Violet Cold – Anomie

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Label: Tridroid Records / Folkvangr 

“That’s not black metal!” is a response that is often mocked, associated as it is with the kind of fan who desperately clings to the past, unwilling to accept innovation or change. Most of the time, it is a useless sentiment, saying more about the speaker than the music they’re leveling the accusation at. Yet whilst listening to Anomie, the latest album from Azerbijani band Violet Cold, I find myself understanding and sympathising with the sentiment. The one-man act have a considerable discography that touches upon a multitude of genres, yet Anomie is being presented by much of the media and labels involved as an atmospheric black metal album; and whilst that’s one aspect of Anomie, it is far from the whole story. To approach the album as you would any other black metal album, with all the weight of expectation that brings, would be to do yourself, and it, a disservice. And just because it isn’t necessarily black metal, doesn’t mean that it isn’t any good.

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Forlatt – fantom

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Label: Self-released

Fantom is an album that is far from easily accessible. The fourth release by solo artist Forlattfantom is an 86 minute journey of solitude and misery, with the music wrapping the listener up in layers of melancholia. It is hardly an album that can be listened to casually, containing as it does some incredibly long songs (three run to over fifteen minutes each) that unfurl over time, gradually revealing their secrets and depths. Yet it is hard to resist its charms, as the moods contained here – as sorrowful as they are – are filled with a kind of beauty, that is balanced with enough moments of post-black metal aggression to ensure that fantom never risks feeling stagnant.

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Underdark – Mourning Cloak

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Label: Third I Rex (CD) / Sell Your Soul Records (vinyl)

Sometimes, hard work pays off. Nottingham’s Underdark have certainly been working hard since forming in November 2015, pushing hard to get gigs in the local area and beyond, and catching the eye of record labels as a result. Originally digitally self-released, their debut EP Mourning Cloak is now getting pressed on CD by Third I Rex and vinyl by Sell Your Soul Records, giving the band’s blackgaze further exposure. It’s not hard to see why the band have been finding such success so quickly, as theirs is a convincing, passionate strand of blackgaze, that does not forget the harsh black metal aspect of the subgenre, combining it well with more restrained moments of relative calm.

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February Blasts

Given that the first installment went well, I’ll be trying to regularly release a series of shorter reviews. For February’s lot, I take a look at Ghost Horizon‘s Astral Possession; a split of unholy death/thrash/black between Turbocharged and Ragehammer in the form of their Enlightenment by Bloodletting 7″; Atrament unleash Eternal Downfall; Hellenic black metal from Meneapneontes on their Promachos album; Sorrow Plagues‘ self-titled post-black metal album;  and the latest release by Hellenic black metal legends Rotting Christ, Rituals.

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January Blasts

It should hardly need saying that there’s a lot of music out there; far more than can possibly be covered by any one site. It’s also true that, when I come to write reviews, they tend to be fairly long and in-depth. There’s only so many hours in the day, and as such, I can’t write reviews of that nature for everything I want to write about. So, from time to time, I’ll be unleashing a series of shorter, much more concise reviews. This time: Abbath’s self-titled album, caustic death-industrial by Abjection Ritual, Antlion’s tech-death, crusty rage from Crutches, glorious post-black metal from Ethicist, and Widower’s sophomore record of black-thrash. Enjoy!

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