Blackened Death Metal

Elderblood – Achrony Review

Elderblood – Achrony Review

“Blasphemy and the rejection of religion is not a new thing to black metal at all, but geography does play a part. As Diabolus in Muzaka mentioned in his review for Elderblood‘s Messiah, there’s something distinctly Polish about these Ukrainians. Christianity, especially the heavily ritualized flavor of Eastern Orthodox, runs deep in Slavic heritage – especially considering the virtual elimination of traditional Slavic religion at the hands of Christian tyrants. Nergal’s continuing rejection of Polish theocratic movements, Batushka‘s use of Russian Orthodoxy, and Elderblood‘s latest album cover have all shown the region’s unflinching hate. With these Ukrainians, you can expect vitriol and blasphemy in the fullest measure.” Burning faith.

Noctambulist – The Barren Form Review

Noctambulist – The Barren Form Review

Noctambulist is a blackened death metal band from Denver. Their 2019 debut album Atmospheres of Desolation was an interesting and twisty take on the brutal arts, aptly reflecting its name through an onslaught of vicious vocals, shredding riffs, and relentless percussion, through a contemplative dissonant melodic template. According to the illustrious Kronos, it still needed to hone its songwriting and set out on its own non-Ulcerate-ordained path.” Form and friction.

Portal – Avow Review

Portal – Avow Review

“Before Ion, we thought we had Portal figured out. The kings of murk would release another album of slogging dissonance, just like Swarth or Vexovoid. However, taking the path of least resistance or going with ol’ reliable has never been the esoteric Australian collective’s way, and we were greeted with Ion, a big obscure middle finger to the masses in their abruptly clearest and most pristine listen. In spite of the almost complete abandonment of murk, Ion adhered to their signature impenetrability, creating one of the most challenging listens in recent memory and showcasing that they weren’t just some disso-death one-trick pony. Avow reminds us that Portal is still king.” There will be cake.

Esoctrilihum – Dy’th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath Review

Esoctrilihum – Dy’th Requiem for the Serpent Telepath Review

“Another year, another 78 minute monster of an album by Esoctrilihum landing in my promo box with a bowel shaking thud. It seems the musical reproductive cycle of the elusive Asthâghul, native to France, is on an approximate 9-10 month cycle, wherein no sooner than one shrieking, multi-limbed abomination is calved writhing onto the unsuspecting earth, a pan-dimensional demon god plants its seed into Asthâghul’s gaping mind womb to begin the gestation process anew. To be in such a constant state of creative estrus must be absolutely exhausting. I know as a reviewer who has squatter’s rights to all Esoctrilihum output on this site, I’m tired just thinking, listening and writing about it.” Pregnant pause.

Crypts of Despair – All Light Swallowed Review

Crypts of Despair – All Light Swallowed Review

“The album title, the artwork, the music—it all fits the image of a virulent black cloud looming over an entire world, extinguishing the sun and stars only to then extinguish the life of all that is flesh and bone. Catastrophic riffs swirl through murky depths spattered with trem-picked abrasions, retched guttural emanations gurgle alongside bloodcurdling shrieks, and the world around them disintegrates amongst the falling ash as is their will. Lithuania quartet Crypts of Despair deals in the kind of metal that is not to be survived.” Grave new world.

Unflesh – Inhumation Review

Unflesh – Inhumation Review

“Unlike the New Hampshire trio’s debut Savior, which ranks among my earliest Bandcamp purchases, Inhumation flows like hot blood through open veins. Where the debut rode through a chaotic blizzard of technicality, Inhumation builds upon an ensemble of tight, catchy riffs, blackened leads and throbbing bass counterpoint. Drama drips from the walls of this cathedral of melodic tech-death. Excess has been excised from the exercise, exhibiting only that which enhances the experience.” All hail the Unflesh.

Stortregn – Impermanence Review

Stortregn – Impermanence Review

“Every year it seems that in the midst of all the doom, sludge and black metal clogging up my arteries, I find that one album of fast, technical, brutal sci-fi themed metal that I can’t stop listening to. Recent output by Xoth, Æpoch, Beast of Nod and the mighty Archspire have flayed my face meat and chilled my soul with surgical guitars and the unknowable horrors of the cosmos. In 2018 I discovered Swiss band Stortregn through their fantastic third full-length Emptiness Fills the Void. Despite its title, the album absolutely burst at the seams with blackened, thrashy tech death glory that never sacrificed melody for brutality. The cold, dark vacuum of space sounded thrilling in their capable hands. Three years later, Stortregn has moved from the diverse roster of Non Serviam Records to tech death specialists The Artisan Era for their fourth LP Impermanence.” In space no one can hear you fanboy.

Malice Divine – Malice Divine Review

Malice Divine – Malice Divine Review

Malice Divine is the brainchild of classically-trained Toronto musician Ric Galvez. The self-titled record finds Galvez handling the entire creative process and all of the performances with the exception of the drums. Known primarily as a lead guitarist in the Toronto scene, Galvez was excited about the opportunity to indulge in a solo project. But old habits die hard, and Malice Divine glistens like a guitar fan’s wet dream. Galvez combines the melodic blackened death sounds of Necrophobic and Dissection with the emotive soloing and progressive song structures of Death and the technical majesty of Wintersun.” Malice in Meloblackland.

Suffering Hour – The Cyclic Reckoning Review

Suffering Hour – The Cyclic Reckoning Review

“The dreaded sophomore slump is always a concern after a band bursts out of the blocks with a stellar debut. Expectation and pressure mounts, at least from a fan perspective. In the case of the mysterious Suffering Hour, 2017’s debut LP, In Passing Ascension, created a deserved underground buzz and well and truly placed Suffering Hour on the map as a band to keep a close eye on. With just the intervening Dwell EP in 2019, Suffering Hour took their time in fine tuning and honing their signature sound in preparation of unleashing The Cyclic Reckoning.” Vicious cyclic.

Caedes Cruenta – Of Ritual Necrophagia and Mysterious Ghoul Cults Review

Caedes Cruenta – Of Ritual Necrophagia and Mysterious Ghoul Cults Review

“To be honest, I’m not entirely sure where the line between black metal and blackened death lies. There’re folks who are entirely justified for crying “DEATH” when you add some bass to the mix, but others will be completely in the right to scold them for hopping a little too hard. Since groups like Belphegor and Marduk have blurred the lines with their bottom-heavy yet grim AF aesthetics, it’s a horde of near or far-sighted folks blurring everything.” Ghouls night ovt.