Review: Agrona – Realm of the Fallen

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Label: UKEM Records

The debut album from Welsh band Agrona is an interesting one. Though it doesn’t really stick within the constraints of what a black metal album should sound like, nor does it really push at the boundaries of the style. There’s something about Realm of the Fallen that is simultaneously trve and kvlt, whilst also feeling like it has been created without any consideration of genre. Sitting somewhere between Dimmu Borgir and Anaal Nathrakh, it is a very distinctive album that moves will bulldozering force, the energy of which ensures that it combination of styles works even as the album itself is constantly shifting form.

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Album of the Day: Ante-Inferno – A Dream of the Devil

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Label: UKEM Records

The debut live demo/EP from Ante-Inferno, A Dream of the Devil, is every bit as cold and grim as you’d hope for from a record with such a name. Tapping in to that same sense of grandeur and melancholy as fellow English bands Winterfylleth and Wodensthrone, with more than a hint of early Ulver’s nature-based mysticism to its atmosphere, A Dream of the Devil is the kind of record that demonstrates all that is good with modern atmospheric black metal, and the so-called English Heritage black metal movement that sprang up a few years ago.

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Wretched Soul – The Ghost Road

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Label: UKEM Records

Wretched Soul are one of those bands who are so difficult to categorize, but who can quickly be understand. Even after a single listen to latest album The Ghost Road, you know exactly where the band are coming from; mixing thrash, heavy, and even bits of black and death metal, Wretched Soul are probably best termed simply as ‘extreme metal’, but that doesn’t tell even half the story. It comes nowhere close to capturing how energetic their sound is, how each track moves with a seemingly untameable energy, simultaneously recalling the best of classic heavy and thrash metal whilst also sounding modern and fresh. Nor does it hint at the sheer sense of enjoyment held in the record, with each track seemingly designed to ensure headbanging and raised fists. Quite simply put, it’s really rather good.

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Anthro Halaust -Правды Осколок, Кровоточит Живым.. (Shard of Truth, Bleed Live..)

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Label: Hell’s Hammer Music 

Sometimes, obscurity can really help a band stand out. In these hyper-connected days, when most musicians and bands are keen to fill social media with their every thought, it’s almost refreshing to find a band that has almost no online presence at all. Such is the case with Ukranian act Anthro Halaust, who have no webpages I can find save a Bandcamp page (which really is a near-necessity if you actually want your music to be heard). This would count for nothing though if the music on Правды Осколок, Кровоточит Живым.. (roughly translated as “Shard of Truth, Bleed Live..didn’t also have a certain sense of disengagement from the modern world. Put another way, this is black metal that doesn’t care about trends, or scene, or anything except its own strength and music. It’s fitting, then, that the music recalls an earlier time, and stands as an example of how you don’t have to go chasing trends to be relevant.

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Burial – Unholy Sedition

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Label: UKEM Records

I’ve been in a bit of a rut this week, when it comes to getting anything written. Work has been draining, there’s always jobs that need doing at home, and sometimes I just want to listen to my old (or new) favourites rather than continue the never-ending journey of discovery that is underground metal. At times like this, you need something to come along and shake you, to give you that kick in the teeth and remind you why you do what you do. Unholy Sedition by UK black metal trio Burial (not to be confused with the other Burial from the UK) has done just that to me. It makes no attempt to reinvent the genre, reveling in blasphemy and trve filth, but it does so with such conviction and ruthless bloody-mindedness that it’s hard not to be impressed.

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