TEUFELSBERG – Pakt mit dem Teufel 8.5/10
From the arrival of their debut ‘’Ordre du Diable’’, Polands Teufelsberg welcomingly shun the spotlight and conventions of modern black metal. Their second album ‘’ Pakt mit dem Teufel’’ continues this open hatred for the new and continues their own raw, dark, primal path where hatred is legion, and the hordes continue their assault upon the meek.
Evoking the primal energy of the eighties with its Frost-inspired ugghs and shrieks. Teufelsberg creates that cavernous vocal style from the underworld combined with raw guitar tones that are as painfully slow as they are vitriolic. ‘’La Beauté du Diable’’ is a torturous journey through the depths and shuns completely the modern sounds of Black metal. ‘’ Gospel of Diabolical Freedom’’ is pure eighties black metal, its beat merciless, its sound drawn heavily from its Polish roots and the European aesthetic. It is a track that is unhinged, its madness barely held together by the rhythm section, the vocals at opposing odds to the guitar riffs before it unfurls itself into a slower old-school riff that is no less heavy. Some of the keyboard parts are at odds to the raw within, brief bright spots of melody as ‘’ Wpiekłowstąpienie (in Herrlichkeit in mitten der Flammen) demonstrates their multifaceted abilities when it comes to the celebration of the blood pact. ‘’ Noc walpurgii, Lucyfera dar!’’ is the madness that celebrates Lucifer’s gift.
‘’Pakt mit dem Teufel’’ is an album that is inherently defiant and proud of its left-hand path. Its sense of darkness and mortality at times is incredibly tangible and bleak beyond measure. Be warned, all who venture forth, there is no hope here. The abyss and dark master awaits, preceded by the sounds of madness and the apocalypse.
Hagatiz – Cursed To the Night 8/10
Hagatiz, a project helmed by Semgoroth of Dauþuz, MK of Häxenzijrkell and Odium Aeterum of Lunar Chalice, continue the Teutonic power that is German Black metal. Their debut album, Cursed To the Night, continues the continual high bar the musicians set for themselves and the music they create.
Cursed To the Night is that gloriously raw first /second generation style of upfront full of aggression Black metal that is utterly encompassing and uncompromising. Once you make it past the intro of “The Gathering” Deminonde’’ mid-paced assault begins with thunderous double kicks and guitar-led chaos. To label their music simplistic is uninformed. The times change add to the dynamics that when it is fast, it is brief and violent. The atmosphere is created through that guitar tone, almost painful at times as it drags across your skin like a blunt knife. “Drown In Darkness “is pure primal darkened energy that escapes the confines of the genre, unpredictable, malevolent, and steeped in nineties tradition, where the cacophony creates its own inescapable void.
Full of shrieking, growling and vitriolic snarls, the guitar work is ominous and forbidding. There is a palpable tension in their work as ‘’Everlast in Darkest Night’’ evokes, ‘’Scourge beneath the Skin’’ and ‘’Echoes from the Afterlife’’ damn with its tremolo-ridden madness and undertones.
Hagatiz’s music is devastating and ‘’Cursed To the Night’’ is an opening statement of damnation and stark desolate aggression. An Incredible, well-executed piece of extremity that belongs in the pantheon of the underground, hidden in the violent shadows, preying on the listener with its raw, incalculable madness……
Blackbriar – A Dark Euphony 8/10
After impressing with their debut album, “The Cause Of Shipwreck”, in 2021, Dutch metallers Blackbriar return with their sophomore album, A Dark Euphony, which continues and evolves their textured, lavish symphonic metal music.
From the onset of ‘’ An Unwelcome Guest,’’ Blackbriar’s music is accomplished, spirited and rich in lush textures that embrace the genre yet are not bound by it. Its powerful sonic soundscapes are visually inspiring, led by the rich melodies of Zora Cock. Her vocals are warm and welcoming, seductive in their storytelling yet full of emotion and, at times, sombre loss. ‘’ My Soul’s Demise’’ is an absolute highlight full of beauty and introspection and is reminiscent of Within Temptation’s strongest moments, full of melody and a building crescendo that soars with a great solo. “The Evergreen And Weeping Tree” is the ultimate ballad of beauty and a showcase for Zora’s emotive vocal range.
“Spirit Of Forgetfulness” and “Bloody Footprints In The Snow” are heavier moments, bombastic and energetic, dynamic with their power and subtlety the march on Bloody Footprints inexorable and instantly memorable. ‘’Cicada’’ carries a rousing chorus and vocal lines that will stick with you long after its gone.’’ Thumbelina’’ is simply gorgeous, able to mix up the time signatures and create a piece of art full of gothic romanticism and metal.
Evocative, beautiful and full of powerful imagery,‘’ A Dark Euphony’’ is an album that delivers on the promise of potential. Accomplished, sincere and beautifully honest, it marks their continual evolution and their arrival with vibrant, passionate music that will ensure their status grows beyond the genre!