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Thermohaline – Maelström Review

Thermohaline – Maelström Review

“Thanks to that one boozy pirate-themed power metal band whose name rhymes with “Sail Dorm,” it’s difficult to take oceanic themed albums seriously. There are plenty of bands that have torn it up, Ahab showcasing mammoth waves with their breed of crushing funeral doom, Isis displaying the uncaring expanse with shoegaze-y post-metal, and Firtan and Déluge offering some respective symphonic black and post-black to reflect he majesty of the oceans. Scrolling through my black metal collection and each album’s respective themes goes something like this: winter, winter, occult, winter, occult, occult, evil, winter, etc. Oceanic-themed black metal is few and far between, and you’d be hard-pressed to find the good stuff. Will Thermohaline kickstart a new trend or will it end up drowning in its own ambition?” The sea was angry that day, my fiends.

Illkynja – Sæti Sálarinnar Review

Illkynja – Sæti Sálarinnar Review

Illkynja, like many of its country’s blackened offerings, is a project shrouded in mystery. It’s unknown how many members are involved or how prolific to the scene–only that the project is Icelandic in origin. Goathorned Productions debut Sæti Sálarinnar features all the hallmarks of Icelandic style: scathing layers of dissonance, pummeling drums, and punishing roars reminiscent of Almyrkvi or Andavald.” Iceland, man.

Temple Nightside – Pillars of Damnation Review

Temple Nightside – Pillars of Damnation Review

“Readers of this site will not find it surprising when I say that I love blackened death metal of the chaotic and brutal variety, with groups like Impiety, Archgoat, and Angelcorpse being some of my favorites. In the last decade, however, a new strain of blackened death metal came to prominence that seemed to prioritize atmosphere and uneasiness above all else. Some of the more notable bands in this category are Portal, Abyssal, and Teitanblood—groups whose work I respect, even if it doesn’t resonate with me as deeply. When I grabbed Pillars of Damnation, the fourth album by Australia’s Temple Nightside, I had no idea what strain of blackened death metal it would be.” Cavern kegger.

Venomous Skeleton – Drowning in Circles Review

Venomous Skeleton – Drowning in Circles Review

“Having been raised in church, I found my religious experience carried over into my vast expeditions into metal’s colorful multiverse: I find myself reaching more and more for the stuff that incorporates a unique tone of reverence, a sound of standing beneath the colossal or infinite. For bands like Batushka, Ancient Moon, and Behemoth, this liturgical and hieratic atmosphere is proposed through its ritualistic songwriting and uses of common religious musical elements (Gregorian chants, choirs, etc.) contrasting with blasphemy’s twisted dagger in an aural representation of madness. Sonne Adam‘s death/doom solo LP Transformation did this for me.” Worship music.

Loviatar – Lightless Review

Loviatar – Lightless Review

“What makes a great doom record? Adequate levels of sadness, helplessness, or loss expressed in a desperate croon? Perhaps doom is defined by plodding tempos and debilitating riffs? Could it simply be a quality of emptiness that pervades every moment of the music, regardless of the superficial qualities inherent to the sound? I honestly couldn’t tell you. All I know is that when a doom metal band brings its A-game, boy howdy does it wreck my shit sideways, backwards and diagonally. Enter Canadian quartet Loviatar, whose sophomore full-length Lightless wrecks my shit sideways, backwards and diagonally.” Stuff is getting wrecked here.

Saltas – Mors Salis: Opus I Review

Saltas – Mors Salis: Opus I Review

“In spite of listening to this stuff for the better part of my life now, I still realize how much I don’t know about so many sub-sub-subgenres, such as doom’s vast array. While I delved into the melodic death flavors of Saturnus, Swallow the Sun, and Novembers Doom, I let the cavernous stuff pass me by. It all comes full circle, when Swedish duo Saltas punishes me with a lethal dose of suffocatingly dense doom to whom comparisons are sparse.” Saltas the earth.

Hwwauoch – Into the Labyrinth of Consciousness [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Hwwauoch – Into the Labyrinth of Consciousness [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

“I’m beginning to see a trend as 2019 draws to a close: I like me some weird-ass black metal. And, boy howdy, has 2019 has been a weird-ass year for it. Prolifically, having released a new album from each of its equally weird-ass projects by means of several record labels, the Prava Kollektiv has released quality atmospheric black metal en masse: the frostbitten cosmic stylings of stalwart Arkhtinn, the dark ambient maws of the appropriately named Voidsphere, the eerie and empty musings of Mahr, and the hellish and malevolent tones of newcomer Pharmakeia. But the subject of today’s tragically overlooked album is the latest thing your cat typed walking across the keyboard: Hwwauoch.” Say again?