Noteworthy Report: Rest of 2017 (pt.4)

I’ve had this 4th and last part of my Noteworthy Report «all the great albums of 2017 I didn’t get to talk about» for quite some time on my HDD, but for one reason or another I didn’t have the energy to actually go finish the finer details that go hand in hand with actually posting a NWR. However, with March marching to an end, I knew I had to act, mostly because in this specific part you will find what I believe is THE best album of 2017, and not posting it would really be a shame. Without further ado I give you the Noteworthy Report: Rest of 2017 pt. 4/4.

 

Ars Magna Umbrae – Through Lunar Gateways

Magnificent Black Metal that marries the best parts of the melodic, the experimental and the occult. If you weren’t listening to this, what DID you do this summer?

 

Inferno – Gnosis Kardias (Of Transcension and Involution)

On the surface this is yet another black metal album, but it is mixed in such a bizarre and profound way that makes it more of an experience than just a listen. Add the psychedelic Septicflesh-y elements that are subtly woven in and get ready for a trip to another cosmos. If you’re still in doubt, it bears the mark of W.T.C. Productions, and this alone is a testament of its superior quality.

 

Ashenspire – Speak Not of the Laudanum Quandary

This has got to be the ABSOLUTELY BEST album I heard in 2017. The bastard offspring of Ved Buens Ende and Primordial is filled with theatrical vocals, brilliant riffs, epic marches and the sickly medieval atmosphere of rainy England.

 

Wolves In The Throne Room – Thrice Woven

WITTR return with what appears to be their most primitive and aggressive album so far. The shamanistic aesthetics and their crystalline melodies are still here, they just left more room for pure black metal to blossom. Even if you never liked them before, you HAVE to give this album a chance.

 

ÆRA – Of Foresworn Vows

90’s Norwegian Black Metal, only produced in the Americas. Early Gehenna / Emperor come to mind. Short and to the point. Invest!

 

Diablery / Shadowcraft – Entropy

Last but certainly not least, a split by two Greek bands that are slowly but steadily making a name in the scene. Diablery play cold, symphonic Black Metal that has a Scandinavian quality and influences (from early Gehenna all the way to modern-day Dimmu Borgir). Shadowcraft on the other hand are also symphonic but on a more Pagan trajectory and at points they really reminded me of Limbonic Art. This release sure deserves your attention.

 

Thus closes the circle. 2017 proved to be an amazing year for black metal. Let’s wait and see if this year can match it…

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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!