Album Review – Creptum / VAMA (2020)

An unrelenting horde hailing from Brazil is ready to distill their raw, unfiltered Black Metal armed with their sulfurous new opus.

Formed in the already distant year of 2001 in the city of São Paulo, Brazil under the name Nekros with the sole objective of distilling Black Metal in its rawest aspect, an obscure Black Metal entity currently known as Creptum has just unleashed upon humanity their sophomore effort entitled VAMA, the follow-up to their 2016 debut opus Of Lies, Curses and Blood and their 2017 EP Reborn in Flames. Produced by Marcos Cerutti and featuring a blood-red artwork by Brazilian designer Raphael Grizilli, VAMA will certainly please all diehard fans of the old school Black Metal blasted by renowned acts such as Marduk, Gorgoroth, Sarcófago and Dark Funeral, among others, showcasing all the talent and obscurity by the band’s renewed lineup featuring vocalist and guitarist Nebro, guitarist T. Aversvs, bassist Corvo and drummer Animus Atra, positioning such distinct horde as one of the most interesting names of the underground Brazilian scene.

Animus Atra begins hammering his drums vigorously accompanied by the Black Metal riffage by Nebro and T. Aversvs in the opening aria Earth, while Nebro barks like a rabid beast nonstop, also bringing an ominous aura from Atmospheric Black Metal, whereas sounding more enraged, heavier and more demonic, the band goes full Black Metal in Reborn in Darkness, tailored for fans of the scorching music by Marduk and Darkthrone, with Nebro and T. Aversvs once again slashing our ears with their blasphemous riffs supported by the low-tuned, menacing bass by Corvus. Then strident guitar lines permeate the air in the also venomous 156, a hard-hitting, metallic extravaganza led by the band’s infernal kitchen of Corvus and Animus Atra, living up to the legacy of classic Black Metal infused with melodic nuances, followed by The Moon Above, bringing forward cryptic words vociferated by Nebro (“I hear the pounding of drums / My bones shiver with their sound / And I feel my heart, I feel my heart racing / I feel the dirt beneath my feet, / The transmutation of black moon above me / I feel the heat of the battles / That are now happening within”) while his bandmates keep the ambience as dense, ominous and electrifying as possible.

The title-track VAMA is another Stygian composition where the entire band adds hints of Doom Metal to their already sulfurous Black Metal, with Animus Atra alternating between vicious blast beats and sluggish, phantasmagorical passages, sounding utterly detailed and captivating from start to finish; and the acoustic instrumental tune Kundaliní gives us a few moments of introspection and peace before all hell breaks loose in Revolution Within, a disruptive onrush of Black Metal sounds spearheaded by Animus Atra and his demented drums, with Nebro growling deeply and rabidly while Corvo is unstoppable with her wicked bass punches. Creptum don’t stop darkening the skies and our souls with their imposing and epic Black Metal sonority in Devouring Mother, sounding as if Immortal and Mayhem had a bastard son while the gruesome gnarls by Nebro penetrate deep inside your psyche, until the closing tune On My Skin brings to our ears a few brief moments of serenity before the quartet crushes our skulls one last time with their heavy-as-hell sound, presenting a neck-breaking rhythm led by Animus Atra’s classic beats.

This fantastic display of South American Black Metal can be appreciated in full on Spotify, but of course if you want to show your true support and admiration for this Brazilian horde you should definitely purchase VAMA from their own BandCamp page, from the Drakker Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore, from Apple Music or from Amazon. In addition, don’t forget to follow Creptum on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube for news, tour dates and more of their incendiary music, consequently proving you’re a true disciple of the underworld. VAMA is not just another album of Black Metal, but a bold statement by a band that is fully dedicated to such obscure subgenre of heavy music, and above that, to show Brazil can also be an excellent source of the most extreme type of music you can think of.

Best moments of the album: Reborn in Darkness, VAMA and Devouring Mother.

Worst moments of the album: Earth.

Released in 2020 Drakkar Productions

Track listing
1. Earth 4:48
2. Reborn in Darkness 5:00
3. 156 4:52
4. The Moon Above 3:35
5. VAMA 5:59
6. Kundaliní 3:39
7. Revolution Within 3:35
8. Devouring Mother 4:48
9. On My Skin 4:31

Band members
Nebro – vocals, guitar
T. Aversvs – guitar, bass
Corvo – bass
Animus Atra – drums

Guest musician
Tanatos – additional vocals
Deimous Nefus – guitar

Album Review – Mazikeen / The Solace of Death (2020)

A beastly album of Symphonic Death and Black Metal from Australia that proves death can be comforting when enfolded by first-class extreme music.

What started in 2013 in Melbourne, Australia as a solo project by guitarist Andrew Shiells with the help from Chris Meyer (from Australian Black Metal act Aberration Nexus), who recorded some drums and synths for the project’s first demo tracks, has evolved to a much bolder and multi-layered beast in recent years, blasting a crushing hybrid of Symphonic Death and Black Metal with other extreme styles such as Melodic Death Metal and old school Black Metal. I’m talking about Mazikeen (based on the Hebrew word “mazzikim”, meaning “harmful spirits”), an infernal horde comprised of the aforementioned Andrew Shiells and his henchmen James Edmeades (Claret Ash) on vocals, Kris Marchant on the guitars, Aretstikapha (Plasmodium, Klavierkrieger) on piano and synths, and Marco Pitrruzzella (Six Feet Under, Sleep Terror) on drums, who are unleashing upon us their first full-length opus titled The Solace of Death, featuring eight original songs and four insane cover tracks throughout impressive 67 minutes of music, all embraced by the stylish and sinister artwork by Australian artist Jamie Ludbrooke.

An eerie, phantasmagorical intro evolves into a feast of symphonic and dark sounds in the opening track The Solace Of Death, where Marco is absolutely infernal with his blast beats while James delivers his Dani Filth/Shagrath-inspired roars and gnarls, supported by the imposing synths by Andrew and Aretstikapha, whereas in Apostate it’s time for ten minutes of Symphonic Black Metal infused with Doom and Melodic Death Metal nuances where the guitars by Kris and Andrew sound sharp and very harmonious just the way we like it in extreme music. Brutal and enthralling form start to finish, this great composition lives up to the legacy of bands like Emperor, Dimmu Borgir and Carpathian Forest, which can also be said about Vexation Through The Golden Sun, even more obscure, violent and epic than its predecessors, spearheaded by the insane drums by Marco while his bandmates make sure every empty space in the air is filled with darkness and evil, resulting in a lecture in modern-day Symphonic Black Metal full of breaks and variations, Stygian passages and even some serene, acoustic moments for our total delight. And featuring guest vocals by Josh Young (Astral Winter, Atra Vetosus), Mazikeen go full Scandinavian Black Metal in Fractricide, inspired by the trailblazers of the genre such as Mayhem and Emperor, blasting a demolishing sonority that will make your head tremble nonstop.

Josh returns with his wicked gnarls in the melancholic and somber Psychotic Reign, starting in a Gothic Metal-ish vibe while also presenting elements from Atmospheric Black Metal in its core essence. Moreover, I personally love the paradox created between Marco’s stone crushing beats and all background keys and symphonic elements, giving the whole song and extra touch of eccentricity, flowing into the cryptic and atmospheric instrumental bridge Harrowing Cessation, which also develops into a romantic instrumental ballad entitled MORS VINCIT OMNIA, or “death conquers all” from Latin, where the strength and depth of the piano notes take the lead and guide the music until its inevitable and grim ending. And in the last original song from the album, Cerulean Last Night, Mazikeen get back to a more ferocious and visceral mode, uniting the most piercing elements from old school Black Metal and contemporary Symphonic Black Metal spiced up by the visceral guest vocals by Ian McLean (The Maledict).

The last batch of songs in The Solace of Death is the band’s own tribute to their biggest idols and influences, starting with Mayhem’s Freezing Moon, originally released in the 1994 cult album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (check the original version HERE), with Mazikeen’s version featuring the vicious vocals by guest Ashahalasin (Inhuman Remnants, Somnium Nox) infernally complemented by the pulverizing drums by Marco, followed by Disection’s Night’s Blood, from the 1995 album Storm of the Light’s Bane, as bestial as the original song with Kris and Andrew delivering sheer electricity and rage through their scorching riffs. Then we have a cover for Dimmu Borgir’s Mourning Palace, from the 1997 album Enthrone Darkness Triumphant (you can listen to the original one HERE), where James does a fantastic job on vocals accompanied by the whimsical keys and synths by Andrew and Aretstikapha. And finally, Ashahalasin returns for their cover song for Darkthrone’s Transilvanian Hunger, from the 1994 album Transilvanian Hunger, as raw and malevolent as the original tune, with Marco once again taking the lead firing endless dementia and wrath from his blast beats.

You can enjoy this precious gem of Australian Black Metal in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and also grab your copy of the album from the Satanath Records’ BandCamp page, from the Iron, Blood & Death Corporation’s BandCamp page, from Apple Music, or click HERE for all options where you can buy or stream the album. Mazikeen can also be found on Facebook, where you can know more about the band, their tour dates, their music and plans for the future, proudly carrying the flag of Black Metal wherever they go. In a nutshell, Andrew and his horde from Mazikeen nailed it in The Solace of Death, showing us all that death can be indeed comforting, especially if enfolded by a good amount of first-class Black Metal like the sonic devastation blasted by such distinct band hailing from the always inspiring Australia.

Best moments of the album: Vexation Through The Golden Sun, Fractricide and Night’s Blood.

Worst moments of the album: Harrowing Cessation.

Released in 2020 Satanath Records/Iron, Blood & Death Corporation

Track listing
1. The Solace Of Death 6:57
2. Apostate 10:05
3. Vexation Through The Golden Sun 10:46
4. Fractricide 4:54
5. Psychotic Reign 7:00
6. Harrowing Cessation 2:30
7. MORS VINCIT OMNIA 2:59
8. Cerulean Last Night 7:34
9. Freezing Moon (Mayhem cover) 6:36
10. Night’s Blood (Dissection cover) 7:10
11. Mourning Palace (Dimmu Borgir cover) 5:36
12. Transilvanian Hunger (Darkthrone cover) 5:36

Band members
James Edmeades – vocals
Kris Marchant – guitars
Andrew Shiells – guitars, synths
Aretstikapha – piano, synths
Marco Pitrruzzella – drums

Guest musicians
Josh Young – vocals on “Fractricide” and “Psychotic Reign”
Ian McLean – vocals on “Cerulean Last Night”
Ashahalasin – vocals on “Freezing Moon” and “Transilvanian Hunger”

Album Review – Ruadh / The Rock of the Clyde (2020)

Open your heart and join musician and songwriter Tom Perrett in his Atmospheric Black Metal journey through the Iron Ages in Scotland.

Drawing from the vast well of history, culture and mythology, Glasgow, Scotland’s own musician and songwriter Tom Perrett set out to compose music purely to taste with his Atmospheric Black Metal solo-project Ruadh (which is pronounced ‘Roo-Ah’ and translates to ‘red’), creating an unmistakable atmosphere with the beating heart of old school Black Metal favourites of his since the project’s inception in 2018, such as Windir, Bathory, Burzum and others, which should also appeal to fans of Saor, Winterfylleth, Panopticon and similar acts. Hailing from Rutherglen (also known as the red glen) in the central belt of Scotland, Tom and his very special guests Cieti on female vocals, Kimberly Copland on bass and Philip Morrison on drums are unleashing upon us all Ruadh’s sophomore album The Rock of the Clyde, an evolution from their 2019 debut album Sovereign presenting six tracks of epic Scottish Atmospheric Black Metal with Folk elements, taking you through the Iron Ages in Scotland and also exploring the history and mythology of the people of Scotland, conveying both sorrow and uplifting, almost heroic tones, all embraced by the delicate and enthralling artwork by Joan Llopis Doménech Illustrations.

Tom and his bandmates don’t waste a single second and fill every single space in the air with crisp, dark and atmospheric sounds in Embers, where Tom fires some deep guttural roars accompanied by Philip’s classic, steady beats and Cieti’s delicate vocals in a 10-minute sonic voyage alternating between heavier moments and an enfolding and whimsical vibe, not to mention the amazing job done by our brave Scottish warrior with his strident guitar riffs. After a fantastic welcome card like that, a ritualistic intro kicks off the title-track The Rock Of The Clyde, morphing into an Atmospheric Folk and Black Metal extravaganza where Kimberly and Philip generate a bold and groovy base for Tom and his soulful riffs and solos, as well as his potent clean vocals, also bringing to our ears acoustic passages and endless melancholy before finally exploding into a visceral fusion of traditional Folk and Black Metal. And in Winters Light the band continues to pave their dark and introspective path, with Kimberly delivering thunderous bass jabs together with the blast beats by Philip while Tom is once again on absolute fire with his growling, his riffage and all background elements found throughout the song’s inspiring nine minutes of music.

Fields Of Heather is another lecture in Atmospheric Black Metal made in Scotland going full Black Metal at times, with all band members generating a classy and piercing sonority with their sonic weapons, sounding at the same time violent, rebellious and epic, and with Tom’s riffs and Kimberly’s bass walking hand in hand it doesn’t matter the speed of the music. Then acoustic and serene sounds and tones permeate the air in Only Distant Echoes Reign (Part 1), a very personal and gentle creation by Tom heightening our senses and warming up our hearts for the second part of this beautiful aria, Only Distant Echoes Reign (Part 2), where a murder of ravens in fugue follows Tom and his dense and captivating music, uniting the heaviness and darkness of Black and Death Metal with more atmospheric and ethereal sounds while Philip dictates the rhythm and Tom barks rabidly as usual, flowing majestically until the song’s grand finale and, consequently, putting a stunning conclusion to such vibrant voyage through Scottish lands.

You don’t need to travel all the way to Scotland to join Tom and his Ruadh in their quest for Atmospheric Black Metal, as all you need to do is follow the project on Facebook and on Instagram to know more about his music, his goals and his music, and above all that, grab your copy of The Rock of the Clyde directly from Ruadh’s own BandCamp page, from the Northern Silence Productions’ BandCamp page, or simply click HERE for all locations where you can buy and stream the album. Massive in both scope and scale, The Rock of the Clyde will feature among the best Atmospheric Black Metal albums of the year without a shadow of a doubt, proving not only that Tom is thoroughly connected to his Scottish roots, but also that underground metal music always sounds more compelling and vibrant when its made of Scottish iron.

Best moments of the album: The Rock Of The Clyde and Fields Of Heather.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Northern Silence Productions

Track listing
1. Embers 10:01
2. The Rock Of The Clyde 10:20
3. Winters Light 9:01
4. Fields Of Heather 10:56
5. Only Distant Echoes Reign (Part 1) 4:44
6. Only Distant Echoes Reign (Part 2) 8:54

Band members
Tom Perrett – vocals, all instruments

Guest musicians
Cieti – female vocals
Kimberly Copland – bass
Philip Morrison – drums

Album Review – Thecodontion / Supercontinent (2020)

An atmospheric and conceptual voyage through various stages of ancient Earth’s continental drift phase, blasted by two Italians who use no guitars – only death.

In case you’ve never heard of Thecodontion, they’re an Atmospheric Black/Death Metal band founded in 2016 in Rome, Italy by vocalist G.E.F. and bassist G.D. who don’t use guitars in their music. Instead, they use two finger-picked, distorted basses, with a third one for solos, accompanied by vocals and drums in order to convey a more ancestral sound. This approach compliments their lyrical imagery, which is based on prehistory, fossils and geologic periods, being highly recommended for fans of the music by Antediluvian, Mitochondrion, Mithras and Neurosis, resulting in what the duo itself likes to call “Prehistoric Metal of Death”. As a matter of fact, the name Thecodontion comes from “Thecodontia”, an Ancient Greek word meaning “socket-teeth”, or an obsolete taxonomic grouping formerly used to describe a diverse group of reptiles which included both the ancestors of dinosaurs and of modern alligators and crocodiles, among others. After releasing their self-titled demo in 2018, followed by the EP Jurassic in 2019, Thecodontion return in full force in 2020 with their first full-length opus titled Supercontinent, an Atmospheric Black and Death Metal sonic journey and another step for the ever-developing and evolving sound of this archaic entity.

Recorded at Snakes Studio in Rome by Guglielmo Nodari, mixed and mastered at Necromorbus Studio in Stockholm, Sweden by Marco Salluzzo, and featuring an array of special guest musicians the likes of session drummer V.P. (Seventh Genocide), vocalist Skaðvaldur (Urðun, Igor Mortis), guitarist J.G.P. (Seventh Genocide, Bedsore) and vocalist R.C. (Seventh Genocide), Supercontinent is a conceptual voyage through various stages of ancient Earth’s continental drift phase, from the earliest known supercontinent (“Vaalbara”) to the most recent one (“Pangaea”), with extensive researches with an almost scientific approach having been made for the lyrical department, also bringing forward four instrumental non-metal songs featuring short poems about “superoceans” and a phenomenal artwork by Stefan Thanneur (Chaos Echoes), with a colorful representation of the final supercontinental stage and climax of the record, Pangaea surrounded by the Panthalassa Ocean.

The low-tuned, metallic bass lines by the duo ignite the album in the atmospheric intro Gyrosia before rumbling sounds and noises permeate the air in Vaalbara, blending the vilest elements from Black and Death Metal led by G.E.F.’s devilish roars while G.D. and V.P. hammer their instruments mercilessly, followed by Ur, featuring guest Skaðvaldur blasting some deep, gruesome vocals, where the band offers more of their primeval bass-driven music, sounding absolutely tribal and Stygian from start to finish (not to mention the amazing job done by V.P. with his ritualistic beats). After such demolishing start to the album, madness and chaos from the prehistorical times invade our ears in Kenorland, where it’s impressive how G.E.F and G.D. are capable of extracting such crisp and strident “guitar” sounds only using their bass guitars, overflowing the always amazing groove and rage of old school Death Metal. Then cinematic bass jabs set the tone in the bridge Lerova, growing in intensity until the duo comes crushing our senses accompanied by the pounding beats by V.P. in Nuna, a lesson in how to fill every single space in the air with menacing bass sounds while G.E.F. vociferates the song’s cryptic lyrics in great Black Metal fashion.

And they’ll make your head hurt with their pulverizing bass punches in Rodinia, where G.E.F. sounds even more demented and berserk on vocals, feeling very progressive and raw at the same time (albeit going on for a little too long, though), whereas Tethys is another atmospheric and enfolding bridge that warms up our senses for Laurasia-Gondwana, featuring guest J.G.P. on the baritone guitar, with the band smashing our skulls viciously with their infernal jamming, blending the fury and violence of Death Metal with the venomous screeches from Black Metal. Then we have the amazing Pangaea, where guest R.C. shares the vocal duties with G.E.F., while G.E.F. himself and G.D. make the earth tremble with their visceral bass attack. Moreover, it’s quite interesting to notice how the music evolves and progresses like the formation of a supercontinent, flowing darkly until the somber outro Panthalassa brings forward reverberating bass lines and slow-paced beats, giving the album a proper (and melancholic) ending.

Thecodontion’s journey through the history of ancient Earth’s supercontinents will soon be available for purchase from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp or webstore, and from the Repose Records’ webstore (in LP format), and you can also follow this dynamic duo from Italy on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details, and search from them on Spotify for more of their prehistorical metal music. As already mentioned, the duo uses no guitars in their music, only death, with Supercontinent undoubtedly representing the most important milestone in their short but already respectful career and, above all, a solid statement that the atmospheric, dark and heavy-as-hell music played by bands like Thecodontion will never face extinction.

Best moments of the album: Vaalbara, Kenorland and Pangaea.

Worst moments of the album: Rodinia.

Released in 2020 I, Voidhanger Records/Repose Records

Track listing
1. Gyrosia 2:09
2. Vaalbara 4:12
3. Ur 6:33
4. Kenorland 4:24
5. Lerova 2:24
6. Nuna 6:02
7. Rodinia 3:52
8. Tethys 1:58
9. Laurasia-Gondwana 3:06
10. Pangaea 7:37
11. Panthalassa 2:41

Band members
G.E.F. – vocals, arrangements
G.D. – bass, arrangements

Guest musicians
V.P. – drums (session)
J.G.P. – baritone guitar on “Laurasia-Gondwana”
R.C. – additional vocals on “Pangaea”
Skaðvaldur – vocals on “Ur”

Album Review – Skognatt / Autumn Skies EP (2020)

Let your soul be embraced by 17 minutes of classy and piercing Atmospheric Black Metal made in Germany, perfectly representing what DIY is all about.

Two years after the release of his debut full-length opus Ancient Wisdom, Augsburg, Germany-based Atmospheric Black Metal/Dark Ambient one-man army Skognatt returns in full force with another solid EP entitled Autumn Skies, the third EP in the up-and-coming career of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Danijel Zambo after Stargazer and Ancient Wisdom, released in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Once again featuring guest musician Gerileme, from renowned underground acts such as Asche der Welten, Burial in the Woods and Osteon, who played and engineered all drums in the EP, Autumn Skies is an entertaining and detailed lesson in DIY, as Danijel not only wrote all music and lyrics in the album, but he was also responsible for all recording, mixing, mastering and layout aspects of it, showcasing all his talent as the Teutonic metaller he is.

Sounding as atmospheric as all of his previous creations, a sense of hopelessness and solitude permeates the air in Shadowlands, quickly exploding into modern-day Atmospheric Black Metal were Danijel slashes his guitar strings in great fashion while at the same time roaring and gnarling like a beast, accompanied by the classic Black Metal blast beats by Gerileme and also presenting acoustic, cryptic passages that will crawl deep inside your skin. Then we have Black Rain, even more atmospheric and melancholic with Danijel’s acoustic guitars bringing a touch of finesse to his scorching musicality, living up to the legacy of such distinct genre while our one-man army fires sheer rage and despair through his growls. And last but not least, the title-track Autumn Skies begins in a truly obscure and melodic manner, evolving into a multi-layered Atmospheric Black Metal feast where Danijel’s roars get deeper and darker than usual while Gerileme dictates the rhythm with his Doom Metal-inspired riffs, not to mention how darkly Danijel declaims the spoken words taken from a poem by John Keats, an English Romantic poet who was one of the main figures of the second generation of Romantic poets along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Moreover, the way the song ends is absolutely phantasmagorical, putting an enfolding finale to Autumn Skies.

You can take a full and detailed listen to Autumn Skies on YouTube and also follow Danijel Zambo and his Skognatt on Facebook and on Instagram, but of course in order to truly support underground musicians like Danijel you should definitely purchase your copy of the EP directly from his official BandCamp page. In summary, Autumn Skies is not only a 17-minute album of Atmospheric Black Metal made in Germany, but a fresh and vibrant statement by Danijel to the entire world reminding everyone that Skognatt is alive and kicking, ready to represent true independent metal under any circumstances and showing us all Atmospheric Black Metal is still a driving force of the underground with a lot of fuel to burn. In addition to that, it’s beyond clear how the music by Danijel is evolving album after album, and I personally can’t wait to see what’s next in his promising career.

Best moments of the album: Shadowlands.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Shadowlands 7:31
2. Black Rain 3:51
3. Autumn Skies 5:51

Band members
Danijel Zambo – vocals, all instruments

Guest musician
Gerileme – drums

Album Review – Wardaemonic / Acts of Repentance (2020)

Hailing from Western Australia, an infernal horde returns with more of their ancient and inscrutable Black Metal in the form of the mightiest album of their career.

Back from the hellish pits of Perth, Western Australia with the mightiest album of their career, the excellent Acts of Repentance, a ruthless Black Metal horde known as Wardaemonic has gone from strength to strength in their new album, incorporating slower, dissonant parts that work brilliantly when contrasted with their trademark “ancient and inscrutable Black Metal”. Furthermore, the band comprised of Maelstrom on vocals and drums, Anharat and Lord Bane on the guitars and Blitz on bass and synths offers fans of the music by iconic names such as Immortal, Marduk, Watain and Dark Funeral, among others, everything we crave in classic Black Metal, feeling uncompromising and steely in its approach while backed with enough experience to make the entire album memorable and also intriguing for the listener to keep coming back to it for more. Featuring a sulfurous artwork by French artist Leoncio Harmr (Eternal Storm) and layout by Finnish artist Turkka Rantanen (Paganizer, Demilich), Acts of Repentance is not only a fantastic addition to the band’s discography, marking their fourth full-length opus and the follow-up to their 2015 installment Obsequium, but also a must-have release for anyone who respects and admires underground Black Metal from the bottom of their (evil) hearts.

Dragging our souls to their Stygian Australian lair, the quarter begins their devastating Black Metal onrush in the first of the album’s five acts from hell, Act I – Introspection, where Maelstrom sounds beyond infernal with both his blast beats and devilish vociferations, resulting in a lecture in old school Black Metal clearly inspired by the genre’s infamous Scandinavian sound. Not only that, Anharat and Lord Bane will penetrate deep inside your psyche with their crushing riffage, and if you survive such demented and vicious display of extreme music you better get ready for another ass-kicking tune titled Act II – Admission, offering the listener nine minutes of blackened sounds and cryptic passages where those four black metallers from Down Under don’t stop hammering their instruments for our total delight. Moreover, Blitz makes the earth tremble with his bass lines and diabolical synths, helping the music flow as darkly and aggressively as it can be until the very end.

Then an absolutely atmospheric and phantasmagorical intro ignites the 12-minute aria entitled Act III – Castigation, morphing into a disruptive and evil sonic feast led by Maelstrom and his unstoppable blast beats and also bringing elements of primeval Doom Metal and Blackened Doom to our avid ears, not to mention the strident riffs and endless rage flowing from Maelstrom’s inhumane gnarls, sounding multi-layered, dense and utterly impactful. Another grim and captivating ambience brought forth by Wardaemonic is suddenly replaced by an avalanche of violent Black Metal titled Act IV – Sufferance, where the somber vocalizations by Maelstrom make an interesting paradox with his trademark deep roars while the band’s guitar duo continues to breathe fire from their stringed weapons. And ending the album in the most brutal and demolishing way we have Act V – Repentance, an unrelenting display of traditional Black Metal infused with Melodic and even Atmospheric Black Metal nuances. Your mind will be destroyed by the stunning riffs by both Anharat and Lord Bane accompanied by Blitz’s thunderous bass punches, concluding the album’s five acts on a truly high note.

Wardaemonic Acts of Repentance Autographed CD Boxset

The gates to the underworld of Australian metal are open once again thanks to Wardaemonic and their wicked new opus Acts of Repentance, available for a full listen on YouTube and on Spotify, and in order to join those talented metallers in their quest for Black Metal simply follow them on Facebook and on Instagram, and purchase your copy of the album from their own BandCamp page, from the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore in CD format or as an amazing autographed CD boxset, or from Apple Music. After such pulverizing opus of Extreme Metal, I bet you’re eager for more of the music by Wardaemonic, and I’m quite sure we won’t have to wait for another five excruciating years to hear again from one of the most talented and solid metal acts coming from Australia, darkening the skies and our souls with their undisputed Black fuckin’ Metal.

Best moments of the album: Act I – Introspection and Act III – Castigation.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Act I – Introspection 7:15
2. Act II – Admission 8:58
3. Act III – Castigation 12:09
4. Act IV – Sufferance 9:01
5. Act V – Repentance 8:14

Band members
Maelstrom – vocals, drums
Anharat – lead guitars
Lord Bane – guitars
Blitz – bass, synth programming

Album Review – Nocturnal Escape / Uncharted Pathways (2020)

This talented German horde returns with a brand new concept album marking a stylistic change from their original sound to a soundtrack-like Black Metal offering.

Brought into being in 2014 as a recording project by  Leo and Klaus Bergmann after their previous band Bleak disbanded, Augsburg, Germany-based Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal band Nocturnal Escape is back in action now in 2020 with their sophomore installment, entitled Uncharted Pathways, a concept album consisting of five songs with a combined running time of nearly 58 minutes, marking a stylistic change from the riff-laden Melodic Death Metal found in their 2015 self-titled debut album to a soundtrack-like Black Metal offering. Featuring a grim and exquisite artwork by artist Daniela Teichmann, the album also presents to the listener a new growler, Paul Perlberg (replacing Thomas Zimmermann), and a new session drummer, James Knoerl, instead of the programmed drums from their first album, providing the overall sound a more organic and, therefore, more intense vibe.

The serene keys by Leo kick off the 10-minute aria entitled Exodus, evolving into a fusion of classic Black and Doom Metal where Paul roars and gnarls in a true devilish manner, filling every single space in the air with its background choir-like sounds, ritualistic drums and scorching hot guitar riffs, ending in a climatic and melancholic manner and building an instant bridge to Forlorn, once again presenting whimsical sounds blended with the band’s most vicious and extreme side, with Leo and Klaus slashing their strings in great fashion and, consequently, providing Paul all he needs to vociferate like a demon while James dictates the song’s charming rhythm with his sluggish beats. In addition, it becomes crystal clear in this dense and distinguished tune how the band decided to distance themselves from Progressive Death and Black Metal, being now fully invested in a hybrid of Black, Folk and Epic Metal.

Then featuring guest Rüdiger Bergmann on trombone, the trio’s acoustic guitars and low-tuned, rumbling bass lines ignite the also multi-layered and vibrant Tranquillity, morphing into an obscure and crisp Black Metal extravaganza led by Leo and his venomous riffage while Paul adds an extra touch of evil to it with his deep, enraged growls, also bringing forward a few eerie, symphonic breaks to enhance the intricacy and drama of the overall result, sounding and feeling as epic and detailed as it can be. And the band keeps stimulating our senses with their classy extreme music in Insight, where all background elements generate a Stygian atmosphere that will darken your heart and soul. Furthermore, the Black Metal blast beats by James make an interesting paradox with the clean vocals by Leo, resulting in a lesson in Atmospheric Black Metal with Leo’s crisp riffs and solos being the icing on the cake. And accelerating their pace and enhancing their electricity they offer us all the closing tune Departure, featuring guest vocals by Stefan Bauer, with James hammering his drums mercilessly until gentle piano notes permeate the air intertwined with heavy riffs and dense bass lines, flowing into a very symphonic, epic and enfolding finale.

In case you think you have what it takes to face almost one hour of the atmospheric and obscure passages by Nocturnal Escape, you can take a full listen at Uncharted Pathways on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course purchase the album from Apple Music, from Amazon or from the band’s own BandCamp page, where not only you’ll be able to compare their current sound with their debut effort, but you’ll also receive an exclusive remastered instrumental version of the entire album (which means almost 58 extra minutes of instrumental and atmospheric extreme music for your avid ears). Also, don’t forget to check what Leo, Klaus and Paul are up to on Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music, and let the atmospheric and very detailed Black Metal made in Germany found in Uncharted Pathways penetrate deep inside your mind.

Best moments of the album: Tranquillity and Departure.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Exodus 10:20
2. Forlorn 8:35
3. Tranquillity 12:34
4. Insight 12:21
5. Departure 13:54

BandCamp Exclusive Remastered Instrumental bonus tracks
6. Exodus (Instrumental) 10:20
7. Forlorn (Instrumental) 8:35
8. Tranquillity (Instrumental) 12:34
9. Insight (Instrumental) 12:21
10. Departure (Instrumental) 13:54

Band members
Leo Bergmann – guitars, keyboards, clean vocals
Klaus Bergmann – bass
Paul Perlberg – harsh vocals

Guest musicians
James Knoerl – drums (session)
Rüdiger Bergmann – trombone on “Tranquillity”
Stefan Bauer – vocals on “Departure”

Album Review – Colosso / Apocalypse EP (2020)

Pestilence, War, Death and Famine masterfully turned into brutal and obscure Death Metal by a heavier-than-hell unity hailing from Portugal.

What if a vicious horde hailing from Portugal decided to turn the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, described in the last book of the New Testament of the Bible, the Book of Revelation by John of Patmos, into gruesome and raw Death Metal? That’s exactly what a project formed in 2011, currently comprised of Max Tomé on guitars, keyboards and vocals, Alexandre Ribeiro (Grog) on bass and Robin Stone (Norse) on drums, collectively known as Porto, Portugal-based Death Metal unity Colosso, has to offer us all in their brand new EP simply titled Apocalypse, translating into modern and sharp Death Metal all the darkness flowing from the four riders Pestilence, War, Famine and Death.

After years of toiling in the underground, putting out six releases of ever-evolving Death Metal such as their debut full-length opus Peaceful Abrasiveness, in 2012, and more recently Rebirth, in 2018, Colosso seem to have reached their most demonic shape and form in Apocalypse, being highly recommended for fans of the music by Norse, Morbid Angel, Nile, Incantation and Suffocation, among other behemoths of extreme music. Mixed and mastered by Max Tomé himself, and featuring a beyond obscure album art by Phlegeton Art Studio, as well as guest vocals by Guilherme Henriques of Oak and Gaerea, Diogo Santana of Analepsy, and Sérgio Afonso of Bleeding Display, Apocalypse is an undoubtedly breathtaking and refreshingly diverse album, showcasing the myriad aspects of this bold and innovative Death Metal band without compromising on their aggressive, apocalyptic sound.

And pestilence and plague permeate the air in the vicious and heavy-as-hell Pestilence, blending the violence of Death Metal with the grim and infernal sounds of Blackened Doom while guest vocalist Guilherme Henriques barks and roars like a creature from the netherworld. Not only that, Robin smashes his drums mercilessly nonstop, with that disturbing and evil onrush of sounds going on and on until the song’s visceral ending. Then guest Sérgio Afonso lends his guttural vocals to Colosso in the also Stygian tune War, with the sounds of machine guns and explosions making the whole song even more realistic, leaning towards classic Death Metal. Moreover, Alexandre’s bass jabs and Robin’s beats feel like the epitome of evil, resulting in a pulverizing display of extreme music for lovers of the genre.

Max himself is responsible for the vocal duties in Death, a lot more melodic and crisper than its predecessors while still providing the band’s characteristic rawness and darkness. Furthermore, Max is spot-on with his razor-edged riffs accompanied by Robin’s intricate drums and, as a surprise, Max fires clean, ethereal vocals instead of the album’s characteristic putrid gnarls, bringing elements from Atmospheric Black and Doom Metal to Colosso’s core savagery. And last but not least, Diogo Santana provides his share of deep guttural roars to Famine, where the band gets back to their most demented and hellish mode, showcasing all band members in total sync led by Max’s strident riffs, while Robin sounds like a stone crusher on drums and, as a consequence, flirting with Brutal Death Metal at times.

In summary, if you’re an admirer of the meanest and heaviest side of Death Metal you must give these Portuguese metallers a very good try as Max and his henchmen have all it takes to explode your mind and darken your soul with their brand new installment Apocalypse, which by the way will soon be available from the band’s own BandCamp page and from the Transcending Obscurity Records’ webstore in distinct formats such as the awesome T-shirt + CD + Digital Download bundle. Also, don’t forget to show your support to Colosso by following them on Facebook and by listening to more of their somber creations on Spotify. As the four dreadful figures in the Book of Revelation who symbolize the evils to come at the end of the world get closer and closer to us, there’s nothing better than the avalanche of Death Metal roars crafted by Colosso to provide them a warm and friendly welcome, don’t you agree?

Best moments of the album: War and Famine.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Transcending Obscurity Records

Track listing
1. Pestilence 8:14
2. War 4:07
3. Death 4:11
4. Famine 4:14

Band members
Max Tomé – guitars, keyboards, vocals on “Death”
Alexandre Ribeiro – bass
Robin Stone – drums

Guest musicians
Guilherme Henriques – vocals on “Pestilence”
Sérgio Afonso – vocals on “War”
Diogo Santana – vocals on “Famine”

Album Review – Wolvencrown / Of Bark And Ash (2019)

Close your eyes and enjoy this excellent album of Atmospheric Black Metal made in the UK, blending the obscurity and melodies of extreme music with Nature and the emotions she conveys.

From the heart of the Midlands, the central part of England, more specifically from the city of Nottingham, comes an Atmospheric Black Metal quintet that goes by the stylish name of Wolvencrown, blending the obscurity and melodies of Black Metal with Nature and the emotions she conveys, therefore being highly recommended for admirers of the music by bands like Winterfylleth, Wodensthrone and Fen. Formed in 2015, the band now comprised of Nick on vocals and guitar, Jack also on the guitar, Reece on bass, Will on keyboards and Matt on drums is unleashing upon us their first full-length opus entitled Of Bark And Ash, following the naturalistic and atmospheric path of melodies and feelings of longing and yearning of their 2017 self-titled debut EP, being packed with stunning riffs, inspiring passages and enfolding keyboards, turning it into a must-listen for anyone who enjoys the absolute heaviness of extreme music spiced up by an embracing atmosphere.

The opening tune, titled Earths Eternal Dawn, sounds brutal and grim from the very first second, with the keys by Will adding a phantasmagorical touch to the band’s classic Black Metal while Matt provides us all we need to headbang like maniacs and Nick growls and gnarls in a truly devilish manner. After such classy welcome card, the band offers us an epic composition divided in two parts, starting with 1194 pt.I, exhaling intricacy, progressiveness and obscurity, with Nick and Jack slashing their axes beautifully. Furthermore, Matt’s beats and fills couldn’t have sounded more complex and violent, while Will’s keys once again bring a delicate balance to the overall result; whereas the second part, simply titled 1194 pt.II, is as grandiose and dense as part one, with Nick leading his horde with his anguished roars while the guitars sound absolutely pulverizing and sharper than a knife, living up to the legacy of both old school and more contemporary Black Metal and with its last part being an amazing, massive sonic havoc.

More rhythmic and atmospheric thanks to the outstanding job done by both Will and Matt, Infernal Throne presents Stygian vociferations by Nick that will penetrate deep inside your soul, while their riffs blacken our hearts mercilessly, and Wolvencrown keep hammering our heads and darkening the skies with their top-of-the-line Atmospheric Black Metal in  the title-track Of Bark and Ash, filled with folk and epic elements. Moreover, the beats by Matt are powerfully complemented by Reece’s thunderous bass lines, resulting in a full-bodied aria that’s at the same time an ode to darkness and Nature, which in the end obviously coexist in perfect harmony, not to mention Nick’s furious screams to make things even more intense and disturbing, just the way we like it in extreme music.

Leaning towards classic Atmospheric Black Metal, Towards Broken Depths mixes scorching riffs with ambient keys and blast beats, again bringing to our avid ears the demonic gnarls by Nick while Reece keeps the atmosphere as dense as possible with his bass lines. Then the cryptic keys by Will ignite the also furious and melodic Destined, perhaps the most epic of all tracks, with all instruments sounding austere and flammable throughout the entire song and with both Nick and Jack stealing the spotlight with their unstoppable riffage, whereas endless melancholy flows from the closing tune titled S.A.D., a lot more melodic and atmospheric than its predecessors while at the same time working as a grim “goodbye” or “farewell” by Wolvencrown, with the violent and harmonious sound of guitars crushing our minds in great fashion, ending in a contemplative and ethereal way.

You can enjoy this precious gem of underground extreme music in its entirety on YouTube, purchase your copy from the Avantgarde Music BandCamp page or from several other locations such as ImportCDs, Barnes & Noble, FYE and Sound Cave, and follow Wolvencrown on Facebook to stay up-to-date with everything related to their music and upcoming tour dates. Every single time our good old Black Metal is infused with the delicate but powerful sounds of Mother Earth, the final result is extremely pleasant to say the least, and Wolvencrown simply nailed it in Of Bark And Ash, showing once again how Atmospheric Black Metal is always the perfect choice for those times in your life where all you want to do is escape from your everyday life and dive deep into the wild.

Best moments of the album: 1194 pt.I, 1194 pt.II and Of Bark and Ash.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. Earths Eternal Dawn 4:14
2. 1194 pt.I 4:54
3. 1194 pt.II 6:42
4. Infernal Throne 4:08
5. Of Bark and Ash 6:43
6. Towards Broken Depths 5:09
7. Destined 7:27
8. S.A.D. 5:46

Band members
Nick – vocals, guitars
Jack – guitars
Reece – bass
Will – keyboards
Matt – drums