Melodic Black Metal

Saor – Origins Review

Saor – Origins Review

“We’re now a decade into Andy Marshall’s uniquely Scottish take on metal, blending furious black metal with majestic melodies and Scottish folk instrumentation. Saor is an experiment which has demonstrated great results, with the likes of Aura and Guardians being some of the strongest folk/black metal albums of the 2010s. 2019’s Forgotten Paths was solid but easily my least favorite release, but with a new decade comes a new record called Origins. Is it a return to Saor’s roots, or does it represent a new beginning?” Roots, icy roots.

Tómarúm – Ash in Realms of Stone Icons Review

Tómarúm – Ash in Realms of Stone Icons Review

“We as a community speak often of defining and categorizing genres, but sometimes a promo comes along that legitimately challenges those definitions. Atlanta, Georgia’s Tómarúm received a generic “black metal” tag from Prosthetic Records’ PR team, and it falls short as a descriptor for what Tómarúm play. As you’ll surely deduce after giving debut album Ash in Realms of Stone Icons even just one spin, this nascent two-piece perform forbidden alchemy with myriad metallic ores, smelting a writhing, metamorphic amalgamation. It’s that very transmogrification that not only makes this album difficult to categorize but also exciting and satisfying to experience.” Pigeon holes don’t come easy.

Vimur – Transcendental Violence Review

Vimur – Transcendental Violence Review

“Back in 2019, I raved about Vimur‘s sophomore album, Triumphant Master of Fates. It was a magnificent expulsion of incendiary black metal fueled by venom and vitriol. Three years later, the Atlanta quartet readies their next salvo, entitled Transcendental Violence. Lucifer only knows what the hell that means, but there’s no doubt that destruction awaits.” Violence as currency.

Cirkeln – A Song to Sorrow Review

Cirkeln – A Song to Sorrow Review

“Some things enter human culture and just don’t leave. What could be a better example than the epic fantasy spearheaded (in the West) by J.R.R Tolkien, spawning countless other artworks and fuelling many an obsession to this day. Similarly, the rise of solo projects within black metal is seemingly indefatigable. Cirkeln combines these two strands—the mainstream and the counter-culture—through a discography inspired by genre heavyweights of each. Tolkien and Moorcock on the one hand, Celtic Frost and Bathory on the other.” Ring of sour.

Falls of Rauros – Key to a Vanishing Future Review

Falls of Rauros – Key to a Vanishing Future Review

“This multi-instrument outfit continues to work with its traditional format of six tracks over forty-five minutes. But, while this new record doesn’t have anything you haven’t already heard, the band has a knack for execution. Somehow, they continue to breathe uniqueness into each effort and supply just enough originality to make each new record different from the last.” Vanishing returns?

Vorga – Striving toward Oblivion Review

Vorga – Striving toward Oblivion Review

“Space. Black metal. It’s a match made in heaven! People have been writing black metal albums about space for decades, and it doesn’t seem to matter how oversaturated that specific niche gets. Metalheads eat it up. I eat it up. Space is such a massive thing anyway that the possibilities are quite literally infinite to our comparatively minuscule imaginations, so in that way it makes sense that there’s always a new invader breaching the bulkheads. Enter Vorga and their debut full-length, Striving toward Oblivion.” Space inwaders.

Spider God – Black Renditions Review

Spider God – Black Renditions Review

“Every once in a blue moon, an album comes along that speaks to me so deeply that I break the rules to cover it. This year, that honor belongs to what is perhaps the most thoroughly unexpected album to ever grace these spongy orifices: UK one-man-band Spider God‘s Black Renditions. I say mad science experiment because Spider God offers no new material whatsoever on Black Renditions—this, my friends, is a covers album. A pop covers album. I’m talking about Britney SpearsThe Pointer Sisters, Backstreet Boys, among others.” Spider infections and burnt credibility.

Ethereal Shroud – Trisagion Review

Ethereal Shroud – Trisagion Review

Trisagion, at its core, fits the mold of atmospheric black metal to a tee. However, only fools suggest that Ethereal Shroud settle for that core sound without layers upon layers of extracurricular influence to flesh it out. In 2021, that influence takes the form of a most depressive subset of doom, a network of melodic leads which alternate between chilling and radiant, and crafty drumming that handily combines post-metallic defiance of standard beats with traditional blasts and double-bass runs.” Ephemeral glory on the precipice of oblivion.