It takes a lot of blood, sweat, beers to make it in the music business. A lot of bands form around a good idea, some beers, mutual bands, or a few riffs, heat up, run cold and call it day. Few bands have the temerity to overcome real adversity with all the music industry shit that crushes your soul. If you know, you know. Graveslave has overcome the death of their original vocalist Don “Doombringer” Durkee in 2019, and are still here. Putting out a killer EP during the lockdown Devotion, and now a new album, this is far above what most others could muster. No matter what happens in their career, they have defied the odds for the love of music.
Kris Esfandiari has released many different styles of music under many different monikers. There is Miserable, a solo, Shoegaze project of Esfandiari. Then, there’s NGHTCRWLR, an Experimental, Noise, Industrial outfit. With each project more different than the last, Esfandiari is a versatile and inventive vocalist gifted at making transgressive music. On Celestial Blues (Relapse Records), Esfandiari returns as King Woman. Following up 2017’s Created in the Image of Suffering, the sophomore album from King Woman is a shocking release that is like horror.
It lies deep within the cold vastness of space. A distant, inhospitable land that exists at the farthest reaches of an unforgiving, lonely planet. Cast adrift and surrounded by an ocean of venomous, fanged, and tentacled monstrosities lies an island of such unimaginable manifestations of horror that madness and fear await every nervous footstep with eager, slurping lust. Crawling, slithering, scuttling, swimming, hiding. It waits.
The general conceit within black metal is that the rawer and more under-produced the album the more authentic and trve it sounds. Therefore remastering and remixing records of that particular genre is a venture never likely to be met with universal praise. Not that a little fact like that has deterred Satyricon in any way, the Norwegian act even going so far as to completely change the artwork on their first two albums for these updated releases courtesy of Napalm Records.
Those of you who tuned into our 2020 Album of the Year podcasts will be very aware that both Da Ed and I have a serious amount of admiration for British post-hardcore artists Svalbard, whose When I Die, Will I Get Better? (Church Road) caught our attention with the subtle expansion revealing an icy Black Metal core, most prevalent in the proliferation and development of tremolo-picked motifs. Guitarist Serena Cherry goes one step further with her debut Black Metal solo outing, Wretched Abyss (Translation Loss), released under the Noctule banner, indulging her frozen soul and frostbitten inspirations. Continue reading
Masters of baroque melodic extremity, it is befitting that Suffolk symphonaires Cradle of Filth has grabbed the goat by the horns with a suitably slick foray into the live stream arena. Atop a multi-layered theater stage set, ring leader Dani Filth sets the tone, holding aloft a flaming torch and emerging from a cowl straight out of one of the Undertaker’s Wrestlemania entrances, before announcing the commencement of the invocation of the unclean…Continue reading
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.
Darkthrone has announced their new album to drop this summer, dubbed Eternal Hails from their label Peaceville on June 25th, 2021. Although we don’t have new music yet, this is one of the years’ highly-anticipated releases on the strength of their stellar career and banger of a recent album in 2019’s Old Star (also Peaceville). New music and full pre-orders should follow soon, but you can pre-order the digital version now at their Bandcamp. Check out the artwork and the full tracklisting below.
Bewitcher has always stood out for having a more melodic slant than their Blackened Speed Metal peers and that distinction is at its most apparent on their third album. The band’s Venom meets Running Wild style leans much in the latter’s favor on Cursed Be Thy Kingdom (Century Media Records). The guitar rhythms are noticeably more accessible with more flamboyant leads above them and more dynamic song structures to match. Even the blatant Welcome To Hell worship on ‘Satanic Magick Attack’ has an almost Hard Rock flair to it.
Recorded towards the end of 2020, Paint The Sky With Blood (Napalm Records) was meant to signal the beginning of a new era in the career of Bodom After Midnight frontman Alexi Laiho. His first release since leaving the groundbreaking Finnish melodic death metal act Children of Bodom the previous year should have been the beginning of an exciting new journey. Instead, his tragic death in late December means it ultimately becomes an epitaph.