Album of the Day: Nokturnal Ritual – Out from the Old Earth

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Label: Self-released

Sheffield-based duo Nokturnal Ritual have been around for five years now, and in that time have improved their second-wave inspired black metal attack considerably. Entity of the Unholy was an improvement over debut Ushering a New Era of Agony; and, in turn, new album Out from the Old Earth is an improvement over Entity of the Unholy. Theirs is no grand evolution of black metal, but instead a dark celebration of the genre, paying homage to masters of old without sounding trapped by the restrictions of the genre. It’s relatively straight-forward black metal played with conviction and talent, and sometimes, that’s exactly what you want to hear.

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Album of the Day: Deus Vermin – MMXVII (Demo)

Deus Vermin - MMXVII (demo) - cover

Label: Self-released

Clocking in at a short six minutes, the debut demo by Leeds-based band Deus Vermin is a whirlwind of blackened death metal, full of destructive urges given license to run free and wreak havoc. The two tracks on MMXVII are incredibly well-realised for a demo, with a compositional strength that many bands writing full-lengths would kill for; and they’re all wrapped up in an atmosphere that is both murky and strong, allowing every bone-crushing drum hit and skin-shredding guitar line to come through clearly, whilst keeping enough obscured to still feel dark and ominous. It’s a very impressive start for this band, and well worth your time.

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Review: Voidthrone – Kur

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Label: Self-released

Don’ t let the cover fool you; Kur, the second album from Seattle-based five-piece Voidthrone, is dark. Though its fairly short, being only 24 minutes long, the unconventional black/death metal onslaught contained within the EP is more than enough to conjure visions of worlds falling to oblivion, swept away under a cataclysmic tide of blackness. Though the band may recall a host of influences – including, but not limited to, Deathspell Omega, Batushka, Gorguts, and Morbid Angel – at no point do they ever sound like anyone other than themselves, making Kur an incredibly potent and impressive EP, that doesn’t so much cross over genres as it does defy them completely.

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Album of the Day: Formerly a Genius – Demo 17

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Label: Self-released

Are there any phrases that will cause music fans to recoil in fear in the same way that “experimental screamo project” will? Probably, yeah; but then you listen to the first demo from Formerly a Genius, and your reaction is likely to be either to embrace this three-song release like the best thing ever made; or to flee in utter horror. Six months on from first hearing it, and I’m still not sure what I think of it; sometimes it’s the greatest demo ever made, other days it sounds like an utter catastrophe. Either way, it’s not the kind of music that invites apathy.

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Album of the Day: One Thousand Birds – Sleep Study 11.11.17

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Label: Self-released

One Thousand Birds are one of the most exciting bands I’ve heard in a long, long time. The mix of blackened screamo and harsh noise atmospheres on Sleep Study 11.11.17 is utterly overwhelming, and devastating in its almost nihilistic use of volume. Imagine if Gravity Records was starting out now, and all involved were big fans of the harshest of raw black metal, and you’re somewhere close to what One Thousand Birds are conjuring; it makes almost everything else you’ll have heard in recent times seem absolutely tame by comparison.

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Album of the Day: Moray – Temporal Majesty

Moray - Temporal Majesty - cover

Label: Self-released (digital) / Lion’s Jawbone (cassette)

Released last August, Temporal Majesty from Moray is a sterling mix of Dissection-style melodies and modern USBM aggression. With guitar lines that cut and latch in to your brain, as mournful as they are soaring, Temporal Majesty is an emotionally charged record of a style that often feels depressingly soul-less. The duo of Christian Degn Peterson and Brett Barrett created something very special here, and it deserves much more attention than it seems to have gained.

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Review: Vox Lvciferi – Ov Lacerated Soil

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Label: Self-released

Ov Lacerated Soil is the kind of release that could not embrace black metal tropes any harder if it tried. The debut release from Vox Lvciferi is filled with a sense of ritualism and hate, its hypnotic movements coming across as invocations to Satan and misanthropy. Yet there’s also a sense of rising above those who would pull you down, and of embracing the potential that comes with destruction. It’s an assured, confident debut, that recalls the masters of old without sounding like a poor imitation of them.

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