Nocturnal

Witches – The Fates Review

Witches – The Fates Review

“It never ceases to amaze me how many metal bands can continue to release high quality material so late in their careers. This year alone has seen terrific releases from both Vulcano and Sinister, for instance, and I’ll now be adding Witches to this list as well. Admittedly, I’d never even heard of this group until AMG Himself recommended I give them a try, a decision I’ve become quite happy with over the past week.” Run for covens.

Urn – Iron Will of Power Review

Urn – Iron Will of Power Review

“Nothing in this world is as good as blackened thrash metal. In the book of Z, it is the pinnacle of not just metal, but music in general. While Australian acts like Gospel of the Horns and the fukkin almighty Deströyer 666 do it best, that doesn’t mean the rest of the world has nothing to offer. Finland’s Urn are one such band who have been reliable in keeping my head banging over the years, even if their straightforward take on blackened thrash was never enough to bring them to the big leagues.” Boo-Urn?

Bloodlust – At the Devil’s Left Hand Review

Bloodlust – At the Devil’s Left Hand Review

“In the entire English language, no three words get me more excited than “Australian blackened thrash” (maybe “double bacon cheeseburger,” but that’s a different article). Deströyer 666, Gospel of the Horns, Nocturnal Graves — all great stuff, and Bloodlust is just as savage. This Perth-based trio formed in 2011 and consist of current and former members of Impiety, The Furor, and Mhorgl, among others. Somehow debut Cultus Diaboli slipped by me in 2015, but no matter — sophomore full-length At the Devil’s Left Hand is here, and it provides all the Satan, hellfire riffs, and Satan that your pathetic little ears can handle. Did I mention Satan?” Satan.

Ketzer – Starless Review

Ketzer – Starless Review

“There are several unassailable truths in heavy metal. A brutal death metal concert will always smell like garbage and unwashed socks. The wait for a new Necrophagist album will always be the metal blogosphere’s running joke. And when a band experiences some commercial and critical success after employing a fresh sound, you can bet your Ghost buttplug there will be a slew of imitators there to jump on the bandwagon and catch whatever stray dollars they can.” And that brings us to the flavor of the day.

Frosthelm – The Endless Winter Review

Frosthelm – The Endless Winter Review

“I fucking love black-thrash, and if you don’t then I’m sorry about your inferior taste. My latest sample of the genre comes from Frosthelm, hailing from Minot, North Dakota of all places (coincidentally the same town as Ghost Bath – in case anyone still thought they were Chinese). Frosthelm are a quartet of self-confessed Dungeons & Dragons nerds who claim influences as broad as Metallica, Naglfar, and Dissection.” Put some Dakota in your dungeon and see how that suits ya!

Black Sun Aeon – Blacklight Deliverance Review

Black Sun Aeon – Blacklight Deliverance Review

Tuomas Saukkonen is clearly a man concerned with the dangers of idle hands. To stave them off, he’s forever toiling in various musical projects (Before the Dawn, Dawn of Solace, RoutaSielu) and his highly underrated Black Sun Aeon project. While primarily known for his work in the excellent Before the Dawn, Tuomas has always used this project to explore more morose, gothic-tinged doomscapes while taking cues from fellow countrymen Insomnium and especially Rapture. As with the previous two Black Sun Aeon releases, Blacklight Deliverance is a compelling mix of death, doom and goth, with hauntingly beautiful melodies, ample heaviness and razor-sharp songwriting. It doesn’t break any new ground and at times veers very close to the aforementioned influences, but its a highly enjoyable journey nonetheless and has a few moments of absolute brilliance. It’s also a much more tightly focused work than 2010’s double album Routa and as a result, feels more immediate and accessible.

The Black Dahlia Murder – Deflorate Review

The Black Dahlia Murder – Deflorate Review

The Black Dahlia Murder is becoming a veteran band among this new wave of melodic American death metal/metalcore or whatever the hell you want to call it. To get this out of the way right away: I think that The Black Dahlia Murder has been treated unfairly by a metal community sad to see the disappearance of the old school metal guy anywhere except brutal death metal. Modern American metal has come to be dominated by short-haired, tattooed hardcore lookin’ kids who often have super diverse taste in music and have never donned a leather jacket or a goatee in their lives. These hardcore lookin’ dudes put on shows that have an energy that often times metal dudes lack in their own live performances, and they’re gaining notoriety with their blending of brutal death metal and stupid core breakdowns. The Black Dahlia Murder has been lumped in with these guys because of tattoos and plugs, but they are certainly not akin to these bands. No, The Black Dahlia Murder is easily one of the best melodic death metal bands the United States has ever produced and despite them sounding a lot like At The Gates plus blast beats, I think they do it very, very well and very consistently.