Night Crowned – Humanity Will Echo Out (Blackened Death Metal)

Meet the new kids on the block, a Swedish blackened death machine that’s here to take no prisoners. When a band features current and ex members from The Crown, Cipher System, Dark Funeral and Nightrage then you know they are worth looking into. I will tell you right now that they crush it and live up to the hype! Humanity Will Echo Out might just be a 15 minute EP but damn do you want to spin this over and over again. The vocals are definitely the highlight for me on this album. The new blood in Swedish metal Ken Romlin (you may know him from Disrated or 2 The Gallows) does a fantastic work behind the mic, he has a good mix of styles where you hear black, death and even deathcore ranges.

The synphonic opening on No Room for Hope makes me draw parallels to another good entry to the Swedish metal scene, Zornheym. Which is a good thing as their debut was one of the best to spawn from last year, just like Night Crowned’s Humanity Will Echo Out is this year. Nocturnal Pulse follows it up with an even more memorable track and when All Life Ends close it out I can only think that the one real downside is that it’s “only” an 15 minute EP, I want more. A lot more. At least now I know Night Crowned is the real deal, this is a band that I am sure will draw many followers into their unforgiving blackened death metal style. Apart from Zornheym I hear a lot of parts that reminds me of the usual suspects in this genre Dissection and Unanimated, but also Naglfar, Belphegor, Dark Funeral and even Carach Angren influences can be heard here. Crystal clear production, agressive thundering drumming, catchy riffs and as stated before an increadible vocal performance. What more can you ask for really?

Written by J.B.

Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: Belphegor and Unanimated
Release date: November 30th, 2018
Favorite song: Nocturnal Pulse
Score: 4/5 Incredible

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Karg – Dornenvögel (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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Austria have done so much for the people, who have always had the music attached to the heart, or very close to it. All the way back to the 18th century and forward, that is the first reason of two.

The second one is, that if there is something that will make all metalheads say something good about Austrian metal/atmospheric scene it’s because it’s legendary..with bands in the frontline like Belphegor, and for me, a personal favorite…Summoning. But this is not an article about them, this is about the one man band Karg (not to be confused with the Viennese Hardcore act, with same name).

Karg is here with it’s sixth full-length released album, Dornenvögel (German for The Thorn Bird). V.Wahntraum, more famous as the multiartist J.J. Who also is the driving vocalist behind Harakiri For The Sky.

Karg was formed in the summer of 2006, and between 2010 to 2014, it existed as a “complete” band, meant for the live scenes. Karg stopped to play live in June 2014 for various reasons, but it has not stopped J.J. to continue his work in the studio, and in 2018, he succeeded to deliver his latest work.

The sixth studio album, Dornenvögel, may be his most complete album to date. An album that is not afraid of speaking about sorrow and grief in the most depressive, direct way. Phrases of misery, that seems to be forever stuck in the shadows, but still..still there is also a melancholic touch, with that in my mind..I will say that it’s a divine hand trying to reach in the dark after it’s partner to find a path through the mist. Karg have also made a excellent choice of guest musicians from acts like Lunar Aurora, Downfall Of Gaia and many more. Because of this release, a reincarnated Karg will be risen up from the ashes to perform live in 2018/2019.

There is so much influence from genres, that I lose my count, with everything from Post Metal to Shoegaze, Grunge, but never without the Atmospheric Metal as a ground. The result. An magnum opus with dark dystopian tales…pure art from this multiartist (that is also the creator behind a very beautiful artwork, so to say). A work that will grab people to the core, with it’s music, with it’s lyrics, and conquer the souls in a never-ending loop of solitude.

Written by K.P

Label: AOP Records
For fans of: Alcest and Harakiri For The Sky
Release date: November 16th, 2018
Favorite song: Advent
Score: 3/5 Good

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Revenge Prevails – False Hope Cruelty (Black/Death Metal)

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In Sweden there is a thriving underground black metal scene so there is no surprise Revenge Prevails is another promising act from the country. The band formed in 2008, it took it’s time to find a stable lineup and the debut album Dark Trembling Solace had to wait to see the light of the world until 2015. The band is quite influenced from the second wave of black metal where you can hear a lot of dark mysticism a la Mayhem for example but also some of the crushing agression that Dark Funeral offers. The album starts off really well with sweet varied riff after riff and Josef Svensson raspy vocals being just as good as they were on the debut. Having the female bass player Isabella Ramare accompanying on vocals is big step from their debut and it does add variation, with more power to their shadow concept as well.

There is two flaws on the album to me though that does bring the score down from what it could have been. Just like I thought on their debut this is too long of an album. There are very few bands out there who can do over one hour albums well without losing the listener in the process. Sadly this was not the case here. There are some highs and lows and well when it lasts for this long the lows feels lower than they are to me. The inconsistency along with the length holds the album back in my opinion. Sadly it doesn’t matter then if Revenge Prevails does a great job feeling rather unique with their music (one of the reasons it was hard to add “for fans of” and it’s probably a bit off), which is not that easy today, and have some memorable songs. These two things does add two really big bumps along the road though. Also I have to add the album cover doesn’t do it for me, maybe because I am used to a lot of covers being great work of art nowadays.

In the end it’s a good journey, albit a bit too long. If they trim the fat and make the journey a bit shorter then I think they will reach a new level and it the overall experience more enjoyable. Into the Depths, Shapeshifter Dawn and Habeas Corpus are examples of great songs that I will come back to often. They’ve also made some steps in the right direction from the debut but I do think they can make even bigger leaps to get closer to the top.

Label: Independent
For fans of: Dark Funeral and Mayhem
Release date: August 4th, 2017
Favorite song: Habeas Corpus
Score: 3/5

Blood of Serpents – Sulphur Sovereign (Black Metal)

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Blood of Serpents have been a rather unknown Swedish force but have slowly gained a following after some great live performances following their debut album Black Dawn. However to reach the next stage something needed to change for the sophomore album. In comes one of my favorite vocalists Thomas Clifford (Throne of Heresy, Abscession) ready to take them there and what a match it is. While I thought Black Dawn was a good debut it wasn’t that memorable, it missed some of that hard hitting edge I look for in this type of music. Now with Sulphur Sovereign I get a massive dose of onslaught coming my way. Where Black Dawn was a mid-paced black metal effort with some atmospheric parts to it Sulphur Sovereign is straight up Belphegor, Marduk and Dark Funeral style with it’s fast, powerful and relentless sound. While I personally love this style there is a thin line on creating an album that doesn’t become monotone due to it. The singles have been great for example but does 46 minutes of blast beats do the trick or become boring? That’s where the songwriting and having variation to it all is very important, so that the songs don’t feel like one big mass. In some ways this is where I think Blood of Serpents have not really found their way yet, there are a few songs that are simply too similar to eachother, which lovers the overall enjoyment somewhat.

The first few songs for example do tend to sound like one long track due to this. Whereas “As the Temple Burns” make a great job adding the variation I crave for in a full album of this sort if I want replay value. It’s bit funny really, track by track this album is close to perfect from what I look for in Swedish black metal but when listening to the album back to back then there is too much of the same candy so to say. Which to some will be just perfect though, and it is to me in some ways too mind you. If you like your black metal relentless and well produced like me then this is a must have, make no mistake. Just understand it can give you a feeling of having too much of the good things and it might have been good for the album to be a bit shorter, or have some more variation to it.

Blood of Serpents are better than ever though! This is exactly the path they should continue walking and I am certain they will gain more fans as they’ve taken a giant leap as a band (has to be said they had some line-up changes but hopefully found a stable one now). There are things they can do better but this is the type of core sound I want them to build on. I believe this is a new start for the band that will take them further than ever before. Fans of fast aggressive black metal that the likes of Marduk and Belphegor offers will enjoy this release a lot.

Label: Non Serviam Records
For fans of: Marduk and Dark Funeral
Release date: September 25th, 2018
Favorite song: As the Temple Burns
Score: 3.5/5

Whore of Bethlehem – Extinguish the Light (Brutal Death/Black Metal)

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With a name like Whore of Bethlehem and an album cover like they have you can tell this is going to be some brutal music. Whore of Bethlehem was created in 2009, USA, plays a Brutal Death/Black Metal mix and Extinguish the Light is the bands sophomore release after getting some good reviews from Upon Judas’ Throne I am interested to hear what these guys are all about.

What do you get if you mix Dark Funeral with Belphegor and a smidge of old Suffocation? You get a Whore of Bethlehem! The black and death metal mix hits the right spots and they are brutal enough to get my blood pumping but not losing out on the technical musicanship. From the start to finish this a solid gem of metal. There are a couple tracks that sticks out for me with Invocation, Overtaken by Evil and Rebirth in Fire. That’s almost half the album right there. I am telling you reading this that Whore of Bethlehem is a band that extreme metal lovers will have a jolly good time with!

Solid album, not a single bad song on it but also no song that’s good enough to make me go “hot damn this is insane stuff!”, which is the only downside to the album really. It needed at least one or two stand out tracks for the higher scores. This is definitely a good pickup for any metalhead out there.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/wobethlehem
Label: Black Market Metal Label
For fans of: Dark Funeral and Belphegor
Favorite song: Invocation
Score: 3.5/5

Theotoxin – Atramentvm (Black/Death Metal)

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Are you a fan of Belphegor, Behemoth and Dark Funeral? Good then this is something for you! From Austria a band has started brewing a vile toxic plague that will eradicate religion that’s poisoning our minds. Featuring members from Zombie Inc., Hollenthon, Raising the Veil and Molokh these guys plays aggressive black/death metal that is sure to get you pumped up. As a fanatic listener to Belphegor and the like I was of course pleased to hear an album that’s very close to their style. A bit too close perhaps as it lacks originality but to be honest I don’t really care. I am happy to listen to a new band with a debut album that crushes hard like the more known acts within the scene.

All this anger and hate coming out through this music fuels me. It’s raw evil power that both scares and amuse me at the same time. Devoured by Sin opens up Atramentvm really good like a tank on full speed, and it doesn’t intend to stop… 28 minutes of full-throttle black/death metal madness against religion is what Theotoxin offers. Nothing more, nothing less and sometimes less is more. This is the type of music you turn on when your mad or simply wants to let some steam out, hit the gym or what not. Great debut and I hope Theotoxin continues down this path, refine their sound and makes an even better sophomore album. As of now I am happy to have found this hidden gem that is sure to please many metalheads out there.

Atramentvm is out now as an independent release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheotoxinOfficial
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Theotoxin666
Label: Independent
For fans of: Dark Funeral and Belphegor
Favorite song: Devoured by Sin
Score: 3.5/5

Enragement – Burned, Barren, Bloodstained (Brutal Death Metal)

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I usually review albums that are already out or soon to be out. However this time I got a promo from Inverse Records on a Finnish band called Enragement and their sophomore album Burned, Barren, Bloodstained which isn’t out until June 9th. When I get an album that’s not released until so far away in the future I usually wait for the release date to be closer but this time I couldn’t, the album is simply too good and I couldn’t wait! Lets start with some background on Enragement. The band was formed in 2006 by Lasse Sannikka (drums), Erkka Järvinen (guitars) and Jouni Mäkelä (vocals), Erkka left to focus on hockey, Jouni later on left to focus on his other band Reflection Dies. Left with no members, nor any album releases, Lasse rebuild Enragement and the band is now a four-piece, featuring three vocalists (!). It took just a bit more than a year for Lasse to assemble the new group together and release their debut album Omnimalevolence of Man. Now three years later they are active with Burned, Barren, Bloodstained.

I did mention Enragement consists of three vocalists. That’s the part that makes this band really stick out. Jarkko Niemi (Brymir), Atte Ojanne and Tuomas Iivanainen all got different types of growling, all from classic death metal, brutal death metal and shrieks as taken from a black metal band. And it’s not just the vocals that differs, the music overall also demonstrates a wide range of musical influences all from old school death metal to grindcore. One song can lean towards black metal (Ashen Unity), just to on the next track, As the Acid Burns, become a groovy riff-fest classic death metal type of song. What makes it all jell together in harmony is the intense heavyness and brutality that never stops. Burned, Barren, Bloodstained is an album that will go down as a hidden gem in Finnish metal scene and I hope many of you out there will notice this rare display of brutal death metal from a country that hardly dabbles in the scene. I am actually quite stunned to find such rare talent with a unique sound and never heard of them before. Being half Finnish I try to give that market an extra ear (just like with the Swedish scene) but this has simply went by me. For that I am sorry but I am now a true believe of Enragement’s quest to create the ultimate song to capture the human condition at its darkest.

Enragement now got a new fan, this is one of the best releases of the year. Burned, Barren, Bloodstained is out June 9th. I suggest you mark it down on your calendars and get it from Inverse Records for your own salvation. This is Extreme Death Metal, this is Enragement!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Enragement
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/EnragementMetal
For fans of: Beheaded and Immolation
Favorite song: Dead Flesh Treasury