RESONANCE - Unmother- V/Haze Miasma - Ereb Altor - Genune - Ordinul Negru - Vorga
Ereb Altor- Vargtimman 9/10
Vargtimman is the hour of the wolf. A time when it is believed most births and deaths occur, full of celebration yet despair, grief and joy it is the perfect title for Ereb Altor’s latest offering an epic journey through the cycle of life. Nine full length albums in and this Swedish act continue to evolve and develop their Norse styled black metal in multiple languages and tradition.
Vargtimman is epic. Hugely Epic. Alvablot (Sacrifice) and Fenris (wolf) soar high above the earth with their rousing vocal lines and fantastic guitarwork, this conjures Bathory’s finest moments with excellent cinematic scope, earthly folk elements and a feeling of genuine love and authenticity towards their music.
An Emotive work the vocals range from epic clean singing to the darkest of growls, Vargtimman is an atmospheric journey that evokes, invigorates, and uplifts the spirit, they deliver their tales flawlessly and with some excellent musicianship and guitar work. Rise Of the Destroyer is simply heavy whilst the title track and ‘’I Have the Sky’’ are fire and passion. Ereb Altor are compelling within a genre that is finding itself becoming restricted by the sheer weight of rules and expectation,’’ Heimdales Horn’’ delivers on everything.
Vargtimman is not just an excellent pagan black metal record, it is also a fantastic Metal record! The riff to ‘’Ner I Morkret’’ is staggering, whilst Ereb Altor may never be able to full break the shackles of the endless Bathory comparisons, their music is transcendent tangible and unforgettable.
Ordinul Negru – A Sojourner Wandering through the Barren Openness 9.5/10
From its otherworldly opening moments of dissonant guitars that merge seamlessly into pounding double kicks and then blinding speed, Romania’s Ordinul Negru follow up their Nebuisa EP with another, except that A Sojourner Wandering through the Barren Openness is a single track.
At a very generous 22.33 Ordinul Negru continue their constant experimentation with excellent musicianship and originality. The outstanding riff work from the nine-minute mark echoes long after it is finished with its melody over blast before delving into full blown post doom styled terror. The native styled chants, clean vocals and female voices add only to at times an ethereal quality, yet it is not afraid to become bone crushingly heavy with pure black metal chaos. Its Brutally heavy, Dissonant, and incredibly true to its nature.
Single tracks at times can feel disjointed yet A Sojourner… avoids this by presenting a well thought out excellently constructed piece of work, the time change at the 14-minute mark grabs you and hurls you into a different direction before taking a step back from the abyss with a moment of succinct and clear beauty, seductive in its ability to create great upheaval.
A Sojourner Wandering through the Barren Openness is a musical expedition into the lost arts and the darkness, leaving the beautiful vocals invoke its mantra “I will destroy” a brilliant counterpoint to the crescendo that follows, the musical annihilation of “Pyres are honored by Slaves”
Musically demanding its sudden silence commands to take the journey again, to savour the parts remembered and discover its endless hidden layers. A stunning singular piece of work.
Genune- Inert and Unnering 9.5/10
Romanian Trio Genune take all the fantastic out of extreme/black metal and deliver a grounded incredibly relevant album where the human emotion takes precedence, its textures all encompassing.
Inert And Unnering is a melancholic and personal album of such size and stature the album cover features Vocalist Dragos’ Grandmother with her family. It is bold and sets the standard within. The music is intense and all-encompassing the black metal a reflection of the band’s innermost thoughts and feelings, at times a cathartic release of pent-up anger and aggression.
As a follow up to Cern Sol, Genune pursue the all too real human condition. An album as real as a cry in the dark or plea for help. It is no surprise that Genune translates to Abyss or Precipice. Album Opener ‘’Unworthy Sons & Daughters’’ enshrouds you immediately with purpose and intent. Tangible. Real.
The Drumming is furious and the guitar haunting as the main riff to “To Drown Within Yourself,” proves. It is thick, the rhythm section intense the dynamics between mid-tempo to blast all purposeful, nothing is wasted, the vocals reflecting the tortured soul. Anguished, whispered, defiant, hurt. It is heavy, gloriously heavy, the drone effect adding to the claustrophobia without delving into shoegaze. ‘’The Pyre Of Autumn’’ foreboding, its acoustic elements offer little respite, this is post black metal excellence.
Hauntingly real and tangibly emotive. Genune have created a piece of art that reflects the human psyche and all its internal struggles made real via music. There is no requirement for fantasy when the demons are real and a reflection of the environment that surrounds them. An album enhanced by your own personal experience. The fact that Inert and Unnering is also incredibly heavy and musically demanding is the perfect accompaniment to such a brutal yet rewarding experience. Unmissable.
V/HAZE MIASMA - NEBULA (EP) 9.5/10
Beautiful yet brutal, sombre, and uplifting, encapsulating the juxtaposition between darkness and light V/Haze Miasma are musical freedom that is delivered passionately with intense commitment.
Nebula Is not only the logical progression for Germanys V/Haze Miasma after their excellent debut ‘’agenda: endure’’, it continues their musical evolution, the four elements/musicians that are Atmosphere, Wisdom, Shine and Roar are reflections of their music and ideology. Primal earthen tones and timbres that stir the soul, wistful, damning, ferocious and terrifying.
Nebula is a Huge EP with its excellent recording that allows you to be engulfed by the various guitar parts, the dual vibrato/ harsh vocal lines and the excellent double kick patterns “Nebula’’ is the Introduction Whilst “Hypocrite..Another Vicious Grimace” takes all their musical elements and with some seamless tempo changes creates a eight minute journey that begins somewhere with Post , Black Metal , Progressive , Metal and creates a path all uniquely their own .
“Hubris Redux” could be no different from the original that was all flames and fury. Redux is melancholic piano with multiple vocals that stir and uplift your primal essence, yet it is also sombre tinged with sadness. The level of musicianship is without peer and their sense of direction and purpose so clear that you cannot help but be consumed by it and enjoy all the rich textures they have on offer.
Nebula feels like a bridge between two worlds and a glorious introduction of what is to follow, after you have finished listening not only will you want to hear more but what they going to deliver next. Musically exciting and Lyrically subversive Nebula is essential listening.
Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion 9.5/10
After stunning everybody with their debut EP ‘Radiant Gloom’ Germanys Vorga have returned with their first Full Length album, Striving Toward Oblivion is a technical gleaming Black metal journey to the stars and beyond.
Whilst many of their contemporaries hide their musicianship behind middling production. Vorga’s music gleams and bristles with a crystalline clarity and shines and highlights their exemplary musicianship and an ear for the memorable.
The style is streamlined and rampant with aggression “Death Manifesting’’ is a ferocious as it is memorable its riffing huge and at times ethereal yet grounded in the basis of furious Black Metal. It is atmospheric without the usual troupes or cliches, a finely crafted vision of anger and power. “Taken’’ steamrolls its way through your senses an epic six-minute presentation of speed and prowess. ‘’Last Transmission’’ is a sonic juggernaut that excels in its speed, its riffing at times off kilter, dissonate in creating its own existence as it attempts to flee the chaos tied to it. “Stars My Destination” is simply more excellent melodious technical black metal dripping in power and fury yet searching and pursuing different and unique musical dimensions. Evocative yet direct.
Quite simply Striving Toward Oblivion is supremely heavy, extreme and a technically stunning album. Lean and exciting, Multifaceted, and terrifyingly intense, it may be termed sci fi, but Vorga invoke a primal visceral response. A totally immersive highly recommended experience.
Unmother – Lay down the Sun 9.5/10
Hailing from London in The UK Unmother are a true revelation! They bely the rules of standard black metal and hit from the onset, their music is fast, compelling and yet it contains some melody and experimentation that drops in seamlessly to their music.
It is so easy to get lost in this their debut album. It is a stunningly mature effort. Ground to Dust from its intro is all fire and brimstone with its epitaph, when Venla unleashes “Is this our blood?” it is delivered with such vitriol and intent. Unmother stand stall in their metropolitan Black Metal. It is raw, primal, and harsh, the steel breaking against their bones, their dissonance reflective of the machines that haunt them both from the media and society.
Lay down the Sun is a journey through dystopian dehumanization, you become entranced with the subtleties that lay within the title track and its hypnotic effect, Crown of Stars is the stuff of nightmares and loneliness with its relentless assault. ‘’Empress’’ creates it own atmosphere through walls of guitar, drone and feedback, the wails again intrinsic to the agony.
I have never heard Siouxsie and the Banshees sound like this! Their cover of “Blow the House Down“ is frantic unrecognizable and truly their own, yet it captures the rebelliousness of the original and its catch phrase.
Demanding at times, painful and yet utterly fulfilling. Unmother are the antithesis of the stereotypes that are associated with black metal. They are the pagans of steel, government, and modern society, rallying against racist and fascist ideologies. Lay down the Sun is their opening salvo of the war against such atrocities. It is passionate, intense, and deeply rewarding