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.
Grethor’s “Cloaked In Decay” is a big underground release, sounding like some sort of Indonesian death metal release with a twist on raw black metal from Malaysia. Maybe it’s the writing style and the way the vocals are performed but Grethor’s sound is actually very filthy blackened death metal from Virginia. One thing for sure is that this group of young talent is very pissed off and they show it in their performance on Cloaked In Decay.
Sons of Texas is a newly formed band from, you guessed it, Texas. The debut album will cater to those who are into the rock sound that Texas seems to produce and also all radio friendly knucklehead bands who mimic the same rough sounding rock/metal riff with derivative vocals and song writing. This is nothing I can get into.
If you’re in the mood for the type of doom that focuses on dreadfully slow groove and screams over this slow crashing sound then Rolling Through The Universe’s new record “Lethe” may be what you are looking for. Trotting over landscapes of death and dismay, this band’s punishing doom sound lingers between Primitive Man’s grindish doom and Inter Arma’s dark progressive brand. The blend of stoner doom, sludge groove and heavy riffing gives Rolling Through the Universe a grand sound that musically satisfies my thirst for some slow heaviness.
The Ragnarok Prophecy’s new album “Makeria” is the first of a multiple album concept story, with each song further laying out the history and setting of this land. One thing for sure, is that this band can create this civilization with big metal riffs, digital drumming and raw vocal usage. The energy and delivery isn’t fully death metal, but it’s packing a punch that dm can give. There are a lot of melodies and different inspired passages on this album that’ll grab your attention while listening to ‘Makeria’, some of those being classically inspired or just a hands down heavy metal ass kicking. The Ragnarok Prophecy has a big time sound and it’s an easy album to enjoy.
Wilderun returns with a funded sophomore album that has their majestic song writing that could be found on the first album, “Olden Tales & Deathly Trails”, with some added death vocals, atmospheric/symphonic sections, expansive progressive guitar riffing and folk melodies all blended together. Sleep at the Edge of the Earth is no let down as they show off nothing but top tiered musicianship and songs that are captivating on all fronts.
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.
It happens more often than not where people will like a band and they will gain traction with fans, labels and PR companies and I will not bat an eye in their direction. It’s not that the music or band is bad, it’s just that it’s nothing substantially special. I am infinitely more picky when it comes to death metal than I am black metal and it’s slim pickens sometimes when it comes to the genre. Psycroptic’s next full length album is one of these examples where the music is exceptionally good but I just am left not amused.
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.