Greek black/death cult Αιμα (Aima) stream the entirety of their highly anticipated debut album, τράγος (Tragos), at heavily trafficked web-portal CVLTNation.com. Set for international release on June 15th via Nuclear War Now! Productions on vinyl LP format, hear Aima's Tragos in its entirety exclusively HERE.
Although it was established in Athens, Greece in 2011, Aima has to this point not garnered a level of attention that is commensurate with the quality of its music. This is almost certainly due to the fact that its recorded output to date has been somewhat sparse, and that it has opted not to play live shows. Additionally, its members have been simultaneously involved in other cults of similarly irreverent purposes, such as Wargoat and Goat Synagogue, whose endeavours have also occupied their attention. With the release of Tragos (“Goat”), however, Aima is poised to make its formidable presence known on a much wider scale.
The Greek moniker Αιμα, or “blood,” appropriately distils the band’s essence into the basic element of life and death. Similarly, and in a practice continued with this album, each of Aima’s previous solo releases, including its 2012 self-titled demo and ensuing 7” EP from 2014, σάρκα (“flesh”), has been branded unassumingly, allowing instead for the recording itself to deliver its potent message in greater splendour.
Since the beginning, and continuing through the aforementioned releases and the more recent 2017 split with Supremative, the goal has been to continue the tradition of black metal first espoused by pioneers like Sarcófago, Beherit, and Blasphemy. Like these bands, Aima has infused a healthy dose of death metal influence into its craft, resulting in a sound that is not unlike that of its fellow Greek contemporaries and long-time NWN! stalwarts Embrace of Thorns. This parallel is also exemplified by the fact that the σάρκα EP was released on Archfiend Devilpig’s own Kill Yourself Productions, which serves as a testament to their mutual admiration.
By Aima’s own admission, Tragos accentuates the death metal element even more so than previous releases. This shift was not made by conscious decision, but instead represents a natural progression in the band’s style. All eight tracks on the album were written in 2017 and 2018, subsequent to the release of the split with Supremative, which lends the recording a notable cohesion in its devastating, monolithic effect. Finally, credit is due to sound engineer Sotiris Laskaris, who was responsible for the production, mixing, and mastering that perfectly enhances this voluminous recording, a feat even more impressive considering it was captured in the band’s rehearsal room.
With Tragos, Aima has clearly established itself as a worthy present-day torch-bearer in the tradition of the most blasphemous of dark arts. Hear all of it for yourself exclusively HERE, courtesy of CVLTNation.com.
American black / death primitivists Mutilate stream the entirety of their highly anticipated second album, Contagium, at heavily trafficked web-portal CVLTNation.com. Set for international release on June 7th via Iron Bonehead Productions, hear for Mutilate's Contagium in its entirety exclusively HERE.
Hailing from New York, Mutilate are literally a blast from the past. Sounding as if time stopped some 30 years ago, this quartet create crude 'n' rude black-cum-death metal that was only brewed in the darkest dungeons of the underground circa 1987. As such, they aesthetically nod to the likes of Death Strike, Helllhammer, Nunslaughter, and Goatlord (U.S.) as well as the torchbearers that came after those pioneers during the '90s like Benediction, Acheron, Usurper, and Sathanas. It's stripped-down and simple, and unapologetically so, and done with absolute belief and total authenticity. Trend-mongers couldn't tolerate Tormentium, their debut album for Iron Bonehead last year, and yet the record won the support of those who do not entry to the false.
Now, striking while the iron's red-hot, Mutilate return with the even stronger and more disgusting Contagium. Aptly titled, Contagium is a throbbing wellspring of pus and pestilence: crude 'n' rude DEATH METAL from an arcane age. Without almost effortless aplomb, Mutilate build upon the already-firm rudiments of Tormentium and simply add a darker, more crushing aspect as well as classically headbanging moments. And yet, for the even-more-overt heaviness here, Contagium also breathes a more haunting, otherworldly atmosphere - much like its cover art, as it were - perhaps best exemplified by the album's closing title track. Dizzying and delirious, or simply downtuned and doomed to fuck: there's no escaping this Contagium!
Try escaping the whole album exclusively HERE, courtesy of CVLTNation.com.
Mexican death metal cartel Infernal Conjuration stream the entirety of their highly anticipated debut album, Infernale Metallum Mortis, at heavily trafficked web-portal NoCleanSinging.com. Set for international release on June 7th via Iron Bonehead Productions, hear Infernal Conjuration's Infernale Metallum Mortis in its entirety exclusively HERE.
Hailing from Tijuana, Infernal Conjuration formed in June 2006 and promptly set about crafting death metal rooted in the old-school ways, drawing influence from both their homeland and abroad. Upon releasing their first demo, Tremendous Plague, in 2007, they caught the eye of the underground metal scene, receiving offers to release their material on different labels, most of them in Europe. Eventually, Poland's Gruft Prodüktion released that first demo on pro-tape format, keeping Infernal Conjuration loyal to the underground movement. Around the same time, the band received an offer from Sweden's Blood Harvest Records for an exclusive 7" vinyl release, titled Avto de Fe and released in 2008.
By 2011, Infernal Conjuration recorded their follow-up release entitled Death Has Appeared. Deepening the band's presence in the international underground scene, this release had three versions, all released in 2014: in Europe, it was released by Gruft Prodüktion on CD; in Mexico, by Craneo Negro Records on vinyl LP format; and in the USA, by Utterly Somber on CD with three bonus tracks. Emboldened by that momentum, Infernal Conjuration soon set upon writing and recording their debut album.
At last, it arrives in the form of Infernale Metallum Mortis. The grand culmination of the Infernal Conjuration aesthetic to date, Infernale Metallum Mortis both consolidates and extends the band's all-too-considerable strengths. Right from the ripping first notes, the album seizes hold of the listener and throttles with angular gnarliness (or is that gnarly angularity?) that's blanching to behold. Truly gutsfucking, Infernale Metallum Mortis presents Infernal Conjuration in a form both blood-red raw and enviously accomplished, exuding a savagery that ably balances both ends of the spectrum, likewise balancing propulsive songwriting and devilishly advanced chops. Indeed, both entrenched in the underground whilst setting their sights beyond it, the quartet hereby deliver a monument of Mexican Metal of Death for the ages: TOTAL DEATH METAL, no more but definitely no less!
Feel the full fist of Total Death Metal exclusively HERE, courtesy of NoCleanSinging.com.
Colombian black metal cult Daemoni stream the entirety of their long-awaited second album, Black Tyrant, at heavily trafficked web-portal CVLTNation.com. Set for international release on the symbolic date of June 6th via Goathorned Productions, hear Daemoni's Black Tyrant in its entirety exclusively HERE.
Hailing from Bogotá, Daemoni formed in 2009 and feature members who've cut a wide path in the Colombian extreme metal scene, including such bands as Horncrowned, Nosferatu, Divine Prophanity, Inoculation, and Disenterror among others. Biding their time patiently, the band made their first public recording with their debut album, Stillborn Redeemer, in 2011. No need for a demo, Daemoni burst into the underground with cold, iron-fisted malice here: Stillborn Redeemer tellingly featured a cover of Dark Funeral's "Shadows Over Transylvania," used with permission from Lord Ahriman, and suitably did the album brim with an ancient fire.
Years would pass, but Daemoni continued to be a force on the live front, supporting Colombian shows by such luminaries as Mayhem, Suffocation, Dark Funeral, Krisiun, and Vader among others, with 2018 bringing the band's first European show in Madrid, Spain. Alas, the time to strike again is upon us and Daemoni eclipse the freezing fire of their debut with Black Tyrant. A more finesse 'n' focused work, Black Tyrant exudes an air of professionalism and daresay "maturity" that thankfully never threaten to neuter the primeval fury at the heart of Daemoni's aesthetic. Indeed, the album is aptly titled, for the band's songwriting has reached a masterful level, wholly matching the more muscular aspect that guides these eight underworld hymns. Each instrument is clearly heard, robust but blood-red; the quintet are in the throes of demonical possession, but still retain a tightness of execution. And after 40 furious, fiery minutes, the listener shall likewise reach a state of demonic possession with Black Tyrant.
Graced with masterful artwork by Jenglot Hitam, at long last does Black Tyrant arrive, for black and tyrannical is Daemoni's reign!
Hear the full march of that reign exclusively HERE, courtesy of CVLTNation.com. Pre-order info can be found HERE.
A few weeks after the official release of the effort, Swiss Pagan / Folk metal band NORVHAR just shared their whole 'KAUNA' EP for full-stream on YouTube thanks to the courtesy on the Unknown Melodeath Channel.
In other news, both CD & Digital editions are still available on Bandcamp and the legal streaming services.
Stream the 'KAUNA' EP on YouTube | Order your digital / physical copy on Bandcamp
..For the record...
Formed in 2016 from the ashes of the band Harmoniks, NORVHAR is oriented towards pagan / folk / epic metal. It consists of six skilled musicians, all of them with stage experiences.
Those six friends offer a music which is inspired, epic, melodic, but which also makes you want to drink beers until the end of times. Vastly inspired by Tolkien’s universe, but also by Nordic mythology, the texts are dense and deep, filled with adventures and battles, with mystical tales and latent alcoholism.
The folk melodies, sometimes played on the keyboard, sometime on the flute or on acoustic instruments, intermingle with powerful and sharp guitars, all punctuated by intense bass and battle-like drums.
The vocals, straight out of the plains of Valhalla are calling the warriors to battle by their unquenchable fire. NORVHAR is going to release an album at the beginning of 2019.
For fans of Moonsorrow, Ensiferum, Equilibrium, Finntroll, Wintersun.
Finnish black metal elite Malum stream the entirety of their highly anticipated third album, Legion, at heavily trafficked web-portal NoCleanSinging.com. Set for international release on May 31st via Purity Through Fire, hear Malum's Legion in its entirety exclusively HERE.
An ever-growing force in the forever-fertile Finnish black metal underground, Malum have become a Satanic power in their own right since their formation in 2013. From there, the band have committed a prolific stream of atrocities, including two celebrated albums - 2015's Crowned with the Serpent Sun and 2017's Night of the Luciferian Light - three EPs, and three split recordings, alongside such comrades as Lathspell, Insane Vesper, Sacrificium Carmen, and Sarkrista. The latter two bands joined with Malum for the spiritually aligned split LP Trinity of Luciferian Illumination, which was released by Purity Through Fire in late 2018.
Now joining the esteemed ranks of Purity Through Fire following the preview Terror Rehearsal earlier this year, Malum are prepared to make their grandest statement yet with Legion. Titularly elegant in its simplicity, Legion storms forward from its very first seconds with that paradigmatic "freezing fire" so crucial to classic Finnish black metal. But whereas so many past but especially present have sought to dilute or "diversify" the intrinsic power of that idiom - and FAILED, obviously - Malum proudly hold high the torch of traditional black metal values, striding to the head of the flagging pack to lead Finnish black metal back to its former glory.
However, labor under no assumption that such is shorthand for rehashed ideas and general go-nowhere inertia. Naturally, Malum's Finnishness is immediately felt, but within those chosen boundaries do the band conjure new spells, new manners of communication, keeping the magick and language alive by imaginatively working within those proud parameters. What results is a deceptively anthemic 38 minutes that show Malum can move dynamically from spiraling speed to ominous march, always exhibiting a passion that's blanching (and inspiring) to behold. Also witness the band move into more mystical realms with such tracks as "Luciferian Legion."
Adorned with unforgettable artwork courtesy of R. Ärling, Malum have truly arrived with Legion! Hear the full arrival exclusively HERE, courtesy of NoCleanSinging.com. Malum will perform only a few selected gigs in 2019; booking requests can be sent HERE.
Greek Black Metallers Funeral Storm stream Hells Headbangers debut through "Decibel" magazine's website
Greek black metal vanguard Funeral Storm stream the entirety of their highly anticipated debut album, Arcane Mysteries, at Decibel magazine's website. The album is set for international release on May 31st via Hells Headbangers for the CD format; the vinyl LP version will follow later this year. Featuring members from Hellenic scene legends Varathron, Funeral Storm deliver truly ancient - and truly authentic - Greek black metal in the most classic early '90s style, full of mysticism and might. Hear Funeral Storm's Arcane Mysteries in its entirety exclusively HERE.
Funeral Storm was formed in 2001 by Wampyrion Markhor Necrowolf under the name Raven Throne as a one-man-project. The name was later changed for legal reasons, and after several changes, the moniker Funeral Storm was chosen. Lyrical themes were set early on, and are heavily inspired by occultism, legends, myths, evil, mysteries, horror, and the Cthulhu mythos.
After several line-up changes and one live show, Wampyrion decided to stop any activities concerning the band until 2012, where he released a digital split with Mortuus Sum and a six-way split on tape format with Human Serpent, Thaer Os Valael, Opus Magorum, Silent Dominion, and Varg Order a year later under his label Abyssic Black Cult Records.
Funeral Storm were active again with the addition of members of Serpent Path. In 2016, Mercyful Hell Productions released a compilation with songs that cover most of the years of Funeral Storm that were never actually released. In the meantime, Wampyrion decided to change the sound of the band, now fully inspired by '90s Greek black metal.
Nick Christogiannis of Deviser and Necroabyssious of Varathron/Katavasia/Zaratus then joined as fulltime members. With this line-up, Funeral Storm released a split in early 2017 with Celestial Rite entitled Funeral Rite with Eskarth of Agatus performing acoustic guitars and a solo on the song "Martyr Of The Lake." Reaping international acclaim, Funeral Rite was released on 12" vinyl and CD formats by Iron Bonehead, while Mercyful Hell released the tape format.
Since signing with Hells Headbangers, Funeral Storm added Arcania (Aherusia) on guitars while Christogiannis departed, and the band promptly set to work on their first full-length record. Ever aptly titled Arcane Mysteries, the album proudly and poignantly delivers 43 minutes of atmospheric tartaric black metal in the vein of the old Hellenic scene, inspired by sorcery, magic, and myths. Indeed, Funeral Storm are ancient souls, eschewing the nowadays trends of dissonant non-songwriting and cavernous obfuscation in favour of traditionally epic and dynamic songcraft, reverent to the old Hellenic gods whilst forging terrain all their own, all wrapped in a robust production that powerfully captures the trio's overt physicality - and indeed, THAT classic pulse. Arcane Mysteries is truly a record that brims with a timeless atmosphere - truly, one of arcane mysteries - and safely avoids lazy "throwback status" due to the inclusion of scene veteran Necroabyssious on vocals and the era-authentic, ever-mystical synths, handled by both Wampyrion and Arcania. In short, it's an album more than worthy of the legendary early '90s wave of Greek black metal.
To further underline those classic ties, Arcane Mysteries features two special guests: Eskarth of fellow Hells Headbangers labelmates Agatus performed the solo and acoustic guitars on "Martyr of the Lake," and The Magus of Necromantia / Prinicipality Of Hell composed, recorded, mixed, and mastered "Wandering Through The Abyss." Completed by awe-inspiring cover artwork courtesy of Markus Vesper (Denial of God, Manilla Road, Attic), Funeral Storm triumphantly prove that the past is alive...in fact, more than ever!
Delve fully into the past in the present exclusively HERE, courtesy of Decibel, North America's only monthly metal magazine. Pre-order info can be found HERE at Hells Headbangers' Bandcamp. Aforementioned cover art and tracklisting are as above.
Legendary Finnish black metallers Black Crucifixion stream the entirety of their fourth album, Lightless Violent Chaos, at heavily trafficked web-portal NoCleanSinging.com. Set for international release on June 3rd via Seance Records for the definitive, worldwide edition, hear Black Crucifixion’s Lightless Violent Chaos in its entirety exclusively HERE.
Forming in the dark days of 1991, Black Crucifixion have long been a revered name in the Finnish black metal scene. From their beginnings through today, the band’s work has been a pillar of challenging magnificence: always with an immediately identifiable sound, but always evolving and surprising, taking the true heart of black metal - boundless freedom, unfettered unorthodoxy - and casting dazzling new shapes with it whilst honouring its original essence. And amidst an already sterling, supremely cult catalog do Black Crucifixion reach its apotheosis with Lightless Violent Chaos.
A true "dark horse" if there ever was one, Lightless Violent Chaos had its preliminary release as a limited edition in the band's homeland in 2018, and the album has not been available outside Finland. Long-time fans Séance Records – who worked with the band for the international edition of their third album, 2015's Coronation of King Darkness – are now proud to give Black Crucifixion's Lightless Violent Chaos the worldwide OFFICIAL release outside the Nordics.
"Nowadays music sounds like it was written and produced in McDonald’s – by the people who work there. We instead wanted to create an album that evokes the horror of being less than a whisper in the time-defying roar of the cosmos."
So says the band of Lightless Violent Chaos. Ever aptly titled, Black Crucifixion's fourth album creates a sonic and lyrical journey that should be experienced by the most adherent supporters of cult black metal as well as fans of progressive rock and ambient atmospheres. And as was the case with the critically acclaimed Coronation of King Darkness, the Finnish prog rock legend Rekku Rechardt again features as lead and rhythm guitarist on Lightless Violent Chaos.
Since their 1991-recorded debut EP, The Fallen One Of Flames, Black Crucifixion have been delivering their unique brand of black metal in a manner that cannot be mistaken for anyone else. Although never as heralded as their contemporaneous countrymen like Beherit, Impaled Nazarene, and Archgoat, there’s a reason why more well-known bands like Primordial dedicate songs to Black Crucifixion.
Always the mavericks, Black Crucifixion's Lightless Violent Chaos was designed to be listened as one piece. As a result, its length coincidentally matches Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon - "a fact that we realized just when finishing the mixing," says long-time bassist E. Henrik. The band’s songwriting has been admired by many, but it has even improved on Lightless Violent Chaos. And yet, the album and its production are loyal to their original roots, as even the Stratocaster from The Fallen One of Flames sessions was employed in the recording. It can be said that everything that was good in recording technology in the early '90s is present on this magnum opus of Black Crucifixion. Indeed, such is the most endearing aspect of this long-cult band: the skilful balance of tradition and transcendence, purity and progressiveness, darkness and its underside. Finally shall Lightless Violent Chaos see the esteemed treatment it so rightfully deserves!
In the lead-up to the definitive, worldwide on June 3rd via Seance Records, hear Lightless Violent Chaos in its entirety exclusively HERE, courtesy of NoCleanSinging.com. Also see & hear the official video for "Black Hole Metal" HERE, and see & hear a lyric video for "Deathless Be Me" HERE.
Icelandic black metal enigma Óreiða streams its striking debut album, Óreiða, at Decibel magazine's website. Now set for international release on May 13th via Harvest of Death, stream Óreiða's Óreiða in its entirety exclusively HERE.
Hailing from the modern black metal hotbed of Iceland, Óreiða are an enigma within a scene rife with enigmas. A nameless but by no means faceless entity, Óreiða made its/their first public recording with Demó I in 2016, which was soon released on cassette and 7" vinyl formats at the beginning of 2017 by Harvest of Death. Ensorcelled by the entity's monolithic trance-out black metal, Harvest of Death released in late 2017 Óreiða's one-track/20-minute Demó II on cassette, which was soon followed by a split 10" with Portuguese comrades Holocausto Em Chamas the following year.
With these but all-too-fleeting glimpses into true, brilliant madness, Óreiða at last delivers its/their first full-length recording, Óreiða. Its self-titled designation is significant, as this four-song/35-minute tome serves as both Ground Zero for the Óreiða experience and also a statement of intent. With a sort of paradoxically "enlightened" primitivism, each of the album's four icy, component screeds surges into being and locks onto near-stasis, hovering and taunting in equal measure.
Deceptively, each of those four epics seems comprised of one or perhaps two riffs total; delve deeper - or deliver thyself to total immersion - and discover a wealth of textural magic, subtly dynamic details in which to drown and rearrange one's mental parameters. Likewise, the seemingly wholesale lack of vocals is both stark and stratifying; allow that immersion, that submission to drowning, and then truly hear reverse voices of the dead wafting up from the sound-field to whisper buried secrets. Through it all, a shimmering, stained-glass style of melodicism emerges (synth? more guitars? both?), simultaneously at odds with the lifelessly pulsing black metal at hand and making perfect, alternate-world sense.
Once again, Harvest of Death points the way for the future by dragging it beyond a primitive past: here lies, and arises, Óreiða's Óreiða. Fully arise exclusively HERE, courtesy of Decibel, North America's only monthly metal magazine. Pre-order info can be found HERE at Signal Rex's Bandcamp.
Chilean speed metallers Sins of the Damned stream the entirety of their highly anticipated debut album, Striking the Bell of Death, at Legacy magazine's website. Set for international release on May 3rd via Shadow Kingdom Records, hear Sins of the Damned's Striking the Bell of Death in its entirety exclusively HERE.
Formed in 2013 in the city of Santiago, Sins of the Damned have become a cult institution in their homeland of Chile, itself a hotbed of heavy metal mania. The band self-released their first couple of demos, totally DIY but 100% professional, and prodigiously perfected their craft with subsequent short-length releases every year since. And now, at last arrives the full distillation of Sins of the Damned's eternal, unyielding aesthetic: the full-length Striking the Bell of Death!
For a debut album, Striking the Bell of Death does everything it should: consolidate all of Sins of the Damned's strengths, unveil previously hinted-at elements, and deliver them in a powerful production. The beauty (or is that ugliness?) of Sins of the Damned is that the quartet maintain such a classic sound, drinking deeply of metal's rich history, and yet exude a freshness of approach that results in something legitimately, respectably modern. Striking the Bell of Death is full, furious proof of that, exhibiting absolutely masterful songwriting - hooks, energy, passion, EVERYTHING - while roughening it up in a manner almost blackened (but not too much!). As such, the record comes highly recommended to maniacs of classic Razor, Whiplash, Exciter, and Deathrow (Germany) as well as current torch-bearers like Desaster, Gospel of the Horns, Deathhammer, and Italy's Barbarian.
Hark! Do you hear that sound? It's Sins of the Damned Striking the Bell of Death - and they're coming for YOU! The full tolling bell of doom can be heard exclusively HERE, courtesy of Legacy, Germany's defenders of the true. Pre-order info can be found HERE at Shadow Kingdom's Bandcamp.
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