All of us are currently experiencing a sometimes very obvious departure from moral values and humaneness. Unfortunately, it fits very well into this picture that I had to cancel some Black Metal bands from my shopping list last year, as soon as I had done some research on them. Do not get me wrong, a dangerous and unadapted demeanor simply belongs to this genre, but when it comes to racism, that is where the fun stops. But of course, the scene (in defiance of its reputation) mostly consists of bands with human ethos, and choosing only ten of them was extremely difficult for me.
Here are my ten politically correct Black Metal highlights of 2018 in alphabetical order:
Arthedain – Infernal Cadence of the Desolate
The debut album of the Czechs is a border crosser of atmospheric Black Metal and Melodic Death Metal, which, apart from the band’s name, unfortunately has no further relation to Tolkien’s works. Instead, the lyrics are about the slow fall to madness, which is in contrast to the fortunately very well structured songs.
Firtan – Okeanos
An audiobook-quality passage from Schiller’s “The Diver” serves as the opening for FIRTAN’s progressive Pagan Black Metal experience. The maritime-philosophical textual superstructure is supported by a rousing variety of harsh Black Metal, quiet acoustic passages and Melodic Death Metal elements.
Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods
Even without Blashyrkh-emigrant Abbath, the ninth album of the Norwegians has once again become a lesson in traditional Black Metal. Impetuous, epic and still more than competitive, even nine years after their last release. Do you need to lose even more words about this legend? BLACK METAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR!
Mantar – The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze
The sympathetic duo from Bremen, Germany does not reinvent itself on its third album, but adds many new things to the beloved trademarks. This is reflected in more structured songs and a plus of atmosphere. But despite all stylistic diversity, what the guys deliver here, is still pretty primitive.
Master’s Hammer – Fascinator
Thank you, Ride Into Glory! Thanks to your review of the debut album of the Czechs from the year 1991, I also became aware of their latest release. The irritating fascination emanating from this obscure piece of music is so hard to put into words, that I can only recommend to listen to it for your own. It is worth it!
Noctem Aeternus – Winter Spells
The Argentine one-man project presents an impressive debut album that breathes the spirit of the Scandinavian originals of the nineties. Snow-clad mountains and chilling coldness are transcipted into music, not only with the help of atmospheric keyboards and ambient sounds.
Slaegt – The Wheel
The young Danes were already featured on my last’s year highlights list, with their debut album then. Their second album, which has been done in no time, again is more than convincing, offering yet another successful blend of Black Metal and classic Heavy Metal. In addition, the debut’s success seems to have further encouraged the band to experiment and venture into even more unusual realms.
The Spirit – Sounds from the Vortex
When looking at the label you should not be put off, because even if the (strictly speaking already published the year before) debut album of the Germans was reissued by Germany’s industry leader from Donzdorf, it is far from a smooth-ironed production or commercialized songwriting. The big role models are obviously DISSECTION, but you’ll also find plenty of SATYRICON here. And with that everything is already said, what the attentive reader needs to know.
Uada – Cult of a Dying Sun
The masked band from the USA surprised and excited me right away. Swedish melodies, double-leads, some post-punk and variable growling – all this can be found on this album and thus create a modern but at the same time traditional Black Metal release.
Verheerer – Maltrér
The German band shows an experimental middle finger to the supporters of the true Black Metal doctrine, without even running the risk of being labeled untrue. A very varied and traditional album at the same time, full of unusual ideas and surprising moments.