This is Ippocalyptica’s music collection on Bandcamp.


  1. Ottawa, Ontario
  2. Metal
  1. collection 172
  2. wishlist 137
  3. followers 84
  4. following 143
  1. War Of All Against All
    by Diocletian
    Kingdom Of Rats Kingdom Of Rats
    The album tags here are ridiculous - this is most definitely neither grind core nor is it doom metal, but rather, it is bestial “war metal” (black/death metal along the lines of Blasphemy, Revenge, and Teitanblood) of the highest order, full of down-tuned hyper-speed riffing, relentless blast beats, and inhuman growls and screaming. Unlike most war metal, though, Diocletian is surgically precise both in terms of instrumental proficiency and in its songwriting approach, and you never get the idea that their brand of aural chaos is heavily dependent upon the “raw” and “savage” production values often associated with war metal. There are distinct and memorable riffs here, even if they are often used as a wall of noise. You will be bludgeoned by War of All Against All, but whereas most war metal albums are unlistenable in one sitting (by design, no doubt), your ears will not bleed from this album and you will, as a result, be all the more enveloped by its single-minded totalitarian assault. I think that only Teitanblood’s Death stands higher in the genre as a manifestation of chaos and barbarism, but this is so damned close. I hope that Diocletian comes back.
  2. Servants of the Cold Night
    by Andeis
    The Black Oath The Black Oath
    Rarely does an album cover so accurately convey the atmosphere of the music, and so as it appears, so Servants of the Cold Night sounds. Raw, primitive, and cold, you will feel alone and vulnerable listening to this album, the lone wanderer on a desolate, rocky expanse, awaiting your death from exposure to the unknown under an ominous night sky. Recommended.
    Retribution Of Jealous Gods Retribution Of Jealous Gods
    This style of cavernous, old school death metal reminds me of Disma, and as such, brings me great joy. This is powerful, churning, and menacing, and it is furthermore grimy, abyssal, and evil. There is more impact in these three songs than what most OSDM bands can muster in their full-length efforts, and my only criticism of Retribution of Jealous Gods is that it is too brief. I eagerly await Malignant Actor’s attempt at Towards the Megalith - I know that these fuckers can amaze us all.
  4. De Praestigiis Angelorum
    by VI
    Il est trop tard pour rendre gloire. Ainsi la lumière sera changée en ombre de la mort. Il est trop tard pour rendre gloire. Ainsi la lumière sera changée en ombre de la mort.
    This is one of the best black metal albums of the past 10 years, and is very nearly equal to anything to have come out of France, behind only Deathspell Omega’s Paracletus and Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum, and even then, by a small margin. This is just about the highest praise that I could bestow upon any black metal album. I could spend 5000 characters describing why De Praestigiis Angelorum is so incredible, but for the benefit of those seeking succinctness, and at the risk of making too crude a comparison, this masterwork by VI combines the aggression of Antaeus, the melodic sensibilities of Aosoth, and the adventurous and technical songwriting of Deathspell Omega, representing arguably the most simultaneously melodic and dissonant album in the genre. As accessible as Paracletus was for such ambitiously dissonant black metal, this is at least as immediately enjoyable while pushing the envelope a bit further in terms of intensity. This is a landmark of orthodox black metal, but should not be missed by any fan of extreme metal in general.
  5. Chasm
    by Suspiral
    Crown of Chaos Crown of Chaos
  6. Portent
    by False
  7. Slit Throat Requiem
    Of Crimson Eyes Of Crimson Eyes
    Every Alex Poole band is excellent, and Gatdghastr is no exception. I will amend this review once the full album is released, but for now, I can say that this is very similar to Chaos Moon, particularly Eschaton Mémoire. I almost expected this album, to be honest, considering that Poole released that phenomenal Gudveiki album late last year, which was essentially a more focused version of Skaphe, and so it was time for something in the vein of Chaos Moon. Anyway, based on these two songs, this will be another strong entry in the ever-impressive library of Alex Poole and the Blackburn brothers.
  8. Sacrament
    The Greater Curse The Greater Curse
  9. Forgotten Paths
    by Saor
    Monadh Monadh
    Definitely a significant improvement over Guardians, Forgotten Paths is energetic, folk-infused black metal of the highest order. Andy Marshall is at the peak of his songwriting powers, his confidence never higher, his musical vision never sharper. Though I still prefer Aura over this album, and while I still like Panopticon better as far as folk-infused, nature-inspired black metal is concerned, make no mistake: Forgotten Paths is a statement that forces you to stand up and take notice.
  10. Necrogenesis
    Sunset Glow Sunset Glow
    Nordjevel’s self-titled debut album was one of 2016’s best black metal albums, and best surprises in all of metal from that year. I was worried when co-founding member Nord left the band, but the 2017 Krigsmakt EP was also quite good. Now, with Necrogenesis, I can definitively say that there is nothing to fear as there is no sophomore slump, and while I prefer the debut over this, it is only by a small margin. In an age of dissonant, technical, and avant-garde black metal (such as Imperial Triumphant, Deathspell Omega, and many others that I love), it is refreshing to see in Nordjevel such an exemplar of a traditional, second-wave Norwegian black metal sound, and even better is the fact that Nordjevel has surpassed most of their influences in terms of technical prowess, speed, aggression, and most importantly, songwriting ability. This is mandatory listening, with no exceptions.
  11. Musmahhu - Reign of the Odious
    by Iron Bonehead Productions
    Slaughter of the Seraphim Slaughter of the Seraphim
    Reign of the Odious is an excellent death metal album, with absolutely perfect, beefy production, a thick and ominous atmosphere, sinister guttural vocals, thunderous riffs, varied drumming (much more than just blast beats here), and various black metal flourishes throughout. However, how those people in various corners of the internet who are hailing this as “original” have not noticed the rather obvious Dead Congregation influence here is somewhat baffling to me. Regardless, I listen to this album at least a few times per week, and this should be a strong contender for best DM debut album of the past five years.
  12. To Profane The Flesh With Crimson Teeth
    by Ghul
    To Profane the Flesh With Crimson Teeth To Profane the Flesh With Crimson Teeth
    This debut from Ghul is heavily inspired by early-era Immortal in terms of sound and atmosphere, and by other things altogether in terms of lyrics, vocals, and aesthetics. It is a very promising EP that makes me curious about what their LP will bring to the table. Bonus points for their hilarious song titles, band member names, and album description - I certainly agree that consuming the flesh of the weak is a great way to grow stronger.
  13. Hvísl Stjarnanna
    by Sinmara
    Apparitions Apparitions
    How I wish this was released either before or at the same time as Svartidaudi’s Revelations of the Red Sword, for now I cannot help but think that my views of this album have been irreparably coloured by my fondness for Svartidaudi’s most recent opus. The similarities between Hvisl Stjarnanna and Revelations of the Red Sword are remarkable, as they are both massive improvements over each band’s debut albums and they both mine the same dissonant, melancholic black metal terrain using the same methods. At times blistering, at times introspective, I suppose that Sinmara’s effort is the more subtle and less aggressive of the two. In any event, if Revelations of the Red Sword is somewhere between a 9 to 9.5/10, then Hvisl Stjarnanna lands between 8.75 and 9.25/10, meaning that my personal tastes aside, you really should own this album, which stands as one of 2019’s best black metal albums thus far. Now, who do we have to kill to get a new Zhrine or Misthyrming album this year? Icelandic black metal always makes the world a better (darker) place, and we need more of it.
  14. The Approaching Roar
    by Altarage
    Urn Urn
    Some death metal is meant to be “brutal”, some is meant to be “technical”, while some is labelled as “progressive”, “old school”, and so forth. What most death metal bands have in common, however, is that no matter what style of death metal they play, how fast the blast beats are, or how down-tuned the guitars might be, they are all still meant to actually be enjoyed on some basic level, as in, provide some degree of listening pleasure. Altarage, much like fellow countrymen Teitanblood and other bands such as Aevangelist and Pyrrhon, seem to be concerned very little with crafting music that could be construed as “enjoyable” in any conventional sense, and are instead focused on bludgeoning the listener with an aural assault that is meant to be endured rather than enjoyed. The thing is, as you may have guessed by now, that there is great beauty and reward to be gleaned from challenging and (as is the case here) punishing artistic endeavours, provided that you can endure the initial discomfort. The Approaching Roar represents Altarage at its least accessible but at its most developed, a tome of eschatological death metal concerned only with introducing the world to its long and torturous death, bringing a heaviness to bear that is unstoppable, unrelenting and unforgiving. This hurts, but hurting rarely felt so good. Embrace your death and accept the Approaching Roar.
  15. Errata
    by Convulsing
    Dis Dis
    I do not personally know Brendan Sloan, and can only infer certain things about him on the basis of the means through which he has chosen to communicate with the world: his music. As such, I would have to say that he must have gone through quite the ordeal prior to the making of Errata, as this is dark, menacing, dissonant, aggressive, and at times unsettling death metal. The Ulcerate influence is quite strong, but not only does this work never come off as derivative, it is actually quite refreshing and original. Although I prefer Grievous over this album (as it is more dynamic and less grim than Errata), Brendan Sloan can do no wrong, and this is death metal of the highest order. I cannot wait for what Convulsing has in store for us next.
  16. The Blade Philosophical
    by Rites of thy Degringolade
    Above the Highest Form Above the Highest Form
    These gentlemen are, along with Toronto’s Thantifaxath and Montréal’s Gevurah, among the most creative, talented, and innovative purveyors of extreme metal in Canada, though while the other two are firmly black metal bands, Rites of thy Degringolade is a perfectly-balanced blackened death metal monstrosity unlike any other. Just like Blade possesses all of a vampire’s strengths and none of its weaknesses, this band employs a very robust, tight and heavy death metal rhythm section, on the one hand, with adventurous and dissonant black metal riffs and melodies, on the other, in a gift box that is all wrapped up with a big bow of experimentation. This is evil, this is clinical, and this is essential listening. Do the right thing. Do the only thing. Buy this album now.
  17. La Croix de Sang
    by Drastus
    Nihil Sine Polum Nihil Sine Polum
    So early in 2019, and already we have a legitimate black metal album of the year contender! Rejoice, for to be privy to such excellence makes one grateful to be alive, and this is truly excellent music, highly reminiscent of Deathspell Omega (and Outre) but in a more direct package. Ferocious and melodic in equal measure, this is dissonant black metal that is surprisingly accessible upon first listen while still revealing incredible nuance with each subsequent engagement. I find La Croix de Sang to be as fitting for heavy lifting sessions at the gym as it is for an evening of candlelit introspection while drinking fine single malt Scotch, but do not mistake the suitability of this album for any occasion as a lack of focus and direction. This is a sonic ritual, and Drastus is possessed by a singular commitment to aural malevolence. Buy or die!
  18. Black Brick
    by deafheaven
    Black Brick Black Brick
    Ordinary Corrupt Human Love was the aural equivalent of a relative you once loved dearly and who was once on top of his game (New Bermuda), only to come over uninvited to your home, get drunk as fuck after depleting your liquor supply, and puke all over your priceless Persian rug while laughing at you the entire time. Despicable, right? Well, Black Brick is the grand apology that comes shortly thereafter: the relative joined a 12-step program for alcoholics, he paid to have your home fully cleaned and your liquor supply doubly replenished, he bought you an even nicer Persian carpet, and he committed to being his old self once again. This song is killer, and proves that OCHL was just momentary insanity.
  19. On the subject of mortality (Revisions of the Past version)
    by Panopticon
    Living In The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death Living In The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death
    I love Panopticon and there is no hiding, downplaying or changing this fact. My favourite album is Autumn Eternal, but there is not a dud in the bunch, and the discography is one of the strongest in black metal (especially when you consider that one man is responsible for everything). However, if there is a least favourite album of mine, it would have to be...on the Subject of Mortality. Do not get me wrong, as there is much I admire here. The lyrics are emotionally resonant and thoughtful. The production on this particular version is fantastic. Austin Lynn’s trademark combination of melancholic melodies and pummelling rhythm section is quite present, and each of these compositions will pummel and entrance you, often at the same time. The only “issues” are that there is nothing here that is particularly distinct, and the compositions are far less ambitious than what Lunn would eventually craft. Otherwise, this is very solid material worthy of attention, respect and repeated listening. Final note: if you have not explored the rest of Panopticon’s albums, drop whatever you are doing and please make that a priority. Austin tends not to fuck around, and he flirts with perfection more often than not.
  20. Tahoma
    by Alda
    Adrift Adrift
    Tahoma works on so many levels and should be lauded for various reasons as a fantastic black metal album, including: 1) much like Cobalt’s and Wayfarer’s albums, Tahoma actually sounds American (and is not simply black metal from America); 2) unlike many “Cascadian” black metal albums which are too meandering and too soft, there is commendable intensity, aggression, and cohesion to be found in each of these five songs, all of which are nonetheless wonderfully varied; 3) instrumental and vocal proficiency is high, albeit never self-indulgent, and always in service of the compositions; and finally, 4) whereas I have always found black metal to be the most emotionally-impactful sub-genre of metal, the amount of emotion invested by these musicians here is well above the norm and moved me more than 90 percent of the rest of the albums in my collection, on Bandcamp and elsewhere. Comparisons to Agalloch, Skagos, and Wolves in the Throne Room (amongst others) are inevitable, but Alda is very much doing its own thing here, and Tahoma is by far the group’s most accomplished work. Do the right thing and buy this album before you hate yourself forever.
  21. The Whole of the Law
    by Anaal Nathrakh
    Of Horror, and the Black Shawls Of Horror, and the Black Shawls
    Having followed their career since The Codex Necro, I always liked Anaal Nathrakh but never considered them amongst the upper echelon of black metal bands, mainly due to the inconsistency in quality that is evident from album to album. When these gentlemen are on form, however, few can match their combination of ferocity, harshness, speed, cinematic atmosphere and epic melodies. This is industrial and this has elements of noise, but it is first and foremost black metal and it is Anaal Nathrakh’s best album. This is so over the top and so aggressive so as to almost border on absurdity, and the balancing act here results in quite the powerful musical statement that is at once immediately listenable and immensely abrasive. There are so many good songs here with no throwaways, and the cover of Powerslave is completely fucking monumental and almost worth the price of admission alone. Buy or die!
  22. Enantiodromian Birth
    by Dispirit
    Besotted by Feral Whims Besotted by Feral Whims
    There is something happening here that is beyond my ability to succinctly describe, but in a nutshell, imagine often fast-paced psychedelic black metal with progressive song structures that are complete with sections of haunting, but never depressing, doom metal. Production is raw, instrumental proficiency is high, and vocals are sinister. What makes this unique and utterly captivating, however, is what I can only describe as the interplay between the two guitarists, who often perform as lead guitarists (with bass guitar acting as the rhythm guitar as needed) engaging in contrapuntal combat. I am not saying that Dispirit is employing the fugue on this album, but damn does it remind me of it at times. This is the best metal demo of 2018, make no mistake.
  23. Gods Without Name
    by AORATOS
    Thresher Thresher
    Once again, Naas Alcameth proves that he can do no wrong with one of his strongest offerings to date, and an absolutely essential purchase. Gods Without Name is a perfect synthesis of Nightbringer, Bestia Arcana, and Akhlys, combining the blistering intensity and ambient soundscapes that characterises these bands in a mostly familiar package, but doing so with a fair number of pleasant surprises. Instrumental prowess is at peak level for these musicians, and compositions are amongst the most complex and dense that Naas has crafted, with sequences of tremolo riffing that are without peer in black metal. Did Alcameth need to create Aoratos in order to release this work, instead of just releasing it as another Akhlys, Nightbringer or Bestia Arcana album? Yes, I truly believe that Aoratos was necessary, for this is an ultimately darker opus than anything Naas has previously gifted us. Listening to this with headphones in the dark, in its entirety, had me utterly enthralled, the swirling malevolence of the affair bringing me one step closer to a final communion with the void.
  24. Arrayed Claws
    by LORN
    Abstract Trap Abstract Trap
    I read a review of Arrayed Claws by a respected contributor on a certain popular metal website, and I think that he best captured in a single adjective the entire aesthetic and structure of this album: insectoid. This is unquestionably dissonant black metal and it is unquestionably experimental, but what makes it unique and memorable is indeed the insectoid, off-kilter riffing and melodies. Despite the unsettling atmosphere of this album, it is a credit to Lorn’s songwriting abilities that the entire album is utterly hypnotising. Furthermore, even though each song contains melodies that are repeated at length before transitioning in unpredictable ways to different, equally-intriguing melodies, the whole affair is completely cohesive. These gents are also rather accomplished musicians in terms of instrumental prowess, and I was left wondering more than once just how they executed certain sections. In closing, as myriad as are the fish in the ocean, equally numerous are the reasons to buy this album and commit yourself to the insectoid void.
  25. Grave Mounds And Grave Mistakes
    by A Forest Of Stars
    Precipice Pirouette Precipice Pirouette
    If you are familiar with A Forest of Stars’ earlier works, you will generally know what to expect here, but this is still a distinct entry in their discography, and is an improvement over their last album (which is still excellent) mainly in the sense that it contains more actual metal without losing any of the over-the-top theatricality and psychedelic ambiance. This reminds me (in no small part due to the absolutely bonkers vocalist) of a more ambitious version of Arcturus’ La Masquerade Infernale, a less insane version of Dodheimsgard’s A Umbra Omega, and a more coherent version of any Devil Doll album, which in combination means that you have to buy this album right fucking now. The variety on this album - and the variety of emotions that it elicits - is phenomenal. Give yourself the gift of A Forest of Stars, and thank yourself forever.
  26. Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic
    by The Ocean
    Permian: The Great Dying Permian: The Great Dying
  27. The Crescendo of Dusk
    by Panopticon
    The Crescendo Of Dusk The Crescendo Of Dusk
    Few things in life are better than a surprise release from Panopticon, so today was naturally a wonderful day where we were all gifted with The Crescendo of Dusk, an excellent mini-album of tracks recorded over the past few years. Interestingly, The Crescendo of Dusk, while recorded during “The Scars of Man...” timeframe, sounds like a lost track from Autumn Eternal, and The Labyrinth, which was recorded during the Autumn Eternal sessions, sounds like it belongs on the second half (the folk / Americana half) of The Scars of Man on the Once Nameless Wilderness. That being said, both songs have a distinct atmosphere that make them very much their own entities, so it is not surprising that Austin chose to release them together on this mini-album. And what of the songs themselves? The Crescendo of Dusk will be considered one of Panopticon’s great songs, I trust, with signature tremolo melodies, thunderous blasting drums, and an ethereal atmosphere that might be the closest to “cosmic” black metal Panopticon has ever attempted. The Labyrinth is a more introspective, folkier affair, further showcasing Austin’s clean vocals and his ability to craft engaging songs at slower tempos with minimalist instrumentation. While this EP is too short to be fairly compared to any of Lunn’s masterful full-length efforts, it nonetheless remains an excellent addition to Panopticon’s discography, and is further proof that this man can do no wrong. Panopticon is the best thing going in USBM, and one of the very best projects in all of black metal. Buy or die!
  28. The blind leading the blind
    by 1914
    Arrival. The Meuse-Argonne Arrival. The Meuse-Argonne
    There will never be another Bolt Thrower, but 1914 comes very close to matching Bolt Thrower at its peak on The Blind Leading the Blind, and that is one of the highest compliments that could ever be paid to a death metal band. The riffing, the drumming (both when blasting and when plodding), the thoughtful and well-researched lyrics, and the atmosphere all evoke the horrors of battle, and not from a 30,000-foot high perspective, but rather, up close and personal. Of course, 1914 is not a Bolt Thrower clone, and this is not a derivative album, incorporating some elements of black metal and doom metal to add variety to the proceedings. A lot of this album is mid-paced, punctuated with moderate use of blast beats and hyper-speed riffing, though some songs are fast all the way through. What makes this contrast in tempo, both within and between songs, so effective beyond the quality of the music itself is that the lyrics and the music are so perfectly matched. Consider the doom-laden, heavy as hell A7V Mephisto, with its brief, explosive mid-song section; the tank and its crew are hunting and engaging targets that are no match for them (slow and heavy), the tank, damaged, engages in a furious battle with a capable foe (fast and intense), and finally, the tank and its crew are defeated (slow and heavy). This is effective storytelling, and not many do it like 1914. There will never be another Bolt Thrower. We are blessed, however, to have 1914.
  29. Лихиї вітри стогнуть без упину
    by svrm
    Порожнє село Порожнє село
  30. Volume II Every Tongue Shall Praise Satan
    by The Antichrist Imperium
    Golgothian Hieros Gamos Golgothian Hieros Gamos
    If this reminds you of Akercocke, that is because it should, yet if this also seems like a slightly more adventurous exploration of Akercocke’s sound, that is also because it should. Here, one of Akercocke’s former guitarists teams up with Akercocke’s current drummer (and co-founding member) to develop what I have to call a masterpiece in Volume II, a work that exemplifies everything that is admirable about Akercocke’s progressive black / death metal approach while still being an original work that stands on the strength of its own accomplishments. Expect to see dichotomies reconciled in the most expert of ways: harsh and clean vocals (performed by the man who is also Akercocke’s keyboardist), soaring black metal melodies and aggressive death metal riffing, and thoroughly engaging songs that contain passages of serenity enmeshed with sequences of unimaginable intensity. These blokes sure know how to rip, and you will be praising Satan in short order upon hearing this glorious work dedicated to His reign. The Antichrist Imperium and Akercocke should be seen as complementary, rather than competing, projects (just as is the case with Nightbringer, Bestia Arcana and Akhlys), and we are all the winners of these complementary efforts.
  31. Temple of the Adversarial Fire
    Faceless Queen Of Bloodstained Dreams Faceless Queen Of Bloodstained Dreams
    Who am I to argue with the bold proclamation of “This is not Music - this is Ritual”? Indeed, this is the only death metal album that I have listened to that can compete with the ritualistic atmosphere of various landmark black metal albums. This is clearly the work of devoted individuals, and they have created a sound that is so much larger than should be expected from three musicians, but then again, they are channeling the essence of a darker dimension here, a fact evident throughout every minute of this beast.
  32. Grievous
    by Convulsing
    Relent Relent
    The stunning cover artwork by the legendary Jef Whitehead (of Leviathan, and other, fame) was the first element to catch my attention, but it only took 15 seconds for me to be completely ensnared by Convulsing’s black/death aural assault, the likes of which I have never quite heard before. Comparisons to Ulcerate (especially on “Were”) and Altar of Plagues are sensible, but I actually hear a lot more of Abyssal (a great death/black project out of the UK) and Dodecahedron than anything else, facets of which are combined in unique ways and in an ultimately more emotionally-varied package. Though the song titles and lyrics may lend the impression that one should expect a depressing listen, that is not at all the case: much like with the Acathexis debut, the music features tempos that skew towards blistering and is loaded with melodies and tremolo riffing that could only be considered soaring and triumphant, even if a lot of dissonance is present. Instrumental and vocal performances are superlative, and Grievous must feature one of the best drum programming jobs that I have ever heard, to the point where I simply do not care or notice. The greatest impression that remains seared in my mind after listening to this several times, however, is that while many other great albums are memorable and worthy of praise for various reasons, few metal albums have ever elicited such an emotional response from me. This album restores me.
  33. Titanomachy
    by Imperium
    The Unseen One The Unseen One
    Comparisons to Nile are to be expected, as Imperium have a somewhat similar sound and are similarly obsessed with a certain location and time period (ancient Rome and Greece, instead of ancient Egypt). However, Imperium are definitely doing their own thing here and Titanomachy is better than many of Nile’s albums. It is just as brutal, perhaps a bit more technical, better produced, and at least as memorable as most of what Nile has released, but when Nile is firing on all creative and technical cylinders (such as on Annihilation of the Wicked), few death metal bands can compare. In any event, compositions here are very tight and there is, thankfully, an understanding that good riffs are more important than fretboard wizardry (of which there is still plenty). The drumming is predictably amazing, with sections that actually sound like a machine gun on full auto, but the drummer keeps his fills varied enough, and puts in some very impressive cymbal work, that we never lose interest (something that more tech-death drummers need to keep in mind). Prepare for a bludgeoning - prepare for the Titanomachy!
  34. The Void Engineers
    by Cosmic Atrophy
    The Void Engineers The Void Engineers
    Phil Tougas is involved in this project, and it sounds a lot like Demilich, and these compositions - because “songs” is too insufficient a word - show just how far technical death metal has come. The fuck you waiting for?! Give these gentlemen your money, or risk being abducted and probed in all of the wrong places by the Void Engineers. Trust me when I say that you do not want that.
  35. To Await | To Expect
    by Voidsphere
    The Void Expects The Void Expects
    The Void Awaits. The Void Expects. These four words summarise our entire existence, for we come from nothing and return to nothing, and spend our whole lives trying to find something in between these inevitable bookends. And yet, on To Await / To Expect, we are presented with the horrifying possibility that there is no meaning beyond the Void. We are not to question this, though we might try to understand it. Musically, this is reminiscent of Darkspace, though this has better production value and is more varied (that is, it relies less on repetitive droning). Voidsphere and Darkspace are about equal in their ability to entrance you in their incredible ambient black metal soundscapes, however, and that is high praise for Voidsphere. And so we end as we began: The Void Awaits. The Void Expects.
  36. Invicta
    by Serpent Column
    Asphodel Asphodel
  37. De Plagen
    by Lubbert Das
    De Pest De Pest
    This is one of the most authentically evil-sounding black metal albums I have had the pleasure of listening to in a long time. After repeated listens, I cannot point to any one specific element that makes this an especially noteworthy release, and I mean that as a sincere and considerable compliment, as everything about this album is completely engaging, and I was immersed from start to finish. This is not the fastest, most technical or most ambitious black metal that you will hear, but it is damn well near the most atmospheric, immersive and dark that you will come across of anything released over the past year. Vocals are primal, production is raw, melodies are repetitive (which adds to the hypnotic immersion) but varied, tempos are generally mid-paced (with enough sections of blasting to keep the blood flowing), and song structures are straightforward (as compared to most black metal today) but highly effective at conjuring an atmosphere of malice. If I had to make a comparison to anything, this reminds me in tone of a cross between mid-1990’s Finnish and Norwegian black metal, but without being derivative in any way. This is not near the top of my favourites of 2018, but it is oddly compelling and I highly recommend it.
  38. Acathexis
    by Acathexis
    Veins Hollowed Veins Hollowed
    Although the lyrics, album title and song titles all suggest themes of pain, desperation and sadness, and though the vocals are definitely anguished, I actually find this music to be quite uplifting and motivational. This might due to the light speed tempos of the songs (guitars and drums both leaving most contemporaries in the dust, even if the drums might be programmed) or the highly energetic and soaring melodies (which appropriately remind me so much of Mare Cognitum, which is involved in this project), but whatever the case may be, I see no contradiction whatsoever between the depressing lyrics and tortured vocals, on the one hand, and the inspirational music, on the other. I think that each song is meant to represent struggle and the overcoming of that struggle, and so with very deep lows we are rewarded with splendid highs. This is yet another incredible release from Fallen Empire Records, and although it is not really a debut album in the sense that each of the musicians here are veterans of other projects, I really hope that we hear more from Acathexis in the coming years.
  39. Vængför
    by Guðveiki
    Blóðhunang Blóðhunang
    Do you like your Icelandic black metal to be technical, chaotic, unnerving and hypnotic? Do you love Skaphe’s nightmarish atmosphere and oppressive wall of noise but wish their music had more riffs? Do you enjoy your black metal when it is imbued with a high degree of incredible death metal riffing? We already know the answers to these questions, and Gudveiki delivers the goods in one awe-inspiring package. I strongly suspect that these musicians are veterans from other Icelandic black metal bands because there is no way that an album of this immense quality could be a debut, but then again, this music is channeling the essence of the void and so the band members could well be mere vessels of an impending cataclysmic force that will wipe clean the Earth in due course. Let this music fill your soul, and become one with the end. EDIT: I can see that this band consists of renaissance man Alex Poole, the Blackburns, H V from Wormlust, and another person, which explains the album’s sound and atmosphere perfectly (even if it is not so Icelandic after all).
  40. Reign of the Unending
    by Death Fortress
    Reign of the Unending Reign of the Unending
    I was initially worried about this album, given that Triumph of the Undying, while still an excellent black metal experience and absolutely worth owning, was a clear step below the phenomenal Deathless March of the Unyielding. Would Death Fortress restore its upward momentum, or would we be left slightly disappointed again, especially given the short release schedule between albums? Not to worry, people, for Death Fortress has released a monumental album in Reign of the Undying that is only slightly below Deathless March in terms of quality, which for the uninitiated means that it is better than 98 percent of its so-called competition. This is aggressive but quite consonant and melodic black metal (think Norwegian and American instead of French or Icelandic black metal), and though it is quite similar to the three previous Death Fortress albums, this has the most “progressive” feel of them all, with more breathing room in each song for melodies to play out to full potential. These are also, track to track, the best songs of any Death Fortress album, though no song here quite matches the utter majesty of Scourge of Aeons or Power From Beyond the Stars. This is a contender for metal AOTY, and it is long past due for Death Fortress to receive the recognition it deserves as one of the true black metal elite.
  41. Hierurgy
    Ophidian Crucifix Ophidian Crucifix
  42. Sun Eater
    by Lvcifyre
    Sun Eater Sun Eater
    Lvcifyre is a force to be reckoned with, and on Svn Eater, they show you just how uncompromisingly savage and intense they are. This style of death metal is similar to what bands like Altarage, Mitochondrion and Diocletian play, so do not expect any melodic flourishes, acoustic interludes or clean vocals at any point. The atmosphere on Svn Eater is thick, oppressive and ominous, and you will not receive any respite. Luckily, respite is unnecessary when the instrumental prowess and the riffs are as impressive as they are here. Once you start this album, prepare yourself for a descent into Hell, a descent from which your return cannot be guaranteed.
  43. Revelations of the Red Sword
    by Svartidauði
    Sol Ascending Sol Ascending
    This is a considerable improvement over Flesh Cathedral, and is a worthy entry into the debate of the best black metal album of 2018. Svartidaudi has evolved beyond relying extensively on the aesthetics and song structures of a certain other foundational black metal band, and is now its own beast - confident, immensely talented, and with a distinct vision of atmospheric black metal. This is not the fastest, most technical, most aggressive or most ominous black metal album to be released this year, but it is so much more than the sum of its parts, and taken as a whole remains an exemplary statement of musical extremity. Fans of Icelandic and French black metal will love this, but really, all fans of black metal in general would do well to listen to this a few times at the very least, in the dark, with headphones, while lying down. Revel in the heat death of the universe!
  44. The Scythe Of Cosmic Chaos
    by Sulphur Aeon
    Sinister Sea Sabbath Sinister Sea Sabbath
    I am almost at a loss for words when it comes to this album, as Sulphur Aeon has now released three straight death metal albums of absolutely incredible quality - from songwriting skill, musicianship, production values, and total commitment to Lovecraftean vision and atmosphere - and The Scythe of Cosmic Chaos is the best of these works. This is very melodic death metal that nonetheless remains very brutal, and most importantly, the riff remains supreme. Good luck selecting a favourite track, as they are all excellent. I hereby declare that what The Great Old Ones are to black metal, Sulphur Aeon is to death metal: the earthly heralds of an unseen cosmic horror that is slowly enveloping the Earth, and we shall embrace this slow death with open arms.
  45. Love In Shadow
    by SUMAC
    The Task The Task
    I have struggled for some time now with how to best describe this album to someone who has no familiarity with SUMAC, but I am not sure that I can succeed in a way that does justice to Aaron Turner and his associates. If you loved Isis (and how could you not) but wished it had more amorphous song structures and greater technicality, while losing none of its devastating emotional impact, then you are going to love this album. Be forewarned, however: this is considerably more jarring than the majority of post-metal, with wild variations within and between songs (while all remaining very obviously a single, coherent album - this is Aaron Turner and not some fly-by-night huckster, after all). This is a cathartic listening experience, and you owe it to yourself to give this a completely uninterrupted listen. The lows will crush you before the highs elevate your spirit. This is not my considered opinion, but universal fact, spoken directly to me through the medium that is Love in Shadow.