Helleborus are a Psychedelic Black Metal duo from the mountainous state of Colorado that explore "themes of sexual mysticism and Dionysian nature". Named after the deadly poisonous winter flower, this gives us a fairly good idea of what to expect from their music. Beauty and grisliness wrapped all into one. They combine the relentless maelstrom of black metal riffage that we all love, while maintaining a psychedelic vibes that are perfect in putting the listener into a hypnotic like trance. The melding together of traditional black metal elements, and unorthodox elements  of doom and rock  is highly enjoyable and demands your attention to absorb all the various elements.The crisp quality songwriting, and memorable riffs make this a solid addition to add to any metal heads playlist. With their full length debut soon to drop, it'll be great to great to hear more from this sibling duo.

Au-Dessus (Lithuania)

There’s actually a lot of post-black in this, but without turning into yet another Drudkh clone.  The sound is very deep and heavy, the vocals very harsh.  There is a progressive element, but compositions are pretty simplistic.  Still, there is enough variance within each track to carry the song lengths.  I like how songs will start off with a really dark tone and then evolve into something more melodic over time as on track II.  In fact, each track seems to up the ante from the previous one.  Plenty of crunchy bass in the mix, production is pretty clean but retains some edge.  Guitar work is strong with the occasional hooky riff to break up the rapidly strummed chords.  Overall, an impressive debut.  Only $4.95 on bandcamp.  I will be coming back to this one for a few listens to be sure, but I see no reason not to throw them a few bucks.

Enjoyability=9 at least

Mindless Faith (US)

Bit of a departure and throwback today.  Just like any genre, there is a lot of terrible electronic music out there.  Fortunately, there are also some diamonds in the rough: Skinny Puppy, Ministry, Throbbing Gristle, etc.  If I asked most industrial fans to name the group they most associate with tongue-in-cheek, nihilistic ethos, I'm willing to bet most would name KMFDM.  However, there is another group of similar style that I feel does a more concise job.  Enter Mindless Faith.  While they may not sport the discographies of their peers, quality certainly outweighs quantity.  Rebellious 90's-sounding atmosphere, growly vocals, catchy beats, and stunning synth work that manages to seamlessly fuse dark, gothic tones with rave-inducing melodies.  It's The Prodigy on DMT.  Just listen to the first track of Medication for the Misinformed (their best album imo) and you will hear what I am talking about.  If you like it, you won't be disappointed by the rest.  Throw these guys some support while you're at it.



Fulgora - Stratagem

Sorry for the overload today, but I wanted to strike this one while it's hot. Stream is up here, but I'm not sure for how long. Fangora is a bit of a deathgrind supergroup featuring members of Pig Destroyer, Misery Index, and Agoraphobic Nosebleed.  Nothing super original here, but that doesn’t stop it from being fun.  Think PD’s more accessible, groovy riffs with hardcore punk vocals.  Song lengths are pretty average rather than following the typical 30-50 second blasts of the genre.  Still a short listen with only 7 songs, but I think the length is perfect for what it is.


Reverorum Ib Malacht

Reverorum ib Malacht - Photo 

Reverorum Ib Malacht are perhaps one of my faovurite cult bands. The atmosphere produced is simply haunting and immersive. The ritual-like ambiance sucks you in like a thick haze, and the murky tone of the guitars really enhances the listening experience. I for one believe it's even good to meditate to with the suffocating ambiance. While the production is anything but crystal clear, it rather suits the sinister and at times haunting vibes. Sit back, and get lost in the music.

Zom (Ireland)

If you liked the Malthusian link, you may enjoy this as well.  Similar vocals and production, but faster and groovier.  There's a bit of crust punk permeating the sound, mostly due to the drums, but there is still plenty of jangly blackened death riffs to keep it decidedly metal.  Full album here.  Edit: group is from Ireland, label is in Colorado.  Sorry about that.

Jute Gyte (Missouri)

Want something a little different?  This takes the USBM template and throws it out the window.  Jute Gyte is more akin to eccentric French acts in its dissonance.  Purposely out-of-tune guitars, mismatched rhythms and melodies, varying levels of production: this is black metal for the institutionalized.  Check out their Bandcamp for 3 albums of pure chaos.


Malthusian (Ireland)

Malthusian is some of the heaviest, most evil-sounding black/death metal you have ever heard.  They only have 3 (lengthy) songs to listen to right now, and yet they have managed to become one of my most-watched groups for 2015.  A second EP is set to drop in March with the first track available sometime this month.  Side note, the drummer is a former member of Altar of Plagues, but this sounds NOTHING like that.


Volahn (USA)

Black metal.  Riffs abound, and an axe-guy like me will eat this up.  The melodies and guitar tone have a more than passing resemblance to early Taake.  However, the level of emotion and conviction in the music is something that not even Hoest has been able to recreate in many years.  Though the production has some grit, this is still extremely accessible in its beauty.  They also use some interesting effects, Spanish-influenced acoustic guitar, and even bird sounds to add to the already deep atmosphere.  On the downside, things get a little repetitive about halfway through.  The songs are different, but maybe not different enough.  A little more zest to the songwriting and this could have easily been a 9 or higher.  Bandcamp.




Clouds - Doliu

Clouds are an international Atmospheric Doom Metal band with quite the star presence. Featuring members from Hamferð, Panthiest, Shape of Despair and other Doom bands, this is the ultimate collaboration. The atmosphere is simply suffocating with layering of melancholic synthesizer that you could just drift away to. I believe this is a substantial release capturing all the beauty and essence that each of these bands posses and combining it all into one. The clean vocals are tastefully done and mesmerizing and growls as powerful can be. Thank you Clouds, for releasing for releasing such a spectacular piece of music. Bravo!


Death Karma (Czech)

One more today.  Incredible kvlt-sounding black metal from the same minds that brought you Cult of Fire.  This is the first album to blow me away so far this year.  Visceral, gripping, ugly, yet stunningly beautiful.  The subtle organs are a nice touch and complement the simple-yet memorable riffs.  Rare to find so much conviction in BM vocals nowadays.  The bass drum is like the hammer of goddamn Thor.  Very dark with a sense of purpose and just a touch of the avant garde.  Check it out in full here.


Srogość (Poland)

I have been hyping these guys like crazy, but for good reason.  This is some excellent, understated, moody symphonic black metal.  The riffs are catchy and atmosphere very icy.  Everyone plays quite well and the vocals walk the line perfectly by being imposing without stealing the show.  This modest approach sets them apart from the typical bombast of other acts in the genre like Dimmu Borgir and Carach Angren.  Check them out on Bandcamp.  I bought a digital copy and it was well worth the measly couple of bucks.  Full review here.


Lunar New Year


Hi folks, to all of you who celebrate the Lunar New Year's, I wish you an upcoming year full of  good health and prosperity.


Adramalech (Georgia)

Adramalech - Winter Almanac
I'll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about the small country of Georgia in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Apart from knowing the capital of Tbilisi and historic conflict my knowledge ends. What I do do is the man behind the project sure captures the essence of the cold wintery landscape that Georgia would experience. The distorted guitars and synthesizer evoke a wonderful sorrowful emotions perfect for a wintery soundtrack. It's not groundbreaking by any means but, is a good addition to your soundtrack for the dark and long winters. 


沼泽 Zhaoze


Zhaoze are a four-piece post-rock band from the the Canton province of China. Aside from China's questionable politics, they are known to produce some wonderful music, most of which is seemingly completely unknown to the Western World. Zhaoze are a prime example of this. They provide us with emotionally charged post-rock, that captivates the passion of their musicianship. The band captures the bleak, and sullen atmospheres while combining traditional Chinese instruments to standard post-rock. It's really nice and soothing to just sit back and unwind to after a lengthy day.







Cruor Cultum

Cruor Cultum - Crown of Beasts 

Cruor Cultum are a band Hailing from Brazil and took a grand 10 years before they finally releasing the follow-up to their debut. I'm glad they took their time, this right here is a solid piece of raw black metal. The production is raw, gritty but still very audible and listenable. The bombastic beat of the drums, distorted heavy guitar and the devilish and sinister vocals will have you headbanging in no time. Everything mixed together gives off real vibes of old traditional black metal that any black metal lover is bound to enjoy. In spite of the short run time, we must be thankful for this great piece of black metal and appreciate it for what it is.