Captivating me with Screams of Eternal Emptiness and then immediately dropping the EP Concealed In Nothingness, Eternal Valley not only made a fan out of me instantaneously but gave me enough quality music to enjoy for a long long time. Not even a year later Jason Yorke unleashes another massive full length called Ascend to the Unknown and the musical journey found within these walls of atmospheric bliss will get you lost in the massiveness of empty space and a void that goes on infinitely. That is how big the music sounds and the way the album develops over time just slathers on the enriched feeling of being lost in space. Not without inquiring some damn good black metal and that Eternal Valley styled doom on occasion.
Well here we are AGAIN! Since I’ve become a fan of Sviatibor (it’s been a year now) I’ve heard 3 crushingly brilliant atmospheric black metal releases since then. I am happy to report that Dans La Splendeur Des Dieux (In Splendor Gods) is indeed the 4th one now that truly creates riveting dark atmosphere all while conjuring up big time guitar riffs and scathing black metal vocals. Thomas Hornstein once again gives me another album that I can turn on and get lost in, this time though he brings out some elements of experimentation that works well with his ultra brooding and dark sound.
Battlemaster‘s “Battlehungry and Swordsworn” combines thrash tempos, deathly riffing and blackened vocals to give us an unholy sound of fierce metal. A crushing effort that focuses on speed and loud guitars. 7 out of 10
Dark Charybdis‘ new self titled EP is a crushing release that can swing from brutal death metal to deathcore. Focuses on speed, tone and brutality to deliver their ultra heavy sound. 7.8 out of 10
Jason Yorke is the mastermind and sole member of the band Eternal Valley, an amazing atmospheric black metal act who is consistently pumping out grand scale stuff for us all to consume. Last year, we were graced with a full length and then an EP, which made me an instant fan of his work and I couldn’t wait for his new stuff. Recently, Eternal Valley released an album “Ascend to the Unknown” and it’s another fine example of expansive music that creates monolithic atmosphere while giving us raw black metal at the same time.
Try to pronounce that: “Hjørungavågr”. Unless you are a Viking mythology master or from Iceland, you’re more than likely not going to know how to pronounce it. Regardless, Utstøtt’s epic viking metal will make you feel like you are already wearing battle gear and strapped with a sword and shield. Hjørungavågr is the follow up to 2013′s EP “Legender Odin” and that release blew me away and I listened to it over and over. The free release was new to me at the time, as I was not used to free music via Bandcamp quite yet and then I was lucky enough to obtain the cassette, which earned even more play time since my truck had a tape deck in it. Themed around the Norse naval battle of Hjørungavågr, the album follows the battle up to a pagan warrior’s death, followed by his journey through Freyja’s realm of Folkvangr. Thus giving us the plot, lore and music of the album and it’s a mighty big journey of music.
Occultist Blackened Death Metal at it’s best here: Black Flame delivers fiery music that leaves everything smoldering and covered in ash. These Italian bastards want to watch everything burn and their music portrays their hatred and energy very well. Black Flame’s sound isn’t groundbreaking but it’s a testament stating how black metal doesn’t need to always be atmospheric or epic to be good. Like Marduk’s latest album, you’ll be headbanging and air riffing along with the music while you jam Black Flame’s new album.
Imperial Triumphant’s new album “Abyssal Gods” is immediately something that we all want to hear again but at the same time lacks substance and true comprehensive song writing structure. Experimental? Sure. Black Metal? I suppose. Interesting? Indeed! Will this achieve success by reaching a wide range of fans through their strange blend of blackened death weirdness? Probably not.
Well here we are again: another solid black metal act. However, this time I get a massive blend of instruments, ideals and influences. The use of atmosphere, wind instruments, keys, and wonderful folk melodies really gives Umbras de Barbagia a name for itself. I try hard to grasp at who else is doing this at the moment in black metal. Saor? Close, but Downfall of Nur seems more traditional and less epic. The folk bits combined with the enriched black metal atmosphere pushes aside almost everything else you can think of. This album commands your attention and demands your focus. This may be one of those albums that no one was expecting yet could be the best thing you hear all year.
Black Metal: It’s one of the biggest genres in the metal business right now. There are more black metal bands popping up than ever. It’s definitely one of my favorites and it’s rare when I do not like a black metal band. Thrash Metal: This genre can be a bit toxic for me. On one side, I love the speed, the energy, the vibe and the overall “drink, mosh and headbang” mentality. Then again, most thrash bands are not listenable because they cannot create cohesive riffs and/or the vocalist just sounds terrible. Well Frosthelm blends both black metal and thrash in such a way that I feel like we’re getting something brand spanking new here. Blackened Thrash is nothing new but this band nails what this genre should be.
Drowning the Light returns with their new album, From the Abyss, which is a hauntingly dark atmospheric piece with raw steel traditional black metal moments. Blending these two carefully within a cauldron of hate, we get the 13th full length album. Now this may not beat out the already exceptional black metal albums we’ve received already this year but it definitely ranks up there amongst the best of this year. 2015 is a great year for black metal and Drowning the Light deserves a spot light, even though it’s a dull and foggy light.