Noteworthy Report: Rest of 2017 (pt.3)

2017 is now officially behind us. And it was a terrible and deadly year for people of the arts and especially musicians. Let’s hope 2018 won’t be such an asshole. Have a great new year everyone!

But enough with the idle chatter, let’s push ahead for the 3rd part of Tragon’s “Noteworthy Report – All of the albums that I felt deserved your attention this year but was so slow to publish that you’re now going to listen in 2018”. Shall we?

 

Dawn Ray’d – The Unlawful Assembly

The Unlawful Assembly” is an album that came thundering straight from the underground. The trio from Liverpool put out an impressive debut album. Fierce melodic black metal enhanced with folk moments that really give it a special character. Don’t let that one unheard.

 

Blaze of Perdition – Conscious Darkness

This one doesn’t really need introductions. 4th studio album by the Finnish outfit, less pompous and noticeably slower than their “Near Death Revelations”, it actually felt like a sequel to Behemoth’s “The Satanist”. Blaze of Perdition have meticulously crafted their sound over the years, so any surprises are guaranteed to be pleasant ones.

 

Grima – Tales of the Enchanted Woods

Atmospheric Black metal that you can hardly believe is Russian. Multifaceted compositions, vocal variety and weird folk instruments are some of the bonus points, but even without them the album can satisfy any USBM fan without really trying. What are you waiting for? Buy it!

 

Raventale – Planetarium

Everyone knows that an EoY list without any Ukrainian Black Metal album is not a real list. Raventale is a one-man band that has managed to release 8 albums in 11 years. That is a feat not many bands can achieve. With “Planetarium” they offer almost 40 minutes of mesmerizing, melodic, atmospheric Black Metal that includes some of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard all year. Listen for yourselves!

 

Aosoth – V: The Inside Scriptures

Aosoth is one of those bands that never disappoint. Their brand of black metal is part dissonant (they are part of the French scene, so what else?) and part occult, somewhat experimental and most importantly HONEST. When in doubt, put your money on them.

 

Bestia Arcana – Holókauston

Up to this point you had your fair share of melodic and atmospheric BM. But what about those who like it disturbing? Say no more, I have you covered! This album is a chaotic holocaust packed in listenable format. If the world’s destruction has a soundtrack this is probably it.

 

Pestlegion – Dominus Profundum

Remember what I told you about Germanic Black Metal? This is exactly what I meant. B. von Doom’s vocals feel so wrong to me that I have to put real effort into listening to them. However, Pestlegion have created so brilliant music in their debut album, it would be just unfair to leave them outside my Noteworthy Reports only on such grounds. If you are a fan of pure, Whiskey Fueled Old School Black Metal, you can’t miss this.

(Bandcamp link to the album)

 

Incantation – Profane Nexus

If you don’t know this band, you probably lived the past 30 years in a cave or under a rock. The legendary deathsters are back and they are determined to cause some serious ear bleeding. The album is filled with bleak desperation, and the more you hope it ends soon, the deeper you sink in this musical quicksand. If you haven’t been exposed to their music before, this extremely formidable album will make sure you’ll love them from now on.

 

Nadir – The Sixth Extinction

If you believe that Doom metal can’t be groovy, you probably haven’t heard of Nadir. Their music is constantly on the verge of trotting down the Melodic Death path, but never quite leaving the Doom ballpark. Their (thankfully few) death-core parts didn’t manage to put me off and so I was rewarded with some really memorable leads and riffs and had a generally very enjoyable time listening to them.

 

Thus ends the third part of my list. I’m going to get some off with my lovely family now. You go ahead and listen to those records and let me know which ones you found particularly good, or which ones you completely missed and you have to thank ATF for bringing them up. The 4th and final part of the list is coming in the following days. I’ll see you then and there.

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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?

Noteworthy Report: March 2017

Welcome my friends to a very, VERY late Noteworthy Report of Against The Fragmentaire. As you know, ATF is a project I run on my free time, and these past two months were busy as fvck putting me off track.

In today’s overcrowded metal scene, more than 100 albums get released every month, and March had more than his fair share of “big” releases, from the highly anticipated fourth album of Woe, to a new Forteresse release, and from the –also highly anticipated– furious album of The Furor to the debut of all-star Doedsvangr. On top of the fierce competition for fan attention, Mastodon released their new album which –as uninspired as it is– overshadowed pretty much everything else.

Yet the underground never sleeps; if you aren’t easily entertained by the “low hanging fruit”, March came with some impressive gifts that passed under the radars of big publications. Without further ado, these are some of the most noteworthy releases.

 

Vacivus – Nuclear Chaos

The UK blackened deathsters (ala-Portal) return with a short but killer EP. Soul crushing riffs reduce everything to dust. Nuclear Chaos is upon us, embrace it or perish!

 

Harvest Gulgaltha – Altars Of Devotion

In a similar vein, Harvest Gulgaltha play “cryptic necromantic black death metal”, or in other words, minimal blackened death. The majority of the album is slow-paced and feels like sinking in quicksand. So much gloom and despair it feels otherworldly.

 

Mistveil – Amnesia

This is quite a debut from my compatriots Mistveil. They play melodic doom/death metal in the vein of Saturnus and early Draconian. I personally enjoy such music during the cold winter nights, but this is just my preference and timing isn’t a factor of quality in any case. You don’t want to miss it!

 

Nordland – European Paganism

This here is an album with what I call a “barrier-to-entry”. The first minutes of the album feel like they pointlessly thrust in every direction, but at some point you get what they try (and ultimately manage) to do. The album is exactly what the title says: they pick threads from pagan black all over Europe, and join them in a unique piece of art. You will hear Enslaved (both early and late), Ancient Rites, Fen and a bunch of other influences beautifully married in unity. A really interesting as well as demanding listen.

 

Wormwood – Ghostlands: Wounds From A Bleeding Earth

The Swedish folk black-metallers released their debut album this month. Filled with mostly awesome stuff, fans of Thyrfing and Amon Amarth will want to check it out. There are some odd, off-putting, Iron Maiden-ish moments here and there, but I guess this never killed anyone…

 

Pillorian – Obsidian Arc

Born just this past summer by veterans of the scene (including John Haughm of ex-Agalloch), Pillorian released their debut album in March, sharing their take on avant-garde folk black metal. If you’re a fan of USBM don’t skip this album…

 

In the following days I will release the April NWR, as well as a special NWR of releases that I listened and cared enough to share but fell through the cracks of time and ultimately never got to talk about them. So stay tuned, and as always, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

SMT/ATF Episode 10: United Kingdom

Loyal to our rendezvous for another week in a row, and today I present you 6 weird cases from the United Kingdom that will hopefully entertain most of you (one), while they may drive some (the other one) crazy due to so much ‘death voice’…

It was around a decade ago, when a band had to have long hair in order to play metal, and even ‘skinheads’ had to prove their worth when a woolly band was accepted into the elite even at a lower quality level. Around that time I discovered Anaal Nathrakh, a band that shamelessly promoted their music while wearing colorful t-shirts and demonstrating short, well taken care of hair. BLASPHEMY! Well, until I pressed play. BLASPHEMY!!! So much blasphemy and so tasty black metal in fact that their hair never bothered anyone from then on…

 

Forefather is a band that moves in the epic Viking/black metal spectrum, the melodic end mind you. I don’t really remember how I got to them, but it is a shame that they have so many albums and yet I haven’t read a single line in any metal magazine about them. A shame!

 

This is one of my favorite bands from the big island. Fen are an oneiric atmospheric post-rock/black metal band. They don’t have so big a discography but I loved them from the very first song…

 

Biomechanical is a band I can’t really say much about. I don’t really listen to them anymore –especially after the turn away from thrash- but they do offer some nice technical stuff, if a bit chaotic. Worth checking anyways…

 

If epic is your thing, look no further than Bal Sagoth, the band that could have written the music for Warcraft II and many other games or even movies. Their style is pompous, symphonic, a bit silly for my tastes, but they do know how to entertain someone. If you always wanted to listen to Manowar and not be mocked by your black metal friends, you can now talk openly for those guys…

 

When it comes to video clips, I have some standards, and boy, do these guys fail me all the time! Akercocke won their reputation because of the fact they play wearing tuxedos on stage –look another British band that broke away from black metal tradition-, however they do carry some awesome music to their shows. The satanic influence is way above noticeable but that was never a problem, right?

 

Another week, another ATF. See you soon peoples. Now back to WoW!