Progressive Black Metal

Aenaon – Hypnosophy Review

Aenaon – Hypnosophy Review

“It’s not often that AMG Himself and I get into an online kerfluffle about a review. See, I do my best to grab promos from bands I’ve never heard of, hoping that my curiosity turns me on to some great music. For the most part, it succeeds. But there comes a time when Señor AMG gets a taste of a band you’re reviewing and goes completely ga-ga over it.” When AMG attacks.

Ihsahn – Arktis. Review

Ihsahn – Arktis. Review

Ihsahn is always in motion. Following a storied career in one of the premier black metal bands of all time, he’s released five full-length albums. Nearly all of those records have been critically acclaimed, but only one has been critically acclaimed by me. While I enjoyed The Adversary, Ihsahn‘s post-Emperor zenith was angL. Starting with After, however, Ihsahn started to lose me. What made his earlier material so good—riffs, riffs, more riffs, and slick composition (also riffs)—began to be replaced by increasingly abstract compositions. And when songs like “Scarab” started getting replaced with tracks like “M,” I stopped enjoying new Ihsahn albums. Yet Arktis. marks the next phase for Ihsahn, having finally left the Nihilists behind him.” Praise Zarathustra!

Code – Augur Nox Review

Code – Augur Nox Review

“Genre tags such as progressive and avant garde are kind of paradoxical terms in metal. Surely something truly progressive or avant garde should traverse the outer fringes of musical expression, bringing to the table a metal forged of fearless, arcane exploration? Often that’s not the case – those terms are in many ways boxes only slightly larger than thrash, death, and other tags of old. Does the anticipated third album of England’s Code break free of these restraints?” JF Williams asks and also answers. That’s why we keep him around.

Vintersorg – Orkan Review

Vintersorg – Orkan Review

Last year when Vintersorg released Jordpuls I wasn’t expecting that 15 months later I’d be writing another review of a new Vintersorg record. But earlier this year, Matte Marklund (the guitar player) showed up on the Internetz and said something surprising: there was a new record on the way, right on the heals of Jordpuls, and it would be called Orkan which means “Hurricane.” And now that record is here…

Solefald – Norrøn Livskunst Review

Solefald – Norrøn Livskunst Review

Solefald is just a cool band and they have been for a long time. I first got into their stuff with the epic Red for Fire: An Icelandic Odyssey which came out in 2005 and that record has maintained a standard place in my discography because of its amazing blending of black metal, progressive metal and rock and unique Norse sounds. While I was not equally as impressed with Black for Death and I’ve been a bit hit or miss on some of the band’s older material, I’ve always appreciated the band’s unique approach to the music they produce and their intensely creative outputs. Nothing they have put out has really disappointed me, it’s just a matter of being more or less into it.

Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini Review

Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini Review

It is not hard to accept one fundamental axiom of the post-black metal Norway that I have referred to recently: Enslaved is easily Norway’s finest band. From the beginning the band has always been strong; grown-ups in a room filled with angry teenagers. This sense has not lessened with the passage of time. While certain members of the scene will forever be singing their equivalent of Alice Cooper ridiculous teen hits as 45 year olds (or older, like the man himself), Enslaved will continue to push the boundaries of black metal with a mature and progressive sound. Starting with the release of Below the Lights in 2003, Enslaved has produced four modern classics of “progressive, psychedelic black metal.” The fourth of this string of amazing albums was Vertebrae, which was released in 2008 and landed the band a tour with Opeth as well as more recognition than they had ever received worldwide. And with good reason: it was the best record the band had written to date.

Winterhorde – Underwatermoon Review

Winterhorde – Underwatermoon Review

It isn’t often these days that I review something that I found on my own. In fact, given that the amount of time that we here at Angry Metal Guy for reviews has gone down immensely compared to the huge numbers of promos we receive, it’s probably irresponsible for me to do so. But this Angry Metal Guy is always worried that we’re still not getting every CD of golden worth and highest quality. Once again this fear has been vindicated, but fortunately for you guys, I still love metal enough that I actually go looking for shit that we haven’t received here. And because of that, I stumbled upon Winterhorde a melodic or orchestral black metal band from… Israel? Yeah, turns out, even Israel which lacks for snowy winters has black metal guys who think that snow is the ultimate eviiiil. But don’t let the silly name fool you, because Winterhorde is not just your average melodic black metal band and Underwatermoon, while excitingly ESL in name, is anything but lackluster.

Borknagar – Universal Review

Borknagar – Universal Review

Borknagar is a class act and has been for a long time. Reaching all the way back to their first, self-titled release, this band has separated itself from the herd by being just plain more interesting and unique. Eventually they just separated themselves from the modern black metal scene altogether, heading towards more progressive pastures. Universal continues a trend away from the raw and simple towards the highly complex, dynamic and progressive—but the question is whether or not the band’s fans and general public will want to follow the band in this direction. Well, and whether or not where the band is leading is somewhere worth going. [Read the whole review here.]