Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Sacrilegious Rite - Summoned from Beyond

Germany black/death metal group Sacrilegious Rite formed from the ashes of black metallers Capitis Damnare, and their debut full length ‘Summoned from Beyond’ comes on the heels of a couple of splits and an EP. Dunkelheit Productions handled this one, and it is a record that rekindles ancient black magicks within raw and heaving darkness.

‘Missa Nigra’ sets the scene with a crackling fire, ritualistic chants and segues sleekly into ‘Sacrilegious Rite’, a blazing torrent of fiery black metal coated in choking smoke and fog. There are ominous pealing church bells, haunting slow sections that ramp up the creepy aspects while not taking away from the faster sections. Like some maddening ritual to coax dark beasts into our world, Sacrilegious Rite command both fury and tempting, cold melody as their weapons. Sure, the foggy layer draped over each song allows a certain mystical quality but underneath beats a cold heart of icy black/death. The fire breathing ‘In Absence of Light’ is my highlight, as it builds to a grand dark offering to the gods of evil.

Sacrilegious Rite bring together the best parts of black and death metal, wreathe it in ritualistic smoke and fog then add incredible songwriting talents to create a record that will be lurking around the ‘best of records we missed last year’ lists. ‘Summoned from Beyond’ is a ravager, and a must hear.


Nargaroth - Era of Threnody

If you don’t know Nargaroth, then your black metal knowledge is FALSE! The long running German black metal legend has returned with the first new full length since 2009, ‘Era of Threnody’, and it’s out on Inter Arma Productions on the 16th May. It is everything you can want from a Nargaroth record and more, channelling mainman Ash’s vision of black metal in its purest forms.

Opener ‘Dawn of Epiphany’ clambers from the mists with cold acoustic guitar before a snarling tremolo riff slices through the miasma and leads us onwards and hellbound. Ash’s cold snarl penetrates each bleak melody with savage intent, but the dynamics of this record are staggering. ‘Whither Goest Thou’ has a great mix of quieter, reflective moments and fiery black metal traditions. There are moments that soar on blackened wings where almost symphonic elements intrude, like the vast scope of ‘…As Orphans Drifting in a Desert Night’. There are also harrowing moments of black violence, like the scathing ‘Love is a Dog from Hell’ and the miserable gloom of ‘My Eternal Grief, Anguish Neverending’.

‘Era of Threnody’ is an album that encapsulates everything pure about the horrors of black metal; the cold bleakness, the snarling rage and the icy delicacies that play out upon heartless acoustic guitar. A thick production brings a warmth to the sound that previous releases have lacked, and it almost feels like ‘Era of Threnody’ has moved beyond mere lo-fi black metal hate into something a bit more rounded and sophisticated. ‘Era of Threnody’ is a triumph of black metal, and a re-establishment of Nargaroth as the underground force that they are.

Lebenssucht, which means ‘squeeze life out’, are depressive black metal with bit of dark ambience thrown in there too, and are made up of members from such bands as Humanitas Error Est, Absolutus and Clouds. ‘Fucking My Knife’ is a three track EP, out last summer on Abstruse Eerie Radiance, and captures the band squeezing negativity into a glorious rush of misery and darkness.

Opener ‘Beloved Depression’ contains all facets of the depressive black metal sounds; melancholic ambience, howling black metal riffing underpinned with a thunderous drumming performance, and a mixture of hopeless shrieks and guttural roars. A smothering, grey fog of a track that leads into the rabid ‘Until We Die’, a torrent of gloom and fury. Surprisingly energetic for a depressive black metal record, but refreshingly so.

The final, harrowing title track closes what is an impressive three track set Dark, terrifying and abrasive, ‘Fucking My Knife’ is the horrorendous full stop on this black metal story. Remarkably lively and vibrant for a depressive black metal outfit, Lebenssucht are visceral, haunting and furious in equal amounts, and ‘Fucking My Knife’ blends each element well to create something worth searching out. Thumbs up!


German brutal death destroyers Acranius have returned with their third full length record, ‘Reign of Terror’, out at the end of January on Rising Nemesis Records. Having spent almost ten years honing their craft, Acranius are a savage, slamming death machine and their new record sets out to prove them to be unconquerable.

Opener ‘Born a King’crushes with heavy impact, chugging riffs laden with weight. Brutal slam can become rather tedious, rather quickly, but Acranius keep things interesting; mixing up tempos and ferocity to keep you hooked. ‘Kingmaker’ sounds like massive rocks crashing upon the earth, and Acranius are sure to keep things moving. There’s no monotonous slamming here, with savage death metal proper on ‘Return to Violence’ and deathcore beatdowns on ‘Warpath’. ‘Reign of Terror’ is a slam death record that never compromises on the brutality or the impact, yet doesn’t use that merely as a crutch.

Acranius are about aural disembowelment, and the juddering bludgeoning of ‘Outlaw’ will almost certainly finish you off for good. The vocals are dense growls, rather than the overused pig squeals which is a big plus for me. Too often, huge deathcore riffs that could be excellent are ruined by the ‘breeeeee’ so it is a relief to be in the presence of old school death metal vocals! If these German lords of death leave anything of you alive, be sure to get this record and allow yourself to be submerged in a boiling magma of riffs. You will not regret it.

Gloomy German black metallers Bergwacht are having their ‘Jagd’ debut released through the excellent Carvetii Productions on cassette, and I found this a great opportunity to reassess their debut from last summer.

The grinding title track opens this EP, with a relentless burning slab of traditional black metal fury. But this feels like a false dawn for the behemoth ‘Vormachtsstellungen’ that follows. Opening with an ominous hum, a lonesome melodies lurking barely audible in the gloom. A cold guitar line builds a melancholic journey upwards; a movement from isolated forests towards a cold grey sky. It feels like the hypnotic riff will go on forever, until dark ambience rolls in and takes us to a looming conclusion.

Finishing with ‘Schlucht’, a more traditional propulsive black metal song with a scathing vocal, and the melancholic yet melodic ‘Outro’, ‘Jagd’ instantly stands out because it is different. Most BM bands don’t go for a 14 minute instrumental/ambient track on their debut, and with musical chops like this, Bergwacht will hopefully go far.

Far Beyond - A Frozen Flame of Ice

I first came across Far Beyond a few years ago when I was scourng YouTube for some new record ideas, and came across their ‘An Angel’s Requiem’ record from 2005. I loved what I heard, and managed to find a CD copy of it for dirt cheap online. Since then, it has grown to become one of my unsung favourite records, so when I heard that we were finally getting a follow up, I was very excited. ‘A Frozen Flame of Ice’ is out now on Aeterna Records.

Opener ‘Evernight – Part I’ is an eleven minute plus epic, a free flowing masterpiece of melodic death riffs, symphonic elements and electronic additions. Imagine getting that new Wintersun without waiting until Jari finally finishes ‘Time II’. That’s the space that Far Beyond occupy; with a vast tapestry of melodeath riffery and gleaming symphonies enhancing each step. The soloing is enough to satisfy all guitar heroes, some of the melodies would make power metal bands jealous and it is all set in this beautifully clear production.

The gloriously soaring title track is a personal highlight, but it is difficult to get through this record in just one sitting. It is a record that hits with the shine and the technical chops first time round, then on repeated listens allows you to unlock its full potential. The snowy, fantastical vibe set off by the album art is personified beautifully in the tinkling start to ‘Last Farewell’, before a cold riff kicks in the blizzard. Far Beyond have really excelled themselves here to make ‘A Frozen Flame of Ice’ into one of 2016’s best records.

A tour de force of uber melodic, guitar widdling death metal with progressive moments, savage black metal rasps and symphonic support, ‘A Frozen Flame of Ice’ is a true melting pot of metal’s most infectious traits. I challenge anyone not to be empowered by listening to this.

This atmospheric black metal collective has achieved three excellent things before the music even plays; their name is great, their album title is better and their album art is instantly evocative of what we can likely expect from this piece. Battle Dagorath are a two piece USA/Germany collaboration, whose music explores the most distant parts of this dark galaxy we call home.

‘I – Dark Dragons of the Cosmos’ is the first of what plans to be a two course release, and while the eerie signals of ‘From the Black Sun’s Fire’ call from dark corners, invocations to the black serpent in the cosmos begin with ‘Phantom Horizons Beyond’. This is bleak, relentless black metal that barely lets up, nor changes focus. You’d describe it as ‘cold’ or ‘icy’, if it didn’t have a feeling of otherworldly death about it, like there was no concept of temperature in its world. There is distorted effects, and no little melody lurking within these riffs, and it adds a very evocative feel.

Ghostly incantations to great spirits of night flow through each black ritual, and with songs so long and complexity or variety required, Battle Dagorath step up. The gloomy acoustics and keyboard that load the middle of ‘Return to Gates of Dawn’ with such emotion bears stark contrast to the rushing torrents of riffing that follow. The glorious space and melody of ‘Through the Rite of the Stars’ is a massive achievement, evoking the glacial darkness perfectly until the gradual comedown of ‘Transfixion of the Spheres’.

Battle Dagorath have created a glorious monument to the power of atmospheric black metal as an art form. The second part promises to be more than worth a listen, if they can maintain this level of craftsmanship. Futuristic yet fiercely traditional in its ethos, ‘I – Dark Dragons of the Cosmos’ praises silent unmentionable evil, with beautiful bleakness.