Eryn Vorn is, I think, a 1 man black metal band from some unknown depths of this planet. Little can be found online about this musical project but the name Eryn Vorn comes from the Lord of the Rings. Eryn Vorn is a wooded cape in Eriador within Middle-earth. Of course it is, so many bands use lore and names from that fantasy setting it’s almost not even a surprise anymore. You wouldn’t know if the songs are inspired from this same realm of fiction unless you completely read or studied the content but it’s all related. The songs are simple, repetitive and magical. While this does not feel as epic as Summoning, Ered Withrin or Caladan Brood, this smaller scale release from Eryn Vorn still has an adventurous grasp about it.
Quebec…another Canadian town that seems to churn out high quality black metal bands whose music always seems to be the quintessential showcasing for this specific genre. Droning in with vigorous power is Entheos, whose thick ambient sound just soothes my soul. The experimental approach to black metal with added post metal touch really is something special. The band really knows how to kick start energy when they conjure it but they also know how to create a relaxing environment with their progressive musical mentality.
Ensiferum have returned with their sixth studio album called “One Man Army” and it’s everything you’d expect from this band but with more ‘umph’ in terms of energy with almost thrash styled riffing. The typical folk metal melodies will be found on here and the band often comes together to give us the best use of group vocals with wild shouting and choir like singing. Sometimes the band will give us a cinematic approach on a song or two and it really drives home that epic feeling that this band is known to deliver. This isn’t just your usual metal journey, Ensiferum’s “One Man Army” makes sure you are enjoying yourself as well as making you headbang, which of course is important to me.
Coming from Mother Russia is a band whose is theme is centered around a cold environment, which should come naturally to them of course. Heimdallr sings tales of Viking heritage, Pagan culture, Scandinavian heritage and frosty Northern landscapes. This black metal act brings forth heavy and raw guitar tone, crashing drum sound and vocals that mimic the best from the Northern darkness. Heimdallr’s sound is thin compared to some but the edge gives them a more natural sound. This fiendish devastation goes well with the theme and song writing, which only gets better due to their musical direction.
It takes something special to pull me away from the brutality that is your usual death metal or black metal. I am often one who would prefer to hear blast beats, growling/screaming and guitar riffs that go really fast. However, I do get in the mood to hear folk metal or traditional metal, those bands that make me feel like I am going on an adventure while listening to their album. Visigoth definitely stands out as one of those bands but they are not folk, death nor black. Traditional, leather clad, standard guitar metal that makes you raise your fist or make that invisible orange gesture while listening to it. Slap this beast in your car and blast it, this is easily one of the most likable old school metal sounds from a modern band! Visigoth’s “The Revenant King” pounded me with riffs, amazing vocal work and themes that just call to my soul. This album rolls a D20 and gets a crit on every song!
The sound of war returns with Marduk’s new album, Frontschwein, which is a return to form with ravenous guitar riffs, conjured drumming from hell, sculpted Earth shifting bass work and fire breathing vocal work. The construction of riffs and song writing on this album is almost a nonstop, as you can hear from the first song, which is packed full of quality riffs. This is the perfect indicator for how this album will be for the entirety of your listening experience. All hail the driven fury of Marduk.
The winds howl, the darkness sets in and Spectral Procession immediately sets the mood for this atmospheric black metal journey. The raw sound of guitars sets in, the drumming pummels into the music soon the vocals beckon from the distance. The dreadful black metal sound swarms in, covering the dream scapes in darkness and black alchemy. This British Colombian black metal act delivers us fierce sounding raw second wave black metal with familiar Canadian landscape ambiance.
Emerging from the darkness to shine brightness in a world of incredibly dark music is a band called Emergence. This trio of expansive minded gentlemen create something new that is progressively strong, providing harmony with melody, delivers a slight ‘djent’ feeling and melts our faces with professional production as well as great song writing. The overall execution of the album will have you saying: “Periphery who?”.
Napalm Death’s career spans longer than I have been alive and I am turning 30 next month. Slaying people since 1981 with blended punk/thrash and death metal and ultimately creating the genre known as grindcore. Napalm Death has used heavily distorted guitars, blasting drums, fast tempos, powerful vocals and overdriven bass tone for the majority of their career and “Apex Predator – Easy Meat” is no exception. Why would they change? I mean this band is a dominate choice for people who want quick, impacting songs that ultimately leave the listener in shock. The UK band comes back with this new album, their SIXTEENTH studio album, and nothing has changed. Their aggression has not diminished, the songs have not lost their fire and the band is still pumping out songs of pure chemical warfare. This is Napalm Death. This is grindcore.
Melodic death metal is nothing new to me but still gives me goosebumps when done right. Add in a mentality and focus that makes you feel like you are on an epic journey and the music will definitely be among my all time favorites. Well behold the majesty of Adversary, a melodic death metal band from Columbus, Georgia (Really?!? You would think they are from Sweden or Norway) who brings forth nothing but quality song writing, catchy musicianship and music that has long lasting appeal. Songs of adventure, tales of tragedy, triumph, despair and survival are backed with strong riffing, powerful vocals and slamming drum techniques. The groove and melodic death metal workings on Ruination are on par with Amon Amarth’s style and grace with the song writing. Each track has strong rhythmic guitar gallops and riffing, then they are topped with a thick layer of superior axe emotion and epicness with their blended use of leads and harmonies. Yeah, Adversary’s new album is already best of the year content.