King Goat – Debt of Aeons; Wolf King – Loyal to the Soil (2018)

King GoatDebt of Aeons (Aural Music, 20 April 2018)

 

Wolf KingLoyal to the Soil (Prosthetic Records, 27 April 2018)

 

Today we have two albums to present to you, by two different bands. Two VERY different bands in fact; pretty much the only thing they have in common is the word “King” along with some kind of animal in their names. Also the fact that they each released a new album last month. Plus the fact that we deemed each of these albums good enough to write about and share with you.

But besides that, very dissimilar. Having said that, though — if you came here as a fan of one of these bands, why not step out of your comfort zone a bit and give the other a quick spin? You may be pleasantly surprised!

 

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Hail Spirit Noir – Mayhem in Blue; Aenaon – Hypnosophy (2016)

Hail Spirit NoirMayhem in Blue (Dark Essence Records, 28 October 2016)

 

AenaonHypnosophy (code666, 25 November 2016)

 

Longtime readers should already be familiar with Hail Spirit Noir and Aenaon: both of these Greek avant-black bands’ second albums were reviewed right here about three years ago, after they were both released in early 2014. And very longtime readers may even recall that the HSN debut album was covered here when it came out back in 2012. All three of those records (all via Code666, sublabel of Italy’s Aural Music) ended up on my respective lists of those years’ top releases.

One band has since shifted to Norwegian label Dark Essence, but otherwise you’ll find that not much has changed for the bands’ third releases (each of which came out in late 2016), especially not in terms of quality — as you may have noticed, both of these once again made an appearance on my Top 16 of 2016 list. So without further ado, here are Mayhem in Blue and Hypnosophy!

 
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Fen – Dustwalker (2013)

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FenDustwalker (Code666, 21 January 2013)

 

Hey, people. It’s time once again to take a little stroll back in time — all the way to last year. I am determined to finish reviewing everything on my top albums of 2013 list before the end of 2014, and with this one I’m publishing today, I’ll officially reach the halfway point! No worries, there are still over three months for me to work through the rest of these (while still somehow trying to keep up with newer stuff, too). Oh well, I’ll get there eventually (hopefully). It just gets kind of frustrating sometimes, especially when bands keep putting out newer stuff faster than I can keep up with them — as is the case with UK atmospheric/progressive black metal band Fen (not to be confused with the Canadian prog-rock band of the same name). They’ve just announced that their fourth LP Carrion Skies will be coming out this November through Code666, which is exciting news for sure, but first I need to share their awesome THIRD album Dustwalker with you!

I publicized some of the details about this album when they were first announced, nearly two years ago, and I have been really enjoying listening to it ever since it was released (about three months after that). I’d say it’s about time I got around to following up and writing about the album itself!

 

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It’s All Greek To Me: Reviews of Aenaon and Hail Spirit Noir (2014)

aenaon-extance

AenaonExtance (20 January 2014, Code666 Records)

 

Oi Magoi

Hail Spirit NoirOi Magoi (20 January 2014, Code666 Records)

 

First, a word about this article’s title: there is an equivalent expression to that idiomatic phrase in Greek — Αυτά μου φαίνονται κινέζικα — as there is in numerous other languages, which would be helpful for non-native English speakers, since in a literal translation the meaning may be lost to those readers. However, the idiom with a similar meaning in several other languages would exclude the double entendre intended by the title in English: that today I am writing about two albums by two ostensibly similar bands, who are both Greek.

Okay, with that out of the way, time to move on to some music. These two albums came out on the same day in January by Code666; each one is the second album from its respective band — Aenaon (based in the regions of Epirus and Thessaly) and Hail Spirit Noir (from Thessaloniki, Central Macedonia) — who are both firmly rooted in a black metal aesthetic, while bringing various other experimental and avant-garde elements into the mix.

 

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Out Last Month: Ne Obliviscaris – Portal of I

 

Ne ObliviscarisPortal of I (11 June 2012, Code666 Records)

 
How’s it going, Dear Readers? I’ve got another amazing album I would like to share with you. I’ve been so fortunate with how much good stuff I’ve been coming across lately, I only wish that I had more time to write about it all so that you could have the chance to read about it and listen to it sooner! I guess what I’m saying is, it makes me feel guilty that my brain and fingers don’t work quite as fast as my ears sometimes…

Anyway, here we have Portal of I, the (relatively) new album by the Melburnian sextet Ne Obliviscaris. I usually have a pretty good memory when it comes to my history with specific bands, but to be honest I have no idea where or when I discovered these guys. Chances are, I probably read something about them over at No Clean Singing, or possibly at The Number of the Blog, since I’ve made an awful lot of discoveries through both of those places.

Oh and by the way, for all you former TNOTB readers who have been grieving since that website was lost in cyberspace, I hope you’ve started reading Oculus Infernus, the new home of head editor and writer Grover XIII. In case you haven’t seen it yet, the new blog can be found here. (And while we’re at it, No Clean Singing is over here.)

As I was saying, sometime, somehow I came across this group of Aussies, and I found them intriguing enough to “like” them on Facebook. Fast-forward to this May, when the band invited all their fans to “International Ne Obliviscaris Sharing Day” — when they planned to reveal an advance single from their then-forthcoming new album. I wrote about that impromptu holiday, and then shared the song (“Xenoflux”). Based on previous experience I had expected it would be good, but as it turns out, it was amazing!

To make a long story short, soon after that, the album was released in Australia and New Zealand on Welkin Records, a small, independent label run by one of the band members; right around the same time it was announced that Ne Obliviscaris had signed on with Italy’s Code666 Records for the rest of the world. This made perfect sense to me, since I’ve always found that Code666 tends to work with very good — and very unique — bands. So then the album was available all over the world, and about a month later, it’s finally time for me to share this masterpiece with you.

 

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Out Today: Agruss – Morok


  

AgrussMorok (Code666 Records, 26 April 2012)

 
There seems to be a growing trend in the American Black Metal scene that revolves around combining atmospheric post-black-metal sounds with a pro-nature, anti-technology attitude. This has been discussed ad nauseam all over the internet (perhaps best exemplified here), and frankly, I don’t give a shit. This may seem like an oversimplification, and you might say I’m being too broadly dismissive, but I say to hell with all of it. That whole movement comes across (to me) as a bunch of whiny neo-hippies saying yay to peace and love and flower power, with all the conviction and determination of that whole stupid “Occupy Wall Street… Until it Starts Getting Cold Outside” slumber party that was such a big deal last year, while it was the cause du jour.

Well, here’s a review of something totally different: a band who use black metal as the medium for expressing their rage against modern technology and the destruction of nature!

How is that different, you ask? Well for starters, the band Agruss is from the town of Rivne (Рівне), Ukraine, just a short distance away from one of that country’s nuclear power plants. Furthermore, that town is only about 400km away from the town of Chornobyl (Чорнобиль), or more commonly known by its Russian name Chernobyl (Чернобыль). As you are probably aware, that town — now almost completely abandoned — was very close to the site of another Ukranian nuclear power plant, until an explosion occurred there, releasing nuclear contaminants all over the surrounding area. That disaster occurred in 1986, on the 26th of April. (See what they did there?)
 
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Just Released: Hail Spirit Noir – Pneuma

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Hail Spirit NoirPneuma (Code666, 5 March 2012)

(This is the second in a series of two album reviews today, for two very different, yet equally awesome, Central Macedonian bands. To read about Descensus Ad Inferos by Erevos, head in this direction.)

 

Pneuma (πνεύμα, or Spirit in English) is the debut release from Thessalonian duo Hail Spirit Noir, which consists of Haris (synths) and Theoharis Liratzakis (guitar/vocals), both of whom serve in those same roles in the avant-black ensemble Transcending Bizarre?.  HSN has been in existence for about two years now, and much of this time was spent composing the material found on Pneuma, which was then put to tape at Lunatech Studios (near Mount Olympus), rounded out by guest musicians Dim Douvras on bass (who also mixed the recording), Ioannis Giahoudis on drums, and Dimitris Dimitrakopoulos who provided additional vocals.  Acclaimed Swedish engineer Jens Bogren then mastered the final product, and earlier this month Code666 Records made it available worldwide.

At least, that’s what happened according to the record label’s official press release (which also refers to the group’s music as “psychedelic prog black to tear your psyche apart”).  Now, I’m not trying to imply that any of this information is inaccurate in any way.  But having listened to this album pretty much nonstop for several days, I’ve found that what these guys have crafted is so uniquely compelling, I would have been willing to believe it if I had been told there was a bit more to the story of its inception than that.

 

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