Welcome to our 2017 flashback series, A Year In…! Over the next weeks, we will bring you the very best of certain genres to make sure you didn’t miss anything in your favorite genre. To hail the Winter, we’ll start with black metal, and oh dear, what a year for black metal it was! A wide variety of different approaches to the genre hit us, and many great albums as well. Let’s start!
Pillorian – Obsidian Arc
This record honors the past without being beholden to it. Obsidian Arc is a record that shows interesting iterations on a traditional black metal formula. There’s a real density to the atmosphere on each song, but the sinister edge is never lost. Pillorian are a band to watch.
Wolves In The Throne Room – Thrice Woven
The earthy and pagan black metal is back on full display with Wolves’ latest outing. Each song is crackling with ancient energy, proving that the band hasn’t missed a step on this comeback. Interspersed with rustic folk and thick atmosphere, Thrice Woven is a journey worth taking.
Sorrow Plagues – Homecoming
Perhaps one of the most surprising records on this list, Homecoming displays a playful irony between the black metal vocals and reflective lyrics, and the often bright instrumentation. With rollicking solos and genuinely catchy riffs, Sorrow Plagues coaxed a unique blend of music from within the usually dismal halls of black metal.
Thantifaxath – Void Masquerading As Matter
Months later, this (long) EP has still left me wondering if I could ever adequately describe it. I reviewed it, but, like the music itself, it was challenging. It’s textured so well, and the variety of sounds at play here is truly cacophonous and borderline overwhelming. This is the best that modern black metal has to offer.
Heretoir – The Circle
Germany’s Heretoir set out to impress with their blend of black metal, post-rock and ambient music. There’s a celestial quality to this album, unfathomable beauty and fierce density entwine to deliver one of the most lovely works of 2017, right down to the ethereal and lush cover art.
Dodecahedron – kwintessens
Perhaps one of the more straightforward black metal releases on this list, but by no means formulaic or boring. Dissonance awaits you around every corner of this geometric hellscape packed with primal growls, cutting riffs as well as expansive and progressive instrumental sections for an eclectic piece of heavy music.
Celeste – Infidèle(s)
The kings of nihilism struck again! Infidele(s) is another sick addition to Celeste‘s already outstanding discography, and offers everything we love about the band: dissonant, pissed off tracks topped off with a whole lot of darkness. This album is by no means easy to digest, but damn, it‘s worth taking some time to dig into Celeste‘s appaling madness!
Anomalie – Visions
One of my favourite albums of the year. Melodic, straight forward and just super fun to listen to. Visions features a wide variety of different sounds (mystic choirs, folky acoustic passages or perfectly nuanced clean vocals just to name a few) which make the album an incredibly interesting journey from start to finish. Highly recommended!
Throane – Plus une maine à mordre
A thrilling, intense experience that immediately catches you and drags you in. The atmosphere Throane created on this record is absolutely captivating and still fascinates me after several listening sessions. The somehow inaudible lyrics add to the mystery of the album while the cover art perfects this atmospheric black metal masterpiece.
White Ward – Futility Report
Black metal and dark jazz/ambient go very well together, especially with the extended use of the beloved sax. White Ward release one of the most remarkable black metal records in 2017, exciting, intense and amazingly paced. You never know what’s around the next corner, and this makes this record such a rich experience.
Archivist – Construct
Between post metal and black metal, Archivist stunned their fanbase for a long time, and they reached new heights with the release of their second album Construct. This Austrian six-piece creates multi-layered arrangements which are thoughtful, but never sterile. It’s always about the emotions, desparation, hope and the solitude in between the mass.
Tchornobog – Tchornobog
An impressive one-man project, Tchornobog’s selftitled masterpiece contains of 4 immersive songs, which invite you in a world of horror and surrealism, lure you with an unmatched depth and a gruesome darkness. The more I’ve listened to this record, the more I’ve got captivated in its world.
Emptiness – Not For Music
Fen – Winter
Carach Angren – Dance And Laugh Amgonst The Rotten
Myrkur – Mareidt
Hexis – XII
Dawn Ray’d – The Unlawful Assembly
Vvilderness – Devour The Sun
Auðn – Farvegir Fyrndar
Chaos Moon – Eschaton Memoire
Frostreich – Join The Wind
Thanks for scrolling. The next edition is right around the corner.