Once upon a time, I got a compliment on a hoodie I was wearing while ordering a beer at a brewery, and said bartender recommended a band called Falls of Rauros. I immediately checked them out and it was an easy win for my library of music. Now, the New England black metal group is back with another stellar release in Key to a Vanishing Future (Eisenwald Recordings/Gilead Media). Six tracks over the course of nearly forty-five minutes with each song keeping you intrigued is a true chef’s kiss.
Colorado’s The Flight of Sleipnir has maintained a consistent but eclectic sound for nearly fifteen years, mixing Doom and Atmospheric Black Metal with elements of Folk and Prog Rock in a way that should sit well with fans of Agalloch. Their seventh album mostly adheres to this genre blend and boasts the fuller production that was last seen on 2017’s Skadi. However, Eventide (Eisenwald) manages to tweak the formula as those Blackened elements seem to be upfront than before.
If you can rely on one thing it’s that legendary Norwegian twosome Darkthrone will continue to not give a flying fig about convention or what people think about them until the day they die. No live shows since 1996, an early decisive leap from death metal to black metal, a total lack of adherence to any kind of rule book, and a succession of albums which basically read as unadulterated love letters dedicated to the music on which they grew up. If you don’t get Darkthrone by now then you never will.
Black metal connoisseurs rejoice!
The latest Vreid record is an homage to the classic black metal sound the members helped create way back in the days of Windir while simultaneously experimenting with bold new soundscapes and storytelling. Wild North West (Season of Mist) is a pounding cataclysm of power and fury, yet it does so with a style and panache in a way that only these Norwegian black metal stalwarts could deliver. They offer a fresh take on the traditional black metal tropes while cutting the growls and blast beats with a melody that keeps your head banging and your mind racing, like on the hypnotic “Dazed and Reduced” and the ominous tone-setting title track.