Noteworthy Report: Rest of 2017 (pt.2)

I hope you had enough time to check the first part of my “Noteworthy Report – all the great releases of 2017 I didn’t have the time to write about”. Are you ready for the second part? Well, ready or not, here comes…

 

Grafvitnir – Keys to the Mysteries Beyond

One of the reasons I post my NWR lists this late as the year ends, is that some really good albums get released at the last days of December. (Another reason is that I have a hard time to keep up with my own schedule but that’s a completely different story). Most publications have done their lists by that time and albums just fall through the cracks. It would be a shame for such a beautiful release to have that fate! Malicious melodic Black Metal at its best form.

 

Saqra’s Cult – Forgotten Rites

That’s a really interesting mix of primitive, old-school, mid-tempo Black metal with a touch of shamanistic occultism. The band from Belgium did an impressive debut, without much fanfare. Keep an eye on them.

 

Kafirun – Eschaton

Occult Black Metal is a subgenre that slowly but steadily won its own place in my heart. Every now and then I stumble on an album that really manages to create the otherworldly atmosphere and awe that its name suggests. Isn’t that a success? Don’t miss this deeply unsettling album.

(Bandcamp link to the album)

 

Der Weg Einer Freiheit – Finisterre

Germany always did great in Gothic and Thrash, but their Black metal always felt “wrong” to me, with very few exceptions. Der Weg Einer Freiheit is one of those. Even before the first track ended I knew I was in for a treat with this album. Must have!

 

Yellow Eyes – Immersion Trench Reverie

What an extraordinary USBM album! The band moves with such ease from their doomy parts to explosive blasts that I regularly had to check that I’m still listening to the same album. Raw and somewhat depressive but with bright progressive moments, this here is a little gem. Don’t skip it.

 

Hands of Thieves – Feasting on Dark Intentions

The debut of this Polish band passed somewhat unnoticed when it came out this July, and that’s really a shame. In 4 tracks of 30 minutes running time, constantly switching from Black to Death to Doom, Hands of Thieves deliver a seminar on how to properly melt faces the old school way. Excellent!

 

The Father Of Serpents – Age Of Damnation

Admittedly, I am not a huge fan of prog metal. Most of the time I find that band after band put their musical prowess and expertise at a show-off competition, leaving their compositions lifeless. But here, WHOA! What an album. The tracks are hypnotic and they actually lead somewhere. There are some mixing mistakes here and there but they are hardly noticeable, plus the band is from Serbia: when we were perfecting our craft these guys were at war, so cut them some slack. Fans of early Paradise Lost, Opeth, Orphaned Land and Saturnus wouldn’t want to miss this album!

 

Insanity Cult / Isolert

A beautiful sample of misanthropic Black Metal from the two Greek bands that share time in this split release. The vocals on the Insanity Cult put me a bit off, but their music is awesome in any case. I liked Isolert a bit more, especially the mesmerizing closing minutes of “I Hide My Soul Inside The Trees”. Give it a spin, you have nothing to lose.

 

Darkflight – The Hereafter

This is a band that exists almost two decades, and although from the neighboring Bulgaria, I’ve never heard of them. Hopefully this 4th full length album will set them on the right foot to reach their long deserved audience. Melodic, blackened Doom Metal is what they trade, and they do it quite good. There are some obvious flaws here and there but the beauty of their compositions is far too great to bother…

 

Sicarius – Serenade Of Slitting Throats

More than decent black metal that at points reminded me of second-era Immortal. Although this US band’s debut isn’t groundbreaking, it really sounds savage, solid and promising. Keep a close eye on them.

(Bandcamp link to the album)

 

That was the second part. I’m gonna dive in my notes now to get the 3rd part ready. You go ahead and listen to those releases. Did you find any of them intriguing? Let me know in the comments…

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Noteworthy Report: Rest of 2017 (pt.1)

In recent years it is becoming the norm for blogs and magazines to give an ‘EoY’ (end-of-year) list with ‘the 10 best albums’ of the year (or in some cases 12, or even 80 if that makes sense). I was hesitating to follow this practice, especially since I don’t use a grading system for my reviews, so what I decided instead is to give you a list of what I kept in my ‘noteworthy’ list throughout the entire year. This would be a smaller list if I wasn’t neck-deep-busy over the last months, but such things happen, and so I will have to cover what was left behind during my long absence.

Notice that there is no noticeable distinction between ‘underground’ and ‘established’ acts. Still I give somewhat of a break to lesser known acts because having to compete to get a name out there is already hard enough.

Due to the sheer number of releases included in this “Noteworthy Report – all that is left of 2017 that I didn’t have the time to talk about” I will break it into many parts. Enjoy the first of them…

 

Battle Dagorath – II – Frozen Light of Eternal Darkness

Last year, their “I – Dark Dragons of the Cosmos” was among my favorite albums for 2016. This year they returned to finish what they started with this second part of the opus. This one is more direct and energetic. Astral Black metal in the vein of Limbonic Art.

 

Cult Of The Horns – Chapter I. Domination

Gut wrenching blackened Death metal from France. If you are a fan of early-to-mid era Belphegor you are SO going to enjoy this album. I know I did!

 

Darkenhöld – Memoria Sylvarum

This is an album I thoroughly enjoyed this year. Inspired by the Norwegian Atmospheric Black Metal of the 90’s, it feels like a journey in the past. Time and time again you will feel the nostalgic effect of its riffs as they unearth forgotten hints of Ulver or Old Man’s Child, only to fade under a Burzum-esque change of pace, yet nothing feels forced. There is definitely something in the French waters!

 

DEVLSY – Private Suite

Lithuania is a country with hardly any well established metal bands. However they don’t give up and every now and then a good release will surface to remind us of their efforts. This avant-garde post black metal album is a “now” moment. Support it.

 

Метель – Цивилизация

Metel is a Russian black metal band clearly inspired by the Swedish school (reminded me of Negator’s “Panzer Metal”). Formed in 2003, they just released their debut album this Christmas, and it’s really really good.

 

Grailknight – Galahad’s Quest

Admit it. If you hadn’t seen the title, you too would believe that these are lost recordings of Summoning that didn’t make it to their “Lost Tales” EP. This one man project from Serbia is doing a really good job at imitating their Epic Dungeon Synth Metal. The production is quite underwhelming but I decided to cut them some slack anyways.

 

Deviser – Howling Flames

The Greek veterans return after a long absence with this tasty EP. Pompous melodic black metal that encloses everything we loved from the Greek scene of the 90’s and then some. Can’t wait for the full length!

 

DSKNT – PhSPHR Entropy

Switzerland is –at least in my mind– a country where metal bands are either atmospheric or experimenting with electronic elements, so this album was a huge surprise for me. Apparently the French Black Metal scene is getting to big to be contained and now contaminates bordering nations. Oh, goody!

(Bandcamp link to the album)

 

Necrot – Blood Offerings

I am a very difficult listener when it comes to old school Death Metal. It usually bores me to, well, death. So when an album manages to keep me entertained for its entire duration it makes it to my list. Simple as that. The Californians really did it this time. Fans of early Death, invest with both hands!

 

Fen – Winter

The gentlemen from the United Kingdom return to their roots with this 5th album. Musically, “Winter” is really close to “The Malediction Fields” (which happens to be my favorite album), yet the compositions are more mature. A solid release.

 

That was the first batch. If you enjoyed it, stay tuned as there are more to come in the following days. Which release did you particularly like?