Written by: Izzy
Black metal since its very inception has excelled in creating metals darkest and coldest soundscapes, influenced as much by the frozen winds of Norway as by the raw and satanic thrash and death metal that preceded it. I think few bands have truly captured that purest essence of chilling lo-fi atmosphere as effectively as Paysage d’Hiver.
Wintherr’s music is instantly recognizable even amongst a vast sea of similar raw black metal bands who still follow in the footsteps of the OG Nordic scene. This distinct but simplistic approach of evil, foreboding chords, dark ambient and dungeon synths, and his iconic distorted vocals manages to always deliver something I enjoy.
Written by: The Administrator
The wayward creation of this review is not reflective of the typical process 'round these parts. After (seemingly) completing the damn thing, our various devices capable of updating the website encountered a Series of Unfortunate Events, resulting, as ye may have noticed a few weeks back, in a marked lack of content. Long story short: the review in original form was largely consumed by the technology gods. However, the unexpected setback provided an opportunity to throw this split back into rotation, crank out a few more listens, and subsequently rebuild the review from the ground up. The opportunity for refinement was too much to pass up, and so here we are, fashionably late, clenching a fourth and final draft in white-knuckled grasp.
But you aren't here for the sob story or long and winding intro. Let's dive right in, shall we?
Written by: Lord Hsrah
The last ten or so days have been immensely heavy for me, I must confess. I'm not sure if this is the aftermath of the lockdown or is it just the feelies, but my existential dread and depressive episodes have never been this high before. It's been real doom and gloom hours. These aren't those times when the 3AM feels hit you, you cry yourself to sleep and the next morning you're all ready and up to face whatever's coming at you--no, no, no--these are the hard ones that persist for days. In this absolutely down-and-out period, Australian depressive black metal outfit Cancer's Opioid has been an ethereal companion to me, and while coping has been tough, there's solace in knowing I'm not alone. Let's talk.
Written by: The Administrator
After a certifiably...chaotic month (or two, let's be real,) this particularly sleep-deprived scribe is back in the saddle of his continuous apology tour. Next stop? Time to cover a raw 'n' gritty demo by Diabolical Reign, a duo comprised, in part, by our very own Voiceless Apparition aka Lord Begravelvase on drums and vocals. One Nox Secuutus rounds out the outfit for this demo, which was recorded back in 2015 when the guys were mere adolescents exploring an (evident) heartfelt love of the rawer fringes of black metal.
And raw this is, albeit in the sense we purveyors of the rare and bloody yearn for. Icy riffs and production compliment both a forthright aggression and a chillblained droning sensibility. The drums are distant--a valley away--and the vocals are as tortured and troat-wrenching as ye might expect. And, icing on the cake: once you get past the abrasive sonic quality, some truly ear-catching compositions are apparent in the frosty static--take the blistering "Annihilation" or the aggressively morose "Doom's Elegant Robe" as prime examples. The latter track is my favorite herein, as it balances the blackened bite with a distinctly doomy dread. Black doom metal is an environ worth exploration, and it's excellent to see little sparks here and there, even if confined to a project from the past.
In sum: if raw black metal is yer speed, this evil lil' demo is certainly worth your while. Also, it's, like, Name Your Own Price. You quite literally can't go wrong. Give Diabolical Reign a listen (and give The Voiceless Apparition a follow, while yer at it.)
Diabolical Reign - Shadows in a Winter's Night was released July 4th, 2020
Diabolical Reign can be found:
Written by: Lord Hsrah
You ever seen Spike or Tom from Tom and Jerry? Seen how they react when their ever-so-cunning and sharp eyes spot a thick chunk of steak, and how their tongues just hang out as their mouth waters at the thought of devouring it? Yeah, that's always me when someone mentions atmospheric black metal! I'm a big fan of the emotions this particular sub-genre invokes, the scenes it creates in my head, the visions it shows me thereafter, and just the overall things I feel when listening to an ABM album - it's one of my favorite things, especially in the rainy season, which is right now where I live. If you ask me, The Lightbringers' From The Void To Existence was a good one to spend some time with as I watched the waters trickle down the window panes of my room. Let's discuss.
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. The next guest in line to graciously offer a retrospective in this series is one Erin Palmer, sole member of raw black metal outfit Dread Maw, as well as raw black metal/black n' roll entity Rage of Devils. Once yer done reading this retrospective, check out both projects!
Written by: Erin Palmer
I went through several years where, for multiple reasons, I wasn't enjoying metal.
One of the hallmarks of OCD is intrusive thoughts. Irrational thoughts that come into your head out of nowhere, but feel so gut-wrenchingly real that you can't help but give them credence. Mine started in 2011, and they told me that I wasn't “allowed” to like metal.
Simply saying that doesn't convey the fear that came with those thoughts. It was a sick feeling in my stomach that I was doing something wrong by listening to metal. It wasn't based in anything real; no religious background was responsible, for example. My head just told me that I wasn't allowed to listen to my favorite music, and my insides turned to water.
Written by: The Administrator
For a music reviewer, familiarity is a tool. Thus, before getting too embroiled in the details, here’s the rub: the world of atmospheric and folky black metal constitutes for me the proverbial Road Less Travelled. My experience in these woods is limited; I have little knowledge of convention or expectation. That said, I do have a deep respect for any artist under the metal umbrella who strives to replicate and/or honor the lushness and vibrancy of the natural world.
If anyone fits that vague criteria, it is the remarkably prolific Robes Of Snow, whose album covers alone should indicate a certain dedication to the out-of-doors. Each photo captures a prototypical seasonal moment, with Autumn’s Stag and the Crescent Moon—today’s album in question—featuring a melancholic autumnal scene. A boardwalk, wet with rain. Rusty pre-frost grasses. Bare trees standing stark against a yellow sky. The snow is coming soon, but it ain’t here yet. As someone who grew up in the rural reaches of the northeast US, it’s a scene I recognize quite well, and inevitably take solace in. But the visual aspect would fall apart, obviously, if the sonic qualities didn’t hold up their end of the aesthetic bargain. Luckily, Robes Of Snow succeeds quite well in this regard. And that's puttin' it lightly.
In the rush to cover the constant waves of new music, we all too often neglect discussing the releases that leave the most substantial impressions in our lives. As such, we recently invited some bands and artists to wax poetic about an album that was deeply impactful or influential to them, either musically or personally. First up in this series of guest reviews is the prolific Espi Kvlt of Apricitas, Yngve, Seas of Winter, Phryne, Guan Yin, and Exsanguinated Shade. Read on!
Written by: Espi Kvlt
Is it blissful?
It’s like a dream.
I want to dream.
These words, from the first track off Deafheaven’s sophomore album, cut through me like a knife the first time I held the lyrics booklet up to my face to digest its contents. Impossible to decipher by simply listening to the album, I wanted to absorb every bit of it, as it had caressed me in the darkness of that filthy basement apartment where I lived with the man that would soon become my ex-boyfriend. The screeching vocals off Sunbather called out to me like a friend each time I was left in that bed in the corner of our room to ponder what I did to deserve the abuse from the man I thought I loved.
It cannot be overstated how much the lyrics alone have left a permanent impact on my
psyche, so much so that I branded those lyrics from “Dream House” permanently onto my flesh beside a ram skull. During those tumultuous times in that apartment, they were a source of comfort. They were my therapy. Accustomed to bands like Darkthrone and Cradle of Filth, it was the first time I had encountered such poetic language in black metal. Later in my life, this extended to my own lyrics. Deafheaven’s Sunbather still informs each decision I make when I put that pen to the paper. Lines like “Lost in the patterns of youth / And the ghost of your aches comes back to haunt you / And the forging of change makes no difference” make me both overjoyed at the experience of being able to read them and saddened to know I didn’t come up with them myself.
Written by: Ancient Hand
“Blackgaze” is a term that immediately disgusts and turns off purists of straight forward, Satan-worshipping, formulaic black metal. The image of modern hipsters wearing skinny jeans while writing black metal in basements is stomach-churning to some who would rather imagine 90’s hipsters wearing skinny jeans while writing black metal in basements. “Blackgaze” is a term openly embraced by Canada’s Unreqvited. Tagged on the project’s new album, Empathica, is the controversial term itself. Additionally, the album is self-described to contain “shimmering blackgaze melodies and grandiose orchestral segments.”
The second part of this description, though, is where the innovation lies. We’ve all heard an album make use of beautiful guitar melodies paired with tremolo picking and relentless drumming, but Unreqvited’s ability to roll symphonic and orchestral elements into the music is quite groundbreaking when experienced on this new LP.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!