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The Best Black Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2017


1.  The Ruins Of Beverast - Exuvia 119
2.  Sun Of The Sleepless - To The Elements 95
3.  Blut Aus Nord - Deus Salutis Meæ 79
4.  The Great Old Ones - EOD: A Tale Of Dark Legacy 76
5.  White Ward - Futility Report 52
6.  Progenie Terrestre Pura - OltreLuna 34
7.  Almyrkvi - Umbra 29
8.  Chaos Moon - Eschaton Mémoire 27
9.  Satyricon - Deep Calleth Upon Deep (write-in vote) 20
10.  Der Weg Einer Freiheit - Finisterre (write-in vote) 12
11.  Wolves in the Throne Room - Thrice Woven (write-in vote) 10
12.  Time Lurker - Time Lurker 9
13.  Wormwood - Ghostlands - Wounds From a Bleeding Earth (write-in vote) 6
  Kassad - Faces Turn Away 6
Total votes:
696



The degree to which Almyrkvi stands as a differentiator from most other bands in Iceland's rising black metal scene cannot be overstated. Leaving the Deathspell Omega-inspired formula noticeable with much of the rest of the scene behind, this beast channels the cosmic energies through a combination of ambiance and industrial grinding that conjures thoughts of other greats such as Blut Aus Nord and Darkspace. An ideal soundtrack for galactic voyages.

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It's been quite the wait, but the new full-length from these titans of French black metal is well worth it. While not quite of the caliber of legendary albums such as MoRT or The Work Which Transforms God, Deus Salutis Meae nonetheless goes a long way towards tapping into some of the best from Blut Aus Nord's past industrial experimenting. Dehumanizing drum work, ethereal melodies that snake around each other, an impressively diverse range of vocal techniques, and more prove that this longtime king is not getting dethroned anytime soon.

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This is the first Chaos Moon release on which Alex Poole isn't in complete creative control; instead, Eschaton Mémoire is a band effort. The ambient side of the performance ties in perfectly with the melodic side, blending into a volatile essence capturing chaos and majesty. The pristine, clear production doesn't make the album untrve, instead shedding light and allowing the beast to properly manifest.

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Raging torrent of black metal vaguely in the vein of Darkspace. Five unrelenting tracks combining breakneck pace, tragic harmonies, and shrieked-but-buried vocals before the bottom drops out into more ambient territory. Maybe the aftermath of being sucked through the black hole?

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The alien signals of Progenie Terrestre Pura made first contact with humankind back in the year 2013. Now, industrial/electronic influences have been mixed with black metal before by other bands, but none has achieved it with such awe-inspiring and uplifting grandeur like this project. Buckle your seat belts, young earthlings, as the hypnotic beats, imposing riffs, and sophisticated songwriting will take us on an epic adventure to the corners of the universe.

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Ulf Theodor Schwadorf of Empyrium and The Vision Bleak fame reveals the debut of a project that was formed almost 20 years ago. To The Elements is a poetic work of black metal art, inspired by taiga forests, wildlife, moss, fire, and ice. It is a modern release that keeps perfect balance between warm melody and grim fury, telling dark and introspective stories about picturesque environs in the most captivating way.

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This is the music of Erich Zann's workout playlist. For all the dime-store black metal bands who claim to take inspiration from H.P. Lovecraft, here is a group that can genuinely evoke the cosmic weirdness of those legendary tales, wedding deliberate, creeping ambiance with gusts of virulent blackened distemper. Medieval grotesqueness and sci-fi coldness converge in EOD: A Tale Of Dark Legacy, yet one more example of The Great Old Ones' mastery of atmospheric black metal.

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Let no one ever say that Alex Von Meilenwald isn't an artist dedicated to the evolution of his craft over time. Exuvia goes farther out on a limb than perhaps ever before for this blackened doom Behemoth, featuring flirtations with a dreamlike, ritualistic psychedelia that only serves to make an already potent formula even more mesmerizing. Yet the band's ferocity has certainly not been compromised with the added sense of atmosphere, and Exuvia is ultimately a major grower of an album that is enjoyable from many different angles.

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Time waits for no man, but Time Lurker is lurking in your nightmare space. Their s/t debut is 7 tracks of post-infused black metal with some great tremolo riffing, harmonies offset against posty-moments, tikatikatika drums and howling-into-the-vortex vocals buried a bit in the mix to make everything sound even better.

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White Ward definitely picked up those dissonant riffs and breakdowns from hardcore, and the odd run of excited shredding calls to mind nothing as much as prog... but where they heck did they get that saxophone? The presence of so many smooth, tranquil interludes and the punkish slant to some of those riffs make Futility Report a rather unorthodox album for this category, but when White Ward settles into its comfort zone, it can't be denied that fast, icy, evil atmospheric black metal is where this band makes its money, and they're better at it than most.

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