Imperialist- Zenith 9/10
Zenith take Black metal and uses it to explore dimensions and our universe. Zenith is a brutally accomplished album that has its roots in 90s black metal more than one realizes. The gallop of Terminal Odyssey has little to do with the technical, over produced leanings of the 21st century. The riffs are pure black metal as on Parallax Descends played with the level of death inspired musicianship only the Americans seem to possess. Its fast deadly and lean. Beyond the Celestial Veil is mammoth in its attack and then slows to an Immortal influenced stomp complete with guitar solo.
The musicianship is without peer, special kudos to drummer Rod Quinones and his merciless attack, Zenith is thought provoking in its intelligence and direction. Consistently it is strong through every track, Majesty Of The Void is another highlight with more excellent riffs and solos. A surprisingly earthy record musically that could have been overdone with electronica considering its subject matter. Zenith is technical Black metal mastery at its finest!
Sisters Memon- Sisters Memon 8.5/10
Sisters Memon take Nihilistic Black metal to the extreme on their debut album. This is such a hate filled serious record that makes for some very unpleasant listening. Taking raw black metal to its zenith with probably some of the most tortured vocals ever committed courtesy of Natalia Sara, Punish The Ones of Enlightenment, and Female Assassin kills God contain some of the most ear shattering raw hate inflected vocal lines I’ve heard. The screeches, Growls and howls will haunt you with such fierceness. This is such an intense record that it will offend many with lyrical subject matter alone and its sheer raw intensity and vehemence. As Black Metal slowly moves towards the Mainstream, Sisters Memon intend to keep it dark, evil, and hidden in the shadows with music that infects, repulses, and commits such savagery it terrorizes the senses, leaving you to wonder what it was you just heard. This is pure Black Metal for Black Metal purists. Their music is a Murderous Device, simple yet utterly effective..
Withered Land – The Endless Journey 9/10
The endless Journey is the result of Olga Kann (Bass, Keyboards, Song writing) tireless efforts to create a magnums opus in five acts telling the story of a warrior’s initiation into battle, longing for home, and returning from death. Alexander Rabets provides the vocal narrative that is harsh and despairing and yet at times full of hope.
Every track is an epic ode to the story and fans of middle era Bathory and its mighty Hammerheart will appreciate some of the musical references and the final riff of Mournful Story Nevers Ends is a soaring Draconian tinged beauty. Wraith Surrounds Us All brings the Symphonic and battle tinged samples to the fore combining with excellent Nordic Black metal touches and powerful synth. Guest Koliopanos Filippos provides some excellent guitar work that drives each track forward with purpose, the dynamics are inspired, and it benefits greatly from a cohesive story telling perspective.
The story of battle and the harshness of medieval life, Death Was Always Near use of folk inspired moments along with some supremely heavy music and atmosphere. Every track is a well thought out finely crafted piece of the story. The shortest track is 6.30m that allows Withered Land to create some excellent un-rushed musical moments, the middle component of Over Distant Shores is heavy and yet multitextured, the keyboards and atmosphere soar along the shoreline, nothing is self-indulgent or overwrought.
The Endless Journey is an amazing debut of Black Metal, that combines the symphonic and folk elements seamlessly, its battle marches rousing and mighty, the music passionate and full of Medieval inspired Epic greatness.
Goat Torment - Forked Tongues 8.5/10
One listen to the track Deceitful faith and its scathing anti-religious monologue that is surrounded by swirling uncompromising black metal, Goat Torment is back, and they are as unflinching and uncompromising as ever.
Profanation, and Disorder and Disruption are blasphemous glorious, blackened death metal stompers that leave little for subtlety and are all about aggression. That’s what makes Goat Torment and Forked Tongues so impressive. Its straight up, the message is clear, it’s all there in its ugly glory for you to embrace or be repelled by. the music is Deathened/Black metal that’s traditional, terrifying (the title track) and in the name of the Devil just in case you were confused.
The quieter moments eerie yet the heavy moments so heavy, military like in its execution and its unrelenting pace, the guitar work inspired and its ability to invoke the bands musical incantations.
From the cover art alone, this is music as weapon designed to tear at the fabric of everything you think you know. Goat Torment Epitomises the darkened evil Heart of pure Black metal with its nihilistic intent musical execution.
Misanthur- Ephemeris 9/10
From the cover art alone, this exemplifies what Misanthur represent. Beauty made ugly, via degradation from within and externally, painful yet compelling.
Ephemeris takes elements of industrial torture and ambient drone and combine them with the rapid riffing of black metal to create a wholly unwelcome atmosphere that drips anxiety, fury, and despair. The Serpent Crawls takes spoken word and the ethos of black metal to its extreme, from speed to the sort of stop start anger that the genre excels in when it brings in some slower elements and the chest pummelling double kicks.
The percussion offsets the ambient drone. Black Clouds & no Silver Linings epitomises the spiritual apocalypse, Vast soundscapes that represent the void of the conscious, whilst maintaining the musical despair that remains true to the band without veering into self-indulgent DSBM. Dense Mental Trance and its huge slow blackened riffs provide the interlude to the sustained chaos that is On The Heights Of Despair, the spoken word without hope, the screams defining that loss.
Unnerving and intentionally isolationist. Misanthur are a rare find that have taken their time to reveal their musical hell. This is not for the masses as personal atmospheric black metal dripping in disgust was never meant to be.
Waldegefluster- Dahoam 9.2/10
From ‘’Am Stoa’’ (Great Hall) and its beautiful serenity, Dahoam continues Waldegefluster’s (say That smashed!) continued ascent through the ream of Pagan Black Metal. Dahoam is an album enriched with the earthly tones you can literally feel as if you were barefoot on the earth, moving into the sort of moments that would make mid era Black epic metal very proud!
Waldegefluster aren’t afraid to experiment, and they still incorporate some mightily heavy black metal moments, ‘’Im Ebersberger Forst’’ (forest trail)) is a 10 minute plus journey through their realm littered with atmospheric keys that are a prelude to the musical storm (that amazing Riff). Some of the music is post black metal greatness to accommodate the harsh vocals. I hate comparing but this conjures some of the best elements of Enslaved and Bathory. Waldegefluster are not afraid to combine modern day instrumentation with traditional elements naturally, easily, and as vital as the electronic.
Dahoam is impressive in the atmosphere and the mood it conjures, creating music that is tangible and earthly, reflecting the harsh and cold atmosphere as well as some warmth. Beautiful in its melancholy and glorious in its epic scope ‘’Am Tatzlwurm’’ (Cryptoid) is another perfect example of their emotional scope, mood vs tremolo, darkness vs light, beauty vs ugly. There is an authenticity to this album that you can literally feel played with passion and the utmost conviction. Dahoam is a Profound, intelligent excellently crafted record!