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REC ME: BLACK METAL † (April 2023: Chapter 4)

Hi. My name is Ben. I know nothing about black metal [aka potato-screm music]. To educate me, pls rec albums. I will listen to 1 album a day in April 2023. I will then describe the album that I have heard in this list. Kind regards, Ben [FYI we are accepting bm fused with other genres thanks]

[WILL TAKE OFF DAYS 1-5 to catch up on all the stragglers from the last 3 months of lists then we are BACK IN THE GAME]
Dead as Dreams

[Ryus] - 6th April 2023 - Ima hop on this a day early because I know I’ll fall behind on the Easter weekend as I am going to Wales to do whatever one does in Wales. Cracking start to the list. Feels like a celebration of loads of strands of metal, largely bm obvs but some cool thrashy riffs here and there, a doom/post-metal scope to the track progressions + really frickin cool solos and almost old school heavy metal licks when it chooses to go big and theatrical. I had to divide this into a couple of listens to get through all 76 mins lol, curious to see how it sounds when listened to in one meaty chunk. First impressions strong, though. [4]
Carrion Skies

[Chippe] - 7th April 2023 - Living breathing proof of the importance of second listens and/or that first impressions are bullishit. Initially found this far too clean and meticulous and pretty coming off of 2, and it probably still is, but the second listen - with just that extra smidge of familiarity to it - revealed how comforting/cathartic these post-rockian bm SCREMS can be. More relaxing and neato than it is gripping and epic, but I can still get jiggy with it. [3.5] with room to grow (and I also need to revisit Winter, which I think I 3'd off of one listen rip)
Dwelling Lifeless

[budgie] - 8th April 2023 - Whole other ballpark - less about dynamics and prettiness and composition and more about that oppressive-potato-sadness vibe. The vox are immense, like if Cleric Beast fronted a Deutsch DSBM band. A lot more characterful than 3, but not entirely convinced it justifies its length. Doing the same thing for 70% of the runtime would have been just as bleak but also less erm exhausting. Then again, I've done 3, 4 and 5 back to back so am tired, and have not yet applied the second listen treatment to this, soooooo [tbc]

Update (10.04.23): Omg I love this so much more on second spin. The production is just YES so good you hear every snare snap and cymbal crash real time, live tracked (I think) and it lends the otherwise exhaustingly repetitive motifs a tonne of life and depth. Idk, it’s just so vivid and graspable. The vox are just faultless, too. I want to deduct points for repetition and unnecessary girth, but I’m feeling frivolous. [4]
Axioma Ethica Odini

[Sunny] - 9th April 2023 - BIG-BOI-CHUNKY-PROG heck THIS is different. Again, one listen seems insufficient, but initial impressions are Gouda. Getting way less emotive gritty umph off of this compared to everything else so far; feels a lot more performative and choreographed. Impressive though. [tbc]

Update (10.04.23): Yeah I love this. Feels more prog-forward than bm but I'm okay with that. Uber melodic, but with just *mwah* perfect abrasive touches for balance. So unashamedly dramatic and flamboyant and epic. Big YES. [4]
6Wolves in the Throne Room
Two Hunters

[jonathan] - 10th April 2023 - So, I have mixed feelings. I listened to this a couple of times in our DIY campervan in Wales and thought it was kinda meh - gr8 compositional chops and v. noice oaken-spindly atmosphere thing going on, but when it feels like it should kick into 5th gear and give me a clever riff or big screm it just kinda doesn't? I've gotten home and given it a 3rd listen on a beanbag (much better than a shitty piece of MDF let me tell you) and it's growing on me, BUT I still come around to some of the critiques I've seen of this (from a quick glance at ye olde sound offs for hot takes to steal): the atmospheric/ambient/post sections feel like asides to the BM bits, which feel a lil rudimentary, even from my scant genre knowledge. The two don't REALLY come together. I am not a patient boi and find myself yawning. Hw, I have, admittedly, only spun this thrice, and it's meant to be a masterpiece, so I'll assume the error lies with me for now + return to this later. [3]
A Blaze in the Northern Sky

[Pangea] - 11th April 2023 - Feels quintessentially quintessential (what) with loads of throwback thrashy riffs nodding to the genre’s roots and spooky spooby spoopy vibes sprinkled on top. I already had this 4’d but wanted to jam again so snuck it in here. Preferred this when the days were longer and darker and colder but it’ll also do as an early frosty morning spring jam. [4]
8Cradle of Filth
Cruelty and the Beast

[DungeonBoy] - 12th April 2023 - Ngl, I went straight to the remaster like a bee to a flame. Big FUN points for this one - giving me, surprisingly, Vektor vibes if Disanto crashed his spaceship into Manchester Cathedral and then Children of Bodom played bongos on the ashes. Overdramatic and theatrical in the best of ways. Going back to the OG, I have issues with the drums, but actually think it was the right way to do things - I know all the details you get from the remaster are there somewhere, and can sift through the gloopier, gooier atmosphere for them at my leisure. My best judgement is saying that this isn’t a 4 but my current modus operandi is to stop being such a prude so [4]
Bergtatt - Et eeventyr i 5 capitler

[botb] - 13th April 2023 - First impressions: good! Coming off of 8, this feels very low key and subtle, which is a challenging contrast (is this boring or just more tasteful and reserved???). Do love the acoustic folksy guitar tone and clean vox tho - nice change of pace for the list. Will revisit. [tbc]

Okay so I jammed this again this evening with less distractions than I had at work and holy shit I couldn’t have been more wrong. Adore this front to back. Engrossing, delicate, spiritual, brilliant. That they achieve so much in 34 mins and 5 songs is remarkable. [4.3]

[dedex] - 14th April 2023 - Whooaaah, what a tremendous little EP!!! Dungeon synth?! Dungeon synth!!!! I think. Not as I’ve heard it before - less green and organic and spindly and way more kvlt space odyssey. Someone said avant garde bm but idk what that REALLY means. The compositions are just insane and beautiful, yet masked by so much textural absurdity. Love love love it! Utterly unique, at least from my limited experience. A rainbow of tones and emotions from truly horrific anxiety inducing death to the happiest moment of your life. Needs more ratings CHeCK THiS! [4]

Update (15.04.23): The shock value / first spin hype has a waned a little so ima de-bump this just a tad, but ugh of everything here so far this is the one more people should check. [3.7]
Drawing Down the Moon

[ffs] - 15th April 2023 - Doom/death infused old-school potato-core, except it’s also in space. Initial reaction was very very very bad lol - the vox are hellscape-y but also silly, and the plodding pace isn’t doing great with my attention span - tho I am coming around to just how filthy and EVIL this is the more I listen. Not immediately for me, but I’ll keep spinning. [2.5]
12Yellow Eyes
Immersion Trench Reverie

[porc] - 16th April 2023 - GOOD. Played first whilst sitting on my beanbag scrolling on me phone and thought it was ZZZZZZ but then played it whilst painting our bedroom and kinda loved it - very down-the-line no-frills no-nonsense BM, which was refreshing after all the deviations and quirks of the last handful of recs. Get the strong sense that this only gets more cathartic the more you hear it, so will return. [3.5]
13Impaled Northern Moonforest
Impaled Northern Moonforest

[foxblood] - 17th April 2023 - Production is a bit clean for my taste. Otherwise a pretty solid effort. [5]

[more sloths] - 18th April 2023 - When this is doing it’s cute neo-classical ambient vibes it is a good and chill time, but when it does the atmos-bm thing or even just the dark ambient thing GOD I hate it. Pretty much the only music I’ve ever heard out of Iraq which is COOL and GOOD but UGH not for me. [2.5]

Edit: I am bumping down for audacity points re rec-ing something you haven’t heard or enjoyed lol gosh madman [2]

[Hyperion] - 19th April 2023 - I enjoyed this more as I sunk into it. Initially giving me snooze vibes let me reiterate I am NOT A PATIENT BOI but the track where they do the slow sluggishness AND then add in the pretty fucking fire guitar solo YES that was my jam. Will revisit this before forming a big boi opinion - 1 listen is not enough for something this atmosphere focused. [TBC]

Update (27.04.23): Has moments of extreme beauty and moments of extreme snooze. Therefore, on balance: good! [3]
16Carpathian Forest
Defending the Throne of Evil

[WatchItExplode] - 20th April 2023 - It's punk its m/ its eerie and spoopy its cool! This does the murky filthy evil ting that I sense 11 is shooting for, but in a much more accessible way that my bitch ass therefore prefers. The jazzy closer is also a cool curveball, especially the lyrics lol "Cold Murderous Music" indeed. Dumb fun. [3.5]
Let The Devil In

[MillionDead] - 21st April 2023 - Neutral good. Didn’t have a strong reaction to this either way but I was at work so need to give it a focused listen. Did enjoy the straight-down-the-line nature of the jams and the atmos, particularly on the first track. Hw, a little monotonous sounding to get through in one go, particularly after recently jamming 27 and 31. For now, she’s a [3].
18Ved Buens Ende
Written In Waters

[BONEY] - 22nd April 2023 - My first listen oscillated between bearable + interesting, and literally the worst thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life, which is a good thing! That’s how some of my favourite records of all time sounded on first try. Right now, though, I despise the vox, as in violent hatred, as in I want to punch this man through my headphones, as in shut the fuck up. Very unique atmosphere though, not heard anything like it, and oozing little details in the guitar and bass and drums that I suspect there are some nuggets of black gold within. Probably a hard [2] rn but imma give it a few more tries.
Hordalands Doedskvad

[Heppasodge] - 23rd April 2023 - Oh thank god some regular potato-screms. Love the melodic thrashy overtones. Compositions feel lofty and clever but also meaty and accessible. Production is brilliant, too. [3.7] probably [4]able in the coming days.
novej qalhnjënno

[zaruyache] - 24th April 2023 - Holy shit YES this is the SAUCE!!! Mega melodic, production suitably potato but with loads of lil textural touches deep in the mix so you KNOW that shit intentional SON. Incredibly emotive and uplifting whilst keeping it kvlt. Amazing lil one person project check it. [4]
21Caladan Brood
Echoes Of Battle

[0xME] - 25th April 2023 - Here comes my knight in shining armour oh loooord. Just lovely. Full of heart and soul and god I am a cheesy boi. Am struggling to describe - has that high fantasy middle earth I AM GOING ON AN ADVENTURE aesthetic down to a fine art, with just the right mix of atmosphere and beauty with big chunky riffs as needed. Like Dungeon Synth with the riffs added back in. Makes me think of + miss Brandon. [4] at least watch this space.
Hostile Architecture

[Kompys] - 26th April 2023 - I didn’t realise that I needed angry Scottish potato-screms, but I do, god, I DO!!! I tried listening to this when it came out but got put off immediately by the opening riff and gnashy vox but my god they don’t half grow on you as the album opens up. The lyrics too holy shit I forgot lyrics were a thing - bracing, gripping, essential, importanté stuff that justifies the Glaswegian angst. Wish the intstrumebgal backdrop was just a touch more overtly riffy, but the bleakness and sparseness really adds to the story of the lyrics - this is some desolate, desperate shit. Way better than I was expecting. Will give her a second listen before rating. [tbc]

Update (27.04.23): Yup. Unreal. [4]

Update (30.04.23): Fuck it. [4.3]
23Diabolical Masquerade

[MoM] - 27th April 2023 - Weird neato crossroads between black metal, thrash metal and death metal with a bit of symphonic/melodic loveliness. Suffers coming off the back of 22 which is probably my second or third fave on the entire list - inauthentic would be too harsh, but it lacks the impact of the Scottish angry people. [3.5]
The Hallowing of Heirdom

[pasta man] 28th April 2023 - PASTA MAN YOU HAVE BETRAYED ME WHERE ARE MY POTATOES AND WHERE ARE MY SCREMS?!?!?!! A woodsy cutesy folk album from a British black metal band. Very Celtic, very oaken, very green, loads of blokes doing the choir thing, loads of fingerpicking being all nice and shit. A bit boring? I’d love this mixed in with some actual bm. The orchestral touches are nice though. Will spin as lovely lovely background music when I have dinner with my gf. [3]
25Rotting Christ
A Dead Poem

[PumpBoffBag] - 29th April 2023 - V much enjoyed tho had the poor luck to come after me having heard 36 for the first time and therefore suffers by comparison. Cool meaty thrash and old school melodic heavy metal tones throughout, making for some very easy listening. Didn’t expect a band with this name to make such pretty music tbh. Songs sound a bit samey but I nonetheless look forward to coming back to this. [3.5]
26Dakhma (USA)
Suna Kulto

[sniff] - 30th April 2023 - Sniff you rec the best weird under appreciated shit my guy i love you. Absolutely slaps to town and back. Think potato-core in the vein of Nattens but with a post-metal sense of pacing and grandiosity and then mega emotive krust/skramz SAUCE added when things need to careen out of control. Only 2 songs but 40 mins of music you do the math. [4.3]

THIS kinda unofficially concludes the list (I still need to listen to 31 and owe park a fleurety record and owe Boney another go at 18 but otherwise we gucci. Thanks all this one was fun and way more varied and fruitful than anticipated MWAH.
Scar Sighted

[Dedes] - 31st April 2023 - Woah broski this was a weirder thing than the thing that I thought this thing was. Holy soupy thick gloopy atmosphere jeez. Production and composition both sublime. Need more time with this but first spin got me hyped. [tbc]

Update (20.04.23): Yes i am SOLD. Drumming is just bananas throughout. Atmosphere is just bananas throughout. Best damn mixing on the entire list - the way the lil touches of colour and texture pop out of the murk unexpectedly is just madness. Getting me all emotional and shit and idk why. [4]

[Scheumle] - 32nd April 2023 - GOOD LORD she pretty. Love the production love the vibe very promising. Do I wish it dialled in the screms and riffs a bit more? Yes … but this is a wonderful ray of purple moonlight to break up this list. [tbc]

Update (24.04.23): Gosh this is still achingly pretty, and such a breath of fresh air after jamming 33 on repeat. Not 5 material budgie go home you’re drunk but it is a cheeky [3.7] probs a [4] but eh too twinkly? Where is my girth pls sir I ordered girth.
29Deathspell Omega

[BookoftheFallen] - 33rd April 2023 - HOLY heck this goes, dunnit?! We’re basically in blackened mathcore with how heavy and hectic this gets at times. Neat and concise, too. Big points. [4]
30Limbonic Art
In Abhorrence Dementia

[Egarran] - 34th April 2023 - Dislike the drum machine (gives the tunes a bit rigidity I wish they didn’t have) but love everything else about this. Theatrical and silly and chuggy I am listening to this on a train very loud in my headphones and everyone is staring at me help. [3.5]
Sacred White Noise

[Deez] - 35th April 2023 - Yoooo does that weird disso-death-ish thing with some hella good bm. DsO adjacent. Initially gave me an big headache, but listening to this afresh I loved it. Loads of layers, evidently, still to unpack, but rn feeling a high [3.7] to a light [4] tran--sition
Under the Sign of the Black Mark

[0xME] - 36th April 2023 - So I skipped 31 for now as I tried it after a long bm sesh and it hurt my head lol. This is just bang on the money. Love the post-thrash vibe to the riffs, revelling in its influences whilst dialling in the satanic thematics brilliantly. Some of the solos are just so emotive(?), it’s great! ! ! [4]
De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas

[me] - 37th April 2023 - God this is exhausting to listen to lol so many riffs so many blastbeats so many screm and moo. Deathcrush is a much snappier listen, though this has a lot more chewy depth at the chewy centre. Honestly I’m shattered after a couple of listens. Just gonna skirt around the bloody elephant here. Also, weird trivia: I own a record store day picture disc of this, for some reason. [3.5]
At the Heart of Winter

[me] - 38th April 2023 - Loooooove the thrashy riffs yes yes yes! Shorter track times would have helped this I think, but otherwise its damn hard to fault. Amazing guitar and drum work, slick production supporting them. Vox I could give or take. Hard not to slap a big boy [4] on this tho for the riffs alone, so I shall! [4]
Storm of the Light's Bane

[me] - 39th April 2023 - Aggressively good. Does a lot of the things I like about 34 but with a more death metal flair, which I like less. Outro track slaps. Ruthlessly efficient and therefore lacking humanity/soul, imho. [3.5]
Hvis Lyset Tar Oss

[me] - 40th April 2023 - The wizard has spoken [5]. Adore the maximalist minimalism - the guitar tone is just chefs kiss and the screms are unholy good, and that you’re only served up one lil thing at a time is very nice nice nice. I got lost in these passages. Opener and closer are next level, the rest is just very good but not enough to drag down the whole. Big points. Infamous artist is a dick shit but damn he make some good music.

actually I lied this is a [4.3] soz budgie
Min Tid Skal Komme

[park] 1st May 2023 BONUS.1 - Loved this bm with a slap bass excursion weird winding song structures interesting proggy fucky guitar and vox that don't make me want to kill myself unlike 18 what. [3.7]
A Darker Shade of Evil

[park] 1st May 2023 BONUS.2 - Oh so when you said the eaglez of black metal you actually meant a bm album made by eagles. Mental vox, no wonder the guy blew his voice box to shit. Amazing what some do/did in the pursuit of legit disorientating/alienating screms. Guitar work is boss too. m/ [3.7]
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