Aeternus – Heathen

Norwegian Dark Metallers Aeternus arise from the renowned prolific Bergen metal scene with the release of the eighth full-length album “Heathen” which feels particularly meaningful as it marks the band’s 25th anniversary.

“Hedning” begins with utmost melancholy, a feeling that will return during the soothing guitar solo, elegantly channeled by smooth arpeggios that introduce a darker & heavier soundscape where massive growls ultimately amplify the blackened guitar grooves.

“Conjuring The Gentiles” satisfies your need for ravenous guitar riffs, fiery growls and a faster deeply blackened rhythmic section and all these elements evoke constant ominous vibes yet the song will ultimately morph into a melodic ensemble as guitars deliver somber and dreamy progressions.

“Boudica” can sound frenetic with plenty of crunchy guitar driven grooves bearing hints of death metal influences but such extreme approach doesn’t compromise the refined guitar melodies and dismal atmospheres that will become the song’s highlights.

“Illa Mayyit” holds a mystical aura that stands out in the melodic passages and exotic tonalities while the band’s extreme metal roots often emerge with the increasing darkened intensity of the fast menacing drums and the fervent guitar riffing.

On the new opus “Heathen” Aeternus has a clear music pathway in mind and the necessary renewed creative force to deliver a solid absolutely darkened collection of songs.

Orkan – Element

Fronted by Taake guitarist Gjermund Fredheim, Orkan is finally back to unleash immense darkness in the world with the new release “Element”.

“Lenker” marks an impactful beginning as obscure atmospheres act as a proper gateway for massive shrouds of gelid blackened guitar riffing which are definitely inspired by traditional black metal made in Norway and as expected the whole instrumentation and wretched growls fluently move through the fast primordial rhythmic blasts while the only hope comes with the occasional more melodic guitar work.

“I Flammar Skal Du Eldast” doesn’t leave behind the blackened anguish yet offers more variegated dynamics and experimental tonalities adding even catchy dark post metal influenced guitar riffs and melodies which are fueled by the absolutely melancholic mood that becomes intensely dominant during the inspiring slower harmonious segments.

The lengthy track “Avmakt” naturally crafts a sonic realm of contrasting feelings and tonalities offering the sheer brutality of blackened rhythmic sections and ominous growls as well as the dreamy nuances of memorable melodic guitar passages.

“Heim” closes the album feeling like a daydream as Orkan passionately create peaceful instrumental moments focusing on super nostalgic minimalist guitar melodies that together with subtle atmospheric arrangements genuinely express a whirlwind of emotions that later will be effortlessly matched & enhanced by poetic clean vocals and steady cold guitar riffs.

“Element” is an album absolutely devoted to darkness but also pays homage to the strength and beauty of nature as Orkan skillfully combine the raw fury of black metal with enticing emotional atmospheres.

Madder Mortem – Marrow

Even if the current metal scene feels rather crowded a unique band like Norway’s Madder Mortem will always stand out for the ambitious multifaceted songwriting approach and the genuine desire to challenge standard genre boundaries. The result of Madder Mortem zealous music exploration and dauntless creativity is the new opus “Marrow” which from beginning to end demands your utmost attention.

The initial intriguing bass lines of “Liberator” foreshadow an eclectic sonic realm as Madder Mortem embarks on a stylish music journey making their own rules and offering moments of profound melancholy mixed with a series of dense guitar driven grooves that ensure an energetic heavy rhythmic core while the extraordinary vocalist Agnete effortlessly shifts from bold delivery to smooth harmonies.

“Until You Return” feels quite romantic with the perfect dosage of dreamy melodic guitar progressions that naturally accompany Agnete’s haunting voice and once again she proves to be a brilliant vocalist as her talent truly renders this track particularly enchanting. In the midst of waves of of sheer melancholia intensely distorted guitars and strong bass phrases often increase the dark and heavier aspects of this song.   

“My Will Be Done” becomes immediately darker as sharp guitar riffs and a relentless rhythmic section borrow the bold patterns of extreme metal, an influence evidently enhanced also by the fiery growls, yet there is an underlying complexity that spontaneously blend diverse primordial and modern tones.

The title track begins with thrilling heavy guitar blasts but will morph into a more delicate, at times absolutely ethereal, ensemble where unusual melodic segments and Agnete’s poetic vocals will create a surreal sonic realm that will return throughout the song creating a perennial contrast with the darkened doom moments.

The fierce guitar riffs of “White Snow, Red Shadows” are simply irresistible leading to memorable grooves and wild syncopated rhythms yet despite the song’s intricacy fueled by the several remarkable tempo/style variations there is a main melodic momentum that, graciously embellished by Agnete’s vibrant vocals, will become addictive at the first listening.

“Waiting To Fall” is a particularly complex track that might not have an immediate impact as there is a lot going on. Starting with a generous dose of Nordic melancholia and refined melodies, that will recur with growing urgency, the song will often embrace an enigmatic darkness amplified by the grave doom metal tonalities of the harsh guitar riffs while the contemplative dramatic moments are always enriched by Agnete’s passionate vocals.

It’s a great pleasure to see Madder Mortem in excellent shape on the new dazzling effort “Marrow” which feels like another fascinating milestone in the band’s sonic evolution bringing refreshing creative dynamics & avant-garde tonalities to the naturally darkened essence that thrives in each song.

Cor Scorpii – Ruin

It’s been a decade since the debut album of Norwegian sognametal band Cor Scorpii which started as an offshoot of the iconic act Windir. Now Cor Scorpii are ready to return and impress the metal scene with the genuinely passionate work of music of the sophomore release “Ruin”.

The poetic atmospheres of “Svart Blod (Hovmod står for fall)” introduce a gloomy series of sharp guitar riffs which effortlessly follow a rather blackened rhythmic core obviously amplified by desperate growls and the whole song is influenced by wintry emotions that become even more palpable during the slower dreamy moments featuring the angelic vocal delivery of classical singer Annika Beinnes and the kaleidoscopic nuances of refined keyboards arrangements.

The folk/pagan metal flavors of “Skuggevandrar” will immediately stand out as a fiery rhythmic ensemble gallops confidently faster with strong guitar riffing and heartfelt somber melodies as always accompanied by intricate keyboards textures which provide extra solemn depth and infinite sadness through heavier rhythmic segments.

“Ri Di Mare” offers sublime classical arrangements before entering a darker sonic realm where guitars acquire full blackened energy supported by thunderous drums yet the song’s melodic ensemble will always hold an essential role as wistful guitar passages and fascinating keyboards effortlessly craft sophisticated tapestries.

On “Ærelaus” folk and pagan metal vibes become more dominant influencing the bouncy rhythmic dynamics and the vibrant multifaceted melodic guitar work yet when drums dictate a faster grim tempo black metal elements surface with fierce strength.

Like a Norwegian metal anthem “Siste Dans” begins with particularly sorrowful tones that will recur throughout the song shaping the thoughtful melodic intensity of compelling guitar phrases while a subtle gothic mood can be perceived in the keyboards atmospheric splendor and Annika’s graceful vocals.

At the core of “Ruin” the beloved Nordic melancholy infused soundscapes hold a crucial role as Cor Scorpii showcases an intense songwriting style that effortlessly blend the dark energy of extreme metal and ethereal melodic beauty to create a truly alluring collection of songs.

Acârash – In Chaos Becrowned

Norwegian occult rock band Acârash is ready to conquer the underground scene with the esoteric poetry and blackened nuances of the long awaited debut album “In Chaos Becrowned”.

“Cadaver Dei” invites you to join Acârash through a hazy sonic maze where desolate atmospheric layers introduce a blackened realm of gelid darkness made of gritty guitar riffs and low devilish vocals leading to moody melodic textures and wilder rock grooves.

Keeping all things dark as main inspiration “Shadows Roam” owes its obscure strength to the atmospheric blackened abyss where guitars shift from an archaic black metal riffing galore to the impenetrable gloom of slower paced melodies that in the song’s final moments channel a classic rock nostalgic vibe.

The title track begins with a feverish round of groovy guitar riffs and a delicious blackened aura continues to dominate every instrumental passage naturally enhanced by highly somber raucous vocals before giving way to bouncy occult rock guitar melodies and majestic faster bursts of gloomy rhythmic progressions.

Nightmares can become real and “Ashes Of The Mortal Mind” could not sound darker as deeply mournful vibes surround the lovable melodic guitar licks that often evoke a doom inspired mood and gothic splendor enhanced by the extremely grim vocal delivery and the perilous blackened grooves.

Darkness continues to descend triumphantly on “Cenotaph In Flesh” which certainly offers a fair dosage of wild hard rock dynamics but here it’s pitchblack and through melodic contemplative segments guitars inevitably gallop faster with massive gloomy vibes while growls embrace an arcane rhythmic urgency.

For a new band it’s not easy to attract a wide audience with a debut album but the spellbinding   hymns to darkness that Acârash has meticulously conjured on “In Chaos Becrowned” simply cannot be missed.
In Chaos Becrowned

The 3rd Attempt – Egocidal Path

Looking for new creative outlets former Carpathian Forest guitarists Tchort and BloodPervertor joined forces to start the new band The 3rd Attempt and the sophomore release “Egocidal Path” is ready to unleash an explosive collection of moshpit friendly black n’ roll grooves.

With such a fitting title you know exactly what to expect from “Blood, Dope And Black N’ Roll”. The 3rd Attempt dwells in a world of pure darkness yet the tight guitar riffs and the upbeat tempo craft many stomping worthy grooves as well as majestic somber tonalities while diabolical screams and cold atmospheric accents channel the depth of traditional black metal.

“Into The Light” continues this darkly epic pathway with eerie atmospheric quality as guitars and drums provide memorable groovy patterns that require immediate headbanging while occasional clean vocals add dramatic vibes.

“Egocide” evokes an extremely darkened mood fueled by the particularly ominous theatrical vocal delivery and massive unrestrained guitar riffs that set in motion a heavier rhythmic approach and borrow the sinister tonalities of raw primordial black metal.

“I’ll Do It Now” begins with undisputed blackened fury with punishing drums and relentless guitar riffing but gradually acquires also a solemn mood with vigorous clean vocals.

“The Oath” still features accessible black n’ roll dynamics as guitars always carry catchy energetic vibes through a ruthless faster rhythmic maze and additional sonic variety comes with a slower mysterious breakdown amplified by passionate clean vocals.

Blackened guitar driven grooves are always entertaining and you will also find plenty of familiar wintry nuances on “Egocidal Path” as The 3rd Attempt delivers a cohesive work of music which aims to conquer new acolytes in the fervent underground metal scene.

Taake – Kong Vinter

Acclaimed Norwegian band Taake is proud to unleash the coldest music creation of the year aptly entitled “Kong Vinter” on which mastermind Hoest does a truly impressive job playing all instruments himself. With confidence and mature songwriting fluidity, Taake embarks on a cryptic music journey daring to explore the primordial depths of black metal and add devilish groovy rock twists to the renowned formula.

“Sverdets Vei” is certainly fueled by the readily identifiable obscure black metal roots as guitar riffs run savage accompanied by fierce growls yet the gritty rock spirit tends to become more dominant with quite accessible spacey grooves.

“Huset i Havet” channels nightmarish atmospheres as the guitar driven rhythm relentlessly bends standard music & tempo structures mixing harmonious Nordic nuances and irresistible fuzzy rock ’n’ roll passages.

“Havet i Huset” might speed up tempo for a while with breathless riffing crescendo in proper black metal fashion and additional cold guitars obsessively build a diabolical rock groove.

“Fra Bjoergegrend mot Glemselen” is a particularly complex moody track with a tasteful ensemble of diverse music styles starting with introvert mournful glacial riffs that inevitably gain speed and fury followed by elegantly slower wintry melodies and surprisingly charismatic vintage rock moments.

A perfect soundtrack for the upcoming freezing winter nights when solitude and sadness become instantly palpable and overwhelming “Kong Vinter” evokes the icy natural beauty of Scandinavia with cathartic melodies as well as the extreme darkness of traditional black metal.

Five The Hierophant – Over Phlegethon

Instrumental trio Five The Hierophant is ready to debut in the music scene with the avant-garde obscure music opus “Over Phlegethon” which showcases a haunting blend of post metal and psychedelic rock.

Precise instrumental passages on “Queen Over Phlegethon” continuously evoke hazy soundscapes but nothing is random here as the band pushes ordinary music boundaries skillfully crafting a hypnotic overdose of bleak intricate atmospheres and guitars juxtaposed with vibrant saxophone passages.

On “Vampire” guitars acquire a sludge acidic rock mood while the stunning saxophone melodies cut through a thick psychedelic mist and the whole instrumentation focuses on the creation of multifaceted unique melodies.

“Der Geist Der Stets Vernein” features a series of elaborate sonic textures, including ambient and drone elements, which bear a carnivalesque mood.  The jazz oriented saxophone melodies are actually listenable and fancy but the whole instrumentation often delivers complicated atypical themes and dissonant tonalities while guitars acquire a more traditional gritty metal sound.

The enigmatic nature of “Over Phlegethon” might appeal exclusively to a select audience but Five The Hierophant truly impress the listeners with an understated and highly heterogeneous music style supported by a combination of unusual instruments such as djembe and rag-dung.


Atrox – Monocle

Norwegian band Atrox has been around since 1990 and, after exploring diverse music styles, has embraced an intriguing sonic evolution leading to the current groovy blackened industrial sound that characterizes the latest full length “Monocle”.

“Mass” certainly feels dark and dramatic with minimalist melodies enriched by well-structured electro arrangements. When guitars begin to craft a crunchy rhythmic backbone aided by confident rocking vocals the atmospheric layers continue to evoke a mysterious futuristic industrial style sonic realm with sophisticated modern tonalities.

“Vacuum” features intriguing progressive rhythmic passages that at times gain extra speed and strength while the overall atmosphere keeps on channeling a gloomy mood enhanced by loads of eccentric eerie synths and smooth melodic guitars.

“Suicide Days” is a particularly interesting track with a diversified structure that effortlessly mixes the cold nature of dark guitar riffs & melodies with the acidic groovy vibes of industrial metal while fervent vocals contribute to create an absolutely memorable chorus .

“For We Are Many” revolves around elegant darkened melodies that soon acquire an avant-garde inner strength due to an intricate series of atmospheric arrangements that eventually give way to unexpected crispy polished guitar & keyboards progressions. Then the song literally goes through a metamorphosis centered on softer cinematic haunting melodies and clean emotive vocals.

“Target” offers a cyber-industrial approach with groovy electro vibes and super catchy chorus balanced by steady powerful vocals and a charismatic prog oriented guitar solo.

After nine years of silence, with “Monocle” Atrox demonstrates to own a renewed energetic music approach creating thrilling and absolutely catchy songs which ultimately celebrates an exciting new  music chapter for such longstanding band.