I have never ever claimed to be the fastest in anything but even this is a bit of a stretch for me. Back in 2014 I was sent a package of CDs from a Belgian black metal label that I was supposed to do something with. But as 2014 was a really bad year for me personally I did not do anything with the package, well I did not do anything much with anything really that year.

As time went on I totally forgot about it until it today hit me that I was sent a package by IMMORTAL FROST PRODUCTIONS back in 2014. As you can imagine they are a bit crossed with me but as they say; better late than never.

For someone that has been around since the inception of the genre black metal this is not like a journey down memory lane as what I am about to dissect most likely stems from the 1990s branch of black metal so famously introduced by Mayhem’s “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” album. Not that I complain. That album is pure magnificence.

As with almost all CDs I got sent I have no prior knowledge of the bands. so I’ll be in for a rather cool educational trip down modern black metals alleys. Starting in Sweden I’ll be on a journey around world too. NIGHTS AMORE “Subscribers Of Death” (3/5) wasn’t the black metal that I thought it would be but then I remembered that this label deals in ambient too. So if you like the more somber and emotional but still dark and eerie stuff then this is the place to visit. Me I am more for the orchestrated ambient stuff, the stuff that is more soundtrack like. While NIGHTS AMORE are atmospheric they are not the right kind of atmospheric for me.

I am a great friend of DSBM. I like the tone set in that sort of black metal, the melancholia and despair. Out of the darkness comes often something very beautiful (even though it is black metal and beauty is subjective). ERATOMANIA “Mental Suffocation” (3,5/5) might just be 3 tracks long but it is 3 tracks that bring with them a feel of loneliness that appeals to me.

As I am late to most things I am so behind on my movies too. It wasn’t until very recently that I got to watch The Conjuring (2013). That was one hell of a scary movie. I would not have wanted to live in that house. Ukraine’s EVIL PALACE “Born In Darkness” (4/5) might not be that evil of a place to visit but their band name did trigger me thinking of the movie. This is black metal that owes a hell of a lot to what Emperor did. It is symphonic in a chaotic manner. What at first might seem simple turns out to be a real treat as you go along.

I can if I am in the right mood enjoy instrumental music. It takes some time getting accustomed to there being now vocals and that you yourself have to paint the picture but most times it does end up with me liking it. As a contrast to EVIL PLACE total black metal attack HORIZON.. “Don’t Let The Time Pass You By” (3,5/5) come as a needed pause to breath. This is much more the soundtrack kind of instrumental music that I like.

I had to google the word apnea in order to really know what it meant and not just what I thought it meant. And it meant what I thought it meant; the suspense of breathing while you sleep. I hope that this New Zealand band will keep me awake all the time. APNEA “Silent Cities” (3/5) is just an EP and the little time I spent showed me a band that plays a black metal that changes from the brutal to the somber. If you have no problem with your blood pressure going up and down like an elevator then this is the stuff for you.

As I said at the beginning these bands are all new to me so it is no wonder that I start with the second album when I finally get to know of this Italian band. STERBENZEIT “L’otrenotte” (4/5) is cold and primitive black metal in a rather moderate tempo. I would have imagined a much more furious attack. But I do like what I hear. There is a feel to this that sets the mood for me. It is not such a big deal that the tempo is low when it is this good.

Okay, I am not sure what acoustic black metal is or even if I’ll like it but I’ll give it a fair chance at least. This Australian lot’s first album is another one that I missed out on even if I get a sort of familiarity feel to the band’s name. ASTRAL WINTER “Perdition” (3/5) give me a Braveheart kind of feeling for some strange reason, or the old Aussie TV-show Against The Wind with Jon English. Those are the vibes I get from this. But I am not too sure about this whole acoustic black metal thingamajig.

Melodic black metal is to me Dissection. Period. Sure there have been bands since then that have tried to do it but they have all fallen on that they are not Dissection. But I am not that set in my ways. I can change my mind if a band comes along that are way better than Dissection. Until then I will find other sub-genres to attach to black metal with melodies. Australia’s ATRA VETOSUS “Voices From The Eternal Night” (4/5) is black metal but I wouldn’t call it melodic in that sense. This is still a really cool black metal album full of intense music.

I guess that with a name like that this has already introduced itself. HELLHATE “Retsonretap” (3/5) is old school black metal, old as in the 90s. What I do miss in most of these sort of releases is the pure joy you heard in the original bands from the actual 90s. You could hear that they just played what they liked and didn’t think too much about it. When you try to recreate that you lose out on some of that feeling, unless you are really, really good at it. But most bands are just decent. And even if this is a cool album for the 10s it still lacks some of that original 90s vibe.

I love almost anything French metal. I have done so since the 80s. There is something to the French that attracts me. I do not speak a single word French but you don’t have to today to get what the bands are all about. DEAD BECOMES THE SUN “The Last Eclipse” (3,5/5) is black metal but not the kind of black metal that I expected from a French band. But being French they are still true to the form of not conforming. So this is not at all straight for the throat black metal. There is more of a thought behind this. And that is what I like about the French. They think.

Even though I don’t really understand the post in post black metal I do enjoy the bands and the music that comes from it. To me bands like An Autumn For Crippled Children or Svarti Lohgin are like The Cure of black metal. and I love THE Cure. AUSTRALASIA “Vertebra” (4,5/5) really hits all the right spots in me. This is perhaps the high light of all the CDs I got sent from IMMORTAL FROST PRODUCTIONS. This is an album that really speaks to me. It is as melancholic as it is beautiful.

For some reason I got a punk vibe when I saw this bands name the first time but that might be because it got me thinking of Anti Cimex. SCUTUM CRUX “The Second Sun” (3/5) is nowhere near punk in any way. This is black metal of the primitive kind. And as always I really wish that the tempo would have been turned up a notch or two. To make the chaos even more claustrophobic. As it is now there are still space to breath. Still a cool piece of black metal.

I think we all have at one point or other in our lives felt a bit of Weltschmertz. I know that I have done so on more than one occasion. Sometimes life can be too overwhelming and you feel like you carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. It is at these times that the help of music is at its greatest. A really great album can ease some of that burden. Hopefully Dutch WELTSCHMERTZ ”Odium Humani Generis” (3/5) can be that relief to some. As with French bands I am totally down with Dutch bands too. I have not come upon too many shitty Dutch bands since the 80s. And while this isn’t one of my better acquaintances it is still a decent enough piece of black metal for me to feel a bit of the burden to ease off me.

We here in the North are all united by history. So it is nothing strange seeing a Finnish band with a non Finnish band name and album title since Swedish is still spoken in Finland. ONDFØDT “Hexkonst” (4/5) might not sound too much like Finnish black metal use to. There is more of a Norwegian feel to this. Which is cool with me. I didn’t think at first that this was going to be to my liking but this one turned out to be a really great piece of black metal. and the Norwegian influence is there but it isn’t the controlling force. This is metal for everybody.

I am no great friend of split albums. This is a split between a German and an American band. The German band is a primitive black metal assault and the American is a slower yet as primitive black metal band. SARKRISTA/UNHUMAN DISEASE “Those Who Preach Perdition” (3/5) is black metal by two bands that have a lot in common yet do manage to stand out enough from each other to make this four track CD a decent enough introduction into the bands.

This is not an uncommon name for a band so don’t get it mixed up with that short-live Swedish/German band that released a record on Rise Above or some obscure New Zealand band. This is a totally different OATH “Saatanan Myrsky Yllä Pyhän Maan”. (4/5) And if you haven’t guessed it already from the title of the album, a Finnish band. This is black metal for those that like bands like Horna, Azaghal, Lathspell and a horde of similar bands. There is a majestic feeling to this thanks to the tempo. You get dragged into the music from the very first chord and then you are a part of it until it stops. This is really cool black metal.

Anders Ekdahl

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