asgard - to a golden age

Asgard: To A Golden Age (1996)

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)”

arkheth - 12 winter moons

Arkheth: 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew (2018)

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)”

arcanum - kampen

Arckanum: Kampen (1998)

This was another “mystery” selection from the Debemur Morti Productions sale.  Arckanum traffic pretty solidly in 90s second wave black metal, although one of the interesting things about third full length Kampen is are the clear nods to thrash and early heavy metal.  Sole member Shamaatae has a firm grasp of the music he wats to make and the message he wants to send, and despite the language barrier the song really come across as a great example of the genre in its early form. Continue reading “Arckanum: Kampen (1998)”

agalloch - the serpent and the sphere

Agalloch: The Serpent and the Sphere (2014)

Looking back now, even if the band knew The Serpent and the Sphere was going to be the final Agalloch album I don’t think they could have crafted a more full expression of what the band encompassed as a sonic entity.  Rich and cold, bursting with full and lushly sculpted songs, it returns the band to its roots even as it points to how far the band pushed the limits of what you could do with a clear vision and unique perspective on how Black, neofolk, and post/progressive metal can blend while maintaining a singular identity.  Continue reading “Agalloch: The Serpent and the Sphere (2014)”