Jan 042017


(For the third year in a row we invited Semjaza, the main man behind the superb Greek black metal band Thy Darkened Shade, to share with us his lists of favorite releases, and he again agreed. This year, we’ve divided his year-end thoughts into four parts, and this is the second, which flows his introductory essay and a list of the 11 2016 albums he listened to the most — here.)



i. AZAXUL “The Fleshly Tomb”

Azaxul once released a split with the grand S.V.E.S.T. This alone for me signifies that Azaxul is a great band. The Fleshly Tomb has a cavernous ’90s cult black metal sound. This album sounds like it was released around 1993. Anyone who worships this era should buy this.

Check also: A.M.S.G’s Hostis Universi Generis. An unusual breath of chaos, sinister old black metal with saxophone parts summoning forth the death of man. Amazing cover created by Wrest of Leviathan too.


ii. BLACK FUNERAL “Ankou and the Death Fire”

Black Funeral were exceptionally pioneering in the ’90s. During times when very few were real practitioners of the Left Hand Path, Black Funeral were authentically fascinating by such grave devout practises. I still remember their stance, and to this day they still inspire me. This is the return of minimal spiritual astral piercing bm. Check also, the masterpiece of dark ambient by Darkness Enshroud called Unveiled Ghostly Shadows”, channelled by Baron Drakkonian Abaddon too.


iii. BLOOD INCANTATION “Starspawn”

Technical death metal with Morbid Angel moments. Truly impressive, and it contains all the characteristics that loads of death metal bands ignore. These characteristics aren’t many, but two: admiring death and possessing authentic soul. Completely devastating drum sound here as well, amazing solos, and a voice from the grave.


iv. DJEVEL “Norske Ritualer”

Traditional Norwegian black metal benediction, the way it should be. No stardom or pretense here, just relentless devotion for the Devil. Vehemence for the destruction of the cosmic order. Absolutely recommended.


v. HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE “Dead Revolution”

This is what happens when progressive rock collides with traditional heavy metal. Remarkable musicianship with a very individual vision.




vi. HOWLS OF EBB “Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows”

Eerie originality, very appealing and eccentric sound. I am fond of albums in which I ascertain original ideas while listening again and over again. This album is a labyrinth and a rewarding experience. I can perceive some Virus moments too. Unquestionably not for those who require their music served like McDonald’s.





vii. LETHAL STEEL “Legion of the Night”

Basically this is one of the best traditional heavy metal albums of the year, no more words needed.




viii. MASTER’S HAMMER “Formulæ”

I respect Master’s Hammer and they inspire me even with their newest works. In a scene where so many old bands want to please the audience with their ”old school” yet false revivals, or by following fresh trends and totally forgetting their sound, Master’s Hammer’s antinomian ways are always hailed by me. In Formulæ they return creating again a world of their own. They don’t care about what is happening in the scene, they are just doing their will, and this is something I will always value.


ix. PROFANATICA “The Curling Flame of Blasphemy”

A solemn blend of death and black metal into one. Wicked ambience and blasphemic lyrics; just listen to the great “Host over Cup” track and be convinced forever. I am totally into the colourful sinful cover art as well.




x. PREDATORY LIGHT “Predatory Light”

Underground ecstasy, it is great when so many releases prove that the underground is alive and kicking and 9/10 times produces art with much more passion than the mainstream. Predatory Light is a black metal band with doom moments and very severe riffing; Negative Plane comes in mind sometimes here, which is always a nice thing.




xi. ROOT “Kärgeräs – Return From Oblivion”

True classic heavy metal album from these old school metal veterans. The main characteristics of the band are present here. Like the almost operatic unique voice of Big Boss and the haunted atmosphere. Great solos, great melodies, great tracks, from mid-tempo to acoustic and heavier parts. If you are not familiar with this classic band, I wholeheartedly recommend buying all the albums from their period when Blackie was their guitarist.




xii. SACRIFICIO “Guerra Eterna”

Black/death metal with an organic sound, some Hellhammer and Sodom influences, and warlike ambience. This is the black/death sound of the ’80s much more than the ’90s and I am sure that I will come back to this release even more.




xiii. SUMERLANDS “Sumerlands”

Traditional heavy metal blessedness with amazing vocals and powerful riffs. Inspired not exclusively from the early era of Ozzy Osbourne.


xiv. TEMPLE NIGHTSIDE “The Hecatomb”

Death/black from the crypt. I am totally unconvinced with most of nowadays death metal and this means that when I choose a new death metal album it is really a killer. Genuine gloomy atmosphere!


  1. Great album on this list

  2. All great choices, but it’s really great to see some recognition for Temple Nightside. That album is a monster.


  4. Love Temple Nightside and especially Vassafor. Sheesh, I hope we hear more from that project soon.

    So many great things on this list. So many more to get to know. Many thanks!

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