Wormwood

Wormwood – Arkivet Review

Wormwood – Arkivet Review

“Sweden’s Wormwood received a lot of love after the release of their debut Ghostlands: Wounds from a Bleeding Earth. In my 2017 review, I described it as moving “with a ghostly smoothness that ebbs, flows, rises and falls with a mixture of beauty and malice that only impresses.” It is still in frequent rotation on the Akerblogger music machine. In 2019, the melodic folk-black wonders released Nattarvet. Hopes were high and the record didn’t hit quite as hard. It was solid but safe, less wild and fizzing and more restrained and balanced. It’s 2021 and Wormwood is back.” Wood fatigue.

Wormlight – Nightmother Review

Wormlight – Nightmother Review

Nightmother is a malevolent ode to the “unholy feminine.” The band promises an “opus bereft of the warmth of the womb” and a “sublime and bacchanal celebration of matriarchal sovereignty.” I’m not 100% sure what this all means, but it looks suitably fun and debauched. The sound Wormlight employs is a (relatively) accessible form of melodic black metal.” Happy Nightmother‘s Day!

Malakhim – Theion Review

Malakhim – Theion Review

“Black metal is my mac ‘n’ cheese. It’s something I can consume at pretty much any time. First thing in the morning? Delicious! A quick lunch at work? Get that puppy in the microwave! When I’m hungry and don’t know what to have for dinner? There’s always mac ‘n’ cheese! Best of all? It goes with pretty much anything. Even ice cream. Trust me on this. The downside is that I don’t remember most of my mac meals; one has to be pretty special to stand out. 2021 has brought me my first go-to meal, courtesy of Theion, the debut album of Malakhim, a Swedish black metal quintet formed in 2017.” A gooey fate.

Mörk Gryning – Hinsides Vrede Review

Mörk Gryning – Hinsides Vrede Review

“Ah, youth. A time Steel and Huck no longer remember. When all beer is good, all kisses sweet, and anything is possible. For Goth Gorgon and Draakh Kimera, two teenagers in Sweden, this meant donning corpse paint, forming a band, and releasing an album before they were old enough to legally buy the champagne to celebrate. That album, Tusen År har Gått, was a fun combination of old-school, second wave black metal, with a definite slant towards the melodic. Think early Sacramentum, or, more recently, Wormwood. Tusen År har Gått would go on to be extremely well-regarded in metal circles, spawning a few, less interesting follow-ups.” Gryning pains.

Wormwood – Nattarvet Review

Wormwood – Nattarvet Review

“In March 2017 Wormwood‘s debut release Ghostlands: Wounds from a Bleeding Earth received a very positive review. I found it graceful and powerful, its montage of melodic sounds moving with a “ghostly smoothness that ebbs, flows, rises and falls with a mixture of beauty and malice that only impresses.” There were more than a few standout set-piece moments on that record which impress me still. However, the idea of the montage sullied my listens over the two years between records: Ghostlands, on reflection, felt too diametric in tone.” Contrition and evolution.

Skogen – Skuggorna Kallar Review

Skogen – Skuggorna Kallar Review

Skuggorna Kallar follows the dying of the light on a Nordic eve. Darkness encroaches and envelops as light fades. Previously, Skogen had crafted airier atmospheric and pagan epics. Earlier albums, especially their magisterial second platter Svitjod (one of my favorites in this subgenre), carry a lofty melodic sheen. The crunching mid-paced riff-craft of their debut was present but filtered in lighter dosages. Four years later and Skuggorna Keller — their fifth album — comes knocking at our door, draped in ash and frost. This is Skogen‘s darkest record yet.” Darkness and blackness.

El Cuervo and Diabolus in Muzaka’s Top Ten(ish) of 2017

El Cuervo and Diabolus in Muzaka’s Top Ten(ish) of 2017

“Making a successful and popular Top Ten list involves a series of complex calculations, comprised of, but not limited to the following: a tallying of recorded scores, estimated scene cred, a precise proportion of big and underground bands, a spot for that one record universally praised during the year, and a pathological need to seem like one has not missed anything.” Making a list, checking it thrice.