Black Metal Mini-Review Roundup

June 14, 2016


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I love black A LOT.  But when it comes to reviewing albums in the classic style over and over again, I start to run out of new words to describe similar elements.  Rather than have my lack of creative chops and writer's block deprive you of great music, it seems appropriate to share this latest batch of the dark and depraved annals of BM in a mass-review.  Slap on that face paint and strap in; we've got 5 kvlt new albums for you today.

And if you happen to be a hardcore fan of all things kvlt and tr00, I encourage you to consider supporting Metal Trenches by purchasing a copy of our ebook, The ABC's of Black Metal.  For just $4, it's a fun little romp through 2nd wave history.

1 Demo 2016 See Details for Demo 2016

Gjendød is a brand new a new Norwegian black metal band. This demo was released in April, but will now see a physical release via Hellthrasher Productions on the 24th.  The band's sound is dissonant and highly technical, fusing dizzying instrumentation with the old second wave spirit.  Think early Darkthrone and Immortal if they had members from groups like  ParoxsihzemBut tracks like "Likdans" show the band is capable of a simple, doomy ode to evil as well.

2 Old Souls See Details for Old Souls

Denver, Colorado has birthed atmospheric blackened metal act Wayfarer.  The band will release their 2nd album,"Old Souls", on June 17 via Prosthetic Records.  Guitarist and vocalist Shane McCarthy commented: "This record is a darker and much more focused effort from us. It has moved further and further away from any particular genre trappings and stepped closer into what we feel our sound is; which is always shifting, always evolving."  Having spent some time with this one, I will summarize in saying that it takes you on a melancholy journey through ominous tremelo, mournful acoustic, and mood-setting drumming.  Though long, tracks like "Ever Climbing" and "All Lost in Aimless Chaos" will please black metal and progressive fans alike.

3 Black Sun Unbound See Details for Black Sun Unbound

Denouncement Pyre are a black metal band from Australia.  Black Sun Unbound, their latest opus, will release on July 22nd. The band recently performed at this year's Maryland Deathfest, and now they are bringing the beast to your living room.  This is straight-up, ritualistic f#%king black metal with that righteous touch of rock a la classic groups like Satyricon and Mayhem.  Like many of the bands on this list, what they lack in innovation is made up for in ability to inspire pure dread in all who dare to listen.

4 Pyres See Details for Pyres

You may have caught our review in January of Svartelder's previous album.  The Norwegion masters of the dark arts are back with a vengeance with the full length follow-up, Pyres.  Everything the band puts out sounds as if it was recorded in some dark chapel on another plane of existence.  The pacing is very deliberate, drawing every ominous drop of malevolence from each note.  There's more than a touch of doom in these compositions, but never so much as to distract from the foundation of black metal.  And those drums!  Even when the guitars are crawling through the shadows, the bass and snare are known to kick things up into the next gear.

5 Malum See Details for Malum

Another black metal act from Norway.  Big surprise.  But all joking aside, the symphonic work of Kvalvaag is not to be trifled with.  The music can be compared to older classics like Emperor as well as newer ones like Shaidar Logoth.  Unlike their Dusktone peers above, Kvalvaag's Malum is a work of speed.  Deranged melodies fly by on the wings of demons combining the best elements of both the ugly and the catchy.  Once again, the drumming shines between the blastbeats, double bass, and killer tom fills.  Great vocals too:  a mix of grim growls and monk-like singing.  I am hoping to spend a lot more time with this one.