Resonance - Three Eyes of The Void - Night Crownd - A Hill To Die On - Aeternus
Three Eyes of The Void- The Atheist 9/10
Ukrainian/Polish Black Metal band Three Eyes of the Void offer their debut album The Atheist. A forty-minute display of utter uncompromising honesty and intensity that draws heavily from the idea of “Death of God and Mortality”.
The feeling of inevitability and hopelessness of human experience is all evasive. Some bands proclaim to be atmospheric, yet Three Eyes of The Void embodies it, allowing the riffs to become cloying, dense pieces of work that, along with and excellent rhythm section, create a sense of cohesion and persuasive power. The overwhelming commitment to the art makes the suffering and bleakness a tangible part of their ethos.
The riff to ‘’No More Light,’’ which is at the double the speed of the music, is so precise and intense that when it steps, it allows you to draw breathe before the vocals explode and its progressive return. Dmytro Kvashnin’s voice is exceptionally passionate and vitriolic, when the introspective bridge kicks in it is almost soothing yet no less vital or energetic. Three Eyes of The Void ae a band that blazes their own path. The clean vocals of Andriy Tkachenko offer a brief ray of light within the darkness that’s a piece of tremolic post-metal-inspired excellence. ‘’ ‘Descent’ is quite simply a masterwork that evolves and surprises with its development. The saxophone of Dima Dudko (White Ward) is a vital as the opening passage that builds to a never-ending crescendo that haunts and lingers in the psyche with its layers of vocals, and introspective coda.
An incredibly mature, well-developed album, The Atheist offers no answers and poses only questions. It is something truly special that true atmospheric black metal is representative of, it captures the shades of darkness and emotion without fear and honesty, combined with excellent musicianship. Three Eyes of The Void captures the beauty in the melancholy, the ugly in unanswered questions and the anger that comes with knowledge. The result a staggering piece of art.
Night Crowned – Tales 9/10
Sweden-based blackened death metal masters Night Crowned return with their third full-length offering, the mighty ‘’Tales ‘’ that takes the notion of melodic black metal to new heights.
One Listen to ‘’ She Comes at Night’’ with its traditional elements and surprising female vocals. It’s an infectious merging of melodic black metal that adds the atmosphere and layered vocals as it goes. Never once does it slip into traditional territory. It is exciting and passionately presented so convincingly it is highly addictive. Rousing is only one way to describe some of the excellent guitar work.‘’ Nattramn’’ is littered with great riffs and vitriol. J. Jaloma’s drumming is unrelenting, giving purpose and precision when ‘’ Loviatar’’ and its expansive riffs envelope you briefly before the intensity returns and then delves into a brooding mid-section, Night Crowned have mastered the art of creating exciting music, the result of which is mesmerizing.
Romlin’s vocals are delivered with a clipped, urgent style that is as refreshing as it is manic. The precision of the guitar and incredible kick work are perfect for the many tempo changes. ‘’ Flickan Som Försvann’ is just one example of a song that moves with such energy and purpose that it is simply blistering. ‘’ Strandvaskarens hymn’ is simply more extreme black metal excellence, that is infernal bleak and dripping in atmosphere. It is simply a brief captivating piece of work that will propel them as greats within the genre. ’’Lupus Luna’ encapsulates them perfectly and their pure metal sensibilities and the ability to delve between moments of beauty and brutality seamlessly and effortlessly.
Night Crowned has delivered an incredible record that is as intense as it is satisfying. It surprises with its twists, turns and devotion to extreme metal. Able to seamlessly merge traditional musical ideas with the bone-crushingly modern, Tales is Highly recommended.
A HILL TO DIE UPON – THE BLACK NATIVITY 8/10
Celebrating their first album in over six years, American act A Hill to Die Upon returns with the Black Nativity and an album of re-interpretations of classic Cristian Hymns and songs with many special guests, including Karl Sanders (Nile), Ole Borud (Extol), Bruce Fitzhugh (Living Sacrifice), and Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ).
From the opener of ‘’ Hymn To Marduk’’ (feat. Karl Sanders) and the pure folk sensibility of “Left-Handed Wizard (My Eyes Look West) “, this is a record that reveries its subject matter and their passion for heavy music that borders somewhere between metal, black metal, and pure folk intonations. It is with ‘’ We Three Kings’’ that the subject matter becomes more apparent, and the track is a heavy offering that is instantly recognizable yet something a Hill to Die On have made new.
The double kick bass and vocal-only sections of ‘’ Stille Nacht’’ (Silent Night) are downright menacing as the track is given its heaviest possible interpretation ever, A Hill to Die On do not shy away from their open beliefs but delivers them with such candour and a blackened metal sensibility that it must be taken seriously and judged on its own individual efforts. Take the speed and fury of ‘’ Entre le Beouf’’ and then the subtle guitar beauty of ‘’ Auld Lang Syne’’ with the multilayered vocals of the acoustic-led‘’ Sacred Harp 133’’and you have a record that is at times daring, nimble, powerful, and evocative. It simply gets better with every listen.
‘’ Hymn To Marduk II’’’ is a slow Tempo excellence blessed with a great riff that proves that when the band stretches beyond boundaries, they excel with its powerful hymn and fantastic tough vocals. ‘’ Minuit Chretien’’ is the instantly recognizable sonnet that closes the album. The Black Nativity is a record that will surprise you with its authenticity and genuine passion. It is a record that you take solace in appreciating for its honesty, heaviness, and diversity.
Aeternus – Philosopher 8/10
From their very beginnings with their Walk My Path demo back in 1994 Bergen stalwarts of extreme metal Aeternus have walked their own path in the prestigious Norwegian scene. From their early black metal roots to adopting a more death metal approach throughout their evolution, Philosopher is their ninth full-length opus that furthers their pioneering dark metal sound.
Guitarist/vocalist Ares is the sole remaining member and although Philosopher is a raging beast of an album, it is also dare I say it is an elegant offering. The production borders on superb with such space between the instruments that it allows the music to breathe creating a sense of tension and at times wonder, its not prog, but it allows such depth that one of the heaviest tracks, “Void Of Venom’’ allows you to appreciate the layered guitar tracks on first listen that draw you in before you the heavier section bursts forth. The riffs are so clear and diverse. The melodic harmony that plays over the barrage of ‘’ Carving the Pristine Anomie’’ is as evocative the double kick work and riff that drives the track underneath it. At times fast it also takes in a great appreciation for pure metal time signatures that gives it some real power ‘’ Wresting Worm’’ it its calmer(?) moments, has a great driving 4/4 beat that evolves along with the track into a malevolent beast featuring some excellent double kick progressions from Phobos.
Deliberate and mood-building, the introspective elements are offset against the odes to their past. ‘’ Existentialist Hunter’’ offers the sort of second-wave black metal riff and structure that is indelibly part of their heritage as ‘’World Bleak Nepotism’’ still represents the fire and aggression the band is known for.
A combination of sophistication and aggression, Philosopher is deep in thought and mood, along with the trademarks of extreme metal. An album that grows in depth on repeated listens it is a vital addition to the band’s canon.