Album Review – Høstsol / Länge Leve Döden (2023)

A monumental celebration of the great Lord of Death in the form of dark and sinister 90’s Black Metal made in Scandinavia.

The Stygian project of Swedish vocalist Niklas Kvarforth (Shining), Norwegian guitarist Cernunnus (Manes), Finnish bassist Kalmos (Barathrum), and Finnish drummer Rainer Tuominkanto (Ajattara), Scandinavian Black Metal entity Høstsol, which by the way means “autumn sun” from Swedish, has just unleashed upon humanity their debut opus, entitled Länge Leve Döden, or “long live death”, an album conceived and recorded by people who have been molding the sounds of all things dark since the 90’s, and you can hear that experience and unconditional dedication in every note. Mastered by the legendary Andy LaRocque (King Diamond) at Sonic Train Studios, Länge Leve Döden is, according to the band itself, “our monumental celebration of the great Lord of Death. A perfect alignment of five songs that were written during an awful, unhealthy process over the course of two years. Expect Black Metal the way it used to feel and sound back in the early nineties, and rejoice!”

An eerie intro slowly evolves into the grim and dark As Seen Through The Eyes Of The Prophet, showcasing pensive lyrics (“A human life is worth less than nothing / So therefore I dream, night after night, / Dreams of putting an end to all materialistic desires, / And annihilate the despicable cosmic failures of the false prophet Jahve, / And through faith and fanatic devotion, crown the one true king”) and a beautiful Atmospheric Black Metal sound. Rainer sounds inhumane on drums, bringing endless heaviness to Det Som En Gång Var (Det Kommer Aldrig Igen), or “what once was (it will never be again)”, while Niklas vociferates beastly for our total delight during the song’s eight minutes of pure obscurity; followed by Länge Leve Den Ansiktslöse Mördaren, or “long live the faceless killer”, absolutely sinister from the very first second spearheaded by the vicious growls by Niklas and the always hammering beats by Rainer, not to mention the sulfurous riffs by Cernunnus. Then Gregorian chants ignite ten minutes of sheer Black Metal magic entitled Din Skördetid Är Nu Kommen, or “your harvest time has now come”, where Cernunnus is unstoppable with his classic riffage supported by the rumbling bass by Kalmos, sounding infernal and majestic from start to finish. And closing the album the quartet offers us all their hellish Black Metal with hints of Atmospheric Black and Doom Metal in Parallellt Dubbelliv, or “parallel double life”, displaying a menacing ambience perfect for the demonic gnarls by Niklas.

There are several places where you can put your evil hands on Länge Leve Döden (which is by the way available in full on YouTube and on Spotify), including the band’s own Big Cartel, the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page, Sound Cave (as a CD, an LP or a deluxe LP), The Sinister Initiative’s Big Cartel, Season of Mist (also as a CD or an LP), Shining Legions (yet again as a CD or an LP), or Apple Music. In addition, don’t forget to also start following such incendiary Scandinavian horde on Instagram, keeping up to date with all things Høstsol. Länge Leve Döden is indeed an amazing tribute to the Lord of Death, as the band stated, showcasing the reach and fire of Scandinavian Black Metal and, therefore, becoming the perfect soundtrack for the darkest days of our miserable lives.

Best moments of the album: Länge Leve Den Ansiktslöse Mördaren and Din Skördetid Är Nu Kommen.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. As Seen Through The Eyes Of The Prophet 9:31
2. Det Som En Gång Var (Det Kommer Aldrig Igen) 8:14
3. Länge Leve Den Ansiktslöse Mördaren 10:29
4. Din Skördetid Är Nu Kommen 8:44
5. Parallellt Dubbelliv 7:32

Band members
Niklas Kvarforth – vocals
Cernunnus – guitars
Kalmos – bass
Rainer Tuomikanto – drums

Album Review – Grá / Lycaon (2023)

Succumb to the dark side of music ruled by this Swedish Black Metal horde armed with their sinister and visceral fourth studio album.

Since their inception in Stockholm, Sweden in 2010, the fantastic Black Metal entity Grá (a mixture of the Icelandic “grár” and the Swedish “grå”, simply meaning “gray”) has relentlessly worked to shape their music to be both a perfect example of Swedish Black Metal and a very personal interpretation of its classic sound. Now in 2023 the horde comprised of Heljarmadr (Dark Funeral, Cursed 13) on vocals, guitars and keyboards, Vediger (Diabolic Lust, Cursed 13) on bass, and Dimman (Veiled, Cursed 13) on drums returns from the underworld with their fourth opus, entitled Lycaon, a lecture in classic and modern Black Metal. Mixed by Terry Nikas at Zero Gravity Studios, mastered by George Nerantzis, displaying an explosive cover art by Chilean artist Felipe Ignacio, and featuring guest guitarist and keyboardist Maugrim (Vargagrav, Cursed 13) and guest vocalist Terry Nikas (Scar of the Sun), Lycaon heads in the opposite direction of their 2018 intricate and bombastic album Väsen, displaying fewer layers meticulously measured and well thought out to carry the right atmosphere forward.

White City Devil is very melodic and grim from the very first second, with Dimman sounding like a beast behind his drums offering Heljarmadr exactly what he needs to darkly roar nonstop in a flammable fusion of old school Black Metal with contemporary Melodic Black Metal. After such intense tune we have Flame of Hephaestus, even more sulfurous and with Heljarmadr growling the song’s lyrics in great fashion (“Through cinders and snow, chasing the storms / Cleansed and so cold, concealed and obscure / Astray from all life, so violently dark / Shrouded in ice, forged in the fire”) while the guitars sound utterly caustic; and Maugrim and Heljarmadr keep slashing our ears with their visceral riffs in Torn Asunder, an ode to Black Metal that will please all fans of the genre. Then we’re treated to the title-track Lycaon, a lesson in modern-day Black Metal spearheaded by the venomous vocals by Heljarmadr while Vediger and Dimman make the earth tremble with their demonic kitchen. In other words, simply raise your horns in the name of evil to the sound of this amazing song.

It’s then time for their infernal rendition of Bathory’s Chariots of Fire (from their 1987 album Under The Sign Of The Black Mark), with Heljarmadr stealing the spotlight with his demented vocal lines; whereas the sinister bass by Vediger kick off the groovy and melodic Ett Avskedsbrev (or “a farewell letter” from Swedish), accompanied by the rhythmic beats by Dimman. Brännmärkt, which means “tarnished”, “tainted” or “branded”, carries on the torch exploring the cold war from a Swedish perspective, where the intro depicting a Swedish emergency siren called “Hesa Fredrik” (Hoarse Fredrik) and an old radio transmission was recorded right when the Russia-Ukraine war started. Musically speaking, it’s absolutely heavy and obscure, with Dimman pounding his drums mercilessly while the guitars by Maugrim and Heljarmadr bring an extra touch of malignancy to the overall result, flowing into the tribalistic outro titled Jaws of the Underworld, concluding the album on a cinematic note to the sound of the hammering drums by Dimman.

As aforementioned, Väsen might have been dropped like a bomb onto our heads back in 2018, but it’s with Lycaon that Grá have reached a whole new level of obscurity in their music, already placing it as one of the best albums of 2023 even if we’re just starting the month of January. Hence, don’t forget to show your support and admiration to the guys from Grá by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, by subscribing to their official YouTube channel, by streaming all of their wicked creations on Spotify, and obviously by purchasing their massive new album from the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page, from Sound Cave as a Digipak CD, a black vinyl or as a limited color vinyl, or from Amazon. Lycaon is Swedish Black Metal at its finest, and I’m sure you’ll succumb to the dark side ruled by Grá right after your first listen to such Stygian album.

Best moments of the album: Flame of Hephaestus, Torn Asunder, Lycaon and Brännmärkt.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2023 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. White City Devil 4:40
2. Flame of Hephaestus 4:20
3. Torn Asunder 4:17
4. Lycaon 5:10
5. Chariots of Fire (Bathory cover) 2:50
6. Ett Avskedsbrev 4:27
7. Brännmärkt 6:17
8. Jaws of the Underworld 3:38

Band members
Heljarmadr – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Vediger – bass, backing vocals
Dimman – drums, percussion

Guest musicians
Maugrim – additional guitars and keyboards
Terry Nikas – additional vocals

Album Review – Kamra / Cerebral Alchemy (2022)

A veiled and secretive Slovenian horde is ready to attack armed with their debut opus, offering us all seven tracks of sheer Black Metal madness.

As a room’s confining embrace, the mysterious Slovenia-based Atmospheric/Experimental Black Metal entity Kamra grabs and plunges you in a world of allegories, ruminations and imagery with their upcoming debut full-length opus, entitled Cerebral Alchemy, following up on their 2021 EP Conversing With Ghosts (which was by the way recorded as a two-piece comprised of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist N.K. and multi-instrumentalist M.D., who are most probably still part of the band). Drawing influences equally from Norwegian Black Metal classics, modern death dealers, as well as experimental oddities, this Slovenian veiled and secretive horde, now expanded to five unknown creatures of the abyss, offers in their new album mixed by Anže Čanžek and mastered by Gabriele Gramaglia seven tracks clocking around 42 minutes of Black Metal madness, enriched with a beautiful artwork by by Jeff Christensen, being therefore highly recommended for admirers of the most obscure and dissonant side of music.

Stygian guitars and sluggish Doom Metal beats will consume your soul in the opening tune It Burns Without a Fire…, a sulfurous intro that will crush you mercilessly before such uncanny entity comes ripping in Death Eternal, a raw Black Metal onrush that’s utterly and beautifully primeval, with the wicked vocalizations by N.K. adding a touch of dementia to the overall result while its guitars and bass generate a massive wall of sounds, not to mention its old school Black Metal blast beats. Then after such demonic extravaganza get ready for almost eight minutes of impious sounds, atmospheric passages and endless darkness in the form of Lantern of Ghostly Unlight, where its bass sounds and feels as primitive as possible, and with N.K. gnarling like a demonic creature in a great display of classic Black Metal with the band’s own experimental and sulfurous twist.

Resurgence of Temporal Malignity is even more demented and multi-layered, showcasing a great job done on the guitars which sound absolutely sharp while also melodic and enfolding, taking us all on a one way journey to the pits of the underworld; and those Slovenian metallers dive deep into the mouth of hell in the spine-chilling aria entitled Oozing the Thirteenth Hour, starting in a serene, grim manner before exploding into more of the band’s Experimental Black Metal, with all of its vile vociferations, somber and tribalistic drums, and piercing riffage turning it into a must-listen for diehard fans of contemporary Black Metal. The simple but effective interlude Last Lamentations sets the tone for the closing track, titled Colossal Blight, where their Atmospheric Black Metal vein walks hand in hand with their more hellish sonority, once again presenting a band that not only sounds extremely focused and in sync, but it also displays their undisputed devotion to sheer darkness, resulting in an climatic and eccentric ending to the album.

The voices of Kamra are inviting you to their grim lair in Cerebral Alchemy, an album that will surely please Black Metal enthusiasts from all over the world. Hence, don’t forget to give those Slovenians a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream their music on Spotify, and to connect with the band in all possible ways by clicking HERE. Soon you’ll be able to put your damned hands on Cerebral Alchemy by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page, as well as from Avantgarde Music, Sound Cave, Edged Circle Productions or Rock Inc. Mediastore, darkening your minds and souls even more while enjoying the first-class Black Metal by an enigmatic band that definitely knows how to craft great music in the name of pure evil.

Best moments of the album: Death Eternal, Resurgence of Temporal Malignity and Oozing the Thirteenth Hour.

Worst moments of the album: Last Lamentations.

Released in 2022 Avantgarde Music/Unorthodox Emanations/Edged Circle Productions

Track listing
1. It Burns Without a Fire… 2:20
2. Death Eternal 5:58
3. Lantern of Ghostly Unlight 7:47
4. Resurgence of Temporal Malignity 6:42
5. Oozing the Thirteenth Hour 9:46
6. Last Lamentations 1:59
7. Colossal Blight 7:54

Band members*
N.K. – vocals, drum programming
M.D. – guitar, keyboards, drum programming

*The other three members of the band are still unknown.

Album Review – Ferum / Asunder / Erode (2022)

A ruthless entity arises from the underworld with an obsessive and monolithic record, showcasing the boldness and rot of American death doom and the introspection and emotion of English death doom.

Formed in 2017 in Bologna, Italy, but currently scattered between Bologna and Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, the ruthless Death/Doom Metal entity known as Ferum (which means “wild”, “untamed” or “fierce” in Latin) is unleashing upon us all their debut full-length opus, entitled Asunder / Erode, following up on their 2018 EP Vergence. Recorded and mixed by the band’s drummer Are Kangus at Walter Productions, mastered by Dan Swanö, and displaying a fantastic cover art by Paolo Girardi (read more about the concept and process HERE), Asunder / Erode is a clear step forward in the career of vocalist and guitarist Samantha Alessi, bassist Matteo Anzelini and the aforementioned Are Kangus compared to their previous release, offering fans of heavy music an obsessive and monolithic record showcasing at the same time the boldness and rot of American death doom and the introspection and emotion of English death doom, with its slow, funereal riffs and cavernous atmosphere positioning it as one of the best albums of the genre of the past few years.

The massive, sluggish beats by Are kick off the thunderous opening tune Halfhead, with Samantha roaring deeply like a she-demon while also extracting sheer malignancy from her axe. In other words, it’s dark, sinister and somber just the way we like it in Doom Metal, which is also the case with The Undead Truth, featuring the iconic Mike Perun of Cianide on vocals, sounding even more demonic and grim with Samantha firing obscure riffs nonstop supported by the low-tuned bass by Matteo, not to mention how intricate and vibrant the drumming by Are is. Then continuing their path of old school, sulfurous Death and Doom Metal the trio brings forth the headbanging Desolate Vantaa, a song perfect for breaking your neck in half to the pounding drums by Are while Samantha darkly vociferates the song’s lyrics; and dark clouds are above us in the damned tune Belong, where Samantha and Matteo are in total sync with their stringed weapons, generating a menacing, reverberating sound tailored for admirers of the most obscure form of Doom Metal.

Get ready for almost seven minutes of infernal epicness in Monolithic Acquiescence, presenting elements from Blackened Doom in its core while remaining loyal to the foundations of Death Metal thanks to another awesome performance by Samantha on vocals; whereas investing in a more ferocious vibe, the trio delivers endless violence and heaviness in Entrails Of Linnahall, with Are dictating the song’s brutal pace while also alternating between pure Death Metal and slow, sinister passages. A deep roar by Samantha kicks off the Stygian extravaganza titled Resurgence In Bereavement, another dense, multi-layered composition showcasing Are’s classic Doom Metal beats, growing in intensity and fear until all fades into the void for our total delectation, while eerie vocalizations and minimalist sounds will darken our minds in Outro – Spesso Il Male Di Vivere Ho Incontrato, which is not a bad idea for an outro but it could have been slightly shorter to keep the energy level in the album even higher. Nothing to worry about, though, as in the end the album kicks some serious ass from start to finish.

As already mentioned, the wild and fierce hybrid of Death and Doom Metal blasted by Ferum in Asunder / Erode is a must-listen for anyone who enjoys a good dosage of obscurity and hatred in metal music, proving how focused the trio was while recording the album and, consequently, pointing to an exciting future ahead of them. Having said that, don’t forget to start following Samantha and the boys on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other important information about the band, to purchase your copy of Asunder / Erode from the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page or from Sound Cave as a CD, a color vinyl or a black vinyl, and to stream all of their devilish arias on Spotify. Ferum are definitely on the right path to conquer the world of extreme music based on what they have to offer us all in their new album, leaving us eager (or I might even say desperate) for more of their music in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Halfhead, Desolate Vantaa, Entrails Of Linnahall and Resurgence In Bereavement.

Worst moments of the album: Outro – Spesso Il Male Di Vivere Ho Incontrato.

Released in 2022 Unorthodox Emanations/Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. Halfhead 5:24
2. The Undead Truth 6:28
3. Desolate Vantaa 5:15
4. Belong 5:23
5. Monolithic Acquiescence 6:53
6. Entrails Of Linnahall 5:24
7. Resurgence In Bereavement 6:39
8. Outro – Spesso Il Male Di Vivere Ho Incontrato 3:02

Band members
Samantha Alessi – vocals, guitars
Matteo Anzelini – bass
Are Kangus – drums

Guest musician
Mike Perun – vocals on “The Undead Truth”

Album Review – Tome Of The Unreplenished / Earthbound (2022)

This Atmospheric Black Metal horde offers in their new opus a transcendental journey of a cold, earthy aesthetic twisted with punishing riffing brilliance.

A representation of conceptual philosophy, progression, and elevation through sound, the uncompromising Cypriot Atmospheric Black Metal project Tome Of The Unreplenished is finally releasing their most anticipated album to date, their sophomore full-length opus entitled Earthbound, a transcendental journey of a cold, earthy aesthetic twisted with punishing riffing brilliance. Formed as a solitary act in the city of Nicosia in 2012 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Hermes, the project has solidified its lineup with vocalist, guitarist and flutist Alexandros (Macabre Omen), bassist Aort (Code), and drummer Tom Vallely (Omega Centauri, Macabre Omen), who together with Hermes worked to craft the sounds of Earth and Space found in Earthbound, pushing the boundaries of musical progression while experimenting with radical, brutal and unforgiving sounds.

The opening track Tellurian is atmospheric and visceral from the very first second, with Tom sounding merciless behind his drums offering Hermes exactly what he needs to not only vociferate the song’s Stygian words (“I hear a whisper / A form beholding the universe / And I am bound on Earth (or am I?) / Ablaze a prayer beyond the known / My gift to you / Reclaim thy wings”) but also to fire razor-edged riffs from his guitar, flowing into the even more menacing and somber Unbound, where Hermes showcases all his talent and passion for extreme music, growling rabidly accompanied by the low-tuned, sinister kitchen by Aort and Tom. Put differently, it’s infernal Atmospheric Black Metal at its finest for our total delight. Then the beautifully titled Tryst at the Gales of Cyprus will bring to your avid ears the band’s trademark sonority infused with Doom Metal nuances, transporting you to their obscure realm while Hermes gnarls with tons of anguish and hatred supported by the clean vocals by Alexandros.

The band continues to darken the skies with their classy and undisputed Atmospheric Black Metal in Toward the Self, led by the melodic blast beats by Tom while Hermes extracts primeval sounds form his guitar, all enhanced by the song’s background vocalizations; and get ready for over 11 minutes of atmospheric passages, blackened riffs and drums, eerie vocal lines and endless obscurity in the form of Astraios Ayr, a full-bodied, imposing aria by Tome Of The Unreplenished where all band members are on absolute fire from start to finish. Furthermore, the combination of Hermes’ riffs and the rumbling bass by Aort is a thing of beauty, ending in a beyond epic and imposing manner while morphing into the instrumental piece Portcullis to Dodekatheon, a pure ambient voyage that puts a climatic conclusion to the album, exhaling melancholy and darkness to the sound of the reverberating, metallic bass by Aort while Tom masterfully pounds his drums in a pure tribal way.

In order to join the quartet on their journey through the realms of atmospheric and uncanny Black Metal, don’t forget to follow them on Facebook and, even more important than that, to purchase a copy of their new album from their own BandCamp page, as well as from the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page, from the Xenoglossy Productions’ webstore, or from Sound Cave in CD or LP format. In summary, Hermes and his henchmen from Tome Of The Unreplenished simply nailed it with Earthbound, bringing forth everything the band stands for and, consequently, providing us fans of extreme music with the perfect soundtrack for a true otherworldly voyage.

Best moments of the album: Unbound and Astraios Ayr.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Avantgarde Music/Xenoglossy Productions

Track listing
1. Tellurian 6:09
2. Unbound 8:35
3. Tryst at the Gales of Cyprus 5:29
4. Toward the Self 5:55
5. Astraios Ayr 11:14
6. Portcullis to Dodekatheon 9:12

Band members
Hermes – vocals, guitars, keyboards, tambourine
Alexandros – clean and backing vocals, classical guitars, flute
Aort – bass
Tom Vallely – drums, percussion

Album Review – Inherits The Void / Monolith Of Light (2021)

A one-man Atmospheric Black Metal entity from France arises from the underworld with his first full-length album, offering us all rage and melody entwined in seven hymns to the transience of man.

Brought into being in 2020 in Clermont-Ferrand, a city and commune of France, in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, the Atmospheric/Melodic Black Metal entity known as Inherits The Void is the musical endeavor of French vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Antoine Scholtès, who’s releasing this year his debut full-length opus Monolith Of Light. The follow-up to the 2020 EP Mémoires, Monolith Of Light was born from Antoine’s desire for “a meeting between influences from the 90’s Swedish Black Metal scene and a more current orientation of the genre,” offering us all rage and melody entwined in seven hymns to the transience of man, bringing to mind the great masterworks of Dissection, Dawn and Vinterland, as well as the more contemporary sounds of France. “The main idea behind that album was to compose songs that would be both melodic and atmospheric, embraced by the desire to propose a range of various emotions,” commented Antoine, also saying that Monolith Of Light “deals with the will to face human beings with the fact that they are ephemeral on the scale of cosmos and to confront them, also, with their faults and the absurdity of many of their acts.”

And Stygian, mesmerizing sounds arise from the underworld before Antoine comes ripping with his infernal roars in Pillars of the Aether, a brutal Black Metal tune with an ethereal background where his blast beats and hellish riffs are simply amazing; whereas As the Winds Moan the Threnody is even more breathtaking and detailed than the opening track, showcasing an Antoine on fire with his riff and drum attack while at the same time he crafts a sinister and incendiary ambience perfect for his enraged growls, resulting in a beautiful display of Melodic and Atmospheric Black Metal. Then the title-track Monolith of Light continues to pave Inherits The Void’s obscure path, setting an interesting and demonic flow to the album and displaying the aggressiveness of classic Black Metal intertwined with melodic passages, all embraced by a strong sense of hopelessness.

Another hurricane of darkened sounds is offered to us all in the form of Unfathomable Echoes, where Antoine hammers his guitar, bass and drums mercilessly in a lecture in Atmospheric Black Metal that will please all fans of the genre, followed by Starless Path, which starts in a more melodic and serene manner and gradually evolves into Antoine’s trademark sonic strike, or in other words, it’s a stylish instrumental interlude that flows smoothly into the epic Through the Eyes of Cosmos, where once again our talented multi-instrumentalist extracts darkness and light at the same time from his riffage while his growls sound more demented than before, not to mention how the music drags you into the void to never let you out. And closing the album on a beyond high note we have Aorasia, another multi-layered, massive creation by Antoine showcasing his demonic gnarls enfolded by a very melodic and fierce sonority, with his guitar lines sounding utterly sharp until the very last second.

The somber and uncanny world of Inherits The Void can be explored in detail by following Antoine and his musical beast on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course if you want to show your utmost support to the underground you should purchase a copy of Monolith Of Light from the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page, or from Sound Cave as a digipack CD, as a black vinyl, or as a stunning silver and black galaxy vinyl. After all is said and done, we’ll all realize Monolith Of Light is indeed an album built on contrasts, which is both classic and modern, bridging the gap between decades afar and, therefore, proving Antoine is on the right path with his atmospheric and extreme alter-ego.

Best moments of the album: As the Winds Moan the Threnody and Unfathomable Echoes.

Worst moments of the album: Starless Path.

Released in 2021 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. Pillars of the Aether 6:16
2. As the Winds Moan the Threnody 5:04
3. Monolith of Light 5:20
4. Unfathomable Echoes 4:45
5. Starless Path 2:04
6. Through the Eyes of Cosmos 5:41
7. Aorasia 7:53

Band members
Antoine Scholtès – vocals, all instruments

Album Review – Nexion / Seven Oracles (2020)

Behold the indomitable seven-headed best of Black Metal summoned by an up-and-coming, infernal horde hailing from Iceland.

The nature of existence and human value and meaning are central themes in every religion, every spirituality and countless philosophies. It is thus fitting that Reykjavík, Iceland-based Black Metal horde Nexion’s first full-length opus, entitled Seven Oracles, concerns itself with these subjects, working as a revelatory “proclamation” of mythic proportions. Formed in 2016, the band comprised of Joshua Hróðgeir Rood on vocals, Jóhannes Smári Smárason and Óskar Rúnarsson o the guitars, Kári Pálsson on bass and Sigurður Jakobsson on drums offers in the follow-up to their 2017 self-titled EP a collection of the seven “oracles”, with each one addressing the nature of existence from a different angle, revealing and tearing away upheld “truths” like the serpent who gnaws the roots of Yggdrasil. Each song is a dagger, each chord is poison, and each utterance is fire, destroying the receiver’s sense of existential belief until there is nothing left. Mixed and mastered at Studio Emissary in Iceland, and featuring a cryptic artwork by José Gabriel Alegría Sabogal portraying a seven-headed beast appearing before a figure who offers it up a libation in exchange for wisdom within a self-conflating world, Seven Oracles has everything we love in extreme music, leaving us all completely disoriented after its 46 minutes of scorching and austere music are over.

Arising from the depths of the underworld, this Icelandic horde generates a Stygian wall of sounds in the title-track Seven Oracles, exploding into a raw and vile sonority led by Sigurður’s infernal drums while Joshua roars like a true demonic entity, not to mention the strident riffage by the band’s guitar duo, building an instant bridge to the also occult and ritualistic extravaganza titled Revelation of Unbeing, bringing elements from Blackened Doom and Doom Metal to make the overall result even more uncanny, with Jóhannes, Óskar and Kári being on absolute fire with their stringed weapons from start to finish. Then we have Divine Wind and Holocaust Clouds, a lesson in modern-day Black Metal made in Iceland that’s even more disturbing and grim than its predecessors, spearheaded by Joshua and his Death Metal-inspired growls and also presenting the trademark epicness of Scandinavian Black Metal; and there’s no time to breather as those ruthless metallers blast another sulfurous aria entitled Sanctum Amentiae, where the razor-edged riffs by both Jóhannes and Óskar are in perfect sync with the rhythmic, pounding beats by Sigurður.

In the fantastic and fulminating Utterances of Broken Throats the entire band hammers their instruments mercilessly, bringing to our ears a piercing and dense hybrid of classic Black Metal and contemporary Melodic Black Metal, or in other words, get ready to be utterly stunned and smashed by those talented marauders. And the tribal beats by Sigurður are gradually accompanied by the hellish guitar lines by Jóhannes and Óskar until all hell breaks loose in The Spirit of Black Breath, another feast of Icelandic Black Metal that will put you in a darkened trance throughout its over six minutes of devilish sounds and tones, followed by the climatic closing aria The Last Messiah, named after the eponymous book The Last Messiah, in honor of Norwegian philosopher Peter Wessel Zappfe, sounding as demolishing and detailed as all previous songs from such intense album of extreme music. Furthermore, Joshua’s growls get deeper and more berserk as the music progresses, all embraced by crisp guitar riffs, rumbling bass punches and a gargantuan amount of evil and obscurity for our vulgar delectation.

This seven-headed best of Black Metal summoned by Nexion is waiting for you at the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp page or at the Sound Cave’s webstore in different formats such as the regular digipak CD version or the awesome orange/black marble LP + shirt bundle, and you can also get to know more about such distinct act of the underground Black Metal scene by following them on Facebook and on Instagram, and by listening to more of their music on Spotify. This is Icelandic Black Metal at its finest, and we must all thank Nexion for bringing to us all mere mortals such breathtaking and compelling display of extreme music, setting the bar really high for the band’s five evil minds in the upcoming releases, always sounding sulfurous, always extreme, and above all that, always loyal to the foundations of Black Metal and to their Scandinavian roots.

Best moments of the album: Divine Wind and Holocaust Clouds and Utterances of Broken Throats.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. Seven Oracles 6:22
2. Revelation of Unbeing 5:35
3. Divine Wind and Holocaust Clouds 5:52
4. Sanctum Amentiae 6:05
5. Utterances of Broken Throats 7:08
6. The Spirit of Black Breath 6:25
7. The Last Messiah 9:05

Band members
Joshua Hróðgeir Rood – vocals
Jóhannes Smári Smárason – guitar
Óskar Rúnarsson – guitar
Kári Pálsson – bass
Sigurður Jakobsson – drums

Album Review – Wolvencrown / Of Bark And Ash (2019)

Close your eyes and enjoy this excellent album of Atmospheric Black Metal made in the UK, blending the obscurity and melodies of extreme music with Nature and the emotions she conveys.

From the heart of the Midlands, the central part of England, more specifically from the city of Nottingham, comes an Atmospheric Black Metal quintet that goes by the stylish name of Wolvencrown, blending the obscurity and melodies of Black Metal with Nature and the emotions she conveys, therefore being highly recommended for admirers of the music by bands like Winterfylleth, Wodensthrone and Fen. Formed in 2015, the band now comprised of Nick on vocals and guitar, Jack also on the guitar, Reece on bass, Will on keyboards and Matt on drums is unleashing upon us their first full-length opus entitled Of Bark And Ash, following the naturalistic and atmospheric path of melodies and feelings of longing and yearning of their 2017 self-titled debut EP, being packed with stunning riffs, inspiring passages and enfolding keyboards, turning it into a must-listen for anyone who enjoys the absolute heaviness of extreme music spiced up by an embracing atmosphere.

The opening tune, titled Earths Eternal Dawn, sounds brutal and grim from the very first second, with the keys by Will adding a phantasmagorical touch to the band’s classic Black Metal while Matt provides us all we need to headbang like maniacs and Nick growls and gnarls in a truly devilish manner. After such classy welcome card, the band offers us an epic composition divided in two parts, starting with 1194 pt.I, exhaling intricacy, progressiveness and obscurity, with Nick and Jack slashing their axes beautifully. Furthermore, Matt’s beats and fills couldn’t have sounded more complex and violent, while Will’s keys once again bring a delicate balance to the overall result; whereas the second part, simply titled 1194 pt.II, is as grandiose and dense as part one, with Nick leading his horde with his anguished roars while the guitars sound absolutely pulverizing and sharper than a knife, living up to the legacy of both old school and more contemporary Black Metal and with its last part being an amazing, massive sonic havoc.

More rhythmic and atmospheric thanks to the outstanding job done by both Will and Matt, Infernal Throne presents Stygian vociferations by Nick that will penetrate deep inside your soul, while their riffs blacken our hearts mercilessly, and Wolvencrown keep hammering our heads and darkening the skies with their top-of-the-line Atmospheric Black Metal in  the title-track Of Bark and Ash, filled with folk and epic elements. Moreover, the beats by Matt are powerfully complemented by Reece’s thunderous bass lines, resulting in a full-bodied aria that’s at the same time an ode to darkness and Nature, which in the end obviously coexist in perfect harmony, not to mention Nick’s furious screams to make things even more intense and disturbing, just the way we like it in extreme music.

Leaning towards classic Atmospheric Black Metal, Towards Broken Depths mixes scorching riffs with ambient keys and blast beats, again bringing to our avid ears the demonic gnarls by Nick while Reece keeps the atmosphere as dense as possible with his bass lines. Then the cryptic keys by Will ignite the also furious and melodic Destined, perhaps the most epic of all tracks, with all instruments sounding austere and flammable throughout the entire song and with both Nick and Jack stealing the spotlight with their unstoppable riffage, whereas endless melancholy flows from the closing tune titled S.A.D., a lot more melodic and atmospheric than its predecessors while at the same time working as a grim “goodbye” or “farewell” by Wolvencrown, with the violent and harmonious sound of guitars crushing our minds in great fashion, ending in a contemplative and ethereal way.

You can enjoy this precious gem of underground extreme music in its entirety on YouTube, purchase your copy from the Avantgarde Music BandCamp page or from several other locations such as ImportCDs, Barnes & Noble, FYE and Sound Cave, and follow Wolvencrown on Facebook to stay up-to-date with everything related to their music and upcoming tour dates. Every single time our good old Black Metal is infused with the delicate but powerful sounds of Mother Earth, the final result is extremely pleasant to say the least, and Wolvencrown simply nailed it in Of Bark And Ash, showing once again how Atmospheric Black Metal is always the perfect choice for those times in your life where all you want to do is escape from your everyday life and dive deep into the wild.

Best moments of the album: 1194 pt.I, 1194 pt.II and Of Bark and Ash.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2019 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. Earths Eternal Dawn 4:14
2. 1194 pt.I 4:54
3. 1194 pt.II 6:42
4. Infernal Throne 4:08
5. Of Bark and Ash 6:43
6. Towards Broken Depths 5:09
7. Destined 7:27
8. S.A.D. 5:46

Band members
Nick – vocals, guitars
Jack – guitars
Reece – bass
Will – keyboards
Matt – drums

Album Review – Borgne / [∞] (2018)

A cold, mechanical and inhumane hybrid of Industrial and Black Metal, as martial as it is hypnotic, bred by a veteran Swiss entity celebrating twenty years of chaos in the underground scene.

The path of Swiss Industrial Metal entity Borgne has never been straight. Founded by veteran multi-instrumentalist Bornyhake in 1998 in Lausanne, a city on Lake Geneva, in the French-speaking region of Vaud, Switzerland, when Borgne (which is French for “one-eyed”) debuted with a demo, the project went off the radar for almost a decade, coming back at full throttle in 2007 with two full-length albums released almost simultaneously. Another ten years and four full-length albums after, this idiosyncratic Swiss band, which recently became a two-piece army with longtime live keyboardist Lady Kaos becoming a permanent member, returns with their eight and most enigmatic opus to date, titled [∞], a cold, mechanical and inhumane hybrid of Industrial and Black Metal, as martial as it is hypnotic, beautifully freezing your every feeling.

Darker, more industrial and much more personal, [∞] will offer your metallic ears blistering Black Metal done in a synthetic way with a dense, suffocating sound and some dark ambient passages, going towards everything Borgne did in the past. “8 / ∞” is not only a number but a symbol, symbol of infinity, infinity you close inside brackets. 8 is not only a number but a word, word of hatred to break all the brackets. After twenty years of chaos, [∞] is the 8th Borgne full-length album. Featuring 8 tracks of non-traditional Black Metal, written in French and English. Chaos, darkness, feelings, loneliness, anger, insanity, suffering and death… 8 words to describe it. The most electric and complicated, fragile and deep, industrial and cold, strange and tormented album Borgne ever did,” said Bornyhake about his newborn spawn.

And the duo builds an enfolding and creepy atmosphere with their keys, beats and background effects in the opening track La Porte Du Chaos (or “the door of chaos” in English), with the music exploding into a modern and imposing hybrid of Industrial and Black Metal, an insane and mesmerizing amalgamation of sounds where Bornyhake desperately screams and gnarls from the bottom of his Stygian heart. Then there’s not a single empty space in the whimsical and modernized Peu Importe Si Elle M’Aura Aveuglé (which means something like “it doesn’t matter if she has blinded me”), with both Bornyhake and Lady Kaos kicking ass with their blast beats and ominous keys, respectively, with an epic and darkened aura permeating the air. Moreover, Bornyhake’s roars in French will certainly pierce your mind throughout this multi-layered Industrial Black Metal extravaganza. In the stunning Un Temps Périt (or “a time perishes”), a gentle intro led by Lady Kaos’ hypnotizing keys evolves into a mournful musicality, presenting hints of Blackened Doom and Doom Metal and, therefore, feeling ethereal and somber at the same time from start to finish. And in Comme Si Ça S’Arrêtera… / Stone (or “as if it will stop… / stone”), get ready for over 10 minutes of absolute madness, electricity and darkness, with Bornyhake generating a path of devastation with his modernized blast beats, while the second half of the song is an intricate musical journey of pulverizing drums, obscure keyboards and endless dementia.

Bornyhake and Lady Kaos don’t stop captivating our senses with their unique sonority in I Tear Apart My Blackened Wings pt.1, another slow and melancholic creation by the duo where they deliver obscurity and hope all at once, or in other words, simply close your eyes and get lost in this thrilling hymn of modern industrial music. I Tear Apart My Blackened Wings pt.2 / Sun, the second part of this grandiose aria by Borgne, will blow your senses with its demonic drumming and scorching riffage in a very detailed and complete blend of the violence of Black Metal with the innovative approach of Industrial Metal, changing its shape and form quite a few times before its stylish acoustic ending, followed by Mis À Mort, Mis À Nu (which means “put to death, exposed”), a blast of sonic experimentations and piercing tones and noises, with Lady Kaos once again bringing tons of epicness to the overall musicality with her distinguished keys while Bornyhake keeps haunting our souls with his gnarls and slashing riffs. If anyone asks you what Borgne is all about, you can use this song to show what the duo is capable of, flawlessly depicting all the band’s creativity, stamina and rage. Lastly, be prepared to be embraced by a whirlwind of soothing sounds in Chuter, an “extended” outro to a beautiful album of contemporary extreme music where both Bornyhake and Lady Kaos showcase their refined techniques by creating a captivating ambience and, as a consequence, dominating our minds.

You can take a detailed listen at the flammable [∞] on YouTube, and purchase the album directly from Borgne’s BandCamp or Big Cartel (in CD or tape format), as well as from the Avantgarde Music’s BandCamp or Big Cartel. Also, don’t forget to check their Facebook page for some nice-to-know details about the band including their tour dates, something that does happen a lot as Bornyhake and Lady Kaos have the help of bassist Tumulash and guitarist Onbra Oscoura during their live performances. To sum up, [∞] is not just the brand new album by Borgne, but a solid statement that modern and mechanized extreme music is stronger than ever (especially in places like Switzerland, where the scene has always been extremely fertile), and that Borgne is one of those bands any type of metalhead should try at least once in their lifetime to change their perception of dark and underground music.

Best moments of the album: La Porte Du Chaos, Un Temps Périt and Mis À Mort, Mis À Nu.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2018 Avantgarde Music

Track listing
1. La Porte Du Chaos 7:17
2. Peu Importe Si Elle M’Aura Aveuglé 7:12
3. Un Temps Périt 6:03
4. Comme Si Ça S’Arrêtera… / Stone 10:20
5. I Tear Apart My Blackened Wings pt.1 9:02
6. I Tear Apart My Blackened Wings pt.2 / Sun 8:04
7. Mis À Mort, Mis À Nu 6:59
8. Chuter 7:05

Band members
Bornyhake – vocals, guitars, drums
Lady Kaos – keyboards