Here’s the fourth part of my 2015 A-Z favourites. One more post remains after this one, containing my 5 favourites, so if there was a record notable by its omission, there’s every chance it will be in my top 5. If you missed the previous posts, then you can always go back and read through parts one, two, and three.
Un – The Tomb Of All Things
Label: Black Bow Records
Full Review: Link
The Tomb Of All Things is that rarest of all things: an album that both exemplifies a genre whilst pushing at the possibilities of what it can be and achieve. Un marry sections of utterly crushing, miserable funeral doom with post-metal movements that provide some much needed respite, helping ensure that The Tomb Of All Things doesn’t collapse under its own considerable weight. Make no mistake, this album is as slow and heavy as the very best funeral doom when it wants to be, possessing a considerable emotional heft; but the contrasting sections help ensure that it doesn’t become overbearing, preventing the listener becoming numb to its impact. Few doom albums are so finely balanced or successful, making The Tomb Of All Things practically essential for fans of the slow and heavy.
Wiegedood – De Doden Hebben Het Goed
Label: Consouling Sounds
Full Review: Link
Considering the experience of those involved – with members of Oathbreaker, Rise And Fall, Amenra, and Hessian involved in Wiegedood – it was no surprise that expectations were high for De Doden Hebben Het Goed. But what was surprising was just how well the album met those expectations, and possibly surpassed them. Comprising of four tracks, this album contains the kind of black metal that hits hard both musically and emotionally – spiritually, even – and is sure to leave a lasting impression. Whilst musically comparisons to Cascadian and Eastern European black metal are apt, what’s even more notable is that De Doden Hebben Het Goed has the same kind of emotional power as the likes of Wolves In The Throne Room and Drudkh at their best, with Wiegedood’s own identity being clear throughout. Far from an easy listening experience, but one that is very much worthwhile.
Wilt – Moving Monoliths
Label: Bindrune Recordings
It should be no surprise, considering that it’s been released on the mighty Bindrune Recordings, but Moving Monoliths by Canadian band Wilt is the kind of album that can take you away. Delightfully atmospheric, it conjures up the kind of aura that ensures the listener is transported away from wherever they might be listening to somewhere more spacious and natural. Even if it is hardly soothing – there is plenty of fury to be found on here – there is still something remarkably refreshing and cleansing about Moving Monoliths, with the band reveling in the slow, inevitable triumph of nature over modern civilization. And whilst the songs may be long – only closer/outro “Solitude” is less than eleven minutes – they never feel bloated or self-indulgent, instead using their length to ensure the progressions and shifts in tempo and emphasis are all natural and flowing. A superb example of how beautiful black metal can be without surrendering any of its harsh edges,
With The Dead – With The Dead (self-titled)
Label: Rise Above Records
Considering the pedigree of those involved, was there ever any doubt that With The Dead would release an absolute monster of an album? With Lee Dorian’s vocals atop the immensely huge riffs and pounding drums of Mark Greening and Tim Bagshaw (both of Ramesees, ex-Electric Wizard), there was no way that this would not be one of the doom albums of the year. Whether the well-publicised drama with former label-mates has anything to do with the unrelenting nature of With The Dead is neither here nor there. What can be said, though, is that these six tracks show the members at the top of their game; which, given their past achievements, is no small feat. Lee Dorian has rarely sounded more intense or full of fire, whilst the music behind him ranges from the utterly intense to the delightfully sublime, sometimes at the same time. Just check out the mid-section of”Living With The Dead” and try to argue that it’s not one of the year’s best songs. Incredible.
Woudloper (Verword) – Woudloper
Label: Breathe Plastic Records
Full Review: Link
Even if it’s “only”a handful of tracks long, this demo from Woudloper – now known as Verwoed – still puts most other black metal releases this year to shame. It successfully taps in to that strange, other-worldly aura that the best records of the genre possess, regardless of their specific style, utterly awe-inspiring in its depth and promise. For all the raw malevolence on show, there is also a slight sense of restraint, making it clear that, despite all the other-worldly power on display here, the band are very much in control. Yet despite the obvious hostility and darkness, there is something incredibly enticing about both tracks, drawing the listener in and not letting them go. That this is a demo release makes it all the more remarkable – it makes one wonder what a full album would be like. If the potential can be lived up to, Verwoed stand to become one of underground black metal’s greats.