Posts Tagged ‘black metal’


Greek black metallers Nigredo contain members of such genre luminaries as Embrace of Thorns and Ravencult, and they are taking the way we view black metal and turning it this way and that, trying to find a new angle. Their debut full length ‘Flesh Torn-Spirit Pierced’ squeezes elements of thrash and death into their black template, and it is due out in April on Transcending Obscurity.

Nigredo is an alchemical term for decomposition or putrefaction, the first step in creating the philospher’s stone. This is apt as Nigredo shape the black metal genre to create their holy grail, and the opener ‘Ten Repellant Antiforces’ is a surging, vibrant piece of fury. Rampant blastbeats thrust through blistering riffs, while a pervading eerie undertone slithers beneath. The fiery ‘Necrolatry’ thrashes like old school Marduk, while ‘Choronzon Possession’ begins the journey into the more swirling occultisms that become prevalent in the later half of this record.

The atonal melodies stabbing through the excellent ‘Mental Glimpses at Cosmic Horrors’ betrays the band’s influence by the likes of Blut Aus Nord or Deathspell Omega. ‘Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced’ is a perfect alchemy of the traditional meeting the avantgarde, where icy tremolo riffs collide with unusual arrangements. While not as out there as some black metal that heads in this direction, Nigredo keep the attention firmly locked upon what they are going to do next. The dissonant ‘Sons of Worthlessness’ is a perfect example of the revelry found within this sphere of discordance.

‘Flesh Torn – Spirit Pierced’ is one of 2018’s more interesting records. Comfortably within the established black metal dominion, their steps outside of the pentagram are the most interesting moments, when the tones and the melodies take on that otherworldly nature. Beginning tethered to the frozen north, it gradually leads you beyond, to a maddening world beyond the icy safety of the forests. Fantastic.



A one man project from Portland, Oregon, Adzalaan are dropping their debut record ‘Into Vermilion Mirrors’ in April through a joint effort by Invictus Productions and Vrasubatlat. This is a record that weaves its way through the black/death genre, realising new progressive ideas within the core ideals while still keeping the atmospheric pressure on.

Opening track ‘Haven to Flesh (Intro)’ is a thrumming, eerie piece of music that hums with a dark intensity. When ‘Succumb and Vanquish’ kicks in, blastbeats torrent through the cavernous vocals and a gloriously traditional guitar tone. This is the blackest of the black, fierce and bleak. ‘False Cleansing’ is more of the chaotic, murky same; oily, thick deathly black metal that is relentless and venomous. The haunting ‘Wretched Oaths Fall from Wicked Tongues’ is my favourite however, a miasmic threatening blackness crawling from the abyss to take terrifying revenge on us all.

‘Into Vermilion Mirrors’ is a twisting, writhing serpent of a record. Black through and though, Adzalaan’s embrace of dark death metal passages really helps to enhance the evil intent possessed within each riff, in each ragged howl, and this gives us a record that is simply great. Never staying still, Adzalaan move within dark tides, and ‘Into Vermilion Mirrors’ is their anchor to this world.

‘The Secret Art’ is the sixth full length from Metamorphosis, a long running German atmospheric black/death metal band that has been going since 1994. ‘The Secret Art’ is the latest in a series of solid records by this one man set up, and they take much influence from Marduk, early Amorphis and even some early Paradise Lost. It is out now through Devil’s Ground Productions.

The opening title track builds with cold melody, while rough tremolo riffing cascades over harsh vocals and a more mid paced drumming. This isn’t your standard one man bedroom black metal set up; a beefy production injects body into the clattering carnage, but not so much as to lose that ‘kvlt’ edge that this genre so highly praises. Entwining ambient, instrumental passages in songs helps to set Metamorphosis apart, but the glorious savagery help them stand out. ‘Night on Bare Mountain’ is a striding icon of blackness, capturing a very early 90s European feel that continues throughout. The spoken word occultisms are also very cool, giving it a truly old school blackened death feeling.

The eerie tinkling chimes running through ‘God of the Dead’ is enough to make even the hardest of us feel uneasy and it is a trait that Metamorphosis keep running all the way through. Instrumentation and sounds appear and disappear, flickering throughout a black metal album of great songs and riffs. Simply doing these little cool things helps to make sure you won’t forget ‘The Secret Art’ any time soon.

A black metal duo from both Shanghai and Prague, Kosmogyr spans both continents and worlds with their enthralling debut record ‘Eviternity’. A self released record, their take on black metal’s shape shifting form is both interesting and exciting. It is due out on March 9th and can be preordered through their Bandcamp page.

The first thing I noticed on the torrential ‘The Wane’ was the quality of the production. This is no tin thin, rattly black metal album. These are songs that are thick, dense with power and crisp with evil intentions. Soaring melodies weave in amongst harsh vocals and blistering drums. This is an album full of stark, bleak beauty, where waves of riffing flow past you like icy rivers but you are tethered in the maelstrom by a superhuman bottom line. Vocals tear at you like a ragged wind, but you are mesmerised into staying put. Feeling the storm of ‘Frailty’ is invigorating, powerful even. ‘Eviternity’ demands little but your attention, but it will take much more from you.

Relentless, remorseless and yet almost fragile in its position. Like an ancient, cracked obelisk, timeless and strong but ready to fall at any moment. Weakened by cold melody but held firm by pure black metal fury. ‘Eviternity’ is a staggering piece of work as a debut record, and Kosmogyr should be proud. It is my new benchmark for black metal this year.


I’m not sure what Australia has done to black metal bands, but so many seem to have gone off the deep end when it comes to their interpretations of the genre. The latest in a long line of seriously good Australian black metal is Arkheth, and you can tell by the artwork to ’12 Winter Moons Comes the Witches Brew’ that this isn’t going to go the way you’d expect. Transcending Obscurity are dropping this in February.

Opener ‘Trismegistus’ immediately strikes you with dissonant weirdness, with atonal riffing shrieking through a warped cosmos of black metal. Based on the teachings of Hermeticism, you can feel the otherwordly forces at work here; each riff and impassioned rasp is informed with magicks and voices from beyond our realm. ‘Dark Energy Equilibrium’ oozes with a quiet menace; layers of Deathspell Omega-esque work cascade between calm yet dangerous moments. ‘Where Nameless Ghouls Weep’ is like a horrendous psychedelic trip gone wrong, with queasy guitar tones stabbing through the folds of reality. Imagine White Zombie crossed with Blut Aus Nord. Isn’t that wrong? Yes, but Arkheth makes it seem almost right.

This is Arkheth’s third record, but their journey feels like it can only just be beginning. This duo have found a way to cross into other dimensions with ’12 Winter Moons…’ and it feels like the sound they bring back is only the start. The kind of madness one can weave with this talent is tantalising, frightening and addictive all at once. Wildly experimental, yet somehow cohesive and enthralling, Arkheth are disappearing into their own universe, and dragging us with them.

Desolate Shrine are nothing but productive. ‘Deliverance from the Godless Void’ is their third album for Dark Descent Records in six years, and their fourth overall. It is another exercise in pure, devastating aural darkness and hatred. If you like black metal, doom or death, this is within your wheelhouse. A miasmic fabrication of extremity awaits.

‘The Primordial One’ comes pouring from the speakers like a molten river of blackened death metal lava. Blastbeats smash down upon devastating riffs, while brutal roars echo from caverns of darkness. Desolate Shrine are immediately dense, pushing waves of sound at you in an unstoppable force. But they cannot stay one dimensional, with eerie melodies seeping from the gloom in the dissonant, doom laden ‘Unmask the Face of False’. ‘Deliverance from the Godless Void’ has no regard for the boundaries of black, death or doom metal. Desolate Shrine take these genres and combine them into a set of songs that crush not only your ears but your soul, your mind and your hope. For me, the centrepiece and masterpiece is the massive storm of ‘The Graeae’, building from desolate clean guitars into a galaxial riff that envelops everything in its path. Metaphors run short when trying to describe the titanic weight and power of such a song.

‘Deliverance from the Godless Void’ is disgustingly heavy, weighing you down mercilessly until you crumble into nothingness. These songs may be lengthy but never overstay their welcome, and the almost hour running time feels like no time at all. It does feel like your delivery from the Godless void is nothing but a trip to hell. Not a hell that burns, but a hell that suffocates and tears at your weak flesh. This is stunning.

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Australian black metallers Greytomb have completed work on their masterful new record, ‘Monumental Microcosm’, where they have begun to add new and more dissonant layers upon the already healthy and fire breathing Australian black metal scene. Sharing a drummer with label mates Somnium Nox and Norse certainly adds a sense of comradeship with those bands, who approach black metal a little differently from most. It is out on Transcending Obscurity in December.

Opener ‘Null’ is a mindbending journey through clanging dissonant notes, blizzarding blastbeats and snarling, groaning vocal emanations that bring to mind Atilla Csihar’s performance on ‘Ordo ad Chao’. Intense, twisted and eerie are probably the most apt descriptors to a record that seems to peer from beyond space time from a place of insanity incarnate. Like the dying scream of distant planets, Greytomb feel both terrifying fragile and yet mighty in their wrath.

‘Antimeta’ strides forth from these dark plains of existence wielding riffs of fire and a tortured howl; pausing briefly for toxic air before the storm of blasting returns. ‘Monumental Microcosm’ is an album of dizzying highs and terrifying lows, where unholy melody plays with unchecked brutality in a maddening theatre of cosmic destruction. As ‘Force Majeure’ brings us to a cloying, suffocating end we should be thankful for everything Greytomb showed us before our universe collapses around us.