Van Records

Bezwering – Aan De Wormen Overgeleverd Review

Bezwering – Aan De Wormen Overgeleverd Review

Bezwering are traditional in more than one sense of the word. Musically they’re simple straight-up black metal, their wave-quotient roughly 1.7 (mostly second wave with some hints of first wave). There’s some decent riffs and good energy in these tracks, featuring a pretty nasty screech and frantic blastbeats atop swirling tremolos. That describes 98% of all black metal, so to stand out from the crowd, Bezwering brought three weapons.” Wormen problems.

Sweven – The Eternal Resonance Review

Sweven – The Eternal Resonance Review

“I’m sure I’m not alone in wondering what Chuck Schuldiner would have done musically had he not been taken from us far too soon. Would he have maintaining the style heard on the sole Control Denied release or move things onward and outward into ever weirder environs? These questions were front and center in my head as I digested The Eternal Resonance, the stunningly odd and original debut album by Sweven.” Ripples in music and time.

Knoest – Dag Review

Knoest – Dag Review

“Almost everything worth doing has been done so often that metal itself is now officially a very, very bad idea. And yet, every time I think that, Beaten to Death or Abstract Void or Embrace of Disharmony nutchecks me. Knoest, three dudes from Gelderland, “decided to write a piece of music based on the inspiration [from] driving and hiking through our surroundings during the afternoon, the evening, the morning, and the night.” That premise doesn’t scream six (a.m.) to midnight, but the other card up their sleeve might make their debut Dag a bit more enticing.” A day in the life.

Árstíðir lífsins – Saga á tveim tungum I: Vápn ok viðr Review

Árstíðir lífsins – Saga á tveim tungum I: Vápn ok viðr Review

“Norse mythology is an expansive, rich, and very metal topic. It’s no surprise that folks from all walks of the metal world have adapted its themes and stories as a part of their artistic visions. I would argue that black metal adopt this style best, especially when the band itself hails from the North. Enter Árstíðir lífsins. Since 2008, these Icelanders have been creating black metal that tell the historic and mythical tales of their homeland in their native language. Their latest output, Saga á tveim tungum I: Vápn ok viðr is part one of a story about the rise and reign of King Óláfr Helgi Haraldsson, who ruled Norway in the eleventh century.” Ice tales.

Sinmara – Hvísl Stjarnanna Review

Sinmara – Hvísl Stjarnanna Review

“‘Too dense, too impenetrable, too fucking spooky,’ a n00b once regarded black metal. That poser embarrassed himself as glorious Icelandic output like Misþyrming sailed right over his head; now he’s putting poor other n00bs on blast over it. That is to say—in the most roundabout way possible—black metal good now. So, much to a lesser me’s surprise, I clamored after the ensuing jump-ball when Svartidauði guitarist Þórir Garðarsson resurfaced with Almyrkvi and Slidhr alums on Sinmara’s sophomore release. Cue the cliché about ‘being glad I did because Hvísl Stjarnanna is great,’ because I’m glad I did, and Hvísl Stjarnanna is great.” From the mouth of n00bs.

Our Survival Depends on Us – Melting the Ice in the Hearts of Men Review

Our Survival Depends on Us – Melting the Ice in the Hearts of Men Review

“I really don’t like to throw around the word “pretentious” in my reviews. Underground music, particularly of the avant-garde persuasion, is a field where I believe that perceived false pretenses are merely the result of a disconnect between the artist and consumer. After all, properly recording an album is an expensive undertaking; with little chance for financial gain, why would a given band have any reason not to wear its heart on its sleeve? While I’ve covered many albums where I’ve felt this sense of disconnect, Melting the Ice in the Hearts of Men is not one of them.” Hot island songs.

Sulphur Aeon – The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos Review

Sulphur Aeon – The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos Review

“Every reviewer asks the question of why great bands would put out anticipated records right at the end of the year. I’ve done that too, especially because that was my first reaction to the announcement of Sulphur Aeon’s The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos, the follow-up to Gateway to the Antisphere (also known as “the Best Record ov 2015”).” Tentacle Metal II: The Rebirthening.

Svartidauði – Revelations of the Red Sword Review

Svartidauði – Revelations of the Red Sword Review

“Although not the first country that leaps to mind, Iceland is tailor made for a black metal scene. With thirty active volcanoes, a sun that can still shine in the middle of the night, and a winter that lasts almost precisely as long as summer, bands have plenty of inspiration in which to toil and leave their legacy on the sound. The arguable leader of these is Svartidauði, whose debut full length Flesh Cathedral received heaping praise and exposed the Icelandic scene to the world at large.” Of ice, volcanoes, and red swords.