Mar 112013

As an enthusiastic admirer of this German band’s 2010 album Leere (reviewed here), I welcomed the chance to hear their newest work Schwarz-Karg-Kalt (“black-barren-cold”), which is due for release next month. In a word, it’s excellent.

Uniting elements of black metal, death metal, and doom, Thorngoth have delivered a monster of an album that’s both massively powerful and mesmerizing, both harrowing and ethereal. It’s atmospheric music, but unlike some forms of metal labeled with that term, it doesn’t rely on ambient sounds, prolonged repetition of motifs, or songs of extended length. Instead, Thorngoth build an aura of enveloping darkness and doom through the accumulated weight of the music across the space of nine tracks.

The title song, which opens the album, is an effective introduction to Thorngoth’s plan of attack. It employs huge distorted bass and guitar riffs and compelling drum rhythms, creating a titanic low end that radiates power as a result of the superb production of the recording. As happens on other songs, shimmering keyboard effects and layered, reverberating guitar notes provide a counterpoint and a contrast. Continue reading »

Feb 102013

Here’s our second installment, with one more coming, of a Sunday smorgasbord of new metal for your entertainment and edification. Once again, we’re graced with brand new music from three old favorites around these parts. Let’s cut right to the chase:


This Illinois band is a big favorite of ours; all of our previous ravings about them can be found here. Their last album, 2011’s Omens, garnered these words of praise from Andy Synn: “One of this year’s great discoveries, A Hill To Die Upon ply their trade in the bloodstained arena of blackened death metal, taking their cues from the crushing power of Satanica-era Behemoth and the decaying grooves of Sheol-era Naglfar all wrapped up in a monumental package of fire-brand riffage and pulsing drums that recalls Immortal in their prime.”

Yesterday, A Hill To Die Upon released a new single named “manden med leen”, which can be acquired for the dirt-cheap price of $1 on Bandcamp. The mid-paced song is majestic and magnetic (in part due to the effective addition of keyboards to the band’s repertoire), and includes an unexpected and quite interesting acoustic-sounding interlude. But at its core it still rips and crushes. Killer stuff. Continue reading »

Aug 152010

With their just-released third album, entitled Leere, Germany’s Thorngoth has created an opus of searingly intense but hauntingly beautiful black music.

In English, the German word “leere” means emptiness, and in assorted German-language interviews the band’s principal creative force, Sorath, has explained that the album is intended to reflect aspects of our current time — in which much of human society experiences emotional emptiness in their daily lives and a depressive hollowness, devoid of meaning.

As a reflection of that concept, Leere is indeed filled with melancholy. The music creates an atmosphere that’s dark and brooding. Yet it’s also piercing and impassioned, charged with hammering rhythms and attention-grabbing bursts of technicality. Regardless of the underlying concept, the music itself is anything but empty. Listening to the whole album in a single sitting is a completely enveloping experience that’s both dreamlike and headbangingly intense.

With the exception of a short instrumental track, called “In der leere” (into the void), the songs on the album have no titles other than Roman numerals — “Leere I” through “Leere VIII”. So the titles don’t give many clues about the songs’ meaning. In addition, Thorngoth’s vocalist, Akhorahil, sings in German, and we’re not sure we could make out all the words even if he were singing in English.

But those Sorath interviews do give more clues to what’s going on lyrically.  (more after the jump, including a song to hear . . . ) Continue reading »