Just. Metal. In. Your. Ears. Everything else out of your ears.

NEW STUFF: (Click on those titles)

Blazon Stone – Down in the Dark
These guys exude cheesiness but they write such catchy songs it’s hard to hold it against them. Clearly a Running Wild influence here, the band blasts through some hyper speed, power metal songs, keeping everything fun and playful and the riffs and solos soaring. Good fun from a band that is always delivering solid, re-listenable power metal.

When Bitter Spring Sleeps – Star-Thrown
When Bitter Spring Sleeps has decided to take the natural and organic style of their black metal up the epic-ness 100% making for a draw dropping album. And I thought that Coven of the Wolves was fucking remarkable, particularly the massive song “The Sky Has Not Always Been This Way,” but Star-Thrown is an atmospheric black metal feast for the ears. The music sounds emotional and crisp and well mixed and the change from the epic storytelling quality of the vocals to the choral, chanted, distance layered style is extremely, well, beautiful. Damn fine release from this band and one of the better albums from the year.

Dawn Ray’d – The Unlawful Assembly
I was eagerly awaiting their debut based solely on their first EP, a folky tinged, atmospheric black metal offering, and on their debut they took that and expanded on the sound leaving way for more atmospherics, more folk inspired compositions and some vicious black metal. Damn fine album.

Drudkh/Paysage d’Hiver – Split
Continuing their series of splits with awesome fucking bands over the past year (Hades Almighty, and Grift previously, Drudkh teams up with the ever elusive Paysage d’Hiver for the Somewhere Sadness Wanders/Schnee (IV) split. Drudkh contributes two tracks and in full Drudkh force with their naturalistic, atmospheric black metal fury. A sound to be heard. I make no bones about my love for this band even if they’re getting sort of familiar. Great songs. The Paysage d’Hiver side is particularly interesting as it’s the first music from the band in 4 years. It’s a rawer form of black metal, the darker side of nature compared to Drudkh’s warmer side. It’s one 20 minute track full of ebbs and flows and ups and downs, ambience, and shrill, atmospheric black metal. A good split with both bands crushing it.

High Spirits – Escape! EP
I’m a huge fucking fan of this band, and main man Chris Black and his projects Dawnbringer and Pharaoh and while I wish those bands were his main focus, I’ll take High Spirits high energy, classic metal/rock party vibe band. It’s always good fun, always catchy, and always rocking.

Grift – Arvet
I love that when you look this band up on Metal Archives it just lists it’s lyrical themes as “Man’s Insignificance, Death.” As bleak (joyous) as that sounds, Grift are actually highly emotional black metal with a very melodic, naturalistic, atmospheric, folk-tinged style. Some would say it’s even depressive black metal but I’m not sure I’d go that far. Since their debut was so excellent I’ve been anxiously awaiting a follow up and it’s just as awesome, maybe more so, than that first one. Great Swedish band. Beautiful.

Death of Kings – Kneel Before None
Some down and dirty, nasty thrash with a heavy dose of traditional metal and slight black metal twinge. Satisfying in it’s directness and crunchy riffs to get the head moving.

Nephilim’s Howl – Through the Marrow of Human Suffering
When I look back at some of the more experimental and unique metal albums of late a lot of them are on I, Voidhanger Records so when they release something I take notice. Nephilim’s Howl is a perfect addition to their roster. While not as unique as some of the other bands, their debut album is a fury of doom ladened, rawer, black metal. Like a doomed up version of Gorgoroth. The good Gorgoroth stuff. It has a ritualistic, cult like feeling to it and a swirling, orthodox atmosphere. It’s an interesting collection of sound and I would be highly interested in what this band does next.

OTHER JAMS:

Nokturnal Mortum – Verity
Profundi – The Omega Riseing
Suhnopfer – Offertoire
Iron Chic – Not Like This
Escape from the Zoo – Escape from the Zoo
Crypt of Kerberos – World of Myths
Blut aus Nord – Memoria Vetusta III – Saturnian Poetry
Black Tower – The Secret Fire
Zeal and Ardor – Devil is Fine
Skepticism – Lead and Aether
Avenger – Feast of Anger, Joy of Despair
Rotting Christ – A Dead Poem

Until next time, make mine metal!

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