Review: Mamaleek – Out of Time

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Label: The Flenser

The promo for Out of Time, the new album from Mamaleek, describes the duo as “black metal weirdos”. It feels like a fair description; but also, on the evidence presented here, like a fairly tenuous one. That’s not intended as any kind of slight; rather, as anyone who has previously listened to the band will know, Mamaleek make the kind of music that isn’t so much difficult to categorise, as it defies genre almost completely. Out of Time, at various points made me think of funk; later-day David Bowie; art rock; Swans; dark jazz and, yes, avant garde metal. And yet, it always feels coherent, moving with singular purpose and direction, and far easier to lose yourself in than such a combination of styles might suggest. But more than that, it is an album with an unusual sense of character and humanity; most extreme music can feel like it is putting up a barrier between performer and audience, but this? This album wants to invite you in to share its pain.

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Review: Arkheth – 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew

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Label: Transcending Obscurity Records

Before we go far in to this review of Arkheth‘s third album, take a moment to look at that cover. Needless to say, it’s not what you expect from a black metal record – bright, garish colours; psychedelic landscapes; and a sense of conventions being not so much cast down, as utterly ignored in favor of doing whatever the fuck you want. It’s also a good summary of the sounds contained within 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew. Though the album is undeniably black metal, it takes almost everything you know about the genre and flips it on its head. This is black metal as defined by Sigh and psychedelics, rather than Mayhem and misery. It’s a bit of a headfuck, and a definite artistic triumph.

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Veilburner – The Obscene Rite

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Label: Self-released

Even semi-regular readers will probably be aware by now that even if I have plenty of time for music that is creative and challenging, I’m not a big fan of overt prog influences. So, when I review a record like The Obscene Rite by US duo Veilburner, that should probably be taken in to account. The album is a black/death beast that gets practically everything right when it comes to prog sounds and influences, with the music feeling creative and exciting rather than bloated and self-indulgent. Comparisons to the likes of Arcturus, Dødheimsgard, and Akercocke are all warranted and deserved, which must give some further indication of how good this album is. Even if prog-influenced metal isn’t usually your thing, there’s more than enough power and quality in The Obscene Rite to potentially win you over.

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The Meads Of Asphodel / Tjolgtjar – Taste The Divine Wrath (Split)

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Label: Eternal Death

Well, this was one I didn’t really know what to expect from, other than in the broadest sense. The Meads Of Asphodel are at the forefront of truly experimental and progressive metal bands, just about staying within the realms of black metal whilst simultaneously mocking the conventions of the genre. Meanwhile, Tjolgtar long ago moved on from pure black metal, embracing instead a style that owes as much to classic, garage, and progressive rock as it does to anything kvlt. So, without knowing exactly what the record would sound like, I knew it was going to be something different to the norm, and that’s exactly how it turned out to be. The good news is, Taste The Divine Wrath ends up being not just a split between two challenging bands, but also a worthwhile record in its own right.

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