Thorns

Mora Prokaza – By Chance Review

Mora Prokaza – By Chance Review

“Your fifth grade science fair project. Frankenstein’s monster. That godawful sandwich you made of leftover hash browns, macaroni and cheese, hot dog buns, and spaghetti sauce. Said godawful sandwich growing furry mold sitting in the back of your fridge after vowing you’ll eat it later. What do all these have in common? They’re experiments, forays into the unknown. Rife with experimentation, will Mora Prokaza‘s latest blackened oddity fall into the happy slurpee realm or the “acquired taste” maggot cheese kingdom?” I’ll just stick with the Haggis.

Schammasch – Hearts of No Light Review

Schammasch – Hearts of No Light Review

“There are two kinds of metal albums that tickle my fancy. The first kind takes a band’s trademark sound, alters it just enough to keep things fresh, but also retains everything that makes that artist or band unique, enjoyable, and otherwise impossible to do without. The other has mere glimpses of what made that band who they are, but throws so many curveballs, surprise left hooks, and a kitchen sink or twelve your way, and demands that you catch it all. Swiss avant garde spiritualists Schammasch most certainly fit into the latter with relative ease. Even after releasing a three-disc, exactly-100-minute monstrosity in the form of Triangle back in 2016, it still didn’t fully prepare me for what Hearts of No Light had in store for me.” That’s a big Schammasch!

Reign in Blood – Missa Pro Defunctis Review

Reign in Blood – Missa Pro Defunctis Review

“OK, so this week’s selection is a little too obvious. Against my better judgment, I grabbed Missa Pro Defunctis because I love Slayer‘s Reign in Blood. Also against my better judgment, I chose Reign in Blood‘s newest release without hearing a single note. While this could turn out to be an AotY pick, most of the time, grabbing something by instinct rather than logic is a bad idea. For instance, going to the convenient store to get a case of beer and finding a twelve-pack of Bud Light at a ridiculously low price. Then, when you get home, you discover that you bought Bud Light Minis.” Looks like reign.

Stellar Master Elite – Hologram Temple Review

Stellar Master Elite – Hologram Temple Review

“Though everything SME has released is solid, III brought with it a new vocalist and direction. Building atmospheres now reign supreme over the band’s early days of traditional black metal. The result, as I mentioned in my III review, was something spontaneous, borrowing from a variety of black and death metal influences. Though III concluded the trilogy, there’s still loads of fun to be had on Hologram Temple.” Diversity stings.

Craft – White Noise and Black Metal Review

Craft – White Noise and Black Metal Review

“I’m still a believer of the album. I crave something that’s more than just a collection of songs. Sometimes I get that from the promo bin, most of the time I don’t. Unfortunately, we live in a society that prefers the random shuffle of Pandora to eight-or-ten succinct songs from the same artist. I can’t say I’ve ever put my media player on shuffle and I haven’t listened to the radio since high school. So, this is why I’m the way I am. To me, a great album is a layered cake. Each layer providing support for the next. Each layer building off the other, intensifying the flavor until the final layer is achieved. Each layer provides its own contribution to the taste but, as a whole, the cake elevates the experience and embodies the person who made it. And that’s what Craft has done here.” I was told there’d be cake.

Ophe – Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude Review

Ophe – Litteras Ad Tristia Maestrum Solitude Review

“It’s a big deal when a band lists major influences, like Ævangelist, Dodecahedron, and Blut Aus Nord, in their biography. Sometimes it’s an innocent list, meant to feed the reader with keywords. Other times, it’s misleading. In Ophe‘s case, the list ain’t that far off, as the band takes their forefather’s black/avant-garde style and French’s the fuck out of it. It’s Dodecahedron‘s low-end, mixed with the dark, distant blackness of Ævangelist and layers of Område and Spektr. When you look deeper into Ophe, this isn’t a surprise. Considering that this one-man band consists of Område‘s own Bargnatt XIX. But this ain’t no Område.” One, man, one basement.

Taake – Kong Vinter Review

Taake – Kong Vinter Review

“But the ones I came back to the most were the underrated groups, like Ofermod, Svartsyn, Urgehal, and Taake. To me, this latter group has some of the best black metal ever recorded. In Taake‘s case, Nattestid ser porten vid, Over Bjoergvin graater himmerik, and Hordalands doedskvad still make me dribble over my lower lip like a fucking vegetable. But, like most black metal giants, Taake‘s recent material has begun to slip in quality. Their 2014 release, Stridens hus, left my throat parched and now my need for nourishment is at an all-time high. The question is: will Taake‘s newest release, Kong Vinter, wet lips or will it cause them to crack and bleed?” Lip care is crucial in a frostbitten kingdom of ice.

Urarv – Aurum Review

Urarv – Aurum Review

“Without a doubt, the darkest moments of my life have involved vocalist Aldrahn. At first, it was an unfortunate coincidence. But then his voice and his music became my go-to during those dark days and nights. Be it his groundbreaking introduction with Zyklon B and Old Man’s Child, his psychotic direction with DHG, or his genre-setting contributions to Thorns. This one man has haunted my dreams (and nightmares) for close to two decades. I’ve considered suicide as his voice rang out on my speakers and I even attempted it while listening to Thorns. Then, no more music. But, three years ago, Aldrahn came back to us with The Deathtrip‘s Deep Drone Master. While Deep Drone Master was fun, Urarv‘s Aurum is something else.” The voice of pain returns.

Draugsól – Volaða Land Review

Draugsól – Volaða Land Review

“It’s no secret that—following a legacy now two decades old—black metal is synonymous with Scandinavia. For most, this refers to Norway and Sweden, but, depending on who you ask, this may also include Finland and Iceland. Regardless if these countries meet the rules for the “Scandinavia” tag, they have a plethora of black metal bands, with legacies all their own. And I thank that goat-headed deity for that.” Feeling Scandinavia, looking frozen tundra.

Sarkom – Anti-Cosmic Art Review

Sarkom – Anti-Cosmic Art Review

“The biggest difference between 2013’s Doomsday Elite and their previous work is the amount of inspiration they brought into every track of Doomsday. They brought in The Kovenant‘s Psy Coma to handle the closing orchestral arrangements, Negator‘s Nachtgarm for vocal assistance, and the guitars of Keep of Kalessin‘s Vyl. And Anti-Cosmic Art is here to take it one step further. The band brings more guests, unleashes more riffs, more blastbeats, and a plethora of guitar solos. The result is Sarkom‘s best release to date. ” Is this the Avantasia of blackness?