Paysage d’Hiver

Darkspace – Dark Space -II Review

Darkspace – Dark Space -II Review

“Few acts have been as influential as Darkspace and its storied lexicon, from its cosmic take on atmospheric black metal to Swiss extreme music in general. While unwavering in the kvlt standard, spacious and cold ambiance collide with an unshakeable and vicious groove like the impact of planetary collisions. Their veritable chaos galaxies of Roman numeral monikers are grounded by this lethal sonic balance, each album offering yet another formidable perspective on the unfathomable cosmos.” Space in your face.

Upir – Threads of Sei​ð​r – Seeing Under Starlight Review

Upir – Threads of Sei​ð​r – Seeing Under Starlight Review

“Calgary’s Upir dropped the absolutely and wonderfully noisemongering Effigy for the Fiercest Frost – Shadows Dance in the Fires of Yule, which achieved a meditative effect across two tracks in its blend of thick ambiance and raw black metal – landing as one of my biggest surprises of 2021. As another surprise, the enigmatic act dropped their first full-length proper out of nowhere.” Surprise bone call.

Enisum – Forgotten Mountains Review

Enisum – Forgotten Mountains Review

“Say what you will about atmospheric black metal, its popularity is not undue. It was the gentle stream in which I was baptized before giving myself to the rapids, the whispers in the breeze that signaled the storm, and the view of the frigid mountain crest before the cruel ascent. I ventured into unclaimed mysterious wilderness with the likes of Wolves in the Throne Room, Imperium Dekadenz, and October Falls, leading me the cliffs for the view before greeting my plummeting death to the forest floor, laid to rest in the dark soil littered with pine needles. Enisum speaks like the wind in the trees.” Pinecones and pain.

Unru – Die Wiederkehr des Verdrängten Review

Unru – Die Wiederkehr des Verdrängten Review

“There’s something about abstractness in music that rides a fine line between tantalizing and off-putting. While anything tagged “avant-garde” is immediately greeted by a chorus of hissing and boos, there are ways to create effectively challenging tunes using relatively standard methods. Some metallic styles are born out of this aesthetic, as post-metal’s emphasis on landscapes or drone’s focus on overwhelming density spring to mind, but black metal has always maintained a bit more straightforward nostalgia in the unholy trinity: tremolo, blastbeats, and shrieks. Unru seeks to challenge such things.” Dare to be difficult.

Krvna – Sempinfernus Review

Krvna – Sempinfernus Review

“Ah, black metal, my old friend. While I’ve been spending much of 2021 either trying to get my baby daughter to smile or try to steal as much weird death metal from Kronos as possible, I can’t deny the blackened shred that settles comfortably into the crevices of my soul. I’ve long anticipated a comfortably atmospheric, aptly scathing breed of second-wave shenanigans to sink my teeth into, and there’s no time like the present.” Semper lo-fi.

Mystras – Empires Vanquished and Dismantled Review

Mystras – Empires Vanquished and Dismantled Review

“When Mystras’ first outing, Castles Conquered and Reclaimed, dropped last year I expressed some surprise that Ayloss had the capacity to write and release another record, alongside the epic Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum split, never mind something of the scope of Mystras. Castles paired raw, harsh black metal with traditional medieval folk to offer a scathing and emotive assessment of the poverty, oppression and injustice suffered by medieval European peasants and the sacrifices made to fight back. Scroll forward a year and Mystras is back with their sophomore effort.” Unfathomable productivity.

Atrium – Ancient Spells Review

Atrium – Ancient Spells Review

“Wolves are neat critters, but their portrayals have gotten a bad rap. The gift shop t-shirt of choice for angsty teenagers who listen to Five Finger Death Punch’s “Jekyll & Hyde” and convince their friends that they have a “dark side,” the symbol has lost its teeth. Toss in that one individual who identifies as a wolf and barks at a lake, these canines have often become a symbol of try-hards rather than the courageous and loyal representation with which it is traditionally associated. Gazing upon the howling wolf that graces the cover of Ancient Spells, does Atrium offer strength and courage or is it upended by its own insecurities?” Eyes bigger than your belly, Wolfie?

Disparaître – Urchig Review

Disparaître – Urchig Review

“I’ve moonlighted as a metal reviewer for a couple of years now and I never cease to be amazed that bands – and black metal bands in particular – seem to have a burning wish not to make it easy for fans and reviewers to find them, nor to find out anything about them. Ok, I get it, you might not want your real name out there. I’ll give you that. So maybe you come up with some sort of creepy-weepy pseudonym to go by and, perhaps, splash the cash on a black cloak, maybe some face paint and. if there’s any change from that, possibly some barbed wire to wrap round a good stick that you can waggle about menacingly. Alright, I can get on board. But then there are bands … or projects, I don’t know, like today’s subject Disparaître, where there’s really very little out there. No proper Bandcamp page, no Facebook page that I can find, obviously no website, and even Metal Archives has nothing beyond a nationality: French.” Socially/sonically distant.

Paysage d’Hiver – Geister Review

Paysage d’Hiver – Geister Review

Paysage d’Hiver is an act with no need for introduction, but I have a word count to meet, so here it is: Paysage d’Hiver is a black metal act from Schwarzenburg, Bern, Switzerland, consisting of sole member Wintherr (also of Darkspace). Technically, Geister is the act’s second full-length, but he’s been cranking out music for twenty-four years.” Right in the Geister!