Blackened Death Metal

Altars Ablaze – Life Desecration Review

Altars Ablaze – Life Desecration Review

“Metal fans are stupid, mindless idiots just looking for their next fix, demanding MOAR of the same exact shit they’ve heard a billion times over. That includes me, and that most certainly includes you. Especially you. With this powerful knowledge in hand, bands who tailor their music for themselves rather than for their fans are free to produce some of most unique and compelling metal around. On the other side of the same coin, some bands with this same knowledge often phone it in, delivering a fan-servicing slab of decent material without a lick of personality in the name of album sales. Czechia’s Altars Ablaze, a blackened death metal quintet formed from members of Heaving EarthSupreme Conception, and others, explicitly refuse to cater to the unwashed masses.” Fan service or fan sacrifice?

Dead Void – Volatile Forms

Dead Void – Volatile Forms

“I became acquainted with Dead Void through their quiet yet mammoth 2018 demo The Looming Spectre. I was neck deep in the melodic style of death/doom, my only experience with more ominous mutterings consisting of Thergothon or Swallowing, so these Danes’ breed of absolutely devastating death/doom hit me like a ton of slimy bricks. As dead and dripping as the walls of R’lyeh, with a megaton weight that more closely recalled funeral doom, it cranked my excitement meter to a solid 11. When Volatile Forms appeared in the promo dump, I hungrily gobbled it up.” Void if forms removed.

Warforged – The Grove | Sundial Review

Warforged – The Grove | Sundial Review

“It took an unprecedented length of time for me to appreciate Warforged‘s debut I: Voice back in 2019. In fact, I was so moved by the record once it finally clicked that I awarded it an enthusiastic 1.5-point upgrade. Naturally, that puts a lot of pressure on the follow-up, entitled The Grove | Sundial. Upon learning that Adrian Perez—who was in charge of lead vocals, keyboards, sampling, piano, and lyrics on I: Voice—separated from the project, I balked.” Forging a new weapon.

Hierophant – Death Siege Review

Hierophant – Death Siege Review

“I was first introduced to Italian noisemongers Hierophant with their 2013 sophomore effort, the provocatively titled Holy Mother: Holy Monster. An absolutely punishing release, it included all the hallmarks of acts like Oathbreaker, Celeste, and Hexis in its blackened hardcore/sludge combo. However, with a cutthroat crusty edge, it forsook all subtlety for punishing vitriol, excruciatingly dense and brutal.” Death sieges us all. Hold fast!

Wake – Thought Form Descent Review

Wake – Thought Form Descent Review

“I’ll let you in on a little secret. Sometimes, before I write a review, I read the ones already out there for the album in question. This is after I’ve heard the album a few times, and I do it for a few reasons, curiosity being one. Now, there are writers who solemnly proclaim, pearls fully clutched, that they would never taint their process with such unprofessionalism. I get that. But I also get that you inconstant, two-timing jilts will also read those other reviews, and I don’t like being redundant with mine. So, having read a couple reviews for Wake‘s fifth full-length Thought Form Descent, I’ve decided NOT to write an intro paragraph along the lines of “Boy howdy, these Wake bois sure do keep evolving, man alive.”” Thought form pieces.

A Lie Nation – Sociopathology Review

A Lie Nation – Sociopathology Review

Sociopathology is A Lie Nation‘s debut full-length, despite the band having been around since 2009 and follows two EPs, Begin Hate and Human Waves released in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Described as melodic blackened death metal, there’s more than a hint of the most recent Obscura to be found here but heavily diluted by something that sounds suspiciously like metalcore in places.” What lies beneath.

Werewolves – From the Cave to the Grave Review

Werewolves – From the Cave to the Grave Review

“I’m surprised we never covered Werewolves before on this blog. Their debut record, The Dead are Screaming—picked up by Prosthetic Records one month into the pandemic in 2020—fucking rulez. To my surprise, I somehow missed the follow-up they dropped less than a year later. Thankfully, I had my eye trained closely enough on this band to catch third outing, From the Cave to the Grave, before Werewolves slipped by undetected once more.” Pack attack.

Esoctrilihum – Consecration of the Spiritüs Flesh Review

Esoctrilihum – Consecration of the Spiritüs Flesh Review

“I’m not convinced that Asthâghul—the mysterious figure behind avant-garde black/death project Esoctrilihum—is even human. This latest LP marks their seventh in only five years, following a slew of offerings each more complex and demented than the last. Whatever demons of inspiration are clamoring to channel themselves through these weird soundscapes, they show no signs of slowing down. It’s a cycle of such maddening inexorability, that former overseer of this prolific act, Cherd, has this time relinquished responsibility. It now falls to me to attempt to chronicle and demystify this year’s eccentric tale.” Hard work and insane thoughts.

Artificial Brain – Artificial Brain Review

Artificial Brain – Artificial Brain Review

Artificial Brain, with or without intending it, has become the gold standard for modern death metal. Seamlessly blending earth-rumbling death metal with the raw edges and tines of black metal and adding a dissonant edge that embarks on voyages across dimensions, I knew I had bitten off more than I could chew. I feel as if I’ve intruded upon something holy.” Artifice and art.