Melodic Black Metal

Syn Ze Şase Tri – Stăpîn Peste Stăpîni Review

Syn Ze Şase Tri – Stăpîn Peste Stăpîni Review

Syn Ze Şase Tri is a Romanian band hailing from from—no joke—Transylvania, and whose material I had the pure luck to discover by my naïve dedication to trying to review everything that ever landed in my mailbox back in the early days. The band’s first record, Între două lumi, was the victim of brutal mastering job which rendered the mp3s I received in the promotional material unlistenable. ” Will these Carpathian creepers have the aural bite to win AMG’s love this time around?

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Hoth – Oathbreaker

Things You Might Have Missed 2014: Hoth – Oathbreaker

“Do you ever wonder what Dissection would have sounded like after Storm of the Light’s Bane if Jon Nodveidt made much better life choices and became obsessed with death metal and the original Star Wars trilogy? Yeah, neither did I, but Washington’s Hoth decided to answer that question in the form of their sophomore album Oathbreaker.” Some ideas just don’t look good on paper. This is one of those.

Vintersorg – Naturbål Review

Vintersorg – Naturbål Review

Vintersorg‘s Naturbål had the misfortune (for long-time readers) of being released while I was off getting straight-married. In the run up to this major life event, I managed to squeeze in quite a few listens, however, as I was given a promo copy of it quite early from the band. Long-story-short: Naturbål is a continuation of these Skelleftebos’ string of successful releases that started with Jordpuls in 2011, improved with Orkan in 2012 and that continues in full force now in 2014.

Astrophobos – Remnants of Forgotten Horrors Review

Astrophobos – Remnants of Forgotten Horrors Review

“Following on from their 2010 self-released EP, Arcane Secrets, Swedish band Astrophobos have arrived at the funeral dressed in all all their Triumvirate Records finery, in a manner that I can only describe as just a smidgen outside of fashionably late. Yup, the eulogy’s in the process of wrapping up – can you say awkward silence?” Awkward silence at a funeral? That sounds weird.

Chthonic – Bú-Tik Review

Chthonic – Bú-Tik Review

“While first wetting my feet with black metal I came across Chthonic‘s 9th Empyrean, Relentless Recurrence and Seediq Bale albums. I felt a distinct pull towards their use of traditional instruments, their dramatic, aggressive, melodic sound and their bleak, nihilistic undercurrent and for a fair while their screams gripped my attention. Eventually though I felt the inevitable allure for darker and uglier and sank deeper and into the blackness discovering Nattefrost, Carpathian Forest, Shining (Swedish), 1349, Marduk and so on and to be honest I got distracted and I guess I just forgot about Chthonic….” Will Madam X have a happy reunion with the once beloved Chthonic or has absence made the heart grow bitter? So much drama!

King of Asgard – Fi’mbulvintr Review

King of Asgard – Fi’mbulvintr Review

Few names rate as highly among fans of “viking metal” and melodic death metal as the classic Swedish act Mithotyn, which sadly went defunct in 1999 after three excellent full lengths (In the Sign of the Ravens, King of the Distant Forest and Gathered Around the Oaken Table, all of which come highly recommended). Since then, they have gained a near cult status as one of the leaders in the genre and one of the best to ever touch the folk-viking metal legacy. For fans of the band, or at least for this fan of the band, Falconer was never an appropriate replacement for what was a unique and fresh band that went sadly under the radar during their tenure. So you can imagine my excitement upon receiving a copy of Fi’mbulvintr (which, btw, shouldn’t this be Fímbulvintr?), from the new incarnation containing the former guitarist from Mithotyn as well as the band’s drummer.

Istapp – Blekinge Review

Istapp – Blekinge Review

Sweden’s Istapp (translation: icicle) was a big surprise for this Angry Metal Guy. A Swedish melodic black metal from Blekinge Län (which is basically the far south of Sweden) I had never heard of them. They’ve been around in the scene for a while, apparently, having released several demos and then a demo compilation (with practically the same track list as Blekinge). More surprisingly, the band’s vocalist is reported to have been in Spawn of Possession until 2009, which is a strange connection given that the band is at almost the opposite side of the spectrum from the well known and worshiped tech-death band. But while Istapp isn’t going to win any awards with the hardcore fans of black metal with their clean vocals, their pristine production and their melody, they are certainly going to win a lot of fans who like their metal fast, melodic and, more importantly, awesome.