Northern wanderlust black metal band Sorcier des Glaces announces its fifth album, Ritual of the End, to become available shortly through Galy Records. This Quebecois act made a name for itself in the internally collapsing underground by crafting lengthy melodies in windswept melancholic formations, despite the trends of the time which it rebuked.
According to the band, “Sorcier des Glaces strikes back with a fifth full-length album, featuring seven rituals of ice and darkness. Seven blackened hymns of Cold Primitive Metal from the northern desolate landscapes of Quebec. Old school to the bone, yet melodic, powered by a crushing metallic production. Ritual of the End features a cover of the mighty Samael, rightfully chosen from their 1992 album Blood Ritual.”
For those who like metal in the spirit of the past, which in black metal is the triumph of the pragmatism of nature over the mental fog of human social good intentions, Sorcier des Glaces offers the spirit of the past without rehashing specific acts or, worse, forming a lowest common denominator out of the aesthetic of the classics to imitate and flog to death. Instead, the band write naturalistic melodies which expand into lengthy songs capturing the dark, solitary, empty and feral mindset of black metal as opposes the neurotic chattering self-obsessed brain of the normal person today. Like past Sorcier des Glaces albums, Ritual of the End will most likely be artistically controversial in that most will flee it, but for those who desire the old school mentality it will be a rare delight.
01. Under The Moonlight
02. Morbid Ritual
04. The Frozen Sword of Midnight
05. The Sign of the End
06. Macabre Operetta
07. Slumbering in the Dark
Having enjoyed Mortuary Drape‘s Tolling 13 Knell for its sadistically grim attitude expressed through pointed, inventive death metal instrumentation, I had some positive expectations for their new effort Spiritual Independence even though Buried in Time did not catch my ear in the same way.
Op de beenderen van onze voorvaderen is yet another another Dutch black metal record heavily influenced by Gorgoroth and Zyklon-B like Tarnkappe. Elfsgedroch however structures riffs as hyper-extended, arpeggiated tremolo-picked chords in incredibly long to the point of droning phrases in the manner of French Canadian band Sorcier des Glaces, who are indeed the band’s primary influence. Clever but occasionally too sappy harmonies similar to Master’s Hammer‘s Bartok and folk influenced heavy metal ones on Ritual but way more annoying pervade the record.
The following is a short list of black metal releases (with a commentary on each) that would general fall off the edge of the usual stylistic lines that Death Metal Underground follows when looking at genre releases. These are all exceptional and form part of what could, in hindsight, be described as the lone wolves of an established and matured black metal genre — generally unnoticed or passed by without receiving substantial attention among the waves of excess of the 21st century; treasures hidden in plain sight for those with a developed sense beyond mere form.
Ananku is a term from the Tamil language describing the otherworldly and awesome power of sublime natural places and objects to overwhelm mankind into submission to their will by merely the perception of them. Jarno Nurmi of Serpent Ascending accomplishes this musically on his album of the same name by composing harmonized heavy and black metal style leads atop a death metal rhythmic basic into occult blackened narratives. Riffs are phrased and repeat to numerologically unfold, revealing profound and novel melodic leads as if the petals of a flower gradually blooming into gnostic truth when bathed in unconquered light.
German ritual black ‘n’ roll band Possession Ritual released a full-length going by the name of Incense of Opened Gates, with striking artwork by Ars Leprosa in the year 2011 through Nihilward Productions. A note is made that the music itself was written and recorded in 2006. Being one of those limited editions which are rather hard to come by and probably also partially hidden away from the unworthy prying eyes of mundane minds, the author has only been able to listen to two pieces from the album. Hence, all commentaries and reflections upon the band’s work can be traced to perceptions of these exclusively. It will be useful to meditate upon a holistic impression of the band as an entity, and to take each of those to tracks to task separately, to finally arrive at a judgement of the musical work as manifested result of a series of evocations.
Following a tradition of Finnish death metal, Serpent Ascending first proved its allegiance to the old stream of thought on The Enigma Unsettled. The project stood out as possessing that rare gift that grants vision past forms and into the value therein encased as dormant power, codified, awaiting a worthy hero who can pull the Sword from the Stone. While using techniques and musical structures that are well-known, interesting counterpoint and chant-like melodies can be seen in that first album, inserting them in between more conservative power metal riffs that were eerie enough to belong to occult death metal but also displayed a penchant for memorable phrases. Five years have elapsed since then, and several Desecresy albums have seen the definition and reaffirmation of that band into a distinctly esoteric style. Many were keenly expectant upon the future of Serpent Ascending.