despair, dementia, dissent
black, death, funeral, dungeon, dark ambient, sadgaze, harsh electronics, intense (neo-)classical
This one came too late for most 2018 lists. Joke’s on you. Acathexis low key put out one of the best black metal albums of the year on December 26 though Fallen Empire / Entropic. Melodic, dynamic, atmospheric. This is that good stuff.
Archgooch - The Gooch-Devouring Darkness (2018)
Don’t mind me. Just digging into some gooch-powered war noise.
I feel nothing. I want (for) nothing. Yet there is this energy inside me. Death Fortress’ Reign of the Unending channels that energy for me. Perfect death/black for when the mind is turned towards the void. (2018, Fallen Empire)
Irreversible Mechanism - Infinite Fields (2015, Blood Music)
This is completely overblown, intense, and choppy like a rabid axe. Exactly what symphonic death/black should be. What else does a girl need? OK, a fucking break maybe…
I’m loving this blackened hardcore/metal whatchamacallit on KUAR NHIAL’s self-titled debut (2018, Consouling). The riffs are king, the bass is heavy, the production is full of neat details, and there is a mysterious touch to it. Ghent, represent.
The Night Specter is only the latest in Maurice De Jong’s (Gnaw Their Tongues) ever-expanding roster of projects. Eternal Dark Splendour (2019) is glorious, dark, haze-drenched black metal. Almost overwhelming. Just give in.
Now THIS is the black ritual ambient your mother warned you about. Or if I were your mother, I’d sneak it into your music player. Peter Johan Nijland and his crew of percussionists in O SAALA SAKRAAL lay down the law on this shattering two-part debut.
It’s dark, it’s earthy, it’s airy, it’s got gravity in spades. It proportions perfectly the silences and intensities in an album that reflects the revolving processes of nature and spirit. What other label, then, to put this out, than Cyclic Law?
Timothy Renner’s Entity Drift is a slow-burn suite of dark ambient scoring for the Strange Familiars podcast. These are organic, folkloric drones, the sounds of creatures stirring in the night at the edge of your awareness. (Hand/Eye, 2018)
UN’s Sentiment is that classic funeral doom. It’s sad as all heck, and moves ever so slowly but surely. Perhaps not enough of an own voice yet, but the execution is flawless. 2018, (sold out) tapes through Tridroid, digital here:
No band pulls off a blend of cavernous funeral doom and black metal quite like Wilt. Last year’s album Ruin (Vendetta) is a flawless, doleful trip through the valleys of the mind, at times nostalgic in its late-90s dark metal melancholy.