Carnivorous Forest – Frozen Rivers

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Label: Blackened Death Records 

Some things are worth waiting for. After a collection of demos, splits, and EP releases, the full-length from neofolk/death metal act Carnivorous Forest is finally here, and it does not disappoint. Frozen Rivers is a powerful, atmospheric record, varied in scope and tone, yet with a consistent character that ties everything together. Listeners who have enjoyed previous Carnivorous Forest releases will not be disappointed. Sole member Amarok is in fine form throughout, and of all the different releases he has put out over the past few years in many guises on Blackened Death Records, this is undoubtedly one of the best.

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Carnivorous Forest / Beyond The Dark Forest – Endless Forests Black (Split)

Blackened Death - Endless Forests Black - 1 EFB cover 1500

Label: Blackened Death Records

On first listen, Endless Forests Black really didn’t click for me. I’m not sure why – I was already familiar with Carnivorous Forest‘s mix of neofolk and death metal, and whilst it was my first time listening to them, the raw black metal style of Beyond The Dark Forest is something I’m definitely a fan of. So, that first underwhelming listen was a disappointment. Thankfully though, it was only on the first listen that I couldn’t appreciate Endless Forests Black, as subsequent listens have revealed an engaging, challenging split between two solo acts different in sound, but united in pagan spirit.

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Various Artists – Hammer Smashed Faith

Blackened Death Records - Hammer Smashed Faith - cover

Label: Blackened Death Records

Newly formed London-based label Blackened Death Records do not, as you may expect, specialise in blackened death. Instead, if their compilation Hammer Smashed Faith is anything to go by, what the label are looking to release isn’t going to be constrained by genre or convention. Given that the label is run by one Pope Richard – a member of the Meads Of Asphodel, as well as several other bands with comparable mindsets if not sounds – then it’s no surprise, really. The only criteria at work here seems to be “is it any good?”, which is pretty much as it should be. And whilst the variety of styles and genres featured on Hammer Smashed Faith mean it’s impossible to guarantee the listener will be a fan of everything, there are definitely some real underground gems on display here that deserve your time and attention. After all, the label is “proudly endorsed by Satan and his ballsack“, and what better recommendation can there be?

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