Mgła

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?

Mānbryne – Heilsweg: O udrece ciala i tulaczce duszy Review

Mānbryne – Heilsweg: O udrece ciala i tulaczce duszy Review

“The reason many debut albums sound so good, the theory goes, is that the composer has been creating and honing these songs (at least in their head) their whole life. What the songs lack in finesse, they make up for with creativity and fresh energy. It’s why hardcore fans of many bands prefer their earlier output, before an established groove was settled into. What happens, though, when you have the shaggy exuberance of a fresh and gifted songwriter, combined with the talents of more experienced heads to hone and polish the rougher edges? Mānbryne answers that question with Heilsweg: O udrece ciala i tulaczce duszy.” Marinating in Mānbryne.

Uada – Djinn Review

Uada – Djinn Review

Uada have captured the hearts of many fans searching for plenty of melody with their fury or Mgła without the controversy. I was (and remain) a huge fan of the tight, energetic debut, but 2018’s Cult of a Dying Sun left me colder. I felt that the band were going through the motions, which concerned me given it was but a sophomore release. Take the essential formula of these two albums, ladle on more melody and add a few pinches of Mgła controversy and you have Djinn.” Djinn and juice.

Ragehammer – Into Certain Death Review

Ragehammer – Into Certain Death Review

“After the absolute walloping Ragehammer dished out on The Hammer Doctrine, I wanted more Ragehammer but was perfectly content spinning that wonderful little record again and again. Since I avoid social media like the plague vodka-based drinks, I generally don’t know who’s releasing what until I dig through the ol’ promo sump. Seeing Ragehammer was a pleasant surprise, as The Hammer Doctrine still gets regular spins ‘round these parts.” Hammer.

Theotoxin – Fragment: Erhabenheit Review

Theotoxin – Fragment: Erhabenheit Review

“There’s no question that the latest Cytotoxin absolutely destroys. Its powerful and vicious approach touches me right in my technical sweet spot, and as the year goes on, Nuklearth‘s bleak, post-apocalyptic world begins to seem more and more familiar as the coronavirus continues its assault upon our very cells. It’s getting easier everyday to believe Freddy’s old maxim, “God is dead.” But what has led to our having to walk alone down the open road of this godless endeavor? The answer escaped me until, during one of my daily swims through the promo sump, I happened upon an empty prescription bottle. “Theotoxin 5mg” the label read, and the patient’s name upon it? “God.” Prescription proscription.

AthanaTheos – Prophetic Era (Or How Yahveh Became the One) Review

AthanaTheos – Prophetic Era (Or How Yahveh Became the One) Review

““French philosophy” is, in some circles, a punchline. It evokes the image of an edgy atheist, fedora on head, sipping his black espresso (symbolic, of course, of the darkness of his existence – the horror of reflecting on Sartre in a café surely cripples the best of men) and smoking a strange, thin cigarette in perpetuity – pretension personified. AthanaTheos, a French black doom atmospheric dissonant epic death metal band has tried their hand not just at an album but an epos – an epic poem set to music.” Profits of doom.

The Committee – Utopian Deception Review

The Committee – Utopian Deception Review

“Now that mega-corporations have paved the internet highways with the asphalt of targeted ads and misinformation, the digital utopia has become a divisive dystopia where that same creativity grows mainly in the cracks between the concrete. But its connective power still remains unabated, and The Committee is testament to that. It was certainly possible for a band whose members live scattered across Europe to exist, but it would surely be more difficult, possibly insurmountably so.” Join the meeting.

Blaze of Perdition – The Harrowing of Hearts Review

Blaze of Perdition – The Harrowing of Hearts Review

“Hack comedians, when they have nothing of value to say, pepper their routine with profanity and musings about their genitalia to shock the audience into laughter. Metal bands have, fortunately and unfortunately, far more options. Behemoth’s #ILYAYD disaster, and to a lesser degree the middling and overrated The Satanist, showed a band with nothing to say except “please listen to us, we’re still here and iconoclastic – also, buy our dog food!” I bring up Behemoth because, as someone who disliked their last two bloated bores of records for the poor implementation (instead of the existence) of rock influences, Blaze of Perdition does a similar thing but, fortunately, does it well.” The Rock of Judgment.

Mavorim – Axis Mundi Review

Mavorim – Axis Mundi Review

“One-man bands make me both impressed and apprehensive. I’m impressed because having a musical vision is special to begin with and being able to execute it solo takes real talent. I’m apprehensive because there’s no give-and-take or real collaboration for the visionary, and most creators of any stripe lack the will to kill their darlings.” One man with a bully pulpit.

Avslut – Tyranni Review

Avslut – Tyranni Review

“I don’t like black metal. Not in its traditional form, anyway. Give some blakkened fukkin thrash or blakkened fukkin death and I’ll bang my head till my skull cracks open, but usually traditional black metal just leaves me shrugging. Often the riffs feel secondary to the atmosphere and it’s telling that a band like Mgla could get as big as they did with a shtick that was essentially “we play black metal, but with riffs you actually care about.” Of course, there are always exceptions. Swedish quintet Avslut earned some acclaim on forums I frequent with their 2018 debut Deceptis, which I enjoyed for its ability to work clever riffing into a traditional black metal template.” Riff tiff.