With three songs – Bǽl, Opaque and Mǽdland – Bǽl is a strong, lugubrious and poignantly aggressive EP, released by British black metal act Normakk. With a very somber, evasive, discreet and effective atmosphere, the songs are beautifully composed, and from the very beginning, denotes a pungent and starkly spontaneous originality. With a graciously sensible competence, able to display in a positively sincere fashion the most pervasive aspects of the genre, Bǽl is raw black metal done in a proverbially sophisticated and elegant scale. With strident and expansive, but sensibly reliant, and, to a certain degree, darkly sentimental guitar lines, the general musical groundwork of the band is thoroughly exhilarating, consistent and dense, and obliterates on the vicinities of its melancholic melodies the most elusive aspects of black metal. Undoubtedly, a work of irreprehensible grandeur, Bǽl is a marvelously fantastic and unique work of art. Normakk closely follows the traditional old school, with a very peculiar, creative and dense style, with premises that outstands its genuine and salutary virtuosities, shining away any possibilities of being classified as just another generic act of the genre.
black metal / death metal
Altar Of The Dying is an EP released on July 30, by American blackened death metal group Throne, from Jackson, Michigan. Almost twenty-four minutes long, the work has seven relatively short and very concise tracks: Intro, Heresy Of The Highest Order, Not Of Shadow Nor Fog, Altar Of The Dying, Covenant Of Darkness, Where Angels Cower In Fear and Plagued Upon The Unholy. With an aggressive, dense and very rapid sound, their style can be described as methodical, rude and severely traditional, albeit a little predictable, although this does not affect their general performance. With a fiber and a level of brutality that makes their sound to be profoundly eviscerating, drastic and virulent – but also efficiently concentrated –, Altar Of The Dying is a very energetic, hostile and straightforward work. With highly consistent harmonies and incredibly lucid and somber guitar lines, the group certainly manages to deliver a powerful and pungent style of extreme metal, that is poignantly effusive and dark. Although there is nothing here that you haven’t heard several times before in similar albums of the genre, Throne is a competent, skilled and creative band, that proves their ardent and passionate compromise with extreme metal, on this exceedingly great and powerfully grotesque EP.
Ashes is an EP released on July 20, by Danish doom metal group Doomcult. Almost twenty three minutes long, the record has three tracks: Sulphur, Ashes and Black Fire. An excellent, pleasant, very delightful work, with way more poetic tendencies if compared to the traditional groups of the genre, Ashes has a melancholic and disturbing, but exceedingly ascendant, philosophic and serene atmosphere, that rises above the sensational and placid stability of its harmonious and dense sonorous configuration. While the first song, Sulphur, deserves to be highlighted, all three songs present an artistic level of security and a musical technique that stands as far superior to the average level. With a sensational style that makes them a powerfully potential reference for the genre in the underground scene, the consistency of the sound of Doomcult – as well as the audacious, but at the same discreet originality present in their music – showcases in the end an absolutely splendid final result. Certainly being one of the most genuine and spectacular releases that I’ve ever heard on the genre – being amazingly passionate and frivolous at the same time – Ashes, by Doomcult, is an exponentially marvelous experience on doom metal, highly recommended to everyone that is an enthusiast of the genre.
A dark, rude, depressive and melancholic traditional black metal work, Drowning in Sorrow is an EP released in June by a Finnish musician, that presents himself by the alias of Sathanian. Almost twenty-four minutes long, the EP has five tracks: Depressing Dreams, Wanderer, Drowning In Sorrow, Despair and Kenkiintuijottaja. Despite being better described as traditional black metal, the EP has some discreet traits of DSBM, which is present in the predominantly slow, digressive and dispersive harmonies, that really stands for a surreal and profoundly melancholic mood. The cynic and sorrowful atmosphere of the work is genuinely beautiful, and has a formidable musical consistency, that is ostensibly framed by conspicuously sinister and funeral vocals, that sometimes emphasizes its presence more for its morbid, almost neutral sterile qualities, than for its grotesque nature. A promising, very interesting work, that is sidelined by its truly proverbial and eloquent understanding and execution of the genre, Drowning In Sorrow is an emotional, poetic and very somber work, that has everything to please enthusiasts of the genre.
black metal / post black metal
An interesting EP with four tracks – Dramatic Truth, Winds Of The End Of Afternoon, Jonas and Alone – the music of Sabactâni can be described as a melancholic twilight forever lost in the everlasting vicinities of depressive and anxious thoughts. A marvelous post black metal group from Brazil, their originality is amazingly eviscerating, with a powerful and afflictive sonority, that energizes the genre at the core of its structure. With powerfully ascendant melodies, that revolves around aggrandizing, but at the same time dismissive and dispersive harmonies, the disillusion that is felt as the epicenter of their style is symbolic to the mood that better defines the genre, and takes a major layer of beauty and poetry in the virtually insane musical diagram of the band, that can be felt as simple and humane, at the same time. A wonderful EP that brilliantly aggregates major qualities to the genre, with a severely robust and consistent anatomy of abundant sonorous virtuosity, B.O.R.E.A.L, by Sabactâni, certainly can be classified as a vigorous and sensational state of the art work.
black metal / crust punk
Fallen From The Hull is an Ep released by American black metal act Nailwalker, from Austin, Texas. Twenty-five minutes long, and with four sensationally fantastic tracks – Juvenile, Feeding The Devil, Without A Thread To Pull On and Meant For All Fours – Fallen From The Hull is a formidably majestic state of the art work, that brings on the crest of its tempestuous, direct and incinerating melodies all the aggressive devices truly inherent to the genre. With a sober, technically proficient and genuine veracity that is the main engine of their music, Nailwalker is a fantastic musical creation, that introduces into their music in a perfectly incisive and precise manner crust punk elements, as well as more melodic and melancholically somber sonorous tonalities. With beautifully poetic and thoroughly original guitar lines – that somewhere along the way, unveils an amazingly superb, lugubrious and dissonant solo – Fallen From The Hull is one of the most perfect, authentic and astoundingly beautiful experimental black metal pieces that I’ve ever heard. With furious, but lancinating and dramatic vocals as well, as soon as this EP is over, you want to hear it again!
S/T is a two track EP released on August 17, by Canadian black metal act Mandragora, from Victoria, British Columbia. With two amazingly sinister songs – In Scarlet Embrace and Beyond The Lacheist Prisons – Mandragora performs old school traditional black metal, on a virtuous and dissonant style. With somber and aggressive tunes, and pervasively grasping cutting edge vocals, the sound of the duo is thoroughly groundbreaking and energetic, doomed to fall beneath the imperial demise of its own projected desolation. With a responsive aggressiveness, that is more melancholic and lugubrious than hostile or belligerent, the overall sound of Mandragora is quite provocative and inventive. Very reminiscent of the early Norwegian black metal scene, the style of the duo is profoundly proverbial, obscure and essentially imaginative, although they do present a formidable degree of originality, that makes their sound quite distinctive, but without losing the quintessential trademarks of the genre. An excellent work – as a matter of fact, a gracefully fantastic two track EP – on the course of its seventeen minutes, Mandragora definitely gives a sonorous lesson about what true old school black metal really is.
Dark Lore is an EP released on July 27 by American DSBM artist Moon Bog. Almost twenty three minutes long, the work has four tracks: Under Burning Leaves, Reawaken the Frost, Mount Sorrow and The Strain. A splendid, beautiful, philosophic and marvelously poetic musical work, with an abundant layer of sonorous melancholy, the general style of the artist is profound, graceful and exceedingly rough on the introspective universe of its expansive sensibilities. With genuinely patient and somber harmonies, that plays on the majesty of its precociously filtered and salutary guitar lines, the melodies are dramatically tense, but profoundly calm at the same time, as they extend to the transparent, but lugubrious oceans of its frivolous sensitivities the turbulent pandemonium of its restless state of mind. A passionate, cosmic, exhilarating work, whose pervasive sensibility plays a vital role at the cornerstone of its infuriating, but peaceful and placid sagacious artistry, the formidable level of creativity and excellence displayed by the artist on this work is simply extraordinary, and will certainly please all genuine DSBM enthusiasts that will be happy enough to listen and to enjoy this fantastic pearl of the genre.
Self-Destruction is a wonderful EP released on July 25, by Russian DSBM artist Dystert Natt. Very concise, only ten minutes long, the work has four tracks: Ashes And Snow, Insomnia, Scars'14 and Sing To Me An Alcoholic Lullaby. The general style of this musician is DSBM on its most typical and traditional layer. Nevertheless, it is abundant in beauty, and has several qualities that stands out on the course of its sonorous brevity. The melancholy, the mordacity, the overall serenity and the discreet sadness that is overexposed at the most frivolous panel of its virtuous musical context is excessively evasive and lugubrious, but has a poetic beauty that easily disperses and dilacerates the macabre rudeness of its shadows. The guitar lines are ostensibly impeccable and whimsically elaborated, although they are plain and simple. Unadorned, direct and full of lethargic grievances, Self-Destruction – as predictable as it is –, has a consistent, dramatic and sincere layer of sonorous beauty and stylish purity, that certainly makes this wonderful EP a very pleasant experience to hear.
With only two tracks – Vacuous and Obsequious Vermin –, Histamine Haven is the debut of an eponymous Canadian project, released on July 24. With a raw and traditional approach to the genre, the record is absolutely fascinating, has a consistent style and definitely has what it takes to please a large audience. With solid, but at the same time dissolute guitar lines, Histamine Haven has a ponderable and serene conjuncture of harmonies, that – despite brief passages of virulent aggressiveness – gracefully elevates the internal dynamic conflagrations of its expansive rhythms to a fateful standpoint, where the experimental colors of the sound extrapolate the venomous frontiers of its own unfathomable hostility. Unraveling a fantastic and versatile tone of primordial stature and creative audacities, the style of Histamine Haven has mordacious peculiarities, and a very original musical groundwork. The way the artist promotes the balance of the most violent and hazardous aspects of his music with the more serene and sensible components of his sonorous splendor denotes a vigorous and majestic ambivalence that is gracefully dilapidated almost to the level of perfection, and certainly will captivate the listeners, almost immediately.