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Black Metal

CVLT Nation’s Top 6
Black Metal Albums of 2013

6. FELL VOICES: Regnum Saturni

Fell Voices return with Regnum Saturni, three years after their previous full length (untitled). The ambient black metal band, once again, does what they know how to do best, bringing forth three long tracks (shortest one is about seventeen minutes long) filled with chaos and destruction. What is impressive here though is that Fell Voices do not rely on weird synth sounds (although they do have a few) and keyboards, or even many clean parts in order to sound atmospheric. Instead most of the album’s ambiance manages to come forth from the production, which achieves to retain a raw and aggressive sound but on the same time craft an atmosphere that can only be described as dystopian.

From the intro of “Flesh From Bone” with its distressing sonic qualities the band is fooling you into thinking that what will follow might not be as direct and harsh. So soon enough the black metal riffology kicks in obliterating everything in its path. In about six minutes into the song it seems like Fell Voices decide to give you a chance to breathe, slowing down to a more mid tempo moment with the wolf-howling-like black metal vocals still present, there is even a clean (well, a bit cleaner…) guitar part there before the relentless drumming resumes and you are once again lost in their horrific visions…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

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5. KATECHON: Man, God, Giant

My flesh is being sliced into cubes of of pain & torment, or maybe these are the effects of the new KATECHON on my being. These Norwagian death dealers are on the verge of releasing an unreal album entitled Man, God, Giant via Nuclear War Now Productions out NOW. I was impressed with KATECHON when I heard their demo last year, and and after hearing Man, God, Giant I’m an even bigger fan! This band is able to manifest huge black holes of sonic filth that suck you in and will not let you go. CVLT Nation is ultra stoked to be streaming three songs from Man, God, Giant below…So tune into KATECHON’s compositions of death: “Black Rain,” “Ungodly Rituals” and “Man God Giant”!


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4. AOSOTH: IV: Arrow In Heart

There has always been something phenomenally engaging about French black metal bands(Blut Aus Nord, Deathspell Omega, Peste Noire, etc..) and Aosoth is no exception to the rule. It wasn’t until 2011 when I first heard their full length Variations Of Violence that I became remotely familiar with anything pertaining to this band. After its inception, I was instantaneously hooked and had been eagerly awaiting their next full length. That time is fast upon us in the form of IV: Arrow In Heart, which astonishingly enough is by far their deepest and most captivating work to date.

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From the moment the album begins you are drawn into a looming atmosphere that lurks within every subsequent track thereafter, creating an air of mystery atop a methodology of rampant decay. Clean acoustic passages grace the spaces between the fevered pitch, allowing the melody to be truly captured before subjected to the previous discord. It’s these small touches that embrace the positive influences of early black metal artists at their core, while still retaining their own experimental sound that is executed to blackened perfection. A balance that is immediately felt within the track “One With The Prince With A Thousand Enemies,” through visceral shifts amidst a blistering brood and intricate melody that showcases classic influences supported by a modern context. While tracks such as “Under Nails & Fingertips” are more so reminiscent of the latter, with blinding blast beats unleashing a full on assault that is in lieu of traditional stylings to further state the band’s eclectic influential background. The standout track by far has to be “Ritual Marks Of Penitence,” through whose 14 minute droning notations scathe along an ever present doom that holds its presence unknown until the fleeting moments of the track as it fades from all dissonance upheld…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

3. ALTAR of PLAGUES: Teethed Injury and Glory

There are very few times when I listen to music and am completely at a loss for how to describe it.  Most metal bands, for all their mixing and experimentation, can still be broken down into the constituent parts they are channeling: this is sludge, this is post-rock, this is black metal, etc.  Even the best, most adventurous records, like Inter Arma’s great Sky Burial, can fit this kind of classification.  That doesn’t mean they are less for it, just that my mind can more easily describe them.

But, with Teethed Injury and Glory, the newest from Ireland’s Altar of Plagues, I’m completely stumped.  On its surface, it contains many of the same elements as previous AoP albums, screeches and blast beats and hazy guitars.  But all of those pieces fit together in new, alien patterns, drawing from an inanely wide range of sources, yet wholly original.  You likely won’t listen to a better, more interesting extreme album this year…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

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2. Leucosis: Leucosis

Santa Cruz doesn’t seem to be a place to invoke the most grim and gloomy kind of black metal. But with Leucosis, the story is different. The band made its debut back in 2011 with the amazing “Pulling Down The Sky” that pulled off really impressive reviews along its way. The level of black metal presented then by the band, through the quality of the tracks and their sound, really caught up the attention of many out there, including myself, in such a way that i had to put “Pulling Down The Sky” in the altar of my favorite releases of that same year. This year they mark their return with another brilliant milestone into their young, yet prolific career. A self titled album made out of six amazing chapters which have a total of more than one hour of length. Although it’s a long release, I assure you that it’s one of the most well spent hours you will have. At this point, before i go further into the album i must warn the fans of “Pulling Down The Sky” that here they may be a little bit disappointed or even upset by Leucosis sound on this album. It all depends on how you like your black metal and how open-minded you are. I believe that this evolution in Leucosis sound is quite good as the songs themselves, united by different nodes that culminates into something quite interesting and innovative. It becomes a bit difficult to classify Leucosis sound with this new record. Atmospheric Black Metal Doom? Cascadian Blackened Doom? Whatever. It’s clearly black metal that drinks from cascadian and atmospheric fountains of inspiration and obviously some doom. Whatever the result, the way it’s made and how it sounds, it’s awesome…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

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1. TORTURE CHAIN: Mutilating Astral Entities

Since 2008, Torture Chain has been releasing small snippets of genius masquerading as demos while simultaneously hiding behind an impenetrable veil of secrecy, letting their music stand alone to speak for itself. Every year since their induction, the band’s material has sold out and been long sought after by fans who were chomping at the bit for a full length to grace the light of day. At long last that time has arrived in the form of Torture Chain’s latest offering, Mutilating Astral Entities, which serves up 7 brand new tracks of the same blistering punk-infused, straight ahead black metal that has made this band oh so enjoyable.

The album is broken into sections introduced with short instrumentals that set the pace for the following tracks, allowing for a much more aware discernment before having your senses obliterated for an additional 25+ minutes. These movements are methodical, carefully constructed, and painstakingly executed as to capture the majestic aural downpour this band construes and bends to their will. Winding its way betwixt, a revolutionary take on how black metal is slowly taking on a more maniacal, hybridized approach and transmogrifying into something that may never truly be grasped…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Gram M

    February 13, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    So glad you didn’t mention Deafheaven.

  2. H Mee

    December 19, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    It’s all thanked for and worth many listens.Especially the Chain

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