Album Review: Imperium Dekadenz – “Dis Manibvs”

imperium dekadenz-dis manibvs

One of the elements missing from a lot of the writing on black metal is an acknowledgement of the nostalgia that underpins much of the genre. Whether it’s a yearning for a lost golden age of one’s culture, a disgust with modern conventions, or an invocation of a more primal, naturalistic state, black metal sets its gaze towards the past. Perhaps no culture has a greater understanding of the psychological complexities of nostalgia than the Germans. Their language contains words untranslatable into English, like weltschmerz (an emotional exhaustion brought on by knowing that the world can never live up to the promise of the imagination) and sehnsucht (impossible yearning for something achingly familiar that may not actually exist). With this in mind, it makes sense that German black metal amplifies the genre’s already-present nostalgic quality, creating a uniquely identifiable sound that’s both mournful and epic. Continue reading

Album Review: Marsh Dweller – “The Weight of Sunlight”

marsh dweller the weight of sunlight album cover

Even before you’ve heard a note of Marsh Dweller‘s debut full-length, The Weight of Sunlight, there’s a good chance you’ll have it figured out. (And no, that’s not a slight against it.) The album depicts a blurry, snow-covered forest on its cover, and boasts guest appearances from members of Obsequiae and Nechochwen. In one of his other projects, mastermind John Owen Kerr plays alongside none other than Panopticon’s Austin Lunn. Connect the dots, kids: you’re getting 40-odd minutes of melodic, folk-tinged black metal, and you’re going to like it. (And yes, that is a statement of fact. This thing’s quite good.)  Continue reading

Album Review: Eternal Khan – “Lost in the Night of Ages”

eternalkhan_lostinthenightofages_coverLess than two years after their previous full-length A Poisoned Psalm, Providence, RI-based Eternal Khan return with another full-length, Lost in the Night of Ages. While their previous album was a formidable blend of classic black metal, churning doom, and the might of death metal rooted in an Eastern sense of melody, it was hampered by a somewhat murky production job. Lost in the Night of Ages is a leaner beast than their previous work and wades more in blackened waters while still staying true to the course they’ve charted on previous works.  Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: Nokturnal Mortum’s “Lunar Poetry” Turns 20!

Regardless of whether you agree on their political stances or not, Ukraine’s Nokturnal Mortum can’t be dismissed for not having a huge impact on black metal, especially the kind influenced by folk music and rooted in symphonic grandeur. Their third demo –– disputably their first full-length –– Lunar Poetry recently turned 20 and deserves to be recognized for its excellence in songwriting and creating one of the strongest wintry atmospheres conjured in a black metal album from the 90s.  Continue reading

Album Review: Fifth to Infinity – “Omnipotent Transdimensional Soulfire”

FifthToInfinity_OmnipotentTransdimensionalSoulfireIn today’s metal landscape, “dark metal” is a loaded term that encapsulates multiple subgenres. Color me surprised, then, when Fifth to Infinity‘s debut Omnipotent Transdimensional Soulfire labeled itself as “blackened dark metal.” Somewhere at the intersection of doom, melodic black, and progressive metal (not “prog,” though), OTS has the ingredients for an intriguing and challenging listen but fails to deliver this consistently over its runtime. While there are great moments, the album as a whole is a maddening blend of simultaneous detours and overstayed welcomes.  Continue reading