Album Review – Ov Shadows / The Darkness Between Stars (2018)

Representing an exploration beyond the sane and mentally sound, this talented Swedish horde is ready to haunt our souls with seven unrelenting tracks of atmospheric and sinister Black Metal.

“Embrace your shadow self – your dark aspects. Don’t hide away. Let those harmless creatures, turn into raging monsters. Let chaos guide your consciousness. You are ov Shadows.”

Those few sentences frame the concept behind Swedish Black Metal horde Ov Shadows, representing an exploration beyond the sane and mentally sound. With their music and lyrics, Ov Shadows acknowledge the duality that divide a persona and the shadow self, continuing further into the dark, a portal into chaos without barriers and rules. And after crossing that portal, you’ll be ready to explore the sinister realms of Atmospheric Black Metal ruled by Ov Shadows in their brand new album, entitled The Darkness Between Stars.

Formed in the city of Gothenburg in 2016, the band comprised of RA (aka Ronny Attergran) on vocals and bass, AF (aka Andreas Frizell) and AA (aka Anders Ahlbäck) on the guitars, and JW (aka Jonas Wickstrand) on drums returns after their 2016 debut EP Monologues with more of their Stygian sound, delivering epic riffs that turn from mournful to triumphant in a way that is stirring and emotionally satisfying. In other words, The Darkness Between Stars has everything that one could possibly want out of a Black Metal album, those being a truly dark atmosphere, an epic feel, the right mix of melody and grimness, and an engaging song structure.

Ominous sounds emerge from the dark chambers of hell until the quartet begins their devilish mass in the title-track The Darkness Between Stars, blasting sheer brutality and blasphemy during its almost 7 minutes of music.  RA sounds like a possessed demon on vocals, while JW delivers the most classic form of blast beats, generating a straightforward musicality recommended for admirers of the genre. In Bellowing Shadows, darkness and rage keep flowing from the band’s instruments in an excellent display of Black Metal, with their evil guitar duo AF and AA cutting our skin with their old school riffage, whereas RA’s gnarls sound and feel even more disturbing. And displaying hints of Doom Metal and Blackened Doom (but still reeking of putrid Black Metal) we have The Hanged Man, where JW continues his pulverizing path while both guitars sound as sulfurous as they can be, all spiced up by a sinister atmospheric passage before all hell breaks loose again.

The acid Disguised As Altruism is another demolishing Black Metal feast by Ov Shadows, with its guitars getting more and more scorching as the music progresses while the overall malignancy is considerably boosted by JW’s unstoppable beats, living up to the legacy of Scandinavian Black Metal. The Ritual of the Natural Flame already begins in full force, with the four members of the band summoning total darkness with their Stygian instruments, in special RA and his high-pitched demonic roars (not to mention the song’s somber and absolutely menacing break). After such beautiful blast of Black Metal, strident riffs and gnarls set the tone in the dense metallic extravaganza named Hordes Abiding the Narrator, with all instruments generating a mesmerizing dark ambience perfect for RA and his vociferations. Lastly, their final onrush of blasphemy and obscurity comes in the form of a 7-minute devastating tune named A Sky In Vain, where AF and AA create a wall of darkness with their riffs while JW switches between classic Black Metal drumming and Doom Metal-inspired beats, flowing into a melancholic and obscure ending.

If you want to take a detailed listen at The Darkness Between Stars, click HERE and enjoy this very cohesive and professional album in its entirety. Also, in order to show your true support to this skillful Swedish horde, simply visit their Facebook page for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know details about the band, and their YouTube channel for more of their unrelenting Black Metal. And of course, purchase The Darkness Between Stars on BandCamp or on Big Cartel, letting the somber music by Ov Shadows penetrate deep inside your mind, blackening your thoughts until there’s no way back.

Best moments of the album: Disguised As Altruism and The Ritual of the Natural Flame.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Black Market Metal

Track listing
1. The Darkness Between Stars 6:58
2. Bellowing Shadows 5:40
3. The Hanged Man 6:26
4. Disguised As Altruism 5:56
5. The Ritual of the Natural Flame 7:19
6. Hordes Abiding the Narrator 5:58
7. A Sky In Vain 7:42

Band members
RA – vocals, bass
AF – guitars
AA – guitars
JW – drums

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Album Review – Antichrist / Pax Moriendi (2018)

Get ready for 45 minutes of the most visceral form of old school Doom Metal made in Peru, dragging you to an eternal voyage into the most obscure side of your mind.

Formed in 2004 in Lima, the alluring capital of Peru, but not really kicking into recorded gear until a decade later, Doom/Death Metal act Antichrist soon released a steady stream of demos between 2014 and 2016, all harbingers of the colossal beast that was going to haunt our souls now in 2018, the brutally obscure album Pax Moriendi. Not only this is their highly anticipated debut album, but above that, it’s a piercing, funereal ode to the end of life as we know it. As a matter of fact, Pax Moriendi translates as “the peace of dying” from Latin, just to give you an idea of how lugubrious the whole album sounds and feels.

Across the 45 minutes of music split into five Stygian songs in Pax Moriendi, the listener is taken down into sewers a mile deep (or more), tweaking that immortal doom-death schematic into something righteously foul and filthy, but still well within the range of melancholic human experience. Led by the cavernous growls by lead singer and founder Agalariept, Antichirst are a true behemoth of darkness, blasting low-tuned, macabre sounds and tones that will reach deep inside your skin, bringing you venomous thoughts and, as a consequence, dragging you to an eternal voyage into the most obscure side of your mind.

Ominous, eerie sounds permeate the air in the opening track, darkly titled Forgotten in Nameless Suffering, where the duo Luis M. Guerra on drums and Manolo Zaren on keyboards create a truly phantasmagoric atmosphere, perfect for the deep, dark grunts by the band’s demonic frontman Agalariept. Furthermore, this song brings to you the most primeval form of Doom Metal you can think of, spiced up by orchestral elements in the background and, therefore, being highly recommended for your one-way descent into the pits of hell. Then their Death Metal side arises in brutal and somber fashion in Obscurantism, with Manolo slashing his guitar while bassist Gustavo Rodriguez makes sure our brains detach from our skulls with his low-tuned punches, with the whole musicality being nicely complemented by a whimsical, ethereal break. Also, in order to make things even more sepulchral, Agalariept fires intense, deep gnarls to the point he doesn’t sound human.

In the Dark and Mournful Corner is a flawless depiction of depressive, mournful and obscure Blackened Doom where Luis delivers those slow, sluggish and extremely evil beats, turning the song into some sort of evil mass, while Manolo not only burns our senses with his guitar but he also adds a touch of delicacy to the musicality with his keys. Moreover, it’s impressive how Antichrist alternate between old school Doom Metal and heavy-as-hell Death Metal so smoothly and effectively during the song’s gripping 10 minutes. After such demented aria, it’s time for a frantic display of aggression by Antichrist entitled Screams and Lamentations Drowned, with Luis smashing his drums while Agalariept barks and growls like a devilish beast, becoming a more visceral version of Doom Metal with its core essence reeking of putrid Death Metal. And You Will Never See Sun Light, the longest and murkiest of all songs, brings forward over 12 minutes of sluggish beats, hellish roars and uncanny sounds, with the ghoulish noises in the background making the whole song even more impactful and perturbing, flowing into a lugubrious ending led by the sinister piano by Manolo. Hence, if you survive this tenebrous aria, you’re indeed a true servant of darkness.

And as a servant of all things hellbound it’s your duty to follow Antichrist on Facebook and to buy your copy of the perilous and reverberating Pax Moriendi from Record Shop X, from the NWN! Productions webshop, from the Dark Descent Records webshop, or from the Invictus Productions webshop. Peru might not be known worldwide for its metal scene, but when you dig deep into the Peruvian underworld and find an amazing band like Antichrist, you know it’s time to surrender to the dark side of the “Land of the Incas” and crack your neck headbanging to such powerful display of old school Doom Metal.

Best moments of the album: Obscurantism and In the Dark and Mournful Corner.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Iron Bonehead

Track listing
1. Forgotten in Nameless Suffering 8:54
2. Obscurantism 7:44
3. In the Dark and Mournful Corner 10:53
4. Screams and Lamentations Drowned 4:47
5. You Will Never See Sun Light 12:16

Band members
Agalariept – vocals
Manolo Zaren – guitars, keyboards
Gustavo Rodriguez – bass
Luis M. Guerra – drums

Album Review – Minneriket / Anima Sola (2018)

A scorching extravaganza of Norwegian Black Metal that will consume your soul, thoroughly put together by a one-man army of darkness.

Norwegian Romantic Black Metal one-man army Minneriket is the work of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Stein Akslen, who created the project back in 2014 for as much a philosophical and spiritual channeling as a musical outlet. Drawing on influences as various as punk and goth yet steeped in the intensity of the early Norwegian Black Metal scene, Minneriket, which translates as “the kingdom of memories”, is honest and real, reflecting both self and society, knocking down barriers and ignoring taboos, breathing new life into the genre in a completely uncompromising manner. After the releases of the albums Vargtimen in 2015, Stjerner, speil og svartebøker… in 2016, and more recently the Burzum tribute From the Veins of a Nearly Dead Boy in 2017 (which officially received inclusion on the Vikernes Burzum website), Minneriket returns in full force, unleashing upon humanity the project’s latest opus Anima Sola.

The title of the album, which means “lonely soul” in English, and the artwork, designed by Czech artist Anna Marine, are based on the catholic imagery of the lonely spirit burning in purgatory. The soul which is burning forever, but is never entirely consumed by the flames. It’s the war between spirits and matter, and fire as both a destructive force of nature and the kindle in your heart. Musically speaking, Anima Sola is a scorching extravaganza of Norwegian Black Metal that will consume your soul, with Stein doing a fantastic job on vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards throughout the whole album, leaving you completely disoriented after each of its ten piercing compositions is over, it doesn’t matter if sung in English or in his mother tongue Norwegian.

Tro, håp og kjærlighet (Norwegian for “faith, hope and love”) brings a somber, melancholic intro that keeps growing darker and darker, until Stein arises from the crypts of hades with his hellish gnarls, with his Stygian guitars generating a mesmerizing rhythm. In other words, this is Atmospheric Black Metal at its finest. And things get even better in An All Too Human Heart, featuring guest musician Fredrik Rex  (Blodsgard) on guitars and bass. Offering the listener that strident Black Metal riffage we all love so much, Stein attacks our souls with an infernal storm of old school Norwegian Black Metal, sounding absolutely bestial on vocals and, consequently, more obscure than anything or anyone you can imagine. Furthermore, it’s impressive how he masterfully blends the sheer obscurity of Black Metal with the smoothness and delicacy of ambient music, which is exactly the case in When Life Gets Sick, the Dead Grow Strong, always sounding and feeling pugnacious and chthonic, with the song’s riffs and beats being in full diabolical sync, effectively boosting its overall impact.

Then disturbing sounds permeate the air in I am the Serpent Son, a song tailored for lovers of the darkest form of Norwegian Extreme Metal where Stein uses his voice in an otherworldly way to distill its stylish lyrics (“I submit to your beauty and wisdom / I will learn all your black arts / Mother Lilith! / See to all my needs / so that I may grow and conquer this world”). And there’s not a single second of peace or hope in over seven minutes of extreme music in Between Infinity and Melancholy, where Stein keeps firing his blistering guitar lines and enraged vociferations, with the musicality feeling extremely raw and primeval, but still very polished due to the above average production of the album. Then in Det lyset jeg ikke kan se (or “the light I cannot see”), also featuring Fredrik Rex, we face over 13 minutes of a descent into the pits of hell full where thunderous bass punches and steady beats steal the spotlight for the first three minutes, before a sonic onrush of traditional Black Metal lacerates our minds mercilessly. In addition, Stein and his Minneriket don’t let our souls rest not even during the atmospheric break in this full-bodied blackened aria, proving how precise he is with his instruments.

Stein then treats us with a wicked beginning and his disturbing, Satanic vocal lines in Sorger er tyngst i solskinn (“sorrow is the heaviest in sunshine”), all effectively supported by the song’s somber instrumental pieces, feeling extremely metallic, inhuman and bizarre from start to finish; while Alle hjerter banker ei (or “all hearts beat one” in English) leans towards vile Blackened Doom, where once again Stein delivers hypnotizing riffs and beats that will drag your soul to the underworld, with endless grief and despair flowing from all instruments. And his most damned and depressive side keeps dominating his mind in the desperate hymn Smerte, skjønnhet og Satan (“pain, beauty and Satan”), being slow and steady as good Doom Metal should be without forgetting the project’s old school Black Metal core, before a sonic havoc of putrid sounds entitled Time for Suicide comes crushing our hearts, with its lyrics being as perturbing as they can be, especially through Stein’s evil gnarls (“Headaches taunt me with flashbacks of the past / Call it fear, but I think it runs deeper / an infection that eats away at my soul / furthering my suffering and doubling my agony”).

In summary, Anima Sola, which can be enjoyed in its entirety on Spotify, might be considered by many Minneriket’s strongest work to date, proving how focused, professional and passionate about extreme music Mr. Akslen is, always moving forward and never sounding outdated or bland. You should definitely check his other albums, news and future plans on Facebook and on YouTube, and grab your copy of Anima Sola through the project’s own BandCamp page, on iTunes or on Amazon. Stein himself commented that the album was created because “we need to talk about the darkness”, also saying that the album “speaks of solitude and ineptitude, loss and yearning; humorless Black Metal with music and lyrics equally painful and raw.” Well, let’s face it, the man behind Minneriket more than succeeded in sending his dark message to the world with Anima Sola.

Best moments of the album: An All Too Human Heart, I am the Serpent Son and Det lyset jeg ikke kan se.

Worst moments of the album: Smerte, skjønnhet og Satan.

Released in 2018 Akslen Black Art Records

Track listing  
1. Tro, håp og kjærlighet 5:40
2. An All Too Human Heart 3:33
3. When Life Gets Sick, the Dead Grow Strong 3:59
4. I am the Serpent Son 4:34
5. Between Infinity and Melancholy 7:35
6. Det lyset jeg ikke kan se 13:25
7. Sorger er tyngst i solskinn 6:10
8. Alle hjerter banker ei 4:52
9. Smerte, skjønnhet og Satan 3:30
10. Time for Suicide 2:27

Band members
Stein Akslen – vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards

Guest musician
Fredrik Rex – guitars and bass on “An All Too Human Heart” and “Det lyset jeg ikke kan se”

Album Review – Vile Creature / Cast of Static and Smoke (2018)

A dystopian science fiction taking place well after civilization has been destroyed by its own nuclear ambitions in the form of 44 minutes of suffering and austere Doom Metal.

Formed in 2014 in Saint Catharines, the largest city in Canada’s Niagara Region and the sixth largest urban area in the province of Ontario, Sludge/Doom Metal duo Vile Creature is more than ready to release their brand new full-length album titled Cast of Static and Smoke, a logical progression from their previous releases both in sound and content. While in their 2015 debut album A Steady Descent into the Soil they mirrored Blackened Doom with equally melancholy stories of growing up queer, and in their 2016 EP A Pessimistic Doomsayer they explored escaping your demons by forging relationships with works of fiction, now with Cast of Static and Smoke the band have delved into building a world of their own while writing a compelling 44 minutes of  what they like to call “suffering metal”.

In order to properly translate all that melancholy and suffering into metal music, the duo comprised of Vic on vocals and drums and KW on vocals, guitar and percussion recorded the core of the album live with only one guitar and one drum kit. Furthermore, Cast of Static and Smoke is a record and a short story at the same time, a dystopian science fiction taking place well after civilization has been destroyed by its own nuclear ambitions. Displaying an eerie artwork by artist Stephen Wilson (Unknown Relic) and featuring a few interesting guest musicians who end up bringing extra layers of complexity to the music, the album presents four songs that embody emotions felt by characters and moments that take place within the story, sounding less chronological and more a response to certain instances. Musically the band is as heavy as they have ever been, weaving through different paces and influences with ease while maintaining their foundation in Doom Metal.

Wicked, somber sounds kick off the 10-minute Doom metal aria Water, Tinted Gold & Tainted Copper, with guest Erin Severson talking about all that’s wrong in our society before the sluggish beats and distorted guitars by Vic and KW invade our ears, paving the path for the song’s austere lyrics (“Blinded by visions of the elements of life / Leading to a scorched earth / A crows nest shrouded in metal and rust / Even scraps fear nothingness / I’ve seen blackened, deserted shores / Calling me, whispering lore”). Furthermore, guest vocalist Chris Colohan effectively provides his share of anguished growling, taking the song’s acidity to a whole new level before everything ends in the most visceral way possible. Then we have the absolutely grim Circuits, Bending & Breaking, an excellent hybrid of Doom Metal, Blackened Doom, Drone and Ambient with a violent twist where Vic keeps blasting Stygian, slow-paced beast while KW gnarls desperately and rabidly amidst a high level of distortions and rough noises perfect for disturbing our thoughts.

Forest, Subsists as a Tomb starts as dark and downbeat as the two initial compositions of the album, becoming another feast of devilish sounds and tones led by the lingering drums by Vic, with KW firing some enraged growls and slashing guitar noises. Once again, Erin’s narration feels as creepy as the previous one, with another guest musician, James Claypool, bringing forward a good amount of wickedness to the overall musicality with his flammable guitar. And lastly we have Sky, in Descending Pieces, a song that doesn’t bring any joy or happiness to our hearts and souls; quite the contrary, it follows the same somber path crafted by Vile Creature throughout the entire album, resulting in a solid display of modern-day Doom and Sludge Metal with the duo’s deranged screams and perturbing riffs and beats setting the stage for the final unsettling message by Erin.

In summary, although Cast of Static and Smoke is definitely not an easy listen for newcomers to the world of depressive and suffering Doom Metal by Vile Creature, it’s indeed an album that will grow on you as the music and the story progress together, gradually making your ears and senses more familiar with the band’s eccentric type of music. The album can be purchased through the band’s own BandCamp page, as well as through the Halo of Flies’ BandCamp page or webstore and the Dry Cough Records’ webstore. Furthemrore, if you buy Cast of Static and Smoke you’re not just buying over 40 minutes of high-quality extreme music, but the physical copy is also accompanied by a 16-page booklet that includes lyrics, credits, the full story itself (which you can read HERE), and an audio recording of the entire story scored by Vile Creature for those who have a hard time reading small print or just want another way to experience it. Having said that, don’t waste your time and go show your support to Vile Creature by visiting their Facebook page and buying their new album, and consequently immersing yourself in the bitter and melancholic post-apocalyptic reality proposed by this persevering Canadian duo.

Best moments of the album: Circuits, Bending & Breaking.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Halo of Flies

Track listing  
1. Water, Tinted Gold & Tainted Copper 10:20
2. Circuits, Bending & Breaking 9:16
3. Forest, Subsists as a Tomb 13:36
4. Sky, in Descending Pieces 8:52

Band member
Vic – drums, vocals
KW – guitar, vocals, percussion

Guest musicians
Chris Colohan – vocals on “Water, Tinted Gold & Tainted Copper”
James Claypool – guitar on “Forest, Subsists as a Tomb”
Erin Severson – the narrator on “Water, Tinted Gold & Tainted Copper”, “Forest, Subsists as a Tomb” and “Sky, in Descending Pieces”
George Zhen – piano

Album Review – Ljosazabojstwa / Sychodžańnie EP (2017)

Prepare yourself for a 32-minute descent to the bottomless pits of hell while listening to the ancient thrashing Black and Death Metal brought forth by this arcane Belarusian horde.

Anti-Christianity, death, cruelty and other controversial topics, all vociferated in the darkest existing form of Belarusian. That’s what you’ll get in Sychodžańnie, the brand new and extremely occult EP by a Belarusian Death/Black Metal mysterious entity that goes by the name of Ljosazabojstwa, formed in 2013 in the capital city of Belarus, Minsk. If you have absolutely no idea how extreme music sounds when sung in “White Russian”, Sychodžańnie might be the perfect opportunity for you not only to feel the strength of this distinct East Slavic language in metal, but also to get to know more about Ljosazabojstwa, a fresh new name in underground music that will certainly disturb your peace of mind.

After releasing a demo titled Staražytnaje Licha, in 2016, Ljosazabojstwa are more than ready to haunt our minds with their demolishing, blackened sounds found in their new EP. With Sychodžańnie, which by the way was mixed and mastered by Ghostalgy Productions and features artwork and logo by VR, this arcane band takes their brand of ancient thrashing Black and Death Metal to a whole new level, balancing barbaric riffage with uncanny interludes and spoken word samples that make for a unique experience. In other words, prepare yourself for a 32-minute descent to the bottomless pits of hell while listening to the album’s six tracks of ruthless music, definitely not recommended for the faint of heart.

This cavernous album beings with Pozirk U Biezdań, an ominous intro where the mesmerizing sound of an organ opens the gates of the underworld to the dark and puissant Zhuba, where Blackened Doom, Black and Death Metal are united in the most aggressive way, with the deep growling by the band’s mysterious vocalist being supported by the cutting sound of guitars. In addition, its raw and vile beats, together with the song’s eccentric ending, will darken your thoughts without a shadow of a doubt. Then blackness keeps growing in intensity in the lesson in sluggish Blackened Death Metal entitled Piekła, with its guitar riffs feeling like a chainsaw hacking your limbs off. Moreover, its faster passages interspersed with slower Doom Metal-inspired moments add several layers of intricacy to the musicality, and it seems the band loves to include some wicked spoken excerpts (probably taken from underground movies) to their creations, just to give them an awesome slasher-flick soundtrack-like vibe.

Slow and steady beats ignite another feast of primeval, Stygian sounds by Ljosazabojstwa named Šliach Na Miehida, with their demonic lead singer vociferating the song’s cryptic lyrics in a truly threatening manner, also presenting a smooth acoustic break almost at the end before devastation returns in full force (and when you least expect, you’ll find yourself addicted to the band’s hellish music). The title-track Sychodžańnie is a horror movie-inspired instrumental bridge that will invade your senses before Zabojstwa Ljosu comes crushing your skull with a tempest of metallic, rip-roaring sounds, infernal vociferations and demented vocal samples. In addition, its guitars bring an acid hybrid of Death and Doom Metal riffs, while drums continue to smash us mercilessly until its devastating and climatic grand finale.

If you want to take a more detailed listen at Sychodžańnie, simply go to YouTube to fill your ears with Ljosazabojstwa’s dark Belarusian sounds, but if you’re already hooked on their vile music you can grab your copy of the EP at the band’s own BandCamp page, at the Hellthrasher Productions’ BandCamp or webstore, or at Discogs. And there you have the most demonic score you can imagine for some of those extremely somber, sorrowful and distressed moments you’ll face in life, how about that?

Best moments of the album: Piekła and Zabojstwa Ljosu.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Hellthrasher Productions

Track listing
1. Pozirk U Biezdań (Instrumental) 2:06
2. Zhuba 7:37
3. Piekła 6:56
4. Šliach Na Miehida 7:00
5. Sychodžańnie 1:36
6. Zabojstwa Ljosu 6:48

Band members
*Information not available*

Album Review – Biesy / Noc Lekkich Obyczajów (2017)

Enjoy this concept album about how urban life can separate us from reality and how at the same time it gives us freedom to cross its boundaries, all enfolded by first-class blackened music made in Poland.

“Biesy were born out of everyday working, urban and monotonous realities. The project explores how urban concrete life can separate you from reality, but at the same time enables you to cross its borders. This is not the place for faith – there is no time nor will. During the night people go astray and willingly drown among the masses on the streets. In the morning they fall down to create a passage for everything that is wonderfully common and hideously sincere. However, it is not certain if they even left the room.”

Those poetic words work as a classy introduction to the core essence of Black/Death Metal act Biesy, a brand new project formed in 2014 in Cracow, Poland by lead singer Stawrogin, guitarist, bassist, songwriter and lyricist PR, and drummer Maciej Pelczar. Biesy translates to “fiends” or “demons” from Polish, and from that you can imagine how dark their music should sound in their debut full-length release Noc Lekkich Obyczajów, or “night of weak morals” in English, a concept album about how urban life can separate us from reality and how at the same time it gives us freedom to cross its boundaries, as mentioned above, all enfolded by an ominous and depressive form of extreme music not recommended for the lighthearted. Add to that the concrete gray layout designed by PR himself together with Mentalporn, the menacing logo created by Ihasan, and the fact that all songs are entirely sung (or maybe I should say growled or gnarled) in Polish, and there you have a distinct, full-bodied Extreme Metal ode to everything we love and hate in our concrete jungles.

In the opening track, titled Każdego Dnia (which should translate as “every day”), ominous sounds grow in intensity until the music morphs into the most vile form of Blackened Doom you can think of, with Stawrogin sounding truly demonic on vocals while PR does an amazing job with his mesmerizing guitar lines, resulting in a cold and beautiful display of extreme music that darkly flows into a climatic ending. In W Krew (which should mean something like “in blood”), the power trio switches to a more demolishing mode, blasting a Stygian fusion of Black and Death Metal led by Maciej, who showcases all his skills by delivering both rhythmic and sluggish punches as well as infernal blast beats. In the end, it becomes impossible not to have your heart darkened by this superb hymn. And it seems like peace and happiness are definitely two items you won’t find in the music by Biesy, which is exactly the case in Powroty (or “returns” in English), even more doomed than the two previous songs and with the vociferations by Stawrogin being extremely menacing. Put differently, it’s unhappy, melancholic and visceral Blackened Doom tailored for headbanging until you crack your neck in half.

The second batch of somber sounds by Biesy begins with Czerń Nas Prosi (or “blackness calls us”), the shortest of all tracks, feeling like a satanic invocation with Maciej firing some traditional Doom Metal beats while PR sounds hellish on both guitar and bass, not to mention Stawrogin’s evil gnarls; followed by Rzucony W Przestrzeń (which translates as “thrown into space”), the longest and most obscure of all songs, starting with a deep, enraged roar by Stawrogin. Not only this is a lesson in Extreme Metal where PR is insanely dark on guitars, but its heaviness keeps growing and growing until after around four minutes there’s a creepy intermission that goes on for another four minutes until the trio returns with all their fury and malignancy, with the vocal parts getting more deranged and evil, ending in the most obscure way possible. And if you think you’re safe from Biesy after all that darkness, you’re absolutely wrong, as they have one final onslaught of Black, Death and Doom Metal to disturb your mind and soul, the title-track Noc Lekkich Obyczajów, where Maciej takes his already devilish drumming to a whole new level of dementia accompanied by the lancinating riffs by PR. This fantastic album of extreme music couldn’t have ended in a better way than this, I must say.

In summary, it doesn’t matter if you speak fluent Polish or if you don’t know a single word in this distinct language, Noc Lekkich Obyczajów (which is available for a full stream on YouTube) is definitely worth a shot. What Biesy did in the entire album, uniting the aggressive and damned sounds of Death, Black and Doom Metal with the disorders and unpredictability of life in the city in a sharp and bold manner, deserves our total recognition and respect. You can buy your copy of Noc Lekkich Obyczajów on BandCamp, at the Third Eye Temple webshop or at Discogs, and after finally having the album on your hands, you can add the perfect soundtrack to spend your deranged nights in the city.

Best moments of the album: W Krew and Noc Lekkich Obyczajów.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Third Eye Temple

Track listing
1. Każdego Dnia 5:08
2. W Krew 6:38
3. Powroty 7:06
4. Czerń Nas Prosi 3:51
5. Rzucony W Przestrzeń 11:29
6. Noc Lekkich Obyczajów 7:59

Band members
Stawrogin – vocals
PR – guitars, bass
Maciej Pelczar – drums

Album Review – Aversio Humanitatis / Longing for the Untold EP (2017)

Expanding upon their Black Metal roots by embracing the ferocity of the most mutated and cursed Death Metal, this Spanish horde brings forth a violent and ferocious one-way journey into darkness with their brand new release.

“Time is an ever open wound, that never hurts the same twice.”

Since their inception in 2010 in the city of Madrid by a core and unchanged trio of mysterious locals, Spanish Black/Death Metal horde Aversio Humanitatis (Latin for “the loathing humanity”) has been slowly morphing into a beast of implausible proportions and of ungraspable intents, as they began to expand upon their Black Metal roots by embracing the ferocity of the most mutated and cursed Death Metal. This transcendental and abhorrent metamorphosis into otherworldly sonic tyrant fully sublimated in their 2017 EP Longing for the Untold, in which Aversio Humanitatis went from being a purely methodical and vaguely technical Black Metal band in the vein of Emperor, Satyricon and Abigor, to becoming something completely undefinable, shaped by the ever so apparent lineaments of an unquenchable black hole, a beast capable of harnessing the power of collapsing stars and of the very depths of Hades.

Originally released on CD in Spain only in early 2017, Longing for the Untold is by far the boldest and most Stygian opus by this idiosyncratic Spanish entity, surpassing their 2011 debut full-length album Abandonment Ritual in terms of heaviness, obscurity, chaos and aggressiveness. Now re-packaged with three bonus tracks from their 2013 split Three Ways of Consciousness (with Venezuelan/Chilean Black Metal act Selbst and Spanish Black Metal act Nihil) and with a new incredible artwork, Longing for the Untold brings forward a colossal behemoth of technically intimidating and sonically imposing Progressive Black Metal that lunges forth toward the listener with crushing force, levitating out of solid darkness. More than just an album, Longing for the Untold represents a place and time where the power of sound literally devours the senses, turning perception into a smoldering and swarming void of sensorial awe and of transcendental sonic disintegration.

The sensational title-track Longing for the Untold presents the fury of old school Black Metal mixed with atmospheric and menacing sounds, with vocalist and bassist A.M.’s dark guttural growls being spot-on, therefore enhancing the song’s obscurity and its wicked lyrics (“Time is an ever open wound / that never hurts the same twice / Twisted shards created by our will / shall open the flesh / in ways that may be poetry, or may be mundane / Since the shadow of our self is always / longer than our height / Since the pride of our self is always / shorter than our pain”), also showcasing truly infernal blast beast by drummer J.H. Prison of Shattered Glass feels a lot more doom-ish than the opening track, with A.M. and guitarist S.D. delivering pure evil through their strings. In other words, this is a lesson in Blackened Doom by this excellent Spanish entity, where the devilish background sounds, the ominous growls by A.M. and the sluggish beats by J.H. end up generating a sulfuric and disturbing ambience altogether, ending in a beautiful, Stygian way; whereas The Ever Shifting Path gets back to a more perturbing and belligerent sonority, with the Black Metal-inspired drumming by J.H. together with the hellish vociferations by A.M. being the main elements in this fantastic Extreme Metal aria, becoming even more impactful halfway through it.

Longing for the Untold BlackSeed Productions Edition

Closing this top-tier feast of obscure and extreme music we have the eerie Advent of the Inescapable, starting with an atmospheric, creepy intro before exploding into absolute hatred in the form of Black Metal, and that perturbing feeling goes on until the music fades into sheer darkness. Moreover, pay good attention to its lyrics, which are beyond perfect for the music played (“Transcend a fraudulent reality – / let fear and pain penetrate and go through / Deconstruct your being – / resign all perishable aspirations / Dissociation from all that surrounds you – / become an impassive entity / Accept your purpose in this world – / you are here to destroy and suffer”). As aforementioned, this new version of Longing for the Untold also contains three bonus tracks, all from their 2013 split Three Ways of Consciousness (Spears of Unlight, Psalms of the Wandering and Shrine of Involution), which add a 0.5 to the album’s overall score by offering more of Aversio Humanitatis’ undisputed fusion of Atmospheric Black Metal with Doom Metal.

After paying a visit to Aversio Humanitatis’ Facebook page and YouTube channel to know more about this distinct act hailing from Spain and to get a better taste of their music, I’m sure you’ll promptly search the web for a copy of Longing for the Untold  (which by the way can be enjoyed in its entirety HERE, including all bonus tracks). Well, let me tell you that your hunt will be an extremely easy task, as the album is available for purchase at the Sentient Ruin Laboratories’ BandCamp or webstore, at the BlackSeed Productions’ webstore in black vinyl, white vinyl or cassette, on Amazon or at Discogs; as well as at the band’s own BandCamp and at the BlackSeed Productions’ BandCamp or webstore (with or without the bonus tracks). And when you finally have this fantastic album on your hands, get ready for a violent , never-ending and ferocious one-way journey into darkness.

Best moments of the album: Longing for the Untold and The Ever Shifting Path.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Sentient Ruin Laboratories

Track listing
1. Longing for the Untold 5:04
2. Prison of Shattered Glass 6:06
3. The Ever Shifting Path 5:36
4. Advent of the Inescapable 4:41

Vynil & Tape B-Side bonus tracks
5. Spears of Unlight 4:38
6. Psalms of the Wandering 5:34
7. Shrine of Involution 6:15

Band members
A.M. – vocals, bass
S.D. – guitars
J.H. – drums

Live musicians
N.H.T. – guitar, vocals
J.C. – bass

Album Review – Cult of Erinyes / Tiberivs (2017)

Inspired by the Roman Emperor Tiberius, here comes a ruthless Belgian Ritualistic Black Metal horde with their brand new and utterly fantastic concept album.

One of the most talented and prominent bands of the Extreme Metal independent scene in Europe, Belgian Ritualistic Black Metal horde Cult of Erinyes, is back with their unsparing music in the form of a concept album titled Tiberivs, inspired by the Roman Emperor Tiberius, who ruled one of the greatest empires of mankind from 14 AD to 37 AD. It doesn’t matter if you’re a newcomer to the dark world of this Brussels-based band or if you’re already a fan of works such as A Place to Call My Unknown, Blessed Extinction and their latest EP Transcendence, the music found in Tiberivs will leave scathing scars on your skin and poison your blood, leaving you eager for more of the band’s mordant creations.

As commented by the band’s mastermind Corvus, “I always perceived Cult of Erinyes as a portal that allows my mind to connect with different universes. I had, from the very beginning of the creative process, to immerse myself in a definite time period – the Ancient Roman Empire, Tiberius era. Each song, melody, and riff had to refer to a variation of emotions forgotten by time itself. What sounded like a fantastic challenge ended as a nightmare where my subconscious got lost. Desperation, frustration, and madness raised dangerously. This third album is our most progressive effort so far, but also contains radical and intense parts sublimed by Mastema’s urges for ferocity. We both went as far as we could on this album and were lucky to be helped in our task by longtime devoted musicians Algol (bass, additional guitars), Baron (lead guitars, artwork), and Déhà, who handled the drums, some guitars/keys, and the the mix/mastering process. Last but not least, Alex (Kall, Hypothermia, Craft) offered us a five-star bass-line on the intro and Marc DeBacker, my brother in Wolvennest, added some crystal-clear guitar sounds on the end of the album. This album also marked the end of my longtime musical and spiritual journey with Mastema. I can only but respect his decision and salute the energy he shared on Tiberivs. This concept album was his idea, and I’m glad we end our collaboration on this high and digressive note. He will be replaced for future live and recording duties by the most extreme and mentally extreme singer I know, Déhà, who is known for his work with Yhdarl, Maladie, We All Die (Laughing), and shitloads of other good projects. For all those reasons, I will hate and cherish this album. For Centuries To Come.”

In the opening track, titled Archaea, 41 B.C., fires burn amidst some eerie voices and moans, being slowly joined by the band’s atmospheric instrumental and topped off with a narration about how Romans were raised by wolves and that wolves are born to hunt and kill, resulting in a beyond ominous intro to the devastating Nero (Divine Providence), offering the listener the band’s old school Black Metal with their traditional ritualistic twist in the form of a sensational tempest of slashing guitars and blast beats. Moreover, not only Mastema sounds more devilish and brutal than ever, but the song’s frantic sounds are effectively blended with its ambient passages, turning it into a full-bodied blackened experience that’s definitely worth a listen. And in Casvs Belli, which means “an act or situation provoking or justifying war”, we’re treated to an explosion of extreme music with the demonic riffs by Corvus together with Algol and Baron generating a truly belligerent atmosphere, all enhanced by the infernal growls by Mastema and the obscure keys by Corvus.

Bred for War connects instantly and perfectly with the previous song to the point they can even be considered one major composition split in two, with sheer bestiality flowing from the awesome drumming by Déhà. In other words, this is straightforward Black Metal perfect for Corvus and his horde to tell the story proposed in the album; followed by Loner, a song that kicks off like a raging bull, smashing everything through the blast beats by Déhà and the fast and cutting guitars by Corvus, with Algol strengthening the song’s melody with his bass lines. The final result couldn’t sound more amazing, a furious and occult creation by Cult of Erinyes with an excellent job done by Mastema giving life to the song’s dark lyrics. Germanicvs, with its almost 8 minutes of blackened sounds and a demonic aura, keeps up with the foundations of Black Metal, being one of the most obscure and dense of all songs of the album led by the sustained drums by Déhà and spiced up by dark vociferations by Mastema.

An eerie, dark intro ignites another menacing creation by this talented Belgian horde, titled First of Men, a hybrid of Atmospheric and Ritualistic Black Metal with hints of Blackened Doom. Moreover, although it doesn’t show the same fury that emanates from the rest of the album, it’s still essential for the storyline. In Damnatio Memoriae (or “damnation of memory” in English), the music grows in intensity and darkness until after one minute it becomes a feast of Blackened Doom sounds enfolding the demented gnarls by Mastema, remaining rhythmic and dynamic thanks to the excellent job done by Déhà on drums until its thrilling Stygian ending; whereas For Centuries to Come is an 11-minute aria where Corvus showcases all his abilities as a multi-instrumentalist, while Mastema elevates his evil growls and screams to a whole new infernal level. This is by far the most complete and detailed of all songs, with its second half being a work-of-art of extreme music, not to mention its atmospheric elements beautifully complementing the piercing guitar riffs and solos, flowing into a fantastic and climatic conclusion to the album.

In a nutshell, the implacable Cult of Erinyes sounds stronger and more menacing than ever in Tiberivs (which can be enjoyed in its entirety HERE) and, despite being their ultimate album with the demonic Mastema on vocals, I’m sure the band will still provide us a lot of amazing material like this in the future. Furthermore, this brilliant concept album can be purchased at the band’s own BandCamp page, at the Caverna Abismal Records’ BandCamp or webstore, and at the Aural Music Webstore, as well as on iTunes, Amazon and Discogs. The roots to the greatest empire in the history of mankind are deeply connected to the lives of wolves, and there’s nothing better than the austere extreme music by Cult of Erinyes to show you how harsh, ruthless and vicious wolves can be.

Best moments of the album: Nero (Divine Providence), Loner and For Centuries to Come.

Worst moments of the album: First of Men.

Released in 2017 Caverna Abismal Records

Track listing
1. Archaea, 41 B.C. 2:40
2. Nero (Divine Providence) 7:42
3. Casvs Belli 6:24
4. Bred for War 3:52
5. Loner 4:27
6. Germanicvs 7:40
7. First of Men 5:49
8. Damnatio Memoriae 6:04
9. For Centuries to Come 10:59

Band members
Mastema – vocals
Corvus – lead and rhythm guitar, bass, keyboards
Algol – bass, rhythm guitar
Baron – lead guitar
Déhà – drums, additional guitar & keyboards

Guest musicians
Alex – bass on “Archaea, 41 B.C.”
Marc DeBacker – additional guitar on “For Centuries to Come”

Album Review – Coldfells / Coldfells (2017)

Feel the beauty and desolation of the Appalachian landscapes through the Blackened Doom by a talented American power trio with their debut album, a perfect soundtrack to journeys outside frozen windows and within frozen souls.

“Visions of deep desire lay dormant, broken into fragments by an icy stare from the haggard, furrowed brow of nature – its cruel intent, to taunt the soul with beauty always out of reach, that disappears like mist with time…”

Hailing from Martins Ferry, a city in Belmont County, Ohio, United States, on the Ohio River, the extremely talented American Blackened Doom power trio Coldfells has just unleashed their debut full-length self-titled album upon us, bringing the aura of the band’s Appalachian surroundings as the album’s core essence. According to Coldfells themselves, the sonic purpose of the album is “to see the winter Appalachian landscapes we grew up around, the dead trees, grey skies, run-down mill towns, but, besides everything being desolate, it’s still beautiful.” And the trio comprised of Aaron Carey on vocals and additional guitars, Jonny Doyle on guitars, and Andrew D’Cagna on bass, drums and backing vocals definitely succeeded in providing with the music found in Coldfells a perfect soundtrack to journeys outside frozen windows and within frozen souls in a winter night of introspection.

Creepy, obscure keys ignite a 10-minute darkened feast of Doom Metal named The Rope, spearheaded by the sharp, slow-paced drumming by Andrew while Aaron fires his raspy gnarls tailored for the music and atmosphere created. This song brings a beautiful and melancholic musicality with a precise balance between clean and harsh vocals, or in other words, a very detailed composition recommended for fans of dark and smooth music with a piercing sonority, with its last part flirting with traditional Black Metal. With a melancholic start just like the opening track, The Sea Inside explodes into gripping Melodic Black Metal with highlights to the deep growls by Aaron and the mesmerizing riffs by Jonny, sounding atmospheric and doomed at all times and, consequently, providing amazing Blackened Doom for admirers of the genre. In Time Shall Be Forgotten, the shortest of all songs, is devastating from the very first second, with Andrew demolishing his drum set while Jonny fires sheer darkness through his strings. In addition, the song contains elements from the music by Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and other darkened bands, which ends up making it as menacing and lugubrious as hell.

All Night We Flew offers the listener sluggish and devilish Blackened Doom, with Aaron and Andrew adding tons of malignancy and darkness to the music with their anguished growls and steady, pounding beats. Once again, harsh and clean vocals complement each other in a fantastic manner, not to mention its magnificent main riff. Hence, while listening to this full-bodied hymn, simply bang your fuckin’ head nonstop until you feel that excruciating pain inside your head. And the last explosion of atmospheric Doom Metal by Coldfells, titled Eons Pass, sounds very stylish and harmonious, with the clean voice by Andrew bringing hope to our ears while Aaron reminds us all life is dark and dammed. Furthermore, the trio wants to drag us to a dark and cold side of life with the song’s mournful rhythm, and after a melancholic break the band returns in full force for one final breath of their Blackened Doom led by the blast beats by Andrew, until the song’s hellish conclusion.

In a nutshell, if what Coldfells wanted us all to feel while listening to their music was the beauty and desolation of the Appalachian landscapes, as aforementioned, they more than triumphed with each one of the five tracks of the album, which by the way can be enjoyed in its entirety on Spotify. And if you want to purchase Coldfells, the album is available at the band’s own BandCamp page, as well as on CD Baby and on Amazon. Actually, there’s a special edition of the album that’s already sold out at the Eihwaz Recordings’ webstore, which includes the two songs from their 2014 demo Black Breath as bonus tracks, but if I were you I would keep an eye on that just in case they print more copies of it.

Best moments of the album: The Rope and All Night We Flew.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 Bindrune Recordings/Eihwaz Recordings

Track listing
1. The Rope 10:26
2. The Sea Inside 8:18
3. In Time Shall Be Forgotten 5:36
4. All Night We Flew 8:28
5. Eons Pass 7:51

Eihwaz Recordings Black Breath Demo 2014 (Disc 2) bonus tracks
1. Dungeons Deep 8:32
2. On Carven Throne 8:17

Band members
Aaron Carey – vocals, additional guitars
Jonny Doyle – guitars
Andrew D’Cagna – bass, drums, backing vocals

Album Review – Divine Element / Thaurachs Of Borsu (2017)

In the hostile lands of Borsu, witness the passage of a soldier through various levels of consciousness about the reality of war, human society and the fabric of the cosmos itself, all embraced by the fury and epicness of Melodic Death and Black Metal.

A comeback that has been slowly brewing since a few years now. Formed in 2002 in the city of Athens, Greece, Melodic Death/Black Metal act Divine Element was the first band of Spectral Lore’s multi-instrumentalist Ayloss and vocalist Antonis, releasing their self-titled debut album back in 2010. After a hiatus of almost seven years, Divine Element are finally back with the stunning Thaurachs of Borsu, the first chapter in many future ones to come under a new and ambitious conceptual undertaking, the combination of metal with fantasy literature and world-making. Featuring a classy artwork by Chilean artist Matias Trabold Rehren, Thaurachs of Borsu is based on the same-titled novel written by Ayloss, which will be unveiled not long after the album release (to be followed by short stories from Antonis), set on a medieval fantasy universe envisioned by the band.

Thaurachs of Borsu chronicles the passage of a soldier through various levels of consciousness about the reality of war, human society and the fabric of the cosmos itself, as the gritty and daring warriors of his nation, Borsu, fight to regain their ancestral homeland from a much more powerful enemy. Musically speaking, the album ties together several styles of metal to serve the higher purpose of epic storytelling, albeit taking notice to never fall into the typical clichés of “soundtrack metal”, keeping an old-school approach mostly centered around Death and Black Metal of the heavy, melodic variety. Put differently, after hitting play you’ll find yourself wandering through the lands of Borsu, ready for battle and eager for some blood, banging your head nonstop to the majestic heavy music played by Antonis and Ayloss, with the precise and masterful support of German drummer Hannes Grossman (Alkaloid, Hannes Grossman, Shapeshift) to make their sound even more enthralling.

A Realignment With Destiny is a fantastic epic intro to the battle that’s about to come, the title-track Thaurachs Of Borsu, where Antonis and Ayloss begin their crushing onslaught in total sync with the Amon Amarth-inspired beats by Hannes. In other words, this is superb metal music, dense and profound, with all instruments filling all spaces with sheer aggression and might. In addition, how not to fall in love for those monumental lyrics (“The valley folk to the mountains’ slopes withdrew / Surrounded only by unwrought stone / The sea lords to the dry desert driven / Οswan roams frenzied in a soundless plain / Mestyr hangs discouraged with a rusting blade / And all hearts bellow in a silent wailing / A resignation to oblivion”)?

In Onto The Trail Of Betrayal, Antonis’ potent deep growls keep rumbling the earth while the instrumental pieces invest in a more Black Metal sonority. Moreover, the intricate beats by Hannes go along flawlessly with the cutting riffs by Ayloss, resulting in eight minutes of the best underground Melodic Death and Black Metal you can get anywhere, where they not only play superior music but the story being told is also a work-of-art. Then in Beyond This Sea we’re treated to a calm and melancholic start before the sound of the sea and the guitar lines blend in a beautiful manner, creating a potent atmosphere for the metallic sounds that are about to come. Adding elements of Blackened Doom and Folk Metal to their menacing Melodic Death Metal, the result couldn’t sound more imposing and appealing, with highlights to how vocals and guitar follow the exact same lines.

The movie-inspired bridge Interlude (The Point Of No Return) sounds even more majestic than the album’s intro, warming up your fighting soul for the crushing Call Of The Blade, a gripping fusion of the music played by Amon Amarth with traditional Folk Metal, with Antonis sounding like a beast on vocals, enhancing the impact of the song’s already powerful lyrics (“The land speaks to me in an alien tongue / Though my blood was born in these shores / What will I find, if I dig to unearth these roots / The echo of old thoughts faints quickly here / As the collective energy rises triumphant / Powered by the fiery will of a few”). Traitor’s Last Stand is another belligerent tune by Divine Element, showcasing almost eight minutes of heavier-than-hell riffs, electrifying passages and enlivening breaks. Furthermore, Hannes brings a high dosage of intricacy to the overall musicality with his drumming, while Antonis keeps telling the story with precision and passion through his anger-fueled growls. The last part of the song exhales epicness, gradually morphing into the cinematic outro Augury For A Shapeless Future, where the gorgeous sound of a rough ocean, together with the orchestrations in the background, make it the perfect climatic ending for the album.

No words can describe with the right amount of detail how amazing Thaurachs Of Borsu is, which is why I highly recommend you go take a listen at the album in its entirety HERE, and also visit the band’s official Facebook page for more information and their YouTube channel for more awesomeness in the form of heavy music. Also, there are several locations where you can purchase Thaurachs Of Borsu, such as Divine Element’s BandCamp, the I, Voidhanger Records’ BandCamp or webstore, and the Season of Mist’s webstore, as well as on Amazon and at Discogs. And while we wait for the next chapter in the career of Divine Element, we have plenty to enjoy and absorb in this superb album where heavy music and a thrilling story-telling couldn’t be more connected, impactful and vibrant.

Best moments of the album: Thaurachs Of Borsu, Beyond This Sea and Call Of The Blade.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 I, Voidhanger Records

Track listing   
1. A Realignment With Destiny 2:13
2. Thaurachs Of Borsu 4:52
3. Onto The Trail Of Betrayal 7:45
4. Beyond This Sea 4:54
5. Interlude (The Point Of No Return) 1:30
6. Call Of The Blade 6:34
7. Traitor’s Last Stand 7:36
8. Augury For A Shapeless Future 2:39

Band members
Antonis – vocals
Ayloss – guitars, bass, synths

Guest musician
Hannes Grossman – drums (session)