Saor

Saor – Origins Review

Saor – Origins Review

“We’re now a decade into Andy Marshall’s uniquely Scottish take on metal, blending furious black metal with majestic melodies and Scottish folk instrumentation. Saor is an experiment which has demonstrated great results, with the likes of Aura and Guardians being some of the strongest folk/black metal albums of the 2010s. 2019’s Forgotten Paths was solid but easily my least favorite release, but with a new decade comes a new record called Origins. Is it a return to Saor’s roots, or does it represent a new beginning?” Roots, icy roots.

Freja – Tides Review

Freja – Tides Review

“I’m a simple creature, really. If you make your album even vaguely Nordic-themed, I’ll pay attention. The mythologies that have spawned countless legends, a whole lot of music, and many other artistic expressions are so enduringly popular for a reason, and their themes have similarly lent themselves to some really good metal. Freja is among the newest bands to find influence in this striking topic, a Dutch duo of one C. and W., who describe their style as one of “towering, thundering” atmospheric black metal.” The tides are a raider.

Marrasmieli – Martaiden Mailta Review

Marrasmieli – Martaiden Mailta Review

“Nostalgia is powerful. As I write here, I’ve found that I can often remember exactly where I was when I first heard a noteworthy promo, and the ability to relive those experiences through music makes me happy. When I first heard Between Land and Sky, the debut full-length release from Finnish Marrasmieli in January of 2020, I was commuting to work, comparatively new employment that I enjoyed, blissfully unaware that we were not all that far away from everything changing. While the year itself turned out to be less-than-great, the album certainly was, and I came back to it a lot as uncertainty took over. Because of this, Between Land and Sky has a special sort of significance to me, and the news that Marrasmieli has returned with a new full-length album was thrilling.” Wistful introspection and pandemic nostalgia.

Fuath – II Review

Fuath – II Review

“Representing a darker, meaner interpretation of black metal, Andy Marshall, better known for Saor, unleashed his Fuath (Gaelic for hatred) project around now over 5 years ago (fuck me, my life’s getting away from me). I excelled in black atmosphere and understated but sticky melodies and remains one of the decade’s better examples of atmospheric black metal, in a sub-genre full to the brim with mediocrity. It was intended to be a one-off but the inspirationally-entitled II is now primed for release.” Atmo-II: Electric Boogaloo.

Old Growth – Mossweaver Review

Old Growth – Mossweaver Review

“Two reviews ago, I picked up my “last” review for the 2020 calendar year. Now, here I am, submitting my real last review for 2020 about as late as you can submit one, uncharacteristically content with my tardy contribution. I really did plan on being done a couple of weeks ago, but then I heard the first few seconds of Mossweaver and I knew I couldn’t let the year end without shining a spotlight on this one.” Moss peeping.

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.

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.