Auðn – Farvegir Fyrndar (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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I have a problem dear readers. I missed my chance to see Auðn live in Copenhagen about a month ago. It’s even more of a problem because when listening to Farvegir Fyrndar I get mad at myself for not going. Farvegir Fyrndar is a great album, as one could expect from the Icelandic band from their awesome self-titled debut only a few years ago. Auðn’s raw yet balanced mix of black metal is haunting and captures the listener. It’s got everything you look for in an atmospheric black metal album really. It’s in all honesty hard to beat their debut album since that is one of the best atmospheric black metal albums released these past five years. I think Farvegir Fyrndar is just as good though. They got for the same path as they did with the first album but why shouldn’t they? I thought the same way on Harakiri For The Sky’s latest album Arson. If it aint broke don’t fix it. They are only two albums in as well so there is no need to, they can just fine tune some things here and there to carve thei way upwards the black metal hierarchy.

Auðn are proving to be one of the best Icelandic metal bands out there by now and if you haven’t heard them before then now is the time. A great sophomore album and I can’t see Auðn slowing down either.

Label: Season of Mist
For fans of: Winterfylleth and Dynfari
Release date: November 10th, 2017
Favorite song: Eilífar nætur
Score: 4/5

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Magoth – Anti Terrestrial Black Metal (Black Metal)

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Germany might not be most known for their black metal scene (even though they sure as hell got one) but more for their powermetal and thrash scenes. However with bands like Thulcandra, Nargaroth, Endstille, Falkenbach (I know they are mainly viking/pagan) and Dark Fortress leading the way it’s always worth looking out what the scene got cooking. And guess what? There is a new band to follow from Germany with their aggressive onslaught of black metal. Magoth is a name you better keep in your memory as their debut Anti Terrestrial Black Metal is one of the best black metal debuts I’ve heard since starting this blog.

That being said I am a huge Dark Funeral fan and you know what? This album sounds a lot like the early Dark Funeral albums. I am a simple man at times. Music doesn’t have to be groundbreaking for me to like it, it just needs to sound good. Sometimes maybe even, depending on my mood, sound like an influence from one of my favorite bands. Other than that I hear Nazghor, Nordjevel and Rimfrost at times. All of this is some really good stuff in my world. These are bands known for producing quality black metal so there is definitely worse bands Magoth could take after.

All in all this is a superb album right up my alley. I’ve come to listen through this album time and time again since I first heard it and that’s a quality stamp for me. Anti Terrestrial Black Metal is a wicked debut album but I am sure some will slate it for being too unoriginal. I am not one of those people though, I love what I hear and I want more of it.

Label: Independent
For fans of: Dark Funeral and Rimfrost
Release date: June 30th, 2017
Favorite song: Metal Fortress
Score: 4/5

Vvilderness – Devour the Sun (Post-Black Metal)

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I found this gem in my youtube feed the other day. I haven’t listened to an post-black metal album for quite some time but damn did Vvilderness make me want to have a long session with only class atmospheric music. Because that’s what their album Devour the Sun offers. Class atmospheric post-black metal. Only thing keeping this album from hitting the higher ratings is the fact I think the start lacks a bit compared to the second half, which is just superb. New Earth and Aftershine brings you 18 minutes of some of the best atmospheric music I’ve heard in a really long time. Bringing post-black, atmospheric music and folk elements together into one entity is not entirely new but Vvilderness does it well and Devour the Sun is an album from late 2017 you might have missed, like me, but shouldn’t have. Fans of Harakiri For The Sky and Alcest will do well to check this one out.

Label: Independent
For fans of: Harakiri For The Sky and Alcest
Release date: 6 November 2017
Favorite song: New Earth
Score: 4/5

Horna – Kuolleiden Kuu (Black Metal)

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Horna, one of the longest running Finnish black metal bands and by far the most active one having released a whopping nine full-length albums, 19 splits and Kuolleiden Kuu is the 11th EP. Add live albums and compilations to that. Now that’s a lot of black metal arts coming out from one band! Kuolleiden Kuu is simply put 16 minutes of classic Horna black metal. They know how black metal is done and got no reason to change their sound. Fans of Horna will definitely enjoy this EP and that’s good enough. A solid album that might not generate any new fans for the horde of Horna but it will please the ones they have.

Label: World Terror Committee
For fans of: Sargeist and Behexen
Release date: 4 January 2018
Favorite song: Viattomien Silmin
Score: 3/5

Scaphism – Unutterable Horrors (Death Metal)

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As far as death metal goes Scaphism has released an album that checks every box for what an old school album should be. You got the guitar shredding, death metal growls, gore and horror themed metal produced in a neat package. It’s hard to not headbang to the Unutterable Horrors Scaphism unleash upon the listener. It’s easy to digest and it’s 28 minutes of classic death metal you’re most definitely going to enjoy but probably not remember. With the opener Gruesome Unmentionables and Unutterable Horrors (what a name) Scaphism were off to a really great start and it’s the best track on the album. They don’t really lose focus and throughout the album they lay down the hard hitting catchy melodies. A perfect example of an album rated good, there is really nothing wrong with this album and it’s catchy enjoyable metal but it brings nothing new to the table and is easily digested (for good or bad depending what you’re after).

There is a lot to like on Unutterable Horrors and if you really like death metal like me this is worth looking into for sure. However if you’re more picky with your choices then there are better albums out there.

Label: Horror Pain Gore Death Productions
For fans of: Obituary and Malevolent Creation
Release date: 12 January 2018
Favorite song: Gruesome Unmentionables and Unutterable Horrors
Score: 3/5

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

The Metal Gamer Best of 2017

Another year another best of the year list! This one is long overdue as I planed to post this several weeks ago but something always came in the way. Some of you might know I also write for Swedish site Rocknytt and I’ve of course submitted a best of to them as well. Difference from that list versus this one is that, just as last year, my list here will be based on albums I’ve reviewed in this blog. So the two lists will differ but I rather keep my blog to the more underground music (even though I do review some mainstream stuff as well). Some big changes to this year is that the list is now a top 40. I’ve added some more categories as well with best debut, concert and more. List is in no order (except for the categories I’ve chosen) and without further ado here it is, The Metal Gamer albums of the year!

Album of the Year: Archspire – Relentless Mutation
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The complete Top 40:
Archspire – Relentless Mutation
Trivium – The Sin and the Sentence
Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi
Decrepit Birth – Axis Mundi
Ereb Altor – Ulfven
Evocation – The Shadow Archetype
Dying Fetus – Wrong One to Fuck With
Mordbrand – Wilt
Hour of Penance – Cast the First Stone
King of Asgard – :taudr:
Firespawn – The Reprobate
Svart Crown – Abreaction
Mordbid Angel – Kingdoms Disdained
Shadow of Intent – Reclaimer
Desultory – Through Aching Aeons
Coffin Creep – Corpse Defiler
Hideous Divinity – Adveniens
Inanimate Existence – Underneath a Melting Sky
Shaarimoth – Temple of the Adversarial Fire
Throne of Heresy – Decameron
Amentia – Scourge
Legacy of Emptiness – Over the Past
Dzö-nga – The Sachem’s Tales
Solbrud – Vemod
Ofermod – Sol Nox
HerezA – I Become Death
Svartsyn – In Death
Entrails – World Inferno
Oceano – Revelation
Lorna Shore – Flesh Coffin
Enterprise Earth – Embodiment
Wolfheart – Tyhjyys
Mors Principium Est – Embers of a Dying World
Persefone – Aathma
Benighted – Necrobreed
Gutslit – Amputheatre
Corpse Garden – IAO 269
Falls of Rauros – Vigilance Perennial
Rings of Saturn – Ultu Ulla
Ne Obliviscaris – Urn

Deathcore album of the year: Shadow of Intent – Reclaimer
Technical death metal album of the year: Archspire – Relentless Mutation
Death metal album of the year: Evocation – The Shadow Archetype
Atmospheric black metal album of the year: Solbrud – Vemod
Black metal album of the year: Havukruunu – Kelle Surut Soi
Debut album of the year: Coffin Creep – Corpse Defiler
Best concert I went to in 2017: Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed and Chevelle (Royal Arena, Copenhagen, March 4th)
Five albums I missed but need to listen to:
Necrot – Blood Offerings
Phrenelith – Desolate Endscape
Fit For An Autopsy – The Great Collapse
Azarath – In Extremis
Wolves in the Throne Room – Thrice Woven
Most anticipated album of 2018: Necrophobic – Mark of the Necrogram