Jun 062023

(Andy Synn presents four artists/albums from last month that you may not have checked out)

The list of bands I wasn’t able to write about in May is pretty impressive. And imposing. And, ultimately, a little disappointing.

But, the truth is, there’s only so much time in the day/week/month, which is why I wasn’t able to cover… deep breath… Concilium, Black:I, Olkoth (though we did already premiere a track from this one), Non Est Deus, Usnea, PhlebotomizedVexing, Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean (that one I really wanted to include) and more.

Still, the four albums I’ve chosen for this article are all ones I feel very strongly about, and are well worth your time, so let’s focus on them, rather than what I wasn’t able to get to!


You’ll probably hear a lot about how dissonantly heavy and abrasively technical the new album from Blindfolded and Led to the Woods is… and it certainly is both those things, especially during songs like the chaotic, Cryptopsy-esque “Methlehem”, the blast-infused title-track, and the devastatingly dense “Hands of Contrition”.

But that’s not what I’m going to focus on here.

Instead, I want to draw your attention to the more ambitious ambient and/or atmospheric embellishments which the group have incorporated even more prominently this time around, as it’s the increased focus on, and expansion of, these darker, moodier elements – signifying a significant step towards a more “Progressive Death Metal” sound for the band – while still retaining all their usual aggression and intensity, which really lifts Rejecting Obliteration above its already impressive predecessor.

Whether it’s the back-and-forth between eerie emptiness and crushing dissonance which underpins so much of “Wraith”, the captivating combination of electrifying energy and mesmerising melody which makes up “Cicada” (possibly the best track on the entire album), or the ever-present ambient aurora which infuses the frenetic frenzy of “The Waves”, the group’s willingness to temper their normal mode of attack in this way seems to have only strengthened their overall output.

Sure, it’s not 100% perfect – honestly “Monolith” is kind of a weak opener, although hypnotic-yet-heavy closer “Caustic Burns” more than makes up for it in the end – but it’s a significant step up for a band who only seem to be going from strength to strength now that they’ve truly found a sound, and direction, to call their own.


Do you like your Black Metal with a heavy dose of weird? Then the debut album from Finland’s Henget might be just the sort of thing you’re looking for.

Sitting on the same end of the spectrum of strange as the likes of Dødsengel and Dødheimsgard – and, I must say, anyone who thought the latter’s new album went a little too far into the realms of uncanny Prog-Pop will probably appreciate the harder, heavier vibe of this one – Beyond North Star finds the group toying with numerous ideas and elements that, while not totally unorthodox, are certainly atypical when it comes to what most people would think of as “Black Metal”.

Opener “Dive”, for example, combines the icy fury and driving guitars of mid-era Enslaved with the unsettling ambience of latter-day Oranssi Pazuzu – both bands who have, and do, stretch the boundaries of Black Metal without abandoning its central sound – while both the twitchy rhythms and itchy hooks of “Henkivallat” and the spiteful blasts and strange symphonics of “The Great Spiral” wouldn’t sound entirely out of place on some of Sigh‘s more intense and aggressive albums.

Sure, the fact that these similarities/comparisons can be made so clearly suggests that Henget haven’t quite stepped outside of the shadow of their influences and inspirations, but the execution throughout these eight tracks is absolutely on point, whether that’s when exploring the more unsettling and esoteric boundaries of the genre (“Lovi”) or infusing their impressively heavy assault on the senses with undertones of sinister psychedelia (“The Chalice of Life and Death”).

All in all this is a striking debut from a band who are already well on their way to developing their own voice even if – for now at least – they’re still learning the limits of their own musical language.


I’ll admit I’m cheating a little with this one, as Μ​α​ρ​μ​α​ρ​ω​μ​έ​ν​η Α​π​ό​γ​ν​ω​σ​η was actually released right at the tail-end of April. But I didn’t get to listen to it until the first week of May so… that counts, right?

Either way, this is something I’ve been wanting to write/talk about for a while, as the band’s blistering blend of Blackened Hardcore, Crust, and even some subtle Post-Metal elements (all of which, collectively, sit together seamlessly on the same spectrum) hits really hard – both sonically and emotionally.

Perhaps the best thing about this album, however, is the way that different tracks focus on and combine slightly different aspects of the group’s sound – opener “Νεκρή Τάξη”, for example, moving from a slow-burning simmer to a frantic, full-force gallop in just over three-and-a-half minutes, while “Πνέουμε τα Λοίσθια” switches seamlessly between breakneck blastbeats and gloomy grooves – while still retaining the overarching cohesion of the record.

A big part of this, of course, is the propulsive, punky vibe of the group’s overall identity, which helps tie the whole release together, especially during its back-half where tracks like “Νεκρώσιμος Ακολουθία”, “Τόπος των Λησμονημένων”, and “Σύγκορμο Ρίγος” effortlessly integrate some of the album’s heaviest, Hardcore-influenced riffs, furious, most frenetic percussive patterns, and moody, Post-Metal-inspired influences into one cohesive whole.

Definitely give this one a shot if you’re a fan of bands like Martyrdöd, Iskra, and Fall of Efrafa. I think you’ll like what you hear!


There’s no question that “Post-” Doom quintet Moor come by their heavy heart honestly. You see, sadly, just prior to the recording of the band’s debut album two of their members – Ben Laging and Christian Smukal – were diagnosed with cancer within weeks of one another. And while the contributions of both are present on the final recording, sadly Christian Smukal passed on before the record was released.

It was with his blessing that the band chose to persevere, however, and we have been gifted with a truly powerful album as a result, one whose deliciously dense, weighty riffs and relentlessly pounding percussion positively surge out of the speakers from the moment you push play, every track positively brimming with a mix of poetic pain and auditory anguish.

Sonically, the band themselves admit that though they embrace the “Doom” moniker, their music has more in common with the likes of Omega Massif and Neurosis (and certain tracks even remind me of the doomier output of beloved NCS favourites Turbid North, especially on their most recent album) without crossing over the line into what would more commonly be dubbed “Post-Metal”.

And while the opening title-track provides an almost perfect snapshot of the album’s overall sound – offering just under six-and-a-half minutes of churning, gloom-laden grooves and bleak, bellowing vocals – there’s a wealth of subtle elements and embellishments to be found just beneath the record’s pitch-black surface, from the sombre atmospherics of “Pale Grey Snow” and the solemn clean-sung vocals of “Tears From Acrid Smoke” to the winding melodic undercurrent of “Under Your Wings” and the stunning mix of prodigious heaviness and proggy songwriting which makes up closer “Breath of Nails”.

Make no mistake, this is a truly outstanding debut, and easily one of my favourite releases of the year so far.



  1. What about Ruim??

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.