I’m gonna start this one off the same way I started off the last one: with the phrase “it’s been a while”. No, i’m not quoting that shitty Stained song, I actually mean it. It’s been a while since i’ve talked about anything put out within the genre that matters to me the most: Black Fucking Metal. Well, that changes now.
This edition of Quick Album Thoughts is all about that very genre. Over the week, I caught up on these 7 albums that I really wanted to listen to, but had trouble finding the time to get around to until now. Needless to say, it was a week well spent. So, let’s not waste too much time and just dive right into this abyss of blackened goodness that these bands have to offer.
Goatmoon: Stella Polaris
Starting things off we have one that i’m kind of late for, but here for nonetheless, the latest from Finland’s Goatmoon. Stella Polaris is an album that I thought could have gone either way judging from the cover art, but wouldn’t have known for sure until I gave it a listen, which I finally did. Now, while I wouldn’t say this is the strongest release by Mr. BlackGoat Gravedesecrator (Death Before Dishonor & Finnish Steel Storm are my personal favorites), but this is still a pretty solid album overall. It’s what you would expect by Goatmoon and bands alike; catchy and folky (but not in the corny way most Folk Metal bands do) in parts with tracks like Kansojen Hävittäjä & the instrumental Sonderkommando Nord and aggressive and harsh in parts like Wolf Night & Conqueror. He does both styles very well and keeps the balance level without doing too much of either. This is also an easy, quick listen, clocking in at only 35 minutes.
Like I said, I wouldn’t call this my favorite Goatmoon album, but it sure is a good one. Thumbs up and recommended!
Clandestine Blaze: City of Slaughter
On to the harsher side of things. The latest by one-man project Clandestine Blaze, also from Finland, has been out since mid-February and I’ve only now gotten around to giving it a listen which is why it’s part of this post. I know, shame on me. Anyway, as expected, this album brings forth 38 minutes of dirty, raw, harsh and visceral Black Metal that ravages you from start to finish. The first thing that attracted me to this band when I first discovered him some time ago was the visual aesthetic, but the music sure as fuck fits the artwork; gritty, bleak and harsh, just how old school Black Metal should sound. Great album by one of the best one-man acts out there today.
White Death: S/T
Next we have the debut from an up-and-coming band from… you guessed it, FINLAND!
This is an album that has created somewhat of a buzz in recent months, garnering quite a bit of praise from many people I talk to. So I finally gave it a shot, and it’s pretty good, but did I enjoy it as much as the others did? Not quite. It’s a pretty standard Black Metal album that reminds me of early Immortal and Gorgoroth, but really doesn’t do much too different or outside the box. It still is a fun listen with some really good riffs and the vocals are great, but aside from that, it’s pretty formulaic. I’m not knocking it, I still enjoyed it, but if you’re looking for something more out there and unorthodox, this might not be the album for you. I’ll continue to follow these guys to see if they have any tricks up their sleeve in the future, but for now, meh.
We finally take things outside of Finland for this next one. Onward to the United Kingdom.
Fen have been around for just under a decade now and have generated a fair amount of buzz over the years. They’re part of the group of bands who play a complex, intricate and sophisticated style of nature worshiping Atmospheric Black Metal that people fawn over, along with the likes of Agalloch, Wolves in the Throne Room, Drudkh, Negură Bunget and so on. They do it, however in a more unique way than most of those other names, injecting more of a Post-Black Metal influence into their sound, which works greatly for them. It’s a bit of a different take on the sub-genre that incorporates familiar elements that you would hear in bands like the ones mentioned above, but make it their own (and sometimes better) with their own unique style and form of songwriting. My only complaint for this one is, with the length of each song and the length of the album overall, it can get a little tedious to sit through, as good as it is. I got through it and enjoyed it, but it required some strong coffee beforehand. Just a minor complaint. That’s about it.
Overall, this is an excellent album by a group of excellent musicians. This one will likely be on repeat for the next couple months.
Ahhhh… back to Finland. Last one, I promise. This wasn’t planned!
Next, we have the latest from Finland’s Förgjord. This is the third album by these guys and if you’re familiar with their first two, you know what you’re in for. Much like their fellow countrymen, Clandestine Blaze, they offer a serving of raw, dissonant, vicious old school style Black Metal that packs enough of a punch to have you totally invested from start to finish. The raw ferocity that they dish out is anything but generic and even has an interesting Thrashy Punk feel to it. Nothing fancy or new but nothing dull or boring either. This a really fun and super aggressive album that I recommend to anyone just looking for a good, dirty Punk-infused slab of Black Metal to jam out to. Give it a listen!
The Committee: Memorandum Occultus
Next we go to… uhh… okay.
This is a band that features 4 anonymous musicians from 4 different unknown countries collaborating. The collaboration is this project in question, The Committee. They play a pretty standard style of Black Metal, but with a nice bleak atmosphere around it. The most interesting thing about this band is the lyrical content and the mystique surrounding them. It’s an interesting concept, and this is coming from someone who isn’t a fan of silly ”gimmicks” in music (looking at you, Ghost). Bands like this and say, Portal can really pull off something like this and give it some sort of intrigue without it being corny and appealing to teeny boppers. So, gimmicks aren’t always a bad thing. They just OFTEN are.
Anyway, this is a pretty good album, overall. A little on the generic side, but it’s made up for it in substance. The music itself also isn’t bad. I still recommend it.
Black Cilice: Banished from Time
Wrapping things up, we go to Portugal. Here we have a one-man project that has generated quite a buzz in the last few years with his first three albums. With good reason too. The style that Black Cilice offers is an extremely dark and extremely raw, atmospheric and dissonant style of Black Metal that can be compared to the likes of Orgy of Carrion or Vetala. What’s different about it, though, is the overall vibe it gives off. As soon as I pressed play and this album began blasting into my ears through my earbuds, it gave me this sense of uneasiness and even dread, almost. The raw production and overall sound of the music itself combined with the cold, hazy atmosphere creates this very creepy feel that I haven’t felt from a Black Metal release since perhaps the last Gnaw Their Tongues album. The distant, echoy, yelled vocals also add to this. They aren’t exactly shrieks, but just plain yells that sounds like a man going insane and screaming into the void. Very well done by the mysterious mastermind behind this project.
Overall, this was a great experience of a listen. Even with the short running time. I without a doubt recommend this one to fans of Atmospheric or Raw Black Metal or anyone just looking for a good listening experience. This one should sure as hell do the trick. I definitely picked the right one to end this with.
That’s all for now, folks. Pretty damn good week. There will be plenty more Black Metal on this blog going forward, I can assure you. There are a lot of other Black Metal releases that are coming out in the next couple months that i’m looking forward to. Stay on the lookout for reviews on those. I highly recommend all seven of these albums, so enjoy these for now if you haven’t already.
By the way, I wasn’t at all complaining about all the Finnish blackened goodness that I indulged myself in this week. It’s one of the best countries breeding it today. So yay, Finland! I love you.
Until next time.