Tag Archives: black metal

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!

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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

Underworld Zine’s Top 6 Black Metal Documentaries

Black metal has a rich and fascinating history, rife with scandal, infamy, and philosophy.  Because of the sensationalism of it all, black metal documentaries are among the most interesting music documentaries to watch.  In the precursory years before the alleged release of the Lords of Chaos movie, which will either be an abomination or a masterpiece with literally no in-between, I found myself glued to Youtube, binge watching a copious amounts of music documentaries, specifically covering black metal.  These are my top six picks.

6. Murder Music- The History of Black Metal

murderMurder Music takes the number six position on the list.  Narrated by the beautiful Candy René Ackermann, Murder Music- A History of Black Metal explores the depths of the world’s most controversial style of music chronologically and thoroughly. Featuring interviews from Venom’s Mantas, Abbath, Dani Filth, Satyricon’s Satyr, Hellhammer, journalist Didrik Søderlind, and even Mayhem vocalist Attila, this documentary covers all bases.  What I like about the documentary is that the focus is clear.  It’s about the music and the history of the genre.  Director’s even go so far as to cover the origins of occult music by including an interview with 60’s satanic icons, Black Widow.  This is a good one.

5. True Norwegian Black Metal

truenorwegianblackmetalThis documentary series was a particularly interesting one given that the main focus is on infamous Gorgoroth frontman, Gaahl.  VICE journalist, Peter Best interviews the enigmatic Norwegian vocalist at his home and viewers get an inside look at the man behind the corpse paint.  We get a look at his artwork, his grandfather’s house, and an eye-opening look into his ideology.  The ending, which features a frustrated Gaahl refusing to answer the journalist’s question or even acknowledge him, captures the essence of the man coined by tabloids as the most evil man alive.  Definitely worth the time.

4. Black Metal Satanica

black

This documentary is fascinating, as it explores the philosophy, ideology, and history of black metal in Scandinavia.  Focusing primarily on the second wave, with only brief, compulsory introduction on early black metal, director Mats Lundberg gives us an in-depth look at the meaning behind black metal, covering everything from Nordic legend, race relations, down to Scandinavian tradition.  Interviews with members of Watain, Enslaved, and others are complex and visceral.  Mats Lundberg’s foreboding narration adds a nice touch to a documentary that will have you hooked immediately.

3. Black Metal- The Music of Satan

blackmetal

Ignore the intro on this documentary.  Seriously, skip it if you have to, because once you get into the meat of this documentary, you won’t be disappointed.  This film is directed unlike any other black metal documentary, in that it focuses not on the predictable, sensationalist jargon typical of other documentaries, but on the men behind the music.  Huge names like Fenriz, King Diamond, Cronos, Abbath, Dani Filth, and more are interviewed backstage, in their element and stripped of the corpse paint and image.  Beer is present and there are a lot of hilarious moments.  While the journalists ask prying questions about Christianity, racism in metal, and church burnings, it’s all done in a fun, lighthearted manner.  This is a limited edition DVD.  While you can stream most of it on Youtube and DailyMotion, it’s worth dropping the ten bucks to watch the full version along with the bonus video.  Simply stellar.

2. Metal’s Unexplored Fringes- One Man Metal

omm

Back in 2012, Noisy of all publications, released the only documentary, to my knowledge, to cover the murky caverns of one man, depressive black metal.  The documentary features interviews with three defining one man bands, Leviathan, Xasthur, and Striborg.  The fact that the interviewer only focuses on the men behind these three bands, means the interviews get extremely deep and personal.  Jeff Whitehead (Leviathan) talks about his trouble past as a foster child, Scott Conner (Xasthur) disscusses his deeply misanthropic worldview, and Sin Nanna (Striborg) discusses overcoming drug abuse and the impact isolation has had on his music.  The questions are invasive but never prying and the direction of this documentary flows seemlessly, leaving viewers glued to the screen.  This is a documentary you can watch over and and over and never get bored.  If you haven’t seen it, watch it now, you poser.

  1. Until the Light Takes Us   

This is a no brainer, Until the Light Takes Us is the best documentary on black metal, hands down.  This documentary features the biggest names in the genre, Fenriz, Varg Vikernes, Frost, and more up close and personal, giving the viewers an inside look into their lives.  We get to see sides of Fenriz we’ve never seen before as he discusses his interest in art and electronica.  Varg is interviewed from jail and gets personal about his feelings toward Fenriz, talks about his checkered past, and his opinions on American and Norwegian culture.  Frost performs in a local art show.  The lack of structure and focus on regular conversation make this documentary fantastic for true fans of black metal, interested in getting to know their favorite artists better. It’s truly a masterpiece.

Honorable Mentions:

Once Upon A Time in Norway: This probably could have made the list but I am American and don’t want to read subtitles.  Don’t beat me up for being honest.

Per “Dead” Ohlin- Documentary: This is a really cool documentary that focuses on the life of the deeply troubled Per Ohlin of Mayhem.  Really well done documentary.

What are you favorite black metal documentaries?  List them in the comments.

Forteresse-Thèmes pour la rébellion

forteresse

The negativity of 2016 led to an outpouring of great metal releases including the fifth effort from French Canadian black metal foursome Forteresse (which translates rather easily to Fortress).   Forteresse doesn’t have the same muted, agressive feel of other Canadian metal bands well known in America,  like Mitochondrian or Adversarial.  Instead, the band relies heavily melodic, pretty riffs and a larger than life, bombastic sound that hooks listeners upon impact.  From the first notes of Spectre de la rébellion, Thèmes pour la rébellion assaults listeners, swooping them into an epic battle scene, triumphant and wild.

Forteresse uses tri notes and dissonance in predictable but captivating ways, creating an ethereal atmosphere that’s both mesmerizing and highly memorable, leaving you wanting more.  They even inject clean and epic chanting into tracks like  Là où nous allons similar to that of Old Forest or even Summoning.  The ambiance of the final instrumental track, Le dernier voyage, is eerily reminiscent of Burzum’s more ambiant tracks like Rundtgåing av den transcendentale egenhetens støtte

The naturalistic sound effects scattered throughout the album are nice touch and add to the underlying atmosphere found on this album.  Thèmes pour la rébellion had me lost in its hooks throughout the entire album.  The spellbinding release is meant to be taken in as whole as every song bleeds beautifully into the next with no boring filler.

Forteresse has me feeling even more hopeful about the diversity of the budding metal scene coming out of Quebec.  The feel of the album is victorious throughout which adds a nice touch.  Thèmes pour la rébellion could easily become a classic in the black metal archives with its focus on treble-y spellbinding melody, dreamy ambiance, and epic atmosphere.  This album is truly a gem.

9/10

UADA- Devoid of Light

uada

As much as I’d like to herald US black metal band, UADA’s debut, “Devoid of Light” as in the running for 2016’s album of the year, to do so goes against my better judgement as this album is an obvious copy of MGLA’s “Exercises in Futillity”. Following the footsteps of so many Dissection copy cats, however, UADA delivers, despite their plagiarism.

There are moments on “Devoid of Light” that are absolutely hypnotizing.  UADA immediately assaults listeners with repetitive tri-notes and dissonant atmosphere in the first riffs of the album.  It’s black metal 101, sure to be a crowd pleaser.  Still, I’ve noticed black metal is moving in a strangely palatable direction, where intensity is anticipated at certain intervals. Slow melodic breaks, and even rock and roll riffs  are peppered throughout the mix as if to ease one into the intensity to come.  It’s a far cry from the panzer attack of the earlier, genre defining, Norwegian bands.  Still, Norway’s been a sad old hat as of late, and I have come to enjoy the recent spectral aura of some modern black metal bands, despite the palatability.

“Devoid of Light” is a five song journey through the subconscious.  Emotion inducing dissonant repetitiveness is the highlight of this album still, UADA throws in surprising progressions, leaving listeners excited throughout the album.  Initially, it was the title track that caught my attention.  Alternating between piercing melody, crude slow licks, and utter blitzkrieg, Deviod of Light’s title track, is highly memorable.  After listening to the album in its entirety, however, I’d have to say track three, entitled S.N.M. is my favorite.  The shrill, tortured howls, cyclical guitar tracks, and primitive breaks bring me back to Filosofem era Burzum.

The final track on “Devoid of Light”, “Black Autumn White Spring”, is one of those songs you need to be patient for.  The song’s intro is intense initially, only to be followed by four minutes of slow and boring filler until an Iron Maiden like break once again leads you into intensity.  The solo at the end is probably the best on the album; utterly captivating. So while this album is somewhat unoriginal, it delivers a hearty dose of the same old same old played to near perfection.

7.5/10