nyseius – de divinatione daemonum (2015)

it seems french black metal is beyond praise. even if you know what to expect, it can still impress you beyond belief. i just came across nyseius’ second full-length de divinatione daemonum and simply put, i’ve been standing in awe of its grandeur for the last few days. there’s no easy way to describe the cold, sorrowful and dark feeling it gives. also, it’s not an easy album to listen to in one go, given its playing time that exceeds the one hour mark and loaded-to-the-brim material.

the classical four-piece band is so second-wave in their approach to black metal. you have the shining piece de resistance, insane riffing. supported by a meaty (yet silent) bassline, you have a strong backbone of a classical black metal structure. and this frees up the lead guitar to sway within the theme as he likes as he throws wandering tremolos, leads and reverb-laden, mildly distorted chords/arpeggios (of new black metal) at your face. through this complex wall of sounds, the melodies occur in front of you. and they are remarkably melancholic, as well as following the overt satanic theme. the vocals by the main man daeloth are rather throaty and double-tracked. you also have operatic / wailing singing here and there. the shifts and complex structuring of themes is further accentuated by abrupt and unexpected tempo changes. and there is my only distaste. the double drum sounds as if it’s toned so loosely that the fast double drum sections sound overtly programmed. not that i’m saying they are, and if not, congratulations to the drummer. that weird sound puts you off only at first few listens, thankfully. as furious as the pacey parts are, slower sections are crawl-on-your-belly-till-eternity painful.

the album, which could easily be divided in two full-lengths, seem to include 3 chapters and an instrumental opens each of them. the prelude “de casu diaboli“ opens in a melancholic tone built by guitar lead and slow 4/4 drumming, which suddenly picks up and gives way to the first chapter of 3 songs, all of which revolve around similar recurring themes. this effectively makes you lose grip on individual songs and continuity. the fourth track “towards the true light” is easily the most sorrowful one with an obvious deathspell omega influence. the second instrumental “lamentation prayers” includes the eerie “woooo” effects and demonic murmur, harbinger of the second 3 song chapter that delves into satanic fury. here, the music is remarkably faster and angrier. it’s like the first 5 songs have all built up for this release of fury. the third instrumental “lucifer contemplation” is a prime example of a classical black metal song, the way it would evolve to be today. the closer “black god ascension” is a nine minute epic, half extremely furious and half slow and sorrowful that bleeds out towards the end.

an exceptional, demanding, painful and tiresome black metal experience. black metal is, as always, glorious.


death fetishist – clandestine sacrament (2016)

what a glorious year 2016 has been. we have enjoyed the refinement (so far) of the icelandic school of black metal and a strong manifestation of the new black metal aesthetics. not only new coming bands / projects such as prosternatur, throane, almyrkvi, martröð and skáphe completely blew me away with their releases, black metal giants oranssi pazuzu, coldworld, abbath, urfaust and freaking deathspell omega released new material. no “top 10 black metal albums of 2016” will do any justice.

and now we have death fetishist. the name may sound death/gore but this is pristine black metal that, although it may sound exaggerated and ambitious, brings all waves of black metal together. this is not a new coming band but a side project of ævangelist (and a shitload of other) mastermind matron thorn, supported by a whole bunch of black metal elite including none less than icelandic d.g., who releases the fury on the third track.

the intro is such a fitting (female) narration replete with cavern effects reminiscent of horror movies. although discomforting, the softly spoken words end in “all is quiet now…” over and over, and you know something is coming down. and what a delivery of a premise! the insane is at max level and it never drops. it is quite futile to do a song-by-song as the album coherently maintains the main structure throughout, resulting in much more than the sum of its parts.

we are greeted with an explosion of a synth “tone” (rather than individual chords), extremely psychedelic and ominous. the body of music seems to be buried under that never ending synth tone and the raspy vocals, handled by matron thorn (3 songs), doug moore (2 songs) and d.g. (1 song). this variation in singing only adds to the richness.

and the real deal then, the riffs, those delicious riffs of the old school black metal… supported by g. nefarious’ furious, raw and organic drums (that hit the listener rather than the kit), this is beautiful 1st wave of black metal. many parts remind the beauty of early bathory. this is not, though, a tribute to the days of old. the rhythm guitar track is topped by a more reverb-laden dissonant “new black metal” lead and this is such a sweet occasion of the old meets the new. the music bleeds out towards the end, leaving drone effects and the spoken word in reverse, bringing the horror to an end in style.

what a trip. what an album. black metal is glorious.

irkallian oracle – apollyon (2016)

i have been listening to this album over and over for the past week or so. not only because it is fucking awesome, but also i have been trying to grasp it from an angle and write down a review. the swedish sextet, bearing monikers seem to be individually contributing to various aspects of the music.

the album feels like a suffocating / disturbing night terror rather than actual music. it is like the slow psychopathic moments of early cannibal corpse for a whole album, with the musical approach of urfaust and sunn o))), topped with the visuals of blut aus nord.

the rhythm, where it exists, is painfully, excruciatingly slow. slow may even be an understatement. it rarely reaches mid-tempo (maybe except the “fast 4th track) and there are one or two blast-beat passages. the drummer makes use of his time by war-drums, attractive cymbal / bell work and loads of double bass. as the album progresses, the rhythm gets even slower to reach a lengthy, drone outro. this whole proceedings feel exactly like a slow and painful death. and they do it oh so beautifully.

the sound, complementing the crawling rhythm, is all but void of treble and at maximum level of bass. the extremely low guttural death metal singing fits perfectly. still, with the thick death metal sound and doomy atmosphere, this is glorious black metal.

despite its overt emphasis on the nightmarish atmosphere and a sound choice that buries the guitars deep down, you have some excellent riffs, but you may have to dig deep to appreciate those. the album bestows new moments of beauty and hidden gems at each listen. you also have some awesome basslines, but these are expectedly in-your-face. interludes typically let the listener some sort of relief between moments of horror in extreme metal. here, interludes of whispers, painful wails and eerie effects make the situation worse for the listener.

like all things good, the album ends. and there’s the real horror of actual existence. apollyon is a glorious landmark of 2016, an exceptionally glorious year for black metal.

deathkin – kohti kotiani kaaosta (2016)

this is so good. in a very good way. so satisfying. came out just 2 days ago, just wanted to check what it is and it completely nailed me to my chair. as soon as the first note hit, i was in. the debut of the obviously finnish quintet “kohti kotiani kaaosta” is, like a good debut imaginative and original, but unlike a debut so immaculate and well crafted.

sharing the “anonymous musicians” thing (which is totally getting out of hand) with the newer black metal acts, but that’s all that is. nothing like the new black metal, the album is pleasing the old metalhead in me.  the vocals strike first, sung in finnish with an impressive control and range, clean, angry shouts, operatic, shrills, throat, chanting… there are precious little instrumental parts. the body of the musical structure, full-on distorted guitars are so clean and audible, again unlike the reverb-laden and dissonant newer structure. one of them is in constant lead-mode, swaying within the main melody with delicious tremolo and solos. and that creativity is continuously adding new and exciting material for the listener to discover at each listening. the shift of melodies is further accentuated by a striking drum work, with a thick organic sound, mechanically precise and maniacally furious. so generous with the blast beats and double bass. you just can’t help but bang your head or play the air drum.

while being especially rich in melody, the careful repetition and recurring of the themes creates a hypnotic, uneasy and chaotic atmosphere. and it is commendable to create chaos through coherent structures. slower parts with spoken word / chanting add to the eerie religious feel. the 6 lengthy songs are seamlessly conjoined by the help of short instrumental interludes. this not only creates a sense of one continuous song with chapters, but also hits at your face as the songs burst in full force.

this is good. so good.