Black Metal

Apes – Penitence Review

Apes – Penitence Review

Apes is a six-piece from Montreal, having released one LP and a series of demos and EPs since its inception in 2012. 2017 debut full-length Lightless introduced the band’s now-signature sound, a blend that continues in its sophomore effort Penitence seven years later: a blend of black metal and grindcore. While easy comparisons would be the sinister cutthroat attack of older Anaal Nathrakh or the unhinged intensity of Siberian Hell Sounds, Apes resides in a blackened interpretation of Nails, Trap Them, or Mammoth Grinder.” Primal rage.

Locusts and Honey – Teach Me to Live That I Dread the Grave As Little As My Bed Review

Locusts and Honey – Teach Me to Live That I Dread the Grave As Little As My Bed Review

“Although professing the inclusion of funeral doom, black metal, and dark ambient, Teach Me to Live That I Dread the Grave As Little As My Bed is a gentle album. Locusts and Honey gently ebbs and flows along well-defined lines of expectations set by patiently unwinding epics like Bell Witch’s Mirror Reaper and Black Boned Angel’s The End in devastating, torturously slow and mammoth riffs, colossal percussion, and vocals from Hell. However, like these albums, there is a core of light, a glimmer of humanity that shines through the vicious and viscous.” Light, locusts, lifestyles.

Árstíðir lífsins – Aldrlok Review

Árstíðir lífsins – Aldrlok Review

Árstíðir lífsins seem to not believe much in fanfare. Since I discovered the Icelandic/German group via their very good fourth full-length Saga á tveim tungum I: Vápn ok viðr, I never learn about their releases until AFTER they show up. The followup to Saga I never reached the Angry Metal Promo Sump, and their most recent release, the enjoyable Hermalausaz, arrived quietly at the end of last year. Now they’re back with Aldrlok (“Death [of an age]”), their sixth full-length release, which follows the band’s familiar vein of mountainous black metal adorned with gorgeous folk passages and lyrics sung in Old Norse-Icelandic.” Unexpected pleasures in the ice.

Thanatotherion – Alienation Manifesto Review

Thanatotherion – Alienation Manifesto Review

“As many of you well know by now, one of the quickest ways to my spongy little heart-hole is to bend and smash genres together. Hybridized monstrosities are my deepest love, and each time a new act promises such twisted, mangled barbs, I jump right into the tangled thicket without hesitation. Enter Virginia one-man deathened, lightly thrashened, raw black metal enigma Thanatotherion. Masterminded by Shelby Lemo of Ulthar and Vastum, Thanatotherion represents a heretofore unexplored side of his extreme metal predilections.” Super smash show.

Ulvik – Last Rites | Dire Omens Review

Ulvik – Last Rites | Dire Omens Review

Last Rites | Dire Omens. Interesting album title, that. Last rites signify mourning and gentle acceptance, while dire omens suggest malevolence, a promise of death yet to come. Likely by design, these contrasting themes directly apply to the kind of neofolk and atmospheric black metal that Canadian duo Ulvik peddles, as the sad beauty of their folk music inevitably succumbs to a more pronounced black metal malevolence.” Nature in your face.

Hellbutcher – Hellbutcher Review

Hellbutcher – Hellbutcher Review

“In the 90’s, Nifelheim was a significant player in the burgeoning Swedish black metal scene, keeping a torch lit for the old school thrash-led sound. The band was founded by two brothers, who employed the stage names Tyrant and Hellbutcher, with the latter taking vocal and frontman duty. Though Nifelheim’s on apparently permanent hiatus, Hellbutcher hasn’t been so idle, recently lending his talents to Friends of Hell and cruising around with Dead Kosmonaut a few years ago. But it’s clear the man is tired of messing around. His new band is eponymous, the logo looks like a logical continuation of Nifelheim’s, and the clown car of highly talented and respected musicians could be called a supergroup if it weren’t so laser-focused on the frontman.” Hell is for meat cutters.

Wormwood – The Star Review

Wormwood – The Star Review

“Swedish melodic black metal act Wormwood has a complicated history, and it all comes down to this. A string of albums have been hit or miss, as highlighted by the gone-but-unforgotten Akerblogger: 2017’s debut Ghostlands – Wounds from a Bleeding Land was a 4.0midable meloblack offering that balanced hooks and viciousness, while a follow-up trilogy installments one and two in concept albums 2019’s Nattarvet and 2021’s Arkivet have largely fallen short, respectively reflecting famine and extinction’s inevitability. The Star represents a culmination for the five-piece.” Trilogy of terror?

SIG:AR:TYR – Citadel of Stars Review

SIG:AR:TYR – Citadel of Stars Review

“Though I’m far from a black metal enthusiast, I grew up with the mighty sounds of Bathory ringing throughout my teen years. We didn’t call them black metal back then as Venom had co-opted that term for their rowdy, faux-Satan cock rock metal, but I loved what Bathory was doing regardless of genre label. Albums like The Return, Under the Sign of the Black Mark, and Blood Fire Death were so savage and massive, they set us up for what black metal would become in the 90s. It was always the epic edge of Bathory’s sound that truly seized my metal heart. The sounds of Blood Fire Death and especially Hammerheart spoke to the indomitable warrior within us all. When SIG:AR:TYR came along many years later, they clicked for me immediately in a way few black metal acts ever did because they were flying the same foundational battle standards as Bathory before them.” Battle beyond the stars.

Svneatr – Never Return Review

Svneatr – Never Return Review

“2021’s Chinook was an impressive feat. While Vancouver’s Svneatr is undeniably second-wave, the album showcased and established a formidable blend of melody and riffage in a package wrapped in the tightly wound razor-wire frigidity you expect from black metal – reminiscent of Master’s Hammer or Vredehammer. Tracks like “Lavender,” “The Wind Stirs,” and “The Veins of the Earth” were some of the best tracks in the style that year with this dueling style, benefited by a rougher DIY aesthetic, even if some movements were lost in the fold. After three years, we are graced with Chinook,’s follow-up, Never Return.” Sunbathing, Svneating, just leave the Sun alone!