Sunday 31 July 2016

The Sludgelord Video Premiere - Torpor unleash the mighty "Jasager"

By: Aaron Pickford

It is not often that a band is so damn corrosive and monstrously heavy that they literally and figuratively make you lose your shit, but London three piece Torpor are that band.  Undeniably face melting, their fusion of sludge, noise and doom, hasn’t quite reached the heady heights of some of their contemporaries, however Torpor’s star is in the ascendency.

For me they released one of, if not the best release of 2015, with the monumental “From Nothing Comes Everything” but if that wasn’t enough, the band regrouped and possibly even outmuscled themselves, with the release of the frankly obese split with Sonance earlier this year via Truthseeker Music.

With the recent announcement that Torpor, will play the prestigious Incubate Festival on Saturday 10th 2016, the band have also collaborated with their good friends, Massive Lake, on a video for their phenomenal 10 minute masterpiece of drone “Jasager” and today at The Sludgelord, we’re humbled to be able to debut the premiere of the video in full, which you can check out below. Remember “A family that Slays together, Stays Together”   

You can pick up a copy of their split with Sonance here and digital tracks are available as a “Name your Price” download here

Band info: facebook

Tuesday 26 July 2016

"Black Holes & Space Wizards: An Interview with Zach Wheeler & Premiere of Howling Giant's "Dirtmouth"

To say to this band blew me away the minute their music hit my ear holes, would be a damned understatement, this giant, a hybrid of many different styles are recommended if your followers of bands such as ELDER, RED FANG, MELVINS, BARONESS, RUSH.   On August 12 Nashville, TN Fuzz Rockers HOWLING GIANT will release their new EP “Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 1” and today at The Sludgelord marks the debut of brand new music from their forthcoming EP, as we premiere of the ball busting track “Dirthmouth”.

But before you go reaching reach for the Listerine, we hooked up with Drummer Zach Wheeler from the band, to get a brief low down on the inception of the band and what we can expect from their new four track EP.  Check it out.  

SL: Can you give us a brief history of your playing career to date leading up to the formation of your band and release of your current record?

Zach: We all met in college and were in different bands, so we needed to find a way to de-stress from all of the serious band business. That is how Howling Giant was born (under a different moniker at the time, SKLDZR). As these other projects fell apart for all of us, we decided to spend a little more time writing and we eventually moved from Boston to Nashville. When we got to Nashville we recorded our first EP in Tom's bedroom and started playing around town and travelling on weekends every once and a while. We were lucky enough to get selected for the Converse Rubber tracks program and that’s where we started on this current EP, “Black Hole Space Wizard Part 1”. We recorded instrumentals in Converse's studios and finished the record in various bedrooms in Nashville.

SL: What can you tell us about your upcoming record and where do you feel it sits within the context current doom scene

Zach: Each song has its own vibe, but it’s all tied together by the story. We draw influences from prog, stoner, desert, psych, and doom. When we wrote this EP we didn’t strive to create a sound that fits into any one genre. We tend to write music that is fun to play and in the case of this concept, each song supports a scene of pulp science fiction within the “Black Hole Space Wizard” universe. The overall vibe of the story is steeped in doom and dismay from the point of the almost eradicated human race. While we are by no means a traditional doom band, the genre has probably had the most influence on us for this specific release.

SL: What was the mood in the camp going into the recording of the record

Zach: We had been working on the Black hole space wizard concept for a while but weren’t sure when we would have the opportunity to record it. When Converse invited us to record for their Rubber Tracks program we were so pumped, and we knew that this was the perfect opportunity to get the ball rolling on part 1. We had a blast recording with Dave Minehan, who really helped us find our spirit animals during this recording. 

SL: What can fans look forward to from you over the next 12 months? How is your schedule shaping up?

Zach:  Over the next 12 months we will be writing and recording parts 2 and 3 of this EP series. We want to try to stay in town for live shows for the most part, with small weekend tours so that we can focus all of our energy on writing and recording

Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 1” track listing:

1). Mothership
2). Exodus Earth
3). Dirtmouth
4). Clouds of Smoke

Band info: facebook || bandcamp

Sunday 24 July 2016

Cranial - "Dead Ends" EP (Review)

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 02/09/2015
Label: Moment of Collapse

Cranial forge epic journeys that marry the weighty post metal of early Pelican to the hefty crunch of Mastodon’s “Remission” with captivating results. Bursts of soaring post-rock are employed to provide contrast to the onslaught of chugging armageddon. “Dead Ends” ably demonstrates why Cranial is the perfect name for this band. This is brainy music - intelligently constructed yet skull-crushingly heavy.

“Dead End” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Nightbringer
2). Limes

The Review

Würzberg quartet, Cranial have risen from the ashes of instrumental heavyweights Omega Massif. Anyone who misses that band will find ample solace in “Dead Ends”.

Here are only two tracks to savour on this impressive debut release but these lengthy compositions pack in more twists and turns than most LPs. Cranial forge epic journeys that marry the weighty post metal of early Pelican to the hefty crunch of Mastodon’sRemission” with captivating results. The band navigate shifts in tempo and volume with ease and manage to avoid the pitfalls of obvious build and release dynamics. Bursts of soaring post-rock are employed to provide contrast to the onslaught of chugging armageddon. The delayed lead guitar rising from the smoking pit of distortion in the middle of “Nightbringer” heightens the emotional impact without feeling cheesy or unnecessary.

Cranial mostly let the riffs do the talking but sparingly deploy vocals to powerful effect. Huge reverb-drenched roars occasionally emerge from the wall of noise to heighten the drama, lending an air of black metal to proceedings. This is particularly effective during the cacophonous climax of “Limes”.as the heavily effected vocals blur the boundary between voice and instruments.

Dead Ends” ably demonstrates why Cranial is the perfect name for this band. This is brainy music - intelligently constructed yet skull-crushingly heavy.

Dead Ends” is available here

Band info: facebook

Friday 22 July 2016

"If you’re an arsehole to people, crew in particular, they’ll remember that": Amped & Doomed with Jim Palmer (Raging Speedhorn)

By: Aaron Pickford

Raging Speedhorn exploded onto the scene way back in 2000, reaching the heady heights of the UK Singles chart in 2001 with their song ‘The Gush’, but for me, it was with the release of their debut full length ‘Raging Speedhorn’ that I really took notice of the band, having a sound reminiscent of Eyehategod and Iron Monkey, there really wasn’t many bands like them at the time.  With an incredible follow up ‘We Will All Be Dead Tomorrow’, produced by members of Biohazard, Speedhorn were destined for great things. 

Following the release of their 3rd record ‘How The Great Have Fallen’ Frank Regan split from the band in 2005, to be replaced by Blood Kev of Helvis fame and they subsequently released one further record ‘Before The Sea Was Built’ in 2007, a record which strayed from their original sludge sound.  That is their history but fast forward back to 2016, and with the arrival of a brand new record entitled “Lost Ritual” it almost feels like a rebirth, the stage is their spiritual home and with it, Speedhorn  have come to destroy once again.

A couple of weeks ago, I caught up with Jim Palmer, guitarist with Raging Speedhorn and we discussed new beginnings, touring with Amen and the bands renewed passion for being part of a scene, they helped create.  It’s time to get Amped & Doomed.   

SL: Jim thanks for taking the time to talk to us, can you give us a brief history of  when you started playing guitar?

Jim Palmer: I first picked up the guitar when I was 8 years old. I learnt classical initially, moving onto other finger picking styles such as folk and bluegrass. My first electric guitar soon followed with my interest in blues guitarists such as Ry Cooder and Stevie Ray Vaughan. By about the age of 14 I was playing in local bands and gigging in youth clubs and the like. By the age of 20 I’d swapped to playing bass and joined the band Integrity and then a band called Fracture in the mid 90’s touring the UK extensively. By about 97 I swapped back to guitar and joined Charger. During my time with Charger I also formed the group Murder One along with my friends from Medulla Nocte and Iron Monkey. I toured extensively through the UK and Europe for many years until I just stopped in 2007 due to illness. In 2011 or thereabouts I joined the band Space Witch and started playing again and later formed the band Harlot Church. In 2014 I was asked to join Raging Speedhorn and here we are.

SL: Can you remember who or what inspired you to pick up the guitar? Are there any bands, guitarists currently on the scene that continue to inspire you and push you to try new things?

Jim:  My mum was a music teacher and a pianist and my Dad just loved music so I guess they were my first inspiration. I think the first actual guitarist I saw that inspired me was John Williams when my mum took me to see the band Sky. After that I was kind of hooked.

As for now I’m constantly inspired by many musicians whether famous or not. I like a massive range of music so there’s always something out there to get excited about.

SL: Whilst we’re on the subject of inspiration or heroes for example, do you have 5 records that stand out as favourites, what influence did they have upon you and what is it about those records that particular resonates amongst others? 


Pink Floyd – “Obscured By Clouds”
Rainbow – “Rising”
Sick of it All – “Scratch the Surface”
Ry Cooder – “Ry Cooder
Melvins – “Houdini”

I think these albums in particular stick out as my favourites because in one way or another they signify a particular period in my life. That and the fact that they are all killer.

SL: Can remember your first electric guitar? 

My first electric guitar was an Ibanez Blazer and it was fantastic. Really miss that guitar.

SL:  What guitar (s) are you using today and how did you gravitate towards the guitar you currently use? 

Jim: I use many guitars from Gibson LP Specials through to LP Customs but my main guitars at the moment are a prototype Yamaha AES Telecaster I’ve owned for 18 years or so and a Yamaha AES 600. I’ve used Yamaha guitars on and off since the beginning of Charger in the late 90’s. No big manufacturer makes better guitars than Yamaha in my opinion.

SL: What do you like about the guitars you currently use and have there been any specific modifications to it? 

Jim: I like my AES Tele because it feels just right now it’s beaten up and well and truly worn in. It has a wonderful soft profile to the neck and a feel to it that’s just right for me. I like the AES 600 for exactly the opposite. It has a big, fat baseball bat of a neck and is quite awkward in some ways. It’s almost like that guitar that makes you work hard to play it. All my guitars have several modifications. I don’t use tone knobs so they instantly get removed. I use Railhammer pickups so all my guitars have those fitted although I’ve just started using Zombie Dust pickups which are awesome too. I also fit kill switches to all my guitars for those moments when you can’t reach your pedal board in time. Apart from that and using DiMarzio strap lock straps, everything else is pretty much standard.

SL: What amps and pedals do you currently use?  Do you use a combination of amps, or a full half stack? Talk us through your set up both in the studio and in the live environment? 

Jim: I’ve used Peavey 5150’s and 6505’s for pretty much everything I’ve ever done. The only other amp I use regularly is a Blackstar HT Metal 100. Pedal wise I like to keep things fairly simple so I have an Ernie Ball VP Jr volume pedal, Boss TU3 Tuner, EHX Chill Switch and an Ibanez Weeping Demon wah. I occasionally use a Blackstar Dist if I’m using loan amps and I occasionally run a Decimator Noise Reduction pedal. Other than that it’s basically guitar to pedal board, straight in the front of the amp and out into 1 maybe 2 4x12’s.

I use the same setup when I record although for our new album I mixed in a JCM 800 for extra beef. I’ve never been one for complicating things and I believe very much that my tone is my tone so no need to change it about too much if I can help it.

SL: What one pedal could not live without and why? 

Jim: There isn’t one. Id be just as happy running straight into my amp as I am running pedals. I don’t need them, they are just nice to have and make life a little easier. I guess if I had to pick one it would be my TU3 as no one likes an out of tune guitarist HA HA!

SL: What are your amp/ pedal settings?

Jim: Pedal wise there isn’t a lot to set. I have my volume pedal for swelling in and out as I hate using volume pots on guitars. My tuner runs out the tuner out on the volume pedal so it’s essentially out the chain. I have the EHX chill switch set to kill the sound momentarily when its depressed, (kill switch), and my Weeping Demon Wah is set to run on the spring / sensor so it engages automatically when I put my foot on it. I also have kill switches on my guitars for options depending on my stage position but also so I can do the same stuff when I’m not running my pedal board.

Amp setting wise I run the gain on about 8 on the lead channel, EQ would be bass – 8 mid – 3 Treble – 6, the resonance on 7 and the presence on 4. if I use the rhythm channel its for clean stuff so gain on about 3 but I run the standard 6505 so I use the same EQ. If I’m using a 5150 or the Blackstar HT Metal 100 the same settings would apply.

SL: What tunings do you use and why, and as a result is there a specific brand / gauge of string you prefer ?   

Jim: With Speedhorn we tune to drop C#. It’s the perfect balance between down tuning and still having clarity and usable string tension / intonation. String wise I use Cleartone strings and wouldn’t use any other brand now. They are so much more clear sounding and the coating makes them last much longer. Gauge wise I used to use light to / heavy bottom 10’s (10-52) but I’m currently running 11’s (11-56).

SL: Do you have any advice for up and coming guitars players, bands?

Jim: It’s simple really. Nothing is free, nothing will get handed to you on a plate. Work hard, put the effort in but enjoy it too. Be a good person, seems daft but it’s important. If you’re an arsehole to people, crew in particular, they’ll remember that and it will make your life very difficult in the future. You should always try to be a good person anyway. Most of all stick at it. I know more people who’ve “made it” simply because they’ve stuck at it for years than those who’ve gained instant success. Longevity means a lot in this business.
SL: Do feel there are deeply help misconceptions about being in a band? 
Jim: Many, many misconceptions but to be honest they are generally made by people who wouldn’t have a clue anyway HA HA!

SL: Moving on a little then,  what can you tell us about any of your current projects, tours, cds, etc you’re currently promoting, completed and anything else band related we should know about?

Jim: We are releasing our new album “Lost Ritual” for pledgers at the beginning of July and then later in July it will be available to everyone else. If you still wish to pledge and get hold of some limited edition goodies as well as the new album you can do so via the Pledge Music website and look for Raging Speedhorns campaign. We are also going on tour around the UK in July to promote the new album from the 15th – 23rd. Pop over to our Facebook page for updates, news and those important tour dates!

SL: What springs to mind when you think about the completion of your new/current record and how is the mood in the camp at present?

Jim: Happiness and relief I think. I’m not sure any of us knew whether this was going to work out but currently we are all feeling pretty chuffed about the new album and about how well things are going. It’s certainly a good place to be right now.

SL: What are your favorite songs to play live? What is it about them that makes them so good to play live, crowd reaction, etc?  Anything from your catalogue that you wouldn’t play and why? 

Jim: I’m really enjoying the new material at the moment. It’s fresh and new so it’s easy to play about with the songs structure but also because it’s so typically Speedhorn it fits perfectly in the set. I think my favorite songs to play would have to be “Bring Out Your Dead”, “Halfway to Hell” and “Dogshit Blues”. I’m not sure there is anything in the catalogue we wouldn’t have a go at live but certainly anything off “Before The Sea Was Built” would be difficult due to the different vocalist, (Bloody Kev).

SL: Who are some your favourite bands you have toured with and what has been your proudest moment and/or performance of your playing career?

Jim: Some of the best bands I’ve toured with would have to be Today Is The Day, Amen and Prong just for the sheer fun we had and the competitiveness. I’d have to include Raging Speedhorn in there too though as back when I was in Charger and Murder One we toured together before I was in RSH. Always a good time. I feel proud every time I get to play live as it’s a real privilege but stand out gigs would have to be headlining a stage at Sonisphere in 2014, returning to Damnation Festival in 2014 for the 3rd time and our headlining slot at Download

SL: What can fans look forward to from you over the next 12 months? How is your schedule shaping up?

Jim: Busy! With the new record out and the subsequent “Lost Ritual” tour we’ll be popping up all over the place in the next 12 months. We are currently in negotiations to bring even bigger things and maybe even a few trips to Europe. In a year you might even hear some more new music, who knows.

SL: Finally, do you have any final comments/word of wisdom you’d like to bestow upon us?

Jim: In the words of Bill and Ted “be excellent to each other”. See also Ronnie Barker “don’t let the bastards grind you down”

End of Transmission

Band info: Facebook

Raging Speedhorn’s new album “Lost Ritual” was released July 17th and our review is here

Reproacher - "Nature's Bastard" (Album Review)

By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 03/06/2016
Label: Crown & Throne Ltd

Huge, awkward riffs dominate the landscape, their ugly, discordant racket is reminiscent of Converge at their nastiest.  This is a mighty offering, a captivating combination of savage intensity and considered dynamics.
“Nature’s Bastard” DD//LP track listing:
1). Intro
2). Celestial Blackout
3). Poisonous Miasmas
4). Garotte
5). Sundown
6). The Endless Tide
7). Futility
8). Old Blue Clay
9). Nature’s Bastard
10). The Great Equalizer

The Review:
Celestial Blackout”, the second track of Reproacher’s new LP “Nature’s Bastard”, provides an apt description of the widescreen carnage they deliver. The track roars into life out of the smouldering ashes of “Intro”, a perfect hybrid of brooding post metal and furious, Hydra Head-style noisecore. The Wyoming bruisers mine this seam of inspiration for untold riches over the course of the album to create their distinct visceral sound.

Reproacher’s music is based on a solid foundation of gnarly noise rock heaviness but the tone shifts as the record progresses. The opening double whammy gives way to the harder edged likes of “Poisonous Miasmas” and “Garrote”. Huge, awkward riffs dominate the landscape, teeth-shaking low end and piercing high end squalls combining to emulate the punishing broken grooves of Coalesce. The tempo increases during the album’s mid-section dominated by the furious d-beat of “Sundown”. The ugly, discordant racket is reminiscent of Converge at their nastiest and peaks with a wild, adrenaline-soaked lead guitar break.

As the end approaches, the mood darkens. The title track is the closest Reproacher get to something resembling a ballad. Although the volume is dialled back and the vocals are subdued to a faraway, half-spoken drawl, the slow-burning menace exuded here is as heavy as their full-on attack. This makes the bludgeoning climax all the more crushing when it finally arrives with grim inevitability. “The Great Equalizer” continues this trajectory, falling away to near silence in the middle and building to a powerfully restrained climax, woozy chords ringing out as the band grind to a halt like a drunken cowboy.

Nature’s Bastard” is a mighty offering from Reproacher, a captivating combination of savage intensity and considered dynamics.  
“Nature’s Bastard” is available here

Band info: bandcamp

Thursday 21 July 2016

Solothus - "No King Reigns Eternal" (Album Review)

By: George Parr

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 18/03/2016
Label: Doomentia Records

An encompassing album with an unforgiving heaviness, "No King Reigns Eternal" sees Finns Solothus’ improve on their debut album, and release one of the heaviest doom releases so far this year. Instilled with death metal elements and no signs of calm, it is a harrowing album full of weighty monolithic riffs and a murky atmosphere.

“No King Reigns Eternal” CD//DD tracklisting:

1. The Betrayer
2. No King Reigns Eternal
3. Darkest Stars Aligned
4. Malignant Caress
5. Towers in the Mist
6. The Winds of Desolation

The Review

Building on the oozing potential of 2013’s “Summoned from the Void”, Finland’s Solothus have capitalised on all the potential that their debut full-length promised, providing grotesquely heavy death-infused doom metal that stays committed to tearing off heads.  Rather than blending slow-burning quieter moments with the more destructive sections, as bands like Haast’s Eagled have done this year, second album “No King Reigns Eternal” sees Solothus crushing skulls in a more efficient manner than on the debut, with a dense atmosphere of darkness en-wrapping a wholly consuming style cantered around pure aggression.

The album’s first riff roars out of the gloomy darkness, with rumbling bass and pin-point percussion adding to the growling guitar’s raw power. As with any devastatingly heavy doom outfit, the riffs are centre of attention, and opener ‘The Betrayer’ sets the bar high. Thankfully, Solothus are more than up to the task, with guitarists Veli-Matti Karjalainen and Sami Iivonen proving themselves hugely capable writers of shit-hot, face-shredding riffs throughout the album’s 43 minutes.

These riffs ensure that “No King Reigns Eternal” is nothing less than intensely gratifying heaviness, that merges the gory brutality of Entombed with the slowed pace of Sleep. No one will claim that Solothus’ gruesome doom hasn’t been heard before, but every grisly riff and guttural hate-filled bellow is drenched in a thick coat of morbid agony, with the word subtlety never once crossing Solothus’ minds. The balls-to-the-wall intensity of ‘Darkest Stars Aligned’ is unparalleled in its ability to create images of apocalyptic destruction, whilst the impressive lead guitars and occasional solos offer slight deviation from chugging guitars, helping to create a cold and sorrowful atmosphere that blankets Solothus’ many gut-punching riffs.

“No King Reigns Eternal” may be able to pride itself on its uncompromising, death metal-influenced take on doom, but despite the gory nature of their unyielding music, Solothus also manage to make room for an eerie, macabre atmosphere that sets it apart from its many rivals and allows them to refuse to let up without becoming too overpowering. Forceful but with a focused attitude that allows Solothus’ assault to be more captivating than it was on their debut release, it is a consistent album that deserves recognition for managing to not be derivative, and instead carving out its own bloodstained path.

“No Kings Reign Eternal” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Festival Preview: Red Sun Festival, Cardiff, South Wales July 29 - 31

By: Chris Bull

Last year, in May, three venues in Cardiff's most musical street prepared themselves for something heavy. Sure, Womanby Street is used to lots of bands and human traffic; Glasnost and HUB festival bring in so many musical acts...but this was to be an entirely different beast.

The brain child of several Cardiff based promoters, musicians, organisers, designers and radical thinkers, the idea for Red Sun was for the city to write it's name into heavy music folklore with a festival that would resonate with the heshers and lowlifes, the freaks and weirdos, the riff aficionados and the meatheads of this land. Cardiff had been no stranger to heavy music, many a travelling band had passed through, laid waste and left but what was lacking was the reverberation that only a festival would bring.

The 2015 line up was a veritable smorgasbord of heavy hitters from the UK; Bong Cauldron, Bast, Human Cull, Thought Forms, The Admiral Sir Cloudsely Shovel, Opium Lord, Ten Foot Wizard, Towers Of Flesh, Bismuth, Desert Storm, Boss Keloid, Pist, Diesel King, Atomçk and The Art of Burning Water sat alongside South Wales' own Spider Kitten, Hogslayer, Thorun, Suns Of Thunder, V A I L S, Haast's Eagled, Lacertilia, Tides Of Sulfur, The Judas Cradle and Pizzatramp. Each night was a success, now 2016 seems likely to top it!

The delightful Honky will headline the Saturday night at the Moon Club while Hark and Slabdragger headline the Friday and Sunday respectively. Also playing will be acts such as Gurt, Iron Witch, Old Man Lizard, Semen, XII Boar, Jøtnarr, Elephant Tree and two of the best band names in existence; Chubby Thunderous Bad Kush Masters and Anal Floss Is Boss. A pile of bands who played last year will be making an appearance this year too and promoters from far and wide (Snuff Lane, Cosmic Carnage, Hibernacula Records etc) helping to make 2016's impossible dream become a reality.

With the...ahem...difficulties faced by other festivals this year, Red Sun proves that small festivals can achieve something worthwhile when people put the work in. If you haven't bought a ticket yet, do it now!

For more info facebook

ColdWorld - "Autumn" (Album Review)

By: Daniel Jackson

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 15/7/2016
Label: Grau | Cold Dimensions

Börner writes and creates music that should appeal to both purist and tourist alike. Not because he haphazardly smashes the pieces into each other, like a child with their toys, but because his instincts and strengths do so organically.  “Autumn’ is flush with atmosphere and overall is a cohesive and brilliant listening experience.

‘Autumn’ CD//LP//DD track listing:

1. Scars
2. Void
3. Womb of Emptiness
4. Autumn Shades
5. The Wind and the Leaves
6. Climax of Sorrow
7. Nightfall
8. Escape II

The Review:

The wait for a new ColdWorld album has been a long one. Georg Börner’s last release under the ColdWorld banner was 2008’s ‘Melancholie²’, an album rightfully adored by just about everyone who enjoys sorrowful black metal. It also fell between two different eras, as it relates to which sub-style of black metal were popular at the time. ‘Melancholie²’ came just as the wave of American one-man band projects (Xasthur, Leviathan) had already crested and flattened out, but also just before the increased popularity of post black metal (Amesoeurs, Alcest).

Melancholie²’ was something of a bridge between those two points in black metal history as well, having qualities of both the claustrophobic production of American black metal just after the turn of the century, but written with the dour melody and atmosphere of European post black metal. The album also had a character that separated it from anything else happening at the time, using violin, and soft electronics to add character so many of the other bands of the time were missing.

In 2016, the black metal landscape is significantly different. ‘Autumn’ comes at a time when black metal is in a state of change again, as we appear to be on a down cycle after the proliferation of “blackgaze”, especially in the United States. In these downswings, black metal tends to return to the basics in the interim, which is why so much of the best black metal releases this year have been more traditional, sticking closer to the late 80s / early 90s playbook. ColdWorld again finds itself landing just as one trend is wrapping up, and presumably, another will begin.

Autumn’ bears some resemblance to ‘Melancholie²’, as Börner has a certain melodic style that carries over, even after eight years. But this album is warmer, and sounds more natural (which is probably tied to the album’s title). The guitars aren’t as abrasive as they were before, the drum programming is less rigid. ‘Autumn’ is not as straightforwardly black metal as its predecessor. While clean vocals were definitely a factor on ‘Melancholie²’, they were so often buried in the mix and used for ambience more than being a focal point. “Womb of Emptiness” is an example of how that’s changed to an extent. Börner gives a somber, fragile performance on the song that recalls Jonas Renkse in his transitional period as a vocalist, particularly during ‘Discouraged Ones’. He doesn’t struggle to find the note like Renske did, but his voice has a similarly subdued, gentle nature to it.

More than anything, ColdWorld is no longer an omen of things to come masquerading as a part of the old guard. They’re simply existing in their place in time, and showing every other band and project the best version of what they could have been. Börner writes and creates music that should appeal to both purist and tourist alike. Not because he haphazardly smashes the pieces into each other, like a child with their toys, but because his instincts and strengths do so organically. ‘Autumn’ is flush with atmosphere, but not because Börner listened to Slowdive and decided to shoehorn that sound into blast-centric black metal. Instead, ‘Autumn’ is a cohesive, brilliant listening experience; a reimagining of its own sound rather than the awkward pairing of two sounds from someone else. The distinction may seem like a small one, but it makes all the difference in the world.

You can pick up a digital copy here and a CD/LP copy here

Band info: Facebook