Another month is gone and the new horizon brings a dying Summer. As we enter this next seasonal transition, the time becomes to reflect on some other great releases that wreaked havoc during August. This collection highlights a variety of expressions from old-school to progressive, and with influences from many subgenres while conjuring their own imaginative soundscapes. They all possess that recognizably genuine substance, but of course, this represents only a small sample of what August had to offer. I always encourage conversation on other favorites that shouldn’t be missed.
BAXAXAXA Catacomb Cult
This German horde first became in 1992 with a demo titled Hellfire, but soon entered a long hiatus that recently ended in 2017. Now they’ve fully unearthed the ruinous doom of their early sound with Catacomb Cult, a first full-length portent bringing the 90’s spirit to 2021 with its primeval might. The aforementioned doom pervades these hymns while bleak tremolo melodies and vocal savagery contribute further layers of grimness. Ominous, hypnotic, and dissonant elements materialize in melancholic hooks and other riff formations as the rhythms shift from mid-paced blasting and double bass to slower grooves, which generate passages of ambient flow and headbang-inducing heaviness. Atmospheric qualities complement these arrangements through cold, ancient, and detailed Transylvanian impressions, and the doom of one slower section in particular summons an oppressive darkness when combined with looming organ keys. This is a second wave incarnation for these modern times with a distinct doom emphasis that seals its eminence.
CHAMBER OF UNLIGHT Realm of the Night
A mystical aura enshrouds Finland as this new malevolent entity casts forth its debut curse titled Realm of the Night. Featuring members from several of the country’s other high-profile acts, CHAMBER OF UNLIGHT shows the ancient forces prevail through a traditionally raw sound combined with an atmosphere drenched in medieval enchantment. Ambient qualities enhance the riffs without undermining their power, which conjures a variety of sinister forms as gloomy arpeggiations, solos, and other chilling elements develop in the conspiring melodies. These haunting expressions intertwine with the effective timing of blast beats, double bass, and groove variations, along with suitably harsh vocal dynamics that also incorporate ritualistic background chanting, to build orchestrations laden with arcane splendor. Consistent with its title, this release offers an evocative journey into realms of epic darkness that thoroughly embody the black metal essence.
MOEROR / HUMAN SERPENT / KVADRAT Split
These vicious entities have joined forces on a new 3-way split with the purpose of funding support for animals harmed by the recent wildfires in Greece. An execution of hostile blackness and instrumental desolation begins as MOEROR rages through intricate tremolo melodies on the opening track, and the frenzy incorporates a rhythmic flow before breaking into a gloom that intensifies with its arpeggiated dissonance. X’s vocals project various shades of darkness while the merciless compositional forces pursue their wrathful course, which leads to the void with cosmic distorted melodies, psychedelia, and mournful pianos. HUMAN SERPENT charges on with the putrid grinding assault and piano vehemence from their Shrouds EP which, if you were fortunate enough to grab a limited digipack version of this split, now assumes its first physical form. KVADRAT brings closure with the dissonant chaos of a new track, and its madness persists in various effects, rhythmic shifts, and warped melodies until devastation subsides for a final glimpse into the abyss. Overall, this is a satisfying and worthwhile project that shouldn’t be missed, and it’s driven by a most noble cause.
WORMWITCH Wolf Hex
A third full offering of malicious wizardry looms over Canada, and Wolf Hex aims for total conquest with the epic journey taking form in its elemental synthesis. Several territories are invaded as folk, punk, and classic metal influences merge with brooding darkness in the progressions, and these reach levels of crushing intensity while their catchiness expands with dissonance from the accompanying melodies. Rhythmic transitions allow hypnotic and intoxicating developments to surface within this blackened sound as other melodic structures extend into solos that transcend higher realms. Some melodies possess distinct medieval vibes, which complements the ambient and acoustic passages embodying a wild natural spirit, and clean vocals drive their folk essence in contrast to the varying harsher commands. The energy driving this glorious quest is unrelenting, and it succeeds in crafting a variety of elements into a cohesive experience that is memorable and mighty.
MODERN RITES Monuments
A new cooperation between the US and Switzerland has forged a full-length debut titled Monuments, and its progressive sound reflects the spirit of MODERN RITES with a myriad of visceral evocations. A spectral aura permeates the distortion and ambiance while calculated rhythms provide a medium for these manifestations, and a cold darkness courses through riffs that delve into moments of sinister heaviness and doom. Tremolo melodies also engage the low-end spectrum, which enhances their ghostly qualities when culminating into leads of otherworldly majesty. The entrancement of these haunting orchestrations is augmented by euphoric bends, arpeggiations, and clean desolating effects, along with other interesting developments carried within their melodic force. Phantasmic vocals accommodate these tonal fluctuations with deep and higher raspy expressions that further convey the tones of elation and gloom. This work possesses its own unique energy, and it resonates with the substance of the void and mind for a highly captivating venture.