Posts Tagged ‘black metal’

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.


Apatheia - Konstelacja dziur

Polish black metallers Apatheia have a grand legacy to live up to in their native land, and while it is totally unfair to judge them based on other Polish black metal luminaries, it is sadly inevitable. I will try hard not to. ‘Konstelacja Dziur’ is out now through the excellent Godz of War Productions.

Opener ‘Odmętnia’ hits immediately with a midpaced riff, before blasting takes over. There is an inherent coldness to this song, not in the typical ‘black metal is winter’ type cold, but more of a detached, heartless way. Burning riffs swoop in and out of sight, as scowling vocals rasp over the top. Apatheia have carved themselves a great sound; not too tinpot and rattling nor dense and indistinct. The production lends a thickness to the songs, but there is a clarity that enhances the fury of ‘Raj’ and especially the dark, atonal miasma of ‘Złudzenie Życia’.

‘Konstelacja Dziur’ is an album that provides exactly what you’d expect from a Polish black metal band. There’s great songwriting, dark and bleak atmosphere and a blasphemy that ripples quietly within. Apatheia are a triumphant example of what keeps the black metal flame burning.

Curse upon a Prayer - The Three Woes

Finnish black metallers Curse Upon a Prayer dropped their hotly anticipated new EP ‘The Three Woes’ back in July on Saturnal Records, and it is a three prong assault of highly traditional black metal hatred from a band that draws attention due to its anti-Islamic themes. However that doesn’t really come across a huge amount in their lyrical content.

‘Let Thy Kingdom Come’ is a howling thrust of classic black metal coldness, where raspy shrieks haunt blastbeat laden riffs, and the second wave gods are appeased. The fiercely melodic and gloomy ‘Thou Shalt be Cursed’ is more reminiscient of the likes of Gorgoroth than their Finnish brethren, and it allows Curse Upon a Prayer to not just be another BM band squeezed from their home soil. Blasphemies reign supreme throughout the closing beast ‘Woe! Woe! Woe!’ as well, bringing us to a disappointingly early finish. It is a masterful piece of regal, melodic black metal that will be a definite mainstay in my best songs for 2018.

‘The Three Woes’ is a superb EP, full of fire and rage, bringing forth fearsome blasphemy that will scald and flay you. Hopefully there will only be a short wait until their next full length, becasue Curse Upon a Prayer are incredible.

Soul Dissolution - Nowhere

Belgian black metallers Soul Dissolution are dropping a new EP this autumn in cooperation with Russian label, GS Productions. This two track atmospheric black metal piece is a follow up to the stellar ‘Stardust’, released earlier in the year.

Opener ‘Road to Nowhere’ builds with delicate tones before erupting into grandiose, sweeping black metal ferocity. Soul Dissolution create this fantastic grasp of space, of vastness and bleak, lonely atmospheres. Gliding through night skies, searching for a conclusion to a tapestry of weeping coldness. Soulful lead guitar breaks through at points near the end, adding icy melodies to the piece. Second track ‘Fading Darkness’ pulls a little more from early Alcest, and there are traces of early Katatonia and Agalloch in there too; where a bit of melancholic heft is added.

As a follow up to ‘Stardust’, ‘Nowhere’ is a little more fragile and more drawn out, but nonetheless just as dark and beautiful. Soul Dissolution only arrived on my radar this year, but I am quite taken with them, adn I think you will be too.