Review: Arête – Hymnal

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Label: The Fear and The Void Recordings

Whilst metal, as a genre,  may largely be thought of in terms of aggression, volume, and speed (doom excepted), the genre also has vast scope for music that is atmospheric and captivating. This is, in itself, no great surprise (as the existence of atmospheric black metal proves, arguably the most popular black metal sub-genre of our times). Yet sometimes, an album can come along that blindsides you with just how masterfully it wields those aspects, conjuring up a dreamscape from a foundation of blasts and tremolo-picking riffs. The debut demo from Arête (who contain members of bands such as Twilight Fauna, Slaves BC, and Evergreen Refuge) impressed me just over two years ago, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting release of Hymnal, their first full-length. Adding traditional folk elements to the core atmospheric black metal sound, theirs is music of belonging; of searching for a place to call your own; ultimately, of home.

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2018 Favourites: (just over) half-way edition

So, we’re a bit over halfway through 2018, and there’s been some excellent records released. Most notably, 2018 is shaping up to be an excellent year for death metal – bands such as Tomb MoldOur Place of Worship is Silence, MemoriamSlugdge, and practically everyone on the Dark Descent Records roster are killing it with top-tier death metal. Things aren’t quite so grand when it comes to black metal, but the new Immortal is pretty note-worthy, and there’s been a few other strong releases in the underground – including the final release by Cosmic Church.

Here, I’ll pick out ten of my favourite records released so far this year, in alphabetical order. Hopefully you’ll find something new here to enjoy, or be reminded of something you were in to earlier in the year. Enjoy!

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Album of the Day: Slaves BC – Lo, and I Am Burning

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Label: The Fear and The Void Recordings

Released last week, Lo, and I Am Burning by Slaves BC sounds just as impressive now as when I first reviewed it in January. Full of disconcerting, unstable black metal, it possesses a raw emotional catharsis that is usually absent with such music, giving it a personal feel that helps it to stand out. Situated somewhere between the heaviest, most punishing strands of hardcore and genre-defying black metal band Plebian Grandstand, Lo, and I Am Burning is the sound of a band not so much coming in to their own, but demonstrating why anyone who hadn’t previously been paying attention to them had been missing out.

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Review: Slaves BC – Lo, and I am Burning

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Label: The Fear and The Void Recordings

The previous Slaves BC album, All id Dust and I am Nothing, contained a few hints of where the band might go in the future, with its mixture of sludge, black metal, and hardcore having a personal, cathartic quality; but nothing could have prepared for the devastating of Lo, and I am Burning. The unstable, disconcerting black metal elements have been pushed to the fore, propelled along by an even more furious energy than has been seen previously.

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