Sinnrs – Detrahamus 9/10
Detrahamus is an EP where nothing is repeated. Every dark foreboding moment is delivered with intent and vehemence. Sinnrs deliver their Black metal intoned with death metal and flourishes of orchestration that is not for the meek or unworthy.
Incredibly strong and tough Sinnrs are able to mix the mid-tempo with the blistering fast, it is memorable, melodic and the female vocals and symphonic sections add to the pathos that does not distract. ‘’Last Song of Earth’’ and ‘’ Ultima Dis’’ are true highlights dynamic, darkened glorious moments of vitriol and torment tempered by some excellent musicianship, the softer moments offer no respite from the intensity. ‘’ Agnus Dei’’ pours on the anger with the slow tempo pummelation. It is glorious, deliberate and supremely heavy, the choir subtle, the kick drums not so as its inevitable march to the “lamb of god’’. “Honor What Comes Next’ highlight’s the death metal along with the full orchestra a track so intense it reminds you of Morbid Angels best moments.
Detrahamus is such supremely talented EP that merges the classical with the brutal. A must listen for those who love modern extreme uncompromising music. Highly recommended.
Feralia Under Stige - Over Dianam 9/10
Under Stige - Over Dianam is a study in duality. The opposing forces of darkness and light, the heavy and savage versus the male and feminine. Black Metal versus gentle acoustic.
Incredible and original this Italian act are fearless in their approach and execution. On this their second release the depth and devotion to their craft is a thing to behold. Darker, powerful, and musically diverse Under Stige - Over Dianamis is a double album that explores the ritual of Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Roman traditions. “Under Stige” is the extreme, nocturnal, Black metal album. From haunted whispers to pure extreme tremolo picking ‘’ The Pyre And The Stars’’ and ‘’ Marcia Funesta’’ encapsulate their ferocity, savage riffing dripping in atmosphere with the many different vocal styles that give the music character and dimension, an Avant Garde approach that isn’t bound by the standard rules of Black Metal yet is inherently possessed by its spirit.
Over Dianam is the album that represents the femininity of the subject matter. Whereas Under Stige is speed and fury, Over Dianam is a deft subtle excursion into beauty, where the rage is replaced by the sombre, the raw replaced with melody. The female vocals are hidden and another example of the expert subtlety the band provide. Feralia are able to explore all the musical requirements to tell a heartfelt tale that is beautiful and personal.
That Under Stige - Over Dianam is a double album of opposing extremes, none of their power or direction is lost whether it be melancholy or epic darkness. Feralia have created an accomplishment in opposing forces that is natural, honest, dark and unlimited.
Lucifer's Child / Mystifier - Under Satan's Wrath 9/10
From the Opening of Enter The Eternal Fire, the die is cast. The riff immediate and the strong structure a glorious reflection of original 80’s black metal supremacy. The seeds of evil have borne unholy fruit and this split from Brazil’s Mystifier and Greece’s Lucifers Child is the darkest of metal from the hottest of climes.
The Legendary Mystifier kick things of with Death Beyond Holy Creation, a rip-roaring track that takes the traditional elements and infuses them with modern techniques and pure power. The statacco riffs furious to match the excellent rhythm section. Under Inhumane Evil Spells continues their resurgence and proof that the snare is a true introduction to musical destruction. Samael’s Worship Him is re-imagined as ‘’Worship Her’’ at times torturously slow until the solo kicks in. Mystifier have again proven that they are one of the best.
Lucifers Child take Bathory’s “Enter the Eternal Fire” is an inspired choice that perfectly suits their style. As a more modern entry into the pantheon of Black Metal. The Athens based outfit deliver the apt “Satan’s Wrath” the shrieks emerging form the darkest pits, the riffs melodic yet savage. ‘’ Nova Tenebris’’ shows some restraint yet the guitars soaring against some excellent subtleties.
The choice to combine the legend that is Mystifier with the relatively new of Lucifers Child is inspired. From the striking cover art through to the music within, this is a perfect unholy union of primordial black metal that is extreme, powerful, and true to its darkest self.
Wachenfeldt – Faustian Reawakening 9/10
Sweden’s Wachenfeldt return with their follow up to the excellent debut album ‘’The Interpreter” with ‘’Faustian Reawakening’’ a record so damn good it makes the technical seem effortless with their brand of epic technical blackened death metal thrash .
Even to the casual listener it is fast, blisteringly so, the tempo and time changes beautifully executed by Jon Skäre his double kick work a driving force that provides the energy and the power behind the compositions. For the uninitiated Thomas von Wachenfeldt is the bands creator and chief creator who along with his PhD in music provides the Guitars, Vocals, Bass, Violin, and Keyboards. Such musical pedigree along with his several solo classical records and involvement with Wommbath make Faustian Reawakening a benchmark in being utterly metal. The tremolo picking that accompanies the pure thrash 2/4 beats is inspired and the atmospheric classical not only adds depth and dimension but is as integral as is some of the great solos that accompany it. The whole album is a highlight of metal that traverses the genres yet is never self-indulgent, the interludes haunting in their beauty whilst tracks like “The Warrior Mounds’’ and the riffing off ‘’Contemporary Eschatology” reaffirm just how heavy metal can be.” Become Who You Are” is exactly like that, an epic statement of self-discovery and chaos.
Tough, muscular yet elegant and deft with its incredible musicianship Faustian Reawakening is the album that rekindles the faith in pure metal and its extreme subgenres. This is superb Blackened Symphonic Thrash that demands your utter attention. It is furious, subtle, ugly, and merciless, quite possibly the best thing you will hear all year.
De Arma – Nightcall 9/10
Acting as a bridge between albums two and three Sweden’s De Arma unveil the presence that is Nightcall a three song EP that is both haunting and purposeful.
Stylish elegant and a true gothic music lovers dream, Nightcall captures the essence of gothic rock and imbues it with 21st century darkwave, the main synth line of ‘’Sunset Dreams’’ is elegant and beautiful completed by the female vocals of Maria Oja and pure eighties drums sounds. The guitar work is subtle yet passionate, nothing is overwrought coming from a place of inspiration and motivation rather than replication.
‘’Shame Drifter’’, “maintains the balance between the original and the new, at times recalling the spirit of Depeche Mode, Fields of the Nephilim and Anathema, Andreas Pettersson's vocals are the connection between the listener and the sweeping soundscapes. Authoritive yet also restrained trading passionate lines with the guitar work of ‘’After Dark You’re There “
Excellently executed melodic and immeasurably memorable, De Arma have evolved beyond simple post rock into ethereal territory that is melancholic atmospheric and deeply rooted in electronica. Intensely visual where the neon is punctuated by the rain and there a presence lurking in the shadows. Nightcall is soothing yet hides a savage heart.
Fer De Lance - The Hyperborean 8.5/10
Taking its name from one of the most venomous vipers in Central America, Chicago’s Fer de Lance have captured the essence of metal over the decades and combine it into their debut album The Hyperborean.
Not just a debut, this is a rollercoaster of epic metal proportions imbued with some epic glorious riffs not heard since Bathory’s Hammerheart along with the essence of 70s rock, unafraid of experimentation, think the power of Purple and Rainbow. Its concept is purely epic too, borne out of the isolation of the pandemic it tells the story of the Mariner who leaves the depravity and injustice of the “civilized” world in search of a land devoid of pain and suffering.
The mix of epic atmospheric metal with that of Viking proportions is as natural as it is enjoyable. Those glorious riffs are tempered by some beautiful acoustic passages that are all part of the tale intrinsically woven onto the bands DNA to experiment, surprise and invoke at times a physical response to their rousing cinematic passages. The solos shred with technicality and prowess, the vocalist soar with power in True metal style, the dual work of MP and Mandy Martillo provide the impetus and direction of the album. Authoritive with strength and yet tender and introspective the ten minutes of ‘’Sirens” is mesmerizing,’’ “Northern Skies” is another shining example of organic acoustic glory.
The Hyperborean is not just a record but a journey of escape redemption and ultimately salvation. Bold, original and the perfection combination of American and European styles this is exciting, unique, and epic metal!