October Falls

Alda – A Distant Fire Review

Alda – A Distant Fire Review

“How was I supposed to pass on that album cover? Gorgeous, gorgeous stuff. That the associated album was labelled as “blackened folk metal”—or “atmospheric black metal” on the trusty Encyclopaedia—was icing on the cake, but really, I was drawn in by the album art. A Distant Fire is the fourth full-length release from the American Alda, which I’m told means “tree” in a language invented by J.R.R. Tolkien.” Tree aggressive.

Iskandr – Vergezicht Review

Iskandr – Vergezicht Review

Iskandr is a duo hailing from the Netherlands who purport, on their third full-length release Vergezicht, to play black metal with “battle-hardened” aggression and mythical atmospheres. I mean, what a great intro. I was already intrigued when I learned that the band drummer is one M. Koops, who makes up one half of Fluisteraars, a different black metal band from the Netherlands who stole my heart early last year.” Flying the banners of Dutch black metal.

Grabak – Scion Review

Grabak – Scion Review

“I was worried about the metal scene when the world shut down, but a simple glance at the promo bin quells any fear with the rapidity of lightning – if black metal is your poison. Yes, we’ve got our blackened heavyweights that we’ll keep arguing about at AMG Headquarters. But when I predicted that, like cockroaches, small-time black metal projects would emerge from the dust of a silent world to wreak blackened havoc on the underground, I was right. Caliber is another question entirely, but quantity over quality seems to be the name of the game. Will veteran black metal collective Grabak wreak big havoc or be squashed under the sole of my ruthless “JUST CUZ IT’S KVLT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S GOOD MMKAY” boot?” Progeny of the plague.

Gjoad – Samanōn Review

Gjoad – Samanōn Review

“Matching album art to musical concept is, I imagine, a challenging task for any artist or band to attempt. Two different artistic styles coming together in harmony is certainly a tough ask, but in this case, Gjoad have nailed it. The painting you see over there, by Franz Steinfeld, could not be a more accurate description of the Samanōn sound — which is a good thing, because it’s the primary reason I picked this one up to review. I wanted something primal, something powerful, and something ancient, and it seems to me that that’s exactly what this Austrian trio are going for on their debut release.” Sound packaging.

Varde – Fedraminne Review

Varde – Fedraminne Review

“It’s not another one of Vardan‘s countless releases, nor is it one of Varathron‘s hit-or-miss endeavors – it’s Varde. Of all the V’s of the metal world (and there are many besides: vampires, villainy, vim & vigor, valor, vomit, vogininth, etc.), Varde may be one I am most unfamiliar. But as luck would have it, these lads are devoted to another “v:” Vikings. Well, sort of.” V is for…things.

Wudewuse – Northern Gothic Review

Wudewuse – Northern Gothic Review

“From the forests of Norway emerges Sondre Bergersen Mæland, a man of many talents and of many names. Known largely for his work in Tusmørke and Wudewuse, the multi-instrumentalist of Scandinavian folk and rock circles certainly seems to live an interesting life. According to my liner notes, for example, he wrote most of Northern Gothic, the sophomore full-length from the latter band, “over a period of three years while [he] was living in the forest and worked at a graveyard,” a journey that involved a “cosmic psychosis, following a death trip [he] had while on various substances.” So… that got my attention.” Grave matters.

October Falls – Syys Review

October Falls – Syys Review

“If you haven’t gone back to the band’s humble beginnings, you’re missing a hell of a lot. And, not in the sense of the classic black metal of old. No, no. You’ve missed one LP (Marras) and two EPs (Tuoni and Sarastus) of acoustic beauty. There’re more acoustic guitars, pianos, and strings in that handful of songs than all the liquidated Guitar Centers combined. That said, don’t expect grandiosity and orchestral pretentiousness. October Falls‘s acoustic discs sound like a couple of guys with guitars sitting around a campfire. A couple of musicians playing simple music for the moon, for the woods, for themselves.” Moon music.