The first thing I noticed about Belus was the drumming. Listen to how the drums practically skip over the melodic black metal riffing on “Chasm,” the opening track of the band’s debut album Apophenia. It’s a marvel of work, on par with the first time I heard someone like Brann Dailor explode on Remission or even (gulp) Lars play on And Justice for All. It immediately serves to move Belus apart from what the glut of other melodic black metal bands are doing, and makes Belus one of the best modern US black metal releases in some time. Continue reading “Belus: Apophenia (2017)”
So here’s why you sometimes have to be dubious of what you buy. After finally succumbing to the black metal bug, I decided I needed to dig deeper in Bathory, one of the primal godfathers of the genre. I had heard the earlier stuff but didn’t own anything beyond the final two albums which – as we’ll see in a few days – were decidedly different. So after deliberation I decided to start with Blood Fire Death, the touchstone for mainman Quorthon’s transition from the gnarly black metal of his earlier album into the more viking metal pomp if his later stuff. And so I bought a CD off of Amazon.
From the Kraze label. Continue reading “Bathory: Blood Fire Death (1988)”
Here was the deal with this one: for about seven euros I could get the digital download for Ophidian Henosis, the third full-length from New Zealand’s Barshasketh. Or, for a euro more (plus shipping, of course) I could get the CD. I opted for the latter and here we are, although I still don’t rightly know what the album name means beyond it’s rough translation of “union of snakes” which is – admittedly – pretty metal. Continue reading “Barshasketh: Ophidian Henosis (2015)”
The first time I heard Ash Borer, I couldn’t take how dense and cold the music was. Here was black metal that didn’t cater to the fickle winds of the second wave, but through their own construction managed to evoke the icy nature of the music without being slavish to the genre. Evoking drone and doom as much as straight ahead black metal, it was distinctly American in sound, even as its tendrils stretched to otherworldly planes. When The Irrepassable Gate came out in 2016 I gave it another go and found my way in, through the winding melodies and cold depths of anguish. Continue reading “Ash Borer: The Irrepassable Gate (2016)”
Another day, another Asguard…except this is a completely different band (and spelling to boot). Dreamslave is the second album from death/black metal band hailing out of Belarus. It’s a crisp, very melodic album, featuring symphonic elements and a dash of industrial goth. It also came out in 2005, which explains why I have it: 2005 was the year I got back into extreme metal, and I was basically trying anything that got a halfway decent review in Decibel or Terrorizer at that point, not having any streaming options. Continue reading “Asguard: Dreamslave (2005)”
I got To A Golden Age, the debut and only album from French viking/death/black metal band Asgard as part of a box deal with Transcending Records. Back in October of 2017 the Chicago based label, online store, and distribution center suffered a massive amount of damage from a storm, and this “surprise box” deal was one way of supporting them. So I got 10 CDs, a ton of stickers, and the feeling that I was able to help just a little to ease the burden of a small independent label. Continue reading “Asgard: To A Golden Age (1996)”
I *think* this was the first “freebie” I got tossed as writer. I’ve been a big fan of Transcending Obscurity as a metal label and tend to give their stuff a chance when it passes through the Nine Circles inbox. Arkheth is a one-man black metal project (after my own heart) out of Australia, and 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew reaches levels of carnivalesque mayhem that have me admiring its audacity, even when it’s not something I can just randomly grab and listen to. Anyway, they sent me the CD as thanks for a good review…completely unexpected but appreciated nevertheless. Continue reading “Arkheth: 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew (2018)”