20 – Hädanefter – JORDFÄST (Sweden) May 7, 2021
The two man black metal project of JORDFÄST has been around since 2017 but this is their first release. Two tracks total just over half an hour, and vary between mournful guitar work, frantic drumming and harsh vocals. Delivering varying tempos, and dancing between heavy passages and eerie melodies, (the haunting choir near the end sends chills down my spine) – it’s a truly balanced listening experience.
19 – Triebe – ELLENDE (Austria) January 22, 2021
The album opens with a weightless melody but don’t let that deter you, what follows is an overwhelming dose of black metal, with an overtone of desolation and grief. Warm guitar tones in the solos, the orchestral hums in the interludes and the gentle acoustic picking are met with a crushing wave of atmospheric sorrow, punctuated with forlorn, jarring vocals.
18 – A Dream of Wilderness – AEPHANEMER (France) November 12, 2021
AEPHANEMER first grabbed my attention with their debut “Memento Mori”, and now on their third release, I couldn’t be more chuffed that they have delivered another strong record. Cutting through the frou frou typically found in the genre, they complement their symphonic metal with ravaging growls and whirlwind solos on top of a solid death metal base layer. Completely forgoing clean vocals, aside from some choral parts, sets them apart from the ‘corset-core’ bands that dominate the genre.
17 – Primordial Arcana – WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM (USA) August 20, 2021
Crashing cymbals and haunted vocals both clamour for your attention against the somber guitar tones. WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM deliver a pummelling through antagonizing riffs followed by an offer of respite, moments of reflection with calming ambient solos punctuated by deep growls. Seven albums later, they continue to excel at their craft.
16 – Vanagandr – THYRFING (Sweden) August 27, 2021
It’s been eight years since THYRFING released an album and the wait was definitely worth it. Each of the tracks on the album dive head first into a manic turbulence of ferocious drumming met with enchanting string harmonics, majestic solos and well placed symphonic vocals. They are just as enjoyable to listen to recorded as they are live.
To be continued in part 3.