Hjartastjaki (Svart) is an almost cinematic experience, as Isafjord create bleak and desolate landscape pictures with their sombre atmospheric music. The duo of Solstafir vocalist Addi Tryggvason and multi-instrumentalist Ragnar Zolberg (Sign) wrote the album while holed up together in an old house, during the depths of an icy winter and using a broken piano to start many of their ideas.
Batushka and Hate took on The Brooklyn Monarch! I was very excited to be able to see these two Polish black metal titans together on the same bill. Hate, who I’ve seen a few times, always brings energy to the crowd and effectively keeps me coming back for more. Their rifts are heavy and evil, filled with anger and that undeniable black metal spirit. In direct contrast with their crowd, who were surprisingly friendly for being fans of a band called Hate. They were very accommodating to me coming in late and taking photos, and for that I would like to thank them. Fans would let me pop right in and out with ease, though my luck ran out when the almighty Batushka took the stage.
The Great Heathen Army Tour marched through Cincinnati and Amon Amarth set the town ablaze.
Metal masters Amon Amarth have been chasing the peasants away for thirty years. They are presently on tour in support of The Great Heathen Army (Metal Blade) record that came out earlier this year, and they brought along Cattle Decapitation, Obituary, and Carcass for the ride.
With just a quick glance of the album art to Sacrilege (Personal Records), metalheads can quickly figure out what they are in for. Richmond, Virginia’s Appalling are back with more blasphemous, blackened death metal. According to legend (or possibly the band’s press release) the music on this album is so evil, that God tried to burn the band’s tour van with the group inside.
Part experimental jazz, part progressive, part sultry but all Getsemane – the newest work of art they’ve created for Svart Records is entitled Viimaa. There is a darkness to the sound, like mushrooms and the mycelial network dark. It’s taking the Hobbits to Isengard black. It’s underground clubs in New York City and Frankfurt, the ones with the brick on the inside; smokey, dense, hot.
When Ronnie James Dio joined metal legends Black Sabbath in 1980 the former Rainbow frontman’s appointment couldn’t have come at a better time. Sabbath were a sinking ship. A drowning vessel from which enigmatic frontman Ozzy Osbourne had been trying to escape for some time. However, even though it was painfully clear that new blood had to be added to halt the band’s alarming deterioration the hostility that greeted Dio from some corners was quite shocking.
Hailing from Athens, Blame Kandinsky style themselves as the Greek lovechild of Botch and The Dillinger Escape Plan, and dropped their debut album Spotting Elegance back in 2017, before hitting some high-profile tours around Europe including a support slot with Cavalera Conspiracy.
Swords, epic battles and metal. It’s a combination that has been there since their beginning. And for good reason. It just works so well. It’s an escape to a highly visual and epic escape from reality where everything is dialed up way past eleven.
Press on, intrepid reader, to find out our top albums of 2022, as voted for by the cast, crew and hangers-on of the good ship Ghost Cult. Over 275 albums were nominated (including one stray and errant vote for Stryper… we’ve had words), some people lauded albums as the greatest of all time that no one else noticed, other albums picked up a steady stream of votes across the board without tickling the top of anyone’s charts, but through it all, we’ve been able to compile our team list of the best 75 albums of the year. And there are some absolute corkers, here. 75 of them, to be exact…
In the world of heavy music, there needs to be some degree of weird, strange, maybe even taboo. Without this, all we have is anger and aggression with little bursts of sadness. This need is currently being filled by that of Pennsylvania’s own duo dissonant black/death metal group, Veilburner. These two have been dropping full-length releases consistently since 2014 (first I am hearing of it, color me interested) but now the sixth record has disturbed the planet in the form of VLBRNR (Transcending Obscurity). Sometimes the most comforting music, given the right environment and levels of vulnerability, is actually the most uncomfortable music.