Black Metal

Cursed Excruciation – Arcane Diabolism Review

Cursed Excruciation – Arcane Diabolism Review

“Last time we met Cursed Excruciation, we were smack-talking sole member Trance of the Undead for his creatively titled main project Trance of the Undead. Blackened death to the core, it boasted just enough tasty dungeon synth-inspired keyboard abuse to add a flavor of old-school kvltness. On paper, it all sounded great; the problem was it just wasn’t, uh, good. Lack of variety met monotonous guitar tone with the same riff repeating ad nauseam for seven tracks. Aside from a serious bite that initially hit like a crowbar to the knees, the hype very quickly died out. Well, imagine if Trance of the Undead thought brutality was soooo last week, removing all teeth and energy in favor of something sounding “ominous.” Let me introduce you to Cursed Excruciation.” Cursed and damned.

Gevurah – Gehinnom [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Gevurah – Gehinnom [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

“I was unaware of Gevurah prior to this year, and I’ve really been missing out. The mysterious Quebecois duo utilizes an eerie, dissonant flavor of black metal to explore Jewish mysticism and the esoteric left-hand path. Their name, Gevurah, refers to one of the emanations of the infinite—to be reductive, God—specifically the ‘left hand’, denoting judgment. Previous LP Hallelujah! traded in the dark obscurantism and enigmatic melodies of the esoteric, and looked upward in awe. But Gehinnom—whilst retaining notes of dark atmosphere—has the force, bleakness, and inevitability of the unfathomable eschatology that follows with the divine.” Blackened pathways to the obscure.

A Cherdmas Carol: Brojob – A Very Deathcore Christmas, Archeopteryx – A Very Blackened Christmas, and One Hell of a Christmas – Horrific Holiday Music for the Jaded Masses, Vol 1 Reviews

A Cherdmas Carol: Brojob – A Very Deathcore Christmas, Archeopteryx – A Very Blackened Christmas, and One Hell of a Christmas – Horrific Holiday Music for the Jaded Masses, Vol 1 Reviews

“That night in my bedchambers, I had just changed into my dressing gown and settled before the fireplace when a song began playing, faintly, but growing louder until, alarmed, I recognized it as “The Hammer” by Skelator. “How?!” I cried. “Such drivel in my house?!” Just then, a ghostly apparition burst into the room and strut about like a pro wrestler winding up the crowd. I shuddered, for I knew its face.” Right in the Dickens!

Darkthrone – Astral Fortress [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Darkthrone – Astral Fortress [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Darkthrone is the only early-days black metal band that’s kept me interested through the decades. In times when I care little for the vast majority of black metal releases, I’ll always give a new Darkthrone album a fair shake. That’s because over their 36-year career, Nocturno Culto and Fenriz always embraced change and took more risks than a degenerate gambler at a no-limits poker table in Macau.” Olde, colde, bolde.

Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Zeal & Ardor have always been a band of “buts” (with only one “t”!): individual songs have been great but previous albums haven’t quite coalesced into a consistent whole. The live show is fantastic but the energy is lost in the recording studio (compare the scintillating live performance of “Baphomet”—with its classic “Right hand up! Left hand down!” chorus—to the tame studio version). Their schtick of combining slave gospel with black metal is great but it’s also limited in its options and will become overdone soon. Which meant a great deal rode on their third album, Zeal & Ardor. Was the band going to fulfill its promise, or remain an interesting, if flawed, mishmash? A “but” band, if you will?” But rock.

Cherd’s Raw Black Metal Muster [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Cherd’s Raw Black Metal Muster [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

“There are two types of people in this world: those who appreciate raw black metal, and those who live fulfilling lives with friends and careers and family who speak to them at holiday gatherings. I’ve declared my love of raw black metal here before, and since the advent of Bandcamp, the kvltest of all metal genres has become infinitely more accessible. Every year I wade through acres of tape hiss and tinny treble, looking for the half dozen or so raw black releases that rise above the buzzing tangle of cobwebs to rarified, putrid air, and this year, I’ve finally decided to document my findings.” Colonel Muster in the basement with a spiked club.

Dødsengel – Bab Al On Review

Dødsengel – Bab Al On Review

“Just in case you’re not familiar with left-hand-path magic, I’ll introduce the subject of Dødsengel’s Bab Al On. Babalon is a Thelemic goddess embodying both female sexuality and motherhood. Variously depicted as an abstract archetype of licentious liberation, a ‘sacred whore’ astride the demonic Great Beast, and a deity of incarnation and destruction, she essentially stands against the patriarchal ideal of order in her chaotic physicality. Dødsengel dedicate their fifth full-length to this (un)holy mother, with an iteration of their already obscure and restless black metal as strange as it is compelling.” Mommy issues.

Ultha – All That Has Never Been True [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Ultha – All That Has Never Been True [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

“By happenstance, I first listened to All That Has Never Been True while reading Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. It was a match made in Hell. I breathlessly followed Eleanor Vance into paranoid insanity in the presence of sounds without a source, inexplicable events, and a house whose angles aren’t quite right. Ultha grabbed me by the ears and led me on a similar journey.” Drag me to Ultha.