BLACK ROYAL (Finland)
— Black Royal is a groove hard, fist pump, beer chug, Finnish death guitar, chanting vocalist blast of an album.
SERPENT COLUMN (USA)
Wars Waged in Private II
— Free on Bandcamp, so that it can be downloaded to your computer and possess it with the full power of all that is evil.
— I worship, and I mean, worship this poetry. It is a dance in the moonlight with a boy in a Bauhaus t-shirt, and you are 16 and it's the 80's and you are only worried about nuclear holocaust. Sweet, sweet times.
Filipojakubská noc na Štangarígelských skalách
— Slovakia bros, they have it going on, especially the song names. I mean, it is a wild ride of Slovakian black metal hell with bouts of fun synth to break it apart.
— First came Morbus Chron, who released their last album "Sweven" in 2014. Now leader Robert Andersonn starts a new band with the same title, going free into long journeys of prog and jazz and psychedelic and a 70's tone.
MARE COGNITUM (split w/ SPECTRAL LORE) (Portland, Greece)
Venus (The Priestess)
— This is one of favorite black metal albums this year. These 2 bands are a great coupling, both excelling in black metal that takes its time, and then completely breaks apart into furious. So so fucking good.
MASTER BOOT RECORD (Italy)
— Italian brains create weird synth compositions with random genres that somehow work.
HIGH TONE SON OF A BITCH (Oakland)
— The who's who of Oakland create a thoughtful E.P that jams a beautiful psychedelic stoner that heavily riffs.
CRYSTAL COFFIN (Vancouver)
Ride Through the Night
— Solid debut of Canadian black metal with a stunner of a vocalist.