Black Metal

Darkthrone – Circle the Wagons Review

Darkthrone – Circle the Wagons Review

This review is late. Nearly three months late in fact. But perhaps it is best to look at Darkthrone’s Circle the Wagons outside of the usual fervor surrounding an iconic band releasing new material, especially one that sets internet message boards alight as much as Darkthrone. Despite being considered the grandfathers of the True Norwegian Black Metal genre, Fenriz and Nocturo Culto have now become one of the more hated bands in extreme metal. Their drastic shift away from the sound that they pioneered; adopting a more crust punk, thrashy, rock ‘n roll influenced approach polarized their fanbase and turned their recent albums into records you will either love or hate.

More Shroud of Despondency Amazingness

As far as I’m concerned, one of Wisconsin and Michigan’s best kept secrets is the solo project of one Rory Heikkila: Shroud of Despondency. I posted earlier about his amazing tracks from the record Objective: Isolation which is soon to be released (hopefully). And now, he’s apparently gotten together with the drummer and vocalist from Owlscry to create 5 new tracks of fucking amazing black metal. This stuff is sans bass and vocals and “slightly unmixed” and still it is fucking better than most of the stuff I’m getting in as promos. It is fucking phenomenal, to say the least. One observer put it like this: “Dude, your music is so good it makes me cry.” Not because it’s so emotionally evocative (though, it’s that too) but because it’s just so fucking good and as a musician you can’t help but be a little jealous.

Ragnarok – Collectors of the King Review

Ragnarok – Collectors of the King Review

It’s about time someone took black metal to some new exciting levels. A music style can only go so far until it becomes somewhat stale, and for every album released, there are ten others that do the same thing – and almost none of the time is it markedly better. Black metal is no exception, and I have a lot of respect for bands that try something new and innovative. But there are some bands that don’t need to. Some bands, no matter how many albums they release of the same style, never grow stale and are always the best of the trade when it comes to the style of music they perform.

1349 – Demonoir Review

1349 – Demonoir Review

I first became acquainted with 1349 at their landmark Hellfire album which marked them as leaders of the post-90’s Norwegian black metal scene. It seems with their subsequent release, Revelations of the Black Flame, they lost a lot of support from their “true” supporters for their favoring more ambient passages and relying more on atmospherics than blistering black metal. Luckily, 1349’s latest offering attempts to strike a balance between the two extremes in the genre and Demonoir looks like a very solid album, treading the waters between dark ambient and black metal to great effect.

Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones Review

Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones Review

There are some musicians that are capable of making a sound, no matter how simple, but always make it sound distinctive to the composer. In the same way, all of Thomas Gabriel Warrior’s creations have a distinct feeling and mark to them, which is why I’m so glad we have this new band on the scene. Warrior has teamed up with three young musicians to continue his creation through the new name, and judging by this record, Triptykon is a name we’ll he hearing more of in the not so distant future.

Warrior had stressed before that this CD would be Monotheist part two, which to me is a relief. After the brilliant Monotheist, I was left wanting much, much more. I’m not saying that Monotheist was too short or unsubstantial, Monotheist had the stamp of Warrior plastered over every sound that was put on the record. If you were in love with Monotheist, like me, you would have had nowhere else to turn to get a similar experience. The terrifyingly gripping feeling just couldn’t be found anywhere else in the metal scene.

Trident – World Destruction Review

Trident – World Destruction Review

An outgrowth of the ideas of a former Dissection guitarist (Johan Norman) and a couple of members of the band Necrophobic, Trident hits the stores on the 22nd of March throughout Europe and hits a totally virgin audience. These guys pretty much came out of nowhere, having basically played locally in Sweden and apparently they circulated a demo or something that got them picked up by Regain. Formed in 2007, Trident is a blackened death band in the veins of the aforementioned bands and is yet another Swedish assault on Christendom and the senses that will surely inflame passion in some corners.

Borknagar – Universal Review

Borknagar – Universal Review

Borknagar is a class act and has been for a long time. Reaching all the way back to their first, self-titled release, this band has separated itself from the herd by being just plain more interesting and unique. Eventually they just separated themselves from the modern black metal scene altogether, heading towards more progressive pastures. Universal continues a trend away from the raw and simple towards the highly complex, dynamic and progressive—but the question is whether or not the band’s fans and general public will want to follow the band in this direction. Well, and whether or not where the band is leading is somewhere worth going. [Read the whole review here.]

Petrychor – Dryad Review

Petrychor – Dryad Review

I frequently complain about black metal these days. Partially this is because I think that a lot of post-black metal is fucking boring and partially ’cause the not-post-black metal is also fucking boring. In general, black metal is in a place where nothing really that interesting is going on. Sure, there are bands out there that are putting out good material, but for the most part the signed stuff is so-so and the classic bands are disappointing with new material and the state of the scene, in my opinion, is pretty sad. So I was pleasantly surprised to get turned onto this piece of art by the Californian do-it-yourselfer just called “T”. The project is called Petrychor and displays all of the things that I would hope to hear out of this budding scene sort of embodied in a single 3 song EP entitled Dryad.

Ov Hell – The Underworld Regime Review

Ov Hell – The Underworld Regime Review

The Gorgoroth debacle over the last couple of years has definitely left me very confused. See, I thought it was King (ov Hell) who was doing the majority of the writing on the later Gorgoroth stuff, which was some of the best, most extreme and interesting black metal that was going on over the last few years (that wasn’t deep, deep underground). Since Twilight of the Idols, Gorgoroth had a total monopoly on black metal extremity and just plain fucking evil. When QPAST was released, it was clear that it was not that modern Gorgoroth anymore and so I assumed that God Seed, and then after that fell apart, Ov Hell would be the thing that continued on the path that Gorgoroth had taken. The left hand path, if you will allow me such blatant silliness.