(Andy Synn prepared this collection of reviews of six albums, some brand new and some from a bit earlier in the year.)
Phew… I am absolutely swamped at the moment. Writing, recording, practicing… oh, and that pesky day job… are all keeping me exceptionally busy. Plus I’m currently tackling a (thankfully) mild dose of the flu. All of which means I’m more behind than usual when it comes to reviewing new (and not so new) albums.
Still, I’m not going to let a little thing like a complete lack of time stop me from ending the week on my own terms, so here’s a handful of albums for you all to check out over the weekend.
CONSTELLATIA – THE LANGUAGE OF LIMBS
As a big fan of both Crow Black Sky and Wildernessking (the latter in particular will always have a special place in my heart) I was extremely intrigued (and excited) to hear that members of both bands (Gideon Lamprecht and Keenan Oakes) were coming together in a new project by the name of Constellatia, whose debut album is out today.
Not quite “Post Metal” and not quite “Black Metal”… but not exactly “Post-Black Metal” either… these four songs are all about tonality and texture, combining gleaming melodies and seething blastbeats, cathartic screams and soothing cleans, into a series of cinematic, introspective soundscapes perfect for long dark nights and languid, blissful days.
IMPIETY – VERSUS ALL GODS
On their first album in over seven years Singaporean savages Impiety sound like a band reborn, which I’m sure has a lot to do with the addition of a pair of new/new-ish guitarists who’ve brought not just some new blood but also some new brutality to the band’s sound.
Whatever the reason though, Versus All Gods is an uncompromising slab of pure riffosity – part Death Metal, part Black Metal, part Thrash – that rejects some of the slightly proggy (if that’s the right word) proclivities from their past work (in the sense that none of the songs here is longer than five minutes) in favour of an array of massive hooks and streamlined songs which emphasise the Thrashy nature of the band’s sound in this particular incarnation.
It’s hellishly good fun, and well worth checking out.
KOSMOKRATOR – THROUGH RUIN… BEHOLD
The debut album from these Belgian Black/Death brutalisers may be a little rough around the edges, but it also showcases more ambition than most bands display at such an early stage of their career.
Possessing a dense, viscerally dissonant sound, along with some venomously varied vocals which switch between a commanding bellow, a morbid growl, and a savage snarl, tracks like “The Push Towards Daath” and “I Am The Utterance of My Names” are as overwhelmingly ominous and blisteringly bombastic as any of the more well-known and well-established names you might care to mention, and although the inclusion of synths and spoken-word parts, doomy atmospherics, and ambient passages sometimes feels a little OTT (and probably will do until the band find the right balance of elements in the future) the sheer impact of this album can’t be understated.
ORM – IR
The oldest album here is also one of the best, featuring two spellbinding tracks of epic, dynamic, thrillingly melodic Black Metal which, when taken together, make this record one of the most powerful and progressive pieces of blackened art of 2019.
There’s not really much more to say than that. Despite both tracks being over twenty minutes long they remain engaging and electrifying throughout, equally capable of boiling your blood and chilling your bones while also tugging at your heartstrings with reckless abandon.
ORPHANAGE NAMED EARTH – SAUDADE
Polish quintet Orphanage Named Earth are (as far as I’m aware) a new name to our humble site, but their Crust-Punk-meets-Post-Metal sound will be familiar to fans of underground legends like Tragedy, Isis, and Fall of Efrafa.
And while that certainly sets a very high bar for them to reach, songs like “Cradle to Grave” and “I Look Beyond” capture and combine the very best elements of these influential names to create an impressively intense experience that’s part raw energy and part bleak beauty.
RAGNAROK – NON DEBELLICATA
“True Norwegian Black Metal”. That’s basically all I need to say here.
On their ninth album these Northern nightmares sound as angry, aggressive, and abrasive as ever, while also displaying the keen-edged experience of a band with many years, and many miles, under their collective belt.
And while there’s nothing here that pushes the genre in any new directions… that’s clearly not the point. What Ragnarok are doing here is proving their mastery of the style – when to blast, when to groove, when to be patient, and when to be ruthless – and I challenge anyone to argue that they haven’t achieved that with Non Debellicata.