For our February’s selection, we chose fourteen new black metal releases from Europe, Asia, and America — new music by the bands from Siberia, Norway, and Sweden, as well as from Eastern Europe and Indonesia.
Nemesis Sopor — "MMXL"
Nemesis Sopor is a Dresden-based band, consisting of four members FK, RS, FN, and AB. On February 17, the group presented a new release "MMXL" — the German-language post-black metal with a great atmosphere, achieved thanks to melodic guitar solos (including acoustic performances), a sticky doom rhythms which alternate with the high-speed black metal tempo and deep grunty vocals. The album was mastered by Necromorbus, known for his work with Watain.
Au-Dessus — "Au-Dessus"
At the end of February, the Lithuanian project Au-Dessus released a remastering of the eponymous album with four new tracks. The noise compositions with laconic titles "I.II", "II.II", "III.II", and "IV.II" significantly refreshed the sound of "Au-Dessus", adding the strokes of avant-garde electronics to this perfect post-black release.
Nine Covens — "Thy Unknowing Servants"
The EP from the British band Nine Covens, which features the musicians from Winterfylleth, Atavist, The King is Blind, as well as former members of Cradle of Filth and ENT. "Thy Unknowing Servants" consists of two maximally dissimilar tracks. The first one is distinguished by a pleasant melody, which works well for the atmosphere, the second one, on the contrary, has a raw sound, violent thrash power and rhythm, is a cover on Bathory's "The Return Of Darkness And Evil". The album also featured Dan 'Storm' Mullins — the drummer of Blasphemer and ex-member of My Dying Bride.
Kassad — "Faces Turn Away"
"Faces Turn Away" is the debut album from the London-based one-man project Kassad. This is a well-sounded release with a dark atmosphere, which feature is the vocal style — a muffled screaming, sounding more like a wheezy whisper.
Void Ritual — "Spirits of the Black Past"
Another release by the one-man band, this time from the USA. "Spirits of the Black Past" is the first full-length album by Daniel Jackson for his solo project Void Ritual. The release includes new tracks, re-recordings and a cover on Immortal’s "Mountains of Might". It’s noteworthy that one of the album’s compositions is titled "Holodomor", probably with reference to the mass famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933.
Opprobre — "Le Naufrage"
The debut album from the quartet Opprobre, playing melodic post-black in French. In addition to the typical for the genre extreme singing, there are quite a lot of songs on the album, sung with clean vocals.
Grima — "Tales of the Enchanted Woods"
The second album by the duo Grima from cold Siberia whose lyrical themes are devoted to nature and paganism. The local flavor is added to the release by Russian-language lyrics, as well as by music parts performed on accordion.
Ars Magna Umbrae — "Through Lunar Gateways"
The debut release by the Polish solo project Ars Magna Umbrae. "Through Lunar Gateways" has a gloomy enveloping atmosphere, which is facilitated by the alternation of slow and powerful drum parts, as well as the high-speed guitars that follow them, replaced by melodic riffs. The overall picture is complemented by the growl of the project’s leader D.A Khthōn and the episodic singing of Hekte Zaren.
Pure Wrath — "Ascetic Eventide"
Technical and atmospheric debut release with an excellent melody from the one-man band, formed by young multi-instrumentalist Januaryo 'Ryo' Hardy from Indonesia. The only drawback, so typical for many solo projects — all tracks are quite similar.
W — "Till Eternity"
The new album by the Russian solo project of Evgeniy Pilnikov, playing a raw but atmospheric black metal in the spirit of the old Ulver. At at the beginning of this year, the productive musician has already taken part in two splits and released two albums, the last of which is the LP titled "Till Eternity".
Gjendød — "Nedstigning"
The first full-length from the Trondheim-based duo Gjendød. "Nedstigning" is a dramatic music, filled with cold and severity of the Norwegian forest. The release took place in late February via the Polish label Hellthrasher Productions.
Ungfell — "Tôtbringære"
"Tôtbringære", released by the Swiss duo Ungfell, is an avant-garde bold black metal, full of the spirit of the Middle Ages. For recording, the musicians used atypical instruments for black metal, such as an accordion, wind and string acoustic instruments, as well as various samples such as the frog croaking against the sound of the music box, the sound of wind, the bottles clinking or choking crying.
Ancst — "Furnace"
"Furnace" is a new EP with crazy hardcore energy from the German band Ancst. Apart from the measured intro, the whole release is full of unrestrained, energetic songs.
Utbyrd — "Varskrik"
"Varskrik" is a confident debut from the Norwegian symphonic black metallers Utbyrd. Orchestral parts for the LP were written by Clemens 'Ardek' Wijers — the epic branded style of Carach Angren’s keyboardist fits perfectly into the overall atmosphere of the release. Below you can listen to the track "Dauing". The full stream of the album is available on Spotify.