Tag Archives: Melodic Black Metal

Could The Spirit’s Debut Be Album of the Year?

This band propped up out of nowhere and unleashed an icy fury upon the hardened souls of cynical metal fans everywhere. German foursome, The Spirit, re-released their debut “Sounds From the Vortex” on Nuclear Blast earlier this month and melodic black/death metal fans are throwing up the horns in praise of this awesome album. Despite this band being young – only forming in 2015 – “Sounds From the Vortex” is the best damn thing to come along since Vinterland, Necrophobic or even Dissection.

The Spirit- Sounds From the Vortex LP
Sounds From The Vortex LP: Purchase Here

Although most of The Spirit’s debut hearkens back to the era of the 90s in which Stockholm ruled the world, the band does throw in just the right amount of technical flair to keep their sound fresh in the modern era. The band’s true strength, however, lies in their ability to temper icy dissonance with intense emotional melody, to create a sound that cuts through barriers and demands the listener’s full attention.

They open “Sounds From the Vortex” with an ominous self-titled intro that is pervasive in nature; only to immediately pummel the listener with the cold blistering melody of “Cosmic Fear.” The Spirit has a real sense of flow and melody and every tempo change and progression melds beautifully into the next without becoming predictable.

Another element that really stood out on this debut was the band’s ability to create memorable hooks. The vocalist, in particular, focused on classic songwriting elements that foster the almost arcane compulsion to hit repeat track. The track entitled “Illuminate the Night Sky,” in particular, had a bridge and chorus with discernibly clear lyrics that beckoned singing along.

Burning streams are flowing; fatality! Souls screaming out in agony! Curtains of fire rising high! ILLUMINATE THE NIGHT SKY!

It’s not difficult to envision a sea of black clad fans throwing horns and chanting along to a chorus such as this. In true black metal fashion, The Spirit focuses on mystical themes in their songwriting which temper well with the icy feel of their sound.

The only criticism I have for this band’s debut is that I wanted more. At only 38 minutes long, “Sounds From the Vortex” was a bit short. I trust the band’s sophomore release will offer a bit more meat for the listener. That said, this album packed a ton of quality into that 40 minutes. These Germans sound as though they came right of the coldest mountain tops in Sweden. When I say this is the new Dissection, I mean it. The Spirit’s debut is a serious contender for album of the year.



*originally published at All About the Rock UK


Vindland- Hanter Savet


The latest album causing a rift within the underground elite is French sextet Vindland’s debut, Hanter Savet.  This isn’t happening by accident either.  Vindland’s unique blend of melodic black metal and triumphant Viking metal is a refreshing diversion from the typical, trve kvlt sound we normally find coming out of France.  The sound of Hanter Savet is reminiscent of Windir but the guitar riffs have the catchiness and classic sound of Sargeist or Taake.

Vindland manages to create a triumphant and heroic sound without relying on the use of folk instruments the way so many bands do today.  The simplicity of their formula is what makes this release so charming.  Being a sextet enables the band to create a really full, almost orchestral kind of sound.  The wall of dissonance Vindland is able to create is pretty remarkable.

The album opens predictably, with a formulaic black metal riff.  A lot of the album sounds like tailor-made, melodic black metal, but Vindland differentiates themselves by cleaning up the guitar parts and injecting affecting, instrumental passages throughout the album that send listeners on an emotional joyride deviating from victorious to tortured.

The production is clean but maintains an underlying grittiness that is often lost among the more melodic bands.  The album’s true strength is in its atmosphere.  The Tolkien lyrical themes are a bit played out, but at least no one can accuse the band of being pretentious.  This is pure, unadulterated viking/black metal; unafraid to be fucking nerdy or glorious.

Skeud Ar Gwez is a particularly interesting addition to this album.   Its slow and haunting, DSBM intro progresses into a full on dissonance that perfectly coalesces with an almost power metal essence, only to end with the same melancholy that opened the track.  The track practically tells a story.  In true epic fashion, the album ends with a bonus track, which I find rather quaint.  Although Vindland merely added to a saturated zeitgeist of melodic black metal, they did it with an expertise that earns them an instantaneous spot amongst the best in the genre.  Hanter Savet is a must listen for 2016.