Arctos – Beyond the Grasp of Mortal Hands

Other than the blackest, darkest depths of winter, I find that summer’s zenith is when I listen to black metal the most. The genre’s obsession with every manner of the frigid, frostbitten, grim pastoralia one associates with the long Scandinavian cold season is practically a simulation of stepping into a…

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Batushka – Панихида

Bands are a lot like families. They are a group of people held together by bonds who live together and often work on common goals. They have good times and bad and see similar struggles to try and stay together. Sometimes like families, they rise above it and come together…

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Hey! Listen to The Chemical Mind!

There’s been so many good albums this year it’s easy for some to slip through the cracks, even ones that you’ve already listened to. When I first heard The Chemical Mind’s Beneath the Shadow It Casts, admittedly I listened to a couple of songs and sort of just dismissed it…

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Fen – Stone & Sea

In tomorrow’s Editors’ Picks column (spoiler), I muse about the values of retrospectives and here I am, afforded again with the opportunity to discuss a posture or perspective that seems to inherently contradict our idea of how music is made. We’d like to think that music is this unmediated thing,…

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Sinmara – Hvísl Stjarnanna

Sinmara’s previous release, the 2017 EP Within the Weaves of Infinity, was a notable turning point for the Icelandic black metal group: it contained a much greater focus on clearly defined threads of melody, compared to their debut LP Aphotic Womb. Aphotic Womb, twisting and dripping with malevolent dissonance, slid…

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Saor – Forgotten Paths

When you throw off what black metal might like to think of itself, or the image certain members of it would like to present rather, the essence of the genre seems to be rooted in love rather than hate. Perhaps more than almost any other genre of metal, black metal…

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Acathexis – Acathexis

Considering the lineage of Acathexis (including members of Mare Cognitum and Yhdarl), the expansive atmospheric black metal of Acathexis should come as no surprise.  As with Mare Cognitum, there’s a certain level of polish present; submerged in reverberation, towering tremolo riffs and blast beats rise from the depths (in this…

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Karg – Dornenvögel

I’ve written before about black metal’s love affair with the idea of the auteur, most at length in one of my favorite pieces, my longform essay on black metal and Romanticism, where I discussed the idea of the tortured artist/genius figure. To borrow what I said there, “the figure of…

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