Today, I’ve found a couple (more) really great black-aligned releases + plus some inventive post-prog and some totally sunless doom

Throane – Derrière-Nous, La Lumière (Debemur Morti Productions)

Sometimes when I put on a new release I can have these expectations of the album being something pretty standard – it’s not always quite clear why, it can be the album cover, something I read, whatever…

And every once in a while, what I then hear totally wrecks those expectations, completely exposing me as a sad, prejudiced bastard. Derrière-Nous, La Lumière is one of those albums.

Going in expecting some standard black metal, this album is instead filled to the brim with fantastic, playful, experimenting atmospheric black metal, overwhelming the ears with an ever-changing sonic assault of slowly writhing, sinister soundscapes. The compositions have an almost neo-classical sensibility that makes the album one of the most immersive I’ve encountered for some time.

Debuts like this is what makes spending time with new music so rewarding.

Sioum – Yet Further (self-released)

Labelling themselves as “Post-metal, as well as progressive influence are often noted”, Sioum are actually much more in the experimental vein, and they do of course also confess that ” many broad (and unusual) influences, such as contemporary classical and chiptune, can be heard”

And while structurally and emotionally they can be banded into some kind of post-prog, (being both structurally and rhythmically proggy, as well as emotionally on the side of modern post) they surpass both genres in their playful approach to creating beautiful music that seems to have you drawing deep, life-sustaining breaths while sending out your thoughts towards the unknown. You might not know what’s beyond the next bridge (or even bar), but rest assured it will be interesting and fulfilling.

Haast’s Eagled – II: For Mankind (Holy Roar Records)

With vocals dripping with despair and entwined with growls so brutal and evil they sound like something coming from the deepest bowels of hell (or from the overseers office in some asian slave-based sweatshop) on top of this slow, relentlessly crunching funerary doom, the stage is set for the demise of everything we hold dear.

Mind you, like every decay, it is not without some inert beauty – painfully so – and the question remains whether this is what’s left for mankind, or this is a final attempt at a warning for mankind.

Whichever it is, this is a formidable album, and its release right at the onset of summer hereabouts works wonders to turn the sun black…

Sektemtum – Panacea (Osmose Productions)

What seemed to start off as a regular, standard black metal album, hooked me on the second track and slowly proceeded to draw me in for the rest of a pretty remarkable album. The almost funky guitar/drum-riff that starts off Ebony Grand Master is but the beginning of an adventurous trip through all kinds of “let’s see what we can add to this track to further the experience” songwriting.

Drawing much more heavily on both punk, noise, and tribal rhythms than your average contemporary retro-black album, Panacea is rebellious in the way black metal was rebellious during the beginning of the second wave (and to be frank, the way punk was, when it was a toddler) – raising its collective middle-fingers in a defining shrug of indifference towards anything other than doing it their own way.

In fact, rather than label this as retro, it really makes a lot more sense to call it a restart – and to set Panacea as a kind of new standard to rally around