Brief Reports From August 2022

            The scorching lifeforce of this year is entering a state of decline, but great metal releases continue to emerge with unrelenting vigor, and now it’s time to explore a few that took form during the last month of Summer. This selection features some newer entities alongside others who are firmly established, with experimentation and atmosphere emanating from their raw brutality, and various settings focused on mythical and cultural influences are among the infernal undertakings. There is much to be experienced within this small sample of August offerings, along with many others which unfortunately missed coverage due to my ongoing battles with time.

CULTUS INSANIA     In Terebris Ruinas Pacem Inveniam

            A new mystical form has appeared on an international level, and shadows abound as its first full manifestation casts lingering influences over our physical realm. A dismal majesty permeates the work in multiple arpeggiated and melodic layers, which evolve across detailed overlapping courses with an ethereal quality, and tremolo currents often emerge with heavier riffing elements to forward a raw melancholy. Their distortions are matched by an anguished vocal disembodiment, along with atmospheric notes weaved throughout to heighten the entrancement, and synths conjure haunted auras that expand during interludes with rain and wind effects. A lead function is carried by violins at some points, and other areas join the presence of organ keys with a bleak riff mass to provoke menacing encounters. Rhythmic structures drive these energies, with percussion that flows seamlessly from slower mourning to blast beats raging alongside the evocative spectral developments, and a notable pummeling is brought out in the production of certain double bass passages. There are numerous intricate designs to parallel the fretted substance, and the overarching gloom culminates into elevated grandeur on the final track. In Terebris Ruinas Pacem Inveniam is laden with orchestrations marking a potent introductory effort, and its dark allure will surely enrapture those who venture within.

HERMÓĐR     To the Nightside

            One of Sweden’s distinguished enchanters has continued his active streak with this new full venture, and expansive levels of glory and mysticism are captured within its ancient northern tales. The atmosphere is advanced by different synth and string effects, which create ethereal auras with a folk or medieval influence, and passages of heightened entrancement arise when combined with female vocal layers. The raw force of riffing covers these soundscapes in a thick frost, and it exhibits heavy rhythmic progressions alongside tremolo currents while also coalescing into a grim mass. This delves notably into brooding regions at certain points, and their sinister glare is paralleled by structures conveying variations of grandeur. Creeping arpeggiated notes and other melodic forms enhance the arrangements, with intricacies accompanying the heavier and atmospheric counterparts toward maximum effect, and this full development is achieved effectively through sustained durations. The prominence of slower and mid-paced tempos also drives a melancholic presence among those elements, and vocals enhance a harsh climate while converging occasionally with the female voices for a dual impact. The paths treaded across radiant majesty and darker menacing areas here forge a captivating experience to elevate an already formidable catalogue.

MIMORIUM     The Route of Haeresis

            Otherworldly forces take shape as these Finnish cultists invoke their third devilish rite, and each individual act within rages forth with a heretical purpose. The production emits a full aura that preserves the genre’s cold spirit, and darkness is liberated among its interweaved riffing layers, where malevolence emerges through dissonance from melodies embedded in the heavy fluctuating currents. Eerie and entrancing noted patterns are discerned along with tremolos possessing an ethereal quality, and these harmonize with deeper textures to form many distinct encounters, which shift effectively from a rapid blasting and tremolo wrath to other striding or grooved structures. Some passages carrying those paces reveal thrashy and rocking elements, with hammer-pulled notes and icy glares creeping beneath its abyssal regions, and intrigue is elevated when the storm-portending acoustic lines of one track later transform into electrified and ominous arpeggiations. Brighter tones of grandeur are also exalted during other arrangements, and the overall variety of impressions throughout is matched by an expressive vocal range. Heightened rasps delve into points of guttural abhorrence, and a faint tormented presence becomes more apparent across the bleak melodic course of the closing track. The enchanting variations channeled into a raw and classic approach makes The Route of Haeresis a striking grimoire that commands devoted awareness.  

FERUM     Asunder / Erode

            An untamed entity is prowling throughout the lands of Italy, and its fierce predatory nature is exercised without restraint on this first full attack. Punishment storms ahead in a rhythmic mass of progressions, which often strikes in time with a striding percussive beat, and the bombardment of chords is compounded by integrating various noted shapes and tremolo currents. These tend to parallel the heavier dominating forces, with their murkiness and string manipulations centered on low-end planes, but lead elements are regularly observed above the depths as dual melodic courses and solos tear across the riff pursuit. They carry evocative tones to enhance the overall burden, and this is also driven by drumming that maintains slower grooving variations, along with sections utilizing intricate fills and odd timings to provoke instability. The doom escalates with some areas of mid-blasting and double bass, and Samantha’s guttural vocals bring another oppressive layer while a guest appearance from CIANIDE’s Mike Perun complements the torment on “The Undead Truth.” Dynamic scenes of ruin are conjured by atmospheric features at certain points, and several notable developments forward haunting or altered conscious states when the elemental totality peaks. FERUM expertly harnesses those concentrated energies amid other dissonant and menacing distortions for a work embodying the destructive appeal of classic death doom.  

BLACKBRAID     Blackbraid I

             A dark incarnation of the Native American spirit prevails in the USA, and this first full-length journey reflects the allure of its deep forests and high mountainous regions. The arrangements are driven by a raw and primal force, with tremolo and blast-beaten passages ravaging throughout, and they incorporate multiple bleak layers with grand melodic courses while certain drum timings beat complexity into the pace. There are shifts to other rocking strides and grooves, which often coincide with the arpeggiated or heavier distinction of heightened riff structures, and slower paces bring out somber tones and desolation through intricate noted forms. Sometimes the percussion subsides almost completely, and those moments explore melodies with the atmosphere to conjure an enchanting wilderness. Sounds of the wind, rain, and flowing streams convey these natural settings at different points, but an immersive prominence takes hold during two instrumental tracks, where acoustic strings inspire a deeper connection with their wonder. A different level of trance is induced when merging raw distortions with the latter of them, and flutes also affirm the indigenous presence amid both sections of calm and blasting fury. A secluded aura is present in the realms evoked here by Sgah’gahsowáh, along with a vast imaginative potential to make this an offering worthy of many contemplative explorations.

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