Posts Tagged ‘black metal’

Dalkhu - Lamentation and Ardent Fire

Slovenian black metallers Dalkhu have impressed me in the past with previous album ‘Descend…into Nothingness’ which I reviewed here. Therefore, their new record on Godz ov War Productions, Lamentation and Ardent Fire’, really has big shoes to fill. Let’s see if they can equal or even improve.

Opener ‘Profanity Galore’ builds slowly, with tribal drumming coupling with cold melodies and then a jagged thrust of molten black metal spews forth. Dalkhu balance the fine line of fiery, fearsome black metal with dashes of ice cold melody, like snowfall on lava. ‘I Am’ gallops like prime Marduk; an endless torrent of thrashing riffs that flow from the depths of hell. Dalkhu’s attack is nothing short of relentless, and even when the pace slows slightly, there is an air of menace lurking there in the darkness of ‘A Race Without Hope’, ready to bite the seeking hand.

While devastating us with blackened death rage in the likes of ‘Gaps of Existence’, or claiming our souls in the more menacing moments, Dalkhu build on the great work they started with ‘Descend…into Nothingness’ and create something even darker and heavier. ‘Lamentation and Ardent Fire’ will probably be an underrated record this year, but it is a stunning piece of music and deserves your attention.


British black metallers Aklash approach their craft with a grandiose spirit and a lack of respect for the classic black and white aesthetic of the genre. Look at that album art, it’s a wonderful cavalcade of colour, that rather suits their broad palette of musical talent. ‘Where the Ocean Meets the Sky’ is out now through their Bandcamp.

‘Cascading Darkness’ pours from the speakers like a rush of icy water, riffs flowing between blastbeating rocks and overlaid with a misted haze of at once clean and then raw vocals. The deft switches between cleaner vocals and the more savage ones is well done, and feels natural. It gives the record a natural tinge of folk metal to it as well as black. There is a vast scope to the epic ‘All Noble Deeds Are Touched With Melancholy’, casting an ethereal mist upon a mid paced black metal odyssey that continues throughout the three part title track. There’s more than a dash of the psychedelic nature of The Meads of Asphodel in places that helps them stand out from the crowd too. That part three of the title track by the way; a defining take on the term tour de force.

‘Where the Ocean Meets the Sky’ is a wonderful record that has a really expansive take on black metal, and allows all facets of raw, atmospheric and sometimes a little weird come out to play. Harsh and uncompromising at times, delicate and introspective at others, Aklash are a complete package.


Yeah I’m going to come straight and tell you that I don’t know how to pronounce either the band or the album title, but I am sure intrigued. Aztec, Mayan, Incan; these are not elements of world culture that appears often in metal, so that when I found Tezcatlipoca’s new record I was definitely interested. ‘Tlayohualtlapelani’ is out now through Iron Bonehead Records.

You feel like this record is going to be pretty standard black metal, particularly at the start of opener ‘Notlacahcahualiz Ica Yetztli, Cipactli’, but strange little background elements begin to play a role. Eerie noises weave into between the fiery, cavernous black metal tremolo. The sinister ‘Huey Tlatoani’ is a perfect example of that, conjuring images of darkened rituals done in dark caves. Searing guitar tones wail over blasting rage, while the vocals spout fearsome rasps and growls.

The unnerving incantations of ‘Macuil Xochitl Icic’ is just one example of where those ancient cultures lay scorched fingers upon this record, sitting nicely in the middle of a record that continues to burn with a raging passion. The molten fury of ‘Tlacatl Tlein In Mimiqueh Icah Tlahtoa’, the howling ‘Chichimeca, Yaotecatl Ayamictlan’ and particularly the imperious ‘In Tzinacan Itlayohualpatlaniliz’ lay Tezcatlipoca’s claim to be the kings of Mexican black metal, and a mighty claim it is. I’ve never heard anything that sounds like this.

‘Tlayohualtlpelani’ is a record replete with moments of terrifying black metal, stuff that goes beyond the usual necrotic fetishism. Tezcatlipoca draw deep from ancient and untouched evils, and their take on the genre is fresh, authentic and truly indicative of the fact that this world is full of olden evils we are not aware. Excellent.

One man Ukrainian outfit Haissem’s new record ‘Demonotone’ is coming out soon, and it follows this year’s ‘Panacea for an Cursed Race’. The Ukrainian and Russian scenes seem to provide some of the best black metal out there today, so it is always a pleasure to get into that part of the underground where possible.

This is a much more brutal black metal album than I was expected, with chugging death metal riffing slathered in a horribly dark atmosphere. The production is suitably raw as well, never losing the weight of the riffing but definitely adding a nasty edge to the likes of ‘Internal Void’ and the primal hatred of ‘The Shadowhunt’. Manic rasps clash with the guttural growling, while the injection of some nice soloing is another string to this bloodied bow. Haissem seem to draw more from the South American scene, (where basically everything is black/death and primitive) than their local one but it makes a nice change.

Defying my expectations of just another Drudkh clone, Haissem keep it deathly in a record that often sounds almost as death metal as it does black. A healthy dose of brutality helps to keep things interesting and fresh, and some of the songwriting is really good. Definitely worth looking out for.


Due out in December, the tenth album from prolific Greek underground black metal legends Dødsferd is another cementing of their legacy as one of the hardest working bands in the area. ‘Diseased Remnants of a Dying World’ continues their path from punkish black metal into depressive atmospheres to create an album of truly ethereal and poisonous intentions. It’ll be out through Transcending Obscurity on the 14th of December.

The opening section to ‘My Father My Wrath!’ is one of those opens to a song that you’ll never forget. Bleak, ominous and with a measured, icy pace, it sets the scene immediately for the 50 odd minutes of misery to come. Eerie clean vocals follow a winding path, before the black metal torrent that is ‘An Existence Without Purpose’ pours forth like molten magma. A raging black inferno, with spiralling riffing and a great, crunchy guitar tone that you can really get into, it then opens into a more expansive slice of blackened majesty. Once you feel like you’ve grasped what Dødsferd are trying to attain, the goalposts move, and the ghostly shrieks that pervades the title track and particularly the potent ‘Loyal to the Black Oath’ will leave you breathless.

‘Diseased Remnants of a Dying World’ feels like a very introspective black metal record, where speed and fury isn’t necessarily the key to unlock the ethereal mysteries of this world. Taking cue from the masters of soaring, miserable black metal grandness, Dødsferd are here with a record that will delight and confound with every twist.


Space age black metal is a new concept for me, but Imperialist take the galloping black/thrash greatness of Necrophobic and Dissection, and give it a shiny, cosmic coat of paint with the stunnign new album ‘Cipher’. Expect great things from yet another top end release from my friends at Transcending Obscurity, released today as of this review!

The pseudo grandiosity of intro ‘Continuum’ soon gives way to spiralling cyberpunk black thrash goodness in ‘The Singularity’. You’re faced with some absolutely superb Bay Area style thrash, drowning in a thick, black metal tar that coats everything with a dose of rawness. The gallop of ‘Advent Anathema’ keeps things at a high pace, and the more overtly black metal elements begin to come into play. Raspy but clear vocals are a highlight, as are the cascading variety in riffs. Parts of ‘Chronochasm’ give you that imperious (sorry) vibe that latter Marduk gives you at times, while the icy bleakness of ‘Umbra Tempest’ plays into the vast, heartless realms of space motiff Imperialist are going for.

The icy bleakness of black metal really works with the concept of the endless blackness of space, and Imperialist manage to convey this well. Their songwriting is tight and expansive, and ‘Cipher’ is a record of dizzying highs and impressive scale. Ambitious, sprawling black metal that isn’t blackgaze is hard to find, so grab Imperialist while you can.


A harrowing trip through the psyche of fellow Spaniards Wormed’s Phlegethon, Lifelost are releasing ‘Dialogues from Beyond’ through Transcending Obscurity at the end of October, and despite its short running time is a darkly psychedelic black metal trip that is both expansive and violent. Actually, the Xasthur-esque band logo should’ve given it away sooner…

Opener ‘Malign Emanatio’ is dense, travelling along atonal pathways towards a darkened centre. It follows the same kind of style as the likes of Portal, Deathspell, Blut Aus Nord, with that little something that makes you feel uneasy. The sickening ‘Sepuchral Vault’ roils with queasy tremolo riffing, while rasping groans ooze from slippery melodies. A more oppressive, unsettling record you would struggle to find this year, and while the opening tones of ‘Metanoia’ saw through your nerves, you are reminded how black metal is supposed to be uncomfortable and evocative.

At only 23 minutes, ‘Dialogues from Beyond’ is disappointingly short, as you feel that Lifelost is just getting into its stride when the end of ‘Incorporeal Gate’ comes crashing through. But that will not stop you putting the whole thing right back on again. Like a nasty pharmaceutical addiction, this is a record that feels like you’re being poisoned but yet you cannot stop listening. Essential stuff.