Starer – Wind Breeze or Breath 9/10
From the opening moments of ‘’Drifter’ With such dense and incredible soundscapes that traverse from the extremes of black metal into a lush almost orchestral crescendo anchored by guitar, Starer have returned to produce another incredible effort.
A journey told in seven parts ‘’Crossing ‘’,‘’Shaping’’, and ‘’Witnessing’’ encapsulate the sparseness of post black metal , its symphonic counterpart and its raw origins, ‘’Wind Breeze or Breath’’ is a demanding listen that commands your full attention as you are literally drawn into its realm, the keys adding texture and a juxtaposition to the rawness of the guitar tones, from its beauty and isolation to its plunging depths accompanied by the vocals that are pure angst at times yet also soaring at others. Part ambient, part nightmare per the concept of the sleep cycle ‘’Vanishing “continues the orchestral thematic through waves of distortion and classical components, ‘’Shaping’’ is driving and merciless in its continual assault whilst “Returning” is the epic almost apocalyptic closer full of tremolo fury and introspection.
‘’Wind Breeze or Breath’’ is driven by sweeping symphonies and raw aggressive extreme metal, easily defying the simple tags of symphonic black metal and places itself somewhere it the realms of thought and emotions, as real as your breath yet as intangible as you try to grasp it. Excellently paced and dynamic yet undeniably heavy, it is an album that leaves a long lingering impression that is also awe-inspiring.
Mnajdra- Mnajdra 9/10
Mnajdra is a US based black metal outfit and their debut is a t terrifying immersive event into the malevolence that is their mindset. Their music is brutal and horrifying to the casual listener as you descent into their namesake, a megalithic complex of ideas that’s foundations are based in the ancients yet utterly relevant.
This is raw dense dissonant black metal that is openly hostile and vitriolic from the openings of ‘’ The Worshipping Stones’ and its huge sludge inspired dissonant riff that becomes… something else, a war like offering with its constant rhythmic barrage that is unrelenting and chaotic It is furious steeped in anger and willing to effortlessly take its cues from all forms of extreme metal and twist it into form whether it be doom /death or black metal . The vastness of ‘’ “Place of the Echo “is offset by the immensity of ‘’Under Earth”, the vocals are acidic and tense, the unhinged attack adds to the overwhelming sense of urgency and chaos. The melody is there, buried within the claustrophobic denseness to leave a mark on the senses, at greater volumes Mnajdra becomes suffocating threatening to envelope you inside its bleakness and huge inspired riffs. The subtlety of ‘’Giantess’ ’gives way to another merciless onslaught from the underworld with some excellent tremolo post metal riffing.
For the trve of heart Mnajdra is a modern black metal masterclass that is compelling and able manipulate preconceived sound into new forms. You become lost in its bleakness and find no solace in its ever-present storm of fury and rage that is elaborate and disturbing.
Hate Manifesto - ΑΠΟΣΤΑΤΗΣ 9/10
A public declaration of intent, Greek duo Hate Manifesto have delivered an apocalyptic decree of violence upon the masses with their new release ΑΠΟΣΤΑΤΗΣ.
From ‘’ Iinauguration of Triumphal Ascension’’ to the epic closer that is the chaos of Chains of the Oppressor ptII’’ Hate Manifesto create musical darkness that is steeped in the darkness of the purity of First and second wave of Black metal given some death like touches. It is raw furious and utterly uncompromising a record that is the definition of its namesake an open rebellion against authority, the Apostates.
Remarkably accomplished for only their second full length ‘’ Sworn to Hatred’ is a barrage of mid-tempo aggression with violent guitar solos and an ever-present undercurrent of violence. ‘’Decimation Order’ is the decree set to more blinding percussion and guitar work. Hate Manifesto excel in taking the simplest of ideas and creating a maelstrom of energy and darkness from it, their music needs no embellishing, this is pure aggression without need for subtleties or respite. ‘’ Poison Infliction’ is such a display of speed and intensity with excellent percussive talent.
ΑΠΟΣΤΑΤΗΣ is a seething dynamic display of musical prowess that is muscular and intense punctuate by insane solos and a streamlined attack that is pure and unrelenting. Hate Manifesto has created a short sharp intense burst of furious energy with a razor like focus. Highly recommended
Immortal – War Against All 9/10
Legends of True Norwegian Black metal and titans within the Genre, Immortal has always remained true to the very foundations of Black Metal. From their debut album Diabolical Fullmoon Mysticism in 1992, they epitomize pure raw aggression and an icy cold aesthetic, Immortal has remained exactly that, eternally defiant and War Against All is their tenth full-length salvo of anger.
Original member Demonaz Doom Occulta is the only credited artist on War against All, an album that was thought would never happen, and the result is a relentless onslaught that defies the odds and heralds their mighty return. It bristles with an energy and vitriol that begins from the opening title track ‘’ War Against All’’ with its icy blast of fury and is complemented by the power of ‘’ “Thunders of Darkness” the solos shred, and the chord progressions hurl you into the storm that is their signature. This is a pure Immortal record and whilst ‘’Wargod” dials back the speed it is no less aggressive. It is all thunder and fury, the percussion blistering in its attack. ‘’Immortal” is unwavering, the definition of intent and remaining steadfast and loyal to the very ideals and principles of black metal itself.
War against All is an out-and-out full-on black metal record, for the purists, it is perfect, for those demanding a little more, they may find it in the instrumental Nordlandihr” that offers the briefest respite. Foreboding and grim, it continues the journey of blashyrkh through the realms of darkness and cold. Some of the experimentation Immortal is known for is missing from this album, but that is not its intention. War against All is an openly hostile declaration of independence and fighting spirit, at times bleak yet an utterly uncompromising record that is equally parts purity, foreboding and openly confrontational.