Written by Carcassbomb
Black metal week is upon us. Some of it is balls to the wall grim and some of it is that “hipster” post black stuff we just can’t get enough of. Noob Heavy embraces musical evolution. I haven’t listened toa huge amount of black metal but almost everything I heard was great. Let’s get into the newest recommendations followed by an overview of everything we’ve covered in 2020 thus far.
Blaze of Perdition – The Harrowing of Hearts (Feb 2020)
This would rank pretty damn high as a full review, it’s a solid album. It’s the patient kind of black metal that has a lot of theatrics and plays out to various beats. It kind of has a post hardcore approach reminding me of Birds In Row and in a way like Boss-De-Nage. The songs build up into an infectious chorus that always feels epic. More accurately it sounds a lot like I Loved You At Your Darkest by Behemoth which I actually really enjoyed before I saw Nergal clowning on the side. Królestwo Niebieskie” is the standout track for me, there’s these guitar harmonics that are full of acentuation along with howls that have sustained fade out. It gives a very gothic feel. Every song is top shelf, don’t pass up this one. The album art is bloody nice too, a piece by Izabela Grabda.
Another stand out is the 9 minute epic The Great Seducer which is the most melancholic and gothic track yet with a lot of melody and spacing on the guitar while various voices whisper and moan. This shit really appeals to me, it’s damn near a masterpiece.
KVAEN – The Funeral Pyre (Feb 2020)
Melodic speed metal? blackened melo death? It’s a very modern sounding black metal that’s difficult to draw a comparison to, I guess it’s somewhere in the middle of Children Of Bodom, Marduk and Dimmu. There’s even a breakdown at some point which absolutely caught me off guard. It somehow also shifts between this newer sound and also carrying the aesthetic of traditional heay metal rockers with all sorts of solos and general shreddery. It’s very much a multifaceted album. The production quality is spot on and considers each aspect of the sound ensuring the most is being made out of the riffs.
The artwork from Vhan Artworks & Printing is deceptively simple but closer inspection shows a remarkable amount of detail.
Lychgate – Also sprach Futura (March 2020)
Yes! Yes, this is fucking epic. Unlike anything else I’ve heard this year, it’s one of those albums that sounds like it’s cover art. There’s the clang of iron and gloomy scifi symphonics. It’s amazing. There’s so much space in such a short amount of time, the atmosphere engineering is peak here. A steady flow of music that begs for multiple listens. Symphonics are something that a lot more bands are doing lately and when applied in innovative ways it can shape the sound entirely. Lychgate use them in very intense ways, if it were any other band I’d probably use the word overbearring but Also sprach Futura always feels balanced and correctly placed. It always rings true.
The artwork is by Khaos Diktater art who I’ve covered a lot at this point because of how good his style is and unlike some of the popular metal artists, he presents a lot variation.
Korgonthurus – Kuolleestasyntynyt (March 2020)
Incase you cant tell by the name and album title, this band is from Finland. Filthy black metal isn’t a term I often use but it’s fitting here, there’s a lot of low bass with rhythms that charge forward. There’s so much chaos, much of it created by the vocalist who quite literally just shireks in such a way I haven’t really heartd since Silencer. They do a suprising amount with it including some post production effcts – it makes some shifts you don’t quite expect where the constant screaming becomes harmonious and choirlike in some moments.
Hangatyr – Kalt (March 2020)
A German duo that has a Deafheaven vibe using brighter notes but the black metal here is far more raw than typical of any post black, it’s like post DSBM. The vocals are appealing with a variation between mid range growls and high pitched howls that sway with the tremelo picking. The drumming is a constant flow of smashing high hats and blast beats, it’s very noisy and active. The guitar is the most simple of all main relying on tremelo picking and the occasional chord strum, like I said it has quite a bright sound to the notes staying on the higher end almost always. This focus on the high notes throughout the music doesn’t detract from the crushing misery and despair one bit.
The overall sound does get quite single minded and repetitive, it won’t bother those of you who play music just to have a flurry of sound take up space in your background.
Lowest scoring: Voidfire – Ogień Pustki (7.5/10)
Best Artwork: Voidfire – Ogień Pustki (7.5/10)
Azoth – Magnitude of Extinction (9.5/10)
“Different from other black metal bands, they managed to bring listeners to enjoy the complete song emotionally, this band cannot be underestimated.” – Monorthern
L’Homme Absurde – Belong (9/10)
“I’m in love with this underground Russian music scene of post black metal and hardcore hybrids” – Carcassbomb
Izthmi – The Arrow Of Our Ways (8.7/10)
“Vocally it sounds like the band is fronted by a Drowner from The Witcher” – Carcassbomb
“While most of the album is fast and harsh, make no mistake, there is plenty of ambience and atmosphere” – Zax
Snorlax – II (8.5/10)
“this often sounds like the devil taking a shit on a red hot toilet. It sounds like the wind howling through a shotgun wound.” – Carcassbomb
Asarhaddon – Reysa (8/10)
“It has the same feeling of an atmospheric black metal album but none of the synth or atmospheric elements being used to achieve that end.” – Alex
“They utilize some incredibly unsettling and textured soundscapes, complete with mysterious whispers, glitchy instrumentals, and ominous singing.” – Zax
Voidfire – Ogień Pustki (7.5/10)
“The unassuming clean guitar opening really sets the mood for melancholy before storming unto some raw black metal, hold the melody, it’s time will come.” – Carcassbomb
Yoth_Iria – Under His Sway (Microdose)
“there’s a galloping power chord rhythm that is just as likely to give way to chanting as often as it does black metal shrieks.” – Carcassbomb
Nipenthis – Scourge Of The Stars (Microdose)
“It’s a well constructed album that has a lot of melancholy and atmospherics without losing the punch or drifting too far into post black metal territory.” – Carcassbomb
Avern – Witch’s Eyes (Microdose)
“Hailing from Spain, this project fuses black metal and heavy metal with a punk approach. It’s dark but it also grooves pretty well.” – Carcassbomb
Modarin – In The Distance… (Microdose)
“It very much feels like a musical exploration of feelings rather than concise songs, it’s quite explorative.” – Carcassbomb
Aodon – 11069 March 27th (9.5/10)
“This album has everything going for it, it’s well presented, it’s intelligent and it’s emotional. It’s one of the most sophisticated atmospheric black metal records I’ve ever heard.” – Carcassbomb
Wardaemonic – Acts Of Repentance (9.5/10)
“There’s a lot of versatility behind the kit on this one that generates a huge punch when needed as well as a flurry of little punches to accentuate moments where other bands don’t see opportunity.” – Carcassbomb