- SATANIC WARMASTER “We Are The Worms That Crawl On The Broken Wings Of An Angel” (Werewolf Records / Hells Headbangers Records)
- HAR “Visitation” (Blood Harvest Records)
- Husk of Elohim “Mantra of the Black Plume (Purity Inversion Malignant)” (EEE Recordings)
- ELEGIAC “Black Clouds of War” (De Tenebrarum Principio)
- Isenordal “Lughnasadh MMXVII” (Hanged Man Recordings)
Even though I’ve written well over 100 reviews in the past year, I still have a stupid amount to cover, so here’s a bit of a round-up of some of the Black Metal releases in my review pile…
We begin with a double collection from Finland’s Satanic Warmaster
We Are the Worms That Crawl on the Broken Wings of an Angel (A Compendium of Past Crimes) is out on double vinyl (and cd) via Werewolf Records and Hells Headbangers records… and from what I can tell, all of the tracks on here are from various split releases and compilations.
And it’s obvious from the off that the tracks are culled from different releases as the sound and style often varies from track to track. Sometimes that bothers me, but this release has been a very interesting one for me as I’ve wanted to explore the music of Satanic Warmaster for a while, but have never gotten around to it.
This comp throws up everything from the simple format of opener of Satan’s Race to the blitzkrieg of Where Eternity Awaits, which is from a split with Behexen. In between them, the music can be anything from raw and gnarly to dark and sinister, thanks to the inclusion of keyboards, and even atmospheric in places, with the medieval intro to The Chant Of The Barbarian Wolves sounding like a Pagan ritual and the acoustic guitars in The Burning Eyes Of The Werewolf add a completely different dimension to the sound.
Personally, I tend to like the more epic tracks, such as the aforementioned Where Eternity Awaits and the upbeat, The Majesty of Wampiric Blood… but overall, this has been a great introduction to the band I should have checked out years ago… my acquaintance with the Satanic Warmaster back catalogue begins now
Next up, it’s Har from Israel and this release is part of a series of short releases from Blood Harvest. and Visitation is out on March 2nd on cd and vinyl.
It’s takes almost 2 minutes for the opener, A Shadow Henosis to kick in, and when it does, it’s much quieter than I was expecting… with a low rumble and growled, basically Death Metal vocals, buried deep in the mix. The pace does quicken, and while the music does become what qualifies as Black Metal, the vocals don’t quite cross over and are more of a haunting style Death Metal.
From there, From the Blood of a Whirling Dagg bursts through the mix in blackened glory and the bands Black Metal credentials are flying high for all to see. I like the contrast between the songs and it is a natural progression from the slower start.
Combine the styles from the first two tracks and you get the finale of Conjure the Black Flame. Which I guess we’ll call Blackened Death.
So not one for the Black Metal purists, but full of quality nonetheless.
Husk of Elohim have just released their debut demo, Mantra of the Black Plume (Purity Inversion Malignant) and the duo consist of E. Henderson, who is in a crazy amount of bands, and vocalist M.L. who only has one other band to his name, Dross.
This debut is a long 13 minute track and it feels like an old 1990’s tape demo, sound wise. And that’s not a bad thing, as that was my favourite era in extreme music. And what you get is 13:32 of trend free Black Metal that basically rattles along from the start to the end. No frills, no bullshit, just one long enjoyable track.
We’ll stay in the US for Elegiac and Black Clouds of War. I like Elegiac and have featured them on an old series of Black Metal compilations I put out (called Helvete). And on this release, the 4th full length, which is ably supported by a ton of EP’s and splits, Elegiac have become the band, albeit with only one member, that I expected them to be.
There are so many bands that show promise, but never deliver, but Zane Young has really produced the goods here… which is probably why De Tenebrarum Principio are re-issuing it after its digital release from last summer.
I don’t have a pigeonhole for Elegiac. To me, it’s just proper Black Metal. Probably with a few Scandinavian influences, it’s just how Black Metal should sound. Dark, (Satanic) and full of screaming, throat ripping vocals.
Impressive is too much of an understatement, and calling it a classic would be heaping too much praise on it… so it’s somewhere in-between.
Isenordal’s 2017 debut album, was Black Metal meets Doom meets Folk Metal, maybe with a bit of a Viking edge to it as well. This two tracker, Lughnasadh MMXVII, has removed the heavier elements and replaced them with acoustic guitars, mournful strings and gentle female vocals. Perversely, it sounds, to me, like a Gaelic take on a Western movie soundtrack. But it’s absolutely stunning.
For all is beauty, the heart of the music is unbelievably dark.
The Black Metal elements are restricted to a few sparse vocals. But I have included it in this round-up because it should still appeal to Black Metal fans, well, the broad-minded ones, at least.
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