Primordial

Kampfar – Til Klovers Takt Review

Kampfar – Til Klovers Takt Review

“For those of you posers that don’t know, Kampfar is untouchable in the pagan/black metal realm. And they’ve been ruling it with a bloody battle axe for almost 30 years. Now, they are back again to threaten my year-end list with Til Klovers Takt. But, unlike Profan or even Ofidians Manifest, Til Klovers Takt explores all that is Kampfar. It plays out more like a best-of-release than a standalone record. Each song explores songwriting structures from the band’s past and present. Yet, somehow, it’s brought together in a strategic tracklist. Welcome to pagan metal heaven.” Kamping bastards.

Darkest Era – Wither on the Vine Review

Darkest Era – Wither on the Vine Review

“Talk about making fans wait for a new album. Way, way back in 2014 I was gobsmacked by Severance, the sophomore release by Irish epic doom act Darkest Era. It had a near-perfect blend of doom, black, goth and Viking genres and felt like a heavy-duty emotional journey through dark, trying times. It stitched together the best parts of Primordial, Atlantean Kodex, Ereb Altor, and Iron Maiden to create an album grander than the sum of its parts. There was a brooding, melancholic beauty and power to it that few albums could equal. I was very anxious to get a followup, and nearly 8 long years later, it finally shows up.” Dark days.

Nightfell – Never Comes the Storm Review

Nightfell – Never Comes the Storm Review

“In a recent review, I described the death/doom sound of Grand Harvest using a variety of band comparisons. One of our lovely readers soon brought up one I meant to include but somehow left out: Portland’s Nightfell. Mere days later, Nightfell’s Instagram account became active after an extended hiatus, teasing some artwork and the date “4.1.22.” Then lo and behold, they sneakily self-released their fourth full-length album on that very date. Nightfell’s Bolt Thrower-gone-atmospheric sound crushed me on 2019’s A Sanity Deranged, and if I’d known a follow-up was coming, it would have been one of my most-anticipated releases of this year. Alas, the dudes in Nightfell robbed me of that sweet, sweet anticipation with their surprise album. Well, two can play that game. Behold! Here’s my surprise review!” Owning the night.

Contrite Metal Guy – Mistakes Were Made [N00b Cautionary Tales and Warnings Edition]

Contrite Metal Guy – Mistakes Were Made [N00b Cautionary Tales and Warnings Edition]

“The life of the unpaid, overworked metal reviewer is not an easy one. Cascading promos, unreasonable deadlines, draconian editors, and the unwashed metal mobs – it makes for a swirling maelstrom of music and madness. In all that tumult, errors are bound to happen and sometimes our initial impression of an album may not be completely accurate. With time and distance comes wisdom, and so we’ve decided to pull back the confessional curtain and reveal our biggest blunders, missteps, oversights and ratings face-plants. Consider this our sincere AMGea culpa. Redemption is retroactive, forgiveness is mandatory.” The foolishness of youth.

Cross Vault – As Strangers We Depart Review

Cross Vault – As Strangers We Depart Review

“There are certain key words and taglines that all but guarantee your friendly stronghold Steel will seize a promo as his own, jealously guarding it from interlopers, pretenders and would-be promo usurpers. Putting “Viking doom” in your promo blurb alongside reference to Bathory is one such way to score a hard ticket to the iron reviewing table. Germany’s Cross Vault have been toiling away in relative obscurity since 2014, heavily influenced by acts like Warning and crafting downcast material that often feels like a follow up to that act’s monumental Watching from a Distance opus. By 2015 a heavier, more grandiose sound made an appearance alongside the Warning-isms, somewhat justifying Viking era Bathory comparisons. After 4 years of silence, third album As Strangers We Depart sees the band once again searching for that perfect blend of doom, gloom and epic sounds.” Doom n’ boom.

Servants to the Tide – Servants to the Tide Review

Servants to the Tide – Servants to the Tide Review

“As a trve, epic sort of gentleman, I feel there’s a  disturbing lack of quality epic doom in today’s metal scene. Atlantean Kodex can’t release a monstrous magnum opus every year, and with While Heaven Wept out of action, the scene is screaming in the night for wengeance and a love bite that almost never arrives. Attempting to fill this epic gap comes Germanic tribe, Servants of the Tide with their self-titled debut platter. Proudly name dropping both the aforementioned acts as major inspirations, the band dives into the deep end of the trve pool, also borrowing from Candlemass and Sorcerer as they labor to spin grand tales of great deeds.” Something to Tide you over.

Dread Sovereign – Alchemical Warfare Review

Dread Sovereign – Alchemical Warfare Review

“I enter this review with a certain amount of trepidation. Two writers whom I thought would be interested in Alchemical Warfare, Dread Sovereign’s third album, were not. Akerblogger reviewed their last effort, and when I offered this to him he said, ‘all yours.’ When I mentioned this new album to Grymm, who like myself is a big fan of Primordial, he said ‘they don’t do anything at all for me.’ Well, not exactly ringing endorsements, but I was still willing to take a chance and hope for the best.” Dread or gold?

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.

Night – High Tides – Distant Skies Review

Night – High Tides – Distant Skies Review

“Nobody will remember this, but back in 2017 Night’s album Raft of the World found its way onto my year-end list. This Swedish cadre of retro-rockers wormed their way onto my playlists with a catchier-than-it-should-have-been brand of 70’s hard rock, drawing influence from bands I love such as Judas Priest and Thin Lizzy. They started out as a NWoBHM-worshiping group, and have evolved over the years into a very classic hard rock act. High Tides – Distant Skies sees the band shed nearly all of their metallic influences, save for some proto-metal riffing, in exchange for the classic rock of Blue Öyster Cult and, yes, Dire Straits.” That ain’t working. Or is it?

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.