Well it’s yet again time for me to tell you about some of my favourite tracks that have been consistently barraging my headphones, car stereo and whatever else I can find to play them on! This week we have a descent into the darker realms with some underground heroes, Australian avantgarde metal and a slew of tried and true black metallers with brand new tracks – enjoy!
Hooded Menace – ‘Blood Ornaments’
Hooded Menace have been somewhat kings of the underground metal scene for many years now with their impeccable brand of death doom music and evil aesthetic. ‘Blood Ornaments’ is the first single off of the upcoming August album entitled ‘The Tritonus Bell’ and it is one hell of a track to kick things off with! We hear a great opening riff that evokes a traditional heavy metal vibe and that soon transcends into a stomping rhythm accompanied by the harrowing growls of Harri Kuokkanen, certainly more of the “death” side of the death doom genre. It doesn’t take long however for the “doom” side of things to take over and we meet that classic slower rhythm with some excellent melodic guitars winding in and around the beat. ‘Blood Ornaments’ is a great sounding taster of what is hopefully to follow suit in August, so get ready to meet Hooded Menace!
Portal – ‘Eye’
Portal may not be every metalhead’s first choice, but you can guarantee they will always be pushing the creative boundaries of what extreme and avant-garde metal can achieve. They have recently released two albums (one of which a complete surprise) and ‘Eye’ is the only single off of their focused release entitled ‘AVOW’. ‘Eye’ begins with Portal’s trademark guitar sound (which sounds more like just distortion than actual guitar) with a very blurry and chromatic riff, sporadic rhythms and seriously devilish vocals. For first time listeners you may well be scared away, but for many, the intensity and catastrophic nature is simply mesmerising and I continue to go back for more. Towards the end of the track, the tempo slows down quite a bit and it provides this strange sensation that time itself is slowing and whether or not the rhythm is actually slowing down further or staying the same. If you dare, check out these Australian’s and their mad metal vision, you may end up in a… “portal” to another dimension!
Wolves In The Throne Room – ‘Mountain Magick’
American black metallers Wolves In The Throne Room are primed to release another album after their very well received 2017 effort ‘Thrice Woven’. ‘Mountain Magick’ is their first release off of the record and they set out in style, immediately we hear the familiar sinister tones and atmosphere they do so very well. Their refined combo of intense music and snarling wolf-like vocals work very well here as melancholic, powerful riffs take centre stage leaving nothing in their wake. Reverb soaked lead guitar melodies dance over the wicked storm below and provide some nice breathing room and depth in the track. This is certainly one record I am thoroughly looking forward to this year, so join Wolves In The Throne Room on August 20th for their new record ‘Primordial Arcana’.
Mayhem – ‘Voces Ab Alta’
I’ll be finishing up this Repeat Offenders entry with two black metal legends, first of which is the mighty Mayhem with ‘Voces Ab Alta’, a single from their new EP due out July 9th. Well, what to say about this one, it is very Mayhem! Signature black metal done properly, as to be expected, as furious and crushing riffs tear through the mix with that familiar chainsaw like effect and of course Attila Csihar’s excellent vocal performance as always – even diving into some of his operatic style at certain points. They have included a great chorus here, it is short, but punchy and effective with the use of blast beats and layered vocals. As the track draws to a close, we do hear some more of their atmospheric side as the track opens up a little – maybe this is a sign of what is to come on the EP with hopefully some nice variation of heavy and intense mixed with their atmospherically creative side. I guess we’ll find out on July 9th!
Darkthrone – ‘Hate Cloak’
Darkthrone has been a quintessential name to the black metal and extreme metal genre since their beginning and they have consistently brought out records which dip in and out of all sorts of metal styles. 2021 brings them to their 19th studio album which is an incredible amount of music to have put out in a career (particularly since only forming in 1986), and almost all of them have been completed by the two members Fenriz and Nocturno Culto. ‘Hate Cloak’ sees a return in style and songwriting themes to their previous 2019 record ‘Old Star’ except it appears to have taken a more raw approach to production. Nothing but chunky, driving riffs are on display here, along with Nocturno Culto’s now immortal voice. It’s always a great time when there is a new Darkthrone record just around the corner, so whether you’ve been there from the start or you have never gotten round to listening, pick up ‘Eternal Hails……’ on June 25th.