Posts Tagged ‘black metal’

‘Epistēmē’ is the second record from Bulgarian black metallers Dimholt, and it came out at the backend of October this year, through the band’s Bandcamp page. If I was to say that you can tell immediately that this is Eastern European black metal, I think you can guess what it sound like?

‘Death Comes First’ roars from the gate, spraying the band’s obvious early Behemoth influences everywhere, but Dimholt do not just follow in the footsteps of the dark Polish gods. Full of interesting riff patterns, atonal melodies and a savage snarl, ‘Epistēmē’ is a glorious example of modern black metal. Each song is soaked in a blackened majesty, from the regal ‘Into Darker Serenity’ through the fire breathing ‘Nether’ to the eerie instant classic ‘The Hollow Men’. This is an album never content to rest on its laurels, instead always becoming something unexpected, something new and viral. Closer ‘Aletheia’ sounds like an animal, straining to be freed, begging to be unleashed upon the world, and I feel like that is a great metaphor for Dimholt themselves.

‘Epistēmē’ is making a very late play for my black metal album of the year; this is simply tremendous stuff. Potent, swirling in black magic and a righteous fury seeps through every barbed riff and rasped howl. Just listen to ‘The Martyr’s Congregation’ and prepare yourself for the sacrifice. Fucking awesome.


Ordinul Negru - Lifeless

‘Lifeless’ is the fourth record from Romanian true black metallers Ordinul Negru, and another being rereleased by Loud Rage Music. Originally released in 2008, you can probably already guess what kind of cold, raw Transylvanian nightmares lie beneath, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Ordinul Negru are a one trick pony.

Bleak is probably the first word that springs to mind when ‘Wolves of the Ancient Forest’ springs to life. Waves of pure second wave spill from the speakers, followed by howling shrieks and an atmosphere of necrotic, icy death. This feeling of cold dread permeates every song on the record, and really takes you to the kind of eldritch darkness that you’d expect from Eastern European black metal. For some reason, even more so than their Scandinavian cousins, Eastern European countries just really GET black metal in such a primeval way. ‘Lifeless’ is another glorious example of that. I mean, just try and spy even the slightest hint of light in the suffocating ‘The Cold Spirit Arouse from a Forgotten Soul’.

There’s a mysterious black beauty about the soaring gloom of ‘Morbid Prophecy’ and ‘Serpent’s Promise’, the centrepiece 9 minute tracks that straddle the middle of the record. The first is a midpaced dirge; hypnotising in its simplicity but murky in spirit. The latter is a triumphant frosty blast of old school ferocity, with a little more speed about it but losing nothing in atmosphere. Their joint talents encapsulate everything great about ‘Lifeless’.

‘Lifeless’ is a record that leaves you drained, emotionally and mentally. The darkness on display feels really old, really pure. Ordinul Negru have tapped into a long forgotten vein of black gold, hidden amongst snow and forest and mountain. This album will leave you as a husk, albeit a very satisfied one. Awesome.

This blog started many years ago with a big focus on the Cumbrian black metal scene, as I had recently moved to the area and was enthralled by the bleak beauty of the fells and the bleak music they inspired. Nefarious Dusk’s ‘God is Dead’ single was an early gateway to it, and they are now releasing ‘The Wanderer of the Cold North’, another tribute to this cold northern realm.

The gloomy open to ‘Hodbarrow’ really ramps up the atmosphere immediately before the fiery ‘Millom’, and when the first of the four part ‘Helvellyn’ hits, the first thing you can feel is the improvements in production. A warm feeling of roundedness filters through the crisp, icy riffs and gives everything just a little more potency. The guitar work is still very much classic second wave black metal, scouring through your veins like a howling wind while a savage rasp conjures black magic from cold, dark places. What Nefarious Dusk has now is a much grander scope; despite the necrotic guitar tone and the bleak, wintry assault on the senses, ‘The Wanderer of the Cold North’ has a lot of huge spaces, reminding me of Wolves in the Throne Room.

Nefarious Dusk have really put together what you could describe as the quintessential black metal record for 2019. Holding true to the ancient evils that created this special style, ‘The Wanderer of the Cold North’ also feels fresh and new, with somewhat haunting melancholy seeping through the blizzard. Perfectly capturing the spirit of these old English places, where the land aches with primordial mystery. Superb

Ordinul Negru - Nostalgia of the Fullmoon Nights

The remastered version of Ordinul Negru’s 2011 record, ‘Nostalgia of the Fullmoon Nights’, is out now through Loud Rage Music and this allows this raw, atmospheric and miserable slab of prime Romanian black metal to reach a bigger audience than the limited release back then.

As nasty and as raw as you’d expect, the opening track ‘Into the Fullmoon Nights’ is a clattering, raging ball of fury. The primal atmosphere reminds me a lot of early Behemoth and Darkthrone, and the bleakly intense riffing is so oppressive. Is it cliche to say that it sounds like winter in the Carpathians? Because this actually does. A blizzarding assault on the senses, wrought with an Eastern European black magic, invades every riff in the icy ‘Degeneration’, while the haunting ‘Crepuscul si blestem’ serves to remind you that black metal, at its core, is all about darkness.

‘Nostalgia of the Fullmoon Nights’ is a record carved from dark Romanian mountains, where ancient magic invades the stone and the air. Ordinul Negru have captured the feel of prime second wave black metal, and this is as ideal a tribute to that style as you can hope for.

Mercy's Dirge - Live, Raw & Relentless

Mercy’s Dirge are regarded as one of the first, if not THE first Romanian black metal band, starting all the way back in 1991, but ‘Live, Raw and Relentless’ is their debut full length, released a full 18 years later. It is out now through Loud Rage Music.

‘Live, Raw and Relentless’ is a pretty apt name, for Mercy’s Dirge are all three. Despite their lack of activity over the past number of years, they are most certainly live and kicking. The rabid snarl of ‘Foreseeing the Past’, the foreboding savage chug of ‘Devilish Wish’; you are immediately hit with a primal range out of the gate. But there is a lot more going on here, with atonal melodies playing out underneath the raw exteriror. The weird, almost Atheist-like bass work in the superlative ‘The Bewitched’ is really great, while the catchy ‘Groovin’ Terror’ lets you know that some Celtic Frost tapes definitely made it into Romania. ‘Meherat’ sounds like nothing else on this record; feels almost spoken word at the start, before the black metal kicked in harshly.

My only gripe with ‘Live, Raw and Relentless’ is that it is a little long at times. They probably could’ve trimmed a little bit and made the album feel a little tighter. But the music speaks for itself, invigorating and writhing black metal that isn’t scared of trying things a little different at times. Mercy’s Dirge can continue this ‘comeback’ for as long as they want, because this is great.

scumripper - all veins cover.jpg

A band called Scumripper. On Hells Headbangers. With an album entitled ‘All Veins Blazing’. A happy romp through a land of wizards and unicorns is unlikely. This nasty, deathpunkcrust blast of violence is out now, and promises to be 20 minutes of nothing but hate.

Opener ‘Colonel Gator’ is just that, crusty black/death metal that sounds like a rabid animal chewing through your flesh. There’s an innate catchiness to it all, a rawkish call to arms to invade your local sewer and batter out some rancid tunes. Every song sounds like there’s been a hefty dose of venom secreted into the riffs, and the insertion of random samples adds to the menace. The grinding bass that opens ‘Eight Rapes a Week’ is fantastic, and it then spirals out into pure Discharge worship. My only gripe is that the songs do all sound very similar, and a little experimentation wouldn’t go amiss. Not too much though, because they don’t want to lose that tone.

‘All Veins Blazing’ doesn’t stick around for long, which means you need to slap that repeat button a few times to really scratch that itch, but the nasty punkish attack gives you plenty to think about. Scumripper need to work on their range a little bit, but they’ve totally nailed the sound.

Vordr - Vordr

Vordr (‘warden’ in Old Norse) are a band difficult to pin down. This is one of many, many releases to be self titled, so keeping a track is a little tough. This ‘Vordr’ is the full length just released this August by Terratur Possessions, and is a collection of riff heavy, minimalist Finnish black metal!

‘Erianoisiv’ opens us up with a meaty, tremolo riff that has a good gallop to it, and that is actually an apt descriptor for most of this record. It is a collection of great, black metal songs that feels like latter day Darkthrone but retaining a more traditional black metal atmosphere. The crusty rasp of ‘Goretusk’, the howling ‘Driftwood’ or the savage ‘Enchanting Fires of Pain’ all blend together into a wonderful, rampant whole of first wave darkness. Vordr have one gear, and that gear is fully engaged throughout.

The minimalist approach to black metal certainly works when executed like this, and while ‘Vordr’ isn’t overflowing with original ideas, it is a record of appealing simplicity; here is how Bathory made early black metal, now go and practice it until you can do it every time flawlessly. Nailed it.