Dimmu Borgir

The Breathing Process – Labyrinthian Review

The Breathing Process – Labyrinthian Review

“A phenomenon risen in the last decade is the concept of “blackened deathcore.” While Winds of Plague‘s cheesy keyboard licks copied and pasted atop chug-happy deathcore is business as usual, it wasn’t until bands like Make Them Suffer and Abigail Williams cranked up the moody -core brutality with black metal tropes in songwriting, drumming, and keys. More recently represented by bands like Lorna Shore or Mental Cruelty, blackened deathcore (if you accept it as a style) has become one of those quasi-sub-genres that fuses the oft-maligned “scene-core” and those of the “trve” style – a trve clvsterfvkk if you will. Quietly riding the wave is collective The Breathing Process, whose string of releases have contributed in small ways to this weird-ass style.” I see a mall kid and I want to paint him black.

Seven Spires – Gods of Debauchery Review

Seven Spires – Gods of Debauchery Review

Seven Spires released their second full-length album Emerald Seas, the prequel to their debut album Solveig, in February 2020. In tragic fashion, the four Berklee College of Music graduates scrapped their tour because of the global pandemic. Instead of wallowing in sorrow, the band wrote nearly 80 minutes of glorious new music, a true testament to their fervent love for the crafts of songwriting and musicianship. I raved about Emerald Seas in TYMHM last year, and let’s just say that my expectations were high for Gods of Debauchery.” Gluttony of goods.

Summoner’s Circle – Chaos Vector Review

Summoner’s Circle – Chaos Vector Review

“Describing themselves as “theatrical metal,” Summoner’s Circle is a swirling morass of influences that, peculiarly, leaves little lasting impression. Chaos Vector takes the most accessible parts of mainstream death metal and mainstream black metal and mixes them with the accessible melodies of modern progressive metal. Given that the vocals are largely blackened rasps a la Rimfrost, the guitars pull double duty in trying to make the proceedings overtly heavy and melodic. Progressive is definitely used in the catch-all way here.” Chaos and design theory.

Malossi – Blanke Barter Review

Malossi – Blanke Barter Review

“It sounds like a dream or a hallucination. Clutch is actually a Norwegian band. They rock hard, they add a bit more of a desert vibe to their sound (think of a more restrained Kyuss), and they sing in Norwegian. They love to throw things like tuba and harmonica into their songs. Their favorite thing in life is abusing the hell out of scooters (hence the band name). And for their album cover, they use a portrait that basically looks like my dad. Sound crazy? It’s not that far from reality, my friends. Let me introduce you to Malossi, and their second album, Blanke Barter.” Scooter-core.

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.

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.