Symphonic Black Metal

Stormkeep – Galdrum Review

Stormkeep – Galdrum Review

“The potential of a debut release is a magical thing. This year, I’ve been blown away by first-ever offerings, left dismayed and discouraged by initial encounters, and experienced decided mediocrity with hope for something better next time. Suffice it to say, I like writing reviews with no prior experience for a sound; the temptation to compare an act to what they once were is, to me, less exciting than the comparison to what they could be. And so, from the dark corners of the United States, I present to you Galdrum, the debut full-length from Stormkeep, who play symphonic black metal and have an awesome album cover.” Dark impressions.

Paradise in Flames – Devil’s Collection Review

Paradise in Flames – Devil’s Collection Review

Paradise in Flames is a Brazilian black metal quartet, having released two albums, two demos, and an EP since their 2003 formation. While their third full-length’s cover poses questions, a glance at their promo confuses further. They cite death metal countrymen Sepultura and Sarcófago as influences, while the Devil’s Collection was mastered by producer Tue Madsen of Meshuggah and Dark Tranquility fame. Such first impressions are baffling, but the looming question is: is Devil’s Collection any good?” Riffing is fundamental.

Serment – Chante, Ô Flamme de la Liberté Review

Serment – Chante, Ô Flamme de la Liberté Review

“Some black metal bands are sheer aggression and violence, while others are all about slow-build atmosphere and ambience. Lurking around the fringes, just outside these respective circles of firelight, are the folk black metal bands, crooked harps and battered lutes clutched in their claws. By far the most interesting – to me at least – are the black metal acts that dip their bucket in multiple wells, and we have one such specimen on our hands today. Quebec’s Serment is the one-man side project from Forteresse’s guitarist and bassist, Moribond.” Folk in the eye.

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.

Carach Angren – Franckensteina Strataemontanus Review

Carach Angren – Franckensteina Strataemontanus Review

“But Franckensteina Strataemontanus is not a true retelling of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. If any of you know the myths and legends surrounding the creation of this story, you know that there’re a lot of tales that involve Johann Konrad Dippel. There’s no proof that Shelley was ever inspired by this strange individual, but the connection is hard to ignore. An individual who reportedly invented nitroglycerin, experimented on dead animals and human cadavers, and created an elixir that would allow him to live until the age of 135. Here, Carach Angren provides us with a slight reinvention of the classic Frankenstein story. One that uses artistic license to make Dippel the psychotic creator of an unloved monster.” Frank n’ frowners.

Old Corpse Road – On Ghastly Shores Lays the Wreckage of Our Lore Review

Old Corpse Road – On Ghastly Shores Lays the Wreckage of Our Lore Review

“”I’m gonna take my hearse down the Old Corpse Road, I’m gonna… hooooowl ’til I can’t no more.” I’m running out of decent black metal introductions. Like, how many dead horses do I have to beat in order to get across that, gee whizz, ye fuckwads, it’s another black metal album. I guess I could go into how these Brits are somewhere in concept between Winterfylleth and Primordial, but I don’t know, that sounds as fresh as quarantine-old crackers on top of that soup that’s been “aging like a fine wine” at the back of my fridge.” Corpse in the water.

Khôra – Timaeus Review

Khôra – Timaeus Review

“Once again, I picked promo for an irrelevant reason. German/Irish blackened death trio Khôra wound up in my review queue because their name sounds like the name of one of our cats (Kora). I feel like that’s a perfectly reasonable justification for album selection. If it isn’t, well, then I guess I don’t care. Khôra doesn’t care either, and put out whatever the hell they want regardless of what your tastes or expectations are.” Cats and jammers.

Faustian Pact – Outojen Tornien Varjoissa Review

Faustian Pact – Outojen Tornien Varjoissa Review

“There’s something intriguing about black metal. While its origins are saturated with violence and its imagery is so defiantly anti-status quo, it’s calmed down significantly over the last decade or so. With more accessible styles like folk and post-rock taking more of a prominent role, it can be difficult to find the trve kvlt style that once circulated the underground in whispered rumors.” Dirty deals.

Nachtterror – Judgement [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

Nachtterror – Judgement [Things You Might Have Missed 2019]

“Earlier this year, I channeled all the might that my status as an exalted AMG writer imbues me with and demanded the promo Maeskyyrn’s Interlude from Hypnotic Dirge (read: I sent a politely-worded email). They obliged and sent not only Maeskyyrn but also Nachtterror. Reviewing schedules being what they are, we couldn’t get to symphonic black metal six-piece Nachtterror‘s record in time for its release. And that is a damn shame because Judgement is a seriously good and incredibly varied slab of metal.” Metal cup runeth over.

Aeon Winds – Stormveiled Review

Aeon Winds – Stormveiled Review

Stormveiled is the second album by Slovak black metal band Aeon Winds, and it’s deeply rooted in the second wave symphonic flourishes pioneered by our aforementioned super spy stand-ins as well as Dimmu Borgir. Icy riffs and blast beats drive the album, while grandiose synthesizers ride shotgun across the 10 track, 50 minute run.” Familiar winds.