Tag Archives: black metal

Behemoth’s “I Loved You At Your Darkest” Explores New Styles

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’ve been calling out the extreme elitism of those who attempt to smear the unholy of name of Behemoth for years. The band’s last full length effort, “The Satanist,” held rank as a favorite of mine from Behemoth, especially given the album marked the band’s seeming return to their black metal roots. Naturally, when I found out Behemoth was releasing a new album, entitled “I Loved You at Your Darkest,” I jumped on the opportunity to review it.

The album starts out strong, with a fittingly blasphemous incantation, entitled “Solve.” This intro leads right into the crushing “Wolves of Siberia.” Things seem fine until track 4. That’s when the album goes in a strange direction.

Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica” has a bit of a softened feel to it, as do many of the proceeding songs. There’s an emotional atmosphere that almost attempts to be palatable to a larger audience. While the technical musicianship is present, many of the tracks on “I Loved You at Your Darkest” lack the crushing quality Behemoth is so well known for.

That’s not to say these songs aren’t catchy in their own right. If Nergal has learned one thing throughout his nearly 30 career, it’s superior song writing. That said, some of these tracks struck me as odd. “If Crucifixtion Was Not Enough,” for example, almost had a punk air to it that seemed out of place within the context of the rest of the album. It was as though they were attempting to create a sort of black thrash feel but failed miserably.

As a mentioned earlier, there is a softness to this album that I haven’t heard in previous releases. When one considers the title of the album “I Loved You at Your Darkest” one can only surmise this must be a concept album. It leads to me wonder whether or not Nergal returned to his black metal roots in an attempt to broaden his musical range and experiment with more diverse styles.

That’s not to say this album entirely lacking the crushing breaks and blasphemous chanting that have become Behemoth’s signature. The more emotional aspects overpower the classic elements, however. I can’t help but feel “I Loved You at Your Darkest” will alienate some fans, even if the song structure is good overall . I also think that, at this point, the guys might not care.

“I Loved You at Your Darkest” will undoubtedly attract a broader fan base than Behemoth’s previous albums have, and given the band’s over the top image, it won’t be difficult for them to attract attention. Have they gone soft on us? Nah. I think they’re just experimenting with different approaches to their sound. Will the die hard fans be content with what “I Loved You at Your Darkest” has to offer? That remains to be seen. All I know is that I was a bit confused by this effort.

6.5/10

  originally published at All About the Rock

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Destroyer Attack’s Latest Release Could Open the Gates of Hell

destroyer

The black metal community collectively celebrated in response to Ecuadorian black/death metal band Destroyer Attack’s sophomore release last month entitled, “Solve et Coagula” and for good reason — this album is fucking heavy!

Destroyer Attack are the kind of hardened war metal band you might expect to find posing with firearms. Clad in bullet belts and steeped in terrorizing aggression, this bestial foursome employs the best elements of war metal — in the vein of old Blasphemy — on their newest release.

The band doesn’t hold back or ease in the listener in any way; instead immediately attacking the listener with an onslaught of intensity within the first seconds of track 1, entitled “Communion of the Black Pest.” In fact, “Solve et Coagula” never wanes in aggression once. They pummel and blast from the first track to the last.

The first thing I noticed about this release was, despite their heaviness and aggression, Destroyer Attack has a great sense of melody. Many other bands in the same, war metal-esque vein — band such as Bestial Warlust or Black Witchery — have a tendency to succumb to noisiness and slop in their pursuit to create a “wall of sound.” Destroyer Attack, however, manages to maintain the tenets of good song writing on the LP; ultimately creating a neck breaking listening experience.

The production on this release truly stands out as well. Unlike other raw black/death albums, Solve et Coagula does not blur into a single angry fuzz — all instruments are clearly audible and the vocals  shine through at perfect volume. The drums are just audible enough  be impressive, but not pushed so far to forefront they drown the sound of the shreds. Overall, the LP maintains an aura of extreme anger while never forgetting to employ the kind of melody you could lose yourself in. Promo track “Purification Into the Internal Fire” is a perfect example of this buzzing melody put into action. The chorus and bridge are practically hypnotic despite maintaining an ugliness only found in bestial black/death metal.

The band’s roots in thrash metal might have something to do with their ability to inject complex melodies beneath the overall blasting intensity. Indeed, many tracks on the album, such as “Burying the Name of the Messiah” or “Ectoplasm” employed thrashier elements within them. This addition added to the melody in a positive way. Still, Destroyer Attack maintains that blasphemous and aggressive appeal throughout. The sound is pummeling in a way that conjures images of an erupting volcano spewing hellfire from the bowels of Gehenna itself.

This is the kind of album to listen to when you have become so cynical nothing sounds heavy enough for you anymore. Solve et Coagula is almost subversively intense. What makes them stand out, however, is their ability to maintain a whiplash inducing melody beneath the bludgeoning aggression. This is really great stuff here.

8.5/10

Order Solve et Coagula here: https://morbidskull.bandcamp.com/album/solve-et-coagula

 

 

Five New Bands You Should Be Listening To This Year

5. Grotesque Ceremonium

Turkey isn’t exactly the first place you think of when it comes to extreme metal, but Grotesque Ceremonium is putting Turkey on the map.  A one man project out of Ankara, Grotesque Ceremonium play satanic old school death metal with a blackened edge and a listenable groove.  Think Abhoror but more easily palatable.  The band released their first full length album entitled Demonic Inquisition with the up and coming label Satanath Records last year and the album kicks ass beginning to end.  This is a band you need to familiarize yourself with immediately.

 

4.Limbsplitter

Anyone in the Cleveland area knows Limbsplitter isn’t exactly a new band. They’ve been touring and playing fests since 2013.  2017 is when they really started to take off though, releasing their first full length album, Chloroform Cocktail.  Aside from having the most brutal album cover in history and hilarious song titles (Drenched in Menstruation anyone) Limbsplitter brings in hard with their musicianship. This is brutal death metal with a grindy feel and even some thrash and technical elements.  They’ve been praised in Metal Injection and featured on a number of fests.  Sick shit here.

 

3. Contaminated

Slow doomy death metal anyone?  Seriously, Australia’s Contaminated blew me away with their debut album, Final Man.  I can’t stop listening. This is some of the heaviest shit I’ve ever heard.  Contaminated coalesces the suffocating thickness of doom metal with the intensity of old school death metal to create a dense and truly massive sound.  What really resonated with me was how convincingly 90’s their debut sounded.  Final Man may as well have come out alongside classics like Autopsy’s Severed Survival.  Truly old school and original; Contaminated’s sound is simply crushing.

2. Degotten

For the life of me I can’t figure out why there hasn’t more buzz in the underground metal community over Degotten’s debut Hexentrost.  This is indisputably masterful blackened thrash with a power metal edge. With a sound that’s both colossal and dark, Chili’s Degotten are proverbial thrash metal warriors heading off to battle, six string axe in hand.  This album is thrash metal perfection, complete with cool riffs and shredding solos, but what sets Degotten apart from others in the black/thrash genre is the nod to classic heavy metal and their melodic undertones.  Original as can be, Hexentrost is a must have for 2017.

 

1. Cemetery Winds

I find it fascinating that such a perfect debut has managed to remain shrouded in obscurity, virtually uncovered by popular extreme metal music media. Cemetery Winds is a Finnish one man black/death project (at least I believe they are a one man project because J. Lukka is the band’s only listed active member).  Their style is melodic on an enthralling level while remaining unequivocally Scandanavian death metal.  The band’s debut, Unholy Ascentions, was released in February of this year.  What sets Cemetery Winds’ sound apart is that instead of drawing on black metal’s rawer elements, as has been the most recent trend in BM of the 2010’s, they follow the old horde and draw on the more melodic elements of the genre.  They achieve this while maintaining their originality and not falling victim to At the Gates worship. Unholy Ascensions is every bit as intense as any gritty Australian death metal band with the ambience of the most memorable Swedish black metal. This is truly incredible stuff.

666 The Best Death, Black, and Thrash Albums So Far This Year

Tons of metal zines have posted articles highlighting the best albums of 2017 so far. They all did this back in June, which I suppose makes sense.  Unfortunately, none of these lists have met the expectations of Underworld Zine.  Once again favoring a band’s popularity over substance, the mainstream metal magazines have failed to highlight some of the greatest metal of the year.  I’m writing this article in response to that trend.  Underworld Zine has always been dedicated to covering truly underground bands.  These are Underworld Zine’s top six black, death, and thrash albums so far for 2017.

Death Metal

6. Warpath- The Ambience of War

Brutal death metal never sounded so good.  Hailing from murky Irish wilderness, Warpath are a band you probably haven’t heard of or listened to but you should familiarize yourself with them immediately and prepare to have your faced melted.  Unlike the menagerie of brutal death metal bands that have listeners struggling to keep their eyes open halfway through the album, Warpath manages to keep their latest EP, The Ambience of War, interesting from beginning to end.  Pummeling blasts, emotive and technical solos, and absolutely sickening vocals meet to create an onslaught of brutality.  The production value is top notch.  While you can clearly hear all the instruments, the grimy quality of old school death metal isn’t lost in the clarity.  This is sickening brutality at its best.

5. Desultory- Through Aching Aons

No death metal listicle would be complete without the inclusion of a proper, melodic Swedish band. Swedish death metal pioneers, Desultory, take the number five spot with their truly ferocious comeback album entitled Through Aching Aons.  The LP has that classic Swedish feel that pays homage to At the Gates, respectably. But, dare I say it, Desultory has gotten heavier with age.  They always had a bit of a melodic groove to their sound, and that isn’t lost on Through Aching Aeons, but this album is pummeling all the way through.  Their combination of brutality and catchiness is what sets their sound apart from others in the Swedish horde.

4. Contaminated- Final Man

Australia’s Contaminated is possibly the heaviest band to make the list.  In the vein of early Autopsy or Convulse, Contaminated has perfected a kind of doom and gloom death metal aggression on Final Man with guitar tones that sound like they were dragged through muck and vocals akin to gargling blood.  Being a relatively new band, Contaminated’s 90s feel is utterly convincing.  Proper use of downtuning and crushing, doomy passages make Final Man truly memorable in 2017.  This is some seriously heavy shit.

3. Necrot- Blood Offerings

In an age of five string basses and blistering technicality, sometimes simplicity can be refreshing.  This is certainly the case with Necrot’s latest release, Blood Offerings.  There’s been a lot of buzz about the band’s latest album and rightfully so. Necrot have forgone the tech death trend, instead opting to create death metal in the vein of Dismember, early Goreguts, or even Death.  This is driving brutality through and through, with catchy riffs, gritty production, and an overall sickening ambience.  The kind of stuff made for circle pits and the wall of death.

2. Undergang- Misantropologi

It seems old school death metal is making a massive comeback.  Undergang’s fourth full length release exemplifies this trend perfectly.  Not that it’s really a trend.  Misatropoligi would scare the pants off an Avenge Sevenfold fan.  This shit is grimy to the core.  D. Torturdød’s are some of the sickest low grunts I’ve ever heard and A. Dødshjælp’s blasts will figuratively rip your face off. Simplistic riffs are masterfully arranged on Misantropoli to create a captivating experience for listeners.  Misantopologi is hard not to fall in love with.

1. Immolation- Atonement

The number one spot on the list is going to the old school masters of death and destruction, Immolation. Atonement doesn’t ease listeners into its glory, instead punching them in the face from the very first crushing riff.  It’s always a relief when a band from the 90s can still destroy and Immolation does just that.  This album holds no punches.  With a victorious and powerful feel, enunciated lyrics, unrelenting brutality, perfectly timed solos and sqeals of the guitar, and melodic technicality, Atonement does not disappoint. But then, when has Immolation ever truly disappointed us?  With Atonement, Immolation shows us how American death metal should be done, and we’re thankful for that.

Black Metal

6. Sinmara/Misþyrming- Ivory Stone/Hof Split

If I had to pick one scene in black metal today that’s touching on the originality of the early Norwegian scene, it would the current scene in Iceland.  The black metal movement in Iceland is bursting with creativity and bringing a new, chaotic approach to black metal that hasn’t been seen in years.  Sinmara and Misþyrming are leading the pack in Icelandic black metal and this year the two powerhouses teamed up to release a split.  The album delivers a blackness and chaos of a black hole and conveys a message of sheer insanity. Sinmara are the real innovators on this EP as their track is vast improvement in quality to the tracks on Aphotic Womb.  But Misþyrming brings it hard as usual with their addition to the split, Hof.  This is cool.  This is kvlt.

5. White Death- White Death

This band just creeped up out of nowhere.  I’m glad they did because their self titled release is comparable to Satanic Warmaster or early Behexen.  The Finnish foursome has seemingly mastered the aesthetic of early, orthodox black metal and brought it to audiences in a fresh and exciting way.  Gloomy passages pair with dissonant riffs, and screeching vocals effortlessly.  Even the occasional fist pounding rock and roll beat or acoustic lick can be found on the band’s self titled debut.  This album is a must have for anyone who loves straight forward black metal done well.

4. Irae- Crimes Against Humanity

Irae is another orthodox black metal project, deriving significant influence from the early, Norwegian sound, but also paying an obligatory nod to the black thrash pioneers.  Irae is a one man project out of Portugal, spawned from the ominous mind of a man known only as Vulturius.  This is good stuff. Fist pumping hard rock licks meet with blackened dissonance, and thrashy interludes to form a truly killer, and old school sounding LP.  Vulturius doesn’t overdo the ambience on this, making for a heavy black metal experience spawned directly from the pits of Hell.  This will scare the hell out of your neighbors.  Really fantastic.

3. Noktunal Mortum- Істина (Verity)

The first black/folk metal band to make the list, Nokturnal Mortum are quite deserving of their position here. Simply the way the first full length track, entitled Мольфа kicks in, with that beautiful string arrangement that builds up into sheer aggression, is enough the moisten your underwear.  This album is a beautiful mix of ambient folk passages, triumphant battle cries, and sheer ferocity wrapped into an hour and fourteen minutes.  The Verity experience is orchestral and you almost lose yourself in the beauty of it.  Is this Nokturnal Mortum’s best release?  Nah.  But it still blows away many other bands under the same moniker.  I can’t stop listening.  Keep at it guys.  Slava Ukraine!

2. Goatmoon- Stella Polaris

Findland’s Goatmoon seems to improve every year.  Stella Polaris is a far cry from Death Before Dishonor in creativity and overall beauty.  The intro is a beautiful acoustic piece that’s consuming and immediately demands full attention from the listener.  Every song  is more beautiful than the next, as BlackGoat Desacrator focuses on building atmosphere with gorgeous, melodic riffs. Stella Polaris is probably his most melodic release so far, matched only by Varjot, but with a fuller sound and better production.  The second to the last track, entitled Overlord, is the one that really stuck out for me.  The final track, entitled P.A.I.L. was interesting, to say the least.  Almost an attempt on a black metal ballad, the track works surprisingly well.  Overall, a win for Goatmoon.  Hail!  Victory!

1. Wode- Servants of the Countercosmos

This band is probably the most surprising on the list.  A new band out of the United Kingdom, Wode is knocking the socks of black metal fans with two stellar releases.  Wode’s sophomore release, Servants of the Countercosmos has a sound that’s almost legendary.  To risk sounding presumptuous, can you say the next Dissection?  Not that this is another Dissection rip off, far from it actually.  It’s just that their sound is so highly memorable that it harkens back an era of musical perfection only matched by Dissection.  Every song is better than the next, as Wode pummels into your soul with an unrelenting ferocity not seen since the 90’s.  The melodic nature of the sound and clean production is reminiscent of the early Swedish black metal sound.  All this greatness spewing from a band made up of musicians virtually unknown to the black metal scene.  What a fantastic record.

Thrash/Speed Metal

6. Lich King- Omnomniclasm 

Lich King makes the number six spot on this list for their newest release entitled Omnomniclasm.  The sheer improvement of the band over the years has people starting to really take notice.  Omnomniclasm is standard thrash metal done at its best.  Focusing on speed, aggression, and ferocity, the new album holds true to original thrash metal vision.  Halfway through, Lich King even hails its speed metal predecessors with a slow and triumphant display of power in the song Civilization.  Think in the vein of Priest.  What Lich King has always focused on, however, is having the coolest riffs and playing faster than anyone else.  Omnimnoclasm delivers sheer speed like few others in the new wave of thrash and perfects the sound with good production and riffs that will crush your skull.  Lich King is basically Vio-Lence reborn and for that we’re all thankful.

5. Power Trip- Nightmare Logic

This album has been getting a lot of hype from metal elitists this year and I can see why.  This is crossover at its best. While I don’t hear a huge amount of hardcore influences on Nightmare Logic, the ones that are there are tasteful.  Ultimately, this is aggression and speed perfectly executed through buzz saw guitar tones, face ripping riffs, rad tempo changes all spawned from the first crunchy riff.  Nightmare Logic is a fist pumping masterpiece complete with anthemic choruses and some of the coolest riffs I’ve heard all year.  Power Trip is good shit.

4. Witchnight- Unholy Speed Metal

Witchnight is a brand new blackened speed metal band out of Argentina but their sound, name, and overall image may as well be out of 1987.  These Argentinian shredders go straight for the jugular with their unique brand of black speed in the vein of Tormentor or demo era Destroyer 666.  The fifteen minute EP entitled Unholy Speed Metal is marked by its utter intensity, lightening fast riffage, and cool DIY production.  This is the kind of album I can imagine procuring in cassete form from a truer than thou older friend who partied with Jeff Hanneman back in the day.  The entire EP drips of blasphemy and rage.  Unholy Speed metal is Witchnight’s first EP, first anything ever.  I really hope this band succeeds.  I need more.

 

3.Bloodlust- At the Devil’s Left Hand

Three words: Australian blackened thrash.  Bloodlust is a relatively new band that has old pro chops.  At the Devil’s Left Hand is the band’s second full length release but the structure and execution of the album is so perfect you’d think Bloodlust had been at it for decades.  I could chalk this up to expertly executed D666 worship but honestly, Bloodlust bring their own unique flavor to the table. The most notable positive on this album is probably the tempo changes, which are so succinctly placed that you’re transported in a sort of thrash metal void upon listening.  Just be careful when you’re listening to AT the Devil’s Left Hand.  You might just break your neck whipping around to their paralyzing riffs.

 

2. Blood Feast- The Future State of Wicked
The blood thirst is real this year. Blood Feast are old school motherfuckers from Jersey who haven’t slowed down a lick.  The band split back in 1991 and reformed in 2007 coming back with a vengeance.  The Future State of Wicked is the band’s first full length release since reforming and it slays harder than a good majority of the youngin thrashers attempts at reviving the old school. Everything from the chilling artwork to the riffs that cut through you like chainsaw to Chris Natalini’s penetrating screams is as heavy as thrash gets.  It’s as though they reformed just to show the new horde how it’s done.  This albums just kills, plain and simple.

1. Hellripper- Coagulating Darkness

Forming only three years ago, the UK’s Hellripper has already redefined the meaning of speed with break neck riffs and blistering solos.  This is an impressive feat for a one man project.  The band’s first full length release, Coagulating Darkness is more than simply unadulterated speed though, the execution is masterfully coherent and the tracks are catchy and memorable.  This album just sounds evil.  Guitar worship reigns supreme, as it should, on Coagulating Darkness as the solos are masterfully placed and the riffs are as cool as Destruction’s.  Despite being from the UK, Hellripper’s music has an unmistakable Teutonic ambiance about that you can’t help but fall in love with.  Really great stuff.

 

Disclaimer: Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch because I missed something, remember this is opinion.  That said, if there’s anything you think I missed, please post it in the comments.  I listen to a lot of metal but I can’t listen to everything. Also note, Underworld is not interested in anything PC, so if you have a problem with one of the bands on the list keep it to yourself and off my site.  That’s all I’ve got.  Stay trve!  Hails!

Nordland- European Paganism

Russian based record label Satanath Records has been spewing out several solid metal releases from the proverbial hellmouth since their formation back in 2012, and Nordland’s latest effort, entitled European Paganism, is no exception.  Upon first listen, I was ready to chalk this release up to sub par to above average Graveland worship.  But European Paganism is a slow burn effort that requires patience from its listeners.  Ten minutes into the first track, Mountain, the intensity begins to brew and the rest of the track continues on an upward trajectory of frostbitten beauty.  In an epic 27 minutes, Mountain projects listeners into an ice capped, Northern journey, paying homage to everyone from Bathory to Immortal to Dissection along to way.

Nordland hails from Northern England and is the ambitious solo endeavour of multi-instrumentalist, Vohr.  Despite being a one man project, Nordland maintains a full and atmospheric ambiance, expansive in nature.  The production on European Paganism is clear and devoid of lo-fi pretentiousness, which creates a more grandiose aura signature to folk and pagan metal.

Since releasing his self titled debut in 2012, Vorh has incorporated more and more Viking elements into his writing and European Paganism is an embodiment of this stylistic progression.  The straightforward album title and artwork show Vorh makes no apologies for his gradual immersion into the Viking genre.  That’s not to say his prior works didn’t have Viking elements.  But Vorh’s earlier releases had an ambiance similar to Drudkh or Ygg and weaved depressive elements into the sound.  Every album since his debut has gotten more folky and European Paganism reaches its climax.

Is the latest release an impovement on prior releases?  I wouldn’t necessarily say so. European Paganism simply harnesses a different creative energy; more epic and alive. There were, notably, parts on the album that dragged a bit, but the progressions throughout were, on the whole, masterfully executed, which helped me keep interest. “A Burning of Idols” is arguably the most emotionally captivating song on the album with its frequents bursts into atmospheric bliss.

This is truly guitar driven black metal, stripped to its bones while remaining burly.  Nordland doesn’t play orthodox black metal in a predictable way, he adds a heroic kind of power to the feel.  As I said earlier, this album is extremely remiscent of Immortal “At the Heart of Winter” era, or even Graveland.   Overall, I would say that Vorh is putting England on the map for Viking inspired black metal.  This is a solid release.

7.5/10

https://satanath.bandcamp.com/album/sat167-nordland-european-paganism-2017

Viles Vitae- IV

There’s been some hype surrounding the Portugese trio’s Viles Vitae debut release on
Caverna Abismal Records, and for legitimately good reason.  The EP is entitled IV in representation of the four cardinal elements and the music itself is intended to be ceremonial for the black magician.  This kind of camp mystic is something that is missing in a lot of modern black metal that, quite frankly, takes itself too seriously.  This is the kind of dark esotericism that drew me to black metal as a teenager.  Viles Vitae is doing it right with their dark image, kvlt album artwork, and occult focus.

The image is for nothing, however, if they don’t have the music to back it up. Fortunately, Viles Vitae brings it hard with their debut, which is a formidable work of dissonant, hate-filled art.  Lacking a bass player, IV is treble heavy, reminiscent of the old school second wave.  I wonder if the addition of a bass line would fill out the somewhat thin sound in some areas of the album.  This transgression is minor, however, and Viles Vitae seems to do just fine without a bass player.  The polishing of the production is limited, giving the EP a raw and hungry feel.

What stuck out to me were Vulturius’ vocals.  They have a tortured aura to them that feels genuine.  No screeching, Vulturius’ tone is more of an afflicted, emotion inducing wail.  The riffs are somewhat formulaic in parts and lacking in true originality, but they’re so expertly executed that their predictability is forgivable.  I really love the atmosphere this band creates.  Combining the melodic nature of their riffs with long intervals of nature inspired feedback really helped bring to life the ritualistic experience the band was striving for.

Each track on this album could stand alone.  The two tracks that stuck for me were Sunless Redeemer and Theory of Deconstruction, with their emotional atmosphere and captivating progressions.  Overall, Viles Vitae has a promising future playing orthodox black metal and this debut is a testament to that.  I’m excited for what’s to come from this band.

8/10

Mørkt Tre – To the Graves of the Smoldering Time

morkt-tre-to-the-graves-of-smoldering-time

What is there to say about the debut album spawned from the elusive Ukrainian black metal outfit, Morkt Tre?  Its haunting sound emanates in obscurity, as Morkt Tre’s identity in unknown.  Somewhat of a masterpiece, To the Graves of Smoldering Time consists of six meaty tracks, entitled Opus I-VI, ranging from ambient to atmospheric.  What I really like about this album is its ability to bend the defining black metal norms with an avant-garde approach while never losing the coldness that marks the black metal sound.

The album demands more of the listener with its opening track, a beautiful ambient song, with parts reminiscent of depressive breaks found on Drudhk or Old Forest albums, and other parts purely meditative.  Slow and captivating, Opus I sets the tone for the rest of the album.  The album has the characteristics of a true opus with the band’s fluid progression into the a more orthodox black metal feel in track two.  The progressions on this album are truly remarkable.  Everything from blasting intensity, to emotive melody, to ambient dreamscapes is featured on this album.  All elements interact in perfect harmony with each other.

The notably lo-fi production creates a cold atmosphere that draws the listener in.  If you’re a fan of kvlt black metal production done well, To the Graves of Smoldering Time is the album for you.  The ambient tracks, Opus I and IV, help to further grab the listener and set a pace for the remainder of the album.  While, at times, I found some of the keyboard parts on the ambient tracks to be a bit extravagant, they did not detract from the emotional experience rendered from listening to the LP.  As I said earlier, To the Graves of Smoldering Time demands more of the listener.  You have to have patience to build up to the climax.  This album really comes to a head in tracks V and VI.

An ambient interlude leads up to the most aggressive yet digestible riff on the album in Opus V and continues on this path, with emotion inducing, hypnotic melody driving the remainder of the track.  Opus VI is a prelude to the band’s earlier work, which was largely unknown, as this album still is.  The progressions of Opus VI are effortless in their ability to keep listeners chilled to the bone.  The song ends with a really cool bagpipe solo.  Even folk elements are found on this album!  I highly recommend checking To the Graves of Smoldering Time.  Aside from having the coolest album art I’ve seen in a while (it kind of makes me think of that Bathory song, The Lake, and the one-eyed old man), this album delivers in all ways.  A beautiful blend of ambience and aggression that delves into new territory while continuing to pay homage to the kvlt elite, To the Graves of Smoldering Time is a true work of art.

 9/10

You can purchase the album easily on Bandcamp when it releases on February 11.  Seriously, give these guys money.

https://mrkttre.bandcamp.com/album/to-the-graves-of-the-smoldering-time