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.
A cold nocturnal Scandinavian wind blows; icy tendrils stabbing southwards, searching, seeking for blackened hearts to infect. The hosts wait, apprehensive, yet welcoming, ideas already pregnant. The frost-bitten hunter swirls at first, before plunging its whole intent deep into the waiting prey. Saarbrücken, Germany, nominally a thriving, modern economic centre, is now the scene for the cultivation of a different type of essence, for that which grows inside it is not the spirit of commerce, but The Spirit of melodic blackened metal.Continue reading
Québécois Black Metallers Délétère have often had an air of mystique and the outrageous in their cannon, and the overriding narrative of latest album De Horae Leprae (Sepulchral Productions) is arguably more conceptual, with it being devoted to “Teredinis, a simple leper whose calling it is to become a prophet of Centipedes, as well as an incarnation of the Plague.” With such a vivid and eccentric conceptual idea behind it, its surprising to note that De Horae Leprae is a comparatively simplistic listen, albeit one with plenty of wealth.Continue reading
With Norway being so synonymous with Black Metal from its roots to the present day, by now France can hold an equally high association with its latter-day avant-garde offshoots. As much as black metal was always about experimentation and evolution, France is particularly prominent for bands pushing black metal into even further trajectories, from the philosophical and conceptual reaches of Blut Aus Nord to the likes of Alcest and Deathspell Omega encompassing polar opposite ends of the spectrum. Purveyors of mystique Abduction; whilst not necessarily envelope pushers in comparison to the aforementioned are, however, similarly unconventional in their approach as second album Á L’heure Du Crépuscle (Finisterian Dead End) attests.Continue reading
Full disclosure here, something about Scumpulse piqued my interest enough to pick this one out of the myriad of potential albums to assault my ears with for review, but at the time, I wasn’t sure what it was. Maybe it was that I expected fun, ugly grindcore (which this isn’t)? Maybe it’s that I trust the source that it came from? Or just maybe it’s because the UK is a hotbed of talented, abrasive, creative intent bubbling and broiling just below the surface of everyone’s conscious right now and I didn’t want to miss out on the next thrilling, grimy rendition? Continue reading
The Ghost Cult album round-up is back in town for your vulgar delectation, with our penultimate selection of 2017 taking you down amongst the silt, with a selection of Sludge, Doom and post-Metal antidotes to any festive cheeriness that may be unsettling your disgusted souls…Continue reading
In this exclusive album preview for Ghost Cult, Wintersun mastermind Jari Mäenpää discusses is his biggest musical influences. You can watch the video below. Continue reading
As far back as 2008, with the independently released EP The Heathen Throne, Ancient Ascendant have been very clear in their intentions. And with a couple more EPs and two very well received albums under their belts, the English Black/Death Metal quartet have raised the bar again with latest full length, Raise The Torch (Candlelight).Continue reading
Stirring from a creeping lilt into a frictional sprawl, Symphonic Black Metal artisans Saille usher in their fourth album, Gnosis. Its predecessor, Eldritch (both Aural/code666) made great strides to establish this cerebral aggressor as an act of pedigree and violence; a burgeoning reputation that this darker, more ferocious offspring will serve only to further.Continue reading
The amalgamation of black and death metal (often referred to as blackened death) has been successfully utilized by many bands; Dissection and Behemoth perhaps the most distinguished. It’s an unholy union that blends the macabre frostiness of black metal with the tempo and technicality of death metal. Temple of Baal hail from Paris and evoke just that with their latest release, Mysterium (Agonia). Despite being active since 1998 they have only released five full length albums and a handful of splits, one of which being alongside the phenomenal black metal band Sargeist. Momentum really got going in 2003 with the release of Servants of the Beast (Oaken Shield) and from then on the band has become more and more prolific, releasing albums every couple of years.
Their chosen theme of spirituality and religiosity is immediately apparent through the track titles alone, with songs like ‘Lord of Knowledge and Death’, ‘Hosanna’ & ‘Holy Art Thou’ being somewhat of a clue. But fear not, this is no Christian metal atrocity as the band clearly state, “Mysterium can be seen as a collection of meditations and prayers over the mysteries of Faith, directed towards the gods of the left hand path”. This prominent theme is further enforced by ritualistic sections interspersed throughout the record, epitomized in ‘Dictum Ignis’ which is an ideal accompaniment to any satanic ritual.
Aggressive and forceful, ‘Lord of Knowledge and Death’ makes no apologies for its brutal onslaught, a devastating riff interrupts the atmospheric introduction and it’s full on chaos from here on out. The riffs are piercing and well layered for a full, thick sound. Temple of Baal are all about variation, not wanting to stagnate they inject their music with different styles and sounds. ‘Magna Gloria Tua’ begins with a disorientating swirl of noise before unleashing some pummelling death metal, whilst ‘All In Your Name’ employs riffs more akin to the black metal sound. ‘Holy Art Thou’ is bursting with malice; the lyrics “Holy Art Thou!” are growled with utter venom. Exceptional fretwork shines through on the album, and is without a doubt the most memorable component, crushing yet technical and melodic, each riff serves a purpose whilst adding vigour and captivating variation.
Mysterium is a spiritual journey down the left hand path of darkness and iniquity, a remarkable journey that is without doubt unforgettable. Bow down and worship at the Temple of Baal.