Waldhexen – Ego Canus Lunam Cano (Black/Death Metal)

It’s funny what a band with members scattered all around the metal sub-genres can do when coming together. You got members currently active in Blurring (goregrind), Abdicate (brutal death metal), The Crimson Edge (melodic black/death metal) while having a past from bands such as Goemagot (slam), Infernal Thorn (black/thrash) and Kalibas (black/death/grindcore). That’s a lot of experience, within a wide range of genres and it’s definitely heard in the new band Waldhexen.

It’s rather low-fi production brings the thoughts back to old school black metal and it works in Waldhexen’s favor and their black/death sound. It’s a flurry of riffs and where the drumming stands out to me with it’s fast, aggressive playstyle that sets the tone nicely. The vocals are also something that stands out as the different styles used aren’t something I usually hear in a, mainly, black death metal album. You can hear a variation of vocal sounds often heard within the scenes of punk, black, death and slam/brutal, all in one short three songs EP. Quite awesome really and at first I thought it might be a bit all over the place, lacking focus and maybe not knowing exactly where they want to go with this album. But those thought quickly diminished as when I write this haven’t been able to let the album go and am well into my 6th playthrough.

This might not be a record for everyone, but it is create thinking coming to life which is not something you hear too often and for that I applaud Waldhexen. Personally I had an sweet time with Ego Canus Lunam Cano and can’t wait to hear what the band comes up with next time around. Because this is simply a taste of what’s to come I’m sure.

Written by J.B.

Artist: Waldhexen
Label: Independent
For fans of: The Crimson Edge & Cursus Bellum
Release date: January 12th, 2020
Favorite song: The Oblation of One for Many
Score: 3.5/5 Very good

Albums of the month: October

With October being done and dusted we’re closing in fast on the end of the year. As expected heavy hitters of the month such as In Mourning, Insomnium, The Great Old Ones, Mayhem and Hour of Penance delivered wicked stuff while we also had some pleasant surprises (in my book at least) from bands such as Xoth, Vukari and Shadecrown to make October yet another stellar month for extreme music. Has October even been the best month of the year so far? Many thinks so but I’m still on the fence there but I do think it’s been one of the strongest months for sure (along with May and August) we’ve had so far. Will November and December end it with a bang or has the best of the year already been released? Who knows but we will know very soon! Again don’t forget to drop the bands and labels a like while also checking in The Metal Gamer playlist for all the latest in music! Also a side note but this post is the 500th blog post for The Metal Gamer! Hails and thanks for all the support over the years!

Album of the month

In Mourning – Garden of Storms

When a band like In Mourning produces their best album since the crown jewel Monolith then you know it’s one that will be high up the album of the year lists for most. A must listen! You can read the review here.

In Mourning – Garden of Storms was released October 4th via Agonia Records.

Runners-up

The Great Old Ones – Cosmicism

The Great Old Ones are back with yet another stunning Lovecraftian atmospheric black metal album. They seem to be able to do no wrong and the band has only strengthen what is already a very strong discography.

The Great Old Ones – Cosmicism was released October 22nd via Season of Mist.

Insomnium – Heart Like a Grave

I’ll be honest I didn’t get into Winter’s Gate as much as most people seem to have. A great album sure but I don’t think it was close to the levels of Above the Weeping World nor Across the Dark for example. I do think that’s the case with Heart Like a Grave however. Their best album in ten years!

Insomnium – Heart Like a Grave was released October 4th via Century Media Records.

Necronomicon – Unus

One of the best albums I’ve heard this year and the best Necronomicon has done to this date where the Necronomicon of old and new fuse together seamlessly, creating some of the best music of 2019 over 30 years into their career. You can read the review here.

Necronomicon – Unus was released October 18th via Season of Mist.

Shadecrown – Riven

Finland has a new mighty warrior to push their melodic death/doom music forward! While Insomnium is obviously a giant in the scene we now have Shadecrown who surprised me big time with Riven. The album is insane and it’s funny to think what this band can do in the future when they have already gotten so far into creating a quality sound with only a couple of full-length albums under their belt.

Shadecrown – Riven was released October 11th via Inverse Records.

Honorable mentions

Exhumed – Horror
Ehlder – Nordabetraktelse
1349 – The Infernal Pathway
Gatecreeper – Deserted
Entrails – Rise of the Reaper
Totengeflüster – The Faceless Divine
Xoth – Interdimensional Invocations
Vukari – Aevum
Cell – Ancient Incantations of Xarbos
Messora – The Door
Singularity – Place of Chains
Profanatica – Rotting Incarnation of God
Svartby – Big Boss
Esogenesi – Esogenesi
Signs of the Swarm – Vital Deprivation
Konkhra – Alpha and the Omega
Barbarian Swords – Totemic Anal Turbofucker
Sarcasm – Esoteric Tales of the Unserene
Thrashfire – Into the Armageddon
Blood Eagle – To Ride in Blood & Bathe in Greed II
Coffin Rot – A Monument to the Dead
Profetus – The Sadness of Time Passing
Mortiferum – Disgorged from Psychotic Depths
Rimfrost – Expedition: Darkness
Hour of Penance – Misotheism
Arx Atrata – The Path Untravelled
Sun Worship – Emanations of Desolation
Horrocious – Depleted Light and the Death of Uniqueness
Hell’s Coronation – Ritual Chalice of Hateful Blood
Defenestration – Scalped on the Pavemenet
Mayhem – Daemon
Rings of Saturn – Gidim
Temple – The Last Pact
Undead – Existential Horror
Cleric – Serpent Psalms
Vermicular Incubation – Chapter of the Vermain Domain
Shrine of Malice – Sheol

The Metal Gamer songs of the month playlist

Necronomicon – Unus (Blackened Death Metal)

Formed the same year I was born 1988 we have Canadian band Necronomicon. The name is taken from the book by H.P. Lovecraft and their music, as expected, has a lot to do with the occult, magic, death and mythology. Even though the band was formed back in 88 their debut full-length didn’t come out until 1999 and have since released five more albums with Unus being their latest work of art. Originally Necronomicon played a rather direct death metal style in the veins of especially Morbid Angel and Nile. Later on their symphonic elements (who were somewhat there from the start too) took more place and blackend/symphonic death metal became the identity. There has been some changes in the ranks as the founder Rob “The Witch” Tremblay is the only one left from their 2016 album Advent of the Human God. Instead we have the two new members Raum (ex-Dawn of Ashes) on bass and Jean-Philippe Bouchard (Magister Dixit and Necroticgorebeast) on drums coming in for Unus.

Let me start with saying wow, Unus shows a band that knows how to use their heritage well with the new. Every fan of Necronomicon will come to devour this and just want more. The pinnacle of this album is reached almost halfway in as “Singularis Dominus”, “The Thousand Masks” and “Ascending the Throne of Baator” totally annihilates everything with perfect symphonic elements, atmosphere and blackened death metal fused into one. Truly making the name Necronomicon justice and you’ll need a breather after this supreme showing. They even end the album with classic Morbid Angel death metal approach (actually could say classic Necronomicon music too) on “Cursed MMXIX” and “Vox Draconis” just to give you some sheer hard hitting metal with an onslaught of riffs. “Vox Draconis” then ends as you expect an album like this to do, in an epic scale with orchestral and choirs! What better way to close out this absolute behemoth of an album. The beautiful part is it’s produced so well. Unus gives the listener so much value, diversity and, of course, wicked metal it’s hard not to fall in love with Unus and wanting to experience this again and again. Unus is in many ways a perfect follow-up to Advent of the Human God, where they still continue in the symphonic steps they took then but yet keeps much of what made their first albums great.

One of the best albums I’ve heard this year and the best Necronomicon has done to this date where the Necronomicon of old and new fuse together seamlessly, creating some of the best music of 2019 over 30 years into their career. Even bands such as Behemoth, Hate, Dimmu Borgir, SepticFlesh and Belphegor would be jealous of an incredible album like Unus in their discography. While it’s not groundbreaking Necronomicon are still going strong and pushing themselves forward, who knows where there limit is or if there is any?

Written by J.B.

Artist: Necronomicon
Label: Season of Mist
For fans of: Behemoth & SepticFlesh
Release date: October 18th, 2019
Favorite song: The Thousand Masks
Score: 4.5/5 Incredible

Albums of the month: May

What a month! This year for metal has been good overall, granted some months better than others but May oh my…. There has been not just one, nor two but six albums I could consider album of the year contenders! How freaking sweet is that (and bad for my wallet)!? That being said the album of the month was very very hard to pick and hell even the top five won’t consist of the all the albums that might find their way into the yearly top ten! Hope you find some great metal here, be sure to check all the band out and comment your own lists here, on Instagram, Twitter or on Facebook as I would love to hear them! With this album of the month article I am going on a vacation to Prague for a bit over a week. Catch all of you metal gamers later!

Album of the month

Vale of Pnath – Accursed

Wow what a journey Vale of Pnath has had! They’ve always been of my favorite techdeath bands, much do to their black metal influences, but they really knocked this one out of the park! A perfect five in my book and a crown jewel in their already great, and growing, discography. Released May 17th via Willowtip Records.
Read the review here

Runners-up

AngelMaker – AngelMaker

From one of my favorite techdeath bands we have one of my favorite deathcore bands. Angelmaker is not just mine but also my wifes go to band when we want some deathcore quality. This is their most varied release yet and I absolutely love it! Released May 31st as an independent release.

Misþyrming – Algleymi

This is in my opinion the best black metal release so far. Even with strong releases from bands like Nordjevel, Abduction, Murg and their countrymen Sinmara I think Misþyrming got an edge and Algleymi has been one of my most played albums since its release. Released May 24th via Norma Evangelium Diaboli.

Warforged – I: Voice

Warforged was probably the band I had changing up and down the most if it was going to be my album of the month or not. What an experience! Add the very cool music video for the whole album and you got yourself a great time. Released May 10th via The Artisan Era.
Read the review here

Murdryck – Födelsen

My biggest surprise of the month. My partner in crime K.P. was all up in flames over this release and it didn’t take more than a couple of songs to understand why. Nearly perfect black metal in the Swedish old school way. Released May 1st via Leviaphonic Records.
Read the review here

Honorable mentions

Decomposition of Entrails – Abnormality
Darkthrone – Old Star
Krypts – Cadaver Circulation
Nihility – Thus Spoke The Antichrist
Entrapment – Imminent Violent Death
Kampfar – Ofidians Manifest
Kull – Exile
Ontborg – Within the Depths of Oblivion
Fleshgod Apocalypse – Veleno
Firelink – The Inveterate Fire
Mordbrand – Döden/Efter Döden
Possessed – Revelations of Oblivion
October Tide – In Splendor Below
Amon Amarth – Berserker
Abnormality – Sociopathic Constructs
Osiah – Kingdom of Lies
Deathspell Omega – The Furnaces of Palingenesia

Nihility – Thus Spoke the Antichrist (Blackened Death Metal)

Formed in 2012 Portuguese blackened death metal band Nihility is still a rather young one. Their debut has been years in the making and now it’s ready to unleash hell upon the world, I give you Thus Spoke the Antichrist.

At the very start Nihility presents “Indulge Self Restraint” that has some meaty riff on the melodic side with the powerful vocals from Mário Ferreira. Eventually they go even more aggressive on “Organic Fallacies” which is a lot more straight to the point and hits hard, giving me a much more American death metal vibe a la Immolation to it. Favorite tracks on the album soon begins to shape in the form of the title track “Thus Spoke the Antichrist” and “Prophecy of Denial”, which is pure Behemoth worship. With the last one actually being one of my most played tracks these last few weeks. A real banger as the kids say!

As a debut album I hold Thus Spoke the Antichrist as one of the best I’ve heard this year. There are a few bumps on the road but you can tell this is a band with great talent that aren’t afraid on trying putting out a rather varied album, yet keeping the heavy hitting assault intact throught, straight from the start. All of the songs are in fact solid, with a few real high points that makes this album have a very strong 3.5 score, almost landing on that 4. All in all everyone that enjoys themselves a good blackened death metal experience that has parts of Immolation, Behemoth, Hate and even slight nods to Belphegor at times should grab a copy.

With this review I go back to sharing bands social media, I don’t even know why I stopped doing that since I find it being a really good thing to promote the bands that extra bit so I’m doing it again.

Written by J.B.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nihility.pt
Label: Black Lion Records (https://www.facebook.com/blacklionrecordsswe)
For fans of: Behemoth and Immolation
Release date: May 24th, 2019
Favorite song: Prophecy of Denial
Score: 3.5/5 Very good

Hath – Of Rot and Ruin (Blackened Death Metal)

American blackened death metal band Hath is a new name to me and as I write this I’m currently just done listening to the EP Hive they had released before the full-length debut Of Rot and Ruin. Hive was a fine display of blackened death metal which they put out same year Hath was formed (2015). Meaning now I was very stoked to hear what Of Rot and Ruin would have in store for me as they now have a few years together, a solid foundation to build on and a great label behind them in Willowtip Records.

Of Rot and Ruin is very different from Hive in some aspects. There is a lot more emphasis on creating a atmosphere that essentially guides you towards rot and ruin. It’s quite beautiful and I respect Hath for going their own way like this, I can’t really say I’ve heard blackened death metal being this close to me naming it atmospheric death metal before. Hell even blackened progdeath would be cool label for it! Labeling aside I am quite sure you haven’t hear anything quite like this. Sure you can say it sounds like Opeth here or Sulphur Aeon there (even some Rivers of Nihil aspects at times) and you’re right in saying so but that would take so much away from Hath and the path they are carving. Of Rot and Ruin has definitely left me speechless at times, which doesn’t happen all that often. One side of me thinks this is unique, inspiring and superb death metal. Then one side things the album is too long, if I aint in the right mood it’s easy for me to ditch this album halfway through as it doesn’t captivate me. That’s where the only negative aspects lay, granted a big one, the album is long and the music is rather unique that definitely requires a listener that’s focused and willing to invest into the music, taking it all in. I do see this being a hit or miss for quite a few out there due to these reasons.

One thing is certain Of Rot and Ruin is miles ahead in songwriting than Hive, the years in the making have proved to be well invested. Also as The Metal Gamer I need to add, how cool is it to make an album based on Dark Souls!? That alone deserves a lot of praise. Hell we all know how hard that game is, you can almost say Hath is hard to get into for a few but those willing to accept it will come to love it. Of Rot and Ruin might not float your boat in terms of the style they go for but I am sure I will see this album being on many peoples end of the year lists.

Written by J.B.

Label: Willowtip Records
For fans of: Opeth and Sulphur Aeon
Release date: April 12th, 2019
Favorite song: Accursed
Score: 3.5/5 Very good

Damnation Army – Death Macabre (Black/Death Metal)

It’s been ten years since the one-man band Damnation Army released an album. Thomas Nyholm (Hordes of the Apocalypse and Isgärde) started this project in 2002 and were really active the first seven years with one EP and four full-length albums to its name but since then it’s been quiet for ten years, until now.

Quite fast it hits me Damnation Army is an army to be reckoned with. This is the kind of music with its roots heavy in the Dissection sound, one I am sure we all love. The vocals though is more from the Norwegian black metal scene as it reminds me a lot of a mix between Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir) and Abbath (Immortal), rather sinister stuff.

The 30 minutes fly bye and it sure is a nice listen, it gives me a lot of great riffs and nods to the early era of black metal. While there isn’t much separating the songs it in all honesty doesn’t have to as you’re sure to headbang your way through it anyways. I also need to highlight the track Ancient Evil Rituals, now that’s how you make an Dissection homage! I simply can’t get the riffs out of my head! All in all sometimes you simply need an album like Death Macabre that offers a single lane approach, with no gimmicks and bullshit. It might not be memorable enough for you to remember in a year or two but for now it hits those sweet spots for this old Dissection lover just right.

Written by J.B.

Label: Independent
For fans of: Naglfar and Dissection
Release date: January 17th, 2019
Favorite song: Ancient Evil Rituals
Score: 3/5 Good