Staff picks


Deathspell Omega - The Synarchy Of Molten Bones
08.11.2016 | Return of the king
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So here we are. Six years and two EPs later, the mighty Deathspell Omega have returned with new material. It's not "Doomspell Omega" or a reggae black metal album, and sure, one could complain about a rehash of old ideas here. But I'll be damned if it isn't nice to have these titans of French black metal back on the throne showing all their emulators how the game is really played.

Go and get it.
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Apothecary
BitterCOld, Mr. Doctor, Marcel Hubregtse
Blut Aus Nord - Codex Obscura Nomina [Split]
28.06.2016 | Hallucinatory BM... and some Ævangelist

This new split really feels more like a Blut Aus Nord EP + a rather poorly produced Ævangelist track than anything else. While Ævangelist largely disappoint with their contribution, Blut Aus Nord meanwhile craft a mesmerizing, 4 track journey that sounds somewhat like MoRT at points, but is also strikingly new, dripping of a strange psychedelic influence in the guitar tone and background effects. A pleasant surprise for this year that is just too damn short.

Bandcamp.
Picked by:
Apothecary
Howls Of Ebb - Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows
17.06.2016 | Lovecraftian black/death

Howls Of Ebb are a fine example of the growing tendency towards experimentation taking place right now not only in black metal, but in death metal as well. There's little that can be said about this album other than that it's a bizarre, stimulating journey into a blackened death whirlwind oozing of psychedelic bounce and eerie atmospheres. Say that doesn't sound fun and Yog-Sothoth will smack you with his tentacles.

Sing to the Old Ones.
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Apothecary
Mr. Doctor
Withered - Grief Relic
25.05.2016 | Broken neck

Grief Relic is my first time crossing paths with Withered, the joining of the mighty Ethan McCarthy (Primitive Man, Vermin Womb, ex-CTTTOAFF) to the band being a treat that immediately raised interest. This black/death metal infantry is armed to the teeth with all the fixins: blitzkrieg guitars, thundering drum and bass, monstrous vocals from Ethan and Mike Thompson, and a pleasantly variable tempo ranging from frantic bangers one moment to slow, painful crushers the next. If you've been running low on the brutality pills lately, Withered are happy to compensate.

Get rekt.
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Apothecary
Deadsoulman, Marcel Hubregtse
Almyrkvi - Pupil Of The Searing Maelstrom
10.05.2016 | Industrial BM... in space
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As further testament to the fact that Icelandic black metal is not purely confined to Deathspell Omega emulation, Almyrkvi, the one man project of Garðar S. Jónsson, is hitting the scene hard this year with this debut EP. The music here is something of an industrial-influenced brand of ambient black metal: thick, almost mechanical-sounding riffs create a hypnotizing atmosphere, enhanced by atmospheric breaks interspersed throughout. Think something along the lines of Blut Aus Nord + Darkspace. Easily one of the best BM releases I've yet heard this year.
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Apothecary
Ag Fox, Mr. Doctor, ScreamingSteelUS, Paz
Primitive Man - Primitive Man / Sea Bastard [Split]
18.03.2016 | Dirty doom dabblings
Bandcamp music player

The misanthropic, kvlt-tinged sludge of Primitive Man is ready to throw down with Sea Bastard's lumbering, cavernous brand of doom on this monstrous new split. It's the Primitive Man side that leaves the greater impression, with a pleasant return to a grittier, Scorn-like production, but the crushing Sea Bastard track is nonetheless a powerful, worthy complement. I'm not usually one to get all that crazy about splits, but this one's a definite beast.

Primitive Man HERE
Sea Bastard HERE
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Apothecary
D.T. Metal, Marcel Hubregtse, wormdrink414
Skáphe - Skáphe²
05.03.2016 | Next level black metal
Bandcamp music player

A wise man once said that "two heads are better than one," and perhaps no album this year has yet demonstrated the truth of this maxim better than Skáphe². The grand result of the combination of the talented Alexander Poole (Chaos Moon, Esoterica, Krieg) and the mysterious D.G. (Misþyrming, Naðra), this album is a mesmerizing journey through the capabilities of two of the best composers modern black metal has to offer. AOTY contender.

Name your price on Bandcamp. The Elder Gods are feeling generous.
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Apothecary
BitterCOld, Mr. Doctor, Deadsoulman, Paz
Ulver - ATGCLVLSSCAP
11.02.2016 | Ulver doing Ulver
Bandcamp music player

The new output from the Norwegian black metallers gone electronic maestros is just more of what Ulver have been doing splendidly for years now. Oozing of drone and psychedelic influence, it's a powerful exercise in transcendent beauty and diversity, with each track managing to have its own distinct flavor while still following a common theme. Forget the fact that you can't pronounce this album's title. Instead, focus on the fact that this is probably the most immersive and stimulating Ulver album in quite a good while.

Go and get it.
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Apothecary
Deadsoulman, BitterCOld
Chaos Echs - Transient
30.10.2015 | Indecipherable

Chaos Echs are a prime example of why French metal has gained such a solid reputation for being very forward-thinking and experimentally inclined in the past decade. Typically labeled as death metal or death doom, this album doesn't stop there, with the band also adding in elements of black metal, drone, jazz, psychedelia, and more to their sound. At some points fast and incredibly heavy, at others meditative and transcendent, Transient is a bizarre, polymorphous beast that defies classification, and seems to be nothing more than a full embrace of the power of human ingenuity.

Go have a listen and ponder over the nature of improvisation.

Read review ››
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Apothecary
Deadsoulman, Marcel Hubregtse, Mr. Doctor, wormdrink414, BloodTears, BitterCOld, Darkside Momo
Weedeater - Goliathan
24.06.2015 | Good ol' Southern sludge

Nothing new and fancy to see here, folks, just pounding, crunchy sludge with a bit of a bluesy twist that hits the groove gene right where it needs to. If you can't get enough of the sound of bands like Bongzilla, Eyehategod, etc. and you haven't yet heard Weedeater, do yourself the favor. Finger-lickin' good!

LISTEN.
Picked by:
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Apothecary
Deadsoulman, wormdrink414
Bong - We Are, We Were And We Will Have Been
01.06.2015 | Epic hail Shiva Hindu raga sitar drone
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Are Bong really doing anything new here? No. Do they need to? No. Coming back with another chapter in their sitar-fueled drone rituals, the band's music is as focused, relaxing, and meditative as ever.

Go get yo trance on.
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Apothecary
Deadsoulman, Daniell, Mr. Doctor, Nefarious, Ag Fox, ScreamingSteelUS
Death Karma - The History Of Death & Burial Rituals Part I
23.02.2015 | Transcendental black/death
Bandcamp music player

Infernal Vlad seems to like death. A lot. Death Karma is a new band that sees the Cult Of Fire front man teaming up with the band's drummer for a musical spectacle that can only be described as stunning. Black and death metal combine seamlessly, in a way that is both thundering and bang-able, but also eerily hypnotic and surprisingly catchy with its sense of groove and enhancement from Vlad's distinct sense of melody. If these guys needed any further proof that they're incredibly skilled composers, this is it. Early AOTY contender.

Bandcamp.

Read review ››
Picked by:
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Apothecary
wormdrink414, Mr. Doctor, Ag Fox
Senmuth - Dakhmas
12.01.2015 | Industrial Siberian Khatru Metal
Bandcamp music player

What would happen if Genghis Khan traveled in time to our current era, stole Fredrik Thordendal's guitar, and then played an electronic symphony for himself back in the 1200s with it and his own little folk instruments while his hordes swept across the steppes of Russia? Why, Senmuth's Dakhmas would happen, of course.

LISTEN
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Apothecary
Susan
Schammasch - Contradiction
11.12.2014 | Melodic Black/Death
Bandcamp music player

Here's one of the few albums from this year that's actually deserving of all the hype it's been getting. The sophomore effort from this Swiss foursome is amazingly detailed and incredibly varied in its songwriting. At times takes a slow and trancelike black metal approach, with surprisingly beautiful solos to accompany. At others, pounds you into dust with a furious death metal crunch, and at other moments still is extremely relaxing in its attention to melody and atmosphere. A powerful blend of personalities, and a worthy addition to any extreme metal fan's musical library.

Perhaps one could say the diversities are... a contradiction?

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Apothecary
Mr. Doctor, Deadsoulman, ScreamingSteelUS
Progenie Terrestre Pura - Asteroidi
20.10.2014 | Inside Samus Aran's brain

Coming off of a powerful debut with last year's U.M.A, this Italian BM duo decides to follow it up with a curveball, a nonmetal EP. Best be off with you if you're looking for the more aggressive side of the band's personality with this one. Asteroidi is for those listeners who delighted in the ringy ding ding electronics of the debut, and wished to see the band go deeper with them, an effort at which they certainly succeed here.

Beware the Metroid scum.
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Apothecary
Introspekrieg, Ag Fox