The second half of 2021 is upon us, and with July now in the past it’s time to highlight a few great releases that captured my interest during the last month. These selections offer the classic black metal sound and venture into black/death territory while exploring a variety of moods and epic settings. Of course, many other worthy albums also became during July that didn’t make this brief report, so feel free to share any others that shouldn’t be missed.
MAYHEM Atavistic Black Disorder/Kommando
The Norwegian legends have returned with a new EP following 2019’s Daemon, an exceptional release that would’ve been AOTY had this blog existed at the time, and Atavistic Black Disorder/Kommando supplements its infernal mark while delivering more of the classic MAYHEM sound. Sinister vibes emanate from its progressions as tremolo melodies and arpeggiations conjure haunting effects within their raw power. These chilling impressions are amplified by the dark flow created during slower rhythmic shifts, which also complements the ferocity of double bass and blast beaten sections while Attila’s vocal range evokes further layers of eeriness. Four cover tracks pay tribute to their punk inspiration, and they add more intrigue by featuring some welcome appearances from original vocalists Maniac and Messiah. New material from MAYHEM is always a highlight, and the enduring blackened vitality of these recent works heightens the anticipation for their next full-length release.
SARINVOMIT Awaken Ye Impious Hordes of Shaitan
These diabolical Turks have spewed forth Awaken Ye Impious Hordes of Shaitan, and this second full-length onslaught brings unholy devastation through a ravaging blend of melody and barbarity. A hellish atmosphere materializes with the scenes of thunder, fire, and screams from ambient effects while menacing tones develop in the riffs and distinct vocal harshness. Its raw sound enhances the savagery of blasts and thrashing grooves as tremolo melodies, hooks, and solos rage across their progressions, and these create haunting qualities along with other bleak and dissonant notes. Some of the forces driving their possession are hailed with a BLACK WITCHERY cover, but SARINVOMIT expands on this influential fury with the dynamic and ruthless execution of their own compositions.
A grim new incarnation from Denmark has debuted with their self-titled EP, and it approaches full-length status with four massive tracks embodying the depressive side of black metal. A haunting dissonance materializes in the brooding distortion of its riffs, and tremolo melodies bring winter to July along with projections of hate and anguish from harsh screams. Passages of clean melody create other bleak expressions while the atmosphere expands with keyboard arrangements and interludes. The weight of a melancholic burden is conveyed through slower sections, but the pace often balances with faster blast beat variations, along with grooves that combine with the riffs to form other memorable developments. Song title translations realize the gloom and sorrow behind the music, and it all offers a reflective experience from the impact of isolation and mental torment.
CODEX NERO The Great Harvest of Death
The ominous depths of Poland have been newly personified in the full-length debut from CODEX NERO, and it brings malevolence to the surface with its ambience and brooding heaviness. Passages of tremolo bleakness and blast beats progress through grooves with intricate drumming patterns, and they create moments of dark flow as eerie melodies layer over rhythmic riffs. These induce a hypnotic effect, along with the use of harmonics and other dissonant elements, and they often develop into heightened levels of realization accompanied by ritualistic vocals that shift from their notably sinister vein. Vast abyssal soundscapes are further portrayed by industrial nuances and spectral effects, which combine with the other arrangements for a memorably grim venture through the netherworld.
CRESCENT Carving the Fires of Akhet
A third full-length offering of blackened death has been unleashed by this Egyptian entity titled Carving the Fires of Akhet, and the legendary history of their native land is firmly embedded in its fierce compositions. Bleak tremolo melodies effectively converge with the brutal elements of death metal riffing for a visceral assault matched by raspy and guttural vocal dynamics. The melodic progressions in these riffs conjure an epic force driven by drum and rhythmic variations of equal complexity while solos, hooks, and other formations capitalize on their evocative impact. The spirit of Ancient Egypt is further resurrected with the atmospheric essence from ambient and instrumental expressions, and this work ultimately provides a darker exploratory alternative to other highly regarded works from bands like NILE.