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.

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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!