed in 2007, this Italian quintet released debut Damned to Blindness in 2008 but didn’t catch my attention until follow-up Requiem for Us All received some surprisingly enthusiastic praise upon its release in 2013. While I didn’t share the same excitement as other critics, overall Requiem fit nicely alongside the Hour of Penances and Man Must Dies of the world as a sharp, loud, and fast half-hour of socially-conscious death metal.” Sounds preachy.

Belphegor – Totenritual Review

Belphegor – Totenritual Review

“Ever blackened, ever brutal, ever bothersome of livestock, Austria’s Belphegor have once again returned to necromance us with another flurry of panzer division extremity. I may not have gushed quite so profusely over the previous album, Conjuring the Dead, as Steel Druhm, but I certainly enjoyed the uptake in death metal that informed that record and still occasionally drop in when in need of a merciless bondage beating.” Hogtied and beaten sheepless.

Svart Crown – Abreaction Review

Svart Crown – Abreaction Review

“‘Malevolence.’ That word resonated through my mind as I listened to the fourth full-length by French death/black outfit Svart Crown. A word so mundane and exploited in adjective-laden reviews that it appears frivolous when used to describe metal. Yet, when Abreaction is concerned, the seeping and creeping feeling suggested by the word seems almost palpable, venturing beyond just a cool appellation and into territories of real unease.” You merely adopted the evil.

Noctem – Haeresis Review

Noctem – Haeresis Review

“Boy, does Noctem bring back memories. Back in 2014, Exilium was one of the better albums I reviewed. A lot of this had to do with the fact that I was a n00b in 2014 (Exilium being one of the first reviews I ever wrote for AMG). But, even so, it stuck with me for the rest of the year. So, you can imagine the excitement and nostalgia I felt when this newest album, Haeresis, showed up in my inbox.” Reflections of a semi-former n00b.