Tutl Records | 2-2-18
I think I just wanted to type in the place Faroe Islands which the description of atmospheric black / doom once in my life. Svartmálm certainly comes from a place not known for its metal and is one of 14 metal bands registered in the history of the Faroe Islands. It is not like this small island is out of reach of the rest of the metal world as it is positioned between Iceland, The United Kingdom, and Scandinavia which all have their histories steeped in extreme metal, it is just the island is now know for bands like Tyr and its breathtaking beauty.
Svartmálm is certainly cinematic in its approach to combine both the edge of black metal to the soothing atmosphere of both doom and folk metal. which the vocals are crips and stalk across the music, the band employs theatric elements which allow their self titled debut to become something more than just the black metal record from the Faroe Islands. The three part closer, “Svartideyði” allows the band to stretch out and shine in becoming the band they truly want to be — which is the weird witches on an isolated island. The only difference between that dream and others like it is this island seemd to be well produced and come with dramatic hooks.
Self Released | 6-12-18
This is the second full length release for Changeling as of yet unsupported by a label. In 201, there is less of a need for label support outside the desire for more resources. Though I can see this band being at the attention of many more interested in winding atmospheric black, finding Changeling’s second album with few other around was interesting. Perhaps this is the sleeper hit of 2018 or even the album that will feel like cold water to the face.
Even though I added the tag atmospheric black as to fit the Metal Archives description, Changeling shares little in common with the other forest dwelling hermits that have typified the genre. Though there are still instances of sweeping texture and arching guitars, the turns taken by Changeling is more reminiscent of bands like Altar of Plagues than Wolves in the Throne Room. Perhaps this is why II is so refreshing as it uses whatever tools necessary in any genre to accomplish a unique picture of mystery and destruction. This is also why I find the need for labels to not be a priority as Changeling has presented a fully competent and fluid second release on their own with little help from the outside and from outsiders.
Self Released | 4-30-18
Souls are drowned in the ever-rotating continuum / Alas, for they knew not of the end… / Tears are shed for whom the devouring god awaits / Ululating for eons, those who went… / Rites will be held for him once again / Never will they know, for all will remain unraveled…
I do not know why I enjoy the lyrics for The Devouring God so much. Perhaps they are written in such away as to convey dread and wonder all with a sense of timeless drama. Perhaps it is because it sounds like the beginning of a chapter from Malazan Book of the Fallen. Perhaps it is because it feels perfect for 23 minutes of swirling chaos. Whatever the case, Enscelados, named after the Enceladus the 6th largest moon, flies in the same trajectory as Darkspace and tries to depict the vastness of space and the possibilities of horrors lying beyond.
I enjoy albums, EPs, and Demos consisting of one song as I feel the release is centered around a theme. Enscelados’ theme is obvious as it portrays a Lovecraftian notion of a sleeping god whose power is divine and terrible. IT is these types of themes that make a blend of atmospheric black and hypnotic ambient work specially when combined with blown out production with feel ritualistic in its design.
Self Released | 1-18-18
After a short rest following end of the year festivities, this is the first Tape Wyrm review of 2018. I thought it would be fitting to celebrate the passing of the new year with a record that sounds like the collapsing of worlds and the coming of an age of darkness.
From a very Latin background, the title for this EP translates to something like to cause a short space of time. While the track titles are rendered in cryptic aesthetics, the lyrics are still Portuguese which yield abstract and cosmisc themes. If the album titles and track lengths were not a giveaway, Benthik Zone reaches for the heavens and tries to pull down the blackness beyond the light.
I am just learning about this band and their records as Via Cosmicam ad Europam ab Gelid Inferis was released in September of 2017 and would have fit perfectly on this site for much of the same reasons as their 2018 did. It sometimes takes a band and their releases to reach certain places much in the same way light does across the galaxy. For now, Causa Modicum Temporis Spatium has arrived coming from somewhere beyond the heavens.
I, Voidhanger Records | 12-8-17
I was halfway through reviewing this project’s 2015 debut before realizing it was released in 2015. Because of this, I can now see the scope of The Clearing Path as not just an atmospheric black metal act with more interesting aesthetic rather a black metal project that starts on earth and ascends to the stars.
Watershed Between Firmament And The Realm of Hyperborea follows the project’s debut Watershed Between Earth and Firmament. For anyone confused, Firmament is a cosmological divide between the sky and heaven (sort of) and Hyperborea was the land of Ice Giants according to Greek Mythology. Both of these themes that have been placed in the titles heralds a black metal record bent on exploring the cosmos through shrieks and fretless bass. Though I am not usually into progressive black, The Clearing Path succeeds beyond all measure and creates a record I am sure will be a hit with people needing this type of music. The question is no will anyone hear it. This record is being handled by I, Voidhanger Records which means a good shot for this to be heard by more than less people. The fact it is being released at the end of the year doesn’t bode well for any end of the year list however. Regardless of anything, the pace and focus of The Clearing Path doesn’t seem to follow normal calendrical systems rather something more ancient and astral.
Self Released | 11-24-17
I need to ease up on my pre judgements surrounding atmospheric black metal. For a style that has a ton of directions, I feel I have been jaded to a legion of albums with trees on the cover and a fawning for post rock melodies. Mammon is tagged at atmospheric black on Bandcamp yet does not walk the line of nature reverence, philosophical transcendence, or emotional longing. Rather this Detroit based band feel cold as concrete, full of disease, and possibly undead rot.
Self Released | 11-29-17
Album art is important not only as an initial invitation but also as a showcase for music. Though I can not find any information on the artist “P. Seliverstov” since the band itself has no information, it is going to remain a mystery. The cover for Glance however is entrancing and artfully skilled at pulling the listener into a world of gloomy mastery.
Ván Records | 11-24-17
For the sake of brevity, I decided to just put “black” as the genre as a full explanation would be too long for the post. It only takes a couple of minutes into the opener “Vaporous Flame” to realize that Almyrkvi’s debut operates on a different level than most atmospheric black metal as well as what has become known as Icelandic black metal. With no real place to stand, this act seems content in gazing up at the stars or most specifically the void between stars.
Self Released | 05-15-17
I usually joke about finding bands that are nowhere to be found on the internet. When I found the La Inexorable Amargura En La Existencia demo, I thought I struck gold and could retire early. Here was a fantastic Argentinian atmospheric black metal demo that had two mentions on Facebook and no Metal Archives entry. If band discovery was investment stock, this has the potential to be gigantic.
Self Released | 03-02-17
This is the second “atmospheric black metal” record I have reviewed this week and it is only Tuesday. I would like to say I am not opposed to the style whatsoever rather I find that atmospheric black metal is very easy to imitate but very difficult to make interesting. Uk based band Cold Fell doesn’t really sound like your typical atmospheric black metal act with most of their drama coming from raw emotion. Still there are blurred crescendos, long songs, and a general lean towards the narrative. With that said, Irwell, the band’s debut is far beyond any tree laden album covers and comes with a heavy claw to the face.