Orm – Orm (Epic/Melodic Black Metal)

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After listening to Solbrud a lot these past weeks I got interested to see what else Denmark has to offer this year in the black metal scene. What I found was a band called Orm that’s been supporting The Black Dahlia Murder in Copenhagen last week and will also support Solbrud in a couple months. What’s more is they just released their debut self-titled album, which is released through the same label that released Solbrud’s latest album. Perfect for me to dig into to learn about a new band from my neighbors in Copenhagen!

Orm (name means serpent) were formed in 2015 from the ashes of By the Patient which split-up the same year. While the line-up is basically the same the music is not. Orm uses two vocalists which makes the pitch of the screams and growling have a lot of variation to it. It gives Orm a whole different level to their music of epic and melodic black metal. With five songs clocking in on 42 minutes you know you’re in for a ride of long songs, something that can both help or hurt you as a band as you might lose the listeners interest but it can also create very memorable songs with loads of great segments to them. Orm’s debut is definitely the later as I love every minute of it. The changing of tempo, variation in not only vocals but also instrumental play during the songs keeps me hooked throughout. As a debut I think this is freaking sweet and I can’t wait to hear more from Orm, and try to catch them live with Solbrud later this year.

Denmark might not be known for their vast black metal scene (Merciful Fate/King Diamond being someone that started it) but are now experiencing a new wave of black metal that I am beginning to love. Myrkur, Solbrud, Satanic Assault Division, Slægt and Orm are just some bands who have spawned as of late.

I can definitely recommend Orm to black metal fans all around the world. A solid debut they can build on.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ormband
Label: Indisciplinarian
For fans of: Solbrud and Nightbringer
Favorite song: Apotheosis
Score: 3/5

Balfor – Black Serpent Rising (Melodic Black/Death Metal)

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From Ukraine I am lucky enough to find a very pleasant surprise. Balfor is a band I personally had never heard of before but the band has actually been active since 2001 (1997 as Alter Ego) and Black Serpent Rising is the bands third full-length. Playing what they themselves call barbaric black metal I was wondering what that meant. Musically it sounds a bit similar to a band I reviewed last year, Unlight or later Keep of Kalessin albums. Whereas their lyrical theme revolves around barbarians (guessing that’s where their genre name comes from).

One thing that really gets me thinking about barbarians is how brutal, yet epic the album starts off. It’s melodic black metal at it’s finest really, the tempo-changes and melodic rhythms are a thing of joy to listen to and it never really feels repetitive as each song is good in their own right. This Balfor horde is definitely a band that fans of melodic death/black metal around the world should know about. One of the biggest surprises this year for me, and it’s not even a new band! It’s clear that these guys have mastered many aspects of metal as it shows ever so brightly throughout Black Serpent Rising. My favorite tracks has to be the more, as I like to call it, “epic barbarian battle hymn” ones, Unbounded Wrath of Venom and Heralds of the Fall. All in all this is a great album, I can highly recommend this to any metalhead out there looking for something new.

Balfor’s third black metal offering Black Serpent Rising is out now through Drakkar Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/balforofficial
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BalforHorde
For fans of: Keep of Kalessin and Unlight
Favorite song: Unbounded Wrath of Venom

The Sarcophagus – Beyond This World’s Illusion (Black Metal)

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Continuing my black metal wave up next we have the Turkish band The Sarcophagus. The Sarcophagus are veterans within the scene and one of the longest living metal bands hailing from Turkey, having formed in 1996. Starting as a melodic black metal band this changed to a more raw and aggressive approach with Niklas Kvarforth (Shining) joining in 2009. Still keeping it melodic on some levels but more of a hybrid between pure black metal evilness and the melodic kind. Even after his departure a couple of years later (and the addition of Morkbeast on vocals) The Sarcophagus still plays the same style of black metal that listeners of Mörk Gryning, Setherial, Emperor and Lord Belial will have a lot of fun with.

What The Sarcophagus manages to do is creating a ferocious raw atmosphere along with the more melodic second wave black metal a la Emperor. It’s dark, mystic and got a medieval feel to it. Tracks like Dymadiel are perfect examples of what I mean with feeling medieval. Listen to it and you will feel it too. Most of the album gives you this crazy and evil urge surrounding it that you’re not entirely sure how to react. It’s just bewitching and dark. My favorite track has to be Ain Sof, the melodic aspects on this track makes me think back of Emperor and it’s gorgeous. While Triumphant Divine Terror is a close second due to it’s raw nature. Overall this is a good metal album that takes a lot of influences from the second wave of black metal. Fans that love this era will not be surprised to what The Sarcophagus offers but neither will they be displeased.

Beyond This World’s Illusion by The Sarcophagus is out now through Satanath Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thesarcophagustr
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TheSarcophagus
For fans of: Mörk Gryning and Lord Belial
Favorite song: Ain Sof

A Lie Nation – Begin Hate (Melodic Black Metal)

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Finnish black metal is from my experience usually very gritty and satanic. They don’t often touch the melodic side of black metal but today I have a promo from A Lie Nation, a Finnish band that does exactly that. Granted it’s a mix of different styles, or as A Lie Nation call it melodic extreme metal. However I choose to call it melodic black metal as that’s the closest genre I can put them into (don’t be a genre freak though, good metal is good metal no matter the genre). A Lie Nation was formed in Oulu 2009, then unnamed, took the name A Lie Nation in 2010 and released their debut EP Human Waves in 2015. Begin Hate is the bands sophomore EP and the band has really picked up the pace now.

The main reason I go for the black metal mentions is due to the vocals. Miikka Pyykkönen nails those black metal vocals and the aggressive, yet melodic sound surrounding him makes this a listen that make me draw parallels to the black and death masters Dissection and Naglfar. Along with other new Finnish black metal bands who somewhat differs from the old school Finnish sound like Paara and Kyy. From the beginning A Lie Nation captures me and the music evolves over time, the more you listen to Begin Hate the more you notice new things on the four tracks. They differ quite a bit in sound, Rot of the Spirit being a bit towards groovy trash and Shooting the Messenger captures the essence of melodic black metal as examples. My favorite track has to be A Burn Afar (Shooting the Messenger is a very very close second though). The slow acoustic intro with whispers leaves an eerie feeling until it blasts out into sheer black metal aggression, then change the tempo back again to beautiful acoustic harmony. The track is a perfect ending to a good album.

Begin Hate comes out April 5th via Inverse Records. I suggest you get it!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/alienationofficial
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/alienationmetal
For fans of: Naglfar and Dissection
Favorite song: A Burn Afar

Siegelord – Ascent of the Fallen (Melodic Death Metal)

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Not too long ago I reviewed Winterhymn’s latest release Blood & Shadow. From Winterhymn Warg, Sieven and Ulfr left to form Siegelord in 2013 adding Therod on guitar. Even though the band has ties to Winterhymn the music differs quite a bit (my guess is that may even have been the reason they left to form Siegelord). Whereas Winterhymn plays folk metal mixed with black, death and power metal Siegelord is more towards melodic death metal with hints of black metal. Epic battles and mythology awaits the listener as Siegelord grants you a battlefield filled with bloodshed. Think of bands like Ex Deo, Amon Amarth and Dissection then you know which direction Siegelord are going.

While listening to Ascent of the Fallen I can’t help but draw a lot of parallels to the latest offering from Amon Amarth, Jomsviking. A melodic death metal concept album has been done before of course but this album has more in common with Jomsviking than anything else I’ve heard. The groovy riffs, harsh vocals and tales of war and battle simply makes me think of Amon Amarth. Like when I hear A Grim Destiny which then leads to Unkillable I can’t help but think of the opening track of Jomsviking, First Kill. This isn’t anything negative as I had Jomsviking set as my favorite album last year and if you also enjoyed it then you will also have a great time with Ascent of the Fallen. Siegelord delivers a dark fantasy world that even Tolkien would deem worthy.

Looking for a tale of epic proportions? A tale that involves war, betrayal and the birth to a new dark conqueror. If you are then Siegelord’s debut album Ascent of the Fallen will keep you more than occupied. A great debut and the future is bright for the Siegelords. Definitely an album that didn’t get the attention it deserved during 2016.

Ascent of the Fallen is out now as an independent release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Siegelord
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/siegelord
For fans of: Ex Deo and Amon Amarth
Favorite song: Totem

Sons ov Omega – Reign (Melodic Black/Death Metal)

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It’s been a while since I reviewed an album from Black Lion Records, a record label I’ve come to love for underground metal, so it’s about time I do so. Sons ov Omega is a new and upcoming band from Umeå, Sweden featuring the talented Tiamat Invictuz who is in the black metal band Wormlight too (who are also on Black Lion Records). The music differs a lot between the bands though.

So what are the Sons ov Omega about? Well for one they got some of the coolest stage paint I’ve seen (look it up). It goes perfectly fine with their lyrical theme which is very mystic and songs about occultism, mythology and darkness keeps on raining over me. Sound wise they sound like a crossing between Opeth, Enslaved and Edge of Sanity, taking influences from all three with a melodic/progressive side on black and death metal. Also comes to show you can still be playing great black metal even with a lot of clean singing and melodic parts. If anyone even disbelieved that fact, seeing as Bathory showed that being possible in the very start years ago. Just has to be said as sometimes I hear people saying clean singing doesn’t belong in black metal.

I’ve come to listen through this album several times these past days. There is something new to notice every time I listen to it and for me that makes an album extra special and lasts longer. My favorite song has changed each time, which is a really good thing. It’s full with great riffs and tempo changes between a sweet melodic harmony to a utter destruction. Fans of older Opeth, Enslaved or Edge of Sanity will surely love this as there aren’t too many newer bands around that I know of who produce music like this. So take the opportunity when it comes.

Sons ov Omega’s debut album Reign is out now from Black Lion Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sonsovomega
For fans of: Opeth and Enslaved
Favorite song: Pandora