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Mammal’s most recommended new albums: Black metal

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So much good metal has come out during the year to date that it’s impossible to listen to all of it. In black metal I took a long time to select the 15 best albums I’ve heard this year, then narrow that down to the five I like the most up to now.

Those who know me won’t expect my top picks to be old-school, aggressive, scrotum-busting tirades of fury and deafening thunder. Because my taste is influenced by my love of prog rock and other non-metal, I tend to prefer the melodic, symphonic, progressive or atmospheric forms of the various metal genres. As for my taste in black metal… hey, blame Dimmu Borgir.

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Roundtable Review: Cradle of Filth – Hammer of the Witches

Cradle-Of-Filth-Hammer-Of-The-Witches-Artwork-wpcf_300x300Label:  Nuclear Blast

Release Date:  10 Jul 2015

Songs:   13

Length:  69 Minutes (is that a coincidence?)

Genre:  Symphonic Black Metal

Studio Albums:   The Principal of Evil Made Flesh (1994); Dusk…and Her Embrace (1996); Cruelty and the Beast (1998); Midian (2000); Damnation and a Day (2003); Nymphetamine (2004); Thornography (2006); Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder (2008); Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa (2010); The Manticore and Other Horrors (2012).

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2010, #16 – #13

MetalCatAgalloch, possibly Dark Metal Cat’s favourite band, sing about midwinter fires. I’m about to kindle the spirit of a springtime fire. It’s hot, sunny and anything but midwinter here in Zululand.

I’ll be using litchi wood, branches that fell off an ancient tree in the garden. It’s hard and burns for a long time. The last barbecue fire still had glowing embers after 13 hours. That’s even longer than I spend listening to music most days.


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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2001 / #10 – #9

MetalCatMy opening selections for 2001 unrelentingly show what a musical hybrid I am. I’m grateful the other Metal State writers tolerate me. They probably do so only because of my youthful, boyish charm and my vast wealth.

Number 10 is prog metal but it could fit comfortably in a classic prog rock set. Number 9 is undeniably metal but its opening minute and the string interludes could be classic heavy prog.

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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 1998 / #6 – #4

MetalCatBornagar, Therion and more Dimmu Borgir in today’s selection.

Black Metal Cat says all the Norse music is starting to make him feel like a Viking. I told him he wouldn’t be a very good one. He doesn’t have a beard, just very long sideburns.

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Album Reviews: Circsena – Circsena EP and In Silentio Noctis – Disenchant The Hypocrites

a2301518597_10Circsena – Circsena EP

Here’s something for fans of dark, melodic metal with folk music influences. Circsena is a two man band from Germany and this is their first EP, self-titled and self-released. The first thing I notice is the unusual male singing voice, it’s a kind of black metal-hissing and I can imagine that the listener will either love it or hate it.  I think it sounds good together with their blackened sound and catchy, melancholy melodies. Circsena creates memorable music that is easy to listen to and like, and even though it’s not the most complex of styles, it’s actually quite captivating. The songs are all mid-tempo with plenty of variation, addictive guitars and great flow. The nature-themed lyrics fits the music very well and the addition of a female guest vocalist on the third track really brings the song to life. This is only the first taste of what’s to come; there is a plan to release three albums that will all be a part of an epic fantasy story called “The Dryad Saga”.

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Album Review: Erimha – Reign Through Immortality


Release Date: 9th of June 2013 on Victory Records

Tracks:  10

Length: 45 m, 63 s

Genre:  Symphonic Black Metal/Blackened Death Metal

Previous releases: Debut album ‘Irkalla’ from 2010

Recommended for fans of:  Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth, Cradle of Filth, Keep of Kalessin, Emperor

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Tales From Bandcamp: Where the Corpses Sink Forever by Carach Angren

4258508932-1One thing I love more than a concept album that is lyrically held together and forms a narrative, is when a band works to have the music behind the lyrics really come alive to add yet another point for the narrative to build on.  Such is the case with Dutch symphonic black metal band Carach Angren and their album Where the Corpses Sink Forever.  And in case that symphonic part may scare you away, be assured it isn’t used in the gimmicky way all too many bands have been abusing it lately, but their mastery of orchestra conduction really works wonders to build some amazingly detailed scenes much like a quality film score enhances the impact of the visuals.  Paired with the 7 stories that tie into 1 over arching tale the horrific visuals the words and music create one of the most well constructed and inspiring concept records I’ve heard in recent years.  How I never took the time to really sit down and appreciate this band alludes me, but I hold it to Dream Theater’s Scenes.. levels as far as mastery in concept album creation goes.

Basically the story goes like this.  A soldier is charged to execute 7 prisoners and when he carries out their sentences he notices that the captured are grinning and laughing as his bullets pass through him.  The prisoners turn out to be demons who have captured the soul of the soldier and committed him to an eternity of suffering for his war deeds.  Each of the songs tells the tale behind each demon (or more specific, the 7 deadly sins) ranging from settings of WWI, WWII, and Vietnam and recounts some of the most horrid stories and acts ever committed during war-time.  Baby eating, the Holocaust, a violinists last stand, a child’s vision of his own death, and other tales of macabre and brutality will be told.  But even in their extreme nature there is a sense of hope and beauty hidden underneath all the blood and viscera.

So, give the album a listen and check out the video and let us know what you thought.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Song Of The Week: Shade Empire – Ruins

Shade Empire is a band that I just recently discovered. They are from Finland and play symphonic black metal mixed with industrial/melodic death-influences. Their new, upcoming album sounds very promising based on the two singles they have released so far and I wanted to share one of them with you today. This song reminds me a bit of Dimmu Borgir’s style of music, although much more varied and dynamic.

The album ‘Omega Arcane’  is planned to be released in May.