Posts Tagged ‘black metal’

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.

https://apatheia.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/GodzOvWar/

https://godzovwarproductions.bandcamp.com/

http://godzovwar.com/shop/en/

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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.

https://curseuponaprayer.bandcamp.com/album/the-three-woes

https://www.facebook.com/CurseUponAPrayer/

http://www.saturnalrecords.com/web/

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.

https://www.facebook.com/soul.dissolution/

https://souldissolution.bandcamp.com/

Vanhelga - Fredagsmys

Swedish black metallers Vanhelga released their fifth and most rounded record this June, ‘Fredagsmys’, through Osmose Productions, and it really is a culmination of everything they have built upon since their formation. Vanhelga translates as ‘profane’, and this record explores the darker side of human nature.

Opener ‘Sömnparalys’ is bleak and cold, but is also rife with the kind of Swedish black metal riffs that made Dissection so beloved. There is no shortage of ferocity and black metal tremolo waves, but there is plenty of epic melodies galloping throughout as well. The melancholic ‘Psykotisk Självinsikt’ is a wonderfully evocative piece, oozing with an almost gothic feel. The emotive ‘Ensam Mot Alla’ is a mere drop in a pool of melancholic grandeur, where black metal interplays sadly with gloomy atmospheres. The howling loneliness of ‘Keep the Window Closed’ accentuates the almost My Dying Bride level of misery.

‘Fredagsmys’ is a record that exudes fragility through its ferocity. Fearsome and strong, yet tremblingly weak in places, Vanhelga blends weeping gloom with bleak black metal fury to create a masterpiece. ‘Fredagsmys’ may not be the most ‘pure black metal’ record you’ll here this year, but it could be the most ‘pure’ black metal record. Nothing touches the bleak emotions felt here.

https://music.vanhelga.com/

https://www.facebook.com/officialvanhelga

http://osmoseproductions-label.com/bands/vanhelga/

Austrian black metallers Sanguinary Trance have just recently released ‘Wine, Song and Sacrifice’, a three track EP that has been about four years in the making. A journey back to the depths of the 90s is on the cards here, a heyday that the genre has struggled to compete with even to this day.

The droning, buzzing title track builds slowly, bringing to mind early Burzum with the incessant hum. It then explodes into relentless blasting, with a mesmerising atmosphere beset by shrieking fury. There is an epic scale of course, but the really interesting parts come within the labyrinthine melodies that play out within the frozen blizzarding riffing. There is a lot of early Darkthrone stuff in there too, and it feels like a lost second wave record come to light. ‘Carvings’ has a more measured, denser tone to it that brings a little Deathspell Omega to the table, while the closing ‘The Dionysis Whip’ has lots of weird atonal melody lines screaming through it. Almost psychedelic in nature, waves of these melodies overwhelm your senses.

‘Wine, Song and Sacrifice’ is a bloodstained love letter to the most iconic of black metal times, but with an unmistakably unique viewpoint on it. With some unforgettable moments that set your teeth on edge and make your hair stand on end, Sanguinary Trance are indeed trance invoking and the feelings it conjures are black magickal.

https://sanguinarytrance.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/winesongsacrifice/

Another new release from La Caverna Records in Colombia is a pair of demos from Colombian black metallers Siete Lagunas, collected together on CD. ‘I&II’ is also available now.

Squalling feedback leads us into the raw ‘Llegando a la primera laguna/Carco’, a track soaked in primitive and raw black metal dread. This pervasive rawness infects every song on this release, from the terrifying ‘Madremonte’ with its maddening shrieks to ‘La reina de la moscas’, an ugly, manic and yet melancholic burst of raw, bleak emotion. Siete Lagunas aren’t for those of us who enjoy density or nuance in our black metal; they are for those who seek only primal, insanity inducing carnage. Distorted noise weaves in amongst the black metal riffs, increasing the tension and uncomfortableness.

Almost disappointingly short, you’ll be reaching for that replay button as soon as the final, necro notes of ‘Oscurece en la segunda laguna’ bring us to a close. Siete Lagunas could be the future of raw black metal, steeped in dark and terrible things. ‘I&II’ is only the beginning.

https://sietelagunas.bandcamp.com/

https://lacavernarecs.bandcamp.com/album/i-ii

https://www.facebook.com/La-Caverna-Records-1576145459327889/

 

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The sixth full length album from stalwarts of the Portuguese black metal scene Black Howling, ‘Return of Primordial Stillness’ takes the core elements of the band’s depressive suicidal black metal and plays around with it a little, creating a 40 minute epic of only four tracks. It is out at the end of July on the excellent Signal Rex Records.

The shimmering instrumental opener, ‘Iberia’, has a delicious, single-minded driving urge to it; dense sludgey riffs crawl beneath a thick darkness, before ‘Celestial Syntropy’ takes us on a winding, serpentine odyssey of twisting black metal that ripples with electricity. Helpless shrieks echo around the cavernous sections, while the space created here is vast and bleak. Crushing hopelessness seeps through this black curtain of night, waiting for an end. The sweeping notes raising ‘Celestial Entropy’ from the mist into the sky is something different; soaring majestically with an predatory eye, awaiting the savagery of the kill.

As ‘Cosmic Oblivion’ fades away into the stillness of the night, Black Howling transcend into becoming more than just another black metal release this year. Their evocative, roiling black metal is both bleak and yet fragile in places. ‘Return to Primordial Stillness’ is glorious, mesmerising darkness.

https://www.facebook.com/BlackHowlingOfficial/

https://blackhowlingofficial.bandcamp.com/album/return-of-primordial-stillness

https://signalrex.bandcamp.com/

https://signalrex.com/store/