LISTCRUSH 2018: THE EPS

Still propping up what remains of 2018 for everyone to stare/point/laugh at as it decomposes in the summer heat – the next segment of Black Metal Daily‘s favorite releases of the year, LISTCRUSH 2018: THE EPS.

For a quick recap: Last year we had the all-too-short lists for splits and EP’s crammed into the same article, this time I’ve decided to give them a little breathing room as there were far too many excellent releases in both of those categories to not give enough of them the proper attention they deserve. Hails to all of the artists involved for bestowing such incredible music upon us once again, I listened to all of these far more than I can remember and I’ll no doubt continue to for years to come. If you missed any of these check them out; if I missed any other great EPs then by all means, feel free to let me know.

~

25: Cult Of ExtinctionBlack Nuclear Magic Attack

(Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

Thirteen minutes of sonic carnage and destruction at borderline megaton levels. Sheer bestial fucking violence.

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24: LampirBeneath The Flesh Of Dawn

(Black Gangrene Productions)

I don’t think I’ve disliked any of the foul excretions from this project yet. Oppressive, hate-filled majesty. Like your entire body is filled with burning ash.

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23: Serpents LairPerpetual Hunger

(Fallen Empire Records / Amor Fati Productions)

Ominous torment from the Danish horde, swarming from the abyss and devouring with lethal, arcane accuracy. Ravenous.

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22: WindsweptVisionaire

(Ván Records)

Drudkh mastermind does good again. New album drops in February, will undoubtedly be incredible.

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21: UrarvArgentum

(Svart Records)

Opens with a didgeridoo, never gets any less off-the-wall than that. After all these years there’s still nobody doing it like Bjørn ‘Aldrahn’ Dencker.

~

20: SarkristaUnder Sentence Of Death

(Purity Through Fire)

Another exemplary pair of songs from the Germans, who never let me down. Rocking, ripping, melodic and morose all in one.

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19: Aparthiva RaktadharaAgyat Ishvar

(Iron Bonehead Productions)

What the hell is this, I thought – and then my head was blown off my shoulders with the force of a thousand suns. Keen for more from these Indian annihilators.

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18: Ill Omen The Grand Usurper

(Iron Bonehead Productions)

Returning to blistering, esoteric black metal rot after the black-doom miasma of Æ.Thy.Rift was a stellar move for these Australians. Sounds like the creature on the front cover, with added solos.

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17: Gevurah Sulphur Soul

(Profound Lore Records)

After the Canadians’ astounding debut album Hallelujah! they strip back, condense their energies and focus on their more ferocious side… and it fucking works a treat. Devastating.

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16: Human Agony Goring Christ

(Invictus Productions)

Ravenous vocals? Check. World-ending riffs? Check. The best damned war-metal release of 2018? Quite possibly.

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15: Nächtlich Second Ritual of Night Worship

(Knife Vision)

One of my favourite raw projects I discovered last year. Consistency and excellence from mysterious Canadian U.E.

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14: Faceless Burial Multiversal Abbatoir

(Blood Harvest Records / Me Saco Un Ojo Records)

Absolutely brutal Australian blackened death with its own unique twist. To quote a friend of mine: “Totally original… kings of Aussie metal.”

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13: Cénotaphe Horizons

(Kuunpalvelus)

This French duo are on a roll, nailing everything they put out. Their split with Circle of Oroborous was great, this EP/MLP is wonderful and the teaser track from their next EP Empyrée is also top notch (listen to that here). Why I haven’t seen more hype around this band is beyond the limits of my comprehension.

~

12: Alruna Relieving The Altar

(Tour de Garde / Voidland Shelter)

Incredible, hypnotic and dust-laden atmospheres are conjured with ease by this shadowed Austrian cult on their first release in five years. Spells Cast Unto The Silver Gleam Of The Mountains is immense.

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11: SVRMЗгарище

(Trismus Records)

The unsung Ukrainian master does it again. I could have just as easily put his also-amazing previous EP Лихиї вітри стогнуть без упину, so check that out too. Forever flying under far too many radars.

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10: Khandra There Is No Division Outside Existence

(Redefining Darkness Records)

“The concept of the release is the flaw and inability of consciousness to reflect the boundlessness of the nothingness in the frames of reality that (reality) only exists within and in the sanity. It is a sort of an attempt of exceeding the limits of imagination, which makes the lyrics unavailable for criticism from the point of view of logical thinking. The musical vessel here is a result of expression that has no bonds with any personal emotion of social nature.” Fitting, because the debut EP from this Belarusian duo will blow your mind.

~

9: Olxane Primitive Casket

(Nebular Carcoma Records)

Another absolute gem from T of Kaffaljidhma. I also loved his Himelvaruwe EPs plus the follow up Olxane EP Vermilion Ruin (and they all could deservedly be in this spot), but this is probably the one I threw in the tape deck the most times this year, so it wins by default. Magical.

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8: The SecretLux Tenebris

(Southern Lord Recordings)

Six years off and these Italians aren’t messing around. Black doom grind for the connoisseurs, probably would have been higher if I’d been able to spend even more time with it than I did. The last track Cupio Dissolvi will dissolve you.

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7: Vessel Of Iniquity Vessel Of Iniquity

(Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

The mysterious A. White may destroy us all. I’ll pull from my review of this insane sensory assault: “…an all-out sonic assailment of inevitable destruction whipping your flesh to dust. It is fucking terrifying. Percussion teeters on the brink of becoming flat-out physical punishment as disembodied howls ride escalating waves of panic-inducing power electronics noise carnage; until it all collapses in on itself and you’re allowed to breathe for a brief, precious moment.”

As an aside – his upcoming new album is equally as good, the man is unstoppable. Review of that coming soon.

~

6: Horna Kuolleiden Kuu

(World Terror Committee / Blut & Eisen Prod.)

Some leftover tracks from the 2015 Hengen Tulet sessions, and it’s all just as great as you’d expect. Also contains an excellent and surprising cover of popular song ‘Tähdet Tähdet’ (‘Stars, Stars’) originally released by Rauli Badding Somerjoki in 1983. Dropped on the same day as their split with Pure. That was a good day.

~

5: Μνήμα The Remains Of Human Bones

(Harvest of Death / Signal Rex)

“You want hell on Earth? This is hell on Earth. Released quietly back in May, the second demo from Hellenic solo act Μνήμα (or MNHMA) is one of the most vicious, caustic stabs of howling cacophonous bile committed to tape this year – three tracks of rawer-than-raw black carnage that sounds like the audio equivalent of being torn limb from limb on a rack” …is what I said about this savage little EP in Indy Metal Vault‘s Albums You May Have Missed article. Just press play – see for yourself.

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4: AkashaConsuming The Soul

(Grey Matter Productions)

Before the Vibrations Of Blood And Hate split, Akasha‘s sole practitioner Leech was Consuming The Soul. With riffs for days, this excellent debut slice of vampyric hatred cemented him as one to watch and placed him fourth on this list, while the split with Unrest was also fourth on that respective collection of ordered releases… will Akasha also take out that position or higher on the 2019 albums list when the debut full-length drops this year? Time will tell.

~

3: Voëmmr Sombr Moebrd

(Harvest Of Death / Signal Rex)

“Blood-curdling, ritualistic old-school crypt-dwelling misfit music of the macabre.” …so says a review on the Bandcamp page of the Aldebaran Circle-ites, and it is rather eloquently spot on. Like summoning ancient spirits and letting them speak through you, Sombr Moebrd is a fantastic follow up to Nox Maledictvs… and perhaps a great lead-in to their next full-length, sometime in the near future?

~

2: Kommodus From The Ashes Of Empire

(GoatowaRex)

I’ve only listed the Australian’s third demo here, but please also take this to mean the preceding One Thousand Years Of The Wolf too – both are equally deserving of this position. With a primal kinetic energy like nothing else, surprising and artful interludes scattered throughout and some mighty songwriting chops to boot, both of these demos are beyond astonishing. Easily my favourite raw Australian project. Fucking great.

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1: Pa Vesh En A Ghost

(Iron Bonehead Productions)

As I said when Belarusian enigma Pa Vesh En landed in 8th position during LISTCRUSH 2018: THE SPLITS for his superb offering with Temple Moon, I liked everything he released last year. Perhaps none moreso than his 7″ A Ghost – two tracks of cursed black obscurity that I listened to again and again, and then some. On the surface this might not appear much to many, but with time the raw emanations of this project burrowed their way deep inside my head and nested there, growing deeper roots with every listen and becoming exactly what I wanted when I didn’t know I wanted it. The stale lingering scent of dust from centuries past, an echoing howl through cryptal darkness… Give it a shot and listen deeply. Let A Ghost into your soul.

~

HONORABLE MENTIONS:
ObskuritatemNekrofilm
ArchaistCosmogonic Eyes
EnshroudedThe Emergence Of Crawling Shadows That Lurk Within Your Festering Soul
Funerary DescentOv Chasms Beyond
Häxenzjirkell – …von Glut und Wirbelrauch
GraveirCenotaph
CalvaireJe Me Souviens
VonlausVonlaus
Brood In BlackBlasfemas
Soul DissolutionNowhere

~

Almost done. Arriving soon (well at this rate I’m just hoping it’s before 2020), the final chapter – LISTCRUSH 2018: THE ALBUMS. Hails.

~

Like Black Metal Daily on Facebook for more kvlt sounds and tonal blasphemy.

Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

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LISTCRUSH 2018: THE SPLITS


Lo and behold, we’re back. Before we end up past the point of no return on the treacherous roads of 2019, let’s poke the already rotting carcass of 2018 a few more times – kicking off Black Metal Daily‘s favorite releases of the year is the next segment of LISTCRUSH 2018: THE SPLITS.

Last year we had the all-too-short lists for splits and EP’s crammed into the same article, this time I’ve decided to give them a little breathing room as there were far too many excellent releases in both of those categories to not give enough of them the proper attention they deserve. Hails to all of the artists involved for bestowing such incredible music upon us once again, I listened to all of these far more than I can remember and I’ll no doubt continue to for years to come. If you missed any of these check them out; if I missed any other great splits then by all means, feel free to let me know.

~

20: Precaria / Deathspiral of Inherited Suffering / Dominus IraMetamorphosphoros

(I, Voidhanger Records)

I reviewed this beast earlier in 2018 (check that out here) and it only grew on me even more whenever it found its way back into my playlist. A conceptual trident, of which every sharpened point is unique – yet equally lethal as the others.

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19: Crurifragium / Abysmal LordSplit

(Hells Headbangers)

A blasphemic pairing of unholy bestial vomit from hell. Both back with their first new material since their last great respective albums, they don’t so much fly out of the gate as smash it up and devour it. Savagery incarnate.

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18: Cénotaphe / Circle of Oroborous Split LP

(Final Agony)

Perhaps surprisingly if you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing them yet the Cenotaphé side of this split is the standout for me, but overall it’s a stirring display that’s both as mesmerising and curiously obscure as its lithographic cover art.

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17: Inferno / Devathorn Zos Vel Thagirion

(World Terror Committee)

Mystic power and rage from these two behemoths. Stunningly complementary, bewitchingly coherent and of the utmost quality from beginning to end.

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16: Ancient Moon / Prosternatur Secretum Secretorum

(Iron Bonehead Productions)

Almost an album’s worth of ritualistic occult mania. Ancient Moon open with an immersive 18 minute piece of diabolical hypnosis while Prosternatur continue the incantation with a tryptich of resonant revelations. Fantastic work from both sides.

~


15: Lampir / Gormanudr Infection At Dusk / Apocalypse (Höllenfeuer)

(Skjold / Hatework)

The sensation of nails on a blackboard, balanced on a razor blade as it glides over your skin… and it is beautiful. Gormanudr take the more orthodox route over Lampir‘s miasma, complementing and enhancing this split’s raw power.

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14: Occelensbrigg / Spiral Staircase Occelensbrigg / Spiral Staircase

(Harvest of Death / Signal Rex)

Aldebaran Circle-ites Occelensbrigg are as undeniably great as ever, but it’s Spiral Staircase’s understated raw black emanations that demand their appearance on this list for me.

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13: Jute Gyte / Spectral Lore Helian

(I, Voidhanger Records)

Two stunning compositions inspired by a 1913 poem by the great Austrian expressionist poet Georg Trakl. Mind-bending microtonal madness from the master Jute Gyte… and I think I even enjoy Spectral Lore’s side more, which is saying something.

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12: Unholy Vampyric Slaughter Sect / Black Aura Unholy Vampyric Slaughter Sect / Black Aura

(Infinite Darkness Productions)

Here we see the always-compelling UVSS taking things to an insanely new level of raw bleak filth, and the mysterious Bosnian wraiths in Black Aura don’t let the team down one iota either.

NO DIGITAL AVAILABLE

~

11: Primitive Man / Unearthly Trance Split

(Relapse Records)

To play this split is to know obliteration. Blackened doom noise of the most crushing order, from two of the heaviest bands in existence. I saw some people ambivalent towards this split… I loved it. Absolutely apocalyptic.

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10: Kaffaljidhma / Gethsemane Split

(Zeitgeists Publishing)

Priceless Dutch raw black. An immaculate journey of transcendence through the heavens from T, as you would expect – then Gethsemane get more raucous, but no less astonishing. These recordings apparently took two years to see the light of day. It was worth the wait.

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9: Horna / Pure Split Album

(World Terror Committee / Blut & Eisen Prod.)

New Horna is very, very good Horna. LRH brings something special to the table (or drum stool) on his first recordings with the band and they sound all the better for it; Pure bring the grim fury like nobody’s business. Released on Jan 4th and still held its spot on the list.

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8: Pa Vesh En / Temple MoonPa Vesh En / Temple Moon

(Iron Bonehead Productions)

I’ve liked everything I’ve heard thus far from Belarusian enigma Pa Vesh En, and this murky, stifled offering is no different. Temple Moon also nail it, especially on the fantastic ‘Maze of Decrepit Trees’.

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7: Paysage d’Hiver / Nordlicht Schnee (III) / Füür Rouch Ruäss

(Kunsthall Productions)

Yeah, yeah, Schnee (III) did admittedly first surface on Myspace back in the day… but in 2018 it finally copped a long-awaited proper release, plus the first new Nordlicht music in 15 years is equally as stunning. Ice cold.

~

6: Vilkacis / Turia Split

(Haeresis Noviomagi / Psychic Violence Records)

There’s something incredibly gripping about Vilkacis’ approach to USBM, I couldn’t get enough of it last year. And Turia… well, they’re Turia and are seemingly incapable of putting a foot wrong.

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5: Turia / Fluisteraars De Oord

(Haeresis Noviomagi / Eisenwald)

…case in point, another unbelievably great track from Turia. I also played the absolute hell out of this tape, a conceptual split based on rivers that flow through each of their respective hometowns. Could have (and probably should have, along with the aforementioned Vilkacis split) finished much higher up the list on a different day. Both sides are superb.

~

4: Akasha / UnrestVibrations of Blood and Hate

(Grey Matter Productions)

“…Akasha brings an incredibly physical, riff-driven and abrasive chaos that crackles with power as it sounds like it could fly off the rails at any second; whilst Unrest conjures an unspeakable evil and dark magic through noise-oriented rituals, savage voodoo that will terrify and mesmerise in equal measure, and a primitive black assault straight from the hate-filled primordial core of man. Oh, and to cap it off Akasha smash out a cover of Motörhead‘s ‘Ace Of Spades’.” Like raw black metal? You need to hear this split.

~

3: Volahn / Xaxamatza Gods of Pandemonium

(Iron Bonehead Productions / Crepusculo Negro)

Okay, I’m cheating with this one because I heard it late and didn’t realise it dropped on 24th December 2017, but fuck you: this fucking KILLS. The kind of shit that makes you want to howl a primal scream and hurl yourself through a wall. These Black Circle members complement each other perfectly and do more with one song apiece than most bands of the like can achieve in an entire album.

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2: Forbidden Temple / Ultima Thule Massacre Winds / Untitled

(New Era Productions)

Flemish and Dutch hordes unite in an unholy raw union for the ages. The atmosphere on this is nigh on unbelievable with both sides drawing sustenance from the black blood of ages past; Ultima Thule’s side alone would make this one of my favourite things I’d heard this year so the fact that Forbidden Temple also kill it is merely the icing on the diseased, pestilent cake. Thirty minutes all up and it still isn’t long enough. True black metal.

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1: Crawl / Leviathan CRAWL / LVTHN SPLIT

(Red River Family Records)

Utter death. Exactly twelve minutes each side, twenty-four minutes of spiralling downwards into a hell more wretched than anything you could ever conjure in your most feverish nightmares. Crawl’s At The Forge Of Hate wants to slowly tear off your skin and eat you alive, while the mighty Wrest does what he does better than anyone with Igneous Ashen Tears and inflicts such immense psychological wounds that you’ll never be the same again. If you call yourself a fan of either project and this isn’t your split of the year, you probably haven’t heard it yet – in which case, fix that right fucking now. Untouchable.

~

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Norse / Host Norse / Host Split

Obsidian Grave / Unholy Vampyric Slaughter Sect Lupine Musings of a Dying Faith

Krieg / Integrity Split

~

Coming soon – LISTCRUSH 2018: THE EPS and THE ALBUMS. Hails.

~

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

LISTCRUSH 2018: Artists, Label Owners and Contributors – Part Three

Kicking off this new year with steel capped boots, we’re back with the third and final installment of the Listcrush 2018: Artists, Label Owners and Contributors series… and boy, is it a fucking doozy. A heap of lists came in late so they’re all crammed into one monolithic, heaving mass of impeccable music recommendations you can spend hours pleasuring your ear holes with (in private, preferably – nobody wants to see that shit, you sick fuck).

Sincerest of thanks to all the incredibly talented and driven artists, label owners and writers who contributed to these pieces and allowed us a little insight into what they enjoyed in 2018; we’ll be back shortly with the official Black Metal Daily lists of Splits, EP’s and Albums and then return to our regular scheduled programming for another year of glorious sonic wretchedness and terrible writing. Hails.

~

ARMAND BOETS (Breathe Plastic Records)

1: DaughtersYou Won’t Get What You Want
2: LowDouble Negative
3: Funeral MistHekatomb
4: Alice in ChainsRainer Fog
5: Of Feather and BoneBestial Hymns of Perversion
6: Lead Into GoldThe Sun Behind the Sun
7: IdlesJoy As An Act of Resistance
8: Portrayal of GuiltLet Pain Be Your Guide
9: NothingDance on the Blacktop
10: SvartidauðiRevelations of the Red Sword
11: Imperial TriumphantVile Luxury
12: Ken ModeLoved
13: The Body / UniformMental Wounds Not Healing
14: Mirrors of Psychic WarfareI See What I Became
15: EvokenHypnagogia
16: ConvulsingGrieving
17: Secret CutterQuantum Eraser
18: ManesSlow Motion Death Sequence
19: CorpsessedImpetus of Death
20: Chapel Of Disease…And As We Have Seen The Storm, We Have Embraced The Eye

~

JABAWOCK (Soul Dissolution / Viridian Flame Records)

1: Red Apollo – The Laurels Of Serenity
I am so impressed by this album! Melodic and powerful, masterfully composed and engineered… I’m not actively seeking out bands with such heavy hardcore influences, but when it works, it can be mind-blowingly good! This one will stay on heavy rotation in my playlist for a while!

2: Eneferens – The Bleakness Of Our Constant
This album feels very musical, mature, and exudes great beauty. Some people compared this to Opeth, and yeah, I can see the analogy. I really can’t imagine myself ever being growing tired of this album. Simple yet deep. Truly a masterpiece in Atmospheric Black Metal!

3: Stryvigor – Lifelong Journey
Perfect illustration of why I love the Ukrainian scene so much. I absolutely adore this kind of catchy, mid-paced Atmospheric Black Metal, and they nailed this style perfectly on this album! Bonus points for the powerful vocals, love it when black metal singers go into a lower register.

4: Un – Sentiment
There’s not much doom on my list this year, as it’s just not what I’m looking for these days… but this album is just too good to pass by! It feels fresh and authentic, and definitely stands strong among the swarm of Melodic Death/Doom bands that tirelessly recreate the same sound over and over again.

5: Panopticon – The Scars Of Man On The Once Nameless Wilderness
I was not immediately sold on this 2-hours long monolith of an album, but in the end it certainly deserves the praise it has been receiving. This one feels like the perfect embodiment to the artistic vision behind Panopticon, or at least that’s what I like to believe. The combination of Atmospheric Black Metal with Bluegrass-type music works very well, and cements the album’s very own identity. A true monument! (I could do without the “political rant” song though, but that’s just me)

6: Severoth – When The Night Falls…
Very high quality Ambient Black, not much else to say. Bonus points for the bass though, which is not only unexpectedly audible, but also sounds really cool! One more gem from the Ukrainian scene!

7: Elderwind – The Colder The Night…
Highly melodic and epic. The vocals get a bit tedious at times, and the album sure is long. But overall they kept the songwriting simple and straight to the point, which makes it more memorable. A really enjoyable album!

8: Hegemone – We Disappear
Not the kind of Black Metal I’m used to hearing from Poland, in fact this is closer to some French bands on Les Acteurs… Nevertheless, they have obviously mastered this style, and graced us with a top notch album!

9: None – Life Has Gone On Long Enough…
I have had zero interest in DSBM antics for a number of years now, but this album has been a really nice surprise! This feels much more atmospheric and elegant compared to other DSBM albums… a very solid piece of work.

10: Kly – Szczerzenie
Kinda the odd one on the list here, this album has a very unique aura to it. I wouldn’t exactly call it a “solid” album by any means… but damn, some of these songs are extremely addictive! Polish Black Metal mixed with post-punk?! Certainly a bit weird, but so damn enjoyable!

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Altars of Grief – Iris
Drudkh – They Often See Dreams About The Spring
Amorphis – Queen Of Time
Vilkacis – Beyond The Mortal Gate
Vermilia – Kätkyt

~

JOHAN NILSSON (Höstblod)

1: Tropical Fuck Storm – A Laughing Death In Meatspace
Alternative noisy rock that made me remember how good alternative rock can be.

2: Manes – Slow Motion Death Sequence
Thought this was boring at first but kept coming back to it for some reason, and after a while I was hooked. Don’t know how to label this but I get the same feeling as from David Bowie‘s late works.

3: Ungfell – Mythen, Mären, Pestilenz
Black metal done right.

4: Thom Yorke – Suspiria OST
Always loved Thom and Radiohead and this doesn’t disappoint. Weird mood mixed with some great Yorke-y tunes.

5: Deafheaven – Ordinary Corrupt Human Love
Well it’s not really black metal anymore, but who cares. Just lovely.

6: Drowse – Cold Air
Dreamy, atmospheric shoegazey stuff that blows your mind.

7: Vilkacis – Beyond The Mortal Gate
Uncompromising usbm.

9: Bosse de Nage – Further Still
Intellectual and arty bm. We need more groups like this.

Honourable Mentions:

Turia / Fluisteraars – De Oord
Turia / Vilkacis – Split
Moenen Of Xezbeth – Ancient Spells of Darkness

~

KEN SORCERON (Abigail Williams)

Top releases of 2018 that I could remember:

Judas Priest – Firepower
Ghastly – Death Velour
Spectral Wound – Infernal Decadence
Craft – White Noise and Black Metal
Antlers – Beneath.Below.Behold
Lago – Sea of Duress
Lychgate – The Contagion in Nine Steps
Drudkh – They Often See Dreams About the Spring
Esoctrilihum – Inhüma
Sear Bliss – Letters From The Ledge
Cantique Lépreux – Paysages Polaires
Dödsrit – Spirit Crusher
Mammoth Grinder – Cosmic Crypt
Svartidauði – Revelations of the Red Sword
Summoning – With Doom We Come
Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
Winterfylleth – The Hallowing of Heirdom
Hissing – Permanent Destitution
Glacial Tomb – Glacial Tomb
UADA – Cult of A Dying Sun

~

MATRAK TVESKAEG (Cantique Lépreux / Forteresse / Chasse-Galerie)

ImmortalNorthern Chaos Gods
At The GatesTo Drink From The Night Itself
DélétèreDe Horae Leprae
GevurahSulphur Soul
Outre-TombeNecrovortex
DrudkhThey Often See Dreams About The Spring
AkitsaCredo
SargeistUnbound
ArkonaKhram
Judas PriestFirepower
UngfellMythen, Mären, Pestilenz

~

DAEMONAE (Theurgia [Ven/Col] / Funebria)

1: AscensionUnder Ether
2: SvartidauðiRevelations of the Red Sword
3: Dysylumn – Occulation
4: KenosisConsecrationem
5: VoidescentEleven into Nox
6: NihiliferSubterfacto Declive
7: Cultum InteritumTemple of Triumphant Death
8: SelbstSecular Compendium
9: Mortuus UmbraOmnipraesent
10: AcherontasFaustian Ethos

~

IGOR HUBIK (ROOT / Solfernus)

Talking my five favourite songs of the 2018 season!

1: Vltimas ‘Praevalidus’
I was totally shocked by the official news from Season of Mist that one of my most fave guitarists and singers joined forces for this new project. VLTIMAS hit the internet with the only song called ‘Praevalidus’ in fall 2018, and I must admit that listening to this track makes my day almost every day. Can’t wait for their debut album. Blasphemer along with David Vincent – I suddenly cannot remember their previous bands ‘cause I’m becoming devoted fan of VLTIMAS! Prrrrraevaaaalidus!!!

2: Immortal – ‘Called To Ice’
I belonged to the 99% of Black Metal sceptics who buried IMMORTAL once Abbath left the band. Now I have to say that Sons of Northern Darkness are back and they did it! ‘Called To Ice’ is one of their best songs ever and the whole new album sounds fucking great. Huge respect to Demonaz with Horgh for their effort and freezing attitude!

3: Marduk ‘June 44’
They usually bring a hit song with every coming album and this time it’s ‘June 44’ probably. I love that Mortuus’ vocals phrasing reminds me of some commercial pop music refrains. Quite brave in this extreme music. The lyrics concept is clear, of course 😉

4: Lindemann – ‘Mathematik’
Rammstein´s leader came with the brand new song and absolutely perfect video clip. Needless to say any words while watching this magnificent short movie with really catchy chorus theme 😉

5: Behemoth – ‘Bartzabel’
Nergal’s blasphemous division got me surprised with their fresh stuff. I saw them live so many times and know all their full lengths plus EPs, DVDs… But yes: ‘Bartzabel’ is a very original hymn in their discography and maybe that’s why I like this song. “Come to me Bartzabel…”

~

MARK ADDINGTON (Fólkvangr Records)

2018 was a great year for music, despite what a bunch of grumps on the internet have said. These are some of the black metal albums I spent the most time with this year (aside from anything the label put out):

Kroda – Selbstwelt
Ungfell – Mythen Mären Pestilenz
Runespell – Order of Vengeance
Elegiac – Pagan Storm
Primordial – Exile Amongst the Ruins
Autarcie – Sequenia
Stryvigor – Шлях завдовжки у нескінченність (Lifelong Journey)
Elderwind – The Colder the Night
Drowning the Light – Cursed Below the Waves
Vargrav – Netherstorm
Akitsa – Credo
Aorlhac – L’esprit des vents

I also continued to ingest a steady stream of Type O Negative, Rome and Gabrielle Aplin throughout the year, but those are mostly not new and also not black metal now are they?

– Mark
Fólkvangr Records

~

ROGNVALDR (Beorn’s Hall / Storm Of Evil)

1: Kroda Selbstwelt
2: Sorcier Des Glaces Sorcier Des Glaces
3: Spectral Wound Infernal Decadence
4: Nusquama Vuurslag (single)
5: Fluisteraars / TuriaDe Oord

~

MYRDIN CERPHAS (Synodic / Revelation None / Somber Ire / Contributor)

Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
Afsky – Sorg
Sadness – Leave
Severoth – When The Night Falls
Oscult – The Sapient – The Third – The Blind
Hoth – Astral Necromancy
Wayfarer – World’s Blood
Nachteule – Bergdorf
Blyh – Transparent To The World
Trollheims Grott – Aligned With The True Death

~

LUCIANO VOIDHANGER (I, Voidhanger Records)

John ZornThe Book Beri’ah
Infernal CoilWithin A World Forgotten
BarúsDrowned
IhsahnÁmr
ConvulsingGrievous
UltharCosmovore
Pyre Of DescentPyre Of Descent
PloughshareIn Offal, Salvation
UrfaustThe Constellatory Practice
Esoctrilihum Inhüma

~

IVAN GOSSAGE (Order Ov The Black Arts / Contributor)

My top 30 of all genres for 2018. It should be noted that while the general region of each albums placement is fairly accurate, the order should be thought of in terms of quantum principles (haha). In other words, they are constantly shifting around depending on mood and context, and therefore the number assigned to them is to some degree arbitrary and represents more where they would tend to be placed and no album has a definitive location.

1: Funeral MistHekatomb
2: AntlersBeneath.Below.Behold
3: WayfarerWorld’s Blood
4: SlugdgeEsoteric Malacology
5: Chapter V:F10Pathogenesis
6: UnreqvitedStars Below The Sea
7: WindfaererAlma
8: Temple of PerditionTetragrammaton
9: SwornDark Stars and Eternity
10: Rivers of NihilWhere Owls Know My Name
11: EmbraAbjection
12: Mortuorial EclipseUrushdaur
13: Void of SilenceThe Sky Over
14: SkanDeath Crown
15: Borgne
16: SolitvdoMilitia
17: StortregnEmptiness Fills The Void
18: Reverorum Ib Malacht – Im Ra Distare Summum Soveris Seris Vas Innoble
19: OublietteThe Passage
20: AcherontasFaustian Ethos
21: A Forest of StarsGrave Mounds and Grave Mistakes
22: Irreversible MechanismImmersion
23: Anaal NathrakhA New Kind Of Horror
24: BehemothI Loved You At Your Darkest
25: Entropy Created ConsciousnessImpressions of the Morning Star
26: Orchestra of the DrownedOpening the Secret
27: NattravnenCult of the Raven
28: Order ov Riven CathedralsGobekli Tepe
29: UadaCult of a Dying Sun
30: KriegsmaschineApocalypticists

HONORABLE MENTIONS: These are albums that have caught my ear for huge potential, would almost certainly place somewhere, and could easily bump others off of the above list – but I simply have not given them enough time to determine if and where.

SelvansFaunalia
QafsielThe Trve Beast
Barren CanyonWorld of Wounds
AcathexisAcathexis
Carpe NoctemVitrun
ConvulsingGrievous
EsoctrilihumInhüma
NottNott
The Monolith DeathcultV2 V’ergelding
Second to SunThe Black
Spectral WoundInfernal Decadence
DélétèreDe Horae Leprae
GaereaUnsettling Whispers
OutreHollow Earth
Order of ApollyonMoriah
Crow Black SkySidereal Light, Volume One

~

DAMJAN (MRTVI / Goddess / Life As A Dream Records)

GoddessRaped Into Being EP
I’m putting my own music on this list because our current politics is completely fucked. I wrote an EP about the abuses that animals go through in our society, and the so called ‘journalists’ didn’t want to cover it because I used the word rape in its correct context. Journos I came to find out were in fact vegetarian animal rights virtue signallers… but quite literally didn’t read more than one word. I won’t name names, but fuck them.

Also, imagine setting up a release with 4 labels a year in advance and nobody does anything they said they would do. Art is dead and so is this industry, let’s pat ourselves on the back while our world burns around us…

https://lifeasadreamrecords.bandcamp.com/album/raped-into-being-ep

Anyway…

DaughtersYou Won’t Get What You Want
A new discovery for me, it’s like the atmosphere of black metal without the cliches. Like hearing a whole new take on a genre you thought you knew. Atmospheric, musical, interesting!

VoicesFrightened
These guys are nuts! After two of the coldest, most inventive extreme records of recent years they decide to bludgeon us with melody. A total lateral move and it’s been on repeat for me!

Imperial TriumphantVile Luxury
Included on everybody’s lists this year. Nothing more needs to be said. Original and interesting.

Gazorpazorp S/t EP
My favourite band in Belgrade at the moment. Very young, yet very mature music! Not metal but a great listen!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWHRkJQiQe4&fbclid=IwAR3NRt-7zlQCFjaW39aJJ4an3vitSTNWq8M83U1mR5RuPzgvw4PMfIJQjmM

ApsurdDerealizacija
Another wicked Punk/Hardcore band from Belgrade. A newer band with veteran players, they tear it up live too!
https://doomtownrecords.bandcamp.com/album/derealizacija-cs?fbclid=IwAR2WVa-NpD_Fm8Il-STLcqMmEr7aD7WWD-c3A17f6eP6DTVJREAhd8P1Cvg

Eva RasProliferation Of Broken Dreams
A noise/powerviolence/hardcore/emo solo project that is pretty interesting. Not something I’m usually into but I like people trying something different. His solo label also puts out a load of music, so checkit!
https://confusionspecialistrecords.bandcamp.com/album/proliferation-of-broken-dreams

ReplicuntsSafe Place EP
And to complete a list of pretty much not at all metal releases of 2018, some solid melodic old school punk!
https://replicunts.bandcamp.com/album/safe-place-ep?fbclid=IwAR0rcd5v1jd3-OmwQuhrzuJba9h9OBV7C_u2xIsghrSANzdDB0I66KlkrXU

~

WALDO (Acedia Mundi)

All around my social media people are saying that 2018 was an amazing year for music and when Aaron asked to do a top list I felt I hadn’t listened to anything new in ages. Much like Scott Williams from Vahrzaw I have focused on old releases, and I must admit that a lot of them are jazz and fusion records from Herbie Hancock, Uzeb, Weather Report, Marcus Miller, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins and others. As I have put my mind on some more mainstream related artists and genres I’ll start with what may not appear on other lists. If you only care about your cold steely metal you can bypass the first two entries of this numberless list.

● Anderson .PaakOxnard

Anderson .Paak first seduced my ears with the track ‘Come Down’ from the 2016 album Malibu. It’s catchy and I do recommend to you the NPR music Tiny Desk concert with Paak on drums. The first thing one notices when looking at the tracklist is that there is a shit-ton of featurings in Oxnard. For fuck’s sake, I think there are only 4 songs without a guest and I must confess I did not know most of them. But to think that Snoop Dog sounds 20-year younger is freaking incredible. The amount of different collaborations enables Paak to explore different atmospheres. You get a very old school feeling with ‘Brother’s Keeper’ for example. Don’t get me wrong, Paak doesn’t need to feature Kendrick Lamar to be relevant – the track ‘6 Summers’ is a pretty good demonstration that his flow doesn’t need back-up. Overall, what’s most important is that through this album the quality of song-writing doesn’t go full roller-coaster. You always get funky bass lines, interesting rhythmic patterns and some insightful lyrics : “the revolution will not be televised but it will be streamed live (…) on your mobile device”. I’m a French young fuck that gets to witness the street of Paris crowded with demonstrations, so this feels pretty real. ‘Anywhere (feat. Snoop Dogg)’ clearly is the highlight of the album for me. But tracks such as ’Tints (feat. Kendrick Lamar)’ and ‘6 Summers’ will satisfy your groovy appetite.

● Marc RebilletS/T

Let me ask you a question: when is the last time an album made you laugh? And I don’t mean when did you last laugh AT an album, nor when did you sang along with Scorpions‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’ in French like a stupid animal. When is the last time an album made you laugh while you enjoyed the quality of its music? Well, to me it goes back to Marc Rebillet’s self-titled album. Marc Rebillet is a beat maker whose recipe is intertwined with the use of a loop station and being a good improviser. And as much as we have a lot of respect among the metal scene for « one-man band projects » I do respect a guy that can take a step further and reproduce, alone, live and step by step, all the tunes he composes. This guy actually goes beyond that point as he sometimes improvises beats during a show with any subject the audience will give him. And this is where the magic begins.

Marc Rebillet can take the most down to earth theme and make a catchy tune out of it: Android phones vs. Iphones, weird people on social media, the end of a relationship and butts. We’re talking about song titles like ‘Look at That Ass’ with lyrics such as “nice job on your butthole”. What makes it worth the listen is the quality of the beats and the unpredictable song-writing. Rebillet takes us to unimaginable levels of cringe with ‘Dinner’, literally four minutes of a couple arguing about mortgage at a restaurant, with no beat to support the experience because fuck you and yes, he is doing all the voices. ‘Blackbeard’ and ‘You Broke My Heart’ are the album’s highlights in my humble opinion. This is the kind of artist you get into for a good laugh but that makes you stay because of the genius of the beatmaker. I realize part of the amazement I feel towards this guys is due to the fact I discovered him through his youtube channel where he recreates all his songs live: his energy is contagious and you just naturally develop a liking for this crazy composer. Marc Rebillet gives us the ability to share music, his music, with a different perspective: hey, this guy is very funny but that’s not all there is to it. And his Loop Daddy EP confirms it with tracks like ‘I Need You’. This is a talented beat maker that you definitely need to check out.

● Immortal Northern Chaos Gods

This album raised some pretty high levels of drama this year. Being a petty queen, I did partake in it because fuck you. Did I wait for this album like a messiah just to say “Immortal doesn’t need Abbath and if you disagree go fuck yourself”? Yes. Throw rocks at me, I don’t care. Ever since the Abbath album came out I constantly said Demonaz’ solo Heavy Metal record was better because I’m a dick. And God was I pleased with this come back! On the one hand I wonder what would have happened if Abbath had left the ship sooner and on the other hand I’m glad things turned out this way: savage riffs for the mountain climbers. And I realize that it’s hard to talk about this record without the context it was released in. This is more than a record. It’s a fucking statement: Immortal are still relevant and they are able to release some fast guitar riffs that make you shiver. And if this isn’t the best record of the year for me, I believe it is an important album in the history of the Black Metal scene. A record I clearly needed to hear that didn’t disappoint my expectations. I hope they manage to build a live line up to witness The Mighty Ravendark spread around the globe.

● Birds In A Row We Already Lost The World

“Love me, hate me, we already lost the world”. I don’t care what you think: these are the best lyrics written this year, and it is so because they have been written by the band that released the best album that came out his year, no matter which genre you listen to. I got to see Birds In Row in the city of Roazhon during the first edition of the Neuronoise Festival just a few weeks before the release of this album and they gave us one of the best shows I have ever witnessed. 15-38 is the best track written in 2018. I could kill myself listening to it and I’d be happy. Same goes for Fossils. With this album Birds In Row have taken their song-writing to another level, and this is something to be taken seriously because their discography is flawless. 15-38 isn’t your average punk hardcore track. It’s an anthem for a generation. And that is why these guys are so good: everything they write about is relatable. This music is human. It is down to earth and ethereal at the same time. I can’t even say we deserve this music, because depending on who you are you deserve – or think you deserve – very little. Myself included. We are witnessing the rise of one of the best bands of the genre and I’m fucking happy about this.

● ArchgoatThe Luciferian Crown

Archgoat has found the recipe to brew the most devilish records. It’s raw, savage and makes your blood boil. The ingredients may seem simple as there are no big scale changes, no incredible rhythmic choices, just fast guitar riffs with cavernous growls and some keyboards here and there. But the genius of Archgoat is that they connect on an animalistic level with their audience. I feel this band gives people the feeling of being part of something. If there was an Unholy Black Metal Temple somewhere these bad boys would certainly guard the keys of its hidden mysteries. The Luciferian Crown is a great offering to the horned one and this contribution keeps proving that the core of the genre will never disappear. Black Metal will continue to evolve into different shapes, but its bestial roots will remain. And I think it’s very clever for Debemur Morti Productions to have them signed while they release a lot of experimental and more modern takes on the genre. ‘The Obsidian Flame’ is both a martial hymn and a satanic procession that leads to complete and utter madness. Definitely a highlight of the year.

● Funeral MistHekatomb

The return of Swedish Black Metal warmongers Funeral Mist did come unnoticed this year and did raise some questions. This band is actually one of the inspirations of Acedia Mundi alongside Bethlehem, so we were fucking happy. A lot of people have compared this record to Marduk’s work and I got the feeling part of the scene believe it is a “conservative” album for Funeral Mist. It may not be as experimental as some of their previous records but if the insanity of the opening solo of Cockatrice doesn’t make you wet, chances are you’ve been using lube for a long time now. What’s not to like here? The guitar riffing is crazy, the keyboard appearances are well balanced and do serve the songs, the bass sounds metallic and not too muddy, Mortuus’ vocal range is very interesting… This tornado hit me in the face and I asked for more. Its skin ripping riffs are just what I was expecting. There are some pretty interesting rhythmic patterns in this record from beginning to end. Just listened once again at the intro of ‘In Nomine Domini’: the guitar riff enters just after the first time of the measure. A basic rhythm in theory but it gives that extra spice to the song. The band also plays with our expectations in ‘Naught but Death’ where a simple drum beat abruptly gets to breathe. And boy do they serve us martial riffs for a bare-knuckle fist fight! Hekatomb is a great comeback that proves Funeral Mist are better than Marduk.

● Ssanahtes Kumaru

Being a musician allows you to know and appreciate certain bands to a whole new level. I have had the pleasure to tour with this Sludge Post-whatever band from Bordeaux and their first full-length clearly is the record I have listened to the most. Their debut EP had already shown the world their obsession for loudness, noise and chaos. With this self-titled record Ssanahtes have upped their game and it’s fucking amazing. Listening to Ssanahtes is like taking a bath through the ether whilst being physically tormented. Your body moves abruptly whilst these sludgy puppeteers serve you gritty bass lines, dissonant melodies that slowly embrace your pain and harsh vocals for your mind to blow. The first track ‘Kumau’ featuring el Famoso “Bozo” from Baculum is very symptomatic of the craziness they have pulled out. Every goddamn track on this record deserves your attention. Can’t wait to hear what these guys have in stock for us next year!

● Ancst Ghosts Of The Timeless Void

It is very hard to keep up with German Black Crust collective Ancst as they have already 21 releases in barely 6 years. These guys are so productive they might become the Agathocles of the genre! Writing these lines, I just remembered they released another full-length this year. Why Ancst is so great may be because they are one of the RABM affiliated bands with an actual good sound. Quality of sound is something the genre gets criticized a lot for and I found it pretty ironic.

But that’s not why you’ll get into this band. Their modern take on the genre is interesting in its development. This is the anti-Archgoat. Ancst is a Black Crust band looking into the future. They serve us intense vocals, memorable riffs and well-written tunes. I feel GOTTV may not be the better introduction to the band: in my case I had to listen to this record a few times before it grew on me. Actually, one of the odd things about Ancst’s music is that it makes you feel good. Don’t get me wrong: it’s fast and brutal. But I can’t help but feel some kind of “hope” embrace me when I hear the main melody of ‘Dying Embers’. Given their political stance I’d say that is pretty well done.

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

● CoilgunsMillennials

I haven’t listened to this album enough to get a proper opinion other than « it’s a Coilguns album therefore it’s good ». I discovered them live and I couldn’t forget the experience. Their singer fucking bit me. He bit my fucking arm. That’s wild animal levels of performing on and off stage for ya Black Death Metal kvltits. Learn from these punx, they figured it all out. If you are into genre mixes and enjoy some HxC blended with Sludge, Post-ish, math-stuff and all, you’ll be amazed by how these guys rock.

● Chance The Rapper The Man Who Has Anything

OK, this one is a bit of a cheat as it’s only a single released in November. Yet, it has kept growing on me since I first heard it. If you think all modern rap has to offer is an ego trip I really recommend you this tune, it’s a good way to get interested in Chance. This tune is the antithesis of the “money, weed & bitches” topos. Chance’s single gets turns the image upside down: « I got everything you and I can fucking imagine, now what? ». Because in the end, buying a golden toilet is just a way to fill the immensity of the void you have instead of a soul and it’s good to hear “I don’t need this shit and it’s getting boring” in times like these, especially when a lot of people are obsessed to climb to the top of the social ladder. Here we get to hear someone from that very top and say “go back, nothing you’ll find here will fulfill you”. I may be fucking naïve but the chorus echoes in me: “love me forever, that’s all I ask of you”. Of course, the message isn’t revolutionary nor is it the first time this kind of stuff has been said. But I guess I needed to hear something simple and efficient message on a chill beat. Hope a new album will come out next year!

● Black OathBehold The Abyss

Now, I can’t be objective with this band. I opened for them back in 2016 when they came to Paris with Riti Occulti and own most of their records. These Italian doomsters released their fourth full-length this year and as their previous albums it is a delight for the ears. One of the bands significant features is the quality Alex’ clean vocals pulls out. We all know a pretty good Doom band whose songs are ruined by clean vocals: this is not the case here, believe me. I have pretty high standards when it comes to clean vocals (my mother being a Coloratura Soprano) and Alex never goes out of tune. This peculiarity is no coincidence, as the band clearly has a very great sense of melody. Mixing Doom with some Rock and Roll, Black Oath present a solid record. The occult themes are treated with seriousness. We are far away from Abysmal Grief – that I do adore as well – and more focused on a dark, epic and melancholic spiritual journey. On the other hand, I believe Behold the Abyss isn’t as striking as their third act To Below and Beyond which is why I put it in the “honorable mentions” section. Still, you definitely should check it out.

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HERMIT OV TEHOM (Precaria / Desesperanza)

Thanks to Black Metal Daily for having me as a guest to put up my personal Top 10 Black Metal Albums of 2018. These rank as the top 10 according to my taste and criteria, which of course may differ from the reader’s. I accompany every album with a short comment. Here you won’t find soft atmospheric music, you’ll only find abysmally dark music. Having said that, let’s begin.

10: Whoredom Rife – Nid: Hymner Av Hat
Probably the least “dark” in sound on the list, but this is compensated by the majestic textures it conveys throughout its entirety. I always appreciate when music transports me into its own world, this is precisely how I fell in love with black metal when I was a troubled kid and as an artist I can say it’s a pretty hard task to pull off, a lot of effort has to go into it. As the album advances through its hymns of hate, it absorbs me into its own dimension.

9: Acherontas – Faustian Ethos
An introspective album, emotive at times and full of dark textures. There’s no long ambient interludes here as in some of their previous albums, just transcendental black metal art with lyrical depth and proficient songwriting.

8: Chaos Invocation – Reaping Season, Bloodshed Beyond
A prime example of orthodoxy in black metal. Strictly satanic lyrics, riffs that spit evil, slow to frenetic drums, ritual-like passages and dissonant arpeggios. The album has an epic feel and balances the traditional with the more modern styles successfully, reminding me of the recent works of the mighty Acrimonious and Thy Darkened Shade, my favorite Greek bands. Reaping Season, Bloodshed Beyond is an album that reflects how the black flame that fuels black metal (and black arts in general) is alive and burning hot.

7: Trollheims Grott – Aligned with the True Death
13 years of silence passed and I’d never thought there would be news about one of my favorite late 90s/early 00s Finnish bands. Trollheims Grott has this black metal style where the guitar parts are usually fast dissonant riffs with dynamic drumming and industrial elements added. This was a very unique characteristic, I can only think about Aborym and Funeris Nocturnum doing something similar at the time, but not quite enough. Now they have returned with their style refined and way darker lyrical themes.

6: Devouring Star – The Arteries of Heresy
Think about colossal darkness, dense and slow passages with reverberated dissonances. This is a grand work as a whole that takes the listener to an isolated void. Some would describe it as cryptic, but I’d use that adjective for some black death bands like Grave Upheaval and Aethyrvorous. This is purely abysmal black metal that ranges from mostly slow to fast sections. The audio production doesn’t do justice to the compositions though, it deserved better. Focusing on the deep dark feeling here is the key.

5: Esoctrilihum – Inhüma
Esoctrilihum is the solo project of Asthâghul, a very young French artist who lives in isolation, however, his mind is a universe of ideas. Since 2017 he has released three full length albums through I, Voidhanger Records (the same label that released my split Metamorphosphoros!), a label that only releases high quality material and has gained quite a respectable status. Inhüma has surpassed the two previous albums. It is better musically crafted and produced, it sounds more brutal and has what I like to call a psychotic atmosphere, at times revealing the influence of early Abigor. There’s riffs, arpeggios, solos, clean parts, and occasional real string instruments like a viola and a cello if my ears don’t deceive me. The structures are very experimental, adventurous. Every song feels interconnected and if the entire album was a single song, it would’ve worked the same way. Dynamics, ornaments, brutality and darkness.

4: Mare – Ebony Tower
Mystical, primitive, classic and even moody at times. This is the Nidrosian sound at it’s peak, the culmunation of years of cultivating their music. It’s ironic how this record sounds minimalist but there are so many parts of pure brilliance in it, from haunting vocal choruses to sudden background keyboards and an acoustic guitar in one section. Everything is well crafted here. A genuine treat for the mind and soul to us, who belong to darkness.

3: Kriegsmaschine – Apocalypticists
What this band is doing is innovative not only for black metal, but for music in general. It is the first band that I know that instead of using the typical metal beats and blast beats, they use exclusively fill-beat hybrids. This was not always the case, in their early days their style was traditional black metal. After their other band (Mgła) gained massive success, they decided that Kriegsmaschine would take this innovative approach, and they do it so well that it makes it superior to almost everything being released nowadays and it is ironic that this is not their best-known project. The drummer’s creativity is what turns Enemy of Man and Apocalypticists into unique artistic gems, but the style of the guitar is also unusual, as it is composed mainly of dissonant arpeggio-riff hybrids and a dark feeling is omnipresent here.

2: Svartidauði – Revelations of the Red Sword
This album is an adventure from start to finish. Irregular song structures, dissonant counterpointing riffs and catchy melodies make it an aural gem of top class refinement. Revelations of the Red Sword was funded by a cultural program of the Icelandic government. To my knowledge, this is the first time that a country directly invests in a black metal production, which was done by Stephen Lockhart (the man behind Rebirth of Nefast) at Studio Emissary. He’s one of the best in the genre when it comes to turning a recording into a world of its own and a big influence for my own work as an audio engineer, as a reference listen to last year’s albums Tabernaculum and Tchornobog. Svartidauði’s Flesh Cathedral was the album that defined the sound of modern Icelandic black metal and with Revelations of the Red Sword they have taken that genuine essence and added a balance of catchiness and more dynamic composition.

1: Altar of Perversion – Intra Naos
Intra Naos is an almost 2 hour long album filled with dark spiritual lyrics and a fitting production. Rich in conceptual substance and uncompromising musical approach. It’s composition isn’t made for the regular black metal listener, only for the truly immersed, nonconformist listener. It is evident that the creation of this album throughout it’s more than 12 years of cultivation had a more transcendental purpose than to make attractive black metal music, it is a channeling of dark energy coming from the other side and your senses will perceive it. There’s no hooks or recycled riffs here, just epic darkness. The pure audial art progresses along with the lyrics and demands full attention. An essential characteristic of the genre is being against the norm and this album breaks any set of rules. This act of rebellion, combined with the lyrical revelations found in it make me conclude that it is the truest black metal album of the year.

Special mentions go to: Abigor, Abstracter, Adaestuo, Alghazanth, Ars Magna Umbrae, Ascension, Atroce, Avslut, Balmog, Burial Hordes, Dead Moon Temple, Devathorn, Dysylumn, Embrace of Thorns, Glorior Belli, Gontyna Kry, Heretic Cult Redeemer, Imperial Triumphant, Inferno, Malthusian, Misotheist, Numinous, One Tail One Head, Outre, Paragon Impure, Slidhr, Summon, Svartkonst, The Order of Apollyon, Totenmesse, Tractatus, Valkyrja and Vulturine. All of these bands released excellent material in 2018, worthy to listen, and if possible, to own.

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LISTCRUSH 2018: Artists, Label Owners and Contributors complete. Check out Part One and Part Two if you missed them, and stay tuned for the official BMD best of 2018 LISTCRUSH. I promise it will all be over soon.

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

LISTCRUSH 2018: Artists, Label Owners and Contributors – Part Two

Deck the hails, we’re back again with Part Two of our LISTCRUSH series. You know the drill – a whole heap of BMD‘s favourite artists, labels and contributors all share their thoughts on which releases clawed their way scratching and howling to the top of the heap in 2018. The only rule they were given was: no rules. No genre restrictions, list as many or as few as they liked, in any format they chose.

As you can imagine there’s some seriously great selections to be found below (if you missed Part One, check that out here) and some surprising choices; all of which give you great insight into the minds behind some of our favourite releases. So grab yourself another glass of eggnog or whatever and read on... there’s plenty more to come yet.

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RICHARD MCMASTER (Mar Mortuum / Impure Sounds)

In no particular order:

Svartidaudi Revelations of the Red Sword
Essenz – Manes Impetus
Hissing – Permanent Destitution
Abigor – Hollenzwang (Chronicles of Perdition)
Urfaust The Constellatory Practice
Chapel Of Disease – And As We Have Seen The Storm, We Have Embraced The Eye
Mare – Ebony Tower
Ascension – Under Ether
Spectral Wound – Infernal Decadence
Funeral Mist Hekatomb

Best Australian releases:

Golgothan Remains Perverse Offerings to the Void
Ploughshare – In Offal, Salvation
Graveir – Cenotaph
Encircling Sea – Hearken
Convulsing – Grievous
Nocturnal Graves – Titan
Grave Upheaval – Untitled

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WRATH (Dødsferd)

1: ArchgoatThe Luciferian Crown
2: Funeral MistHekatomb
3: Master Vindinctive Miscreant
4: Craft White Noise And Black Metal
5: Harakiri For The SkyArson
6: SathanasNecrohymns
7: At The GatesTo Drink From The Night Itself
8: High On FireElectric Messiah
9: Fu ManchuClone Of The Universe
10: The Pineapple Thief Dissolution

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ASKNT (DSKNT)

The traditional exercise – but never done so far – of listin’ audial efforts of the current but dying year.

2018 extract:

Necros ChristosDomedon Doxomedon
“A very long -and abyssic- journey into ruin. One of the most monumental and fulfilled release to date.”

TaphosCome Ethereal Somberness
“A very powerful old-school death metal album, highly surprising efficiency.”

PortalION
“Fuzzy logic and Non-monotonous death wave.”

MessaFeast for Water
“A real dive into nightmarish depths. Cold flowing darkness.”

WindhandEternal Return
“Ether sounded massive vibrating hallucinations.”

AbigorHöllenzwang (Chronicles of Perdition)
“Well, in respect to all their works. Don’t need to put word on this.”

CraftWhite Noise and Black Metal
“Unconventional dissonances and pulses. Excellent opus.”

YOBOur Raw Heart
“Heavy weighted, you need to dig into this.”

Notes and remainders for coming year:

Atrament
Temple ov Perversion

22XII18 – asknt/DSKNT

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SIN NANNA (Striborg)

1: Penance StareScrying
2: LyciaIn Flickers
3: Ash CodePerspektive
4: SelofanVitrioli
5: Soft KillSavior

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WREST (Leviathan / Martröð)

Here’s the records from 2018 that I think will stand the test of time.
Titles only… it will force people to research and find these gems themselves…

Hailsz,
W.:.

– Hekatomb
– Disinterred Horror
– Credo
– Mandy (score)
– Antimoshiach
– Ancient Records comp II
– Ion
– The Incubus of Karma
– Deep Blood
– Sinister, O.T.D.P.
– Maniacal Winds
– Into Vermillion Mirrors
– Black Metal Warfare
– Upgrade (score)
– Upon Desolate Sands
– Permanent Destitution
– Goring Christ
– Vertical Helix Scan
– Lustful Vengeance
– Window
– Inhüma
– Surging Throng of Evil’s Might
– Tranquility of Death

~

MICK KENNEY (Anaal Nathrakh / Feto Records)

“All I’ve listened to this year is Elvis and that’s it.”

~

IMBER (Aludra / Synodic)

1: Crawl / Leviathan CRAWL/LVTHN Split
2: Mavorim Silent Leges Inter Arma
3: Farsot / Coldworld – Toteninsel
4: Devouring Star – The Arteries of Heresy
5: Knokkelklang – Jeg Begraver

~

WEST MADDOX (Ovnev)

When I pick my favorite black metal albums of the year I run them through three categories:

1. How it makes me feel
2. Production
3. Musical skill

Feel is the most important because I can forgive bad production and skill if the band has the ability to make me feel something strongly. If all of these categories are met then I determine if every single song on the album is great and it doesn’t have any filler. The more filler that I think is in an album, the lower it is on the list. The majority of these barely have any filler though. These are my top 50 based on that criteria.

Honorable mention for In the Woods…Cease The Day since it technically is not black metal but has black metal roots. Awesome album.

1. EneferensThe Bleakness of our Constant (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
2. WiltRuin (Black/Doom Metal)
3. DrudkhThey Often See Dreams About The Spring (Atmospheric Black Metal)
4. Spectral WoundInfernal Decadence (Traditional Black Metal)
5. KrahnholmGranting Death (Atmospheric Black Metal)
6. PathsIn Lands Thought Lost (Atmospheric Black Metal)
7. Cosmic AutumnCosmic Autumn (Atmospheric Black Metal)
8. The Nightly DiseaseSmell of Burning Wood (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
9. WayfarerWorlds Blood (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
10. ElderwindThe Colder the Night (Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal)
11. AvslutDeceptis (Traditional Black Metal)
12. DewfallHermeticus (Melodic Black Metal)
13. TrnaEarthcult (Atmospheric/Post Black Metal)
14. MidnartiisWith Reverence and Will… (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
15. Pure WrathSempiternal Wisdom (Atmospheric Black Metal)
16. RunespellOrder of Vengeance (Traditional Black Metal)
17. Infernal CoilWithin A World Forgotten (Blackened Deathgrind)
18. Soul DissolutionStardust (Atmospheric Black Metal)
19. DauþuzDes Zwerges Fluch (Traditional Black Metal)
20. Cân BarddNature Stays Silent (Atmospheric/Epic Black Metal)
21. A Flock Named MurderAn Appointed Time (Black/Sludge Metal)
22. UngfellMythen, Mären, Pestilenz (Folk Black Metal)
23. Mourning by MorningMourning by Morning (Atmospheric Black Metal)
24. Deus VerminMonument to Decay (Black/Death Metal)
25. Realm of WolvesOblivion (Atmospheric/Post Black Metal)
26. Cantique LépreuxPaysages Polaires (Atmospheric Black Metal)
27. Rebel WizardVoluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response (Black/Heavy Metal)
28. ChoriaBlack Secret Beyond of Nature (Atmospheric Black Metal)
29. MorrowThe Weight of These Feathers (Atmospheric/Post Black Metal)
30. SargeistUnbound (Traditional Black Metal)
31. FirtanOkeanos (Pagan Black Metal)
32. ConvulsingGrievous (Black/Death Metal)
33. WindsweptVisionaire (Atmospheric Black Metal)
34. NachteuleBergdorf (Atmospheric Black Metal)
35. OublietteThe Passage (Melodic Black Metal)
36. AntlersBeneath Below Behold (Atmospheric Black Metal)
37. ArchgoatThe Luciferian Crown (Black/Death Metal)
38. PanopticonThe Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
39. WindfaererAlma (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)
40. AfskySorg (Depressive Black Metal)
41. VerheererMaltrér (Traditional Black Metal)
42. SolitvdoMilitia (Melodic Black Metal)
43. ImmortalNorthern Chaos Gods (Traditional Black Metal)
44. Black ReaperCelestial Descension (Melodic Black Metal)
45. CzortCzarna Ewangelia (Traditional Black Metal)
46. AniconEntropy Mantra (Progressive Black Metal)
47. UadaCult of a Dying Sun (Melodic Black Metal)
48. Wild HuntAfterdream of the Reveller (Post Black Metal)
49. Untamed LandBetween the Winds (Epic Black Metal)
50. ОктябрьОктябрь (Atmospheric/Folk Black Metal)

– West Maddox

~

GIUSEPPE D’ADIUTORIO (Batrakos / Deathvoid / Thecodontion / Xenoglossy Productions)

At first I just wanted to pick 10 albums, but I couldn’t decide so I ended up with 40. Also most of the positions are rather random after a while, since I suck at making “best of” lists. I’ve mostly listened to non-metal music this year and I think it shows in this list (especially for the first place!). Many thanks to Aaron for reaching out and giving me the opportunity to write this article, it means a lot.

40: HISSINGPermanent Destitution (experimental black/death metal)
Profound Lore Records
hissingseattle.bandcamp.com/album/permanent-destitution
Chaotic and swirling riffs, like a noise band gone death metal.

39: SELVANSFaunalia (atmospheric black metal/progressive rock)
Avantgarde Music
selvans.bandcamp.com/album/faunalia
A huge step forward from Lupercalia. It sounds like a Morricone movie soundtrack mixed with progressive/atmospheric black metal, in the best way possible.

38: PORTALIon (experimental black/death metal)
Profound Lore Records
profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/ion
An improvement over Vexovoid, although Swarth is unbeatable. Actually, I want a Portal album made entirely of songs that sound like the 7th track on here, Spores. This track shows that Portal has the potential to excel in raw black metal too.

37: TIM HECKERKonoyo (experimental/electro/ambient)
Kranky
timhecker.bandcamp.com/album/konoyo
Not as good as 2016’s Love Streams, sadly, but Tim is a man of absolute talent and it shows even when he’s slightly less inspired.

36: AEVANGELISTMatricide in the Temple of Omega (experimental black/death metal)
I, Voidhanger Records
i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/matricide-in-the-temple-of-omega
Honorable mentions to their other 2018’s full length Heralds of Nightmare Descending, their compilation of re-recorded songs Veneration of Profane Antiquity and the reworked version of their debut Oracle of Infinite Despair, it has been a very productive year for the duo, both quantity and quality-wise. It was difficult picking between Heralds and Matricide… actually.

35: CONVULSINGGrievous (experimental black/death metal)
– self-released –
convulsing.bandcamp.com/album/grievous
Unexpected and much awaited follow up to Errata, and an excellent one too. A desperate and dark black/death metal emotional rollercoaster.

34: MALTHUSIANAcross Deaths (black/death metal)
Invictus Productions
malthusian.bandcamp.com/album/across-deaths
If Antediluvian (Haasiophis did the cover art by the way) is “prehistoric chaos”, this is the equivalent of Earth cracking open and swallowing everything at the end of the world.

33: AKSUMITEVinegar Perimeter (punk/black metal)
Colloquial Sound Recordings
colloquialsoundrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/vinegar-perimeter
Furious punk metal. I love Colloquial Sound Recordings’ output and it’s a bit of a shame they slowed down with the amount of releases over the years, they have many interesting oddballs in their roster. Honorable mention to DM‘s main project A Pregnant Light‘s compilation Lucky All My Life/Devotion Unlaced.

32: SVARTIDAUDIRevelations of the Red Sword (black/death metal)
Vàn Records
svartidaudi.bandcamp.com/album/revelations-of-the-red-sword
Excellent follow up to Flesh Cathedral. The melodic leads and passages in the riffing are superb on this.

31: DAGGER LUSTSiege Bondage Averse to the Godhead (black/death metal)
VRASUBATLAT/Invictus Productions
vrasubatlat.bandcamp.com/album/vt-xix-siege-bondage-adverse-to-the-godhead
Notable mentions for the other VRASUBATLAT material out in 2018 as well: Utzalu, Pissblood, Filth Column, Adzalaan and Serum Dreg, but Dagger Lust‘s album was the one that impressed me the most. Furious primitive black/death metal, as brutal as its title.

30: PANDISCORDIAN NECROGENESISOuter Supernal (experimental black metal)
Gilead Media
gileadmedia.bandcamp.com/album/outer-supernal
Improvised black metal played all simultaneously, courtesy of Ephemeral Domignostika (also a member of Mastery and Pale Chalice). And it almost sounds like a full band! Notable mention to PN‘s EP Eigenwelt, also out in 2018.

29: MAMALEEKOut of Time (experimental rock)
The Flenser
mamaleek.bandcamp.com/album/out-of-time
Mamaleek has become something similar to an experimental rock band by now, but I really appreciated their progression during their career and this album is so damn weird and uncategorizable.

28: ALTAR OF PERVERSIONIntra Naos (raw black metal)
The Ajna Offensive
altarofperversion.bandcamp.com/
Three hours of black metal are a tad too much to endure in the long run, but this album is so damn ambitious and grandiose.

27: DAVID GARLANDVerdancy (experimental folk)
Tall Owl Audio
davidgarland.bandcamp.com/album/verdancy
This is four hours long experimental record, but’s a damn beautiful experience. Absolutely check out the different versions of the CD packaging, great choice of colors and “verdant” aesthetics.

26: SLUGDGEEsoteric Malacology (melodic/progressive death metal)
Willowtip Inc. –
slugdge.bandcamp.com/album/esoteric-malacology
Surprisingly good melodic death metal with clean vocals. It’s also about SLUGS!

25: JUTE GYTE/SPECTRAL LOREHelian (experimental black metal)
I, Voidhanger Records
i-voidhangerrecords.bandcamp.com/album/helian
It’s more of a collaborative album than a standard split for its ambition. Jute turns all he touches into mictrotonal gold.

24: CALIBRO 35Decade (funk/jazz)
Record Kicks
calibro35rk.bandcamp.com/album/decade
Their music is inspired by Italian ’70s crime movies, their most recent albums have some space-rock elements as well. You should absolutely check them out.

23: BARSTThe Endeavour (drone/experimental rock)
Consouling Sounds
barst1.bandcamp.com/album/the-endeavour
Layered, multi-formed and ever transforming during the course of its 43 minutes, while keeping its “drone jam” quality.

22: BODIES ON EVERESTA National Day of Mourning (experimental/industrial rock)
Third-I-Rex
bodiesoneverest.bandcamp.com/album/a-national-day-of-mourning
The description on their Bandcamp reads “Dedicated to a car park in Sarasota FL, a wall in Harrisburg, PA, a chlorine tank, a photograph of a fishing net, a fire extinguisher, a lawyer at a railway station, a section of the pacific ocean near the coast of Chile” and the album is the experimental/industrial equivalent of these evocative vignettes.

21: HIMELVARUWEHemelpoort (raw black metal)
– self-released/The Throat
himelvaruwe.bandcamp.com/album/hemelpoort
Notable mentions to his two EPs also out in 2018 as well: Zwaluwenvesting and Het Okenbare. This is a project of the mastermind behind Kaffaljidhma, with an unique aesthetic and a weird approach on raw black metal.

20: SOLAR TEMPLEFertile Descent (atmospheric black metal)
Haeresis Noviomagi/Eisenwald
solartemplehn.bandcamp.com/album/fertile-descent
Notable mentions to Haeresis Noviomagi‘s other two major outputs this year: Iskandr‘s Euprosopon and Fluisteraars/TuriaDe Oord. All of them are great but I think I like Solar Temple‘s “sunny” take on atmospheric black metal the most.

19: EHNAHRE and HADEANRites for Winter (freeform/experimental rock)
– self-released –
ehnahremetal.bandcamp.com/album/rites-for-winter
Collaborative mini album, with lyrics adapted from the eponymous poem by Weldon Kees. A continuation of the recent Ehnahre dissonant jazzy style like on The Marrow, which I loved last year.

18: SUMAC & Keiji HainoKeep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous To Look At Face On (noise rock)
Thrill Jockey
sumac.bandcamp.com/album/american-dollar-bill-keep-facing-sideways-youre-too-hideous-to-look-at-face-on
Notable mention to SUMAC‘s Love in Shadow, also out this year. It was hard picking between these two, but I think I like Keiji Haino‘s crazy noise input a bit more.

17: HERE LIES MANYou Will Know Nothing (psychedelic rock/afrobeat)
RidingEasy Records
hereliesman.bandcamp.com/album/you-will-know-nothing-2
Afrobeat mixed with psychedelic rock. Weird, but I’ve never heard something like this before. These guys are criminally overlooked.

16: ASSUMPTIONAbsconditus (funeral doom metal)
Sentient Ruin Laboratories/Everlasting Spew Records
everlastingspewrecords.bandcamp.com/album/absconditus
A proggy and even more atmospheric take on dISEMBOWELMENT, which I love, so I like anything inspired by them almost by default. Best Italian metal album this year.

15: ANICONEntropy Mantra (melodic black metal)
Vendetta Records
anicon.bandcamp.com/album/entropy-mantra
Impeccable mixture of melody and technicality in black metal. Great drumming by Krallice‘s Lev Weinstein.

14: S U R F I N GINCUBO (vaporwave)
– self-released –
surfing.100percentelectronica.com/album/incubo
Vaporwave did its time by now, but I wasn’t expecting a comeback album from S U R F I N G. They mostly work with original material without relying on samples and manage to avoid vaporwave’s usual trappings, so this doesn’t feel like a “meme” album at all, quite the opposite.

13: SLEEPWALKER – 一期一会 (experimental rock/metal)
Sentient Ruin Laboratories/Annapurna Production
sentientruin.bandcamp.com/album/-
New Sleep? More like new SLEEPWALKER! This is the real deal, an insane fusion of psychedelia, progressive/kraut-rock, jazzy passages and dISEMBOWELMENT. Many things I love condensed into 24 minutes.

12: DAUGHTERSYou Won’t Get What You Want (industrial/noise rock)
Ipecac Recordings
daughters.bandcamp.com/album/you-wont-get-what-you-want-
Everyone is talking about it and rightfully so, it’s that good.

11: DEATH GRIPSYear of the Snitch (experimental hip-hop)
Third Worlds/Harvest Records
youtube.com/watch?v=rX3rmlHG4XM
Another unpredictable album by the guys. This time they even throw in a dose of krautrock for a change.

10: ONEOHTRIX POINT NEVERAge Of (experimental/electro)
Warp Records
youtube.com/watch?v=tN4mV_jB-y0
Sadly it’s a huge step back from Garden of Delete and it’s not some of his best material, but it’s slowly growing on me and when it works, it’s stellar.

9: SAINTE MARIE DES LOUPSs/t (raw black metal)
Fallen Empire Records
saintemariedesloups.bandcamp.com/album/sainte-marie-des-loups
Raw black metal album of the year hands down. The ending of Sermons Sanglants might go on forever for all I care.

8: ZEAL AND ARDORStranger Fruit (r’n’b/spirituals/metal)
MVKA Music
zealandardor.bandcamp.com/album/stranger-fruitManuel Gagneux really knows how to make a catchy chorus and make the improbable mix of metal and spirituals/r’n’b work.

7: TETHERSIt Bows By Day (guitar ambient)
Lurker Bias
tethers.bandcamp.com/album/it-bows-by-day
These guys deserve more credit and exposure. Their guitar-ambient perfectly recreates the melancholic serenity and desolation on the cover artwork.

6: KNELT ROTEAlterity (grindcore/black/death metal)
Nuclear War Now! Productions
youtube.com/watch?v=2NHO41PQa9Q
An ultraviolent equivalent of a brick to the teeth. A shame these guys split up (the album is posthumous, actually), but that’s an excellent way to end your career on a high note. It’s probably going to be a landmark on the subgenre for years to come.

5: RANDALL DUNNBeloved (electro/ambient)
Figureight
randalldunn.bandcamp.com/album/beloved
Beautifully soothing album. Plus it has Zola Jesus and Frank Fisher from Algiers as guests, what’s not to love?

4: IMPERIAL TRIUMPHANTVile Luxury (jazz/black/deathmetal)
Gilead Media/The Alchemy Lab Records
imperialtriumphant.bandcamp.com/album/vile-luxury
Oh man I love jazz mixed with extreme metal, A swirling mix of black/death metal and saxophone madness. Their Metropolis-influenced imagery of vintage New York goes along perfectly with the music.

3: TOBY DRIVERThey Are The Shield (experimental/ambient rock)
Blood Music
blood-music.bandcamp.com/album/they-are-the-shield
I really like the direction Toby has taken both with his solo project and the most recent Kayo Dot albums. Delicate yet intricate. Notable mention for his darksynth side project Piggy Black Cross‘s Always out of R.E.A.C.H. with Bridget Bellavia.

2: CHAOS ECHOESMouvement (jazz/black/death metal)
Nuclear War Now! Productions
chaosechoes.bandcamp.com/album/mouvement
An instrumental black/death metal album that plays like a free-jazz jam. Ornette Coleman goes blasting. Notable mentions for their collaboration EP with Mats Gustafsson and OCRE‘s s/t 7″, a collaboration between bassist Stefan Thanneur and Michel Langevin from Voivod.

1: CLARENCE CLARITYThink: PEACE (experimental pop/r’n’b)
Deluxe Pain –
youtube.com/watch?v=C8Z_arswO4w
Same as 2015, the first position belongs to him. While probably not as good as No Now, and also less layered and more accessible, Think: PEACE is a super catchy, yet complex pop album. Clarence Clarity is once again the absolute master of choruses, every single one got stuck into my brain for days. It’s nice to hear mini-suites, guitar solos and prog-rock-like reprises in r’n’b.

~

Parts One and Two down. Stay tuned for part Three. Hails.

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

LISTCRUSH 2018: Artists, Label Owners and Contributors – Part One

Yep. It’s that time of the year again. The time when we head back over the year that was and select our “best” of what was yet another incredible twelve months for both black metal and music in general. This time around instead of just the usual ol’ BMD lists we’ve opened things up to a few of BMD‘s favourite artists, labels and contributors to share their thoughts on which releases clawed their way scratching and howling to the top of the heap in 2018. The only rule they were given was: there were no rules. No genre restrictions, list as many or as few as they liked, in any format they chose.

There were some… let’s say, ‘intriguing’ selections and submissions (hell, one very well-known atmo/post black artist even passed on submitting a list because he “didn’t want his fanbase to know what he really listens to”), and overall it’s a fascinating look into which albums spoke to and inspired some of our favourite artists this year. So check out Part One of what’s likely to be a three part series of LISTCRUSH 2018: Artists, Label Owners and Contributors.

~

SCOTT WILLIAMS (Vahrzaw)

I didn’t really acquire much from 2018, I was mainly focused on older releases and some other genres, but here’s a few I spun and like from this year. No particular order, just good releases. There’s even some synthwave for good measure.

PortalIon
Pungent StenchSmut Kingdom
Grave UpheavalUntitled
ImmortalNorthern Chaos Gods
CrawlRitual
Ritual NecromancyDisinterred Horror
MalthusianAcross Deaths
Neon NoxSyndicate Shadow
CistThe Frozen Casket
VahrzawHusk *coughs*

~

ALEKSEY K. (Satanath Records)

1: Dead Can DanceDionysus
2: Daron Malakian and Scars On BroadwayDictator
3: Evoken Hypnagogia

…damn, I not remember other

+ all bands I released on my label of course!

~

JUSTIN COLEMAN (Krigsgrav)

Every year is an interesting trip around the sun. New music comes and goes like the ebb and flow of time, some albums just hit us harder than others. 2018 for me was a very rich year in metal, yielding tons of great material from all over the heavy landscape. Below is my top 15 list for this year with a brief explanation with each album as to why I picked them. Feel the misery (wait, that wasn’t this year?!).

1: Eternal HelcaraxeIn Times of Desperation (Naturmacht Productions)
Technically this album came out on December 29, 2017, but that just means it would be best of 2017 and 2018 for me honestly. I’ve been a fan of these guys since the To Whatever End EP, and they’ve made huge strides on each release, but In Times of Desperation is their absolute defining moment (at this point). It’s uplifting, aggressive, melodic, pissed off and rife with some of the best black metal I’ve heard in a very long time, well fucking done!

2: NecrophobicMark of the Necrogram (Century Media)
Honestly, Necrophobic could half-ass it and they would still probably make my list just because I have such an affinity for these guys and their premium lineage. Mark of the Necrogram is the best thing they’ve done since Bloodhymns and the return of original vocalist Anders Strokirk and amazing guitar duo Sebastian Ramstedt and Johan Bergeback finds the band back to full strength, and a welcome return it is.

3: Realm Of WolvesOblivion (Self Released)
This Hungarian troupe came out of nowhere with their fantastic mix of melodic black metal and post rock/whatever material. Realm of Wolves manage to create a sincere link between Storm Of The Light’s Bane era Dissection, Forefather and the atmospherics of Saor. A gem worth every second of your time.

4: HinayanaOrder Divine (Black Lion Records)
Like melodic doom/death metal that sounds kinda familiar yet will blow your socks off? If so, Hinayana is your band and Order Divine is your album. Order Divine is breathtaking, these guys are on to big things.

5: AbortedTerrorVision (Century Media)
I’ll be honest: this kind of death metal usually isn’t my thing, but god damnit is this album fantastic. It’s creepy, riff laden, brutal and catchy all while crafting something wholly unique and worthy of repeated listens.

6: SkeletonwitchDevouring Radiant Light (Prosthetic Records)
Much like Aborted I kind of wrote these guys off as beer/trash/black rehash which left me uninterested. Man, I was fucking wrong. Devouring Radiant Light is a fantastic release that is emotionally huge with a heady dose of old school Swedish black metal mixed with heavy metal. I hope these guys stay on this path from here on out.

7: TribulationDown Below (Century Media)
Premium deathrock black metal at its best. There’s plenty of bands playing their older style of death metal better, but few bands play this kind of ‘ghoul’ metal better. Put this album on while wearing your fringe tutu and twirl like a maniac while watching Suspiria for ultimate results.

8: WolfheartConstellation of the Black Light (Napalm Records)
Wolfheart make another heartfelt death and doom slab that hits you right in the soft bits, yet still holds you up to weather the storm.

9: BloodbathThe Arrow of Satan is Drawn (Peaceville)
‘Old Nick‘ really hits his stride on TAOSID and sounds like a reanimated corpse who is flanked with the best house band hell has to offer. Best thing they’ve done since Unblessing the Purity.

10: EvokenValorous Consternation (Profound Lore)
Atmospheric doom and gloom at its best. Let’s hope these guys put out another one before the end of the century because Valorous Consternation is a masterpiece.

11: Giant of the MountainNature’s Wrath (Self Released)
Giant of the Mountain are a Texas treasure, plain and simple. They mix literally all metal genre’s seamlessly together and Nature’s Wrath is their best album to date hands down. It’s black, it’s death, it’s prog, it’s…fucking fantastic. Get into this yesterday.

12: Soul DissolutionStardust (Black Lion Records, Fólkvangr Records)
Epic, melodic atmospheric black metal. Little frills, but maximum enjoyment on a cold winter’s night.

13: ValdurGoat of Iniquity (Bloody Mountain Records)
If you like your death metal blackened, or black metal deathened, Valdur have the album for you. Goat of Iniquity is filthy Archgoat-ish/Beherit love at its best that will up your necromancer game to the next level.

14: ThouMagus (Sacred Bones Records)
Thou are fucking weird, and that’s a compliment. They mix everything together and Magus is a glaring monster that hates you but demands you listen to it at the same time.
15: Night DemonLive Darkness (Century Media)
Night Demon are bad ass. Night Demon live, are really badass. This is Night Demon live on an album. It’s really, really badass.

~

THE SENTIENT RUIN OVERLORD (Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

01. Judas PriestFirepower
02. Knelt RoteAlterity
03. DemonomancyPoisoned Atonement
04. NordvargrMetempsychosis
05. JyotiṣavedāṅgaThermogravimetry Warp Continuum
06. City HunterDeep Blood
07. Mz.412Svartmyrkr
08. Eartaker Harmonics
09. AssumptionAbsconditus
10. Tårne SpirerVarmblod

~

JAN KRUITWAGEN (Sammath)

Editor’s Note: I asked Jan and Sammath for a list of their favourite albums of the year – this is all I received in return:

Clearly getting in an early celebration for the fact that their next album ‘Across The Rhine Is Only Death’ is already a shoe-in for everyone’s lists next year, the lovely blokes did then send me one single EP as their best-of list a few days later:

1: VITRIOLPain Will Define Their Death (Everlasting Spew Records)

…with the sole comment that it’s “fucking brilliant”. They’re not wrong. Cheers fellas, here‘s to 2018.

~

TOM O’DELL (Dwarrowdelf)

Here’s my top ten albums! Hope you enjoy the read.

Cheers,

Tom

10: DragonyMasters of the Multiverse
Certainly the funnest record I’ve heard this year, as can probably be told from that ridiculously cool artwork. Every chorus on this album is huge, which is exactly what I love in power metal. The production, orchestrations and attention to detail on each track is exceptional.
Check out: “The Iron Price”, “Evermore”, “Angels on Neon Wings”

9: ObscuraDiluvium
I love Obscura, but Akróasis never really hit the spot for me like Cosmogenesis and Omnivium did previously. I knew that Dilivium would be a great album from the first time I heard the first single, and it doesn’t disappoint. Instead of being too self-indulgent, the German tech-death band finds a great balance of catchy melodeath riffs, progressive guitar wizardry and awesome vocal lines. Oh, and the bit in “Ethereal Skies” with the cello is so tasty.
Check out: “Ethereal Skies”, “Dilivium”, “Emergent Evolution”

8: VisigothConqueror’s Oath
This is an unusual pick for me, as I tend not to listen to much traditional heavy metal. However, on instruction from a trusted friend I gave Visigoth‘s latest record a listen, and was not disappointed. Much could be said about the solid choruses, the tasty riffs, and self-editing skills they’ve picked up since their first album. Jake Rogers‘ powerful baritone voice is a force to behold, and a welcome change from the legions of power metal bands fronted by high-pitched wailers. Having seen Visigoth live in July, what stood out is how real they sound – the album might sound a touch bare due to the lack of ridiculous layering and overdubs, but it means that the songs are delivered live exactly as they should be.
Check out: “Steel and Silver”, “Traitor’s Gate”, “Outlive Them All”

7: MølJord
2018 was the year I finally got into post-black-gaze(?), and Møl played a huge part in that with this beast of a record. In a genre saturated by stagnant songs that rely too much on over-repetition, not doing anything, or copying Alcest, the band stand out with their ability to keep their songs short yet lose none of the impact or atmosphere that the genre requires. The album displays exceptional range, from peaceful clean passages to the harshness that only black metal can deliver, and I absolutely love it. I understand they’re only a young group too, so I can’t wait to see what direction they take going forward.
Check out: “Bruma”, “Penumbra”, “Jord”

6: AmorphisQueen of Time
What can I say about this album that hasn’t already been said? Amorphis are true masters of the gloomy melodeath that the Finns seem to so love. Queen of Time showcases a band at the peak of their powers, seemingly immune from the law of diminishing recordings that plagues so many bands at this point in their career (looking at you In Flames). If you’ve not heard it by now, I’d highly recommend rectifying that mistake.
Check out: “Wrong Direction”, “Pyres on the Coast”, “Message In The Amber”

5: ShylmagoghnarTransience
Not many bands can pull off atmospheric melodeath like Shylmagoghnar do. With a brave mix of instrumental songs, a surprising mid-album folkdeath number, and one of the best opening tracks in musical history, this album somehow manages to be both unpredictable and cohesive in a way that is hard to describe. I’d suggest listening to it, and then listening again.
Check out: “Transience”, “This Shadow of the Heart”, “As All Must Come to Pass”

4: Beyond CreationAlgorythm
I’ve seen a few reviews giving Beyond Creation a hard time for enjoying being a progressive death metal band that likes jazz, saying that Algorythm gets too self-indulgent and never manages to reach the peaks of their spectacular debut album, The Aura. To them I say… fair enough, it’s not The Aura. Very few records are. But what Algorythm is is a damn good time, with an intriguing blend of musical influences and instrumentation. It’s not an album that you fully appreciate on the first listen, or the fifth. I probably still have more to appreciate from it, however many listens later (I stuck it on repeat a LOT); and I can’t wait.
Check out: “Surface’s Echoes”, “Binomial Structures”, “The Inversion”

3: SojournerThe Shadowed Road
Their sophomore effort saw Sojourner outgrow their pure atmoblack metal origins, and create an atmospheric blend of melodeath, folk, and perhaps even some power. The production is flawless, the songwriting is slicker, and the performances are bolder. The album displays diversity within its theme, with stompy folk standing side by side with doomy gloom. Also, the outro for the title track has the jauntiest change of pace ever, and it’s brilliant.
Check out: “The Shadowed Road”, “Titan”, “Where Lost Hope Lies”

2: HinayanaOrder Divine
This album was put to me as “the best Insomnium album this year”. It is that. Although, don’t let that let you be fooled into thinking it’s a mere rip off of the melodeath masters; Hinayana take clear inspiration from the Finnish scene, but add their own definitive atmosphere. The riffs are crushing, the vocals are so, so, so low (like… come on, I wish I was that manly), and the chord progressions are beautiful in the most sorrowful of ways. I expect these guys to go far, if they can keep churning out ideas like the ones present on this masterpiece.
Check out: “The Window”, “Conduit Closing”, “Return to Nothing”

1: ArchitectsHoly Hell
Um, I didn’t expect my favourite album of the year to be metalcore either. But my god, this album… It’s raw, emotionally devastating, and imbued with the pain of the circumstances surrounding its conception. It’s also colossally massive, slick, and boasts the best low end production I’ve ever heard. Every riff is pummelling, every orchestral touch is tasteful, and every word Sam Carter spits out tears at the heartstrings. We all know that metalcore is one of those genres saturated beyond necessity with generic breakdowns and awful emo singing. Pretend that all of that doesn’t exist, because Architects just reinvented the game with this record. You want the best heavy album of the year? This is it.
Check out: All of them? Oh fine… “Death Is Not Defeat”, “Holy Hell”, “Mortal After All”

Honourable Mentions:
TemperanceOf Jupiter and Moons
ImmortalNorthern Chaos Gods
Cân BarddNature Stays Silent
Bury TomorrowBlack Flame
XenoblightProcreation

~

ÞÓRIR GARĐARSSON (Svartidauði / Sinmara)

1: Craft White Noise and Black Metal
2: Entropia Vacuum
3: Wolvennest Void
4: Obliteration Cenotaph Obscure
5: Slidhr The Futile Fires of Man
6: Jóhann Jóhannson Mandy OST
7: Voivod The Wake
8: Candelabrum Portals
9: Archgoat The Luciferian Crown
10: Convocation Scars Across
11: Evil Warriors Fall From Reality
12: Adaestuo Krew Za Krew
13: Taphos Come Ethereal Somberness
14: Emma Ruth Rundle On Dark Horses
15: Ritual Necromancy Disinterred Terror
16: Zealotry At the Nexus of all Stillborn Worlds
17: Paragon Impure Sade
18: Whoredom Rife Nid
19: Ungfell Mythen, Mären, Pestilenz
20: Carpe Noctem Vitrun

~

SAM “DISHO” DISHINGTON (Départe / Writhe)

Alright. Here it is.

I present for your consideration and discussion, my “Best of 2018” list, for the few of you who are interested. Lists are in alphabetical order. It’s been an absolute winner of a year for music, at least for me, so this took a lot of thinking and whittling down. But, I endured, because I’m great, and now here we are.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: AbrahamLook, Here Comes The Dark!

AUSTRALIAN ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Encircling SeaHearken

EP OF THE YEAR : The SecretLux Tenebris

TOP 15 INTERNATIONAL ALBUMS:
Talvihorros / Ben ChatwinDrone Signals
DaughtersYou Won’t Get What You Want
CoilgunsMillennials
Imperial Triumphant Vile Luxury
Infernal CoilWithin A World Forgotten
KriegsmaschineApocalypticists
Hate EternalUpon Desolate Sands
Hundred Year Old ManBreaching
mewithoutYou[Untitled]
Noise Trail ImmersionSymbology of Shelter
Rivers of NihilWhere Owls Know My Name
Rolo TomassiTime Will Die and Love Will Bury It
SlidhrThe Futile Fires of Man
Sonance To Possess You Entirely
SvartidauðiRevelations of the Red Sword

TOP 10 AUSTRALIAN ALBUMS:
Bear the MammothYears Under Glass
ConsumedConsumed
ConvulsingGrievous
Endless HeightsVicious Pleasure
EskhatonOmegalitheos
PloughshareIn Offal, Salvation
Portal – Ion
Rise of Avernus – Eigengrau
Sam Haven – Eden
Xenobiotic – Prometheus

TOP 5 EPS:
Deadspace – Mouth of Scorpions
Gevurah – Sulphur Soul
Hadal Maw – Charlatan
Hundred Year Old Man – Rei
selvə – D O M A

And because of course four lists is never enough, here’s my honourable mentions:

Ascension – Under Ether
Baring Teeth – Transitive Savagery
Barst – The Endeavour
Between the Buried and Me – Automata I & II
Birds in Row – We Already Lost the World
Bosse-de-Nage – Further Still
Conjurer – Mire
Devouring Star – The Arteries of Heresy
Dödsrit – Spirit Crusher
Erdve – Vaitojimas
Hissing – Permanent Destitution
Holy Fawn – Death Spells
Ingrina – Etter Lys
LLNN – Deads
Misrule – Forced to Suffer
Of Feather and Bone – Bestial Hymns of Perversion
Outre – Hollow Earth
Sectioned – Annihilated
Slugdge – Esoteric Malacology
Svalbard – It’s Hard to Have Hope
Talons – We All Know
The Black Heart Rebellion – TBHR plays A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
The Body – I Have Fought Against It, But I Can’t Any Longer
The Lions Daughter – Future Cult
The Ocean – Panerozoic I: Palaeozoic
This Will Destroy You – New Others Part One & Part Two
We Dream Alone – Æther
Wowod – Zemlya
Will Haven – Muerte

~

and there you have it, Part One down. Stay tuned for parts Two and Three. Hails.

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Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

LISTCRUSH – Part Two: Albums

Wrapping up the two part LISTCRUSH series of the releases that resonated and affected us the most throughout 2017, here’s the top 40 full-length albums. A little late, but last year was absolutely monolithic for Black Metal in general so what was originally going to be a top 20 stretched out to 40, and could have easily continued to 100. As in Part One, every single one of these albums and artists is highly recommended for your full attention. Enjoy.

~

~ TOP 40 ALBUMS OF 2017 ~

40: KROLOK – ‘Flying Above Ancient Ruins’ (Hexencave Prod.)

A Mortiis-style introduction echoes down cobwebbed halls before bursting into the moonlit sounds of the best era of Scandinavian hell. This Slovakian vampyric horde effortlessly nailed it.

~

39: HAUNTING DEPTHS – ‘Death’s Sacred Fire’ (Goatowarex)

No names, no country of origin, no information available for the project at all; just great fucking black metal.

~

38: BEZMIR – ‘Void’ (Werewolf Promotion)

One of Ukranian dark ambient maestro Severoth‘s many solo projects, now he channels the violence and terror of the cosmic void. Whenever I needed a quick fix of blistering, uncompromising savagery I always went straight to this beast. 

~

37: EVILFEAST – ‘Elegies of the Stellar Wind’ (Eisenwald)

This Polish gem crept silently in right at the death of the year and enchanted me with its ethereal, cold grimness. Magic.

~

36: WHOREDOM RIFE – ‘Dommedagskvad’ (Terratur Possessions)

Norwegian Black Metal is alive and well. The fucking riffs in this one should be illegal.

~

35: NIGHTBRINGER – ‘Terra Damnata’ (Season Of Mist)

Another go-to album if I needed a fix of viciousness. Majestic, sophisticated, devotional; and not the only entry on this list from these US mystics.

~

34: ALMYRKVI – ‘Umbra’ (Ván Records)

My favourite cosmic black/death album of the year, the debut album from these Icelandic wizards was everything I hoped for and more.

~

33: THROANE – ‘Plus Une Maine a Mordre’ (Debemur Morti)

A deep, deep album. Nobody creates art like Dehn Sora. Avant-garde madness, a bleeding wound that will not heal.

~

32: ENTHEOGEN – ‘Without Veil, Nor Self’ (Fallen Empire Records, Mystískaos)

Alex Poole‘s second entry into these lists. As I said in a previous article, this “will split your mind off into several simultaneous perceptual tangents allowing reality to become both an entirely new proposition and completely inconsequential all at once”. Mental.

~

31: HAVUKRUUNU – ‘Kelle Surut Soi’ (Naturmacht Productions)

I was a big fan of the Finns previous effort ‘Havulinnaan’ so when I first heard ‘Kelle Surut Soi’ I was a little disappointed by the differences, as they’d seemingly toned down a large part of what I enjoyed about them. Then I actually opened my ears, and holy shit.

~

30: THE CLEARING PATH – ‘Watershed Between Firmament and the Realm of Hyperborea’ (I, Voidhanger Records)

Italian prodigy Gabriele Gramaglia pushing everything into the stratosphere. Black Metal taken to almost incomprehensible new heights. Could have been higher up the list on a different day.

~

29: ISRATHOUM – ‘Channeling Death and Devil’ (Altare Productions)

Easily should have landed on more lists. As I wrote once before: “Five years was worth the wait; they’ve created a perilous album with an undeniable power that will bend you to its will. A trek down black metal’s many dark and winding paths; a sinister, ritualistic experience infused with dangerous occultism and coiled savagery, eyeing you with disdain and contempt, knowing it could tear out your throat with a mere flick of its wrist.” Evil.

~

28: PERVERTED CEREMONY – ‘Sabbat of Behazaël’ (Nuclear War Now! Productions)

Sheer ritualistic abomination; frenzied, fetid and foul. I felt like I needed a shower after every listen. Beautiful.

~

27: URN – ‘The Burning’ (Iron Bonehead Productions) 

Utterly blasphemic blackthrash from the Finns. The energy and sheer traditional headbang-ability of this is off the chain.

~

26: INCONCESSUS LUX LUCIS – ‘The Crowning Quietus’ (I, Voidhanger Records, Invictus Productions)

Black Metal that shreds? Yes. This album fucking rips. Glorious satanic power and might.

~

25: BESTIA ARCANA – Holókauston (Dark Descent Records)

The Nightbringer gents pulled off a spectacular coup releasing this and ‘Terra Damnata’ in the same year. An apocalyptic conjuration to rival anything any of them have ever done, including Akhlys. This tore open the earth.

~

24: KRALLICE – ‘Go Be Forgotten’ (Hathenter Records)

My favourite thing they’ve done in a minute, by a long shot. The production, the art; the inhuman musical abilities. This is one that will never be forgotten. 

~

23: FACELESS ENTITY – ‘In Via ad Nusquam’ (Nebular Carcinoma Records, Altare Productions, The Throat)

Forever mourning the dead and the living. Ominous, obscure atmosphere; I listened to a shitload of raw black this year and this was among the best.

~

22: FROZEN GRAVES – ‘Frozen Graves’ (Kuunpalvelus)

Finland showing everyone how it’s done; pure black metal. Probably would have been higher on the list if it’d dropped earlier than November and I’d been able to spend more time with it. 

~

21: SVARTSYN – ‘In Death’ (Agonia Records) 

Sweden’s finest annihilate once again. Misanthropic fury that will slice you in half with no mercy.

~

20: VOID PRAYER – ‘Stillbirth from the Psychotic Void’ (The Throat, Goatowarex)

This raw, disassociative dysphoria still haunts my dreams.

~

19: MORK – ‘Eremittens Dal’ (Peaceville Records)

When these men hit their stride nobody can beat them for capturing the essence of ’90s Norway. It isn’t mere imitation; it’s a channeling of powerful natural spirit continuing in the current age. The carriers of the torch for True Norwegian Black Metal.

~

18: VOËMMR – ‘Nox Maledictvs’ (Signal Rex)

Recorded over two nights in an abandoned farmhouse, you can almost feel the spirits of the dead crackling in the air as these Portuguese enigmas coax otherworldly atmospheres from their instruments.

~

17: AU-DESSUS – ‘End of Chapter’ (Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions)

The only post black album to make my list this year, this is monumental. Listen to it. Now.

~

16: SELBST – ‘Selbst’ (Sun & Moon Records)

The Venezuelans killed it with top notch composition, thunderous sound and one overall devastating album. Very well done.

~

15: URARV – ‘Aurum’ (Svart Records)

The man with the best voice in Norwegian Black Metal returns with another outstanding project. Bjorn ‘Aldrahn’ Dencker brings the avant-garde weirdness once again, and it is excellent.

~

14: FLEURETY – ‘The White Death’ (Peaceville Records)

Obliterating the notion of genre constraints since the early ’90s, Norwegians Fleurety are back with a stunningly bizzare rabbit hole from which there is zero chance of escape and even less of understanding. “We were always being normal”… 

~

13: DSKNT – ‘PhSPHR Entropy’ (Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

A churning maelstrom tearing apart the very physics of reality at a molecular level. I’d been following this release from Swiss enigma ASKNT with extreme interest, then when Sentient Ruin Laboratories picked it up for release I couldn’t have been happier. Terrifying. You need this in your life.

~

12: MRTVI – ‘Negative Atonal Dissonance’ (Transcending Obscurity Records)

How many artists are truly experimenting with black metal, or music in general?  For Damjan from mental Serbian/UK project MRTVI it’s gone past the ‘experimental’ stage, he’s now inventing. Full of improvisation and all sorts of sonic abandon, my 2017 list is stacked with avant-garde alchemy but this may just be the most batshit. Anxiety inducing.

~

11: TCHORNOBOG – ‘Tchornobog’ (I, Voidhanger Records, Fallen Empire Records)

I watched the hype slowly creep and then explode on this when it was released, and it was completely deserved. Monstrous, disturbing songs that warp your psyche; this isn’t an album you can dip in and out of. Dive in to the horror. 

~

10: NORSE – ‘The Divine Light of a New Sun’ (Transcending Obscurity Records)

“A warped, angular beast that lumbers towards you, continuously shape-shifting as body parts and facial features drop off and regrow in a horrifying, gibbering terror. Utterly inhuman.” Many, many more people should have paid attention to this dissonant Australian behemoth of an album. Superb. 

~

9: AOSOTH – ‘V: The Inside Scriptures’ (Agonia Records)

Backed up their last in spectacular fashion. I listened to this many, many times; and I still haven’t even received my vinyl yet.

~

8: TETRAGRAMMACIDE – ‘Primal Incinerators of Moral Matrix’ (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Ultimate punishment. These Indian commandos took the gloves clean off with this release and created an all out assault of sonic war crimes, each frenzied blow landing with lazer precision. The most brutal album on this list, and arguably of the year. 

~

7: BLUT AUS NORD – ‘Deus Salutis Meae’ (Debemur Morti Productions) 

Nobody does it like these gentlemen. It may not have been the giant leap forward many were expecting, but they didn’t need to. Still the best in the game. 

~

6: ACRIMONIOUS – ‘Eleven Dragons’ (World Terror Committee)

Semjaza is a man who knows his stuff, and this album ticked every single box for me. Perfect black art deserving of the highest praise. Glory to the one who is Eleven. 

~

5: CHAOS MOON – ‘Eschaton Mémoire’ (Blood Music)

Alex Poole does it again. This time allowing a more collaborative effort for his main project, the inclusion of Eric Baker on vocals this time around is absolutely inspired. Top shelf USBM, absolutely essential. 

~

4: SEVEROTH – ‘Forestpaths’ (Werewolf Promotion)

I listened to this album more times than any other over the course of the year. Ukranian demon Severoth‘s second entry into this list is a spellbinding journey through an immersive, frozen world. Something about this release hits me just right. A masterpiece.

~

3: american – ‘Violate and Control’ (Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

Fucking savagery. The US black industrial noise terrorist duo crafted something special here; something hideous and usually hidden but now dragged screaming into the light. The only album I purchased on multiple formats, and it’s pleased me to no end that I’ve seen it pop up on a few other year-end lists. Hanging to see what they do next.

~

2: BLACK CILICE – ‘Banished From Time’ (Iron Bonehead Productions)

Released in early March and never bettered. The raw black metal album of the year. Incredibly affecting, I was lost in its hypnotic swathes of cavernous howls for what felt like an eternity. Atmosphere like no other.

~

1: YELLOW EYES – ‘Immersion Trench Reverie’ (Gilead Media)

This album crept up on me. I had no idea it would be my album of the year until I was compiling this list, when I realised there could be only one release that could, and should, be at the top. At first listen you think it’s cool and the US crew had made some nice improvements building on ‘Sick With Bloom’; but once it starts to get under your skin and the nuances begin to reveal themselves there’s nothing quite like it. The field recordings from Tibet are only the icing on a rich, fascinatingly calm and natural yet grim and unsettling cake. Oustanding. Unique. In a banner year for Black Metal, this was the best.

~

Near Misses: Synodic – ‘Infinite Presence In A Violent Universe’, Desolate Shrine – ‘Deliverance from the Godless Void’, Bašmu – ‘VVitchblood’, Orm – ‘Orm’, Theurgia – ‘Transformation’, Fell Ruin ‘To The Concrete Drifts’, Fin – ‘Arrows of a Dying Age’, Enisum – ‘Seasons of Desolation’, Lóstregos – ‘Lendas Baixo o Luar’, Vassafor – ‘Malediction’, Windswept – ‘The Great Cold Steppe’, Dodecahedron – ‘Kwintessens’, Sarkrista – ‘Summoners of the Serpents Wrath’, Woe – ‘Hope Attrition’, Doedsvangr – ‘Satan Ov Suns’, Weregoat – ‘Pestilential Rites of Infernal Fornication’, Acedia Mundi – ‘Speculum Humanae Salvationis’, Malokarpatan – ‘Nordkarpatenland’, Wiegedood – ‘De Doden Hebben Het Goed II’, Falls of Rauros – ‘Vigilance Perennial’, Ofermod – ‘Sol Nox’.

~

…And that caps off the 2017 edition of LISTCRUSH. My utmost respect and admiration to all the artists that toiled in the darkness and blessed us with their blackened works last year. Think I missed anything? You’re probably right, send me your favourite shit. I’ll be chewing on a stack of remaining 2017 releases for the next few months anyway. 

Hails 2017; bring on 2018.

-A

~

Get in early for next year: Email blackmetaldaily@outlook.com

Submissions welcomed.

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LISTCRUSH – Part One: Splits and EPs

It’s that wonderful time of year: The time when every man and his dog has been splattering their ‘best of’ lists all over every available surface with joyous abandon. It’s also handy to find out if you’ve missed anything outstanding, as perusing lists from like-minded souls with similar tastes often yields overlooked gems. Last year I probably listened to more music than ever before and I still definitely would have missed plenty of gold standard releases; so, far from being comprehensive ‘best of’ lists here are BMD’s humble lists of superb black/blackened splits, EPs and albums that more people should hear and you should hunt down if you slept on. Some big names, some clandestine arts; my favourite shit from one of the most stacked years in recent memory, and every single one of these artists/releases I wholeheartedly recommend for your full attention. Part one: Splits and EPs. Enjoy.

~

~~ TOP 10 SPLITS ~~

10: GRAVEIR / MAR MORTUUM (Impure Sounds)

The first of three (!) all-Australian splits to make my top 10. An uneasy journey from Graveir knocks you around a bit before Mar Mortuum come through with absolute strength and astonishing quality. How neither of these bands are bigger than they are is beyond the limits of my comprehension. 

~

9: PAYSAGE D’HIVER / DRUDKH (Season Of Mist)

A single lengthy piece of windswept hypnotic atmosphere from Paysage D’Hiver that’s still absolutely essential; the only thing that prevents this being higher up the list is Drudkh not meeting their usual lofty standards. Which means by average plebian standards, it’s still fucking great. Even sub-par Drudkh is excellent music.

~

8: INTRINSIC LIGHT / EXPURGATORY (YNTPM)

Zen transcendence and blackened noise-rock experimentalism from the bowels of Melbourne, Australia. No other split intrigued me like this did; an almost indescribable experience. Those scared to stray far from the black metal blueprint need not apply.

~

7: WHITEWURM / TRUE LOVE (Les Fleurs Du Mal Productions)

Two solo USBM artists combine for one of the most caustic double stabs of hate you’ll have heard last year. Everything starts off disgustingly well with Whiteworm (featuring guest vocals from Eric Baker, who I daresay will also pop up somewhere in part two) then descends even further into new depths of hell with True Love. This was actually how I discovered True Love, so I like this split even more for that. 

~

6:  SUTEKH HEXEN / BLSPHM (Sentient Ruin Laboratories)

Yeah I’m cheating throwing a vinyl reissue in here, but the original release from years ago was ridiculously limited and barely anyone heard it, so fuck you, this counts in my book. Like listening to the destruction (Sutekh Hexen) and aftermath (BLSPHM) of the end of the world; strangely calming and terrifying all at once.

~

5: SINMARA / MISÞYRMING (Terratur Posessions, Vánagandr)

The Icelandic masters knock it out of the park on both sides. Sinmara‘s track ‘Ivory Stone’ is somehow even better than anything on ‘Within the Weaves of Infinity’, which is saying something.

~

4: HOWLS OF EBB / KHTHONIIK CERVIIKS (I, Voidhanger Records, Iron Bonehead Productions)

Khthoniik Cerviiks and Howls of Ebb try to outdo each other for pure black death avant-garde psychic obliteration. Utterly batshit.

~

3: ABIGOR / NIGHTBRINGER / THY DARKENED SHADE / MORTUUS (Self Released)

Four great artists, four tracks that blend seamlessly into a mesmerising and magickal whole, one stunning split. Reverential. Immerse thyself.

~

2: CONVULSING / SIBERIAN HELL SOUNDS (Art As Catharsis, WOOAAARGH)

Sheer masterful carnage. I still haven’t wrapped my head completely around these twin Australian black holes, and it’s been out for a month. It’s also another one that introduced me to one of the artists; I fucking love Convulsing and am forever grateful to Brendan for finally making me check out Siberian Hell Sounds through this release. Be warned: this will consume you from the inside out.

~

1: BLOOD TYRANT / DEPARTURE CHANDELIER (Nuclear War Now! Productions)

Unequivocal and irrefutable split of the year. Raw vampyric elitist art from Dutch duo Blood Tyrant, and the triumphant return after six years of Canadians Departure Chandelier. It may only be a single track from each (and a short intro) but I can easily flip the 7″ over and over and listen on repeat for hours, and have done so many times. Near perfection.

~

Near Misses: Sutekh Hexen / Hissing, Funeral Moon / Hordes of the Black Cross, Thy Darkened Shade / Chaos Invocation.

~

~~ TOP 10 EP’S ~~

10: HEXIS – XII (Self Released)

The unstoppable Dutch blackened hardcore pulverisers somehow topped ‘Tando Ashanti’ from earlier in the year with this. I’m still mightily pissed I missed them when they came through my area last year too. Brutal.

~

9: HIMELVARUWE – ‘Gewrocht’ (The Throat)

I could have easily put Dutch enigma T‘s  other raw demo for this project (‘CCIII’) up here, or his release from the also-stunning Kaffaljidhma; but this captivated me from the minute I heard it. How does he do it? Beats me, but I hope he never stops.

~

8: MALEFIC LEVITATION – ‘The Ancient Plague’ (Sentient Ruin Laboratories, Dawnbreed Records)

This came in relatively late but I’ve been playing the shit out of it. In a great year for war metal, these US berzerkers blew me away. Ultimate destruction; more please, stat.

~

7: AVERSIO HUMANITATIS – ‘Longing For The Untold’ (Sentient Ruin Laboratories, BlackSeed Productions)

“This is an EP that will pull your skin off slowly to force you to see what’s underneath, directing your gaze both inwards and outwards.” 

I said that in the intro piece for when I interviewed them earlier in the year and it’s still a perfect description of their nihilistic, transcendent black/death assault to me. Need a new full-length from these demons. 

~

6: LORN – ‘Arrayed Claws’ (I, Voidhanger Records)

I’ve been communicating sporadically with Radok of Italians Lorn for almost a year now in regards to an interview; he’s a fascinating person. Perhaps one day it will eventuate, but in the meantime let the intricate, silvery ‘Arrayed Claws’ sink needle-like into your brain. Unique and unsettling; this project just gets better and better with each release.

~

5: SINMARA – ‘Within the Weaves of Infinity’ (Oration, Terratur Possessions)

Intricate, deeply melodic in its bleakness and utterly captivating in the tale it tells, this wrapped its rich tapestries around me and didn’t let go for some time. Bodes extremely well for the upcoming full-length.

~

4: GNIPAHÅLAN – ‘I Blodets Kamp…’ (Ancient Records, Mysticism Productions)

I would have put the Swedes excellent self-titled full length in the top albums list but that originally came out in 2016 despite the ’17 vinyl release, so luckily this EP more than makes up for that omission. Raw black with perfect atmospheric clarity; listen deeply.

~

3: VOIDSPHERE – ‘To Call | To Speak’ (Fallen Empire Records, Amor Fati Productions)

I said in the last Bandcamp Misanthropy this was one of the greatest EPs to drop last year and it easily would have been the greatest if the next two on the list hadn’t been released. The production gets me every time. Pure void worship. I need to pick this up on vinyl.

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2: THANTIFAXATH – ‘Void Masquerading As Matter’ (Dark Descent Records)

The first time I heard ‘Cursed Numbers’, my reaction was simply: Wow. The Canadian trio could have released that track as a single and I still would have put it somewhere on this list; add the rest of the EP and you’ve almost taken top spot. Follows up ‘Sacred White Noise’ in the best way possible. Stunning. 

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1: SKÁPHE – ‘Untitled’ (Mystískaos) 

I feel like many have forgotten about this outstanding single track EP, the third release from the duo of Alex Poole (another name that may pop up in part two) and D.G of Martröð, Misþyrming and Naðra. Black metal to me is all about feeling; this makes me feel like I’m trapped in a nightmare hell trip through the worst kind of hallucinatory psychosis. Easily the best of the year. Yeah DMT and LSD are cool, but have you tried Skáphe?

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Near Misses: Serpent Column – ‘Ornuthi Thalassa’, SVRM – anything he released last year, Kaffaljidhma – ‘IV’, Rür – ‘Rür’, Somnium Nox – ‘Terra Inanis’, Abkehr – ‘In Asche’, Thy Sepulchral Moon – ‘Contemptuous Retaliation Storm’, Nordjevel – ‘Krigsmakt’, Endalok – ‘Úr Draumheimi Viðurstyggðar’, Svartidauði – ‘Untitled’.

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And that’s Part One wrapped up, hope you found at least one new blackened delight to pleasure/annihilate your ears with. Let me know anything I’ve missed, should have heard, or just how terribly shit you think my listening tastes are in general and stay tuned for Part Two: Albums, coming soon. 

Hails to 2017.

– A.

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Get in early for 2018. Submissions welcomed.

Email: blackmetaldaily@outlook.com