Check out interesting black metal albums by Psychonaut 4 (Georgia), Arkona (Poland), Black Hate (Mexico), Cwealm (Sweden), Panychida (Czech Republic) and blackened brutal death metal by the Unfathomable Ruination (United Kingdom).
Psychonaut 4 — "Neurasthenia"
The new selection is opened by the Georgian musicians from Psychonaut 4 who play quite depressed post-black metal. A year after "Dipsomania", the guys have continued to develop the concept of mental disorders, explaining it as an attempt to get people to understand themselves, to find something for which everyone lives or dies. Lyrically, the record saturated with gloomy hopelessness and tragedy of the people’s life who lost their way. Through distortion you can hear a scream, "Я устал" ["I'm tired" in Russian], frightening by its perseverance, which goes from despair into trembling, "Я чувствую скоро сломаюсь" ["I feel like I will break down soon" in Russian]. The instruments are used to get the states of the songs’ lyrical heroes, and, in addition to the classic depressive suicidal black metal guitars and drums, here there are the violin and accordion. Finally, the album is interesting for its unusual solutions: for example, at the end of one of the tracks, you can hear the hypnosis from alcohol dependence, and in another — singing by the grandmother of one of the band’s members. "Neurasthenia" should not be missed by those who want a new portion of the cleaning sufferings, as well as everyone who seeks to stop drinking — what if it works?
Arkona — "Lunaris"
If you have experienced the bitterness of the previous release from our selection, then you have time to catch the pioneers of the Polish pagan black metal Arkona and their sixth LP "Lunaris". There are much more epic and existential pathos, achieved by harmoniously sounding riffs, melodic keyboards, and rhythmic bass drum. "Lunaris" is full of memorable and inspiring moments with an equal number of machine-gun blast beats and mellifluous motifs. The album is a quality representative of its genre, being not a revelation, but a very good material. With this work, the veterans proved in practice that with everyone should take into consideration their strength in pagan black metal.
Black Hate — "Through The Darkness"
The third release brings an exotic hue to this CEA selection: a black metal release from Mexico. So, how does it sound like, if it wasn’t created within its native Scandinavian lands, but in the drylands of Latin America? Of course, it’s different from the typical black metal sound, which helps it to refresh the genre. "Through The Darkness" is brutal and massive; alongside with traditional black metal elements, you can find there death and grind components, which make the album’s sound closer to Cattle Decapitation and Anaal Nathrakh. In certain moments, one can notice the echoes of their compatriots, deathcore band Here Comes The Kraken, with the furious cardan and impulsive growl. The album, which adds deathcore heaviness to atmospheric black metal — is largely undeveloped and a winning formula. It’s necessary to familiarize with it before it becomes mainstream.
Cwealm — "Odes to no Hereafter"
In contrast to "Through The Darkness", the one-man band from Sweden Cwealm appears: there is much more inspiration by the classics of the Swedish black metal scene, but with great backgrounds and an eye on the masters of the past, freshness is suffering. But despite this, the familiar sound doesn’t mean knocking off — the musician tries to keep a balance between inheritance and individuality. The deconstruction of yesterday’s geniuses is an extra heavy task because only new genius will be able to break through the tall shoulders of giants and look worthily on their background. Astraeus has a really skillfulness instrumental level; it remains the most important thing — to develop the ability of the composer and the creative courage, and perhaps someday he would be able to initiate the next wave of the Swedish black metal. But even now, "Odes to no Hereafter" can please the listeners, who are nostalgic for old school black.
Panychida — "Haereticalia — The Night Battles"
The only concept album in this selection came from the Czech Republic. Mixing together metal, folk, and symphonic elements, the pagan metallers Panychida tell a story inspired by ancient mythology and pagan legends. "Haereticalia — The Night Battles" is an exemplary representative of its genre, which in equal measure uses the guitar solos and majestic keyboards. Since the musicians take on the role of the narrator, the LP stands out among other competitors by its lyrical component. During all 9 tracks, there lies a story, which is told in the best tradition of dark fantasy. The release is unlikely will be interesting outside the target audience, but fans of Viking metal in all of its diversity will be definitely pleased.
Unfathomable Ruination — "Finitude"
The last and hardest CEA’s release is the album by the British death metallers Unfathomable Ruination, which literally breaks the ears and pierce the consciousness by the notes, tempered like steel. The influence of the world riffs’ modern demiurges Ulcerate and Deathspell Omega, who have released killing albums earlier this year, is quite noticeable with the first track, but to Londoners' credit, they haven’t lost in a row with such well-known bands. "Finitude" is a skillfully layered structure of the solos, riffs and guttural, complicated by rapidly changing tempos and melodies, and a true test for the listener’s strength. The pleasure is limited only by your own auditory endurance. The fans of Dying Fetus and two above mentioned bands can safely put "Finitude" in the list of key death metal releases of the year.
Reviewed by Alexander Tverdokhleb
Translated from Russian by Anastezia