Ühtceare – La Inexorable Amargura En La Existencia [Argentina, Black] (2017)

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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.

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Cold Fell – Irwell [UK, Atmospheric Black] (2017)

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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.

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Time Lurker – Time Lurker [France, Atmospheric Black] (2017)

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Les acteurs de l’ombre production | 06-02-17

This review takes some projection as this whole album will not be out until June but all of its material is already available as of late 2016. I have some sympathy for bands who put out material late in the year when the years are turning. I am pretty neutral on rereleases on wider distribution. I also have less sympathy for atmospheric black metal bands. Time Lurker pulls at many emotions for me and if it wasn’t for this French band being so enthralling, I probably would have moved on by now. The fact I am still here must mean something.

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Spektral Hatchery – Spektral Hatchery [US, Black] (2016)

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Self Released | 10-23-16

Self Released | 10-23-16

The Pacific Northewest is always a place where I like to keep my ear out for up and coming bands. Since the fall out of the Cascadian wave which sort of overtook this area, there have been great developments in black metal which do not rely on album covers with trees and waterfalls. Spektral Hatchery is another wonderful band out of Washington which explores the atmosphere of black metal in hypnotic dissonance.

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Sanctuaire – Le Sang sur l’Acier [Canada, Black / Ambient] (2016)

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Les Productions Hérétiques | 5-28-16

Les Productions Hérétiques | 5-28-16

I feel that putting Ambient and Atmospheric on top of an album as a description can be akin to pushing it in certain direction that may not be appropriate. Le Sang sur l’Acier is not ambient in the same way as lets say Darkspace but it is not atmospheric in the same way as the thousands of other bands that share that style. There is a small knoll of earth reserved for bands that not only love atmosphere but also rotting vocals, organs, and perhaps some woodsy chants. For all of that, this space of earth is perfect for Sanctuaire.

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Fuath – I [Scotland, Atmospheric Black] (2016)

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Fortriu Productions | 2-1-16

Fortriu Productions | 2-1-16

Andy Marshall is a busy person. In 2014, his project Saor broke out of the relative thicket of atmospheric black metal and gave a larger audience something to hope for in that style of music. Saor’s Aura was a wonderful record which did not do so much new things int he style rather just do them very well. Fuath is another project from Marshall and seems to be a repository for all of the music which doesn’t fit , thematically, with Saor. From the folk laced atmospheric black metal of Saor we dive into a pile of snow surrounded by ritualistic statues.

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Turia – Dor [Netherlands, Black] (2015)

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Haeresis Noviomagi | 11-15-15

Haeresis Noviomagi | 11-15-15

I can say with certainty I have loved everything the Dutch label Haeresis Noviomagi has released. I can say this since it has only been two cassettes. they have been really good cassettes though. the last Haeresis Noviomagi cassette was Lubbert Das, a particularly mind melting black metal which seemed to be dedicated to an old Bosch painting. Turia follows Lubbert Das in continuing the undercurrent of harrowing Dutch black metal which sounds like the last bastion of sanity being razed to the ground.

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葬尸湖 ( Zuriaake) – 孤雁 (Gu Yan) [China, Atmospheric Black] (2015)

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Pest Productions | 10-15-15

Pest Productions | 10-15-15

I know with Zuriaake there are few certainties. Throughout my explorations of East Asian heavy metal, that strange and wonderful things can be found at a moments notice. Finding Pest Productions was a treasure trove of mostly Chinese depressive and atmospheric black metal. Pest Productions got some undue notice last year as being the label which hosted Ghost Bath’s 2014 record Funeral. The fallout regarding Ghost Bath’s regional identiy sort of took away the spotlight to some other great bands that were from China and making black metal. Zuriaake was one of them and at the time, this 3 piece had not made a full length since 2007. Things are different now.

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Skialykon – Vestigio [Italy, Black / Ambient] (2015)

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Naturmacht Productions | 7-26-15

Naturmacht Productions | 7-26-15

Calling Skialykon atmospheric black metal is a bit misleading for anyone familiar with the term. When one uses the term “atmospheric,” the usual path leads to soaring tremolo guitars and songs about nature and transcendental themes. I guess Skialykon has its fair share of nature themes and tremelo but this one man project seems different. Whether or not it is the moody synth or the slow plodding vocals trails which lead into dark patches of brambles, Vestigio becomes something much different than its siblings. Skialykon soon resembles the ugly child of the atmospheric family.

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