It’s about time an underground black metal band spoil us. Switzerland’s Hån gives us nothing less than grim emotion on their latest full-length, Facilis Descensus Averni. Hån is the Norwegian word for “scorn,” and their tribute to ridicule is stained on each and every one of the tracks on Facilis Descensus Averni.
Loose percussion ignites track number one, “Black Banners”; a swarm of melancholy instrumentation treads under piercing screams, awaking the theme of the album. Guitars scratch through “Desublimation,” and the arrangement of the melody and vocals makes it feel like a rallying, dark anthem. “Distant Lights” quickly builds up and feeds listeners hyper blast beats. Sealing up the album is “Summum Bonum.” Vocals and instruments work together to give a final outcry, but the album’s effects are to be everlasting.
Journey with me into the colorful phases of the human experience. There’s newness, hardship, healing, triumph and bleakness of ending. Our companion is dressed up in the atmospheric/post-black metal tones of Heretoir. The name (meaning “going an own way”) suggests the band’s devotion to individualistic discovery; so, you know Heretoir’s musical efforts buzz with emotive depth and a keen eye. From their debut full-length (2011’s Heretoir), we watch the band expanding these elements as they settled deeper into the modern metal side of the music scene. Heretoir’s latest effort (out in March) is The Circle, ambitiously addressing the cycle of life.
The Circle starts off with a fleeting introduction, “Alpha.” The tune serves as a passageway to some serene realm. Early on in “The White” calm, clean vocals rest against a tasteful batch of melodies. Drums dance us into other shades of the album, and sure enough, we get acquainted with harsh vocals that channel desperation. A quick shift in percussion brings us to another phase in our musical trek: It’s the guitars’ turn to shine on “Inhale.” Notes seem to sparkle under distant beams, and suddenly, our soundscape releases a sprinkling of Opeth-like sensibilities. A thumping bass sweeps up these remnants as it leads us into a dimmer zone.
The cover says it all. The skull of a beast falling (or floating) in darkness welcomes us into a world of the foul and macabre. Morbid Messiah provides the soundtrack. The Mexican act drives death metal straight into your ears and delivers it unfiltered. On their new EP, In the Name of True Death Metal, they show respect for the classic death metal elements that have kept this style alive throughout the decades. That means you can expect guitar riffs that roar with might, equally rowdy guttural vocals and fast, pulverizing drumming.
Sounds guide you into a cramped cellar and trap you in to experience this woe again and again. Things get good and settled in once “Putrid Voices” appears. Morbid Messiah pushes their signature formula of raw instrumentation, but prepare to worship the delicious guitar solo that soars atop of the rubble—revealing to listeners an aerial view of some disastrous scene. “Condemned to Hell Sores” trudges along in the beginning, but amps up its forces gradually. This zone is dominated by thick guitar riffs and varied shades of vocal delivery. Then we have “Legions of Death,” ending our metallic joyride under three minutes, but it’s packed with plenty of grimy goodness for us.
Oslo’s Blodspor designs the kind of metal that’s guaranteed to get listeners energized and in a frenzy. Over the years, the outfit has been gaining popularity through their stellar gigs. That’s where the band’s summoning of death metal, black metal, hardcore, punk and grindcore commences.
Blodspor captured these different levels of intensity on the full-length, Laughing Through the Violence (2011) and have kept the aggression going on their current four-track EP, Only Sheep Cry Wolf.
Starting off the EP is “Overthrow,” where we come face to face with unforgiving harsh vocals, black metal-esque percussion and one fierce death metal attitude. These forces guide listeners through the remainder of the EP, but the standout guitar-work on “Tap-dancing to the Beat of the War Drum” makes it especially enjoyable and hard to forget. The same can be said for “By Our Own Fire We Shall Burn,” where clean vocals join the harsh ones to give the song some dimension. The EP comes to a close with the punishing sounds of “Black Mass.”
It’s dark, stoner doom from Helsinki! Dö released Tuho this spring, but with its icy melodies and merciless riffs, this full-length is has the perfect vibe for these waning days of autumn and the dim winter days ahead.
Meet the musicians: Deaf Hank handles bass and is the lead vocalist. Big Dog is on guitar and vocals. Joe E. Deliverance on drums as well as vocals. How the three piece musters this massive sound is beyond me. Follow the tracks on Tuho, and you’ll quickly understand what I mean:
“Born Under Black Wings” is pretty catchy, simple and refuses to be watered down from the perspective of its thick instrumentation. A cozy atmosphere is present to help you savor the moment. It’s here where we’re introduced to some unruly harsh vocals.