Troll’s second album, Legend Master, out April 12th via Shadow Kingdom Records, is a meandering, yet still gripping narrative that is as much Tolkien as Asimov in its content, full of tense, dynamic compositions that balance riff and melody to great effect.
deliver a slow, heavy miasma of uncompromising aural punishment on their eponymous debut (Closed Casket Activities
Waldgeflüster’s latest offering, Mondscheinsonaten (Nordvis Produktion), is a gentle lullaby delivered via the near-perfect meshing of gentle folk-like acoustic melodies with blastbeat-ridden waves of black metal hellfire.
Sinmara’s latest release via Ván Records, Hvisl Stjarnanna, is equally gloomy and nihilistic in temperament to 2014’s Aphotic Womb, although its composition and arrangement are far more sequentially structured, with lower tempos and more focus on mood.
Temple of Skies, the debut album from Idaho’s Tempestarii, is less an album than the exorcism of a malignant spirit - an unsettling, dynamic and ritualistic showcase of atmospheric black metal.
While the term “mature” hardly suits My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult’s creative content, their latest album, In the House of Strange Affairs, could perhaps be described as “accomplished” in terms of their musical evolution up to this point.
Valtakunta (out now via Signal Rex), the latest album by Finland’s Se Lusiferin Kannel, is a chilling, exploratory hour-and-change of seriously dark long-form ambient black metal.
Like some marvel of black metal engineering, in Moritat (out via Unholy Conspiracy Deathwork), Der Rote Milan have created an album that is functional in its expression of human darkness, yet aesthetically enchanting at the same time.
Wan’s Gamma är äldst, out now via Carnal Records, may be one-dimensional blackened thrash, but on the plus side, it is easy to listen to and plain, simple fun.
Blot & Bod, a three-piece from Copenhagen, achieve a frenetic symbiosis between raw, low-end black metal and punk delivered with infectious aplomb on Ligæder, a vinyl re-release of their 2017 debut, out on February via Iron Bonehead Productions.
Despite obvious production flaws, Mütiilation’s The Lost Tapes still exudes a barbaric charm that may be limited to a kvlt audience but definitely checks the right boxes for this small sector of the black metal community.
Viewed holistically, Nyctophilia’s Ad Mortem Et Tenebrae is an enjoyable black metal listen, but not a memorable one, despite its authentic efforts at second-wave mimicry.
Richard Z. Kruspe’s passion for guitars, rock n’ roll and musical innovation in general shine through on A Million Degrees, Emigrate’s third album.
On Heir to Despair, Japan’s Sigh have, as usual, taken the road less travelled and released yet another fresh, genre-defying album of progressive, avant-garde black metal. This approach may not guarantee popularity, but they can definitely sleep the sleep of the artistically fulfilled.
While the mood of the do-it-yourself attitude of early second-wave black metal is all but absent on this tribute record, it is still a delight in terms of nostalgic charm – and while the holistic impression of the record is a little awkward and (obviously) not fresh, original creative output – but the admiration these bands hold for the halcyon days of black metal yore, and for Burzum, is undeniable.
Cevin Key’s Brap & Forth Vol. 8 showcases production over arrangement in a selection of outtakes and demos – but still captures the overall essence of Remission (1984) and Bites (1985), Skinny Puppy’s groundbreaking first two albums.
Revelations of the Red Sword is a deeply esoteric album, blessed with a huge presence and a constantly shifting undercurrent of unapologetic misanthropy. But it’s also a more refined expression than 2012’s Flesh Cathedral and a triumph for Iceland’s Svartidauði.
Due out via Transcending Obscurity, Dødsferd’s, Diseased Remnants of a Dying World is an excellent showcase of a long-running band that refuse to rest on their laurels and instead keep producing quality content.
Worlds Open, Worlds Collide may be the only full-length One Tail, One Head will release, but they are going out on a high note: a solid disc that keeps the True Norwegian Black Metal flag flying high.
Beastland evokes a nostalgic response through its use of industrial tropes and inspires through its unique instrumental approach but Author & Punisher ultimately rely too heavily on novelty of approach in a woefully disinterested, uninformed musical climate.