I’m trying to figure out what I want to do with this site as a whole so this may or may not be the last of these (semi) weekly round ups. The five people who read these will be mildly disappointed. Bring on the new metal!
Vimur – Triumphant Master of Fates
Vimur decided to say “fuck it, here’s all the black metal riffs,” and that sort of frenzied attitude and musicianship is what constitutes the sophomore release from the band. Even with monstrous black metal riff after monstrous riff Vimur never sounds cluttered or cramped. Each song is an exploration of furious guitars and melodic riffing that will remind some of you of a certain classic frosty band but that’s just to get your bearings. Vimur are unrelentingly black metal, just full of mesmerizing riffs and devastating vocals. This is what black metal can be when all the bullshit is put aside and the concept of actualizing and complete and catchy album is realized. Hails to Vimur for cracking the fucking code.
A.A. Williams – A.A. Williams
Even though it’s barely 20 minutes long, A.A. Williams croons her way right into my heart with her dark, brooding, and exquisitely beautiful morose, rock tinged, post indie thing she has going. Hauntingly fragile and beautiful.
Sinmara – Hvisl Stjarnanna
I feel it’s been a while since we’ve heard from the main consortium of Icelandic black metal, mainly the various musicians that make up Sinmara. I’m all in on the Icelandic metal scene, particularly the weirder, more sinister black metal that Sinmara works in. I like that they’ve upped the melodic elements to some of the riffing and song writing while not sacrificing that weird, cult-like, dark element of their sound. Maybe not as weird as the first one, but a maturing band based on this album, which is an incredible album from one of the best of the Icelandic scene.
Mystifier – Protogoni Mavri Magiki Dynasteia
I honestly not too familiar with Mystifier aside from the Goetia album, which is an underrated early genre classic of black metal. Even more impressive is that the band hailed (hails) from Brazil, a country in 1993 that was not ubiquitous with black metal at the time, despite the extremely evil and cult-like, raw mastery that Goetia has. Fast forward to now, 18 years since their last release and Mystifier have released their fifth album. Maybe death metal is something they explored before but I wasn’t aware that was part of their sound. It’s not a bad thing at all, and it compliments that cultish black metal aspect of that band perfectly. I just wasn’t expecting that. I think it might even veer more to the death metal side than black metal. Regardless, the riffs are there, the over indulgence of evil is there and I could tell you even despite my limited Mystifier knowledge that this is a Mystifier album. Sounds good to me.
Enisum – Moth’s Illusion
In my mind Enisum is a highly ambient black metal band so I sure was fucking surprised to hear this sweeping, highly ethereal, melodic, doom infused, monster of an album, and what a pleasant fucking surprise indeed. Grand is the best way to describe this album. Everything is grand. Like if Primordial went doom and acoustic all at once. I love being surprised and I love when bands step outside of their predefined space and just throw it down. This is a damn fine album.
Misery Index – Rituals of Power
I’ve never given Misery Index much thought or really had any interest in what they were doing. Probably because I’ve always associated them with newer era, slammy, death metal bands that I can’t get in to but based on a friends recommendation I gave this one a chance and enjoyed the ever loving fuck out of it. Super metal and potatoes modern-ish death metal with hooks for days. No genre trends, no fluff, just death metal crush. Maybe I was wrong about them?
Noisem – Cease to Exist
I feel that Noisem is the band that all the Power Trip hype thinks Power Trip are. IE a band that uses a bunch of classic metal/punk influences to make something new and fresh. The difference being Noisem actually does that, which is one of the reasons I find them so engaging. You can hear their influences clearly yet they don’t sound like any other band using the same influences, nor do they sound like a mere homage or “old school” band. That and this album is 22 minutes long, which is the perfect amount of time for this kind of music. In and out, done and done with no bullshit or wankery.
Twisted Tower Dire – Wars in the Unknown
My whole fucking year was made with the announcement of a new Twisted Tower Dire album. It’s been 8 years since their previous album Make it Dark and that album is easily one of my favorite heavy metal/power metal albums. That album will hook itself on to you and become part of your being with it’s diabolically catchy songs. You’ll find that same melodic and infectious song attack on Wars in the Unknown. Twisted’s absolute celebration and honoring of heavy metal is what drives this band and you’ll be hard pressed to find any practicing band that extols such energy and fun and that’s exactly what makes them stand out. You’re going to have a good time with this album, no doubts at all and that’s exactly what heavy metal needs, a Twisted Tour Dire in 2019.
Venom Prison – Samsara
I was only aware of Venom Prison through reputation and the hype around this new one was insanely positive so here we are, Venom Prison blasting their absolutely crushing death metal/hard core fury into my brutalized ears. Yup, all about this. Blistering riffing with a technicality that doesn’t give a fuck whether you’re impressed or not, no cool downs or breaks, and god damn those vocals are out of control vicious. Solid as fuck. I should have jumped in sooner.
Beorn’s Hall – In His Granite Realm
Let’s get it out of the way now: yes, there’s Summoning stuff going on here. Ok, with that said, Beorn’s Hall decided for this album to up the dramatic presence of their sound and throw in other influences from punk, to classic acoustic instrumentation and even 80’s, straight up heavy metal sometimes even with a bit of sleaze on top. With all that and their usual epic atmospheric black metal style, this new album is one to fucking grab on to.
Csejthe – L’horreur de Cachtice
Csejthe’s 2013 Réminiscence hit me just at the right time. In the midst of my discovery of the Quebec and “Quebecois” brand of black metal, this was a nice, rawer, less atmospheric but no less engrossing black metal album. Then I kind of forgot about them, or at least, didn’t return to them as much as other contemporary bands from the region but seeing their name on the new release list grabbed my attention. L’horreur de Cachtice is very much in the same vein as the previous: rawer, dark, blistering riffs and medieval themes. Pretty good for what it is.
Tanagra – Meridiem
Sent to me as a promo, because I’m living they metal highlife now, I was more than fucking pleased to see this show up in my inbox. As I mentioned (all the fucking time) power metal is blasting this year out of the water and Tanagra’s previous album None of This is Real was a power metal sleeper album of 2015. With the sophmore album Tanagra still revels in power metal glory but has fucking upped the progressive and dramatic story telling components of their song writing. Grand in scope with songs that are individual journeys as well as inform the entire album’s journey, this creative song writing and story telling dynamic is what I fucking love about power metal. The cheese, or the cheese, but the music and songs are un-fucking-deniable. 2019 is the year of power metal and it’s the fucking best thing about metal in this fucked up year.
Ravenous – Eat the Fallen
Let’s keep the power metal coming, 2019. Ravenous is helping the power metal onslaught along with their harder edged and gruffer take on power metal. It reminds me quite a bit of that awesome Noble Beast album from a couple years back that blew my brain apart. Alas, Noble Beast doesn’t want to be a band anymore so Ravenous is picking up the slack there. Super stripped down power metal of the American style but with some of the dramatic flourishes of the European counterparts. Just really fucking fun and head bang-y but get a load of the balls on this band with their fucking cover of Blind Guardian’s “The Bard Song.” It’s a valiant effort but come on, dudes, why bother? Aside from trying to touch the sun, the rest of this albums is more power metal majesty from the year that keeps on giving the goods.
Magnabolt – Magnabolt
The more power metal the better and Magnabolt seem to agree with me. Self-releasing their debut with no previous demo or EP, and with no publicity, at a name your own price on Bandcamp, with bare minimum artwork is rather ballsy, especially for a power metal band but Magnabolt has the chops to blow other bands out of the water. Straight to the basics, 80’s American power metal in spirit, this album is all about the guitars, particularly the solos, which are about as prevalent as riffs would be on lesser albums. Magnabolt know exactly what to deliver here, fucking awesome, catchy, huge guitar filled songs. This fucking rules.
Witherfall – Vintage EP
Witherfall has been one of my favorite newer bands. They’ve got a perfect blend of Iced Earth-like power metal and Green Carnation-like progressive and creative songwriting. This new EP is mostly a collection of different versions of other songs, mostly acoustic, and some interesting takes on Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” and Helloween’s “A Tale That Wasn’t Right.” Fun if you’re a fan of the band, but not essential.
Windfaerer – Solar EP
This is essentially just a re-release of their debut EP but with a super fucking wicked cover of Emperor’s “Night of the Graveless Soul.” So if you like highly atmospheric black metal and Emperor check this one out but Windfaerer is a great band that’s only getting better so probably get more of their stuff.