Misery – Sous L’égide Des Martyrs (BLWBCK)
One of my favorite black metal releases of the year right here. Solo French dude Thomas Bel making absolutely killer atmospheric black metal on what’s quickly becoming my new favorite label (BLWBCK also put out the EUS, Postdrome, & Saåad album that I kinda freaked out over). This is something else entirely, though. Brooding & miserable as fuck, long bouts of chilled ambience, church bells & organs with hymn-like mantras, Paysage d’Hiverian frozen windscapes, stiff lumbering drums like a giant stuck in a blizzard, blistering sheets of icy fuzzed out guitars, and raspy tortured vocals that are clearly identifiable as such but blurred and muffled to perfectly blend with the wall of sound. This is soundtrack to the moments between the top of the cliff and the arctic glaciers below, howling winds & cracked bones, it drones the blackest & bleakest, a depressive cloud of ambient metal that’s just too fucking awesome in every way. And this is his goddamn debut? Perfectly timed to be the next Xasthur.
EUS, Postdrome, & Saåad – 3AM (BLWBCK)
A collab of crazy proportions! And quite worldly, a Costa Rican, a dude from the UK, and a French duo, making absolutely breathtaking drones of the highest order. This is some dark blissful stuff, which is the best kind of stuff right now. Dense and soaring, black anvil clouds rolling over open plains, always on the edge, seeing the sun rays glow and the grey mass shift, an impending fury that always threatens, never breaks, trapped in the undertow but wholly welcoming it, sheets of euphoria masked by the haunt of life, embrace the truth, let the stars rain down, pre-apocalypse enlightenment created by layers of heavenly darkness. It doesn’t get much better than this. This is what you see when you get to the top. A fluorescent green beast of a tape, only 66 copies and it drops in a few days. Preorder this hunk stat.