Jun19

Record(s) o’ the Month – June 2019?

Record(s) o’ the Month – June 2019?

There’s a really specific reason that the Record(s) o’ the Month are late this month. It’s because I don’t like anything enough to make Record o’ the Month. In the past when this has been the case, I tend to listen to things that people like and let a “democratic” decision happen. We did an extensive vote and came with a lot of options and no consensus. And while the options ranged from the “pretty good” to the “deeply insulting,” I wasn’t overly thrilled about any of them.

Freternia – The Gathering Review

Freternia – The Gathering Review

“Of all the bands that flooded the European power metal scene in the late 90’s and early 00’s, Sweden’s Freternia is certainly one of them. I’m not so much apathetic towards them as I am unfamiliar; I followed countless power metal bands in the previous decade, and while I’ve long known of Freternia‘s existence, I never got around to adding them to my rotation. In retrospect, they were a solid early example of Blind Guardian worship, and one that may have tapped into some serious potential, had they not fizzled out in 2002 after only two albums. When several members of Freternia formed Cromonic a few years back, I had thought that the latter band would serve as the former’s replacement, so I was a bit surprised when Freternia‘s comeback album, The Gathering, surfaced in the promo sump.” Join the Freternity.

Drimys Winteri – Excelsa Natura Review

Drimys Winteri – Excelsa Natura Review

“I was on a hike recently, and while trekking through the forest, I stopped regularly to admire the magnificent trees. Up close, each was different, with idiosyncratic patterns, leaves, and scars. When I made it to the top of a nearby hill, however, and glanced over said forest, I was struck by the homogeneity. The individual trees, all so unique at first, looked identical from afar. I imagined, for a second, that this is (a) probably how our Overlord views his army of writers and (b) how black metal bands appear to fans of the genre.” In metal, as in forests.

Murk Rider – Exile of Shadows Review

Murk Rider – Exile of Shadows Review

“Sounds of a crackling campfire permeate the peaceful night air in the opening moments of Murk Rider’s debut full-length Exile of Shadows. Shortly thereafter, gentle acoustic guitar joins the comforting snaps and sputters. But this is no foreshadowing for a sprightly pass-the-mallow-style campfire sing-along. The addition of a creaking rope and unfamiliar bird cries contribute to generating a feeling of unease. The way Murk Rider draws upon sounds of the natural world to conjure a particular aesthetic makes it impossible to not be reminded of the haunting but soothing loon calls and melancholic folk instrumentation that start off Panopticon’s Autumn Eternal and precede a deluge of pummeling black metal.” Murking in the shadows.

Kryptos – Afterburner Review

Kryptos – Afterburner Review

“”Full speed ahead—let’s burn up the night!” So screamed Kryptos vocalist and guitarist Nolan Lewis, thus closing out the Indian quartet’s 2016 opus Burn up the Night. That album excelled by infusing classic heavy metal riffs with harsh vocals and it more than earned its spot on my Year End list that year. But apparently full speed is no longer fast enough. Fifth album Afterburner sees the band cranking the throttles into overdrive and doubling down on everything that made Night great.” Still burning in the night.

Valaraukar – Demonian Abyssal Visions Review

Valaraukar – Demonian Abyssal Visions Review

“It’s become a cliché to list all the things for which Scotland is famous. But cliché gets you banned to the Skull Pit Corner ov Naughtiness™ in these parts. So let’s look at something less well-known that Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh, is renowned for… deep-fried Mars Bars. I should love them. Chocolate, caramel, and nougat, all deliciously fried up as a warm, crunchy breakfast dessert. Yet I don’t. It’s really difficult for me to explain why, because every individual component is something I love, but the final product just underwhelms.” Sums and blackened parts.

Birdflesh – Extreme Graveyard Tornado Review

Birdflesh – Extreme Graveyard Tornado Review

“Formed in 1992, Sweden’s Birdflesh have left an extensive trail of demos, splits, EPs, full-lengths and bloodied feathers across a career dedicated to fun, catchy and relentlessly vicious grind. And all the while they’ve kept their tongues firmly planted in cheeks, bringing a strong element of gore-laced humor into their thrash and death infested grindcore experience.” The corpsey wind comes blowing in….

Itheist – Itheist Review

Itheist – Itheist Review

“Once named Aetherium Mors, this two-man project since altered their moniker so as to better refine their brand of blackened extremity. The material contained within the self-titled debut is proficient and mature in its composition. But sometimes, the often overlooked simplest tenets are the most necessary in creating a truly stirring compound.” Refining darkness.

Mysticism Black – Return of the Bestial Flame Review

Mysticism Black – Return of the Bestial Flame Review

“Thirteen years later, ‘OldNick’ has recruited former Ceremonial Castings drummer ‘Blood Hammer’ for sophomore album Return of the Bestial Flame. But does Flame reignite the passion of yesteryear or merely linger like an awkward conversation with an old acquaintance you ran into at the grocery store?” Flaming beasts will set the world on fire.

Burial in the Woods – Church of Dagon Review

Burial in the Woods – Church of Dagon Review

“The difference a single instrument can make is incredible. Barring the obvious candidates, like voice and drums, you can change an entire band’s sound with a single addition. Nightwish makes standard power metal until you add in the orchestrations. Wilderun play pretty neat symphonic metal, but throw in a mandolin and see how that changes things. It’s these small flourishes that help many of our favorite bands to win the battle against homogeneity. In the spheres of death-doom, Burial in the Woods seek similar uniqueness with their debut effort, Church of Dagon.” Church is kvlt.