Black Metal

Paysage d’Hiver – Geister Review

Paysage d’Hiver – Geister Review

Paysage d’Hiver is an act with no need for introduction, but I have a word count to meet, so here it is: Paysage d’Hiver is a black metal act from Schwarzenburg, Bern, Switzerland, consisting of sole member Wintherr (also of Darkspace). Technically, Geister is the act’s second full-length, but he’s been cranking out music for twenty-four years.” Right in the Geister!

Crypts of Despair – All Light Swallowed Review

Crypts of Despair – All Light Swallowed Review

“The album title, the artwork, the music—it all fits the image of a virulent black cloud looming over an entire world, extinguishing the sun and stars only to then extinguish the life of all that is flesh and bone. Catastrophic riffs swirl through murky depths spattered with trem-picked abrasions, retched guttural emanations gurgle alongside bloodcurdling shrieks, and the world around them disintegrates amongst the falling ash as is their will. Lithuania quartet Crypts of Despair deals in the kind of metal that is not to be survived.” Grave new world.

Bewitcher – Cursed Be Thy Kingdom Review

Bewitcher – Cursed Be Thy Kingdom Review

“I’ve given out a 4.0 or twenty-one in my time, but this is the first time that one of 4.0ldeneye‘s highly 4.0nored 4.0nies returns 4.0me for yet another s4.0t at glory. Just under two years ago, Portland, Oregon’s Bewitcher released Under the Witching Cross, their sinister sophomore platter of blackened speed metal tunes, and I still haven’t been able to locate my socks after the resulting off-blowing. That record was oozing with attitude, and every track was a killer. I was stoked to hear that the band had been picked up by Century Media for follow-up effort Cursed Be Thy Kingdom.” Cursed by great expectations.

Syning – Syning Review

Syning – Syning Review

“I’m not entirely sure what’s happening on this cover, but it can’t be good. Making rounds at the office to gather insight on these mummified shenanigans, Cherd suggests the vaccination line at CVS. Felagund shakes his n00by tail-feathers with a bright-eyed look and suggests it’s the DMV waiting room. Still utterly confused, I slapped this down on Steel‘s desk with a big ol’ “the fuck is this” and he chuckles nostalgically and a gleam enters his eye. “The n00b gauntlet,” he mumbles.” Syning in blood.

Mānbryne – Heilsweg: O udrece ciala i tulaczce duszy Review

Mānbryne – Heilsweg: O udrece ciala i tulaczce duszy Review

“The reason many debut albums sound so good, the theory goes, is that the composer has been creating and honing these songs (at least in their head) their whole life. What the songs lack in finesse, they make up for with creativity and fresh energy. It’s why hardcore fans of many bands prefer their earlier output, before an established groove was settled into. What happens, though, when you have the shaggy exuberance of a fresh and gifted songwriter, combined with the talents of more experienced heads to hone and polish the rougher edges? Mānbryne answers that question with Heilsweg: O udrece ciala i tulaczce duszy.” Marinating in Mānbryne.

Grabak – Scion Review

Grabak – Scion Review

“I was worried about the metal scene when the world shut down, but a simple glance at the promo bin quells any fear with the rapidity of lightning – if black metal is your poison. Yes, we’ve got our blackened heavyweights that we’ll keep arguing about at AMG Headquarters. But when I predicted that, like cockroaches, small-time black metal projects would emerge from the dust of a silent world to wreak blackened havoc on the underground, I was right. Caliber is another question entirely, but quantity over quality seems to be the name of the game. Will veteran black metal collective Grabak wreak big havoc or be squashed under the sole of my ruthless “JUST CUZ IT’S KVLT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S GOOD MMKAY” boot?” Progeny of the plague.

Ghostly Aerie Coven – Bird of Prey Review

Ghostly Aerie Coven – Bird of Prey Review

“You can get an idea of an album based on its cover. And, uh, wow. Three-eyed literally-horned Forlesen owl (who has fallen on hard times) feeding the head of Christ with a chalice of nails? A whole lotta fuckery to unpack here. Why does Jesus need nails? Of all people, I would assume his iron intake is higher than others. Before I go off the rails with more edgy unfunny comedy, the most important question is: what the hell kinda music is this? Well, if you honed in on the bizarre blasphemy and guessed black metal, ding ding ding!” Owl at the moon.

Wode – Burn in Many Mirrors Review

Wode – Burn in Many Mirrors Review

“I’m struggling to think of a musical genre which so obstinately refuses to go away as traditional black metal. Despite the progression of 30 years since the ‘second wave’ style was crystallized by the lonely teenagers of Norway, new bands continue to produce metal which is entirely imitative of such teens. Wode, of Manchester, joined the fray in 2016 with their self-titled debut which was an especially mean and riff-dominated example of the sound. It was a powerful, if one-dimensional, release which was bettered by its sequel called Servants of the Countercosmos which wrapped intricate leads and dynamic song-writing into a more cohesive album. 4 year later and Burn in Many Mirrors is primed for unveiling, promising yet more tales of cosmic evil.” Wode to you of earth and sea.

Decline of the I – Johannes Review

Decline of the I – Johannes Review

“Like Mephorash, Decline of the I relies on key atmospheres, orchestration, and beautiful female choirs. The main difference here is that Decline of the I is French. Meaning that you can expect some weird-ass shit on their albums. With a new lineup to support founding member A.K., let’s explore Johannes.” The Decline of Western Civil-I.

Lebensnacht – The Realm Beyond Review

Lebensnacht – The Realm Beyond Review

The Realm Beyond is the second album from Germany’s Lebensnacht, a German duo, which has been active since 2008. They specialize in mid-paced, atmospheric BM, with a heavy emphasis on ethereal synthesizers, like early Wolves in the Throne Room or Lustre. This is all mashed together in an incredibly raw and harsh mix. Where Lebensnacht differs from many other bands is the strong depressive black metal element that pervades its work, providing an ominous air to the music.” Birds in the Mud Room.