Svart Records

Ianai – Sunir Review

Ianai – Sunir Review

Ianai is a “single-entity” project shrouded in mystery. Its secretive mastermind Trevenial offers twelve tracks influenced by folk music across the globe, equally evocative and primitive. With ties to England (mastered by Orgone Studios’ owner Jaime Gomez Arellano) and Finland (produced by Jaani Peuhu), and featuring a classical orchestra and world music artists, as well as a vast array of guests, from notable acts like HIM, Sisters of Mercy, Swallow the Sun, and The Rasmus, Sunir is a debut loaded with potential and questions in equal measure.” It takes a global village.

Serpentent – Mother of Light Review

Serpentent – Mother of Light Review

“If all you want is raw riffs, skull-crushing rhythms, or dissonant aggression, you’ve come to the wrong place. Serpentent’s debut full-length Mother of Light flirts casually with distorted guitars and heavier percussion, but there’s no metal to be found here. The brainchild of Seattle multi-instrumentalist Anne K. O’Neill, Serpentent plays minimalist dark folk music built around O’Neill’s emotive vocals and acoustic guitars. Spring 2022 has set a high bar for folky non-metal around these parts, with Urferd releasing an intricate slab of Nordic folk and Darkher continuing to set the standard for introspective doom. Mother of Light doesn’t quite reach those lofty heights, but it’s a pleasant surprise in a crowded genre.” Snake charming.

Famyne – II: The Ground Below Review

Famyne – II: The Ground Below Review

“U.K.-based “modern” doom act Famyne evaded my metal detector with their eponymous 2018 debut. I might have missed their sophomore outing too, had I not been desperate for some doom when skulking through the fetid promo sump on a dark and dreary night. Thus, I approached II: The Ground Below without context or expectation, and what I heard befuddled me for a good while.” Uncommon grounds.

I Am The Night – While the Gods Are Sleeping Review

I Am The Night – While the Gods Are Sleeping Review

“There’s absolutely nothing wrong with pining for the olden days of yore. Retro-gaming is a lucrative, enjoyable hobby that not only fires the synapses of Those Who’ve Been There, but also introduces a new generation of gamers to legendary titles. Classic movies get remade and reworked all the time with varying degrees of success. And in metal, people romanticize about a time when being evil required more than initials-for-names and ominous hooded sweatshirts. Two of those people are Markus Vanhala, guitarist for both Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum, and his OG ex-bandmate, bassist Janne Markannen. Yearning to dive into the classic 90s wave of black metal, they enlisted members of Abhorrence, Horizon Ignited, and Paradise Lost to pay tribute to the Black Wizards via their new project, I Am the Night.” Lease the night!

Messa – Close Review

Messa – Close Review

“Three albums into their career and few bands are as enigmatic and interesting as Messa. Starting life as a progressive doom act, Messa always played fast and loose with genres and styles, layering doom, sludge, ambient, and cabaret jazz influences in the madman’s lasagna and adroitly blending spices to make something captivating and otherworldly. On third album Close, the ambient elements have faded away but the doom-meets-cabaret-meets-whatever style is still present, with the overall sound ending up more expansive and airy.” Up Close and personal.

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu Review

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu Review

Kuolemanlaakso have been a tricky beast to track over their 10-year existence. Featuring Swallow the Sun‘s Mikko Kotamäki on vocals and several members of Chaoweaver, they started out as a straightforward doom-death act. They evolved into something stranger and more expansive by their sophomore opus Tulijoutsen, blending several genres together into an intriguing and unique sound. Two years later they befuddled everyone by releasing M. Laakso – Vol I: The Gothic Tapes, which had nothing to do with their prior sound, replacing it with a rocked-out, cheesy goth metal. It was such a startling departure that I wrote the band off entirely. Five years of silence followed, and now they return with Kuusumu and yet another shift in sound and style.” Beast of unknown origin.

Deathbell – A Nocturnal Crossing Review

Deathbell – A Nocturnal Crossing Review

“I’m not going to lie here; when I first saw A Nocturnal Crossing, the second album by French doommakers Deathbell, listed in our promo pick-up software, my brain autocorrected the title into Animal Crossing. From that moment, I wondered to myself what it would be like to have a concept doom album where our hapless main (unnamed) character would strike a deal with The Devil, selling his soul for bells while interacting with damned-but-adorable lost animal souls while trying to cross the River Styx on a dragon boat powered by Blathers the Owl.” Hell bells.

Seremonia – Neonlusifer Review

Seremonia – Neonlusifer Review

“If I have to attach a motto to Seremonia’s style, it would be ‘no school like old school.’ Old school here means raw psychedelic rock straight from the 70’s, its DNA profile demonstrating a direct descendancy from Hawkwind. There are two sides to this particular coin. One’s the rollicking hard rock with which the album bursts from its stable, where the deliberate lack of polish is particularly noticeable in the static-laden crunch and fuzz of the rambling riffs. The other is slow and experimental psych jam.” Jam the fuzz.

Doodswens –  Lichtvrees Review

Doodswens – Lichtvrees Review

“Somehow, we’ve made it to December again, which means the time for cold, dark, angry albums is once again upon us—or so I told myself when I discovered Doodswens (“death wish”) in the Promo Pit, a Dutch duo who plays exactly that sort of music. Specifically, they play frigid black metal of the sort that ruins happy days and wraps around you like a blanket on the miserable ones.” Turn loose the dood swans.

Malady – Ainavihantaa Review

Malady – Ainavihantaa Review

Malady might be the best-kept secret here at Angry Metal Guy World Headquarters. Aside from myself and old-soul-in-a-youthful-body El Cuervo, I don’t think anyone else has heard of them, let alone loved their first two albums the way we did. Maybe it’s because ElC and myself love to find obscure prog acts. Maybe it’s because these guys aren’t even remotely metal – in fact, maybe it’s because they remind us of early-era King Crimson and other prog-rock acts from a half-century ago that they tickle our fancy.” House calls with Doc Huck.
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