Black Lion Records

IATT – Magnum Opus Review

IATT – Magnum Opus Review

“The title of IATT’s third LP is not as ballsy as you might think. “Magnum opus” is one of those phrases that tends to be carelessly tossed around in art criticism without really meaning anything, so let’s break it down: literally, the phrase means “The great work,” specifically referring to the alchemical process of creating the immortality-granting philosopher’s stone. While some use the phrase as a placeholder for “masterpiece,” IATT is here wielding it with its proper connotation, as evidenced by much of the record’s subject matter. Taken this way, the title also serves as a metaphor in the context of IATT’s career.” Magnum force.

Kvaen – The Great Below Review

Kvaen – The Great Below Review

“What’s there left to say about Kvaen beyond five little words, four of which are “fire?” Back in early 2020, Jakob Björnfot came out of seeming nowhere with a fully formed meloblack/speed metal aesthetic and a keen songwriting ear to deliver one of the the most vital sounding throwback records of the year. The Funeral Pyre had something going for it that a lot of good, even great records don’t. Beyond technical musicianship—which Björnfot most certainly has—beyond reverence for a genre’s history, that record was fun. As. Hell. It didn’t matter that no new ground was being broken, it only mattered that Björnfot was driving it like it was stolen.” Hell Alone 2: Electric Burning You.

Wormlight – Nightmother Review

Wormlight – Nightmother Review

Nightmother is a malevolent ode to the “unholy feminine.” The band promises an “opus bereft of the warmth of the womb” and a “sublime and bacchanal celebration of matriarchal sovereignty.” I’m not 100% sure what this all means, but it looks suitably fun and debauched. The sound Wormlight employs is a (relatively) accessible form of melodic black metal.” Happy Nightmother’s Day!

Ghosts of Atlantis – 3.6.2.4 Review

Ghosts of Atlantis – 3.6.2.4 Review

“The best way to get my attention is with an awesome album cover. More than genre tags, credits, stylistic themes, or lyrical themes – more than nearly anything else – an awesome album cover is what I go by when I explore the wonderful world of metal. That’s how the English band known as Ghosts of Atlantis got my attention, although the rest did line up very nicely: they credit themselves as something of a supergroup, boasting experienced musicians from bands across various well-known labels trying out something different, tagged in my promo package as “symphonic progressive extreme metal.”” Ghost in the calculator.

Ablaze My Sorrow – Among Ashes and Monoliths Review

Ablaze My Sorrow – Among Ashes and Monoliths Review

“Melodeath is a tough sub-genre to review because it exists in a constant state of tension. It’s pulled in three directions constantly: death metal at one point, traditional heavy metal at another, and power metal at the third. The ebb and flow between these is what makes it enjoyable, but it’s also what divides fans. Err too much to one end and the music sounds “death metal-lite.” Err towards another and it resembles strained power-metal without any heft. The best melodeath is able to resolve these tensions, creating a palatable middle-ground. The Swedish melodeath scene of the 90s mastered this, and was pivotal to the movement’s popularity. A minor, but not inconsequential, contributor was Falkenberg’s awkwardly titled Ablaze My Sorrow.” Pain in the ash.

Nemesium – Continua Review

Nemesium – Continua Review

“There are times that that little hunger for the visceral creeps up, and I need to have that itch at the very least tickled, and only the most extreme of extreme metal can satisfy that particular pang. Do Aussie newcomers Nemesium succeed in flaying my skin raw with their debut, Continua?” Rage show.

Tethra – Empire of the Void Review

Tethra – Empire of the Void Review

“Space is very metal. I don’t refer to the space between you and the nearest hunting knife, of course, but rather to outer space, which has captured the imagination of metalheads from all walks of the genre’s spectrum. Today brings Tethra’s Empire of the Void into the mix, a monstrous slab of death-doom designed to crush and inspire.” Void rage.

Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre Review

Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre Review

Kvaen is the solo project of Swedish musician Jakob Björnfot (The Duskfall), although he employs a number of guest musicians to flesh out his vision. With The Funeral Pyre, he joins acts like Sun of the Sleepless and Spectral Wound as artists who play throwback melodic black metal with such verve and venom that it sounds as fresh as when it first emerged from the primordial forests.” Higher, higher, feel the pyre!

Apotheus – The Far Star Review

Apotheus – The Far Star Review

“Every now and then you run into something that seems to have been made specifically for you. It’s like someone reached into your head, downloaded a copy of your soul, extracted exactly the sort of things you enjoy, and made something that panders to the template it found. Apotheus’ promo described a progressive melodeath band with a sci-fi concept album about interstellar colonization. Periods for emphasis, but Sign. Me. The. Fuck. Up.” Swallow the wvrm.

IATT – Nomenclature Review

IATT – Nomenclature Review

IATT—FKA I Am the Trireme, the one-time recipients of an AMG 1.0—is a band I hoped would capitalize on my renewed craving for a smarter kind of blackened death metal. Much of Nomenclature certainly qualifies as prog—and as such, scratches that particular itch—but like the best music in the style, it is great music first, progressive music second. Through theatrical songwriting and melodic grandeur, IATT has assured that their second record is a deeply captivating experience.” You can call this a comeback.