Melodic Black Metal

Vorga – Beyond the Palest Star Review

Vorga – Beyond the Palest Star Review

“Ah, space. How little we know of thee. How awestruck we are by thine crushing beauty. It’s no surprise, as I noted in my review for Vorga’s debut record, Striving Toward Oblivion, that artists across various fields and mediums draw inspiration from the immense, unknowable thing that is space. With such a deep well to draw from—as much in terms of raw data and information as in fiction and imagination—I doubt even the relative microcosm of black metal could ever exhaust this rich and ever-expanding resource. Picking up right where they left off in 2022, German melodic black metal quartet Vorga blast off into the deepest reaches of inky blackness.” MOARGA Vorga.

Dödsrit – Nocturnal Will Review

Dödsrit – Nocturnal Will Review

“It’s not like I really need any convincing, but it’s great when an album comes along and reminds me that black metal is, in fact, fucking fantastic. 2023 was a comparatively dry year for the genre, especially as far as the more straightforward, unadorned variety was concerned. 2024 is already making up for it. Swedish/Dutch four-piece Dödsrit are one of the voices in the scene quietly but confidently proving how effective some no-frills (crust-adjacent) melodic black metal can be.” Black is the olde black.

Stuck in the Filter: January’s Angry Misses

Stuck in the Filter: January’s Angry Misses

It’s becoming apparent that our filtering systems work quite well! The crew has done a fine job pulling filth from the workings and releasing the pressure to the system. A second too late and the toilets would have backed up.

Volcandra – The Way of Ancients Review

Volcandra – The Way of Ancients Review

“My roommate and good friend once got to meet Kentucky melodic black metal troupe Volcandra at work while I was stuck doing something infinitely less fun, I’m sure. I know this because she, familiar with how deeply entrenched I am in the metal scene, messaged me to ask, ‘Hey, do you know this band called Volcandra?’ I, of course, responded, ‘Yeah, they’re pretty good! Why?’ She replied, to paraphrase, ‘Yeah, I just got to meet them, and they seem really cool and nice.’ Imagine my thinly veiled jealousy as I came back with, ‘Oh that’s super cool!'” Womp womp.

Litosth – Cesariana Review

Litosth – Cesariana Review

“Despite their frosty, dour tunes, the first comparison I draw when listening to Cesariana is Oubliette’s warm and rich The Passage. The second is Ethereal Shroud’s magnum opus Trisagion. Aesthetically falling somewhere between these two disparate references, Litosth’s style sounds epic without resorting to double-digit song lengths, feels relaxed in pacing without lacking passion, and manages to be memorable without possessing especially unique songwriting tenets.” Black haze.

Malist – Of Scorched Earth Review

Malist – Of Scorched Earth Review

“If there’s anything I could say for certain about Malist, it’s that they can get a hell of a lot of variety out of the superficially simple ‘atmospheric black metal’ subgenre. This variety, spanning melodic, second-wave, and quasi-DSBM styles, has doubtless played a role in Malist’s very positive reception in these halls. At least through 2021’s Karst Relic.” Mal, Maler, Malist.

Massen – Gentle Brutality [Things You Might Have Missed 2023]

Massen – Gentle Brutality [Things You Might Have Missed 2023]

“If you know me—and most of you should by now—you know that I love bands who fearlessly combine multiple genres into one pot. I want to be blown away by their exploratory vigor, dismissing all pretense of genre loyalty with gusto. Give me something that challenges my advanced ability to categorize and compartmentalize, and you are likely to garner an instant fan. Enter Massen, a Belarusian/German Frankenstein monster who unleashed one of the best records of the year, Gentle Brutality.” Polite hooligans.

Sworn – A Journey Told Through Fire [Things You Might Have Missed 2023]

Sworn – A Journey Told Through Fire [Things You Might Have Missed 2023]

“Hailing from Bergen, Norway,Sworn have been toiling away in relative anonymity since 2005. Two early, and frankly unremarkable, records were followed by a nine-year gap before the release of 2018’s very good, Dark Stars and Eternity. Melodic black metal with a ton of atmosphere, and sounding more Finnish than Norwegian for much of its run, the album was only really hampered by a slightly questionable mix. There is no question, however, that it represented a real step up in quality for the quartet when compared to their first two outings. Scroll forward to July this year and, still unsigned, Sworn dropped their fourth LP, A Journey Told through Fire.” The fire still burns.