Category Archives: Black Metal

Aura Noir – Aura Noire (Review)

Aura Noir – Aura Noire (2018)

More reliably excellent stuff from the Norwegian black thrash icons. Aura Noir cast back to the early days of black metal’s “first wave”: the gnarly thrash of old Venom, Celtic Frost, Sodom and the like delivered with the cold intensity of “second wave” bands like Darkthrone and Mayhem. And on 2018’s Aura Noire the band grinds their sound down to the bare power-trio minerals. It feels significantly less face-flaying than their older stuff but the band’s supply of killer, twisted riffs and mischevious lyrics (“truly fictitious!”) is inexhaustible and the stripped-down sound allows their music to breathe with a natural, live energy. Aura Noire doesn’t strive to impress, so it’s tempting to write it off as merely solid. That would be a mistake. Dark Lungs Of The Storm, Grave Dweller and Mordant Wind are all charnel delights and the album’s old-school brio and confidence mark it out as a future favourite.

HMO Rating: 4 Out Of 5

The Antichrist Imperium – Volume II: Every Tongue Shall Praise Satan (Review)

The Antichrist Imperium – Volume II: Every Tongue Shall Praise Satan (2018 – CD Version)

The Devil rides out once more as The Antichrist Imperium follow up their 2015 debut with this second volume of unrelenting Satan worship. Of all the members of the sprawling Akercocke family tree, The Antichrist Imperium’s death metal sticks closest to the parent band’s legacy of progressive, debauched, blast-furnace goat homage.

And for the first three tracks of Volume II: Every Tongue Shall Praise Satan, blast-furnace goat homage is exactly what you get. A bit of diminishing returns starts to creep in here but once the album settles into a more adventurous mode with the sumptous Liturgy Of The Iconoclast/Blood Sacrifice it never looks back. Golgothan Heiros Gamos is occult ecstasy and Sermon Of Small Faith is an epic, joyous closer. Top marks to guitarist Matt Wilcock and drummer David Gray for whirling like dervishes throughout and the twin vocalists Sam Bean and Sam Loynes conjure up an increasingly captivating vocal chemistry.

It’s great stuff so fans of blasphemous and seductive evil metal should pee on a pentagram, leave it for three days, and pray for a third outing. Everyone else? Salt and mercury… effective against the dark forces.

HMO Rating: 4 Out Of 5

The Antichrist Imperium – Volume II: Every Tongue Shall Praise Satan (2018 – Vinyl Version)

 

Funeral Mist – Hekatomb (Review)

Funeral Mist – Hekatomb (2018)

The return of Swedish orthodox black metallers Funeral Mist has been one of 2018’s most welcome surprises. And Hekatomb, their first album in nearly ten years, is a raging reminder that the Devil still has all the best tunes. Tracks like Shedding Skin and Hosanna are absolutely flaying, a purist’s delight, and the rest of the album has imaginative depth and rich layers: In Nomine Domini’s addictive sliding riff; Naught But Death’s wicked mix of groove and gospel; Cockatrice’s ambient keys and the monk-y magic of Metamorphosis. It’s a stunning accomplishment from Arioch who, ably assisted by drummer Lars B, is the mastermind behind all the music, imagery and charismatically demented vocals here. Easily the album of the year so far. It’s so good I had to buy their entire back catalogue on vinyl.

HMO Rating: 5 Out Of 5

The very cool booklet that comes with the vinyl edition
Gotta get ’em all!

New Releases – 5th October 2018

The release schedule is definitely hotting up now… lots of cool stuff out today.

Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest

Behemoth’s last album The Satanist is a modern classic so no pressure on them to follow it up. None whatsoever no siree. Reading quite mixed and underwhelming reports about this but I’ll want to hear it for myself anyway, and so will you. I’ve avoided all advance tracks so far cause I just want to hear the whole thing.

Anthrax – State Of Euphoria (Deluxe Edition)

I’ve been on a tremungous Anthrax kick lately so this deluxe edition of the underrated State Of Euphoria will do me nicely. Remastered with era B-Sides, booklet and a bonus disc called “Charlie’s Archive” which is work-in-progress recordings of the album’s songs. Puts you right in the room with the band apparently. Bet Scott Ian ignores you.

Steve Perry – Traces

Whoops, almost forgot this one! The Journey vocal legend returns with this surprise solo album. Been looking forward to this and the single No Erasin’ was great so… yes. Look out for editions with bonus tracks too.

High On Fire – Electric Messiah

Matt Pike’s a busy lad. Not content with the excellent new Sleep album he’s also got a new High On Fire one out too. I’ve got most of this band’s stuff but they’re not a big fave and I slept on their last album. Might give this a go though, cause I feel like Pike is just on form lately… and they’re not on Third Man Records so that’s a plus!

Deathhammer – Chained To Hell

Fun black thrash from Norway. New track Rabid Maniac Force is total Destruction worship which is absolutely fine by me. And tell me you don’t want a copy of this for that cover alone! And it’s not on Third Man Records because Jack White is a pure plum.

Riot – Archives Volume 1: 1976-1981

Amazing looking archival release from High Roller that covers the bands early years with vocalist Guy Speranza. Available as a CD/DVD set or a DLP/DVD set, this features 18 unreleased tracks including pre-Rock City stuff, early versions of Narita tracks and a live show from 1981 on the DVD. Want.

Cirith Ungol – Witch’s Game

The returned Cirith Ungol dropped this superb new song on Bandcamp a wee while back and now’s your chance to get their first new song in 27 years on vinyl. It will also feature a live version of Doomed Planet as the B-side, taken from their performance at Germany’s Hammer of Doom festival in 2017.

And that’s about it for another week. See you next week for more new release bunkum.

New Releases – 28th September 2018

New releases. That is why you are here.

Anaal Nathrakh – A New Kind Of Horror

I was a big fan of AN’s last album The Whole Of The Law so I was looking forward to this one. Unfortunately I wasn’t that fussed by new song Forward! so I decided to ignore all advance tracks and just wait to hear the album in full. It has put a wee dampener on my excitement though… but not enough to stop me buying it.

A Forest Of Stars – Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes

I first heard these Victorian black metal thespians in a documentary about the UK scene and I’ve wanted to get into them ever since. But so far, I want to like them more than I actually do. I’ve tried this new album and I still don’t quite get it. If you do get it then the handcrafted box edition looks very snazzy.

Horrendous – Idol

Modern death metal mavens Horrendous return with their fourth album. I’ve only heard their last album Anareta which was pretty good but got drowned out among all the other releases of the time. Might happen again with this one cause there’s so much coming out now. But we’ll see.

Cinderella – The Mercury Years

And last but certainly not least, the classic Cinderella studio albums get some long overdue reissue love. I’m not that familiar with the fourth album but the first three are golden. And there’s also bonus tracks on the albums and an extra disc of live tracks and B-sides. And all for just £20?! Ewwww! Ewwww yeah!

And that’s about the lot for this week. See you next week for more new release antics.

New Releases – 14th September 2018

It’s time for more new releases. In today’s special themed post I’ll be overusing the word “legends”.

Deicide – Overtures Of Blasphemy

The satanic, squirrel-shooting death metal legends are back with another new album. Not heard the whole thing but songs like Seal The Tomb Below sound great. Got me thinking this might be an old-school victory along the lines of last year’s Immolation album. And Overtures Of Blasphemy also comes hot on the heels of news that Hammerheart Records are lining up reissues of the band’s back cat too… good times! Praise Jesus!

Abhorrence – Megalohydrothalassophobic EP

The legends of filthy Finnish death return with a surprise new EP. It’s their first new music since 1991 and seems to be a subterranean, Lovecraftian affair about the catastophic ecological end of the human race. Typical. You wait years for a new Abhorrence release and then the catastrophic ecological end of the human race happens just as you get your hands on it.

Virgin Steele – Virgin Steele and Guardians Of The Flame

Cool new reissues on CD and vinyl of the first two Virgin Steele albums with Jack Starr on guitarr. Not the best stuff these legends ever put out but still well worth a listen and they’ve been out of print for a while too so if you don’t have them already, now’s your chance! Lots of bonus tracks but I think I’ve got it all on previous editions already. But it’s neither here nor there cause these are getting bought again anyway.

Twisted Sister – You Can’t Stop Rock N’ Roll

Legends legends legends. Deluxe reissue of the band’s second album with some bonus tracks added and a live bonus disc of the 1983 Marquee show too. The Marquee show has been released in the past so I don’t think there’s anything new here for diehards but I don’t have the Marquee show so I’ll bite. The album and the Marquee show disc are getting separate LP releases too for all you vinyl-loving legends out there.

Elsewhere, Blasphemy’s 1989 demo Blood Upon The Altar gets spruced up and reissued by those legends over at Nuclear War Now! Conan’s Existential Void Guardian should satisfy anyone that can’t go a whole week without some new doom metal. And there’s even a new Uriah Heep album! Legends all.

But that’s really about the lot for this week. Happy hunting and hope you all have an awesome weekend full of exciting new music.

New Releases – 10th August 2018

Finally, some good new releases! It’s been quite a while since we’ve had as fun-filled a week as this. And it’s mostly all new stuff too, none of your deluxe box thingies and vinyl reissue “remastered” gubbins. Just NEW METAL.

Haunt – Burst Into Flame

Retro-styled true metal has become quite the rage in the last few years but I’m usually unconvinced. The bands always have the sound down but the songwriting often falls short. Having listened to the title track from this album, I reckon this US band might have the goods though. It’s strident, catchy stuff. Definitely worth checking out.

Night Demon – Live Darkness

Speaking of retro metal… Night Demon have become quite the rage in the last few years but they haven’t caught on with the HMOverlord yet. Always feel like I just haven’t given them a fair shake of the stick though so maybe this new live album will finally win me over. Athenar from HMO-favourites Midnight makes an appearance so that’s a promising sign.

The Spirit – Sounds From The Vortex

Here’s some intriguing sounding black/death shenanigans from Nuclear Blast. The tracks I’ve heard remind me of Tribulation stuff or the Vampire record from last year… quite a bit like Dissection too. Got that waltzy thing going on. And with a list of comparisons like that, this has to be a must-hear.

Ill Omen – The Grande Usurper EP

Don’t know much about this band, I believe it’s an Australian one-man black metal act of the murky and cavernous variety. I’m a bit of a hard sell with that kind of stuff but I listened to a track from this at work and got right into it. I’ll grab this one on Bandcamp.

Gloam/Obscure Evil – Split EP

New to me but the cover caught my eye. Only one track from each band but I bet it’s quality over quantity. I heard the Gloam track Black Swords Of Desecration and it thrashed about all over the place. Brilliant. And the other band is called Obscure Evil which means they must be good. Surely?! Another one for Bandcamp.

And that’s about it for me. Anything else you’re looking for today? Anything you’re avoiding like the plague? Let me know in the comments. Happy hunting.