I’ve been writing for Echoes & Dust since December 2013, mostly on drone, doom and black metal. Since then I've completed a PhD looking at mysticism, ritual and religion in drone metal, and will be publishing a book related to this in 2017. I'm also trustee of Oaken Palace Records, a record label run as a charity, each drone release raising money for the conservation of a particular endangered species.

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Délétère – Per Aspera Ad Pestilentiam

Furious and fast, complicated and propulsive black metal. My main response to this record is appreciation of the technical skill involved in mastering such complexity.

King Woman – Created in the Image of Suffering

King Woman appear with their first full length, taking on board horror, depression and pain, conquering all with waves of crumpled fuzz and beautiful, fragile, monstrous wailing.

The Great Old Ones – EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy

The Great Old Ones return with a compendium of five new tales of mind-shaking black metal expeditions into the heart of the void.

Zeal & Ardor – Devil is Fine

A genuinely fascinating recording, whether approached as an idiosyncratic meditation on diverse outposts of the history of popular music and its strange influences and contact points; or simply as an expertly compelling collage of intriguing sounds.

Sleep – The Clarity

Pilgrimage meditation on monotonous drone dirge foundation: Sleep forever.

Mosaic – Old Man’s Wyntar

An album that traverses some familiar bleak winter metal soundscapes with impressive and adventurous confidence.

Dirk Serries – Microphonics XXVI-XXX: Resolution Heart

Experimental in the best way, they’re curious, patient and sensitive explorations of minimal themes which reward attentive listening in the right late-night or otherworldly mindframe.

Wardruna – Ragnarok

The scene is set for an excursion into ancient forests, cold battlegrounds and bitterly rigorous journeys, as Wardruna complete their Runaljod trilogy with new album Ragnarok.

Neurosis and Earth – Koko, London

Owen Coggins went to Koko in London to witness Neurosis and Earth play amazing live sets. “The power of Neurosis is an undeniable fact witnessed by all here tonight.”

Lush Worker – Realms

An effective way to present an experiment in drifting, abstract, improvised jam of noise and effects, pushing out past basic conventions into wild but becalmed, weird ecstatic pastel shades. Far, far out. – By Owen Coggins

Urfaust – Empty Space Meditation

Urfaust at their best, this is the sound of a drunken devil trying to keep its balance while staggering along a steep and wintry rooftop. – By Owen Coggins

Aidan Baker & Tomas Järmyr – Werl

Overall, the album can feel a bit indigestible because of its length, but there’s certainly ample space for the musicians to engage fully with the different styles, ideas and feels that are born from their interplay with ambient guitar and roving, experimenting percussion. – By Owen Coggins

Aidan Baker / N / Dirk Serries – Enomeni

Four varied and accomplished sides of atmospheric experimentation by three noted drone guitarists and experimenters, recorded in a live improvised session. – By Owen Coggins

Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder

New and freshly invigorated, yet unmistakably the same legendary black metal Darkthrone of old. – By Owen Coggins

Lotus Thief – Gramarye

The theoretical ideas are brilliant and intriguing, but the musical development isn’t quite as challenging or original as you might hope. – By Owen Coggins

Darkher – Realms

After an EP from 2014, Darkher summons a full length album of sombre but powerful evocations. – By Owen Coggins

Swamp Witch – The Slithering Bog

Before a note is heard, you know what to expect from the name of the band, the album title, and the great misty, murky grey cover image, a mysterious lurking figure trudging half-submerged through the grey marshes. Yep: swampy, witchy, stinking psychotropic sludge promised and delivered. – By Owen Coggins

Dark Funeral – Where Shadows Forever Reign

As soon as the album closer rushes abruptly to a halt, you’ll probably be heading straight back to track four ‘As I Ascend’ again to hear this record’s greatest example of a powerful rhythmic vocal-led black metal performance. – By Owen Coggins

Forteresse – Thèmes pour la Rébellion

Overall it’s an absolutely thunderous new release, and the band have clearly spent the last five years storing up fury to be released in a flood of expansive riffs, spitting galloping hoofbeat rhythms and vocal chants and growls equally poignant and epic. – By Owen Coggins

Dylan Carlson – Falling with a Thousand Stars and Other Wonders from the House of Albion

The songs and the wider folk tradition that he’s drawing on provide a compelling melodic basis for Carlson to explore, while each is clearly meaningful to him musically and through their subject matter. – By Owen Coggins

Neige et Noirceur – Les Ténèbres Modernes

Constructed with creative mixtures of rhythms and transitions, there’s a consistent blastbeat bedrock, together with effectively ambiguous and sometimes unusual sound effects that melt into the sonic background, and great complex songwriting matched with distinctive vocals. This is a dense and powerful work of vintage black metal. – By Owen Coggins

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