Wolves in the Throne Room

Alburnum – Buitenlucht Review

Alburnum – Buitenlucht Review

“Certain things just go together. Prawn and avocado. Holdeneye and 4.0s. Ozzy and Black Sabbath. You get the gist. Two of those things are “black metal” and “nature.” From its early pagan roots, black metal has always had a close affinity with the great outdoors, rejecting rigid theism for a more atavistic, mystical spiritualism. It’s why half the shitty black metal videos you see happen in forests or on mountaintops. New Dutch band, Alburnum (another name for “Sapwood”) are therefore trodding well-worn ground; when compatriots, Fluisteraars have an album with flowers all over the cover, you’re going to have a tough time out-naturing the competition.” Play outside!

The Mists From the Mountains – Monumental – The Temple of Twilight Review

The Mists From the Mountains – Monumental – The Temple of Twilight Review

“If raw black metal, like Old Nick or Black Cilice, is 99% chocolate dissolved in disquietingly malodorous milk, then Monumental – The Temple of Twilight is 45% milk chocolate in milky milk, with neither too much, nor too little, sugar. And nothing else. This is the basic recipe, almost unaltered and unadorned. You’ve had this a hundred times before and the mileage you get from this collection will entirely depend on how fond you are of this stuff.” In the nightside eclair.

Crystal Coffin – The Starway Eternal Review

Crystal Coffin – The Starway Eternal Review

“I’ve often stated that more than any other form of contemporary music, black metal is good at conveying abstract emotion rather than concrete narratives. It’s why, for many of us, the fact that we don’t understand a single word being sung isn’t a problem: the lyrics don’t matter (and are sometimes best left undisturbed, to be frank). This abstraction thrives on allowing personal interpretations of an aesthetic, but can flounder when conveying meaning through traditional story-telling. To put it another way: telling a complex story, when you’ve hobbled yourself by relying upon unintelligible shrieks and howls—and operating in the limited emotional bandwidth of fury and contempt—is like cooking a complex dish without basic ingredients.” When the medium is not the message.

Gràb – Zeitlang Review

Gràb – Zeitlang Review

“A hefty chunk of metal has to do with reckonings. Whether about the absence of God, the rejection of the superficially “beautiful,” or the fact that we will all be worm-food one day, bands use the medium to highlight the darker side of a showdown we all must face. If pop is about how we’d like things to be, metal is about how things are. Part of reckoning is looking back honestly at our lives as we get older.  Zeitlang (Yearning), the debut album by Gràb—a German black metal trio created by former Dark Fortress front-man, Grant—centers on an old man who retreats to a cottage deep in the mountains to reflect on his life.” Gràb life!

Waldgeflüster – Dahoam Review

Waldgeflüster – Dahoam Review

“Sometimes, an album seems to come along at just the right time, as if the capricious gods of the promo bin have taken a break and their serendipitous cousins, briefly, have the run of the joint. I recently went back to my homeland for a visit after a Covid-induced absence of nearly two years. When you return home after being away for so long, the earth feels more earthy, the sky deeper, the sea icier and fresher. It’s a sensation that’s hard to describe to anyone who has never left. But German band Waldgeflüster know. Their sixth album, Dahoam (“At Home”) is all about rediscovering the beauty of the familiar through wiser, more traveled eyes.” Homely.

TRNA – Istok Review

TRNA – Istok Review

TRNA first came to my attention not long ago, when I volunteered to review Istok, their fourth full-length release, without knowing anything about it. I learned that the band describes their own music as “celestial blackgaze” and thought, what could go wrong? Obviously, that answer to that is “everything,” but I was optimistic. As I read about the band’s story, one that drifts away from their Russian homeland to try and capture the spirit of an altogether dreamier, darker, and more abstract place, I grew increasingly intrigued.” Space gaze.

Wolves in the Throne Room – Primordial Arcana Review

Wolves in the Throne Room – Primordial Arcana Review

Wolves in the Throne Room is an important band for me. When I was just getting into black metal, I found my way to the early albums in the band’s discography, which demonstrated to me the intrinsic and glorious bond black metal has with nature. I was absolutely captivated and I still consider the trilogy of Diadem of 12 Stars, Two Hunters and Black Cascade to be one of the strongest in black metal’s catalog. While I may be less enamored with the later albums (Thrice Woven, apart from its thunderous opener, left me cold), I feel a very close affinity with the band, and any new release is a very big deal to this reviewer.” Wolves or sheep?

Vouna – Atropos Review

Vouna – Atropos Review

Vouna was one of my first reviews here at AMG. While I certainly feel dated by the release of Atropos, it also allows me time to reflect. Sole member Yianna Bekris has undoubtedly honed her craft, and I’d like to think that I have as well, even as the morale-boosting beatings continue and the terrifying ape-in-charge keeps staring at me from the dark corner over there. An associate of Wolves in the Throne Room‘s Weaver brothers, Bekris took me completely off-guard with Vouna‘s self-titled debut in 2018, an effort dubbed “funeral doom” but was anything but the bellowing subterranean lurching we’ve come to know and love. Atropos offers a huge step forward, adding a healthy dose of obscurity and an unrelentingly bleak atmosphere to sink your teeth into.” Bleak houses.

Perturbator – Lustful Sacraments Review

Perturbator – Lustful Sacraments Review

“It is an interesting phenomenon how French synthwave musician Perturbator became a common household name among today’s metalhead community. Several years ago, I had an opportunity to see Perturbator live at Seattle’s vegan metal bar The Highline, the same venue where I previously saw AlcestOathbreaker, and Khemmis. Though it slipped my mind why I ultimately was unable to attend the Perturbator show, the point is that Perturbator has somehow become more aligned with the underground metal scene even though it would make far more sense for the band’s music to circulate most comfortably in synthwave circles.” Synthy lust.