Jun 052023

We’re approaching the halfway mark on 2023’s calendar, but we’ll venture the bold speculation that even by year-end you’ll have a hard time finding an album more overwhelmingly powerful in its sound and mood than Portraits, the forthcoming third album by the French atmospheric black metal band Aodon that’s set for release by Willowtip Records on June 9th. Over and over again, it takes the breath away with the monumental scale and visceral intensity of its music.

The themes of the songs are dark, and unmistakably the music is too, even in its suddenly softer phases, which provide haunting (and occasionally even hopeful) reprieves from the album’s turbulent and towering intensity. It is, to forewarn you, a harrowing series of portrayals, but so immense and immersive that it chains the senses in place, caught and consumed by the calamities and the contrasts. Continue reading »

Apr 072023


If I didn’t already know, I could have guessed this was a Bandcamp Friday from the choking flood of Bandcamp alerts, messages, and press releases that hit our in-box overnight and shows no sign of stopping. Real tough to know what to recommend, even based on the far-from-exhaustive and truly random smattering of listening I’ve done earlier this week and this morning. But below is what I came up with.

In an effort to compile a larger shopping list for you in a short amount of time, I made a rare effort to (mostly) choke off my own words down to brief gurgles.

SAMMATH (Netherlands)

I’ve had the good fortune to hear a few of the tracks on this veteran black metal band’s ferocious new album Grebbeberg. Inspired by the resistance of the Dutch army against Nazi invaders in World War II, and more specifically by the experiences of a relative of mainman Jan Kruitwagen who perished in that conflict, the album is a stunning audio rendition of extreme warfare under the most desperate conditions, and sees Sammath reaching what might be the zenith of their long career. Continue reading »

Feb 212020


The French metal band Aodon made an auspicious debut with their 2016 album Sharphood, but in the roughly four years since then, the band’s composer, lead guitarist, drummer, and screamer M-kha has clearly taken giant strides in the realization of his musical visions, as revealed on Aodon‘s new album 11069, which will be released by Willowtip Records on March 27th. The music here, which is richly textured, seamlessly combines black metal with elements of post-metal, creating immersive and emotionally evocative atmospheric sensations with harrowing intensity, blending mesmerizing melodies capable of both inducing uneasy reveries and soaring to epic heights while also channeling fury and despair with spine-tingling power.

The first single from the album, “Les Rayons“, was a rapid introduction to many of these aspects of 11069, and today we have further evidence of the album’s gripping dynamism through our premiere of the multi-faceted track “L’Infime“. Continue reading »