And so, another month, another selection of short reviews. As always, it’s an eclectic selection, taking in a dark abmient soundtrack by Guillermo Pizarro; classic speed metal from Wardance; a reissue of some occult black metal, courtesy of Shaidar Logoth and Sentient Ruin; retro-rock from Wheel in the Sky; stomping hardcore from Peace of Mind; and some crushing death metal in the shape of Skeletal Serpent‘s self-titled EP. Enjoy!
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 Mold, Our Place of Worship is Silence, Memoriam, Slugdge, 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!
Whilst the Album of the Day feature is now a social-media based feature, I figured it would be useful to have a post at the end of each week recapping the previous selections for the week gone by, all in one convenient place. So, here’s this week’s selections:
Let’s be real: Dead as Dreams, the sole album from Weakling, isn’t just album of the day. It’s one of the best black metal records ever made, and one of the most influential, whether people are aware of it or not. This is a record whose dark, questing tendrils have infested USBM thoroughly, to the extent that I think it’s no exaggeration to talk about their influence in the same way we might talk about Mayhem or Emperor or any of the other “big” black metal bands you care to name. I’ve written about the album before, but god-damn, this album is worth going back to again and again and again.
Label: Psychic Violence Records
Good things can take their time to come. Whilst there’s something to be said for bands who can capture lightning and unleash it in a rush of releases, others will achieve sterling results by taking their time, and finely honing their songs. Given that it’s been five years since Vilkacis released their initial EP, The Fever of War, it’s safe to say that plenty of time has been spent working on Beyond the Mortal Gate. Either way, it’s been more than worth the wait. This is modern USBM of the highest quality, from one of the scene’s most notable individuals.
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.
It’s a year to the day that my full review of Converging Sins was published by Broken Amp, and so now seems as good a time as any to reflect on just how great an album it is. Ultha may hail from Germany, but they’re making some of the best USBM-influenced music this side of Woe. More than this though, what really makes Converging Sins stick in the mind is the dark, mournful vibes of second track ‘Mirrors in a Black Room’, which features Rachel Davies of post-punk band Esben and the Witch. Her vocals added something special to the song, and I hope more bands take inspiration from what Ultha and Davies achieved here.