Album Review: Mare Cognitum — “Solar Paroxysm”

Mare Cognitum - Solar Paroxysm

My review of Mare Cognitum’s 2016 album Luminiferous Aether was one of the earliest pieces of writing I published when I first started writing for Nine Circles. As such, they are a band that occupies a special place in my heart, not just because I think they are one of the best names in black metal today, but because each album that I have a chance to engage with is a chance to see how both I and they have grown. It feels much like checking in with an old friend, even though Jacob Buczarski wouldn’t know me from Adam, a way to mark the passage of time and the distance we’ve come on our respective journies, and on Solar Paroxysm, it seems the passage of time has left both of us with no patience for fucking around.

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Album Review: Kankar — “Dunkle Millennia”

I love reviewing debut albums and discovering new to newish bands.  It is always fun to see what fresh, creative minds and talents bring to the scene.  I am here to throw another one atchya.  This time, from German black metal band Kankar with their debut full length release Dunkle Millennia.  The duo joined forces in 2016 and released an EP in 2018.  They have polished their craft since, and have come through with a dark, striking, electric, eleven-track album.  The production is beautiful and crisp, the songwriting is skillful, the musicianship is bewitching, and each song flows perfectly into the next to create a cohesive story.

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Album Review: Nine Treasures — “Awakening from Dukkha”

The Mongolian folk metal scene has definitely had an awakening in the last decade and one of, if not, the biggest band in that movement have been Nine Treasures who’ve managed to combine the feeling of Mongolia with metal in a rather positive and charming way. Formed in 2010, the band celebrated its 10th birthday last year and are now releasing a best of album in the form of Awakening from Dukkha.

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Album Review: DVNE – “Etemen Ænka”

Dvne - Etemen Ænka

My first exposure to DVNE came late in the cycle for their sophomore album Asheran, but it was enough to put their crushing blend of sludge and progressive rock/metal onto my end of year list for 2017. It took a few years before appetites were whetted with the Omega Severer single/EP, and now we have the proper follow-up in the form of Etemen Ænka. This one is a little more of a grower, the songs more up front and in your face, but as things start to expand (particularly on the second half) all the reasons I came to love the band in the first place begin to flower.

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Album Review: Orden Ogan — “Final Days”

It’s been a little while since we heard from German power metal stalwarts Orden Ogan. The band’s terrific last album, Gunmen, dropped way back in 2017 and wound up staking a claim on at least one of our staffers’ year-end lists. But since then, the band’s had some ups and downs. Longtime guitarist Tobias Kersting left the group. Vocalist / producer / mastermind Seeb Levermann suffered a hand injury and had to give up guitar-playing responsibilities of his own. And most notably, the [gestures broadly at everything] that was 2020 forced multiple delays of the band’s follow-up album, the perhaps-too-appropriately-titled sci-fi concept piece, Final Days.

Originally scheduled for release last summer, Final Days is, erm… finally… upon us. So, how does it stack up with Orden Ogan’s back catalogue? All told, mostly well enough.

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