Panphage – Jord
The final album by Swedish powerhouse Panphage, ending a flawless career. Jord differs from the past album in that a lot of songs revolve around one or two riffs and use monotony to create supreme atmosphere. This swansong is some of the strongest material Panphage has ever released. His final interview is a highly recommended read, as one can gain valuable posthumous insight from the man himself. Skol, Panphage.
Vargrav – Netherstorm
For the second year in a row, Werewolf Records unleashes a classic album while everyone is still reeling from the year prior. Vargrav majestically storms from wintry Finnish gates to deliver ferocious black metal with tasteful synth usage, creating a magical aura that is catapulted to another level by the purple aesthetic. The two minute mark of “Limbo of Abysmal Void” is a bonafide brain melter, with the synth blips on top of triumphant riffing. You must check this out.
Hail Conjurer – Dreams of Serpent
The Ride for Revenge drummer and Hooded Menace frontman follows up his two spectacular demos with a primitive and mental full length release, as to be expected on the esteemed Bestial Burst label. The blown out production continues its mighty plod, and churning synths somehow propel these songs forward through the murk, creating a very unique sound. The demos merely hinted at the promise of what Hail Conjurer could create with the timespan of a full length album, and we are awarded with the experimentation found on the longer tracks “Mysterium Trementum” and “Witch’s Throat”. This album may be challenging to most, but fans of Bestial Burst’s back catalog crave this sort of supreme demented metallic art.
Troth – Images of Cotard Delusion
Troth is a mysterious entity from Denmark that bring forth painfully psychedelic anthems, combining raw black metal with fearless experimentalism. The song structures here are more fragile than the human ego, in some cases just absolutely dissolving into a messy maelstrom of noise. Despite all this, Troth has conjured up a memorable release, and along with their first demo, have entranced their audience into desiring more of their wasteland memoirs. Hopefully more music comes sooner than later.
Unkerd Wood / Pact of Ash / Gammal Sed – Northern Retaliation
Legion Blotan has unearthed some of their flagship bands to bring you an unholy noisy black metal split from the shadows. Each of these tracks are long, cold slogs that peel off a layer of sanity with every passing minute. The gargantuan backbone of this release, “Rust Saga”, clocks in at 16 minutes and is an exhibition in patience and unraveling egos. The production on these tracks gives these songs a blown out quality that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Flooded Church of Asmodeus release. The standout quality of “Rust Saga” is the lingering melancholy that somehow permeates the surface despite the wall of everything else. This track must be heard!
Vihameditaatio – Demo I
A promising release from a new Finnish band that relies on repetitive riffs as the backbone for the rest of their psychedelic meanderings. They make this work with the production on the dual guitars, with both an insanely raw sound and a slightly straightforward, almost heavy one. The demented leads that burst forth in the second track “Vihan Mesmeroima” are a clear standout, and the pained vocals really work well in the atmosphere they are providing. I think that if over time they can tighten up the songwriting, this band will be a force to be reckoned with in the sparse field of truly psychedelic black metal.
- That’s all for this month. Some orders of mine have been delayed, which means next month will most likely have more releases to be discussed. As this year ever moves forward, news of future releases are emerging. Quality drips from all corners. Until next month…