Cold Black Suns (Season of Mist) is an unforgettable piece of occult black metal art, fusing savagery with frozen beauty – but it is also a selection of nine very separate songs that can each stand on their own as near-perfect examples of the craft Belgium’s Enthroned have been honing for a quarter of a century.
Fleshgod Apocalypse rewrite the definition of extreme metal on Veleno (Nuclear Blast Records), by taking all the historical aspects of their signature orchestral death metal sound and pushing these to, well, the extreme limit.
Despite the fun ‘80s horror thematic concept and some excellent songwriting, Night of Whispering Souls (Extreme Metal Music) by Croatian one-man black metal project Tryglav, the album leaves an impression of entertainment rather than long-term engagement.
Adversus, the seventh full-length album from Italy’s Handful of Hate combines fast, technical black metal with unexpected baroque flourishes to create a record of unique character without resorting to musical gimmicks: an uncompromising vision that sits comfortably on the Code666 roster.
We chatted with Jason Mann, Muhammad Zubi and David Devo Oosthuizen, promoters of South Africa’s The Kraken Is Alive about their narrative based music festival for the alternative market.
An unmistakably Kampfar record, Ofidians Manifest (available from Indie Recordings) blends historic black metal tropes with contemporary care to composition and arrangement to craft one of the most exciting pieces of black metal music in recent history.
Shem Ha Mephorash, the fourth full-length from Sweden’s Mephorash for Shadow Records is neither short, sweet nor easily digestible: rather, it is provocative, engaging and even a little frightening in its intensity. Or put another way, as near to a perfect black metal record as you could hope to encounter.
Enthroned represent Belgium’s longest-running black metal act, with over a quarter of a century of active recording and performing. Vocalist Nornagest discusses the new album, Cold Black Suns, ahead of its June release.
1349’s fast, heavy and uncompromising “aural hellfire” approach to Norwegian Black Metal returns on a state-sponsored tribute to the work of artist Edvard Munch, Dødskamp, released by Season Of Mist.
The Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records soundtrack is not just a cultural snapshot of the early 1990s underground and industrial music scenes in Chicago, but a cleverly curated showcase of some of the Wax Trax! Records artists that helped shape that scene - and a delightful trip down memory lane in the process.
Mardom (out April 12th via War Anthem Records) reinvents no wheels, but the powerful nostalgia it conjures of early 1990s second-wave Scandinavian black metal is a breath of frigid and nihilistic air that does Germany’s Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult proud.
At just over 30 minutes run time, it really is worth the effort to stop what you’re doing, plug in your earphones and let Basalt’s O Coração Negro da Terra remaster (Ritual Productions) wash over you in a tide of blackened post-sludge with a very progressive flavor.
Servants of the Cold Night, the first full-length from Andeis, is by no means a kind or forgiving listening experience, but its seeping, vitriolic menace is balanced by surprisingly sensitive key arrangements on an otherwise bare-bones raw black metal album.
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.
Hate Force deliver a slow, heavy miasma of uncompromising aural punishment on their eponymous debut (Closed Casket Activities) that blends mid-tempo death metal with enough groove and hardcore elements to satisfy these camps, too.
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.