Wormlight – Wrath of the Wilds (Melodic Black/Death Metal)

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Lets get straight to it. Wormlight plays melodic black and death metal the way it has been played for years. Nothing wrong with this at all! Not as memorable as the releases from Necrophobic, Avslut and Nekrokraft have been to me but Wrath of the Wilds is certainly a good album that I enjoyed. It’s 90’s melodic black/death metal worship the Swedish way and I get some Naglfar, Dissection and Unanimated vibes for sure. Seeing as we won’t hear any new material from those bands any time soon (or ever) I say this is a perfectly good album to get your fill! There is no need to reinvent the wheel and Wrath of the Wilds is not only a good debut album, it is also a big step forward from the band since their EP Bloodfields came out in 2015.

The mid-range death growls together with the energetic hellfire the band unleashes is enough to make fans of melodic black metal be pleased with this release. There isn’t really something to point out as bad on this album and the 55 minutes go past with a feeling of satisfaction. However if you do put Wormlight against previously named bands and the new releases from for example Necrophobic then it lacks that extra punch to become an album I want to revisit instead of those. Either way I know a lot of you are like me and can not get enough quality black metal and Wrath of the Wilds certainly does fall into that category. If you only want to try out a couple of tracks it should be “Vittramark” with its icy atmosphere, piano outro (which they do use on several occasions though) and overall a great sounding song. That song along with “Invocation (intro)” leading to “Feast of the Mountain Kin” is a perfect example how to finish an album on a high note.

Label: Black Lion Records
For fans of: Unanimated and Necrophobic
Release date: April 25th, 2018
Favorite song: Feast of the Mountain King
Score: 3.5/5

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Grafvitnir – Keys to the Mysteries Beyond (Melodic Black Metal)

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Boy oh boy do I like Grafvitnir’s latest offering Keys to the Mysteries Beyond. I’ve honestly not heard of the band before but a quick look at their discography I could see they’ve been very active, releasing albums almost yearly (counting the demo in 2013 they have even done it yearly) since the debut NâHásh in 2012. Not listening to them before I can sadly not understand how the band has developed over time. To give you an idea on why I really enjoy Keys to the Mysteries Beyond it’s due to my love for another Swedish black metal act, namely Naglfar. Naglfar was the band (together with Dimmu Borgir) that got me into black metal for real due to their melodic take and was a gateway into a whole new genre. Grafvitnir’s sound resemble Naglfar and early Dissection quite a bit, adding a touch of Uada and Ofermod into the mix makes this an offering to the darkness you shouldn’t miss out on.

The fine line between chaos and melodic black metal is met superbly and song after song you are left wanting more of this beautiful darkness. Some might think Keys to the Mysteries Beyond is a generic melodic black metal album however I say it gives the listener a well written album of quality occult music. It’s evil and cold as black metal should be. A good album doesn’t always need to reinvent the wheel, it just needs to be really well made. Oh and I am a sucker for black metal written in Swedish. Personally that gives me a lot of joy to hear lyrics like “I primordiala lågors sken skall uråldriga ögon blänka” (from Vargavinter). That’s an added bonus for me and I always respect bands who makes good songs in their mother tongue.

If you worship Naglfar and early Dissection like me then Grafvitnir is a band you need to check out today.

Label: Carnal Records
For fans of: Dissection and Naglfar
Favorite song: Vargavinter
Score: 4/5

Throne of Heresy – Decameron (Blackened Death Metal)

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Throne of Heresy is a band I’ve always thought it very underrated. Since their formation in 2009 they’ve released killer music with last years Antioch being one of my favorite death metal albums coming out (which I sadly didn’t review) that year. Sure they have their ups and downs, good and bad songs but who doesn’t? When Throne of Heresy are on point I would say they are one of the best blackened death metal bands going at the moment.

Decameron is the bands latest offering and The Shores of Issyk-Kul starts off the album insanely well. Classic death metal riffs with a touch of black metal aggressiveness that makes me think of the mighty Firespawn. With Decameron being a concept album based on the old book with the same name I had a rough idea on what to expect, a dark album with tales of the black death (the plague). 10 tales into 10 songs of death, brutality and utter horror. The essence of this is captured really well in Decameron, as I said before The Shores of Issyk-Kul sets the tone with it’s aggression, atmosphere of doom and death. Which sets the pace for the rest of the album. Every song have a eerie feeling to it and is very dark, from lyrics to the whole overall performance. In that sense Decameron is almost a perfect concept album for what Throne of Heresy want to broadcast, one of the darkest eras of mankind.

Musically this is an album on par with Antioch, even if they are quite hard to put against each other seeing as they are very different. While Decameron offers an even more atmospheric feeling and blackened death metal take, which I can see as a mix of Naglfar, Dissection and Firespawn at times, Antioch was a more head-on death metal approach in my opinion. I think this is Throne of Heresy’s best work yet and they keep evolving with each release, honing that blackened sound. I hope that soon their plague will spread among the metal community to make more people give into their darkness.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/throneofheresy
Label: The Sign Records
For fans of: Firespawn and Dissection
Favorite song: Siege of Caffa
Score: 4/5

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

Earth Rot – Renascentia (Death/Black Metal)

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Starting as a two-piece by Thomas Waterhouse and Jared Bridgeman who wanted to create some grindcore Earth Rot was formed in 2013, all songs were eventually discarded though and the band added three more members as well as changing genre to a mix of black and death metal. Now the band play their music to celebrate all that is dark and vile in music, taking influences from grim bands such as Gorgoroth, Anaal Nathrakh, Septicflesh, Svart Crown and Naglfar. All bands who got different takes in music style but also got that mist of darkness surrounding them. Since the start Earth Rot have been very active already released two EP’s and a full-length and now adding their sophomore full-length to the discography with Renascentia.

Active as the band may have been I’d actually not listened to any of their songs before grabbing a hold of Renascentia. Hence I did not know what to expect coming into this album. Now I know though, this is the same type of darkness that Naglfar ships out from when setting sail to conquer the world. Earth Rot is such a fitting for a band of this filthy caliber and at times I can even hear some of their early grindcore influences. Hell on The Bones That Lay Beneath the Earth they even got a freaking saxophone solo! When I read up on Earth Rot’s history, their influences and how they want to portrait sinister noise shaped by the world around you I had my hopes up that this was going to be good. I am glad to tell you guys that they deliver exactly what they promise.

This is one of those happy surprises that makes me want to dig into a bands whole discography. It’s not perfect but the world isn’t perfect, it’s sinister just as Renascentia. Take it from the band itself Earth Rot will rain down filth upon you. Earth Rot’s Renascentia is out now as an independent release.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EarthRotband
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/EarthRotAus
For fans of: Naglfar and Anaal Nathrakh
Favorite song: Funeral Pyre

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

Viles Vitae – IV (Black Metal)

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Oh my Satan! Been a long time since I got so overwhelmed by a new black metal act. I stumbled upon Portugese band Viles Vitae yesterday as someone recommended the band in a black metal facebook group and I thought why not look them up. I am glad I did as I instantly realize these guys are the real deal as I get hit with the darkness that is The Vortex Of Disharmony. Viles Vitae never stops and keep on giving it’s listeners sheer brutality accompanied with catchy riffs and primal vocals we all love in raw black metal.

Viles Vitae captures the essence of black metal well in IV. It’s raw, primal sound together with strong musical performances all around, dark atmosphere and solid sound quality makes this EP a must have for black metal fans all over the world. The four songs features the translation of the four basic elemental principles still used in ritual magic. Which in itself tells us this is a band that truely grasps the spirit of black metal and as written on the bands bandcamp “the death is all around, the ritual has just started”. I couldn’t have said so better myself.

Viles Vitae debut EP IV is out now through Caverna Abismal Records. Give it a listen and embrace the darkness!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vilesvitaeband
For fans of: Dark Fortress and Lord Belial
Favorite song: Sunless Redeemer