Jul 212021
 

 

This is one of those days when we risk overwhelming even the most voracious listeners who visit our site. I’ve already posted a round-up of blackened metal and a full album stream, but can’t resist using some unexpected free time to pull together another collection. This one is rife with videos, most of them accompanying advance tracks from forthcoming releases, but there’s another full album stream in the mix as well. There’s a lot of stylistic variety in the mix too.

BASTARÐUR (Iceland)

This first track came as a big surprise (at least to me). It turns out that Bastarður is the crust punk project of Sólstafir singer/guitarist Aðalbjörn Tryggvason, drawing upon the influence of such bands as Entombed, Napalm Death, Terrorizer, Motörhead, and Disfear.

He made Bastarður’s debut album, Satan’s Loss of Son, with drummer Birgir Jónsson (Dimma), and the album also includes guest vocals by Marc Grewe (Morgoth, Insidious Disease) and Prmordial’s Alan Averill, as well as guest guitar leads and soloing by Ragnar Zolberg (who has performed live bass for Sólstafir) and Þráinn Árni Baldvinsson from Skálmöld, among others. Continue reading »

Jul 212021
 

 

On Friday of this week, July 23rd, Testimony Records will release Hades Unleashed, the third full-length of the titanically powerful German death metal band Temple of Dread. It is everything that its title promises — as hellish, as electrifying, and as explosive an album as you’re likely to encounter in the realms of death metal this year.

The band’s two previous albums, Blood Craving Mantras and World Sacrifice, were damned good, but the songwriting on this new record still shows big steps forward, with even greater dynamics of tempo and mood, but without stinting on the hell-raising, bone-smashing power of the band’s attack or the astonishing insanity of the vocals. Continue reading »

Jul 212021
 

 

I didn’t try to make this usual Sunday column last Sunday. Just too weary and too hungover, which I did predict on Saturday. By waiting, I came across things that I wouldn’t have written about then, because I didn’t know about them then.

The music in this blackened roundup reinforces my belief (which is reinforced every day) that I will never become bored with extreme music. It continues to evolve, and to be filled with tremendous spirit and inventiveness.

Yeah sure, there’s a lot of boring music being made by metal bands. I encounter plenty of that. You do too. But in general, barring the lightning strike, there’s nothing good in any aspect of our lives that doesn’t require sitting in the stream with the pan in your hand, sifting for the gold until your ass is drenched and your fingers are numb. Here are some nuggets, even if they might slice your fingers and draw blood when you try to grasp them. Continue reading »

Jul 202021
 

 

One of our favorite bands, Krigsgrav, will be returning on August 6th with a new album named The Sundering, to be released through Wise Blood Records. This is their sixth full-length since 2004 and features a revised line-up that now includes not only David Sikora (drums, bass, backing clean vocals) and Justin Coleman (vocals, rhythm guitars, ambient noise), but also new lead guitarist Cody Daniels, whose name will be familiar to many of us as a member of Giant of the Mountain.

If there is a spiritual center to Krigsgrav’s amalgamation of black metal and melodic death/gloom, it is the portrayal of bleakness. In Justin Coleman‘s words, “Krigsgrav is based around beauty in darkness, our stoic internal reflection and just the smallest amount of hope that can still be found, even at life’s darkest moments.” He further explains that The Sundering in particular “is based around the dread of a natural event occurring and having no control, but trying to find the means to pull yourself together to get through it all. It is about personal perseverance in the face of absolute crushing odds that should not allow it. Our lyrical content is almost consistently about our place in this world, and how finite and fragile our existence is.”

One concrete source of this thematic focus was the devastating hurricane that decimated the then-thriving island city of Galveston in Krigsgrav’s home state of Texas in 1900 — a stunning assault of nature than left 8,000 dead in its wake. If only that were a never-to-be-repeated event, but as we all know, extreme weather events have become relentlessly more common and are likely to be an ever-present part of our experience for a long time to come. Continue reading »

Jul 202021
 

 

After three full-length albums the one-man atmospheric black metal band Arx Atrata from Nottingham, UK, joined forces with Bleakwinter Shrine for a split release named The Warrior Cycle that was revealed in April of this year. Unlike Arx Atrata‘s previous works, this was an instrumental record, but nevertheless it was one that told a story. Arx Atrata‘s alter ego Ben Sizer explains it:

The Warrior Cycle was unusual in that although it was an instrumental release it was built around a strong narrative theme, the idea coming from Bleakwinter Shrine as a way to unify our work on the split record. With no lyrics to explain it, we decided to have the storyline included in the liner notes to give listeners some additional context and help them paint the imagery in their minds while listening to the record. But there was a realization that we could go further and show the storyline visually, setting the music to a short video that really captures the essence of the theme and provides an interpretation of the events within”.

It’s that video that we’re helping to premiere today, and it really is extraordinary. The narrative theme that inspired the music is tragic, and although the events are set in an ancient time, it resonates all too powerfully in our current age. The song in the video, “Succession“, plays upon the heartstrings with mastery, and the beautifully rendered video makes the impact of the music even more heartbreaking and deeply memorable. We’re truly honored to share it. Continue reading »

Jul 202021
 

(Andy Synn discovers that an old dog can learn new tricks, courtesy of the brand new album from Lantlôs, set for release on 30 July via Prophecy Productions)

There’s an ongoing (and rather interesting) debate happening in certain corners of the Metal-sphere (yes, I know spheres don’t have corners – work with me here) about how much of an influence Pop music, and pop-culture, should have over here in the more “Extreme” part of the music world.

The problem with this debate is that, as usual, it’s mostly the loudest, most obnoxious voices dominating the conversation – from the reactionary “defenders of the faith” on one side, so committed to the idea of Metal’s inherent superiority that to even suggest it could learn anything from other genres is tantamount to blasphemy, to the weirdly self-conscious and shamefaced “pseudo-fans” on the other, who seem to spend more time apologising for Metal’s perceived failings, insisting that it needs to start emulating whatever’s popular and successful instead, than they do celebrating it on its own terms.

What both sides seem to be unaware, or wilfully ignorant, of is the fact that Metal has always taken influence from across the Pop landscape, it’s just that there’s a big difference between simply doing it… and doing it well.

And, oh my, does this album do it very, very well indeed.

Continue reading »

Jul 202021
 

 

(This is an interview conducted by Comrade Aleks with the man behind the Scottish Celtic/atmospheric black metal band Ruadh, whose latest album Eternal was released earlier this month by Northern Silence Productions.)

If you want to ask someone about the modern black metal scene, I’m the last person you should approach, as I never was a huge fan of shrieks, blast beats, goats, etc. It’s too fast most of the time, and I don’t know how you guys listen to it. But there are bands who attract even my attention with a twist of their ideology or even their music.

Ruadh caught me with the cover art for its third full-length album Eternal, released by Northern Silence on the 9th of July. Joan Llopis Doménech’s painting drew me to Tom Perrett’s music, and look – now I dig both of his first two albums Sovereign (2019) and The Rock of the Clyde (2020) too. That’s a true evidence of art’s magic power! Isn’t it?

If you were searching for new Scottish atmospheric black metal, then you have it, and Tom Perrett has a few things to tell. Continue reading »

Jul 192021
 

 

Five years have passed since Woman Is the Earth‘s last album, Torch of Our Final Night. It’s possible that some of you are thus new to this South Dakota group. If you are, Andy Synn‘s SYNN REPORT on the band wouldn’t be a bad way to get caught up, since it includes reviews and streams not only of that last album but also the three which preceded it. In that extensive essay he summed up their music as a special “blend of grim grandeur and metallic majesty”, “a brand of Black Metal that’s as heavy in atmosphere as it is in aggression, with songs that meld writhing riffage and rolling drums with passages of acoustic contemplation and ambient meditation, all without falling prey to the more generic tropes and clichés of the over-saturated ‘Post Black Metal’ scene”.

And now five years later we are about to receive a new album, which should be regarded as a signal event of this half-finished year. Entitled Dust of Forever, it will be released by the distinctive Init Records on August 20th, and is a timely reunion of these two musical forces since this year marks the label’s 20th anniversary.

Not long ago Invisible Oranges premiered the new album’s first single, “Spiritual Rot“, and today it’s our great pleasure to present the second one, “Breath of A Dying Star“, which happens to be the track that immediately precedes “Spiritual Rot”. Happily, we have a Bandcamp stream that allows you to hear them back-to-back. Continue reading »

Jul 192021
 

 

What we have for you today is the complete premiere stream of one of the most exhilarating and explosive albums of the year so far. Anyone who’s heard this Barcelona band’s 2017 debut EP Burning Torches won’t be shocked to hear that, but even devoted fans of that EP are going to have their eyes opened wider and their jaws dropped lower by what Krossfyre have achieved on the rip-roaring Rites of Extermination.

Once again, the band have stewed together a host of metal styles in a boiling cauldron, with black metal, thrash, and death metal being the most prominent. Benefitting from a more clear and cutting production, the music creates blowtorch heat and black powder explosiveness, whirling-dervish wildness and feral savagery, hellish grandeur and dire melancholy — and all of these experiences, save perhaps the last of them, simultaneously radiate an atmosphere of unchained devilry, of a coven of witches and warlocks spinning and levitating in the throes of diabolical possession. Continue reading »

Jul 192021
 

 

(This is Wil Cifer‘s review of the new album by San Francisco-based King Woman, which will be released on July 30 by Relapse Records.)

Unlike the interviews of the average metal band Kristina Esfandiari does not say this album is going in a much heavier direction than our first one, she just does it. The band’s first full-length, Created in the Image of Suffering, was heavy only by the sheer magnitude of melancholy churned from the sludgey blues it summoned. This new album, Celestial Blues, not only bears a greater emotional weight but carries a more metallic malice.

Sure many of the riffs are depressing at times, which I of course love since darkness and sonic heaviness are what I seek out in music. They lure you in with the introspective title track, teasing a few punchy dynamics. Then slowly the aggression begins to leak from the cracks of the songs. Continue reading »