Spring is upon us. So is new metal. Have at it.


Cân Bardd – Nature Stays Silent
Can Bardd clearly have a healthy love for epic black metal of the folk variety and they take all the sounds of bands like Caladan Brood, Saor, and Elderwind (and I guess Summoning by default) and throw it all around to get their sound. I’m a sucker for this kind of heavy folkish and atmospheric black metal and Can Bardd do it well, but entirely derivative of the bands mentioned above, whom do it much better. Still, a solid outing and a band that I could see growing with time to something amazing.

Altars of Grief – Iris
Canadian Blackened Doom very much in the gothic, emotional vein of the amazing Words of Ypres, oddly enough, who are also Canadian. Maybe not as goth-ed out as Woods, but highly emotional, bouncing back and forth between intense black metal overtones to slower, more classic inspired soundscapes and heart-string-tugging moments. Damn good all around.

Mystik – Skalder från urskogens dunkla mystik
Mystik, another project from the man behind Azelisassath, Beketh Nexehmu, and Trolldom, re-released their first demo album, remastered with extra tracks. Mystik is my favorite of all these projects and while the two following releases by this band are fucking phenomenal, I think the demo falls short of their reach. Probably because it is a demo. All the lo-fi, atmospheric, whisper-ery quality is there but not as realized as the next two releases. Still, this is a damn fine release and another excellent addition to the mans already vast and consistently stellar catalog.

Ungfell – Mythen, Maren, Pestilenz
This is a take on black metal that doesn’t seem to pop up all that often, which is, a lower-fi, rougher, nastier folk black metal approach. Blackened folk metal usually means a more refined production but Ungfell go for a older, earlier black metal approach. Somewhat. It’s still rich and vibrant but for other reasons, mostly the insanely layered instrumentation and the highly catchy melodic guitars. It’s not folk all the time, either. There’s plenty of riffy, black metal fury, with those melodic hooks, but when it all comes together, it’s pretty rad.

Memoriam – Silent Vigil
Barely a year after their debut album was released, Memoriam storm on back in with Silent Vigil. Obviously given that the bands singer Karl Willetts is from the fucking amazing Bolt Thrower, Memoriam shares more than just a passing similarity the the classic band, and like the previous album, it’s a more rhythmic, plodding, weighty death metal sound, ala Bolt Thrower. It’s pretty satisfying in that aspect but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t a bit disappointed, mostly with the production value and how shot Karl’s voice sounds, which is a shame.

North Hammer – Stormcaller
North Hammer, a one man band from Alberta is essentially the best parts of Wintersun, Ensiferum, and Amon Amarth, that is to say, the more appealing, dramatic, melodic death metal bands, and three bands I’m entirely bored of. Which is probably why this North Hammer album is so satisfying. It’s that melodic death metal style but without all the ridiculous parts that tie those bands down, IE Wintersun’s pretentious follow up albums, Ensiferum’s unending folk wankery, and Amon Amarth’s cookie cutter approach. Comfort food metal at it’s most satisfying.

Djevel – Blant Scarte Graner
I passed on the last Djevel album but when I saw that this band is now mostly members of NettleCarrier I decided it’s time to jump back in, and yeah, it was totally worth it. Uncompromising, Norwegian black metal, very much in the NettleCarrier way of thinking, which is, black metal without a lot of frills unless you count killer songwriting a frill. Kind of has a MGLA vibe going on some of the riffing and intensity but with a Norwegian flavor and less methodical. Good album here.

Of Feather and Bone – Bestial Hymns of Perversion
Of Feather and Bone must have decided that their grindcore leaning sound was in need of a full on death metal injection because that’s exactly what they’re giving us with their second album: Total crushing death metal. Taking that Dead Congregation, dismally oppressive and fucking filthy approach, adding in some Swedish buzzsaw guitars and making it all sound like it was forged in a cave, Of Feather and Bone have a fucking crusher of vile death metal on their hands here. Denver metal represent!

Until next time, make mine Metal.