(Here are brief reviews by TheMadIsraeli of three 2018 black metal albums that have caught his ear.)
I’ve been busy with life, but it doesn’t mean my metal consumption has slowed down. Let’s talk about some killer black metal that’s come out this year thus far. While the number of great black metal albums this year has been smaller than in 2017 in my mind, what has come around is top-tier and I’ve picked a pretty diverse selection of three very good records.
Infestum are long-running, but for those still unaware, this Belarusian band play a style of riffy, technical, tight, and concise black metal in the vein of say, Keep Of Kalessin or Old Man’s Child, with a hint of Vader. Les Rites De Passage is a fantastic record with some diverse song-writing thanks to a very Khonsu-esque sense of industrial inclusions. The riffs of Infestum are top-notch, with a pristine sense of phrasing and drama combined with a very esoteric style of melody that I quite enjoy and vocals that definitely will bring ex-KOK vocalist Thebon to mind.
Whether it’s the scorching bombing-run of opener “Fire Be My Name”, the doom anthem “The Earth To Devour”, the industrial interlude track “Descant Of Yore”, or the frigid, shattered-mirror aesthetic of “Monstra Te Essa Bestiam”, the album delivers. A favorite of the year thus far that’s been in consistent rotation since it released.
Avslut are a delightfully straight-forward Swedish melodic black metal band who waste no time and are all about consistent blast-beats and double-bass with atmospheric, full-chorded riffing and gorgeous sinister and enigmatic lead melodies. The band’s debut full-length Deceptis is up there with the best of bands like Naglfar or Nordjevel.
Fast as fuck, unrelenting, with an odd sense of heroic melodicism meeting that blackened sinister edge, Deceptis is hard to trade for a different listen when the mood is right. The band are also reminiscent of the blackened death metal titans Noctum, choosing just the right aspects of the style from which to derive their putrid weaponized death gas. Part metallic hypnosis, part violence-inducing pit steroid, Deceptis reigns supreme in the light of a lot of its contemporaries.
Aura Noir are one of the few bands who do the “let’s modernize thrash-driven proto-black metal” thing right. They might be the only band who’ve been doing this right. The music of Aura Noire derives from the obvious classic influences of bands like Hellhammer and Celtic Frost with a bit of demo-era Kreator, and includes influences from prog/tech thrash giants like Watchtower, creating an approach to this style that really sticks out in comparison to others.
I love the powerful, raw vocals, the grinding oppressive mix, the guitar tone (which sounds like the consistent scraping of sharpened steel on sharpened steel), combined with the tight yet disjointed and melodically angular riffing. I can’t put this record down either; I love being enraptured in its state of calculated chaos.
Hope to see you guys again soon with some full reviews.