False – Portent

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

Enisum – Moth’s Illusion

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 EnisumContinue reading

DSKNT- PhSPHR Entropy

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

Nullingroots – Into The Grey

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

Void Ritual – Heretical Wisdom

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

Dynfari – The Four Doors Of The Mind

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

Outre – Ghost Chants

outre_ghost_chants_cover

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.

 

8.0/10

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CHRIS TIPPELL