Video: Music Review 003 – Arx Atrata – Spiritus in Terra

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Here is a new video review for the excellent album Spiritus in Terra by England’s Arx Atrata. Let me know what you think in the comments below, or on YouTube.


Music Review: Barshasketh/Void Ritual Split Tape

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Barshasketh/Void Ritual - Split

Genre: Black Metal
Label: Broken Limbs

Scottish black metal by way of New Zealand, Barshasketh provides two songs on the first side of this split. The first, “Palingenesis” is a slow burning track that reeks of shoegaze for almost three minutes, then just comes in with super fast, blasting black metal. The entirety, from the slow beginning all throughout the rest, is beautifully executed, filled with melodies, harmonies, and ear piercing shrieks. The second track, “Dominion of Ashes” starts off fast, and pretty much stays fast throughout, but it is no less melodic or beautiful. Fans of Winterfylleth, An Autumn for Crippled Children, Desolate Winds, Wolves in the Throne Room, etc., you’ll want to check this out.

Void Ritual comes from New Mexico, USA. Daniel Jackson is from Albuquerque and is the sole member of the band, producing, recording, mixing, and mastering everything on top of writing and performing it all. His side of this split is a but more focused, a bit more raw, and a bit more old school sounding. There is more of a second-wave black metal low-fi sound, but there also seems to be influences of death metal happening as well. In the same amount of time it takes Barshasketh to do two songs, Void Ritual does three. All of them are rather magical, filled with riffs that are super catchy and evil at the same time, while lyrically about cults of recent memory. Heaven’s Gate, Paradise, and the Order of the Solar Temple all get their own songs. Fans of Marduk, Mayhem, and Darkthrone, as well as the same comparisons for Barshasketh, you’ll want to hear these songs.

In all, Barshasketh and Void Ritual have together crafted a split that is beyond easy to listen to over and over again. Truly captivating black metal of the highest order.

Music Review: Noire – Dark Reverence

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Noire - Dark Reverence

Genre: Progressive Black Metal
Label: Independent (Now signed to Deathbound Records)

Filled to the brim with Canadian permafrost, these Winnipeg natives have laid down an epic album of cold black metal that not only hearkens to the sounds of the Norwegian (Enslaved, Immortal) and Swedish (Opeth) scenes, but also to Canada’s own.

The album starts off with the instrumental “Lost and Godless”, then delves into four long tracks full of melancholic lyrical hymns to darkness, death, and nature. Black metal tropes, yes; cliche as fuck, yes; written wonderfully and giving these old chestnuts new life, a resounding yes.

“Shadows Rise” clocks in at nearly ten minutes and is the second longest song on Dark Reverence. It travels from acoustic melodies to a blackened kick to the face, and features Andrew using his voice much like Jeff Walker in Carcass’ song “Heartwork”.

“Dark Reverence” is nearly eight minutes long and has an epic feel and melodicism that would sit well on Sons of Northern Darkness, while the following track “Where Death Keeps” takes a more atmospheric and folky approach, bringing to mind the UK’s Desolate Winds, Spectre, and Winterfylleth crossed with Enslaved, Satyricon and Primordial.

“Ghosts of Damnnation” stands out with it’s slightly thrashy intro that drops into a straight up black metal with blackened thrash sections. This song never fails to get my neck snapping and fist pumping, making it dangerous to drive to.

“Pale Death” is another instrumental, and the longest on the album, rearing its head late in the disc, giving listeners a chance to regroup and prepare for the album’s shortest lyrical song.

“A Fire Shall Burn” is pretty much just a slower pure black metal song with a folk element. It sounds the most Norwegian or all the songs, I would say, and is one of my favourite songs on the album. Again though, Andrew’s vocals remind me of a blackened and slower Jeff Walker, which is a really interesting twist for me.

The final lyrical song on the album is “Faithless”, which starts off slow and pretty, like much of the songs on Dark Reverence, then kicks into a riff that reminds me of Opeth‘s “The Leper Affinity” and Immortal‘s “In My Kingdom Cold”. “Faithless” is the longest song on the album, clocking in at exactly 11:56, but not for one moment is it boring, a feat that many bands that write epic long songs fail to accomplish. Noire have honed their ability to take tempo and riff changes and place them at just the right parts in a song to keep interest in what they are doing.

The final song of the album, “My Fallen Angel” is an amazing piano piece that sounds nothing like what else has transpired on Dark Reverence, but fits in perfectly at the same time. I would honestly love to hear an extended version of this song that reaches the same type of song length as “Faithless” or “Shadows Rise”.

In all, Noire are an awesome band with an awesome album in Dark Reverence, and it is no wonder they are making a name for themselves in their home city of Winnipeg but across Canada and into the USA. They are successfully combining raw black metal with tons of melody, death metal sections, and a huge amount of feeling to create a wonderful progressive black metal that is all their own while still wearing their influences on their collective sleeves.