Review: Mordor – Darkness…

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Label: Pagan Records

It’s been a long time since Polish band Mordor last released anything – 21 years, in fact. The band originally disbanded in 2000, but reunited in 2014 and have now unleashed new album Darkness… upon the world. Given the differences between previous albums Prayer To… and The Earth, fans might be unsure what to expect from Darkness… Perhaps surprisingly, the new album is the one that has the greatest sense of character and confidence, recalling their early death/doom roots whilst also adding hints of black metal to the mix. It’s an atmospheric, captivating record, and a very welcome return for this veteran band.

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Review: Above Aurora – Path To Ruin

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Label: Pagan Records

If anything defines modern Polish black metal, it would be a feeling of melancholy being transmitted by the music, with its distinctive melodies and aura of spiritual darkness. Such bleak sounds can make for a captivating listen, and that’s certainly the case for Path to Ruin, the new EP from Above Aurora. Though only seventeen minutes long, this EP carries a lifetime of sorrow and ill-feeling with it; and yet at no point does it ever sound defeated or self-pitying. This is music that accepts that hardship is part of life, and that there is little point protesting about that basic fact.

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2016 Favourites – Part I

And so here we are, fast approaching the end of 2016, and what a year it has been. Leaving aside all that has happened in the world at large, there have been plenty of worthwhile releases in the world of underground music (and even some decent mainstream ones, too). Over these posts, I’ll be picking out some of my favourites – albums, EPs, and demos that kept me coming back for more, and which have shaped my impression of 2016 in a musical sense. The first few posts will go through records in alphabetical order; it’s only once we reach the end that I’ll assign a ‘top 5’, and also give a brief overview of some releases that didn’t quite make the cut, and even a handful of mainstream highlights. Just because you can buy something in a HMV, it doesn’t always mean it’s shit.

The usual disclaimer applies – these are my favourites, which means they are not necessarily the best records of the year. There’s far more released than I can keep track of, and to hold even 25 records up and say “these are the best” feels dishonest. And, as you might expect, there is some cross-over with my summer ‘best of 2016 so far‘ list. But, whatever. Enough of this. On to the first part of the list.

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Furia – Ksiezyc milczy luty

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Label: Pagan Records

Sometimes, you need to give an album time. First impressions are’t always the most accurate, and how you feel about an album in a week or a month may differ vastly from how you feel about it right now. What is exciting on first listen can feel dull by the tenth; and vice versa. Some albums only reveal their full strength with time and patience. Ksiezyc Milczy Luty by Polish band Furia is one such record. For sure, initial listens had me assessing the album as being good, but with time, it’s revealed itself to be something much stronger and impressive. This is the kind of black metal that pushes at the borders of the genre whilst simultaneously staying true to its dark heart, conjuring up a special kind of evil.

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Voidhanger – Working Class Misanthropy

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I’ve had another review published at Summoning Spirits, this time for Voidhanger’s Working Class Misanthropy, a wonderfully fun slive of 80s style extreme metal.

“Featuring members of Infernal War, Iperyt, and MasseMord, Poland’s Voidhanger play the kind of metal that recalls an earlier time, putting the listener in mind of that golden age of the 80’s before  death, black, and the most extreme kinds of thrash metal were yet to fully diverge into separate entities. As demonstrated on Working Class Misanthropy, it’s absolutely ferocious, fairly one-dimensional by design, and at times, it’s even that most dangerous, un-kvlt of things for underground metal: fun.”

Read the full review here.