Review: Kludde – In de Kwelm

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Label: Consouling Sounds

Five years since reforming, Dutch four-piece Kludde have finally offered new music to the world. Eleven years have passed since they last released a record, 2008’s In den Vergetelheid, during which time whole new styles of black metal have been spat into existence and become established scenes in their own right, with all the rise and fall in quality and popularity that brings. Not that you’d necessarily know such time has passed from listening to new album In de Kwelm. This is the kind of black metal that could have been recorded at any point since the mid-90’s – it’s not so much influenced by the second wave , so much as it sounds like a lost record from that time unearthed and given a modern production.

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Review Blasts: June 2019 – Part II

If the previous edition of short reviews covered all sorts of different heaviness, this selection is a very different beast. Sure, there’s undeniable heaviness here – particularly on the doom side of things, from Plague of Carcosa – but there’s also energetic, nimble post-hardcore from Pacifist, the exemplary blackgaze of Hidden Mothers, noisy, abrasive post-punk/noise-rock from Hissing Tiles, and sentimental late-night drone/ambient courtesy of High aura’d and Josh Mason. A delightfully varied selection, then – but did you expect anything less?

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Review: Ancient Hostility – Ancient Hostility (self-titled)

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Label: Akashic Envoy Records 

Nihilism is often argued to be a core aspect of black metal, especially from the second wave onwards, with a general sense of negativity towards everyone and everything considered to be as fundamental to the genre as blast-beats and tremolo-picking. Yet too often, bands fail to present their supposed hatred in forms that are believable; especially when it’s wrapped up in a supposedly Satanic packaging, coming across more as a dearth of originality than anything sincere. Yet Ancient Hostility live up to their name on their self-titled debut, with the nine songs on this tape being incredibly ugly, vicious, and merciless in their hatred. Forget the legions of corpse-painted Mayhem rip-offs; when it comes to misanthropy, this is the real deal.

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Review: Chernaa – Empyrean Fire

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Label: Noizr Productions

The success of blackgaze, and post-black metal more generally, lies largely in the way it helped to expand the emotional palette of black metal. Beyond the misanthropy and nihilism so often espoused by the genre, post-black metal helped carve out a space for emotions that could be described as something other than hateful – a melancholy different to the self-hatred of DSBM, and a sense of longing that is as emotional as it is spiritual. It’s these feelings that Empyrean Fire from Chernaa so successfully communicates – there is an urgency here that goes beyond the speed of the music, but instead speaks of an almost existential anxiety. It is music that is difficult to listen to, for sure; but that also tries to communicate something vital, which can – if you let it – be remarkably cathartic.

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Review: Snøgg – Chhinnamasta

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Label: Self-released

That the first full-length from Snøgg is being self-released is the kind of thing that can make you question just what the music industry is playing at. I can only assume that it’s a conscious decision by the band to retain control of Chhinnamasta; otherwise, a lot of people are sleeping out there. The EPs previously released by the experimental black metal duo were superb; Abeloth was a particular favourite. As such, expectations from Chhinnamasta were high; but they have been met in style, with the album being more cohesive, more ambitious, and ultimately more powerful than what the band have released before, Chhinnamasta should cement Snøgg’s place as one of the most exciting and interesting bands in the black metal underground.

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Review Blasts: May 2019 – part 2

Well, I promised myself I’d run TSNTW on my own terms, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. And if that means I want to write two lots of short reviews in a month, then I’m going to write two lots of short reviews in a month. So, for this second installment, we have a live version of a classic from Entombed; righteous crust/hardcore from rising underground stars Redbait; Under A Full Moon’s anti-capitalist funeral doom; thrashing speed metal courtesy of Aggressive Perfector, who contain members of UK black metal upstarts Wode; and stirring, string-driven modern classical from duo Kamancello. Enjoy!

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Review: Omenfilth – Devourer of the Seven Moons

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Label: Eternal Death

Whilst south-east Asian black metal typically leans towards the bestial and war metal scenes, Omenfilth, from the Philippines, instead draw heavily from the Hellenic scene of old. Looking to old Filipino mythology for lyrical inspiration, Devourer of the Seven Moons is an album that captures the same kind of darkness and majesty as the likes of Varathron and old Rotting Christ. Packed full of razor-sharp leads and haunting melodies, it is the sound of a band in fine form, full of ferocity and unholy spirit. There is an incredibly powerful force behind Devourer of the Seven Moons, as if the band were possessed by the spirits of old. This is music of darkness, majesty and sinister in equal measure.

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