Symphonic Black Metal

Chthonic – Bú-Tik Review

Chthonic – Bú-Tik Review

“While first wetting my feet with black metal I came across Chthonic‘s 9th Empyrean, Relentless Recurrence and Seediq Bale albums. I felt a distinct pull towards their use of traditional instruments, their dramatic, aggressive, melodic sound and their bleak, nihilistic undercurrent and for a fair while their screams gripped my attention. Eventually though I felt the inevitable allure for darker and uglier and sank deeper and into the blackness discovering Nattefrost, Carpathian Forest, Shining (Swedish), 1349, Marduk and so on and to be honest I got distracted and I guess I just forgot about Chthonic….” Will Madam X have a happy reunion with the once beloved Chthonic or has absence made the heart grow bitter? So much drama!

Summoning – Old Mornings Dawn Review

Summoning – Old Mornings Dawn Review

“It was seven years ago that I purchased my very first CD as a teenager who knew nothing about music other than the fact I absolutely loved it and wanted to find something completely different and obscure. I opened up a metal magazine and was instantly pulled in by the mysterious description and album cover to Summoning‘s Oath Bound. The nature-influenced album cover, the Austrian black metal description, all of it seemed incredibly alluring so I bought it blindly — my first ever musical purchase. Needless to say, Oath Bound arrived and floored me.” Noctus has a heartfelt history with this group of Tolkien-obsessed black metal maven, but does their new album live up to his lofty (and insanely fanboyish) expectations?

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.

Abigail Williams –  In the Absence of Light Review

Abigail Williams – In the Absence of Light Review

Symphonic black metal, a genre fraught with many a trap, snare and pitfall awaiting the unwary band that wants to go down this grim and icy road. Overproduction, bloating, too much keyboard, not enough keyboard, all can bring the metallic symphony to a halt faster than a black metal miser can frown. Even if one avoids all these dangers, the music must be interesting and compelling at its core or trouble ensues. It’s that last nagging little issue that drags down In the Absence of Light, the sophomore album by New York’s own Abigail Williams.

Demonic Resurrection – The Return to Darkness Review

Demonic Resurrection – The Return to Darkness Review

As world metal takes the stage, something that is happening more and more frequently these days, we’re going to be seeing more of these bands coming from places where metal just hasn’t ever shown its face earlier. Demonic Resurrection, as those of you familiar with Sam Dunn’s documentary Global Metal already know, are a band from India who play symphonic black metal. The third record in a trilogy The Return to Darkness is being released (as I understand it) as the band’s first international release via Candlelight Records. That Sam Dunn is a rockstar creating machine, it turns out. Though, when it comes to Demonic Resurrection, their music speaks for itself and if you give that music a stage that myriads of metalheads have access to, it’s not hard to see how they managed to break beyond their borders.

Gloria Morti – Anthems of Annihilation Review

Gloria Morti – Anthems of Annihilation Review

One of the best parts about being a reviewer, honestly, is getting a hold of records that you’d’ve never thought to buy on your own and really enjoying them. 2010 hasn’t actually had a lot of those for me. The year has gone pretty much as expected (and a little worse for certain bands, unfortunately). But one of the big disappointments has been the number of bands that I’ve gotten who I’d never heard of that just never pan out to anything. Because obviously it’s newer bands that keep things going and some of my favorite records of the last few years have been from bands that I didn’t even know existed until I got the record to review (Istapp for example, or In Mourning). Gloria Morti is one of those bands that I’d sorta gotten wind of, but never really heard before. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received Anthems of Annihilation but I was pleasantly surprised.

Limbonic Art – Phantasmagoria Review

Limbonic Art – Phantasmagoria Review

I loved Bathory growing up. I mean, I REALLY loved me some Bathory! That crazy Quorthon and his one man band really tore it up while basically giving birth to the black, folk and viking metal genres all by his lonesome. However, A.B. (After Bathory), many one man bands rose up in the frozen, gloomy black metal basements of the world, some good, many not. Therefore, when I heard that long running Norwegian black metal act Limbonic Art was now essentially reduced to a one man project for co-founder Daemon, I was more than slightly uneasy about the release of this, their seventh album, Phantasmagoria. Further enhancing my unease was the advance word that the album would again feature a drum machine (a long running negative for this band). With unease and hesitation upon all our minds (or at least mine), here we go.

Netherbird – Monument Black Colossal Review

Netherbird – Monument Black Colossal Review

One thing that I love about heavy metal is that every time you think you have a pretty thorough knowledge of the overall scene, some band you never heard of slithers out of some crevasse and bites you in the ass. Sweden’s Netherbird is just such an ass biter and their second full length, Monument Black Colossal seemingly came out of nowhere and surprised me with some impressively done melodic black metal, despite the really crappy band name and nonsensical album title. What is it with Sweden and metal these days anyway? That place is crawling with quality, ass biting bands!