WARNING! The five artists below are amazing and the album artwork is even more amazing. Prepare for your mind to be blown.
First of all, let’s start with my favourite out of the five: Rorcal from Switzerland and their third full-length album, Világvége, which was recently repressed on digipack by Hellthrasher Productions. The album name translates to “End of the World” and the music sounds like a literal soundtrack to the apocalypse. The music is super dirty, spooky and deathlike. However, it is not dirty enough for you not to enjoy it because the production has been handled with care and everything sounds beautiful. A paradox here – deathlike music sounds beautiful? The growls are superbly growled – as if the vocalist was dying for real – and the instruments are handled with perfection. The other thing I like about this album is the fact that all songs are connected and the album is meant to be listened to in its entirety. The band has not failed to incorporate spooky orchestral horror chorales to add to the apocalyptic feeling of the album and, yes oh my god, it works even if it’s only included once. If I was to face the apocalypse tomorrow, this would be the music which I would choose as my soundtrack. Recommended to all patient listeners/connoisseurs of deathly and dirty metal; there is nothing pretty about Rorcal.
Now, we move onto Norway and melodic black metal from Vinterbris. Their sophomore album, Solace, is out now via Nordavind Records. It was the artwork of the album which drew me to the band at first. The artwork was done by Kim Holm and each six tracks on the album have their own artwork. You can find out more about that in this article on NCS or check out this video. It’s not all about the artwork, however, and the music is also phenomenal. It takes you to another world, to a world of mountains and cold weather. After all, the band’s name translates to “winter breeze” (according to Google Translate at least). If you like your extreme metal melodic, wintery and other-wordly, Vinterbris’ Solace is definitely for you.
The next awesome act is Dead to a Dying World from Texas. Their self-titled debut was released via Tofu Carnage Records (awesome name!) in 2011 and they are currently working on their sophomore LP, Litany, which will be released later this year. The band has a very interesting doom sound and they do not lack originality. In order to add to the low doom sounds the band incorporates cello, viola and upright bass elements – the result is magnificent and spooky as hell. The music is perfect for a day indoors while the rain is pouring and the thunder rumbling all around. While Rorcal above have the soundtrack for the apocalypse, Dead to a Dying World have produced music for those who are already dead. Again, the music is recommended for those of us who are more patient with lengthy music – the self-titled LP has three tracks; the first clocking at 14:39, the second at 6:59 and the third at 22:24. The music is beautiful and this band, together with those two above, is one of the most interesting I discovered recently. Look out for their upcoming tour dates!
Another blackened act and another from Norway: Den Saakaldte. Featuring members of bands such as 1349, Koldbrann and Nidingr, the band has returned after five years. Kapittel II: Faen i Helvete, which is out now via Agonia Records, is full of dark atmosphere and emotion. The album might be intense and doomy but it is not one of those new “post-black metal” acts, the roots of old-school thrash/black metal are audible and the album will not leave you go by without headbanging. Oh and yeah, as all the other albums in this article – check out the amazing artwork and get your copy via the Agonia webstore now!
Last but not least is Nihilo. First, please, just take a look at the breathtaking artwork. Then turn on their music and appreciate the deadly, dirty death metal these guys produce. This “dirty” style of death metal is VERY popular now in the underground. Just take a look at what labels are releasing, the “underground” magazines are featuring and even half of the bands at this year’s Maryland Deathfest played that style of death/doom metal. Therefore, this is a difficult task for Nihilo but they manage to perform that style of death metal and still remaining memorable. I can listen to their album and not get bored and while admiring the artwork, I discover something new in it every time. I recommend Dum Spiro Spero to all of you underground death metal fanatics that appreciate good music with great artwork. Switzerland has a lot of awesome new music to offer and Nihilo’s latest album is one of them! Listen to the album in its entirety on MetalUnderground.com.