Dark Funeral – Where Shadows Forever Reign (2016

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Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: Dark Funeral

Album: Where Shadows Forever Reign (2016)

Genre: Black Metal

Label: Century Media Records

 

 

 

Dark Funeral have inhabited a somewhat curious position in black metal. Formed in the midst of the second wave in neighboring Sweden, the band survived the turn of the century, when many of the Norwegian torchbearers were either seeking alternative paths or floundering altogether. Dark Funeral, along with countrymen Marduk, took up cleaner production and more conventional, recognizable song structures and acted as a lightning rod for new black metal listeners. Whilst they never delved into the outright commercial properties of Dimmu Borgir, the band nonetheless wrought a fair bit of distain in more experienced circles. They never used keyboards or clean vocals, and their guitar leads were rarely melodic enough to be called “mainstream”. Nothing musical about the band could be called anything less than black metal; nonetheless, Dark Funeral had become far more accessible than many believe black metal has any right to be.  Continue reading

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Messa – Belfry (2016)

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Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: Messa

Album: Belfry (2016)

Genre: Doom Metal

Label: Aural Music

 

 

 

Right here, Italian doomsters Messa have a fantastic record which I hope to see snowball into a titan at the end of year finals. Part drone, part epic, part traditional, a hint of stoner and all fuzz, Messa master both atmosphere and melody on their debut BelfryContinue reading

Fallujah – Dreamless (2016)

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Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: Fallujah

Album: Dreamless

Genre: Progressive/Technical Death Metal/Deathcore

Label: Nuclear Blast America

 

 

In December 2014 I named Fallujah’s The Flesh Prevails as my album of the year. I then proceeded to not listen to it since. I loved the album for combining many subtle differences in the multitude of metal styles into a singular, cohesive sound which sounded ultra-modern without straying from a familiar sound. To borrow a phrase, it seemed to me “as forward thinking as a Ronin sculpture on a freight train.” However, my own personal tastes shifted somewhat from the style, and with few other comparable bands I enjoyed, they became much neglected.  Continue reading

First Fragment – Dasein (2016)

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Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: First Fragment

Album: Dasein

Genre: Technical Death Metal

Label: Unique Leader Records

 

 

 

It’s not always easy to sell me on Technical Death Metal. On the surface, I should be clamoring at the chance to hear an album in the vein of Cryptopsy, Suffocation or Atheist. But in a post-Necrophagist world, and especially on Unique Leader Records, with the likes of Rings of Saturn, Spawn of Possesion and Fallujah under their belts, the term can condemn a band to sterile, over-produced and senseless guitar-wankery. However-many exceptions I have to this rule in that I thoroughly enjoy Archspire and Beyond Creation, it was really guitarist Phil Tougas who had sold me on this release, in that his other project Chthe’ilist is still hovering up around the top of my end of year list, largely in part due to the lead guitar work.  Continue reading

Katavasia – Sacrilegious Testament (2016)

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Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: Katavasia

Album: Sacrilegious Testament

Genre: Black Metal

Label: Floga Records

 

 

A release from earlier in the year, Katavasia’s Sacrilegious Testament was too good to be overlooked for review. This year has been phenomenal for Hellenic black metal; that unique and recognizable strain of black metal originating out of Greece. Caedes Cruenta has brought the original raw passion back in its purest form, and Macabre Omen pushed it into the new century with a majestic and epic album of the warring gods. For those out of the loop, these newer slew of bands owe their style to bands like Rotting Christ and Varathron, who pioneered the Greek scene in the early 90s, which differed from their Norwegian counterparts by the greater emphasis placed on traditional metal lead guitar harmonies and galloping rhythms, often combined with an occultist, religious chanting.  Continue reading

Glorior Belli – Sundown (2016)

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Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: Glorior Belli

Album: Sundown (2016)

Genre: Stoner/Southern/Black Metal

Label: Agonia Records

 

Back in 2013, Glorior Belli rustled the collective jimmies of the black metal underworld by releasing Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurls. The bands fifth album drew much criticism and controversy by deviating largely from the black metal sound which they were known for, and crafted what was largely a southern blues-rock and sludge inspired record, steeped in the traditions of Louisiana’s Delta blues music, transported through much of the modern rock-and-metal permutations attempted at creating that divine atmosphere. Essentially, it was more Maylene and the Sons of Disaster and Blackstone Cherry than it was Darkthrone. Much of the criticism was directed at the fact that the band were French, attempting to emulate a tradition made by another race, in another country, at another time.  Continue reading

Emortuus – Blood, Bone and Flesh (2016)

emortuus-e28093-blood-bone-and-flesh-2016Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: Emortuus

Album: Blood, Bone and Flesh

Label: Independent

 

Hailing from the grim, windswept tundra of Western Australia, Emortuus presents an icy chalice of frostbitten black metal. Actually, that entire previous statement was daft hyperbolic bollocks, but what we do have is a pretty cool collection of bedroom black metal which manages to avoid the most obvious pitfalls of that trope. I mean, just look at that cover art! It’s kickass!

Continue reading