Saor

Dismalimerence – Tome: I Review

Dismalimerence – Tome: I Review

“Naming a debut Tome: I is a ballsy move. Not only does it hew awfully close to a famously divisive metal work (Wintersun‘s Time I), but it’s a sign that a band considers this a “serious album,”TM requiring both patience and effort to understand and appreciate. Chicago’s Dismalimerence is nothing if not serious. Its name is an awkward portmanteau of “dismal” and “limerence,” indicating an ugly or depressing infatuation. It doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and repeating it in quick succession after a few drinks is challenging.” Wherever I may Tome.

Horn – Mohngang Review

Horn – Mohngang Review

“It’s neat seeing a progression of an artist across a project’s discography. From Anathema‘s death/doom to prog-rock stylings, Ahab‘s crushing funeral doom to, like, pretty funeral doom, to the deathcore to symphonic black metal to straight-up black metal of Abigail Williams, it shows true growth and maturity to acknowledge the past while stepping into the future. Today’s is German act Horn, comprised of sole member Nerrath, a prolific pagan black metal act with two demos, eight full-lengths, and an EP since 2002.” Change is in the air.

Golden Ashes – In the Lugubrious Silence of Eternal Night Review

Golden Ashes – In the Lugubrious Silence of Eternal Night Review

“Black metal is great at it, as its entire purpose is to conjure blasphemous and decrepit images of icy forests and iconoclastic rituals, but there are twists to your snow-crusted Norwegian fjords and the sounds of Hail Satans: Austere‘s desolate Australian deserts, Blut Aus Nord‘s hellish industrial landscapes, and Saor‘s Scottish highlands, to name a few. While images painted are up for grabs, the general consensus is one of darkness, bleakness, and spiritual desolation. But what happens when the black metal is, ya know, not that?” Bright darkness.

Dzö-nga – Thunder in the Mountains Review

Dzö-nga – Thunder in the Mountains Review

“We all have those times where we look back and say to ourselves ‘what was I thinking?’ That’s kind of how I feel about reviewing Dzö-nga‘s second album, The Sachem’s Tales, back in 2017. Today, a folky atmospheric black metal album with classical influences seems so far out of my wheelhouse that it’s not even in the same hemisphere. Yet, I did enjoy my share of Agalloch and Cascadian black metal back in the day, and as such, I was able to appreciate Tales as an inspired and engrossing piece of woodsy black metal with intriguing Native American themes. Led by vocalist and guitarist Cryvas, this Boston project has now returned with another opus, this time based on H.W. Longfellow’s epic poem ‘The Song of Hiawatha.'” Spirits of nature.

Fuil Na Seanchoille – The Crossing Review

Fuil Na Seanchoille – The Crossing Review

“Single-song albums. The reason Holdeneye and Twelve no longer speak. The reason there’s still a bloodstain in the copy room after Diabolus went after El Cuervo for suggesting that Winter’s Gate ‘Isn’t really a single song, is it? I mean… not really…’ Ya see, the very idea is divisive. But it’s also philosophically interesting. What makes a song? A unifying idea or theme? If parts of a song are so different as to be unrecognizable, have you not just chewing-gummed two songs together? In this era of instant gratification, where listeners have goldfish-like attention spans, are these epic tracks justified? Or just a needlessly pretentious gimmick?” Long did the wind blow.

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.

Keys of Orthanc – A Battle In The Dark Lands of The Eye… Review

Keys of Orthanc – A Battle In The Dark Lands of The Eye… Review

“Given the right formula, the right ingredients, and the right opportunity, metal — music in general, but metal for our purposes — can be the gateway into new worlds. Using metal as a means for escapism is both wonderfully cathartic and cathartically wonderful. And I don’t mean that in the generic Nightwish-esque ‘how about that wanderlust, eh?’ kind of way. I mean when metal grabs you by the throat, drags you across the threshold and laughs mercilessly when you try to explain that one does not simply walk into Mordor. At least, that’s what Keys of Orthanc are doing here.” Eye came, Eye saw.

Grima – Will of the Primordial Review

Grima – Will of the Primordial Review

“Being in forests for extended periods makes me uneasy, because 50 feet of visibility feels claustrophobic when you’re used to seeing the point where the Earth curves away. Russian atmo-black duo Grima have no such qualms. Hailing from Siberia and that same boreal forest, ‘taiga’ to them, they make music to ‘worship the elder forest…where the Grima is a supreme god…who protects only those who live in a forest, and punishes everyone who does not respect nature.’ To which I say, backing away slowly, ‘Whoa fellas, we’re all nature lovers here. Forests, amirite?'” Tree mugger.

Drimys Winteri – Excelsa Natura Review

Drimys Winteri – Excelsa Natura Review

“I was on a hike recently, and while trekking through the forest, I stopped regularly to admire the magnificent trees. Up close, each was different, with idiosyncratic patterns, leaves, and scars. When I made it to the top of a nearby hill, however, and glanced over said forest, I was struck by the homogeneity. The individual trees, all so unique at first, looked identical from afar. I imagined, for a second, that this is (a) probably how our Overlord views his army of writers and (b) how black metal bands appear to fans of the genre.” In metal, as in forests.