Black Metal

Arcane Existence – Colossus Review

Arcane Existence – Colossus Review

“What initially drew me to Arcane Existence‘s sophomore release Colossus was, admittedly, the album cover. The rich, concentrated gem tones, spindly castle, misty forest, and swirly, cyclonic clouds hovering underneath a full moon had me hooked. I can handle this, I thought to myself, hoping against hope that none of my greedy coworkers would slap their name on the promo before I could do a little more research prior to fully committing. After learning that Arcane Existence describes their sound as symphonic blackened death, it was game over. Say no more. This promo was mine.” Art and large expectations.

Ravendust – The Gold of the Aura Review

Ravendust – The Gold of the Aura Review

“Certain animals have an association with extreme metal. There’s the goat, of course, representing the Azazel goat that bore the sins of mankind and was sent off to the wilderness. There are worms, about whom I’ve written before. Now you can add ravens. Even one of AMG’s reviewers is named after the eerie birds that peck out eyeballs. Ravendust is a solo act clearly inspired by ravens and their… dust? It’s a remarkably unscary name for a project that hearkens back to the brutal days of the second wave. Sounding more like a Hogwarts house in Harry Potter, Ravendust has been around since 2019.” Ravens, dust, and gold together at last.

Wolves in the Throne Room – Primordial Arcana Review

Wolves in the Throne Room – Primordial Arcana Review

Wolves in the Throne Room is an important band for me. When I was just getting into black metal, I found my way to the early albums in the band’s discography, which demonstrated to me the intrinsic and glorious bond black metal has with nature. I was absolutely captivated and I still consider the trilogy of Diadem of 12 Stars, Two Hunters and Black Cascade to be one of the strongest in black metal’s catalog. While I may be less enamored with the later albums (Thrice Woven, apart from its thunderous opener, left me cold), I feel a very close affinity with the band, and any new release is a very big deal to this reviewer.” Wolves or sheep?

Viserion – Natural Selection Review

Viserion – Natural Selection Review

“For a relatively young genre, metal has found its fair share of adherents who quickly discovered their musical niche and haven’t budged from that sound. While this applies to both listeners (I’ll proudly wave the tattered OSDM banner until the day I die) and practitioners, it’s most noticeable with new and emerging bands not only harken back to a particular sound, but actively refuse to grow beyond it. Much like the Vogons in the immortal tome A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, these bands refuse to evolve. This may merely be my own bias showing, but this phenomenon seems to be most pronounced amongst the black metal set. Ever committed to all things trv, it would appear these corpse painted cretins believe that metal peaked somewhere around 1993. So when I picked up Viserion‘s debut Natural Selection, I was understandably apprehensive.” Status woe.

Bohemyst – Čerň A Smrt Review

Bohemyst – Čerň A Smrt Review

“C’mon, plague doctors are fucking rad. Who else can look like that much of a bird and still come across as badass? Throw in a sickle, a full moon, and an aura of divine punishment, ignoring that the graphics look straight outta some 2008 Assassin’s Creed DLC, and you’ve got yourself a pretty neat lil’ cover there. So, fancy cover? Check. Black metal? Check. Band from Eastern Europe? Czech. All my rambling to say, my interest is piqued. Bohemyst better get my motor running or else I’ll verbally smite it into the next dimension.” Motivational plagues.

Netherbird – Arete Review

Netherbird – Arete Review

“If you look up the phrase “almost great” online, you’re likely to see a picture of Swedish band, Netherbird. These guys having been kicking around since 2004, and have released several quality albums without ever quite reaching the level of “Oh yeah, I know those guys!” in the metal world. If Netherbird were a person, they’d be that fun dude at the party you enjoy hanging out with, but don’t really remember until the next time you see him again. And then you have to ask the host to remind you of his name.” Birds of a nether.

Groza – The Redemptive End Review

Groza – The Redemptive End Review

“I was tentative about taking this album. I was familiar with Groza‘s debut Unified in Void from 2018, granting it a casual listen and making that “not bad” Obama Rage Comic face from 2012. If one peruses the Metallum profile of these Germans, you’ll be graced with the shocking sight of a whopping 0% average review score from three reviews. Why, you ask? Probably because — and maybe this is obvious given the act’s name and a certain Polish full-length debut — Groza sounds a hell of a lot like Mgła. That’s unfair, awarding no merit to an album simply because it imitates another. I mean, if fans cancelled every act that sounded like Transilvanian Hunger, we’d have no black metal left.” The end of influence?

Moon Reaper – Descent Review

Moon Reaper – Descent Review

“I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a genre stickler at heart. I find a lot of comfort knowing where to fit every release that comes across my doorstep, so when acts swoop in to challenge that, I’m simultaneously uneasy and intrigued. There are plenty of folks that fall into this category but perhaps the most intriguing has been the UK act Conjurer. I’ve seen these lads described as everything from Swallow the Sun-esque death/doom, Cult of Luna-worshiping post-metal/sludge, to the blackened doom of Thou. 2018’s Mire is a landmark in its own right, and as we anxiously await its followup, we find newcomers Moon Reaper, definitely fans of Conjurer.” Genre reaping.

Arna – Dragged to a Lunar Grave Review

Arna – Dragged to a Lunar Grave Review

Arna lists Spectral Wound as an influence, and the perfunctory cover art bears an uncanny resemblance to that band’s recent (stellar) album, A Diabolic Thirst. But whereas A Diabolic Thirst featured an image with depth and nuance, Arna’s is flat and more minimal, and this is a helpful metaphor for separating the two bands. Arna plays old school, furious black metal, but with a much grimier, flattened production, and at a far more sedate pace than the relentless fury of Spectral Wound.” Arna you tired of black metal yet?

Agrypnie – Metamorphosis Review

Agrypnie – Metamorphosis Review

Agrypnie is a German black metal band from Hesse, and no newcomer to the scene, having released five full-lengths, a split, an EP, and a compilation since 2005. Perhaps “avant garde” is a tag given to bands that are just difficult to pinpoint, as these guys employ a kitchen sink of influences and guest vocalists in their aural assault in sixth full-length Metamorphosis.” Kafkanated.