Nov 202016



As you can see, this is the second part of a two-part post that I began earlier today (here). Both parts were combined in a single post as I originally wrote it. But even though I throttled back my usual wordiness in order to get it finished and make it more digestible, I eventually concluded that a 10-band post was still too much for a single serving.

Part 1 of this post focused mainly on advance tracks from forthcoming albums. Now I’m moving away from individual songs and into full album and EP streams — which means I’m really giving short shrift in my words to music that’s deserving of more fulsome praise. I do wish I had time to say more, because although the band names may be obscure, these releases are really very good. I hope you’ll make time to give each of them a fair listen.


Album: Monsters
Release date: October 25
Country: Russia
Order link:

Monsters is a compelling debut album, part black metal and part post-metal, both heavy as hell and completely captivating. Well-written songs that combine gripping, usually dark melodies and big rhythmic headbang triggers, performed with impressive skill (the drumming in particular is off the hook). The songs also include fiery, jugular-shredding vocal intensity.

The opening track “Sold” is a real eye-opener, strong enough to pull a good listener all the way in, body and soul, and the rest of the dynamic ride is well worth the trip.










Album: Coughing Blood (2) (EP)
Release date: October 31
Country: U.S. (Sacramento)
Order link:

A huge surprise — unless you heard the band’s first demo from 2015 (reviewed here), in which case you’ll already have a sense of how powerful this duo’s music can be. Atmospherically, these two songs are tremendously ominous and threatening, thanks in part to the monstrous reverberating growls and maniacal wolf-like howls, but the songs are impressively multifaceted, combining brute-force skull-battering, haunting keyboard melodies, and a phalanx of killer riffs.

GraveCoven pack a lot of dynamic changes into both songs, creating an electrifying two-track offering of powerhouse black/death majesty and terror. I bet it won’t be long before some wise label picks this up for a physical release.










Album: Journey Towards Ruin
Release date: October 4
Country: Switzerland
Order link:

Distortion-coated riffs; a powerfully thrumming bass, a voice that sounds like it’s coming from a man engulfed in flames; a mix of intense, atmospheric melodies, from the dismal and portentous to the throes of unhinged agony to sweeping panoramas; and a drummer whose rhythms and progressions are in constant flux.

A depressive air surrounds much of the music; in its most beautifully melancholic moments, it pulls hard on the heart strings; in its most explosive passages, it’s staggering in its power. Richly textured, emotionally affecting, often devastating music. A very impressive full-length debut from this Swiss band.










Album: Demo (EP)
Release date: September 27
Country: Iceland
Order link:

Yet another black metal band (formerly named Skuggsjá) from a small country that seems overflowing with them — and based on the two tracks on this new demo, yet another Icelandic winner. Nyrst pay homage to their grim and icy Scandinavian antecedents with atmospherically bleak and perilous melodies, while adding deathly growls and raw, ruinous yells. The mid-paced parts flow like congealing blood in a sub-zero clime, while an ancient barbarism springs to mind when they put the spurs to their steeds.










Album: Anguish
Release date: November 13
Country: U.S. (Seattle)
Order link:

I deeply regret not being able to write more about this album by Seattle’s Verminlord, which is the solo creation of one Teo Acosta, because it’s SO GOOD! His vocals may take some getting-used-to; they’re a combination of nails raking down the chalkboard and wretched regurgitations of bile (except for the very good clean vocals in the second and last tracks). But their intensity may actually grow on you, and even if they don’t, the songs they accompany are so beautifully crafted and captivating that I doubt you’ll mind.

The songs have a huge, heaving low-end power and a tense, unsettling atmosphere that matches the album’s title. They include fascinating, layered guitar work with tonalities that range from crystalline to abrading, a spectrum of dark, gothic moods that move from degraded and hallucinatory to infernally seething and deranged, and dynamic changes in intensity.

Verminlord also draws upon a variety of musical traditions, making the album a difficult one to characterize in simple genre terms — it’s definitely more exotic than conventional black metal. But man, each song is a gem, with character and staying power. And as one final accolade, the music is produced in a way that gives it a clear and vibrant sound, matching the rich vitality of the music.



  1. That Vermin Lord cover is somehow more disturbing than the usual human-related gory covers of other bands…


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