Beldam – Still the Wretched Linger

This is absolutely the heaviest, rawest, most punishing sludge album I’ve heard this year. This isn’t purely heavy like Sumac, this has a kind of sloppiness (sometimes to a fault), chaotic, and evil kind of heaviness that you just don’t see out of sludge in the modern day. But it maintains enough different textures to keep you interested with tracks like Her Unbearing Abyss. It gives you these somber, yet ominous soft textures that constantly have you guessing as to where the album is going to go next. If Inter Arma didn’t release a near masterpiece, this would be sludge AOTY easily. It’s certainly the best non atmo sluge album this year however, and I hope other bands follow in it’s footsteps of bringin back nasty, aggressive sludge, that also has a bit of a brain to it.


8.75/10

https://beldamofficial.bandcamp.com/

Feign – Atlas

Pretty boring honestly. The mixing was awful as well, with random fade-ins, certain parts of the song being way too quite at times, stuff like that. I actually liked the last track the most, even though it was only a holdover from their demo. It felt like it didn’t force the whole cosmic theme. It was a bit more raw, but still has some spaciness to it. I don’t agree with the bands self proclaimed attempt to “be as melodic as possible”, because this isn’t even close to that. Overall quite average, though there’s enough here to warrant maybe a second list


5.75/10

https://intothenightrecords.bandcamp.com/album/atlas

Eneferens – The Inward Cold

Supremely beautiful. This is one of the rare times where elements of romanticized blackgaze helps the music rather than ruins it. The floating beauty of the blackgaze riffs is grounded by the harsh vocaled doom metal (not quite death doom). It’s like natural beauty being thrown to the ground by crushing reality. It’s a great mix that I was very skeptical of, but it’s pulled off well here. This is way too damn short, but what you do get is a unique bit of atmo black from an area not known for any kind of extreme metal at all (Montana). Awesome work, hope this solo project produces more.


8.25/10

https://eneferens.bandcamp.com/album/the-inward-cold

Witch’s Heart – The Harrowing

Harrows Hymn is actually a pretty damn cool industrial black ambient piece, and the desolate beauty is a surprisingly pleasant to listen to psychedelic, quiet, sludgly black metalish track. Unfortunately the rest of the album is boring, mindlessly repetitive industrial sludge noise that tries to make itself out to be experimental and satanic. It’s an interesting take on blackened sludge, but interesting does not equate to good every time.


5.5/10

https://witchsheart.bandcamp.com/album/the-harrowing

Swampcult – The Festival

Simultaneously manages to be too conceptually large for the band to handle, while also containing, on an equal level, completely unadventurous music. It’s not terrible, but even it’s short length is wearing and none of it’s ideas achieve their intended purpose of scaring and possibly shocking the listener. A failed experiment, but there was at least an earnest attempt.


5.25/10

https://swampcult.bandcamp.com/

Gilded Lily – Mongrel’s Light

Ok, but nothing great. The industrial influences are just not nearly as pronounced as they should be I feel. It’s got this weird sound combination of dirty and slightly melodic that doesn’t quite come together well. It’s also just way too short, i think an added 10 minutes with like an 8 minute track or something would’ve been great. As is nothing is memorable enough to stick at all. I didn’t grow tired of it at least, the sound was unique enough to warrant some of my attention. Just not unique enough for me to give it ALL of my attention.


6.25/10

https://lionsjawbone.bandcamp.com/album/mongrels-light

Dakota Westbrook – When the Snow Falls

Not much to say about this, just very decent lo-fi atmo black. But some of the technical missteps are pretty funny. You have the random 2 minutes of silence at the end of the first track, the acoustic guitar segment on Blood on the Ice that seems like it’s been recorded while the TV plays in the background, and the fact that the dude apparently just forgot to mention the 11 and a half minute final track in the track listing on his bandcamp. The album isn’t exactly spectacular, but it’s a nice enough listen, even if it’s a bit repetitive.


6.75/10

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6ZE3o1dluE&feature=youtu.be

https://dakotawestbrook.bandcamp.com/album/when-the-snow-falls