Resonance- Minneriket - OAR - Nightshade- Sylvaine-Bhleg Abbath
Minneriket – Gjennom meg går ingen til hvile 9/10
Gjennom meg går ingen til hvile (GMGITH) is the result of six-year labor of love for solo artist Stein Akslen, the result is an album full of collaborations that continue the Norwegians journey through the realm of Romantic Black Metal.
The result is surprising, diverse, Heavy, Beautiful, abstract, and purposeful. The list of artists is long and diverse but compliments the classical tone that also lurches and hurls itself into some progressive jazz and brutal extreme metal. The musicianship is beyond compare, with the percussion forceful and dynamic driving the tracks whilst the many-layered vocals from the black wails, through to the choir and haunting female vocals soar, giving voice to the themes of raw, honest emotions that define romantic black metal.
From the 13-minute opus that is Nade through to highlight Sorg og savin, GMGITH is such a challenging musically demanding work that it takes more than one listen to appreciate and multiple to let its many layers be understood as this is a heartfelt album and like all emotions not easily understood on a surface level.
Minneriket challenges the notion of normal music and defies the rules of standard song structures. GMGITH is pure black metal chaos in places yet almost like a renaissance painting in others. It is alternative, demanding, epic in scope, and refreshing in its approach to pushing the boundaries of modern music.
OAR – The Blood You Crave 9.5/10
After a stunning EP, Sydney’s OAR delivers their Debut Album, The Blood You Crave a completely quite simply stunningly heavy album that takes preconceived notions about heavy music and shatters them.
Take Perfect Agony as an example in five minutes they dissemble at least four musical genres and then create something that is primal, pure supremely heavy yet memorable, and given character from the tortured throat of AL.
From a Black Metal foundation, the title track and ‘Souls Lost in the Frost” take music and make it visceral utilizing the clean production to enhance the atmosphere and offset the pained vocals. Whilst upfront and demanding OAR are able to become subdued and add some elements of doom to their art yet never sacrifice their intent or lose their direction. The rhythms are dense, and the intensity comes from total commitment. The mid-section of ‘’The Blood You Crave’’ lingers and haunts. This is epic music is as evocative as the superb cover, solitary, standing on the abyss the hues of light and darkness, hope and uncertainty.
The addition of Post black, Shoegaze, and hardcore styles only add to the musical prowess. The Blood You Crave epitomes fury and despair, epic compositions full of encroaching menace and fury, the melancholy of a cold hand on your shoulder, of little comfort and solace. OAR has created a turbulent experience of anger and heaviness. Unmissable.
ightshade – Sounds of Dark Matter 8.5/10
Swiss Duo Nightshade released only their second album in Twenty years. Sounds of Dark Matter is an electronic journey through time, space, and earth.
Taking the many elements of extreme Music Nightshade have created a record that one first listens to seems a little too much. Yet in repeated plays, the subtleties and various ideas (yes there are many) begin to shine through. Zero Dark Gravity begins as an early 80s electro goth single before delving into modern metal its dynamic fast-paced and well-executed. Chariots of Thunder is an Acoustic rhythmic highlight taking the best bits of German industrial and creating a forward-moving juggernaut that creeps up on you.
The keyboards and electronic components are ever-present, yet New Era is able to combine this with extreme metal, speed, many vocal layers, atmosphere the ever-present harshness of Dave’s Vocals, and a piano solo! Pulsars 1.2.3. takes the industrial further whilst adding Mediterranean percussion. Set To Destroy the Heart of T is simply the heaviest in terms of taking a simple rhythm with a great riff and creating an excellent epic electronic-infused track along with mezzo-soprano and then a surprising reprise.
Sounds of Dark Matter is an album brimming with ideas that when a song seems normal it’s not going to last. multi-instrumentalist Tom keeps things surprising and dynamic. An Album that contains so many ideas that it is more than just the simple combination of death Metal electronica and industrial. The more listens the more rewards are discovered.
Sylvaine – Nova 9/10
The fourth release from Norway’s multi-instrumentalist Kathrine Shepard Nova is an epic ethereal intense journey through her life, emotions, and music
An incredible immersive experience that from the first moment of Nova you are drawn into her world. A world of heaven and darkness, ethereal yet tangible in vulnerability. ‘’Nova’’ is melodic yet raw, atmospheric, and incredibly beautiful. ‘’Mono No Aware’’ is earthen in its heaviness, harshness, and excellent primal percussion. The multi-layers of vocals merely a conduit the myriad of ideas and emotions ever-present. ‘’Nowhere Still Somewhere” takes her dreamy aura and fuses it with rock and musical power.
Famous for her vocals and her numerous guest spots, Nova also highlights Katherine’s musical prowess from post-rock though to the atmospheric ambiance, nothing is forced, it feels at times like a gentle breeze or a hurricane’’ Fortapt’’ takes traditional elements and transports them to another musical plain. ‘’Everything Must Come To An End’’ is harrowing yet beautiful, a soul laid bare in the form of musical expression a feeling that lingers long in the heart long after it is finished.
Intensely personal yet Inspirational Nova is the complete experience that traverses anger through to enlightenment. It captures a restless spirit that never rests. It is multi-textured, enduring and an album that delivers on countless levels and listens
Bhleg – Fäghring 8.5/10
Fäghring (Florescence) bears the gift of rebirth, that which follows the blackest of the night can only be offset by the radiant dawn. Bhleg a two-piece from Sweden who began their spiritual journey in 2013 deliver their fourth masterwork of Folk Black Metal.
Bhleg, meaning to shine is a coherent deeply personal work from the artists known only as S and L and from its opening Vårdträdet (The Warden Tree) their work is focused, mature, multi-textured, and overflowing with musical ideas that closely adhere to their spirituality and their kinship with nature and folklore.
Solvigd is elegant and beautiful in its restraint and haunting female vocals, Frö (Seed) is their Magnus opus a roaring 12-minute journey that is seamless in its musical diversity and its ability to ebb and flow, their extreme musical prowess is not lost by incorporating melody the vocals harsh and impassioned, the music strong enough to carry their ideas to fruition. The elements of Raw black metal are organic and earthen combined with traditional drums and woodwind instruments.
Befruktad Jord (Nourished Soil) delivers more musical extremity, Fagna sumrí (Celebration of Summer) is the beautiful closer that is transportive in its subtlety, the multiple vocals providing the perfect sonnet to the album, the hymns rousing and inspiring.
Overwhelming in its honesty Fäghring is the light that destroys the shadows. A work of extreme art that is positive, at times overwhelmingly beautiful, yet also pure raw black metal, an ode to a most glorious spring. Bhleg has completed its four-album cycle with an accomplished powerful album celebrating the greatest of seasons.
Abbath – Dread Reaver 9/10
Unleashing their third album. A refocused Abbath finds themselves traversing all the aspects of metal.
A massive sounding album Dread Reaver is also Abbath’s most “metal” from opener ‘Acid Haze ‘ the tone is set, it is tough the rhythm section muscular and the solos roaring, taking the precision of Priest and the chaos of Slayer, merging it with their trademark pound of aggression, that still incorporates their roots of black metal, but isn’t afraid to stretch and add touches of Motorhead and thrash.
‘Dream Cull’ and ‘’Myrmidon” are pure metal distorted by the Abbath vision that at times purely rock before descending into their chaos, never losing their melody or power Abbath have memorable stompers that barrage the senses and invoke a purely physical reaction. An album so Metal that Metallica’s ‘’Trapped Under Ice “is unfused with pure hellfire and beaten into submission transformed into an octane-driven slice of metal that sits comfortably within the rest of the album.
Dread Reaver – a fearless duellist who represents the metamorphosis of Abbath and the conquering of demons, ‘Septentrion’ is more glory with great riffs, chaotic solos, and metal in its ode to the north. For the purists, their original black metal roots remain, yet there is so much more on offer. Dread Reaver is glorious in its lack of subtlety and its musical power. This is Abbath at its finest and is the darkest of metal to warm the coldest of hearts.