£30.99Lord! Anagnorisis certainly doesn't pull any sonic or emotional punches on its majestic, seriously affecting gut-punch sophomore full-length Peripeteia -- a powerful blend of forward-thinking, nuanced black metal ( decibel )Visit product page →
2. Disgust & Remorse, Pt I
3. Disgust & Remorse, Pt II
4. 5306 Morningside
5. Night Skies Over Nothingness
8. Transparent + -
£16.99"After "Moloch", their first album hit the scene last year, ANCST has toured relentlessly. Besides putting out a few more of their dark ambient releases, the Berlin based blackened crust collective has gone quieter at the end of 2016 to write new material for a row of releases to be put out in 2017.Visit product page →
The first in line will be this EP entitled "Furnace" which see's the band heading out into much more melodic territories while still featuring the aggression of former releases.
"Furnace" delivers 5 new songs of bastard sound black metal / hardcore crossover that takes no prisoners."
1. Away From Atrophy
2. Urban Tomb
3. Chronicles Of Emptiness
4. Broken Oath
5. In Stone
£9.99Here is something unique and extremely intriguing that will delight both the fans of Cascadian black metal (WITTR, Addaura, Velnias, Agalloch, etc) and of eastern European-styled melodic black metal (Drudkh, Negura Bunget, Walknut etc.).Visit product page →
Hailing from Leipzig in Germany, ANTLERS are a punk and shoegaze-influenced black metal band driven by solemn and vast riffing soundscapes, inconsolable mid-tempo rhythms, and eerie melodies and moods. Their songs unfold slowly, taking the listeners by the hand across vast plains and soaring great distances, guiding them through a desolate and charred landscape where hope and destruction eternally fight in complete solitude a final battle for survival.
Antler’s music is grim and atonal, but overtones of hope and redemption seep through their walls of furious tremolo picking and endless waves of blast beats. There is some kind of celestial and glowing energy in this music, something that makes it luminous and reassuring, even in its stark and torrential aggression. (CVLT NATION) "This is the forest primeval, an ecosystem in a state of primal balance.
There are the hunters and the hunted. Life feeds on life, and the cycle coils forever onward, subject only to the whims of the eldritch gods who carved this alien landscape as a sacred temple wholly separate from the contrivances of modern man.
ANTLERS reign supreme in this pantheon, doling out harsh justice to unwary interlopers in the form of chthonic growls that reek of aeons of rot, electric bolts of blackened riffs, and austere, stately drumming. This is a testament to the wild, dangerous, foreboding, and captivating." (W.)
Mastered by Chris Fielding of Conan.
£33.99The serendipitous nature of 2016's metal luck (at least to these ears) seems to be showing no signs of pausing anytime in the near future. The greats have, and will be providing the genre with wonderful works, and the diamonds in the rough have been emerging to challenge those already established with youthful confidence. One such band is Minnesota's Ashbringer.Visit product page →
I would highly doubt anyone is more worthy of the descriptor, "youthful confidence", than Ashbringer. Seeing an 18 year old perform and compose every instrument with clarity of thought and intentional songwriting chops beyond his years was impressive enough, but 2016 sees Nick Stanger as exuberant as ever; Yugen outshines Vacant in every aspect, and rightfully so. A gorgeous expedition through luscious soundscapes aided by an oriental tint, Ashbringer present one of the most invigorating, raw, and enjoyable adventures the genre has seen so far this year.
A stunning palette of colliding synths and cavernous leads are a wonderfully enticing introduction to Yugen's expedition. The density of the synth work transitions beautifully into continuous force as the band blast and shred their way into the spotlight. The bridge between dynamics, and the melodic measures taken to pair riffs together are implemented flawlessly; a direct, technical edification from Vacant which suffered from occasionally poor cohesion decisions. A serene acoustic interlude, a passionate solo, and the song marches out confident that it opened Yugen well.
"Solace" stands as a perfect representation of this album's greatest strength; beautifully paced, dynamic songwriting. As the expedition ventures forth into "Oceans Apart", and "Lakeside Meditation", individualism and consistent theme work hand in hand to paint vivid, honest images of the changing world of Yugen. There is no star track on Yugen, and with very good reason. Ashbringer have grabbed diversity by the reigns, exploring every nook and cranny of atmospheric black metal's melodic side, and returning only with choice picks.
The title track's swirling entrance and firestorm crescendo left me with the same, awestruck buzz as the proceeding interlude that falls under three minutes. It is in the absolute majesty of Yugen's songcraft that its primary issue arises. Percussion on this record often struggles to stand up against the intense weight of the melodic musicianship. It definitely holds its own for the most part, but it seems that the naivety of Vacant has been almost entirely uprooted while the drumming remains stuck in the ground.
When considering the overall sound of the album however, this is but a minor flaw, and a gentle reminder of humble beginnings. When hidden among layers of synths and cascading guitars, it serves as a solid foundation, but its presence does protrude a little too heavily during breathing spaces. The scope and grandeur of the world it is occupied in does more than enough to distract any mishaps, however.
2. Oceans Apart
3. Lakeside Meditation
4. In Remembrance
5. Celestial Infancy
8. Glowing Embers, Dying
£16.99In 2010, guitarist Matt Mewton (also of Brooklyn-based black metal legion WOE) joined forces with bassist Lesley Wolf (of Brooklyn-based blackened sludge band, MORTALS), and drummer Jacques Johnson.Visit product page →
Realizing their doomed black metal style struck a chord, the trio began demoing material and playing live. After two self-released demo releases, a blistering and massive two song contribution to a split release with ANICON, and a limited edition EP, BELUS forged a bond with Vendetta Records to release their latest and most shuddersome offering to date.
Apophenia delivers seven new songs packed to the brim with merciless, rippling, and suffocating atmosphere. Each song is crafted with authentic, proficient guitar and bass work that focuses on massive riffs without studio trickery. Ritualistic and steadfast guitar and bass tones speak their own languages as they slither throughout Apophenia.
Clever and intuitive drumming drive merciless triplet-blasted fervor into each song and pumps life into the bleak and dark pulse of the world. Apophenia brings agonizing, indignant, and thunderous anthems of unwavering whispers of dissonance through an immortal storm.
The unrelenting, bleak aura of Apophenia puts forth an acrimonious pall while reaching for serenity.
Release Date: 08/12/2017
£25.99"I’ve been aware of French quartet Cult of Occult for a little while but had not investigated further due to their name. I realised what a terrible mistake I had made within seconds of listening to the filthy doom contained within “Five Degrees of Insanity”, a far cry from the bandwagon jumping retro rock I was expecting.Visit product page →
An ominous amp hum builds before erupting into the gut churning opening riff of “Alcoholic”. What follows is a 15 minute onslaught of bleak sludge, harrowing vocals and an evil guitar tone Bongripper would be proud of. Cult of Occult employ repetition to great effect, playing each riff until breaking point before moving to the next. A slight shift in tempo towards the end of track ushers in a pummelling one chord attack, drums pounding to a frenzied climax until the dust finally settles. The next degree of insanity, “Nihilistic”, begins in similarly-pummelling fashion.
The band begins to add in more atmospheric elements with this track, occasional bleary, reverb heavy guitar allows the listener to briefly catch their breath before the next crushing blow. “Misanthropic” kicks off with a buzzing black metal attack which is a slap in the face after the snail-paced crawl of the previous tracks. This is only a brief respite though as before long Cult of Occult are wading through treacle once more whilst maintaining the blackened atmosphere from the intro.
Hopefully the band revisit and expand on this black metal side during future releases as elements of this track offer a tantalising glimpse of their wider sonic arsenal. “Psychotic” emerges from the spaced-out conclusion of “Misanthropic” with a few minutes of glorious droning amplifier worship.
The black metal atmosphere continues as a menacing tremolo picked riff emerges from the fog which later returns as an eerie, distant keyboard reprise. “Satanic” brings proceedings to a close, beginning with hysterical declarations of war on Jesus, God and everything before grinding out one last serving of punishment.
Despite being a lengthy record at 65 minutes, “Five Degrees of Insanity” is engaging throughout and strangely addictive, particularly given its relentless nature and glacial pace. This is a thoroughly unpleasant listen in the best possible way." Reviewed by The Sludgelord
£16.99"Umbras e Forestas is the best of two distinct worlds. If you like your black metal raw, underproduced, its potential only grasped by those conscripted to the BM army, you have that.Visit product page →
Their screams avoid the usual, meek throating you typically find for more of a rotting sound, but the real moments of captivation are how they balance that with ambiance and folk, transporting the listener into a culture perceived across centuries, real because of the hands that fashioned the lens.
The empty spaces of storms and archaic folk take this to where all black metal should go." Written by Stanley Stepanic
1. Sa Aurora De Sos Astros
2. Su Cànticu De Sos Montes
3. Lunas Antighas
4. Umbras E Forestas
£12.99Formed in early 2013, Funerary came to pass by the adherence of five souls looking to coagulate in depression, grief, and anger.Visit product page →
Finding solace in dwindling light, the band creates a musical presence that is powerful and progressive in the realm of doom metal by combining what can only be described as cosmic, transcending songs ridden with despair and indignity.
1. Coerced Creation
3. Beneath The Black Veil
4. Starless Aeon 6:Depressor
£16.99Visit product page →
Three tracks and 34-minutes of cosmic doom metal was just what the doctor ordered. Hexer’s surprisingly tactful use of melody, nuance and feel drifts beneath cataclysmic slabs of sludge and doom, creating an intriguing sonic landscape that retains the listener’s interest for the majority.
Despite a rather tedious closing act, the occasional lack of clarity in the mix during heavier moments, and that elusive musical equivalent of “wow, that was awesome,” Hexer are a band that oozes atmosphere and immersion.
A bit more fine-tuning and identity-finding and Hexer will continue to grow. Long live cosmic doom! Hexer is a four-piece outfit from germany, combining doom and black metal with oriental tunes, repetetive riffs,drone and atmospheric soundscapes.
Low tuned strings and heavy sub-bass provided byan analog synth create a meditative yet ominous atmosphere.The debut LP "Cosmic Doom Ritual", tells the story of a cosmic journey through deepest blackness,being devoured by a giant sea creature and the discovery of a surreal place,mixing mythological elements with sci-fi. The album takes the listener on a trip , entrances and draws him into an abyss.
2. Pearl Snake
3. Black Lava Flow
£16.99Taking influences from the Norway traditional school of black metal, adding bits from Austrasian folklore and overwhelming its concept with the right amount of atmosphere, LOTH is now giving birth to its second album called Apocryphe.Visit product page →
With 3 original songs and a Guillaume De Machaut cover, the band goes straight for the throat and deliver its most aggressive recording yet.
Featuring Flore and The Austrasian Goat on Douce Dame Jolie.
Mastered by Julien Louvet. Artwork and layout by Jennie Zakrzewski.
RIYL: Blut Aus Nord, Aggaloch, Wolves in the Throne Room
1. Douce Dame Jolie
2. Mourir à Metz
£16.99Old Graves are a band from British Columbia, Canada that plays an atmospheric form of black metal with some folk and doom metal elements and this is a review of their 2016 album "Long Shadows" which was released by Naturmacht Productions.Visit product page →
Acoustic guitars start off the album and they also give the music a progressive and folk music feeling and after a minute the music goes into more of a dark, heavy and melodic direction and the vocals are mostly high pitched depressive black metal screams and synths are also brought into the music at times.
Throughout the recording the music alternates between both the heavy and acoustic parts while a great portion of the tracks are very long and epic in length and the songs also bring in a lot of modern atmospheric and post black metal elements and the guitar solos and leads bring in a very dark and melodic style.
When the music speeds up a great amount of tremolo picking and blast beats can be heard which also gives the songs more of a raw black metal feeling and there are also a couple of instrumentals which also shows the synths incorporating more ambient elements and the songs also bring in a great mixture of slow, mid paced and fast parts while some of the slower riffs are influenced by doom metal.
Old Graves creates a recording that is still very heavily rooted in the atmospheric black metal style while also adding in more folk music elements this time around, the production sounds very raw yet powerful at the same time while the lyrics cover melancholy, nature and death themes.
In my opinion this is another great sounding recording from Old Graves and if you are a fan of atmospheric black metal with elements of folk, you should check out this album." occultblackmetalzine
2. Aethernaut I
3. Slave To The Boiler That Heats The Baths
4. To Die, Or Bear The Burden Of Death
6. Teeth Pulled From Gnashing Jaws
7. Aethernaut Ii
£19.99Copenhagen based black metal quartet SOLBRUD will release their third album ’Vemod’ on June 9th via Indisciplinarian and Vendetta Records.Visit product page →
Since the release of SOLBRUD’s self titled debut album in 2012, the band has been an immense power in black metal, which was only emphasized by the 2014 sequel ’Jærtegn’ in all its beautiful grimness. Both albums and the quartet’s emotional and intense live performances have since then consolidated SOLBRUD as a band with a special, artistic vision unfolding in non-compromising and boundary pushing black metal.
Now SOLBRUD is ready with their third full length ’Vemod’ (Danish for sadness or melancholy). It is an album proclaiming the imminent fall of mankind musically accompanied by yet another envigoured take on the band’s wuthering and melodic variety of black metal.
As SOLBRUD’s previous album ‘Jærtegn’, ‘Vemod’ is recorded with producer Lasse Ballade (Slægt, Orm, Halshug) in his Ballade Studios in Copenhagen, this time during a freezing January 2017. In addition, the legendary Flemming Rasmussen (Metallica, Morbid Angel, Rainbow) has overseen the mastering in Sweet Silence North where the album received an old school tape mastering enhancing the band’s analogue and organic sound.
As with the band’s two previous albums, the record consists of 4 tracks, which this time makes up a playing time of 50 epic and intense minutes.
1. Det Sidste Lys
4. Besat af Mørke
£16.99Do you like EBM? Do you like the finest hour of EBM? Look no further. You have just been united with a fucking MASTERPIECE EBM record, one that will be hard to top.Visit product page →
Brooklyn’s Statiqbloom is the dark hallucinogenic brainchild of Fade Kainer, who is also the mastermind behind such bands/projects as Batillus, Theologian, Inswsarm and regular collaborator of Jarboe).
Drawing from the grittiness of early industrial and EBM like Skinny Puppy, Frontline Assembly, Cabaret Voltaire, and the entire golden age of the Wax Trax catalog, Statiqbloom combines hard dance beats and haunting electronics with disorienting vocals to create a pulsing raw vision of music for today – a new world order in sonic form where humanity and machine, material and immaterial, digital and organic have been forced together in a monstrous eruption of beauty and deformity.
Within this record you’ll be faced by otherworldly and mesmerizing sonic sculpture thrown against a distant storm of pulsing dark matter, chaotic rhythms, beautifully and masterfully crafted soundscapes, and haunting rhythms. It doesn’t matter if you’re more into the more “dancey” or club-scene oriented perfectionism of artist like New Order, Burial, or Justice, into the cerebral and more abstract IDM of bands like Boards of Canada, Aphex Twin or Amon Tobin, or into the breakneck intensity of Ministry, Skinny Puppy, Venetian Snares or KMFDM – Statiqbloom has it all and even goes beyond, into a realm of artificial musical intelligence that at times you will find hard to believe it is so great and grand.
While “Separate Worlds” might be the best upbeat EBM track I’ve heard since Skinny Puppy released “Rodent,” other tracks on this gem like “Vestige Lights”, “Shivering” and “Behind Galss” (this last track is as grand and evocative as “Warlock”) are pure perfection – pure body and mind collision that will make you become restless sin your seat and make your mind wander off into unthinkable places. ( cvlt nation ).
1. Atrophy Of Three
2. Behind Glass
3. Vestige Lights
5. Seperate Worlds
6. Breathing Shallow
£21.99“THOU is one of the heaviest sludge bands that anyone has ever heard. But it must be noted that while Heathen is Thou’s heaviest work to date, the album is also their most melodic and beautiful.Visit product page →
They have channeled their songwriting capabilities into creating one of the most monumental metal albums in existence, weaving soft, melodic passages and prosaic, often ecstatic lyrics into the crawling, resplendently heavy riff-laden metal that they’ve been known for. And this is no mere collection of songs; this is a cohesive and ambitious record that, while centered, covers a variety of topics and emotions.
In the true spirit of the record and the band’s DIY punk ethics, I should keep this in perspective and note that the album isn’t necessarily about creating something historic in scope or magnitude; it is simply focused on harnessing the freedom, hope, and despair of right now.
Both the musical and lyrical approach of the record is to concentrate on what is, giving little thought to what has been or what might be. The present is all that exists."
1. Free Will
3. Feral Faun
4. Into the Marshlands
6. At the Foot of Mt. Drisskill
7. Wolfi Landstreicher, - In Defiance of the Sages
8. Take Off Your Skin and Dance in Your Bones
9. Immorality Dictates
10. Ode to Physical Pain
£30.99ULTHA's second full-length album 'CONVERGING SINS' is a 63 minute rumination on the subject matter of how past events and wrong decisions will echo throughout the rest of our mortal existance. Over years experiences of failure and the conscious ability to willingly commit mistakes, to hurt, to reject, to alternate truths etc. lead to a path where silence in and around you is the ultimate repercussion.Visit product page →
The record is a testimony to everyday melancholia, inner solitude and the human struggle to lead the wrong life in the right, the struggle against your animalistic nature. On their second album ULTHA further their trademark sound of fast, hypnotic, reverberant Black Metal in a more US traditon played by acts such as Ash Borer, Weakling, Leviathan and Wolves In The Throne Room.
It is combined with crushing Doom heaviness close to acts such as Lycus, Asunder and Forn while also blending in an overall hopeless and gloomy atmosphere mostly connected to Dark Wave bands such as The Sisters Of Mercy and (early) The Cure.
The 2016 EP 'DISMAL RUINS' already showed the path ULTHA follow, adding multiple layers of electronics and slower passages in focus on overall diversive, captivating songstructures in mix with their juggernaut sound. The five songs reach lengths up to almost 20minutes while still balancing repetition and settle nuances in riffs to manifest melodies like echoes in the listeners head. And this is a thing ULTHA were good at right from the start: Writing real songs with tons of melody without lacking heaviness and urging intensity. The focus is always on the overall flow and feel of the record.
Therefore the music, the metaphorical, cryptic lyrics by main songwriter R.Schmidt as well as the artwork (envisioned by Kevin Gan Yuen of Sutekh Hexen fame) need to be treated as a whole entity. The songs we're once again recorded and mixed in the bands rehearsal space called 'The Oil Pit' by the bands own Andy Rosczyk in Cologne (Germany).
Mastering duties this time were taken by Jack Shirley at his Atomic Garden studio (California), where he already formed the massive sound of bands such as Lycus, Oathbreaker and Deafheaven. On track No.2 'Mirrors In A Black Room' the band could win British native currently residing in Berlin (Germany), Rachel Davies of the acclaimed post-punk/wave band Esben And The Witch for guest vocals. But she not only sang but also co-wrote the lyrics to the song.
1. The Night Took Her Right Before My Eyes
2. Mirrors In A Black Room
3. Athame | Bane Emanations
4. You Will Learn About Loss
5. Fear Lights The Path (Close To Our Hearts)
£16.99This is a split between two black metal bands that I hold in very high esteem; Paramnesia from France, and Ultha from Germany.Visit product page →
Paramnesia are the first band, offering up a 20-minute track named VI. Like their previous work, such as their split with Unru, the band deliver epic black metal, forged around a core of frozen might, and expanded with progressive, atmospheric, and melodic components. Paramnesia’s blistering delivery is ramped up in intensity by the needle-thin screams of their singer.
Around these slices of Venom, entire architectures of emotive blackness spring up and die down at the whim of their creators.Sometimes the band will craft these structures from blasting extremity, while at others the pace slows and time is taken to explore different atmospheric avenues.
Introspective, lonesome post-metal-esque sections appear too, showing that the band are adept at shaded, reflective delivery as well, before inevitably unleashing Hellfire once more.Whatever they’re actually doing on this song though, it’s effective and extremely enjoyable.
Ultha’s debut album Converging Sins was so hideously impressive that it rather quickly achieved a prominent position in my end of year best of 2016 list. Now that I have had the time to process it even more, it would have placed even higher.
The band’s contribution to this split – The Seventh Sorrow, 18 minutes in length – shows Ultha have lost none of their talent for highly-engaging music. The Seventh Sorrow is atmospheric and fiery, with gripping melodies and dark mood both present in abundance. With equally abundant bleak melancholy and in-depth emotive content, as well as crazily infectious guitar parts, this song demonstrates firmly that the quality of the material on Converging Sins wasn’t a one off.Ultha remain one of my favourite atmospheric black metal bands.
On this split they, and Paramnesia, have created something extremely satisfying and worthy. This is a 38 minute, high-quality, high-value split, one which you must seek out at your earliest convenience. ( wondderboxmetal)
1. Paramnesia - Vi
2. Ultha - The Seventh Sorrow
£16.99Six tracks of apocalyptic black metal, Wode's newest record unleashes five years of outstanding potential, finding the band on deadly form, wielding enough surprises to suggest that its work in service to the counter-cosmos is far from doneVisit product page →
1. Death's Edifice
2. Trails Of Smoke
3. Cloaked In Ruin
4. Spectral Sun
5. Plagues Of Insomnia
6. Black Belief
£16.99"The realization strikes quickly; A Spell For The Death of Man is an atypical force.Visit product page →
The haunting, oddly naked guitar that opens the record--perfectly painted in the "Solitude" referenced in the track's title-- is stark. Desolate. Profound, even. Mostly, it's real. A single guitar. Two minutes of truth or consequences. That's all that Woe needs to bury the seed. The seed grows. That solitary guitar morphs into a fiery wall of blasting and trem--nothing special--but halfway in, man...the violent revolution begins.
Woe's manipulator, Xos, breaks the song open, driving it into a storm of dust with thick riffage and insane drumming. This is full-on, fuck-you hitting, turning the tide into a headbanging, jawbreaking tsunami of blackness. A Spell... is absolutely massive, wreaking havoc in a manner that few (if any) USBM bands have previous. Thrusting mightly, like a craggy Nightside Eclipse encrusted in crumbling punk nihilism, this album rarely relents.
As the work of a single man, A Spell... is a nearly-obsessive vision of destruction (as well as its cathartic wake), but is devoid of theatrics and posturing. Xos' screams of vitriol fully embace the human/animal primalism that condemns our very existence, and his command of the riff is as organic as it is supreme.
The ballsy, blackpunk sneer that climaxes "Longing Is All That Will Remain" (the album's true landmark) again spews nothing but honesty, albeit through mouthfuls of strained sinew and shards of bone. The nonstop venom that volcanoes from the core of "I See No Civilization" is of unmatched potency, instigating volume cranks and neck fractures with ease.
Woe takes the "depressive" tag that has been glued to Stateside blackness for the past few years and turns its head on an axis. Forcefully. While the deliberate torture of the closing track,"Memento Mori," sludges things up (down), it sounds almost anti-climactic when stacked against the rest of this white-hot tome.
By comparision, however, so do the wares of those scrambling for the vacant USBM throne. Woe does not scramble; Woe lays stake. A Spell For The Death of Man is easily 2008's most criminally overlooked album, and is quite simply the most important black metal release in years--not by virtue of perfection, but of relevance.
A new dawn is upon us. Adjust accordingly." Yourlastrites
2. Alone With Our Failures
3. Longing Is All That Will Remain
4. Condemned As Prey
5. I See No Civilization
6. Wake In Mourning
7. Memento Mori
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