Articles by Matt Daniels
I Loved You At Your Darkest is one beautiful and extraordinary album. Unexpected may be another way to describe this release, but powerful and vehement it is nonetheless. Black is still the bile that froths at their lips and gods of extremity they remain.
Yet again the Brummie boys have forged a brutal piece of art to stand the test of time and one that beneath the chaotic notes and shattering audial violence lies a heartfelt and passionate tribute in memoriam to those lost and who will be lost. A New Kind Of Horror is Anaal Nathrakh’s deepest and most important album to date.
There’s more room to groove, to work in a catchy riff or build a more diverse song, so Head Cage works pleasingly. As a whole it is the polar opposite to Phantom Limb and Book Burner, it crushes with a lighter hammer but has the aesthetic blow of their previous works.
The Infinite Mirror Of Millennial Narcissism is an explosive beast in a deadly little package, rife with catchy as hell riffs and enough deafening blastbeats to keep any grind-fiend drooling. It’s the furious combination of Napalm and Nathrakh’s extremity fans have waited for.
The four tracks on display here are so well conceived that it doesn’t feel like you’re listening to two separate entities merely contributing but instead one very unified unit giving a masterclass in noise terror.
Northern Chaos Gods is the reinvigorating hit the Norwegians needed, capturing the essence of classic Immortal. Not one bad song. Not one filler. Just 8 tracks of ice-blasting grimness packed with muscular riffs and a primitive brutality that resonates throughout.
Marduk fans will be pleased with ‘Viktoria’. It’s not doing anything less than what fans are used to, yet it’s not doing too much more, which is where criticism will appear, but if anyone can unleash all-out war on words it’s the almighty Marduk. A few spins of this bad boy and ‘Viktoria’ will be your battle hymn for the day.
Unsettling Whispers is multi-dimensional and multi-generational black metal at its pinnacle of wonder. Flawless.
Deus Vermin play the kind of music I am drawn to, dripping black, viscous, visceral and vile. Riffs are enshrined in chaos and drums are played with skin breaking purpose. The cruel sinister undertones of their music bleeds fluidly from their instruments forming a blackened melting pot of genres and influences.
Hekatomb is no strings darkness. It’s pure satanic black metal played with bleeding fingers and utter virulence and that’s exactly how it should be played. Rostén’s return to Funeral Mist proves that darkness can rise and we should all be very afraid.
Live albums can be lazy but ‘Messe Noire’ is one hell of a show. ‘Messe Noire’ brings the perfect closure to ‘The Satanist’ era and whets appetites for its long awaited follow up.
Four years into their reign and already on album number three Autokrator may have delivered their most punishing release.
The musicianship is tight and flooded with memorable moments that along with the band’s impressive songwriting show that Ascension have the ability and name to climb beyond genre leaders like Nightbringer.
Dimmu Borgir rarely fail in producing a bombastic album rife with spectacle, but perhaps can be guilty of relying too much on orchestration, which has nearly usurped the throne on this one. The lack of ravaging blackened metal and that extra bite in some tracks lets the comeback down a little.
Blut Aus Nord continue to be a band who push boundaries and obliterate conceptions within the black metal genre and throughout the ten tracks of disharmonic horror on ‘Deus Salutis Meae’ they continue to shape and shift their unsettling reality.
Tchornobog’s music is nothing short of outstanding, a swirling maelstrom of dissonance and doom, of petrifying cacophonies and tortured textures. Each instrument grows into an entity of tendrils reaching out to devour and consume, to pierce the listeners soul in order to bear witness to every emotion or event that inspires such an involved creation.
What Cradle do here is what Cradle do best and that’s tell a tale of horror. The tracks are lengthy and fleshed out, brimming with depth and intricacies, stunning solos and seductive riffs all bound together and brought to life by Dani’s evocative lyrics. For an album consisting of only eight tracks it has immense depth and more than its share of captivating moments.
This is Akercocke free of Satan’s leash, completely unrestrained and at their creative best, and not even a goat sacrifice in sight! Welcome back gentlemen. As ‘Unbound By Sin’ states “It’s been too long, too long away”.
‘Spectre Abysm’ is one of those albums that relishes the structure of atmosphere and has no interest in quick stabs of ferocity to tell its demonic story, hence the lengthy tracks and drawn-out blasting. The seven tracks on display are so crammed full of crazed old-school black metal riffage and hyper blasting that it’s impossible not to love it and there’s certainly enough hooks to keep the complainers quiet. Daemon’s song-crafting is otherwordly, passionate and utterly devastating in its density of consuming soundscapes, making the listener tumble through a cosmic journey through a really quite brilliant album.
Instead of creating a carbon copy of his epic debut the band have forged another classic to stand the test of time, proving this to be a magnificent and heartfelt return to that point where Vargatron and Vintersorg intersected. Some may have cried out when hearing there would not be a part four of the elemental series, at least not yet, but whether or not the new album is seen as a standalone or straight-up continuation of the brilliant original, fans will love and respect it as a stunning work of beauty and storytelling.
There is a cavernous, supreme sound about Tyrannosorceress, almost Sulphur Aeon-like in the way that they play, shifting from deep atonal ambiance to Cthulhu-raising fury, making the albums atmosphere feel like it’s being filtered through a cthonic void.