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

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Raven Throne – I Miortvym Snicca Zolak (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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There has been way way too little atmospheric black metal on my feed this year. Which is weird as last year I got completely overwhelmed with it. However the albums I do get this year have been nothing but superb with Raven throne being no different.

Raven Throne has had an turbulent past. They’ve had quite a few changes in the lineup during the years, even having a drum machine until 2011, however the core duo of Chernotur and War Head have always been there to keep it all together. I Miortvym Snicca Zolak is the bands sixth album which is based on poems from the beginning of the 20th century. I may not understand the lyrics but I do understand the message through the music. It’s dark and deep melancholic atmosphere is grim and fits perfect for this kind of music, doing the poems justice. Throughout the album I hear influences from great acts such as Moonsorrow, Saor, Drudkh and Woods of Ypers.

Raven Throne surprises me with one of the best, if not the best, atmospheric albums I’ve heard all year. It’s captivating from start to finish and I can’t stop listening to it. Raven Throne has got to me the same way Mist of Misery got to me two years ago. Both being atmospheric yet very different music in their cores however they have managed to shackle me the same way. I’ve already listened to it countless times and it’s a beautiful piece of craft these Pollacks have managed to release.

Label: Non Serviam Records
For fans of: Drudkh and Saor
Release date: May 2nd, 2018
Favorite song: Vietru
Score: 4/5

Zornheym – Where Hatred Dwells and Darkness Reigns (Symphonic Black/Death Metal)

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There has been a lot of hype surrounding the debut of this black metal band from Sweden. The PR team and band has done a wicked job actually to get the word out, spreading their singles at the right times and even getting a comic out for one of the songs, one page at the time to create even more hype. I for one have been very glad to follow this. Zornheym have created a world with darkness and madness unlike many others have been able to. This isn’t just a music album, this is a complete world almost like it could be something new Dark Horse comics would create. Zorn has done some good songwriter on this album, and his history from Dark Funeral has definitely helped shape Zornheym into a black metal machine with both traditional and fresh ideas coming with it. Bringing together members from known acts such as Diabolical and Facebreaker to help him create his asylum. It’s very refreshing to see. So how is the music then?

The Opposed I’d heard (and read) before and it’s a sweet intro, one of the best tracks on the album. Very symphonic almost Dimmu Borgir like and the references I draw when listening to Zornheym is definitely Dimmu along with Septicflesh and Carach Angren. Horrifying metal that can easily be made into movies. You can see this as Swedens take on that. The instrumental tracks Subjugation of the Cellist, Prologue to a Hypnosis and And the Darkness Came Swiftly works great as sections to guide the listener to the next parts of the story. This horrible wicked asylum of madness and demons that makes me think of one of my favorite comics (and games for that matter) The Darkness. This could easily be the soundtrack when Jackie goes mad within an asylum from the second game (also made in Sweden by the way).

While The Opposed and A Silent God are two great tracks and were the two tracks they chose as singles before the release of Where Hatred Dwells and Darkness Reigns. Implementing some nice clean singing with their music really adds a new dimension to the story for me and adds depth to their music. Especially Whom the Night Brings showcase Zornheym on high form whereas Trifecta of Horrors feels like a weaker track on the album where they didn’t utilize that as I had hoped. They have some ways to go before I put them in the same class as the great symphonic black metal acts but their debut is something to build on. As an debut album it’s close to a 4, hence the score, but as a whole with everything they have created around it I could easily give this a close 5.

I welcome Zornheym with open arms and let their madness take me. This is a solid debut with some ups and downs and I can’t wait to hear, and see, what they come up with next.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/zornheym
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/zornheym
Label: Non Serviam Records
For fans of: Dimmu Borgir and Septicflesh
Favorite song: Whom the Night Brings
Score: 3.5/5

In Reverence – The Selected Breed (Atmospheric Death Metal/Deathcore)

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In Reverence is something as weird as a Swedish deathcore outfit, or at least that’s how it started out. Since the demo “Necrosis” in 2011 the band has not only changed members but also their sound to a much more death metal oriented style, or as they call it atmospheric death metal. The two founding members still remains, Oscar Krumlinde on drums who some of you might know from the upcoming Swedish black metal act Avslut, and Filip Danielsson on vocals. Pedram Khatibi Shahidi, who you hear shredding on the guitar, adds oriental instruments into the mix and is the main songwriter, has been with the band since their very first demo as well.

It’s not easy to change the sound when the majority of the lineup has stayed the same throughout but with the decision to make Pedram the main songwriter for the band it seems to have gone rather smoothly. In Reverence offers a much more atmospheric and oriental death metal approach than before, and even if the deathcore sound is still there at times I find this a much more enjoyable listen than I did with Hallucination. The sound reminds me of Lord of War if they would be joining forces with Pyres of Kiev and I Shall Devour. Death metal and deathcore joining together in a nice mix that is. During their time together as a band they have grown a lot tighter together as a unit as well. The riffs are more on point, vocals more brutal and drumming releases thunder like never before.

I always find it enjoyable to hear a band evolve their sound and not being scared to change. Sometimes it can lead to the better and sometimes worse, in this case definitely the better, but either way it’s something I respect a band for trying. In Reverence has found their new sound and it’s now a new beast (the selected breed one could say) that’s coming to take the metal world with brute force. Favorite tracks are Gods of Dehumanization, Anthropogeny and Red Waves.

In Reverence debut full-length album The Selected Breed is out now through Non Serviam Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/inreverence
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/inreverenceswe
Label: Non Serviam Records
For fans of: I Shall Devour and Lord of War
Favorite song: Red Waves