Atmospheric metal band Foscor are streaming their entire new album, Els Sepulcres Blancs, which will be released worldwide tomorrow, September 6th via Season of Mist. Jam it out now! Continue reading
Minneapolis is not a frigid northern waste year-round, but it’s a good stand-in for Scandinavia on a frosty winter day. The music that comes from there often conjures the heartless sounds of the birthplace of Black Metal. While also being home to the funky sex god Prince (RIP), the region has notably given us many great modern USBM bands to hand our hats on. The greatest may very well be False, as the sextet continues to hone their sound to perfection. I won’t event front, I have been a huge fan for some time and while they are “emerging” to mainstream ears, I have been down since the beginning, with several EP’s and splits most prized among my collection. So of course, I was amped for the release of Portent (Gilead Media), their new full-length album, so I got ready to dive in hard. Continue reading
When you think of thriving underground metal scenes, Italy may not be the first place that springs to mind; but it is one that is criminally overlooked and that in recent years has become a hotspot for creativity bubbling under the surface. One of the most important players in this scene is the ever-reliably great Avantgarde Music, who have championed and showcased plenty of great Italian acts (as well as from other locales) such as Selvans, Progenie Terrestre Pura and the subject of this review Enisum. Continue reading
Right from the offset, Black Metal has always been a genre that has championed the more esoteric aspects of art. Whether that being in the challenging music itself, or in its purveyor’s presentation, it is also a style of music has always thrived in mystique and continues to do so to this day. Shrouded in mystery with an almost hidden identity, Swiss solo musician Asknt has been (partly or wholly) responsible for a number of varied projects over the years, most recently with the full-length debut of DSKNT, PhSPHR Entropy (Sentient Ruin Laboratories). Continue reading
In recent years there has been a boom within the Black Metal scene of bands embracing a more melodic, often delicate and ambient side to the genre. Where bands such as the likes of Alcest and Agalloch (although vastly different, they share some ground in Black Metal’s evolution in recent times) adopted more ambiance and earthy atmospheres were surprising and evolutionary, nowadays such acts are much more commonplace, and thus the cream of the crop becomes harder to stand out. Continue reading
There isn’t much in terms of smoke and mirrors when it comes to Void Ritual’s debut LP, Heretical Wisdom (Tridroid Records). It’s a straightforward black metal album through and through. And that’s a great thing. In a subgenre where it’s far too easy to coast on cliché and spectacle, a little earnest effort goes a long fucking way. Continue reading
Since their inception in 2010, Dynfari have proven to be a true, unearthed gem for forward thinking metal; and yet another entity in Iceland’s thriving and rich Extreme Metal scene. Continuously showing evolutionary steps across their early albums, 2015’s Vegferð Tímans (Code666) was at the time their creative zenith, bridging atmospheric Black Metal with post-Rock and ambient landscapes to stunning effect. On latest album The Four Doors Of The Mind (Code666/Aural), this duo have majorly upped the ante both in musical execution and in subject matter. Continue reading
Great Scott in Allston, MA is a personal favorite venue of mine in the Boston area. Right by the T, tons of nearby restaurants for a quick dinner, easy street parking unless it happens to be snowing, and of course, the intimate venue. Tonight helped solidify my feelings on the venue as Black Elm, Vattnet Viskar, and The Atlas Moth brought their best even in the middle of the week. Given the late start time (9PM), I was able to toss back a giant bowl of Japanese Ramen noodles before entering Great Scott for what promised to be a great show.
Black Elm kicked off the night dishing out some groovy hardcore. The band received a successful response from the crowd that showed up “early” to catch the openers. Regardless if they were up front, at the bar getting a beer, or purchasing merch, everyone applauded their approval at the end of each song and at the close of the set.
Vattnet Viskar was the band I was most excited to see as I have not seen them in almost five years and with their new material being played live. The New Hampshire foursome brought their special blend of atmospheric black metal and post-metal to the Allston crowd in full force. For fans of the latest album, Settler, the majority of the set was of new material. Such songs included: ‘Dawnlands’ , ‘Yearn’ , ‘Impact’ , and closer, ‘Coldwar’. The sheer energy on stage for each song from these guys was truly inspiring. A lot of heavy bands today just do not seem to understand the importance of giving the audience a show. Hell more than a show, an experience. Vattnet Viskar provided quite the experience at Great Scott on this evening so I ensured a t-shirt and a patch was purchased.
Finally it was time for the headliners, The Atlas Moth, to provide their own breed of post-metal to the eager fans. Complete with green lasers and mesmerizing light show, the Chicago natives put on quite a show that certainly ended the night on a high note. The set list was a solid mix of new and old for the group as the Allston crowd received three tracks from An Ache for the Distance and two from The Old Believer. Off of those albums we heard tracks such as: ‘Holes in the Desert’ , ‘Perpetual Generations’ , ‘The Sea Beyond’ , and closing out the night, ‘Blood Will Tell’. Additionally, ‘The 6th Passenger is Death’ and ‘Hope for Atlantis’ were also tossed into the mix. One of the highlights of the night was when David Kush called on a vote for either a cover song or a new song. The crowd was almost unanimous in voting for a cover. David and the rest of The Atlas Moth busted out a memorable rendition of Failure‘s ‘Golden’. There was truly something for everyone during the band’s set!
Even though the overall turnout for the show was not one of the strongest I have witnessed at Great Scott, these three bands came together and put on a great show. I am certainly looking forward to catching Black Elm once again, potentially on a bill with some better fitting bands for them, as well as Vattnet Viskar and The Atlas Moth. And for those nearby to the Boston area and have not had a chance to attend a show at Great Scott, I highly encourage you take the Green Line B train up to the Harvard Ave stop and give them a try.
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN
Although emotive, the dark harshness of Vattnet Viskar’s sound seemed a strange choice to accompany the heavier, more melodic Pallbearer on last winter’s US tour. Look deeper, however, into the very British blackness of Settler (Century Media), the New Hampshire quartet’s second album, and the melancholy shines through.
Brutal stickwork permeates the tremolo riffs of ‘Colony’ until a wholly unexpected mid-point breakdown of slow, deliberate Shoegaze, reappearing at the track’s coda, marks the band out as a different breed. ‘Yearn’ begins with a portentous yet evocative passage, building with delicate synth effects into vocalist Nicholas Thornbury’s colossal yet almost whispered, dry bark; a more Doom-laden pace seeing lead shimmerings emerge only in a Post-style underpin. It’s a savage track, yet pregnant with emotion: the layered, twisting chicanes sending the sound into the more inventive horror of Inter Arma’s Blackened spin-off Bastard Sapling, rather than that of the band’s core which is heavily influenced by Winterfylleth, Fen et al. ‘Impact’, for example, evokes images of rolling, furze-heavy hills in winter, as is expected from that UK Pagan contingent: yet a Viking element adds punch to this truly moving track.
This is an album giving true meaning to the ‘Atmospheric Black Metal’ tag: expertly blending the hostile, hissing tundra with chest-swelling passion and, in doing so, creating a living monster. Seamus Menihane’s pounding, resonant tubs return as the direction for the aptly named ‘Glory’, more sadness wrought from that lead guitar as an initial Trad metal rhythm gives way to dual Post wails, crushing riffs returning at the height of the ensuing explosion, an emphysemic roar coating the whole in a wonderful disease. The brutalised, throbbing heartbreak of both the title track and ‘Heirs’, meanwhile, where those expressions of angst remain constantly on the right side of Metalcore to emit sincere feeling, are supreme examples of the band’s organic versatility and heart of fire.
Closer ‘Coldwar’ melds elements of Black, Melancholia, Post-metal and Rock in a swelling, distraught yet euphoric finale. A refreshing, ambitious effort whilst remaining faithful to the dark core, Settler shows Vattnet Viskar to the stage of serious contenders.
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The recording of a debut album is a pressurizing and difficult task under any circumstance; the first chance to make a mark on the world and put your presence on the radar. In the case of Polish Black metallers Outre the whole process became all the more complex with the sudden departure of vocalist Andrezej Nowak right at the beginning of recording, resulting in session vocalist Stawrogin being hastily brought in. Surely a testament of this band’s fortitude as they have come out of it with an exceptionally impressive debut in the form of Ghost Chants ( Third Eye Temple).
Despite expectations to follow in the footsteps of homegrown peers such as Behemoth, Outre have chosen to distance themselves from the more melodic and accessible takes on Black metal and have gone down the rabbit hole of the more progressive and challenging strains of the likes of Aevangelist and Deathspell Omega.
Split into seven “Chant” track parts, things proceed in an ominous and gradually building fashion on ‘Departure’, using an atmospheric slow build and eerie chanting vocals to build tension, before the following ‘Shadow’ explodes into view. Rather than sticking to all out pace, Ghost Chants veers between full throttle speed to an unsettling crawl, accompanied by an equally diverse and suited vocal range which shows Stawrogin, as a perfect and hopefully continued acquisition.
In the experimental and innovation stakes it may not have quite the same aurora of evolution and mystique as some of its peers, such as the aforementioned Deathspell Omega, but Ghost Chants is a debut which shows a commendable level of chemistry and fluidity, that of a much more experienced unit. It may not be a game changer in the genre but with their debut, Outre should firmly make a mark on the radar, one that only shows signs of growing more over time.
One of the most formidable debut’s you will hear all year.