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Tales from Bandcamp: Empires of Ash by Sojourner


a0681834603_10I always appreciate when a band chooses a name that aptly describes what their sound is. Even more when they live up to it. Dream Theater, Agalloch, Moonsorrow, Cannibal Corpse, to name a few. With a lofty name like sojourner there is lofty expectations for the music to take me on one hell of a journey across sprawling landscapes and through magical realms. And boy does this debut of theirs deliver.

As equally majestic as it is furious, Empires of Ash channels that epic spirit of black metal bands like Summoning, Saor, and even Emperor. What really sets Sojourner apart from their contemporaries for me is how well they weave the folk instruments into their songs; a variety of flutes, piano, and cheesy-as-fuck synths (and I mean that in the best way possible) pour personality into the music. When ever they make an appearance they really heighten the atmosphere and give just the right amount of spine-tingling punch. Add in a smattering of pristine medieval-styled female vocals to break up the throaty rasps and the mystical element is delightfully accentuated. I also really appreciate the diversity of the songs on the record as well as the songs themselves. Some have touches of doom others bask in ballad territory. Each one has its own distinctive touch yet they all flow well together. This is definitely an album to be appreciated as a whole rather than piecemeal.

So, yeah, if you love yourself some epic folky black metal, do check Empires of Ash out. I see myself really taking a many trip with these Sojourners.  As always, give it a listen and if you dig it go dig in your couch or back seat for some spare change to toss to the artists, they deserve it. Annoy your friends with recommendations too!!!  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!!

RoundTable Review: Fleshgod Apocalypse – King


fleshgodalbumnovAlbum:  King

Label:  Nuclear Blast

Release Date:  5 Feb 2016

Songs:   22

Length:  1 Hour, 48 Minutes

Genre:  Symphonic Black/Death Metal

Studio Albums:  Oracles (2009); Agony (2011); Labyrinth (2013).

Location:  Italy Read the rest of this entry

Tales From Bandcamp: Abbath by Abbath


a4109216292_10Brandishing one of the most iconic faces in metal, black metal’s resident jester has left (or was forced out) his original band Immortal and is taking a stab at the thing as a solo artist.  Honestly, upon hearing this, I’d be hard pressed to not say he was already a solo artist during his days with Immortal.  His eponymous solo debut is basically a continuation of the frozen land of Blashyrkh.  So, if you love Immortal, you will love Abbath’s solo work.  In fact, while it doesn’t really push any boundaries, this is some of his most solid work to date.  Sick riffs, blistering speed, and snarling vocals.  What’s not to love?  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Tales From Bandcamp: Mgla – Exercises in Futility


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Exercises in Futility VI

“As if you didn’t know how it feels to lose
As if you didn’t know how it feels to lose at dice with fate

At least have some dignity

As if it wasn’t a lifetime spent on connecting the dots
There was no pattern
As if the irony was more than a defense mechanism
And we could actually laugh for a change
As if steel hooks in our backs were more than a nuisance
And we could actually feel something

Self crucified – missed the right tree
Tore the wrong eye out
The hissing of hellfire
Self crucified – missed the right tree
For this I have gained a victory
I burn as I ought to

As if everything was to be made right one day
Dreams don’t come true for people like us
As if the gods were bored with peace in our hearts
And their fingers are itchy
As if we never broke people out of sheer boredom
And slept calmly among the wastes

And then we see bright and clear

As if we would be someone else
While mindlessly wandering through the mountains
As if we would be someone better
Expelling purgatory in Latin alphabet

Self crucified – missed the right tree
Tore the wrong eye out
The hissing of hellfire
Self crucified – missed the right tree
For this I have gained a victory
I burn as I ought to

As if all this was something more
Than another footnote on a postcard from nowhere
Another chapter in the handbook for exercises in futility”

 

Album Review: Heart of Akamon by Nechochwen


a3878480350_10For how much metal delves into histories of their nations I’ve always been rather disappointed that the Native Americans are so poorly represented.  Sure, there are songs about the Native Americans and even bands that capture the atmosphere of the spiritual aspects of Native American culture, but until now nothing I’ve heard has been full on Native American; capturing the history, the nature, and the spiritualism.  Having a large part of my heritage being Native American (I’m of Seneca descent and grew up in NJ, a Lenni-Lenape region) I’ve always had interest in Native American culture, in particular the music.  Naturally there’s always been a desire to want to hear the traditional music and tales blended with my favorite form of music, heavy metal (obviously).  So you can imagine my glee when I saw that our very own Irmelnis had posted on her Facebook wall a link to an album preview for Heart of Akamon by Nechochwen, a full on Native American metal band.  Not only did they come from a label I’m really starting to come to admire quite a bit (Bindrune Records) who hosts some amazing artist like Panopticon and Falls of Rauros but also integrate Lenape and other Eastern Woodlands Native American history and lore into their music.  Damn straight I went right to the Metal State inbox to see if we had gotten a promo of the record.  And oh yes we did, and oh yes am I more than content and have bought the entire discography already.  Where has this band been my whole life? Read the rest of this entry

Tales from Bandcamp: M by Myrkur


a2196000438_10Since I received the promo for the debut record from Myrkur I believe I have hit a record for the amount of times I have written and then deleted my review.  This is by far from saying that there is little to say about the album.  In fact, there are lots to say about this groundbreaking record.  I just didn’t want to fall into cliché over-emphasizing that the record is a one-Woman project nor under-emphasize a solid female voice in black metal.  I didn’t want to beat the dead horse of picking on the kvlt elitists I’ve seen saying not such nice things about any black metal that isn’t Mayhem or Burzum (and then pretty much becoming no better than the elitists themselves).  I also didn’t play into Myrkur’s image which forgoes sexuality but delivers some much-needed femininity because it kept turning into a diatribe for a more balanced female voice in metal and that would be better left as a separate rambling and not a review.  I wanted to say how much I love the shamanistic and ethereal nature of M but that kept becoming a love letter to the finer facets of modern black metal and over-emphasizing Garm from Ulver’s involvement in the creation of the record.  I wanted to quote one of my favorite The Big Lebowski lines, the one where Maude talks about ‘vagina’, but it just felt hammy.  I would have liked to touch upon some of the alien and almost Lovecraftian nature of the heavier moments but just wasn’t able to clearly get my point across.

There was a lot I have to say, but lack of an angle I could commit to and some writer’s block just made me say fuck it.  However, a record this good should not go unrecognized regardless of my difficulty in writing up a review nor did I want to spend so much time on something and not produce anything.  So I decided to just shoot some words from the hip and post it up as one of my ever-so-famous Tales From Bandcamp posts to let you readers out there an opportunity to discover this great entry into the pantheon of black metal.  Give it a listen, share it with your friends, toss some money at the artist, and let us know what you thought.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Black metal


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So much good metal has come out during the year to date that it’s impossible to listen to all of it. In black metal I took a long time to select the 15 best albums I’ve heard this year, then narrow that down to the five I like the most up to now.

Those who know me won’t expect my top picks to be old-school, aggressive, scrotum-busting tirades of fury and deafening thunder. Because my taste is influenced by my love of prog rock and other non-metal, I tend to prefer the melodic, symphonic, progressive or atmospheric forms of the various metal genres. As for my taste in black metal… hey, blame Dimmu Borgir.

Read the rest of this entry

Tales from Bandcamp: Isolate by Mesarthrim


a0820628059_10One modern trend I will probably never tire of is the astral themed black metal records.  Agalloch with The Serpent and the Sphere, Vattnet Viskar with Settler, Krallice with Years Past Matter, and so on.  It seems that each time a trippy post black metal album uses the stars as inspiration an album its scope and berth are as wide as the glittering sea above us.  Keep the Astral Metal coming please.

Catching my eye on the Bandcamp homepage with a beautiful photo taken by the Hubble Telescope I was easily compelled click to preview Isolate by Australian band Mesarthrim.  What I did not expect was that it would cut so heavily into my Ghost listening time; an album I’ve been frothing at the mouth for and was released today.

Dear Astreria! This album is outright phenomenal.  Heavy doses of reverby keyboard notes and major keys give the music such a triumphant sound that is as big as its subject matter.  There’s that overwhelming sense of positivity that you get from power metal but without all the cheese, superfluousness, and…. ummm.. well, power metal.  Nearly every moment here is just so uplifting.  The ambient moments are equally relaxing and introspective and add so much to the ponderous nature of the songs.  They perfectly compliment the mystical nature of the core of black metal.

This is a monumental album and should be given some love and attention asap.  Best part is the band is only asking for a single dollar for this beast.  You really can’t go wrong taking a chance here.  This album will transport you to a far away place, give you peace, and when you return you will be a happier person.  As always, tell all your friends about the music if you like it and let us know what you though in the comments.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Roundtable Review: Cradle of Filth – Hammer of the Witches


Cradle-Of-Filth-Hammer-Of-The-Witches-Artwork-wpcf_300x300Label:  Nuclear Blast

Release Date:  10 Jul 2015

Songs:   13

Length:  69 Minutes (is that a coincidence?)

Genre:  Symphonic Black Metal

Studio Albums:   The Principal of Evil Made Flesh (1994); Dusk…and Her Embrace (1996); Cruelty and the Beast (1998); Midian (2000); Damnation and a Day (2003); Nymphetamine (2004); Thornography (2006); Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder (2008); Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa (2010); The Manticore and Other Horrors (2012).

Location:  UK Read the rest of this entry