We've reached the mid-way point of 2016, and with the flurry of records that come out now, it's difficult to know what records to catch up on. It seems like every week, there's an entire year's worth of listening to dive into. But what should you prioritize among this vast storm of sound?
As far as black metal is concerned, we've got you covered. Here are five records that should fill the void in your cold, ruthless heart (or would it create the void itself? ...nevermind). This is by no means a comprehensive list, so if I've missed the second coming of A Blaze in the Northern Sky, be sure to let me know in the comments!
1. Sorcier Des Glaces- North
The latest by the French Canadian masters displays all the aspects that proved successful on Snowland and Moonrise in Total Darkness. Sorcier Des Glaces is perfect for listeners who like cold, straightforward black metal with an air of grandeur and majesty (similar to Evilfeast, Gehenna and Nightside-era Emperor). Cold, grim, black- just like the undertaker ordered.
2. Kawir- Father Son Mother Moon
When it comes to Greece, most black metal fans know about Rotting Christ, a fair amount know about Varathron and Necromantia, but more need to listen to Kawir. The band's take on classical Greek mythology is nothings short of glorious, especially on songs like "To the Sovereign Sun," "Dionysus" and "To Mother Moon." Ares would be proud.
3. Behexen- The Poisonous Path
Noisy, cavernous, orthodox black metal. Behexen has wisely taken the path (hah!) that leads away from shiny, sleek production in favor of all-out blackened chaos. True, the static and noise can be a bit much. But if you have EQ controls on your computer or stereo, take the 1K lever and pod it down. Lots of mystery and black magic to be found here.
4. Draugnim- Vulturine
Soaring and heroic, Draugnim strikes the perfect balance between creating an epic sound and playing extreme metal you can still take seriously. This is not an easy task. Vulturine is packed with a wealth of great songwriting and an all-consuming atmosphere that makes for a listen that is almost relaxing, and is still satisfyingly dark and heavy.
5. Ashbringer- Yūgen
The most "untrve" selection on this list, great for fans of Agalloch, Alcest, Fen and Memoria-style Blut Aus Nord. Ashbringer has a great talent for creating passages that evoke a wide array of moods, thoughts and memories. Though their lyrics lean sentimental, there's some interesting reflections on the effect of nature on the human spirit, and they tackle interpersonal feelings in a more nuanced way that some other prominent acts.
That does it for this installment. But keep an ear out for upcoming releases from Fortresse, Wayfarer and Profanatica. Panopticon is also putting out some re-recorded versions of their old stuff called Revisions of the Past. The past is alive, indeed.