Second Circle: Memoriam and Ashen Horde

In Dante’s Inferno, the second circle begins the proper punishment of Hell, a place where “no thing gleams.” It is reserved for those overcome with Lust, where carnal appetites hold sway over reason. In Nine Circles, it’s where we do shorter reviews of new (ish) albums that share a common theme.

Looks like purple’s gonna be the theme for this edition of Second Circle. Although you could also easily say the theme is killer metal not enough folks are talking about. Anyway you wanna slice it, we’re here to drop some knowledge about the latest offerings from Memoriam and Ashen Horde, so turn that volume knob clockwise until it stops, limber up and get ready to bang that head.

Bring it on.

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Nine Circles ov… Enslaved Deep Cuts

If there’s one thing to know about my musical taste, it’s that Enslaved is my all-time favorite band. If Enslaved has one fan then I’m that one, if Enslaved has no fans I am dead, you get the idea. From the early days of lightning fast riffs and blast beats galore to the masterful blending of black and prog metal that has defined (but not constrained) them for over 20 years, and the multilayered ways in which Norse mythology and mysticism present themselves in their lyrics and album concepts, Enslaved encapsulate everything I love about heavy music. Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson prove time and again that the band they founded as teens in 1991 will never compromise or tread the same paths twice, yet always remain consistent. With the release of their sixteenth full-length album Heimdal almost upon us, there’s no better time to revisit nine realms of the Enslaved saga.

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Album Review: Order of Nosferat — “Vampiric Wrath Unleashed”

Modern black metal demonstrates an immeasurable amount of variety — in songwriting, genre crossovers, range of influences, melodicism, technicality, and so much more. Every year brings something new and exciting to the genre. This is all well and good, but any chance to revisit the simpler roots of the genre (and do it effectively) is certainly welcome. With lo-fi buzzsaw riffs and atmospheric dungeon synth, Order of Nosferat ring in the winter solstice with their latest offering of undead evil, Vampiric Wrath Unleashed.

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Initial Descent: December 18 – 24, 2022

Order of Nosferat

I can just about see the ass of 2022; its hindquarters just ripe for the kicking. Alas, that also means we’re down to the few remaining releases for the year, so Initial Descent is going to be a little light this week. And what better way to celebrate the holiday season with some nasty vampiric black metal? So first up let’s roll out the fangs and stash the garlic for Order of Nosferat, followed closely on the heels by Vampiric Tyrant. Yessiree, there’s something in the mead over there at Purity Through Fire, so maybe we can balance it out a bit by…nope, looks like this new release from Grymmstalt is going to be purely black and gnarled as well. Well, let’s lean into it then. Grab your corpsepaint and your black and white cover art and we’ll cover the metal bases throughout the week.

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Album Review: Skála — “The Secrecy”

With metal now being a truly global force, one of the most exciting endeavors new bands can undertake is blending established sounds from all over the world to create something that may seem familiar at first, but ultimately feels fresh and interesting. Taking the listener on a journey through various black metal realms ranging from the atmospheric, the pagan, to some of the early pioneers of the genre, Skála have crafted an impressive debut album with The Secrecy.

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