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November 2016:

30.11.16

CHRIST AGONY - LEGACY

Christ Agony - Legacy Good

Witching Hour Productions, 18.11.16
The melodic black metallers in Polish Christ Agony had the honour of initiating last year's November Impressions with the EP Black Blood, which came with a promise of a new full length album this year.
What than could be more appropriate then allowing them to round off the same month this year. Silly rationalization aside. That makes no sense. It's just a matter of some trivial delay, as it's almost two weeks since Legacy coloured the daylight blood-red with its warlike arrival.


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30.11.16

SROGOŚĆ - UMBRA MORTIS / NICOŚĆ (EP)

Srogość - Umbra Mortis / Nicość Middling Good

Via Nocturna, 30.11.16
Polish Srogość released the debut W Szaleństwie digitally in 2014. It was re-released on CD by Via Nocturna last year and the sophomore album is scheduled for release next year. Meanwhile, the duo release a three-track EP with a four-track demo from 2013 as bonus.

The band isn't recognizable from the debut, but they have on this occasion most likely purposely approach the style of the demo somewhat.

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29.11.16

CYNABARE URNE - FIRE THE TORCHES (EP)

Cynabare Urne - Fire the Torches Superb

Helter Skelter Prod. & Regain Records, 25.11.16
Fashionable Swedish Regain Records had a plethora of behemoths in the stable (yes, them too) from the beginnings in 1997 to the last breath in 2011. Whether this EP marks a step towards new activity, or if the label only operates as a distributor in the background, has not yet been clarified.
Helter Skelter Productions is in turn a relatively new label, which seems to have been established about eighteen months ago.

Together they nevertheless release the first glimpse of sadistic lava from Finnish Cynabare Urne.

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27.11.16

GRAVEHILL / MORDBRAND - SKULLBEARER / IN NIGHTED WATERS (Split)

Gravehill - Skullbearer Pretty Good

Doomentia, 18.11.16
This split can be said to be twofold in the sense that it has a cover and a title for each of the two involved bands. Sure, it's been done before, but no one has claimed otherwise. Both sides of the 12" vinyl have also been released as separate EPs earlier this year. The bands otherwise hail from each side of the big puddle.
As you probably know, both parties play good old morbid death metal.


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26.11.16

LEBENSSUCHT - FUCKING MY KNIFE (EP)

Lebenssucht - Fucking My Knife Good

Independent, 09.07.16
Black Friday, they call it as they try to lure you into shops bountiful of snobbish and dollish wares and vain, smug customers, while crappy ceiling mounted speakers pump out commercial mass produced crap music that poison the last little spark of motivation you had for picking up a new pair of jeans. Fuck that. I give you Black Friday. On Saturday. For as usual, plans went down the drain and strait to hell.
Lebenssucht is a trio from Germany / Bulgaria, according to Metal Archives, while the two non-German members hail from Belgium.

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24.11.16

BLACK HOLE GENERATOR - A REQUIEM FOR TERRA

Black Hole Generator - A Requiem for Terra Good

Dark Essence Records, 18.11.16
Black Hole Generator was created by Vulture Industries main man and regular producer for Taake and Helheim, Bjørnar Nilsen in 2006. An EP titled Black Karma was released the same year, and now, ten years later, the first full length is finally in store.
I missed out on the aforementioned EP, and Vulture Industries is not quite my thing, so my basis for comparison is thin. The music is still located somewhere between Vultures' avant-garde industrial revolution and conservative black forces.

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22.11.16

MISANTHROPIC RAGE - GATES NO LONGER SHUT

Misanthropic Rage - Gates No Longer Shut Very Good

Godz Ov War Productions, 18.11.16
Misanthropic Rage is a Polish duo that comes down like a bolt from the blue with their thorough and distinctive debut.
The band has been considered to be located within the border of the black spheres, but stand out enough to be placed in a halfway isolated outer edge. Don't expect no revolution, though, there are limits to how much it's possible to differ while constructing art within confined limits.
Progressive black metal is the label the band has been given on Metal-Archives.


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21.11.16

NATVRE'S - WRATH

Natvre's - Wrath Fairly Good

Argento Records, 19.11.16
Three seemingly unknown Greeks constitute Natvre's. The band was started a couple of years ago and released this debut digitally on their own almost a year ago. In January, Greek Clean Head Productions dropped the album in digisleeve format, before Dutch Argento Records now tempts thee with Wrath in limited edition digisleeve/digipak in anticipation of the next album scheduled to appear in 2017 via the latter label.


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19.11.16

BARBARIAN SWORDS - WORMS

Barbarian Swords - Worms Good Minus

Satanath Rec. & Cimmerian Shade Rec., 11.11.16
With a barbaric name and a cover to underline the message, one could perhaps have expect a breathless brutal cacophony, but Barbarian Swords do in fact deliver a significantly more viscous kind of tar. It's nevertheless a sludgy goo made of filthy mud, septic gore, half-coagulated blood and unholy ectoplasm we're facing.
The Spaniards we encounter, play a soot-black equivalent of death/doom, namely black/doom. Or perhaps it's funeral black? The music is certainly full of resounding doomy misery and pitch black depravity.

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19.11.16

KOSMOKRATOR - FIRST STEP TO SUPREMACY (EP)

Kosmokrator - First Step to Supremacy Good

Ván Records, 11.11.16
When you hear a single, distinct ding of a bell, it's most likely a fairly sure sign that some spiritual ceremony is about to begin. It could have been an intrusive cyclist or the doorbell at your local barbershop, but in my case, most other options than ritual metal can be easily eliminated.
We have rejected Belgian Kosmokrator before. I saw no legitimate reason to encourage you to burn off money on the To The Svmmit demo, and I summarized four points that required improvement.

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17.11.16

EARTH AND PILLARS - PILLARS I

Earth and Pillars - Pillars I Middling Good

Avantgarde Music, 31.10.16
The transition from various albums containing rich, almost physically bass, to the supercooled, ice pick sharp Antarctic dimension of Earth and Pillars isn't just distinct. I actually had to cross-check with another recording as reference to make sure my headphones weren't malfunctioning.
It's nevertheless claimed that this album is a step forward in production versus its predecessor.


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16.11.16

SAOR - GUARDIANS

Saor - Guardians Very Good

Northern Silence Productions, 11.11.16
Kilt-clad Andy Marshall is back after a longer stay in Scotland's rain-soaked nature with the bagpipes faithfully at his side. Thus my imagination visualize Saor's ways.
I finished my delayed review of the debut album Roots by implying that I wanted to hear the man next work, Aura, but time was unfortunately insufficient for more than a single spin.
Album number three, Guardians, however, has coloured my everyday with life and culture taken from proud northern-Celtic traditions, be they of Pictish or Gaelic origin.

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15.11.16

RECITATIONS - THE FIRST OF THE LISTENERS

Recitations - The First of the Listeners Bra

Signal Rex & Avantgarde Music, 15.11.16
Recitations is another band that seeks to explore the dark and unknown via ethereal and esoteric dissonance. The members stem from more or less well-known acts in the extreme metal underground, but wishes to avoid a focus on individuals, supposedly without a pretentious attempt to be intentionally mystical.
The band comes from my birthplace, Niðaróss (Trondheim), something I wasn't aware of until after having written most of these words. No matter who we're dealing with, I bid you welcome to a disturbing journey in their collective eclectic minds.

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13.11.16

GATEWAY TO SELFDESTRUCTION - DEATH, MY SALVATION

Gateway to Selfdestruction - Death, My Salvation Fairly Good

Northern Silence Productions, 11.11.16
That a destructive mindset hides behind a depressant name as Gateway to Selfdestruction, is quite obvious, and the debut album's discouraging title Death, My Salvation gives no reason for optimism.
The music and lyrics the five discouraged Germans presents, shows no signs of glimpses of light in the darkness. The lyrics revolve around the individual turning point where someone chooses to fight on or resign and end their own life, along with appurtenant preamble and aftermath.

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13.11.16

RUINOUS - GRAVES OF CEASELESS DEATH

Ruinous - Graves of Ceaseless Death Good

Dark Descent Records, 11.11.16
The trio from New Jersey only got one single to brag about, but none of the three guys are new to the game.
Drummer Shawn Eldridge has also resided in Funebrarum and also plays in Death Fortress (who dropped album number two in March) and Abysmal Gates*.
Guitarist Alex Bouks has played with Incantation and Funebrarum and handles guitar live for Master.
Vocalist and guitarist Matt Medeiros has two other bands going on, and he as well has a past in Funebrarum.


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12.11.16

ADAESTUO - TACENT SEMITAE (EP)

Adaestuo - Tacent Semitae Fairly Good

W.T.C.Productions, 11.11.16
New day, new acquaintances.
Adaestuo hails from... hell knows where. Parts of the song titles can however indicate Poland, while the music tastes a bit of Deathspell Omega et al. They play a remarkably spiritual form of black metal with dreamy, otherworldly moods of ambience.
The transcendental journey lasts for just over 20 minutes, and moves through four movements of highly variable form.


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11.11.16

XOTH - INVASION OF THE TENTACUBE

Xoth - Invasion of the Tentacube Good

Self-Released, 10.11.16
Invasion of the Tentacube is the first full-length of US Xoth and it has its charming beginner problems. Charming because the band makes songs that are fun to listen to.
Part of the fun is how difficult it is to pigeon-hole their technical metal.
The vocals are black as a chimney sweeper, but the music has more in common with proggy deathrash. It's highly melodic. Almost to the extent that the melodies, via transitions, runs the whole songs through.

piggtråd
10.11.16

WARFIST - METAL TO THE BONE

Warfist - Metal To The Bone Middling

Godz Ov War Productions, 30.10.16
Polish Warfist plays black/thrash. A branch of extreme metal that admittedly ain't directly comparable to the compatriots in Vader. If we still look at what they have in common, it would be rather unfortunate for Warfist to go on stage after Vader, and Metal To The Bone does come a bit short with several days of the dark force of The Empire fresh in memory.
These hopeful Poles still deliver the goods in a more than alright way, though.

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10.11.16

SORGUINAZIA - SORGUINAZIA (Demo/EP)

Sorguinazia - Sorguinazia Good

Vault of Dried Bones, 04.11.16
Aaargh! Turn down the volume, for fuck sake! Some of us still got more than 60% of the hearing intact.
Sorguinazia is one of these godforsaken bands that worship occult black magic and remain anonymous until the metal fans' own intelligence service, Internet, reveals who we're dealing with. Until than, they get to enjoy their anonymous existence.
The header states Demo/EP. Well, this is initially a self-released demo, now re-released as EP.


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09.11.16

VADER - THE EMPIRE

Vader - The Empire Good

Witching Hour Productions & Nuclear Blast, 04.11.16
The Polish veterans continues unabated to drop albums of deadly hardened steel, forged with a pinch of thrash for intensity and attitude.
With a title like The Empire one would almost think it was to finally confront their own moniker. But in such a case, they would likely have graced the cover art in the style of Vondur's Striðsyfirlýsing. Vader indeed stop by “Lord Vader's empire”, but only in the song Genocidus, where snippets of Imperial March are performed, accompanied by pieces of lyric like “Join the Empire” and “Enjoy the Dark Side”.

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08.11.16

HOATH - CODEX III: CROWN OF THE MIND

Hoath - Codex III: Crown of the Mind Weak

Saturnal Records, 04.11.16
It thunders and roars when Finnish Hoath blare away from start on their third release.
The band released their only demo in 2002 and named it Codex I: I.R.E.. The band continued the concept with the first full length album, Codex II: K.E.T.H.E.R. (2004) and are still counting with Codex III: Crown of the Mind.
I know not the detailed schemes and ideas behind the band's dogmatic principles, but the music is used as a medium to express and spread the ritual guidelines the band stands for.


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08.11.16

ARKONA - LUNARIS

Arkona - Lunaris Superb

Debemur Morti Productions, 04.11.16
The Russian pagan-metalers of Arkona, I know, but not the Poles of the same name. That despite the fact that the Polish black metal ensemble has been around since 1993. It would as such felt a bit wrong if I were to to lecture you in the band's history.
The music has roots firmly entrenched in the second wave, but sounds in no way dated.
The metal is black, doomy, saddened and testy. The wall of tremolo and other guitar-riffs perform mournful melodies full of pain, while synthesizer and orchestral instruments hint at possible hope...


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06.11.16

UNLIGHT - ANTIHELION

Unlight - Antihelion Very Good

War Anthem Records, 04.11.16
The melodic German black metallers in Unlight are ready with a new disc. The seventh, actually. That means I've missed a few. The previous release, The Katalyst of the Katharsis, was released early in 2014, a few months before this page saw the digital light of day. Ergo I never got around to presented it. Antihelion however, offers a new chance.
Unlight has been doing their thing for almost 20 years now and its obvious the band has become more proficient. The performance is tight as latex when the band offers blistering black furore in a colourful display.

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05.11.16

BURIAL IN THE SKY - PERSISTENCE OF THOUGHT

Burial In The Sky - Persistence Of Thought Quite Good

Self-Released, 04.11.16
What kind of death metal should we discus today? How about post-death? Joke with serious undertones aside.
The press-release describe the Americans' style as atmospheric tech-death. That ain't wrong, but there's more to it as well. There is amongst other a whole lot of post-metal in the mix. Let the moniker roll around your tongue a few times. Sounds a bit like technical-progressive deathcore or equivalent, right?
Feast your eyes on the cover art for a moment too. Not exactly stereotypical teck-death that either.

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04.11.16

CRUCIFIED MORTALS - PSALMS OF THE DEAD CHOIR

Crucified Mortals - Psalms of the Dead Choir Good

Hells Headbangers, 28.10.16
We have apparently entered at an era under the sign of death. Death metal in all its multifaceted shades is raining as blood from a pale grey sky. The Americans of Crucified Mortal offers a hybrid in the form of deadly thrash. The men have experimented a bit with the nuances, but playfulness notwithstanding, the music is of course dead earnest.
The trio comes from Cleveland, and released their debut in 2011, ten years and as many minor releases after the formation.


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04.11.16

KRYPTS - REMNANTS OF EXPANSION

Krypts - Remnants of Expansion Very Good

Dark Descent Records, 28.10.16
Finnish Krypts are here with their sophomore album.
Unending Degradation was a good album, but I think it must have drowned in the multitude on my part. At least I only recall it vaguely. Fortunately it's a different matter with Remnants of Expansion, for it has inertia enough to create its own crater after impact in the cerebral cortex.
The band plays death/doom, so leaden, dark, rabidly hostile and bulldozingly morbid, that it can easily be interpreted as good, sluggish death metal. You won't find the bottomless, self-pitying sorrow from British death/doom pioneers here. Just overt vindictiveness.

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03.11.16

CRÉATURES - LE NOIR VILLAGE

Créatures - Le Noir Village Weak

Antiq Label, 25.10.16
I expected French-Canadian black metal when I saw the album title, but the band is French only, and the style is just partially black.
Créatures is a one-man band with one demo released in 2009 behind him. Sparda is composer and instrumentalist, while vocals are performed by guests.
Le Noir Village is a concept album where the story circles round a village in the 12th century, being attacked by terrifying monsters. Various vocalists take on the role of the different characters in the play.

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03.11.16

CHIRAL - GAZING LIGHT ETERNITY

Chiral - Gazing Light Eternity Middling Good

Independent, 27.10.16
The unsigned Italian one-man band Chiral has been productive during the past few years, with one EP, two demos, two splits, and three albums, if we include Gazing Light Eternity. This over barely three years.

The Italian with the same pseudonym as moniker is inspired by conventional and Cascadian black metal and post-rock. The sum of the various constituents can be considered as atmospheric black metal with strong post-influences.

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02.11.16

TARDIGRADA - EMOTIONALE ÖDNIS

Tardigrada - Emotionale Ödnis Very Good

Eisenwald Tonschmiede, 28.10.16
Except from some deplorable underground-bands whose quality is below any criticism, depressive black metal is a sub-genre that strangely enough hasn't become completely subject to inflation.
At least as long as you disregard all kinds of cheap replicas from kidz bedrooms.

Emotionale Ödnis, or “emotional wastelands”, is Swiss Tardigrada's debut and a very mournful one as such.


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01.11.16

DERANGED - STRUCK BY A MURDEROUS SIEGE

Deranged - Struck By A Murderous Siege Middling

Agonia Records, 28.10.16
As the market is practically overflowing with death metal releases, it is particularly important to write songs that in some way attach, or give the listener something extra. Straight-in-your-face brutality is pretty much a dime a dozen, and just doesn't cut it when it comes to justifying spending money. You expect seasoned veterans to be aware of this.
Still, Deranged opens their ninth album with crushing death metal without significant finesse.


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