Progressive Black Metal

Tómarúm – Ash in Realms of Stone Icons Review

Tómarúm – Ash in Realms of Stone Icons Review

“We as a community speak often of defining and categorizing genres, but sometimes a promo comes along that legitimately challenges those definitions. Atlanta, Georgia’s Tómarúm received a generic “black metal” tag from Prosthetic Records’ PR team, and it falls short as a descriptor for what Tómarúm play. As you’ll surely deduce after giving debut album Ash in Realms of Stone Icons even just one spin, this nascent two-piece perform forbidden alchemy with myriad metallic ores, smelting a writhing, metamorphic amalgamation. It’s that very transmogrification that not only makes this album difficult to categorize but also exciting and satisfying to experience.” Pigeon holes don’t come easy.

Karmanjaka – Gates of Muspel Review

Karmanjaka – Gates of Muspel Review

“I know what you’re thinking: dark, fantastical imagery; Norse titles and lyrical themes; a spiky logo. Gates of Muspel by Karmanjaka must be the latest in Scandinavia’s bottomless sump of black metal. You’re not wrong. Muspel is a contraction of Muspelheim, the most Abrahamically hellish of the nine realms, replete with fire and destruction. Accordingly, this troupe most obviously aligns with black metal of the core metal sub-genres, advertised as for fans of Enslaved, Borknagar and Rotting Christ. These references are fitting; each boasts particularly progressive or theatrical forms of the style, and so it holds for Karmanjaka too.” Blackened Broadway.

Krallice – Crystalline Exhaustion Review

Krallice – Crystalline Exhaustion Review

“For the better part of the last two weeks I’ve done nothing but wrap my head around the entire output of Queens, New York black metal alchemists Krallice. This was difficult enough with their mathy, progressive first four albums, but the wildly experimental, technical second half of their catalogue knocked me slightly out of phase with this reality. I see in five dimensions now. I respond to things before they happen, because they have already happened and are never not happening.” Dimensional crosstrainers.

Seance Of – The Colour of Magick Review

Seance Of – The Colour of Magick Review

“On more than a couple of occasions, I’ve mused on decisions made by artists that one might label … pretentious. My musings have not, of course, led to anything useful but why should that stop me? Perth, Australia’s curiously-named, one-man project Seance Of is ready to unleash The Colour of Magick. The last – chronologically speaking – of three records written by mainman AR (also of Grave Worship), this is the project’s debut, with the other two to follow at some unspecified future time. Magnanimously, Seance Of has also decided not to name any of the tracks on this record, instead encouraging “listeners to create their own titles for each of these eight tracks: indeed, this unorthodox freedom is his intent.” Having initially written this off as a pretentious gimmick, it took the ever-wise GardensTale to point out that I was missing a trick here.” Boaty McBoatface 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.