This post is a little late for a wide variety of reasons, if I’m being honest. I apologize. While it’s true that I’ve combined this week and last week into one post for the reason that one of those two weeks was quite slow, I was also out of the country for a few days which made it difficult to keep up with new stuff. But now I’m back, and this week’s post has a very full roster, if I might add. I may ease up a bit on the descriptions for this post, but know that every release here is awesome. I haven’t included a lot of things that are easily of the quality I normally would accept for these posts just because I ran out of space. Ranking these feels unnecessary because at this point in quality, it’s much more about my personal tastes/biases than it is an objective comparison (hence the reason why I did not bother to do rankings this week). If you keep that in mind you will discover some very interesting releases.
Rimthurs is a Swedish one-man project. This release is actually the first I’ve heard of Rimthurs and I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised. ‘Graveskrift’ is an album that sounds as though it is the product of finely-honed creative ability. The atmosphere it provides is quite unique and seamless, making it one of this year’s stronger atmospheric black metal releases.
Dodecahedron have only one release prior to this. Half a decade has passed since the release of 2012’s self-titled full-length, and yet it seems these Dutch avant-garde black metal wizards have not lost their touch. Inevitably, after such a long lull between albums, their sound has evolved; still, ‘Kwintessens’ is a release that as distinctly bears their mark as anything they’ve done in the past–the sound of a band steadily forging onwards and upwards into dizzying heights of the genre.
Illimitable Dolor- Illimitable Dolor
This self-titled full-length is the debut release of Australian atmospheric death/doom band Illimitable Dolor. At times grazing the outer boundaries of funeral doom territory, ‘Illimitable Dolor’ is a delightfully crushing album. The word ‘introspective’ is one that came to mind while listening to this–it is an album likely to provide a backdrop for many daydreams in the best of ways.
Délétère- Per Aspera Ad Pestilentiam
Délétère are a band belonging to the Québécois black metal (QCBM) scene–regarded by many as being among the best modern black metal scenes in the world (and admittedly a sizeable addiction of mine). They are a band that receives relatively little attention in the scene, though I expect this will change in the near future, as they didn’t release their first full-length until 2015 and are still quite new. Two years have passed since 2015’s ‘Les heures de la peste’, and at long last, we have been gifted with ‘Per Aspera Ad Pestilentiam’. Even though this album does carry on the spirit of QCBM, Délétère have left more than enough headroom to craft their own unique identity without reverting to mindless worship of the giants of the style, all the while pushing onwards to the future of QCBM. The roots are firm, but the branches are in a space of their own.
Last year, Philadelphia’s Skáphe earned themselves a fair amount of discussion when they released a promising candidate for black metal Album of the Year: ‘Skáphe²’. Now, in 2017, they’ve returned with a brand new untitled EP bathed in the same hair-splitting dissonant aura that previously landed them such high reputability. While this EP does not quite measure up to ‘Skáphe²’, it’s definitely a highly appreciated lifeline for those who are dying to hear more from the band.
Black Cilice- Banished From Time
The Portuguese scene is one that is often overlooked or that slips from consideration, and that is not the best way to go about it. Not least when in doing so you run the risk of albums such as ‘Banished From Time’ going undiscovered. Black Cilice are a reputable raw black metal band, and this album sounds as though it was recorded in a cave (which depending on your personal taste may range from being a drawback to a bonus of staggering proportions). If you’re in search of eerie, unsettling atmosphere combined with that characteristic raw aggression, look no further.
It is not exactly a secret that Fen are a beacon of rhythmically intricate, interesting and maturely written black metal. They are a band that can be relied upon to produce excellent material on a very consistent basis, and of course, ‘Winter’ is no exception to that. In fact this is possibly some of their best work to date and I’ve no doubt that after a few more listens this will become one of my favourite Fen releases.
Revivals of old school black metal have been hit or miss in recent years. In fact, there was a time when I found it quite laborious to sort through the piles of bands that have attempted the style without success, but 2017 seems to have refuted that trend with releases from bands in the vein of White Death, Rust and now Finland’s Förgjord, who are adding a retrospective spin on traditional black metal with a high degree of skill and precision. ‘Uhripuu’ is an album I cannot recommend highly enough. This is something that I believe to be a 2017 essential even this early on in the year. I don’t doubt in the slightest that it will make many Album of the Year lists in 2017, because unless a vast amount of godly releases appear out of nowhere down the road, it will be on mine.