Melodic Black Metal

Wormwitch – Wolf Hex Review

Wormwitch – Wolf Hex Review

“Way back in the golden, halcyon days of 2019, Wormwitch‘s The Heaven That Dwells Within, with its wonderful mix of melody and brutality, became a consistent go-to album for a much younger, much less masked Felagund. Just two hellish years later, this Canadian quartet is back with Wolf Hex, their third full-length and another slab of melodic black metal. But does their latest measure up to my unfair expectations?” Of worm and wolf.

Bohemyst – Čerň A Smrt Review

Bohemyst – Čerň A Smrt Review

“C’mon, plague doctors are fucking rad. Who else can look like that much of a bird and still come across as badass? Throw in a sickle, a full moon, and an aura of divine punishment, ignoring that the graphics look straight outta some 2008 Assassin’s Creed DLC, and you’ve got yourself a pretty neat lil’ cover there. So, fancy cover? Check. Black metal? Check. Band from Eastern Europe? Czech. All my rambling to say, my interest is piqued. Bohemyst better get my motor running or else I’ll verbally smite it into the next dimension.” Motivational plagues.

Netherbird – Arete Review

Netherbird – Arete Review

“If you look up the phrase “almost great” online, you’re likely to see a picture of Swedish band, Netherbird. These guys having been kicking around since 2004, and have released several quality albums without ever quite reaching the level of “Oh yeah, I know those guys!” in the metal world. If Netherbird were a person, they’d be that fun dude at the party you enjoy hanging out with, but don’t really remember until the next time you see him again. And then you have to ask the host to remind you of his name.” Birds of a nether.

Groza – The Redemptive End Review

Groza – The Redemptive End Review

“I was tentative about taking this album. I was familiar with Groza‘s debut Unified in Void from 2018, granting it a casual listen and making that “not bad” Obama Rage Comic face from 2012. If one peruses the Metallum profile of these Germans, you’ll be graced with the shocking sight of a whopping 0% average review score from three reviews. Why, you ask? Probably because — and maybe this is obvious given the act’s name and a certain Polish full-length debut — Groza sounds a hell of a lot like Mgła. That’s unfair, awarding no merit to an album simply because it imitates another. I mean, if fans cancelled every act that sounded like Transilvanian Hunger, we’d have no black metal left.” The end of influence?

Burning Darkness – Dödens Makt Review

Burning Darkness – Dödens Makt Review

“Swedish five-piece Burning Darkness has been kicking around since 1999, going through various periods of inactivity and releasing a number of demos. It was not until 2017, however, that a debut full-length record finally appeared, the self-released The Angel of Light. That raw chunk of melodic black metal sported heavy dollops of both death (“Demonic Bloodlines”) and heavy metal (“Crystallised Curse”), and was enough, it seems, to secure Burning Darkness a deal with Non Serviam Records. Now, the band returns with its sophomore effort, Dödens Makt.” Burning leather and rubber.

Felled – The Intimate Earth Review

Felled – The Intimate Earth Review

Felled approach black metal differently than many. There’s a lot of mournful folk imbued within these sonic landscapes, thanks to a lead violin which takes center stage as often as, if not more often than, the lead guitars. Dour atmosphere grips with a cold, unforgiving hand and drags you across snowy tundra, no thought given to your ability to weather the journey. All that matters is that the melodies and moods cut through your thin flesh-wrapper and find a home deep inside your marrow.” Intimate despair.

Winter Eternal – Land of Darkness

Winter Eternal – Land of Darkness

“Greek black metal is a well-established scene in one of metal’s most extreme subgenres, and for me personally, none more so than Winter Eternal. Although they may have relocated from Attica to Scotland, I’m still happy to bundle 2019’s Realm of the Bleeding Shadows with that enclave given its excellence. It was a low-key release which now sits in my top 5 melodic black metal records of the 2010s. Its key qualities include its crisp tone, strong melodies and brevity which it wrapped into a compelling package which almost seems over before it’s begun. Clearly the band was unhappy with just realms, so they’re now branching out into a Land of Darkness. Is this a land you should visit?” Dark tourism.

Mental Cruelty – A Hill to Die Upon Review

Mental Cruelty – A Hill to Die Upon Review

“Everyone loves a good comeback story. For German brutal deathcore quintet Mental Cruelty, their comeback story begins in 2018, wherein they rolled up on your beach brandishing a weapon of divine destruction named Pergatorium. Then, Inferis dropped less than a year later. To my dismay, that record abandoned much of what made Pergatorium fun and compelling, instead resorting to cheap genre tricks, lifeless breakdowns and unsatisfying symphonics. Looking back, I probably overrated Inferis by a half-point, such was my disappointment with the album after such a strong debut. Enter third installment A Hill to Die Upon.” Obsessed by (Mental) Cruelty.

Vreid – Wild North West Review

Vreid – Wild North West Review

“Like I Krig and Milorg, this new release is a concept album. Instead of learning some history, the concept here is the ups and downs of life as we wait for death. But, more specifically, bassist Hváll says the inspiration for Wild North West comes from his struggles, knowledge, and experience. One of the coolest parts about the album (not to bring Windir up again) is that some of what you’ll hear Valfar wrote back in 2002. Crazy enough, you’ll also hear him play it. He hasn’t risen from the grave, but it sure as shit feels like it.” Wild and dead.

Sarkrista – Sworn to Profound Heresy Review

Sarkrista – Sworn to Profound Heresy Review

“No one likes to be misled. Money is tight, we have bills to pay, so we all wanna know what we’re spending our precious cash on. When you see an album entitled “Sworn to Profound Heresy,” with a cover featuring malevolent-looking priests surrounding a burning church, you probably think you know what’s in store. When those clouds of billowing smoke feature an image of the dark lord, and the band is named after a church sexton, you might think that this was some satanic, second wave-worshipping black metal, probably from a bunch of European veterans. Well… you’d be absolutely right!” Maximum Satan.