Tag Archives: black metal

In The Fire

Review: In The Fire – Volatile Beings

So-called prolific artists, at least within the scope of heavy metal, tend to fall into the dime-a-dozen category, often releasing large bodies of work but with very little actual quality to be found within. This requires a lot of legwork and listening to mediocre-to-outright boring music just to find something worth its time. As with any rule, however, there are exceptions. And Philly’s blackened death metal savants In The Fire are a shining example of such an exception. There is a certain level of quality consistent throughout the band debut full-length release Volatile Beings that makes exploring it an engaging experience and not a chore in the slightest.

In The Fire - Volatile Beings

Without warning, “Feral” flings its serrated hooks from the darkness and drags its victim deep into its twisted world of terror. Instantly noticeable on this journey through hells unknown is the almost ridiculously modern production. Rather than relying on haphazard production to add character to the music, the production is domineered with sadomasochistic control. Sterility is often a negative term, but in this case it’s the sterility of a surgical scalpel, gleaming in the florescent lights of the morgue as the first cut glides through cold flesh, opening the abyss that pulls its prey into the guts. The tremolo riffs swirl around the churning, steady pacing of the drums in a doom-laden groove before opening up into all-out death metal fury. The leads aren’t so much leads as they are controlled noise, screeching and wailing their way over the seemingly bottomless maw of low end. Ryan Moll’s (vocals, guitars, bass, keys) obsession with control is apparent here as well, as on repeat listens it becomes quite evident that there is method to the racket; the cries of feedback are crafted into subtle yet memorable hooks.

The leads aren’t always as noisy, but they do play a large part in creating the atmosphere that is so key to Volatile Beings. On “The Devil in the Mirror” there are moments of haunting, spaced out arpeggios that lie beneath the thunderous riffing like shadows in the dark. There’s an almost epic feel at play here as In The Fire do indeed feel like it’s rising above the weak, feeble masses in a display of the complete and total power of an unearthly monstrosity. The rhythm section, completed with Patrick Battaglia on drums, bulges with might, locking into the groove like the inescapable constraint of an anaconda the size of an oil pipeline.

The onslaught doesn’t relent until the opening passage on “Into Battle” that ends with an unexpected, almost melodeath riff at the end, making for a refreshing take. The instrumental title track lurks its way in, building and pulsing before dropping into a lurking bit of doom as it coils before striking out with sinister precision. In The Fire layer on plenty of effects and production tricks that drip like virulent venom over the body of the beast, continuing its merciless assault of riffing. “Techno-Sociopathic De-Evolution” fully harnesses control of the melodic riffs, this time striking straight for the kill like a cunning predator who will not make the same mistake twice.

Needless to say, In The Fire’s Volatile Beings only strengthens the confidence to be had in the band’s ability to deliver. Ryan Moll simply understands extreme metal, and has a way of adapting the core of a style and distinctly making it his own. Not only does Volatile Beings shine as an instant highlight, but among the neverending slew of death metal at large as well.





Second To Sun

Review: Second To Sun – The Black

Well, this is quite impressive. “The Black” is the second album from post/black metallers Second To Sun and it’s a stunning piece of work filled with lush soundscapes and bleak moods, but also darkness.

Second to Sun - The Black“The Black” is an ambitious piece, with lots of intricate ideas and approaches woven into the music, and it’s a very rewarding listen as a result. It seems like on every listen, there’s another little element that you pick up on because there’s so many layers to Second To Sun’s sound. It’s just so atmospheric and well-constructed, and it really draws you in as it progresses.

A good element of the album is that there’s certain  groove riffs and ideas that span over the entire length of the album, really helping the piece to worm its way into your head, and there’s just so many good songs to contend with.

All in all, “The Black” is a pretty solid release. Second To Sun have really made it count with this album, and it is memorable for all the right reasons.






Review: Devildom – Curse of Flesh

Founded in 2012 and initially intended to indulge the band members’ love for emotional black metal, post-metal and depressive rock, Ukrainian act Devildom has since become its own monster. Releasing their debut album “Curse of Flesh” in January, they look set to take things up another level with their absorbing, genre-straddling release.

“Curse of Flesh” examines the eternal cycle of life and death by way of chugging riffs, tender interludes, atmospheric soundscapes and an impressive array of vocal deliveries.

Curse of Flesh

Atmosphere on “Curse of Flesh” is built meticulously and carefully in each of its eight tracks, with amazing attention to detail. You get pulled along on the crest of this dark and emotional wave as the songs build and fall. It really is very clever and an intense and brilliant listening experience.




The Stone

Review: The Stone – Teatar Apsurda

With their eighth full length release, The Stone presents you with what seems to be a pretty straight forward approach to black metal. While that certainly is true, the true devilish magic of Teatar Apsurda is what lies beneath the surface. Beyond the sinister sounds of blasting black metal, you are also provided with a hypnotic, enchanting and overall haunting atmosphere and overall sound that is hair raising and skin crawling. Each of the seven tracks that are presented on this record are ominous, damning and highly atmospheric.

THE STONE - Teatar Apsurda - Front Cover

As mentioned, at first glance, Teatar Apsurda certainly doesn’t seem to be a record that amounts to all that much but in fact it does. Teatar Apsurda is quite a lengthy record as it contains seven (lengthy) tracks of nothing but soul darkening tracks that shroud you in a poisonous and dank fog. As mentioned above, this record certainly does have a certain hypnotic quality about it but that effect doesn’t seem to completely take a hold of you until you get a little deeper into the album.

The atmosphere that swirls through this release is ritualistic, cold, grim, twisted and all together trance like. As noted, it takes The Stone some time for them to completely pull you in to their dark and dismal atmosphere, but once they do you sit in a catatonic state listening never wanting to leave your dread filled state of mind. The longer that you listen, you end up getting pulled in deeper and deeper into the ever growing, never ending darkness that The Stone provides for you.

Other than the bitter atmosphere, you are presented with sharpened riffs and pounding drumming that is paired with diverse vocals that transition between wicked screams and often used chanting vocals. With everything combined from the haunting, soul possessing atmosphere, to the swirling wall of black metallic noise, you are presented with a dark and foreboding record that ultimately is a great listen.

Overall, Teatar Apsurda is a solid release to say the least. This is a lengthy, cohesive and well crafted record that provides you with more than your fair share of death and despair.

Order from Mizantropeon Records.

Sickle of Dust - Between the Worlds

Review: Sickle of Dust – Between the Worlds

Right from the start, Sickle of Dust successfully manages to avoid being pegged under just one genre. On the one-man band’s debut album, Between the Worlds, Ash displays the essences of black metal, folk metal, doom metal, and even post-rock and progressive metal. The style here draws from numerous influences and the most prominent one would be the extremely raw sound of black metal. While it may not be true black metal, the production and Ash’s vocals are undeniably reminiscent of the genre. Ranging from Ash’s eerie shrieks as well as the emotional guitar tones, Between the Worlds serves as a beast of its own and it represents the peak of fall season and the beginning of winter truly well with its overall depressing mood.

“They Follow the Sun” happens to be the album’s lengthy epic and what an unbelievable impression this track leaves. It assures the listener that most of the experience is going to be filled with the melancholy and despair of the dying leaves at the height of fall season as the mesmerizing, punchy guitar work immediately sucks anyone into its vortex. Once the track takes off, it never lets up in terms of the enjoyment department. It thoroughly delivers with charismatic guitar riffs and Ash’s voice.

Even as this behemoth of a track comes to its inevitable end, the album still never manages to lose its luster.Album closer “The Place that Doesn’t Exist” brings the album to a close quite nicely. The wavy tempo changes prove to be impressive and the folky leanings shine through here nicely.

To further enhance the gloomy vibe the band tried to convey, Ash injected plentiful slower moments to emotionally take things down a few notches. Thanks to the many somber guitar tones, he accomplishes this with grace and finesse.

All in all, Between the Worlds exists as a debut that truly soars. The album really captures the mood of sorrow and melancholy quite well due to the sheer thoughts of fall and the beginning of winter in mind. The project’s poetic vision, guitar work, and vocals is where the enjoyment of Between the Worlds truly lays.




Review: Nomadic – Horror

Nomadic is an American black/death metal accompanied with various other influences. The band has released their debut EP record Horror in April.

Horror features some impressive death metal riffs and brutal vocals, which manages to catch the listener’s attention from the beginning! Although the record is not the typical ‘raw’ death metal one, the vocals and the drums (from time to time) give us that raw atmosphere. The guitars, on the other hand, are quite brutal and show us the diverse and melodic side of the album. In this sense, the record is brutal but also melodic and catchy; I am sure that the listeners will want to hear the record again and again to hear a certain guitar riff, brutal vocals or the crushing drums.


A highlight in the atmospheric elements; this aspect made the record much more fascinating and even a bit diverse in my opinion. I even thought to myself that the band could have gone a bit further with the atmospheric approach by using more synths or orchestral elements.

Horror marks the great start for the band. I am looking forward to what Nomadic will come up with in the future. If you have a chance to see them live, don’t miss it!




Hornwood Fell

Interview with Hornwood Fell

Italian black metal band Hornwood Fell returned this year with their second album “Yheri.” Singer, guitarist, and bassist Marco Basili answered my questions about the band’s work.

In your Bandcamp description you describe Hornwood Fell as “Italy’s woods-obsessed band. Can you elaborate on that?

Hi guys! You see a lot of Black Metal is greatly inspired by images of dark, snowy forests inhabited by grim creatures. Bands like early Ulver or Darkthrone inspire us for example. It is our way of expressing how our music refers to that type of music, to those bands, as well as the fact that I am surrounded by woods and countryside where I live (my brother Andrea has moved to the city now). In our small medieval village at the foot of the Cimini mountains there are only trees, moss and the cold weather arrives early. Where I come from it is easy to find yourself in thick, gloomy forests, catapulted into the type of world often described in Black Metal.

For the style of music you create, you managed to build something by different vocal and guitar approaches. Tell me how do you go about creating a song.

We generally start by composing the melody and then add the lyrics. In this case we are talking about an album, a Concept in which the music follows the words step by step; much of the work of the vocals and guitar were suggested by the Concept. I must admit that we have played many other styles of music in the past; this last album contains a lot of the type of music we played in the past with our old band “Kailash “.


What does the title of your new album “Yheri” mean?

Yheri is a concept album and it is also the name of the protagonist of the story.  “Yheri” comes from the German word “Ihre” which means “Them” in English. We have rearranged the term a little with the aim of describing the concept from a visual point of view. Taking the first letter in the word and looking from bottom to top, the “Y” starts with a line which then becomes two, then there are letters that form a bridging narrative that leads towards the “i”, which is visually a line with a dot on the top. This has much to do with the concept: a single entity, a separation, a path and convergence on one point.

Comparing your two albums, do you see a clear progress in the sound of Hornwood Fell?

There are many new elements such as clean vocals and an Avantgarde Metal sound to our music now compared to the first album. I do not know whether we are making progress but this latest album is certainly different from the first.

Marco Basili

Marco Basili

Does the music you listen during the creative process of a song/album effect your songwriting?

Of course! It’s good that it happens. It gets us going especially at the beginning. I am also extremely influenced by images; films are a great source of inspiration as well as the sensory world, which provides me with food for thought on a daily basis. It would be really difficult for me to compose without this union: a fusion of various points of view, which makes this world fascinating in my opinion.

What was the last gig you attended?

“Spectral Forest” great italian band, in my opinion.

What have you been listening to lately?

In this days i’m listening to Symphony n.3 and Piano Concertos by “Einojuhani Rautavaara”, Alien Syndrome 777  album “Outer”. It is a great album! Corpus Christii  album “Palemoon”, also this is a great work.

Andrea Basili

Andrea Basili

How do you see this kind of music scene in your country? Do you believe it is on the place in deserves to be?

In Italy creating any type of musical or artistic expression is complicated to say the least. Fortunately the web has somehow made it possible to overcome these enormous barriers. Today the music scene in Italy is full of great bands that are good enough to compete with those of other countries (who do not need mentioning) that have made this type of music fashionable again.

What is your favourite beer?

India Pale Ale beer, love it!

Thank you! See you next time.

Jeff Carter

Interview: Jeff Carter of Darkening

I have previously wrote about Darkening‘s debut album “Augür” here, and I felt that it was necessary to conduct an interview with the band’s mastermind Jeff Carter and find out what lies behind the music he brought into life through this release.

Jeff was kind enough to answer my questions in the interview below.

Alright, first things first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Life is going pretty well, actually. With the release of the album, I seem to finally have free time here and there to do other hobbies besides music.

Speaking of new music, you recently released an album. Are you satisfied with the reception you received for “Augür” so far?

Yes, so far, the reception has been quite great. There are a few music entities interested in hearing where I take things next, being as this was kind of a surprise album for older fans of mine – they are excited as well. Kind of a different musical approach than people are used to hearing from my earlier compositions, which incorporated input from other musicians (Deus Invictus, The Chariot, were some earlier work of mine).

Darkening - Augür

What is “Augür” about?

On a personal level, Augur is about many things…some of which I will not get into…but to basically graze the surface – nightmares, omens, and how they correspond to real life situations and events. I sought to capture the essence of what it is like or might be like right before something tragic happens directly to oneself, predominantly the feeling that you know deep down, via sickening feeling, that you or someone else has a cursed existence for the next few minutes. There are many stories that sort of link together a tragedy, or string of tragedies. Some subjects include a religious person seeking death after being misled by a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a girl who grows up in a government facility who finds out she has special telekinesis after the tests and unleashes the power on all humanity, and finally a person who is possessed with a spirit which makes him a werewolf, among other subjects. All stories are partially inspired by my love for horror movies, but interlaced with the fact that some things aren’t explained, and some things that happen in life can be quite creepy and unsettling. Darkening is the band that specializes on bringing that fear to music. The term “Augur” itself means “interpreter of omens”.

Jeff Carter
Are there any touring plans?

Not in the immediate future, being as we are a studio band. Of course as coverage, exposure, and fan base increases…so would our desire to support it with a live show.

While we’re on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

I would really love to get out to the UK, Germany, Sweden….to name a few…

Who and what inspires you the most?

Mysticism, nature, heavy metal bands of the 70′s. Myself and the studio players on this album included, do not really like very many “newer” metal bands….we grew up on the 90′s death metal scene and kind of skipped back to old Black Sabbath. Of course music inspires us, inspires me…so I really won’t go into too much without sounding like just another musician in an interview…haha. Obviously my family goes a long way towards my inspirations. Lastly, Darkening is mostly inspired by pioneers in art and music…and by the fans.

What other genres of music do you listen to?

Lots of electronica (progressive house….I guess because it’s “prog”). Um….anything from jazz to reggae to 80′s pop. Anything can be entertaining if played with precision and done well. I am a huge fan of The Police, in fact, that is where a lot of my drumming influence comes from. And of course: Motorhead.

Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

Huge Stewart Copeland (The Police) fan. I grew up listening to his drumming in the weird reggae time signatures, which kind of opened up the door for me as a kid to listen to bands like Rush, Yes, and Blue Oyster Cult. I learned to play “blast beats” when I was 12 years old after getting pretty hyped up hearing a Cannibal Corpse album I bought at the record store. Took a while, but after jamming with high school friends and acquaintances for years, I tried to step up my game on drums to a “professional” level – trying to make as few mistakes as possible. After all, if it wouldn’t sound good on an album…why bother playing? Perfection was key. With guitars, bass, and singing on albums…mainly got the practice in on other peoples’ guitars…and singing in my car when I was younger. It took years before I tried to test my vocals out in front of people. Also a pretty big fan of Opeth and some of the other Scandinavian bands out there.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Just would like to say thank you to the fans for their support, thank you to Annie and all at Prog Sphere for what they do, and thanks to Progstravaganza for the superb interview. You all are great! Happy Holidays from the Darkening camp!

You can buy “Augür” from Bandcamp here, and follow Darkening on Facebook.