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BLUT AUS NORD contort into another unheard of epoch on the grandiose “Hallucinogen”

When it comes to blurring the lines between genres Blut Aus Nord are no strangers to the concept. Setting the bar quite high for themselves with the 777 Trilogy, their newest release Hallucinogen is a step in a new direction and a valiant attempt at a reinvention of their own sound. Blut Aus Nord are veterans at walking to the beat of their own drum.

Hallucinogen wants to be a complete departure from the past and reinvention of sound, and according to the band is best described as, “a new stage in our process of perpetual regeneration”. Nevertheless, old habits die hard and fragments of the bands former self still shine through the cracks in French outfit’s most recent endeavor.

Shedding their religious themes for a slightly more ambiguous approach, Hallucinogen is beyond a doubt an atmospheric interpretation of the psychedelic experience, more often than not swapping dissonance for soaring melodies and atmosphere more akin to the likes of Mgła or, dare we say, Wolves in the Throne Room.

The album’s first track “Nomos Nebuleam” acts as a soft introduction to the deliberate change in direction the band has chosen to take with their latest release, an atmospheric and instrumental journey into the band’s new sound reminiscent of the aforementioned Poles. The album really comes into its own with tracks like “Anthosmos”  and “Mahagma”, an interesting duo more reliant on melody and emotion than anything we’ve seen from the band thus far.

At this point the album really seems to be developing towards some sort of grand climax, a pinnacle that we unfortunately find ourselves still grasping to reach at the conclusion of the album. The final two tracks, “Haallucinahlia” and “Cosma Procyiris” both have high potential, but in the end seem a bit jumbled and spontaneous, giving the impression that the band could not reach an agreement on the proper atmosphere for the end of the album, instead drawing on influences from all parties, leaving a bit to be desired in conclusion.

Halucinogen is a strong release and a welcome departure into unknown territory for Blut Aus Nord. That being said, it feels like this new soundscape they have so intricately crafted is unfinished, and there’s still a fair amount of room for growth in this medium. Perhaps a breath of fresh air for fans of Blut Aus Nord, but overall it still feels more like the first half of a two part album, a beautiful blend of melody and chaos that still allows for a great deal of development. If Blut Aus Nord decides to follow this with a sequel in the form of an epilogue, none will be the least bit surprised. The record just begins to scratch the surface of an ocean of untapped potential and a new, audible identity for the French master.


Hallucinogen will see release on digitpak CD, 2xLP, cassette, and all digital formats worldwide through DEBEMUR MORTI PRODUCTIONS. The vinyl edition will be available in four variants; black vinyl, a Debemur Morti exclusive variant, a North American exclusive variant, and a Season Of Mist exclusive variant.

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MISÐYRMING revels in fury and disgust on the Dionysian “Algleymi”

It is a good time to be alive for fans of black metal. Within the last decade the genre seems to have undergone a wave of rapid international expansion, at the forefront of which we find the aptly coveted Icelandic black metal scene. Coming from a small island filled with venerable comrades like Svartidaudi and Sinmara, Misþyrming has increasingly high standards to uphold, and Algleymi does not disappoint.

Most bands would approach a sophomore album as an opportunity to perfect and expand upon their sound, solidifying their fanbase and establishing some aspect of consistency to expand upon with future releases. However, Misþyrming is not like most bands. Algleymi is a vastly different album from their first full length, Söngvar elds og óreiðu, swapping deep seeded depressive atmosphere for fiery, bursting melodies, overall resulting in an album more akin to the likes of Taake or Uada than their Icelandic counterparts Sinmara or Svartidaudi. The album blindsides us with the introduction of a beautiful new side of Misþyrming, a more complex, rhythm driven approach, offering listeners a euphoric voyage through a plethora of human emotion, a creative space as expansive as the cosmos itself, a space that formerly closed itself to all that was not darkness and sorrow.

Although Algleymi is a masterpiece it may not be what traditional fans of the Icelandic force were hoping for, as it is almost a complete departure, if not massive evolution, from the looming sound they cultivated so artfully with their first full length release. It almost seems that the progress the band has made in relation to their music is so immense that a different name for the project may have been necessary, but again, by releasing an album that is so far a departure and yet such a work of art under the same name, Misþyrming proves once more that they are not concerned with conforming to the ideals of fans and critics or what is expected of them, but rather, making music for themselves driven by their own emotions and ever changing existence. While Algleymi may be the polar opposite of the sophomore release we were expecting from them, it is, nevertheless, a phenomenal work of art and so much more than any of us could have anticipated.

If anything Algleymi serves as proof of just how much potential Misþyrming has, and most importantly, serves as a welcome reminder that innovation and originality are still alive and well within the raging heart of black metal, an invaluable commodity just waiting to be discovered, one must only know where to look.


NORMA EVANGELIUM DIABOLI is proud to present Misþyrming’s highly anticipated second album, Algleymi, on all formats.

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MEPHORASH craft an unwavering esoteric vision with “Shem Ha Mephorash”

Featuring members of the almighty Ofermod and Malign comes the soon-to-be-known Mephorash with their fourth studio album, aptly titled Shem Ha Mephorash. An unorthodox take on orthodox black metal, the monumental album is a welcome departure from the stereotypical blast beats and primal aggression that often seem to over-saturate the esoteric scene, opting for a more calculated theatrical approach.

Shem Ha Mephorash takes its name from the Kabbalah, a reference to the 72 fold explicit name for the one eternal God, a term that has also been attributed to the forgotten occult knowledge of the ancient Israelite king and later used in various walks of Satanism for ritual purposes. A felicitous title, Shem Ha Mephorash relies more on atmosphere than any of the previous releases, and as a whole feels more like a crepuscular ceremony than a metal album.

Tracks like “King of King, Lord of Lords” and “777: Third Woe” are reminiscent of the group’s more traditional sound, complete with churning blast beats and the soaring primal chaos we have come to expect from the genre, whilst hidden gems like “Sanguinem” and “Epitome I, Bottomless Infinite” (my personal favorite) follow a path less traveled with haunting female solo melodies and booming kettle drums resulting in a caliginous experience more often reserved for the more illustrious subsects of doom metal. At times Shem Ha Mephorash sounds like a cabalistic rendition of Shape of Despair, a record that obscures classifications and transcends subgenres whilst still managing to distinguish itself as its own original entity, a feat not to be taken lightly and an accomplishment many bands struggle to achieve throughout their entire career. This all comes to a head with Shem Ha Mephorash, the title track and epic conclusion to this metaphysical foray into the uncharted depths of orthodox black metal.

A must for fans of black metal, doom metal, and occult enthusiasts alike, Shem Ha Mephorash is a conceptual marvel and the outfit’s finest work to date, a welcome reminder that black metal and its respective subgenres are still alive and thriving, and that we have still just barely begun to scratch the surface.  Shem Ha Mephorash is a complex masterpiece that brings something to the table for all metal enthusiasts.


Shadow Records and Helter Skelter Productions will release the album on CD, vinyl, cassette and digital. Shem Ha Mephorash  showcases some beautiful traditional artwork by the talented Jose Gabriel Alegria Sabogal.

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AORATOS appear sinistrally arcane & pastoral through “Gods Without Name”

Aoratos is the latest endeavor of Naas Alcameth, the blackened mastermind that gave us Akhlys and Nightbringer, and is described by their label as a “reflection of the eidola and egregore arisen from the liminal thresholds”. Indeed, Gods Without Name feels like a logical transcendence from these previous endeavors, exhibiting the same chaotic darkness we have grown to expect from Naas but newly inculcated with increased emotion and primal rage, amounting to a new breed of wretchedness that can best be described as malefic black metal.

When I first heard Akhlys I remember being taken aback by the atmosphere of raw emotion, their ability to present their music as a force capable of transcending conventional black metal tropes, a craft Naas has refined to perfection with Aoratos. Gods Without Name feels more like a crepuscular descent into the darkest of minds than a metal album, a work of art that lingers in the shadowy corners of the subconscious long after conclusion.

The album starts with “Parallax I”, a dark ambient track that sets the tone for the rest of the album with haunting melodies that will reappear in variation across the entire album. From here the album moves into “Holy Mother of Terror”, an aptly named introduction into the chaotic horror that resides within and a crushing display of malevolent black metal in its own right. At this point the album goes on to further obscure the lines between the genres of dark ambient and chaotic black metal, ultimately amounting in a some manifestation of beautiful, formless chaos. Tracks such as “The Watcher on The Threshold” and “Of Harvest, Scythe and Sickle Moon” combine strong influences from Naas’s previous projects with less traditional pieces like “Thresher” and the aforementioned “Holy Mother of Terror” to ultimately result in a brand new breed of wretched malevolence.

This new beast truly rears its head for the first time in the title track “Gods Without Name” before returning for one final moment of horror with the doomy “Dread Spirit of the Place”, my two personal favorites. Lastly, the album closes out with “Parallax II” an atmospheric conclusion to a flawless, blackened monument.

At the end of the day Gods Without Name is a thing of beauty, a primal foray into the darkest depths of sound, a haunting masterpiece that raises the bar for the entire genre and an album that will be in my heavy rotation for a very long time.


On March 22nd Aoratos will release their first full length Gods Without Name via DEBEMUR MORTI PRODUCTIONS, available for pre-order on CD and Vinyl at both label’s website and digitally on Bandcamp.

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KALEIKR infuses introspection into their maelstrom with “Heart of Lead”

Heart of Lead comes to us in the early stages of 2019, the first full length from the Icelandic black metal duo comprised of two former members of DraugsólKALEIKR will inevitably be classified as black metal, but after one listen it becomes evident just how complex the duo really is, drawing influence from a variety of genres such as post-rock, prog, folk, and death – amounting in a beautiful final product transcending traditional metal classification.

The album starts with the atmospheric introductory track “Beheld at Sunrise”, a beautiful building soundscape reminiscent of traditional Cascadian black metal. At this point I was already intrigued, expecting a well-rounded atmospheric release in the tradition of Wolves in the Throne Room or Agalloch. On the contrary, the album takes a much different turn with “The Descent”, revealing its underlying complexities and a taste of what is to follow.  This track along with the next few exhibit a more complex death metal feel, all whilst still holding onto the intricately crafted atmosphere established in the intro, culminating in something that sounds like a doom version of Rivers of Nihil. An unexpected but welcome change. Kaleikr continues to surprise and impress as they progress into the latter half of the album.

Taking a prog-ier turn with “Of Unbearable Longing”, the album begins to show its true nature with an undeniable influence from prog metal greats such as Opeth and Enslaved, especially reminiscent of some of the darker, less structured early works from these progressive giants. All while the record still maintains the blackened roots laid bare in the introductory track. From here the album really takes off, seamlessly jumping back and forth between prog and death, further distorting the lines between genres leading to the climactic conclusion of the album with the title track followed by “Eternal Stalemate and a Never-ending Sunset”. Whilst the first half of the album consists of several tracks all boasting their own unique identity and formulae, the final two songs stir the pot even further, resulting in an eerie and complex end to the album, evoking images of Iceland’s own dark shrouded, mystic winter.  

In conclusion, Heart of Lead is a versatile full length album bringing something to the table for fans of all sub genres, dabbling heavily in the ways of black metal and prog without ever fully committing to either classification. A solid debut album for the Icelandic duo, Heart of Lead puts Kaleikr on the map, a beautifully complex first full length from a duo that seems to still be discovering their true potential. A must listen for black and death metalers alike, reminiscent of Morningrise era Opeth and more recent atmospheric death releases like Where Owls Know my Name by Rivers of Nihil, Heart of Lead is an all around solid debut album. I am left with the ultimate impression that Kaleikr is just getting started. This well-crafted foray into progressive metal establishes the Icelandic duo whilst still leaving their full potential in the shadows. Kaleikr is definitely a band that has just begun to scratch the surface of their own identity. An evolution I look forward to monitoring in years to come.


Unleashed through Debemur Morti Productions on vinyl & CD. 

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