Album Review – Monachopsis Art / An Empty Existence (2023)

A newborn Finnish creature is ready to darken the skies with their debut opus, inspired by early first and second wave Black Metal as well as more recent Atmospheric Black Metal.

Playing brutal yet hypnotic and hauntingly beautiful music straight from their woeful souls, Finnish Black Metal trio Monachopsis Art was formed in 2022 by members from such bands as The Abbey, Henget, Shape of Despair and Licht des Urteils, aiming at creating music that is organic and raw, but still powerful and feeling-evoking, which is exactly what you’ll find in the band’s debut opus, titled An Empty Existence. Mixed and mastered at Studio Beyond North Star by the band’s own guitarist, bassist and keyboardist J.H. (aka Jesse Heikkinen), the album is inspired by early first and second wave Black Metal bands such as Venom, Bathory and Burzum, but also more recent Atmospheric Black Metal acts such as ColdWorld and Lustre, while the lyrics revolve around war, suicide and the meaningless struggles of human life, all played with passion and hatred by the aforementioned J.H. together with N.K. (aka Natalie Koskinen) on vocals, and A.K. (aka Antti Kaislaranta) on drums.

Atmospheric and sinister from the very first second, the intro Thee Darkness Gathers… will darken the skies before the trio comes hammering our hearts with Seeds, a solid fusion of old school, raw Black Metal with more contemporary sounds and nuances led by the venomous gnarls by the she-demon N.K., whereas Silent Torture presents a hypnotizing rhythm led by the Doom Metal beats by A.K. while J.H. adds his share of horror to the music with his somber keys and sharp riffage. Following such powerful tune, the band brings forth River of Blood, offering us all devilish lyrics grasped by N.K. (“Hear the sound / Of the burning wood / Feel the power of / Pure disgust / See how the light (is) fading away / Watch how flesh…buried under the tone”) amidst a dense and Stygian sonority.

Then featuring guest vocals by the demonic Spellgoth (Horna, Trollheims Grott), who makes a phantasmagorical duet with N.K., we have A Dark Place, with J.H. extracting pure evil from his guitar and keys; followed by Stargazer, once again bringing to our avid ears a grim hybrid of Black and Doom Metal while A.K. dictates the song’s lugubrious pace and N.K.’s witch-like vociferations and introspective clean vocals permeate the air beautifully. J.H.’s keys continue to give their music a theatrical vibe in Flesh Will Be Humiliated, while their core Black Metal sound is perfect for summoning all creatures from the underworld; and the trio continues to walk straight into darkness in No Desire to Live, with J.H. and A.K. making a sinister duo and, therefore, making our heads tremble with their devilish sonic weapons. Finally, we face Flame of Night, which is not a bad song but the keys sound a bit excessive during its entirety, taking away a bit of its heaviness. N.K. is awesome on vocals as usual, though.

The name of the band couldn’t have been more appropriate than Monachopsis Art, as “monachopsis” is defined as the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, plus the word “art” to depict how the band members see their creations as a different form of art that doesn’t follow the rules of the existing music scene, all carefully brought into being in An Empty Existence. Hence, go check what such promising trio is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, and above that, go grab your copy of their idiosyncratic debut album from the Nordvis webstore or by clicking HERE, and you can also find all things Monachopsis Art by following this link. The music by Monachopsis Art is evil, atmospheric, delicate and captivating, turning An Empty Existence into the perfect soundtrack for one of those dark days with no end in sight.

Best moments of the album: Silent Torture, A Dark Place and Stargazer.

Worst moments of the album: Flame of Night.

Released in 2023 Forgotten Friends/Silent Future Recordings

Track listing
1. Thee Darkness Gathers… 2:05
2. Seeds 3:50
3. Silent Torture 4:02
4. River of Blood 5:00
5. A Dark Place 3:06
6. Stargazer 3:34
7. Flesh Will Be Humiliated 2:55
8. No Desire to Live 3:30
9. Flame of Night 4:25

Band members
N.K. – vocals
J.H. – guitars, bass, keyboards
A.K. – drums

Guest musician
Spellgoth – vocals on “A Dark Place”

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.