Dimmu Borgir

The Circle – Metamorphosis Review

The Circle – Metamorphosis Review

“The phrase “avant-garde” spliced with “metal” is so confusing. Much like similar descriptors “extreme” and “modern,”[1. *shudder*] it’s an extremely broad term that implies much and is much abused. Describing the Children of Bodom-esque Messora to the weird-as-shit Maudlin of the Well, overuse quickly becomes Inigo Montoya’s second most-famous quote: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” So, what does “avant-garde” actually mean? Beats me! Nevertheless, the newest crew to throw their avant-garde hat into the ring is Germany’s The Circle.” Larva-core.

Cryptosis – Bionic Swarm Review

Cryptosis – Bionic Swarm Review

“Wow. Thrash is kind of having a year, folks. There are large swaths of the metal community who feel that the fires that heated the furnace in which all great thrash was forged went out decades ago, while others feel that those flames still sputter and cough and produce a great record every now and again. Well, something about a worldwide shutdown secondary to a pandemic seems to have stoked whatever embers remained within that furnace into a raging inferno, because the first quarter of 2021 is basically littered with quality thrash releases of a variety of styles. Therefore, I didn’t hesitate to pick up Bionic Swarm, the debut record from Dutch thrashers Cryptosis, a band who’d like to throw their hat into the progressive cyber-thrash ring with Paranorm.” 4 Swarm to wengeance.

Eleine – Dancing in Hell Review

Eleine – Dancing in Hell Review

“Symphonic and power/symphonic metal are so hit-or-miss. Even when it comes to a couple of my favorites, I can love one release and loathe the next. That’s even when the most astute listener thinks the albums sound the same. It has to be the perfect balance of elements to catch my attention and keep me coming back for repeat listens. And, other times, I have to be in the right headspace. When I first heard Eleine‘s new opus, Dancing in Hell, almost all those elements came together.” Hell is a dance-off.

Paradise in Flames – Devil’s Collection Review

Paradise in Flames – Devil’s Collection Review

Paradise in Flames is a Brazilian black metal quartet, having released two albums, two demos, and an EP since their 2003 formation. While their third full-length’s cover poses questions, a glance at their promo confuses further. They cite death metal countrymen Sepultura and Sarcófago as influences, while the Devil’s Collection was mastered by producer Tue Madsen of Meshuggah and Dark Tranquility fame. Such first impressions are baffling, but the looming question is: is Devil’s Collection any good?” Riffing is fundamental.

Theotoxin – Fragment: Erhabenheit Review

Theotoxin – Fragment: Erhabenheit Review

“There’s no question that the latest Cytotoxin absolutely destroys. Its powerful and vicious approach touches me right in my technical sweet spot, and as the year goes on, Nuklearth‘s bleak, post-apocalyptic world begins to seem more and more familiar as the coronavirus continues its assault upon our very cells. It’s getting easier everyday to believe Freddy’s old maxim, “God is dead.” But what has led to our having to walk alone down the open road of this godless endeavor? The answer escaped me until, during one of my daily swims through the promo sump, I happened upon an empty prescription bottle. “Theotoxin 5mg” the label read, and the patient’s name upon it? “God.” Prescription proscription.

Serene Dark – Enantiodromia Review

Serene Dark – Enantiodromia Review

“After thirteen years of existence as End Demise, the band felt that it had experienced enough change over the years to warrant a fresh start and a fresh name. So in a way, even though it continues with the eclectic genre bastardization seen on End Demise‘s previous releases, Enantiodromia is essentially the debut record from a new band.” Serenity now!

Hornwood Fell – Cursed Thoughts – I II Review

Hornwood Fell – Cursed Thoughts – I II Review

“Now, here’s an interesting concept. One that wouldn’t slip by ole Grier. Hornwood Fell‘s eighty-minute epic, Cursed Thoughts – I II, happens to be a combination of two records released earlier this year. With the help of Third-I-Rex and Kadabra Music, the band was able to combine this independently-released two-parter into a single release. The first part inspired by Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal and the second by the poems of Edgar Allan Poe.” Deep thoughts.

Valdrin – Effigy of Nightmares Review

Valdrin – Effigy of Nightmares Review

“I’m just now becoming aware of the fact that reviewing previously unknown (to me), established black metal bands with solid discographies has become one of my favorite hobbies. Last fall brought me Germany’s Krater, with their well-produced and varied venomous assault. Last month saw me covering Finland’s …and Oceans, a band that blasted onto the scene again after nearly twenty years of silence with an album that effectively displayed the band’s evolutionary past. And now I’ve spent the last several weeks spinning Effigy of Nightmares from Cincinnati band Valdrin.” Effigy of the unforgotten.

Carach Angren – Franckensteina Strataemontanus Review

Carach Angren – Franckensteina Strataemontanus Review

“But Franckensteina Strataemontanus is not a true retelling of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. If any of you know the myths and legends surrounding the creation of this story, you know that there’re a lot of tales that involve Johann Konrad Dippel. There’s no proof that Shelley was ever inspired by this strange individual, but the connection is hard to ignore. An individual who reportedly invented nitroglycerin, experimented on dead animals and human cadavers, and created an elixir that would allow him to live until the age of 135. Here, Carach Angren provides us with a slight reinvention of the classic Frankenstein story. One that uses artistic license to make Dippel the psychotic creator of an unloved monster.” Frank n’ frowners.

Theosophy – Towers of Dark Pantheon Review

Theosophy – Towers of Dark Pantheon Review

“I was going to take this week off. Contrary to what you might expect, being unable to go to a physical office (as I am) actually lowers the amount of music I consume on a regular basis. I’ve scarcely listened to anything that I’m not writing a review for in weeks, and it’s been starting to get to me. So I decided to take a break. No review-writing, just for a little bit. I came really close to pulling it off too, but a late addition to the promo pit piqued my interest, and all was lost. Theosophy had come, and the next thing I knew I was sampling the Russian quartet’s take on thunderous black metal via their fifth full-length, Towers of Dark Pantheon.” Time heist.