Welcome to another installment of Within The Abyss. Each month we review black metal albums from all over the world, covering not only traditional, second wave-style black metal groups, but black metal groups of various sub-genres. This month’s reviews include new albums from Cult Of Eibon, Goat Torment, Moon, Necrofier, Phantom Fire, Triacanthos, and Wooden Throne.
Cult Of Eibon – Black Flame Dominion (Iron Bonehead)
Cult Of Eibon continue the Hellenic black metal tradition started by Rotting Christ, Varathron and Necromantia. Following two EPs and a split with Caedes Cruenta, Cult Of Eibon issue their debut full-length, Black Flame Dominion. It will sound very familiar to fans of Greek black metal, especially Varathron.
“The Fiery Pillars of Ninazu” brings the album in a haunting note with their use of keys. “Into the Realm of Na-Girt-A-Lu” is a riff-heavy song that functions at a medium tempo. Vocals range from screams to lower register growls. Much like the intro, the synth adds haunting atmosphere. This atmosphere is not overdone, it comes at opportune times. Bashing drums on “Phaesphoros” and the title track instill aggression on the album, but the melodic sections tie the music together. Black Flame Dominion doesn’t bring anything new to the table, but the harmonies and atmosphere will prove hard to pass up for fans of Greek black metal.
Goat Torment – Forked Tongues (Season of Mist)
Goat Torment unleash unclean spirits on their first album in six years, Forked Tongues. Goat Torment are mostly the cloven-hoof print of one person, Kwel, with the help of drummer Torturer. The first album release on Season of Mist is a massively aggressive work built on demonic speed and satanic might. Torturer insistently hammers away on his kit, rarely taking a breather. Shades of Marduk are shown in their aggression, speed and aural manipulations.
“Disorder and Disruption” kicks off with a Morbid Angel-like groove. This track also has brutal, bruising section. Kwel’s brief whammy solos and bends reveal a wickedness that would make Trey Azagthoth proud. The way he plays harmonies over rhythms is excellent, and his tones burn like glowing coals. “Pantheon of Devourment” features a riff Behemoth fans would enjoy. Trudging black/death illustrates the malevolent sounds on “Profanation.” Goat Torment’s raging violence captures the true essence of satanic black/death metal on Forked Tongues.
Moon – Pandimensional Gnosis (Moribund)
Australia’s Moon continue to make their mark on the global atmospheric black metal scene with their fourth album Pandimensional Gnosis. Much like the bands this project seeks to emulate: Burzum, Xasthur and others, Moon is the creation of one man, Miasmyr. However, with this album he brought in a session drummer, Aciretose.
Pandimensional Gnosis is a layered, lo-fi effort. With persistent keys and dissonance guitars, the album features a production sounding as if it were recorded in a vacuum. The sound is distant and faint, especially the vocals. Some of the tracks are short, ambient numbers, while others are long. The longer tracks tend to drag. While the atmosphere is awe-inspiring, the novelty of it soon wears off. I found it difficult to keep may attention. However, Xasthur fans should enjoy the black-hole atmosphere.
Necrofier – Prophecies Of Eternal Darkness (Season of Mist)
Necrofier consist of prominent musicians in the Houston, Texas heavy music scene. The group contain former and current members of such bands as Oceans of Slumber, Insect Warfare and Venomous Maximus. With their debut full-length album Prophecies Of Eternal Darkness, these veterans show their ability to create top-notch black metal.
Without betraying their U.S. background, Necrofier’s sound owes much to Swedish black metal such as Dissection and Watain. Guitarist Joshua Bokemeyer (Church of Disgust) creates engaging tremolo licks, while drummer Dobber Beverly impressively blasts and kicks. Much of the album is fast, but with melody-driven riffs and melodic sections like the clean guitar opening on “Madness Descends” or acoustic outro “Plague Requiem.” The group keep their tempos and styles fluid, mixing black metal, thrash and even a hint of doom on “Betrayal of the Queen.” “Return to Chaos” has an unrelenting, sweltering pace. Prophecies Of Eternal Darkness is an excellent debut; a catchy album that will surely hold its listeners’ attention.
Phantom Fire – The Bust Of Beelzebub (Edged Circle)
Phantom Fire’s debut album The Bust Of Beelzebub has a vintage metal feel. Not only do they play a throwback style of black/speed metal, they hired Enslaved’s Iver Sandøy for an analog recording. The duo of Eld (Gaahls Wyrd) and Kjartan Grønhaug (Krakow) hail from Norway. However, don’t expect another Darkthrone clone. Grønhaug adds a touch of stoner metal guitar, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since he plays in the stoner metal band Krakow.
The stoner metal influence doesn’t come into the mix until the middle of the album on the ambient/psych/doom track “Pihsrow” and continues on the next two tracks. While this is a fresh take on a blackened sound, it seems out of place. This is the only issue I have with this album. The rest of it is superb black/speed/punk, from the bass lines to the chorus hook on album opener “Return Of The Goat.”
Triacanthos – Apotheosis (Purity Through Fire)
Following their Crimson Winter EP from two years ago, Triacanthos present their debut full-length album, Apotheosis. The Austin, Texas trio’s first outing is grim and icy, but also melodic and morose. Their riffs are catchy and epic. Transitions flow from fast beats to slower, brooding sections. Vocals are also diverse with pitch-black shrieks at the forefront and growling backdrops.
Classic Norwegian black metal seems to have inspired the group, especially during melodic sections. The melodic section on “Pagan North” would have fit well on Immortal’s Battles In The North, while the werewolf theme and acoustic section on “Lycanthropic Transmutation” recalls early Ulver. Apotheosis is a strong first outing. Triacanthos created a long album, nearly an hour of material, but their ability to create memorable riffs with strong transitions and varied tempos keep the album interesting. First albums are often the best, but I feel Triacanthos will only get better.
Wooden Throne – Under The Moon They Wander Until Fading Away (Purity Through Fire)
Under The Moon They Wander Until Fading Away is the debut album from Wooden Throne. Hailing from Finland, Wooden Throne features Mikko Lehto of October Falls. They play atmospheric black metal that emphasizes melody. Guitars and piano create depressive soundscapes. Under The Moon… is not a depressive/suicidal black metal album, though. It conveys more of a yearning feel, a feeling of isolation in nature.
“At the Sorrows Chamber” launches the album in a grandiose, epic fashion. Keys swell and guitar notes wax melodically—reoccurring themes throughout the album. The vocals are drawn out and deliberate to follow the mid-to-slow tempos. Drawing out each syllable also works well with the atmosphere. Often epic music has a long running time. “Withered at Sunrise” is the longest track at just over six minutes, which helps the album maintain flow and attention. Under The Moon They Wander Until Fading Away is a soundtrack for existential star gazing.
Other 2021 Within The Abyss’
January 2021 Within The Abyss
February 2021 Within The Abyss
March 2021 Within The Abyss
April 2021 Within The Abyss
May 2021 Within The Abyss
June 2021 Within The Abyss
July 2021 Within The Abyss
August 2021 Within The Abyss
September 2021 Within The Abyss