NYN first came to my attention when they released the single The Apory of Existence around the end of June. While there’s a lot of tech death and progressive death metal out there, this song caught my attention with the sheer amount of things happening. Highly technical and heavy riffing gave way to soaring keyboards that had a significant prog rock feel, and the vocals spanned everything from high pitched black metal style shrieks to death growls. It stood out a lot, even considering how much of this material comes my way, and put ‘Entropy: Of Chaos and Salt’ on my radar as a highly anticipated 2017 release.
Lithuanian black metal band Au-Dessus released their debut full length ‘End of Chapter’ back in May via Les Acteurs de l’ombre Productions, and it’s the type of album that is capable of leaving a lasting impression. While Lithuania doesn’t have quite as expansive of a metal scene as some other European countries, these guys could definitely put their country on the map for quite a few listeners. Rather than simply sticking with the tried and true black metal sound, Au-Dessus pushes outwards and pulls in elements of post hardcore and sludge into their dense arrangements. Sometimes the way that they layer their instrumentation is reminiscent of French acts like Celeste, as the haunting melodies and density of the music feels like it’s going to completely overwhelm you. But there are others that have build-ups similar to post metal like Mouth of the Architect, where dark melodies continue to increase in volume until they’ve reached absolutely crushing proportions. The balance between black metal’s grit and the dark emotional aspect of these other genres works perfectly, giving Au-Dessus a cinematic feel that will bring plenty of vivid imagery to mind.
Although Au-Dessus has been around since 2014, ‘End of Chapter’ might be many listener’s first exposure to this promising newcomer. To find out a bit more about what went into the album we had the chance to ask drummer Šarūnas some questions. ‘End of Chapter’ is available now on Les Acteurs de l’ombre Productions.
Black metal is one of those genres that does its best to overwhelm the listener, though how a particular band reaches that point varies wildly. In the case of London based Kassad, the one man project achieves this through dense layers of instrumentation that have a warlike feel and cold industrial undertone alongside sprawling introspective soundscapes. Kassad is a relatively new project, having released a three song EP ‘Humans’ last year before composing the seven track full length ‘Faces Turn Away’. Originally released in an extremely limited run of cassettes a few months ago, Hypnotic Dirge Records is set to give the album a CD and digital release on July 6th. Today we’re premiering the fifth song from ‘Faces Turn Away’, Broken.
Over the past year, Swedish label The Sign Records has been exposing listeners to a number of promising bands from their home country. Rather than sticking with one particular genre, they’ve put out releases from almost every sub-genre of metal. One of their more recent signings is black/thrash group Nekrokraft, whose debut full length ‘Will o’ Wisp’ originally saw release in November of last year. With the end of year timing this one may have slipped under your radar, but with an official North American release of the album set for July 7th now is a great time to fix that. Today we’re streaming ‘Will o’ Wisp’ in its entirety so you can hear for yourself how well these guys have this style down.
Chicago’s Atonement Theory is the solo project of Jay Jancetic, who also plays guitar in Harm’s Way and has been involved with a slew of other bands in the past. While Harm’s Way stuck with the heavy and aggressive side of the spectrum, Jancetic’s goal with Atonement Theory is to strike a balance between the heavy and melodic and he’s accomplished that through drum machine driven sludge/post metal. The project’s debut EP ‘Illumination’ came out in vinyl last year, but it’s now getting a digital deluxe version with a new bonus track on July 28th. In advance of the upcoming re-release we’re excited to offer a stream of the EP’s title track, which starts off the five song effort.
Poland continues to be a hotbed for some of the strongest death and black metal out there, and with labels like Pagan and Arachnophobia releasing material on a regular basis it can be hard to keep up. One release that caught my attention right towards the end of 2016 was the debut EP from UR, the six-song ‘Hail Death’. Coming in at a little under twenty minutes, UR keeps their songs on the shorter side but accomplishes a lot with each one. Rather than simply laying down fierce, unrelenting black metal like some of their country mates, this band delivers equal amounts of harsh black metal and somber melodic passages that have a doom and gothic tinge to them. It’s a strong first showing that hints at even greater things still to come, and is another example of a Polish act that already feels like they’re pushing outside of the usual genre boundaries from the very beginning.
Polish death metal band Kingdom released their third full length ‘Sepulchral Psalms from the Abyss of Torment’ last October via Godz ov War Productions and it was one of those albums that caught my attention from the first song. Like many of you, Kingdom had flown under my radar previously despite the fact that they had been cranking out destructive and dark death metal since 2003. Coming in at a quick thirty four and a half minutes, this is one of those albums that is blistering from start to finish and leaves behind scorched earth in its wake.
When it comes to black metal, there are plenty of bands offering their own take on different variations of the genre but it’s a bit rarer to find groups that feel truly unique. Some have done this through complicated song structures and atmospherics, while others have accomplished a different sound by using unconventional instruments. Los Angeles’ Wreche is the latter, as the duo has written black metal with piano and drums as the only instruments. Piano has often played a role in this genre, particularly when it comes to the symphonic variants, but the way it’s used on this group’s self-titled full length feels genuinely different and delivers a rollercoaster ride of emotions. With the album set for release on May 26th from Fragile Branch Recordings, today we’re excited to bring you a premiere of the song Fata Morgana.
When it comes to black metal and its related offshoots, you’re more likely to think of countries like Norway and Sweden. But if you’ve been paying attention over the past decade or so, you’ve probably started to notice that more and more quality material has been originating from Germany. Though they don’t get quite as much notoriety as some of the other countries out there, Germany has a considerable amount of talent and the TO staff has put up a round-up of recent black metal and black metal related releases from the country.