Progressive Black Metal

Lord Almighty – Wither Review

Lord Almighty – Wither Review

Lord Almighty, that’s some pretty artwork. An animal skull, painted with myriad pastel colors, conveys that sense of decay which defines so much of the metal art world. Meanwhile, a rich palette of greens and blues strengthens the impression that this skeletal creature’s surroundings teem with life. Plus, emblazoned atop the stripped-down scenery oversees this Lord’s unholy crest, gnarled and subtly overgrown while simultaneously resembling a fortress, the moon presiding over its kingdom. Needless to say, I was thrumming with excitement to get my hands all over this. Imagine my glee when the Bostonians’ sophomore record Wither—an apt name to go with the cover—didn’t totally suck.” Wither systems.

Amiensus – Abreaction Review

Amiensus – Abreaction Review

“It beats me how the grief-stricken yet gorgeous and woodsy, black metal of Minnesota’s Amiensus flew under the radar of my hawk-like colleagues here at AMG up until now. After my first few listens of the ten year old band’s newest material, however, I couldn’t help myself from feeling taken aback and even pouting a little. Where are the beautiful, aching cleans and shimmering synths of 2013’s Restoration and 2015’s Ascension, I wondered? Amiensus‘s first two albums, arguably more accessible than their latest, were especially formative for me.  They pulled me into the metal genre deeper than any other metal albums I had listened to before, more so even than Panopticon‘s Autumn Eternal.” Gourd songs.

Creature – Ex Cathedra Review

Creature – Ex Cathedra Review

“A mere six months ago I wrote a TYMHM piece on the second Creature album Contes Funèbres, noting that while that album had a black metal base and clear elements of 70s prog, it also contained an anachronistic theatricality, like a corpse-painted staging of Les Misérables. If Contes Funèbres was broadway, Ex Cathedra is opera.” Shock me, Amadeus.

Creature – Contes Funèbres [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Creature – Contes Funèbres [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

On Contes Funèbres, Fournier’s second as Creature, there are sounds and styles that can be found in our world, but they’ve been arranged by a mind that surely originates elsewhere. Yes, this is black metal at a foundational level, but there is so much synth prog, electronic trickery, odd vocals and anachronistic choral arrangements that calling it any one thing is pointless.” Creature features.

Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings Review

Obsequiae – The Palms of Sorrowed Kings Review

“Back in 2015 I was taken off guard and enchanted by the superb sophomore album from Obsequiae, entitled Aria of Vernal Tombs, which marked a strong improvement over their impressive debut. Despite operating a bit outside my regular wheelhouse, the album’s raw blend of folky and medieval melodic black metal struck a chord that left me gobsmacked, gushing over the album’s elegant melodies, accomplished song-writing and earthy tones. Well finally the band have awoken from their slumber, returning to the ye olden days with another taut yet epic collection of melodic black metal tunes on their long awaited third album, The Palms of Sorrowed Kings.” Royal tidings.

IATT – Nomenclature Review

IATT – Nomenclature Review

IATT—FKA I Am the Trireme, the one-time recipients of an AMG 1.0—is a band I hoped would capitalize on my renewed craving for a smarter kind of blackened death metal. Much of Nomenclature certainly qualifies as prog—and as such, scratches that particular itch—but like the best music in the style, it is great music first, progressive music second. Through theatrical songwriting and melodic grandeur, IATT has assured that their second record is a deeply captivating experience.” You can call this a comeback.

Gaerea – Unsettling Whispers Review

Gaerea – Unsettling Whispers Review

“A black metal Transcending Obscurity release with monochrome artwork: who could have ever foreseen this one falling into my velvety grasp? Portugal’s Gaerea certainly put their Muppet-est foot forward when casting Unsettling Whispers into the Angry Metal Promo Sump, and yet I was wary. Black metal is the best metal, ov course, but it’s also everywhere and lately sounding too similar to itself. Sure, a few vague details got my attention, but I’m a poseur and all the Muppet love in the world can’t make an album innovative or objectively meritorious; did I perhaps build my hopes too high only to find yet another band trying to be either Ulcerate or Agalloch?” Black metal art.

In Human Form – Opening of the Eye by the Death of the I Review

In Human Form – Opening of the Eye by the Death of the I Review

In Human Form has me trapped in a corner. In addition to being a mouthful, Opening of the Eye by the Death of the I has seen my prosaic muse torn to pieces. I doubt this current dry spell stems from a lack of comprehension, but I pray nonetheless for a moment of clarity to absolve this torment. An undertaking this ambitious and idiosyncratic surely has a story to tell, but my thoughts are born dead, the empty words of an overactive imagination.” Open the mind or die.