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Diabolicum (Albania)
Angry and aggressive with blazing intensity. Drums sound mixed between real and digital, guitars are reverbed, intense, and very well done. Keys are light and mix with the rest of the sound. Vocals are distorted and grim. Ambient “war” sound effects totally set the atmosphere. Musicianship is decent, production is average.

Amestigon (Austria)
Amazing atmospheric introduction, beautifully executed. Sounds like it belongs in a major motion picture during a climatic battle scene, with slow motion action. The music that follows sounds a bit hollow in comparison, but I blame that mostly on the production. Very well done harmonic Black Metal with excellent vocals.

Asmodeus (Austria)
Explosive, bitter and frozen Black Metal. Vocals are absolutely perfect, be they raging and grim or mournful and clean. Guitars are very well done both in crushing grind and acoustical beauty, drums are hammering, and the overall arrangement is very well done. Musicianship is excellent, production is top of the line. My fave pick is “Embers Of Aeon”.

Golden Dawn (Austria)
The newer material is Power Metal meets Black Metal, with an emphasis on the Power Metal reference. The guitar work is incredible and totally worth hearing. The older material is pure Black Metal. Fans of OMC and older Dimmu will like this band. My fave pick is “My Confession To War”.




Darkflight (Bulgaria)
Thick and very heavy keyboard-driven atmospheric Gothic Black Metal. Haunting and distant guitar moans, lightly offered female vocals, wind instruments, and sparring use of doublekick create a feeling of falling darkness. Main vocals are deep and grim, very well done. My fave pick is “Within The Invaders Army”.

Gorthaur’s Wrath (Croatia)
Thrashing Black Metal with deep Death Metal vocals, very fast and aggressive. Guitarist graduated from Kerry King Soloing with high honors. Has a very late 80’s Trash feel while remaining rooted in aggressive Black Metal. My fave pick is “Shadow Mirrors”.



Granhammer (Denmark)
Very high end Black Metal, uses intros and outros that sound like interludes from a motion picture. If that puts you off, get past it, because the music is blasting and very aggressive. Sweetly sung female vocals provide an excellent contrast the short and hoarse male vocals. The musicianship is expertly executed, especially the drumming. Great melody and atmosphere. My fave pick is “I Killed God”.

Bestia (Estonia)
Very raw in both production and musicianship but the pure energy that shines through. Has a very “old” sound to it, drawing heavily from the early Norwegian sound. Fans of Burzum would like this. My fave pick is “"Need, kes toitsid kotkaid"

Loits (Estonia)
Very heavy and full sound, with a noticeable Viking Metal influence (including the “sing song” chorus). Extremely well done in both production and execution, the musicianship displayed is flawless. With classical acoustic and subdued grinding guitars, bombastic relentless drum assaults, and frozen grim vocals, this is the kind of band that makes me bang my head on instinct alone. I have a difficult time picking a fave from this one, this band just speaks out to me so completely. Check them all out.

Daemonic Alchemy (France)
Melodic but hard driving, with a very energetic tempo throughout. A lot of key work that creates a very uneasy atmosphere. The guitar work is aggressive, the drumming is a hammering attack, and the deep guttural punctuated by high screams make the vocals interesting. Overall, this is well done. Production is off, but it is not so bad that the music is lost. My fave pick is “Merciless”. http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/167/daemonic_alchemy.html

Maleficentia (France)
Incredible full-force blast of vicious and hateful energy, very aggressive Black Metal. Thick keys provide atmosphere, but blastbeats and shredding guitar runs are the meat of this band. The vocals are wretched and hoarse screams, which add the perfect crown to the rest of this effort. Musicianship is excellent, production is decent. My fave pick is “Immortality Through Evil”.

Straasha (France)
Blasting and hateful Black Metal punctuated by acoustical arrangements in some parts, ambient sound effects in others. Vocals are grim and totally bitter, but also have a clean “sing song” choruses throughout that sound very good. Drumming is a vicious attack, the guitars are a buzzing drone, and overall a very dark atmosphere is created. Musicianship is very good, recording is decent. My fave pick is “Chapter 1: A Revelation Beyond Dream”


Aeons Confer (Germany)
Aggressive and blasting Black Metal with brutal and forced Black/Death vocals. Has a lot of highly produced symphonic movements, fans of CoF and Dimmu Borgir take note, you will like this band. My fave pick is “Bringer Of Light”

Insignium (Germany)
Thick intro atmosphere created by keys, but the following assault is raging and very aggressive. Excellent drumming and absolutely perfect vocals carry this through, and the guitar work is great. Nice use of effects, and the acoustic interlude puts a well-timed break in the barrage of sound. Production value is good, and the overall experience leaves me with a good impression of this band. My fave pick is “Mists”.

Matyrium (Germany)
Thick and rich melodic Black Metal with a haunting and mystical atmosphere created by excellent key work and deeply echoed reverb on the guitars. The tempo varies from aggressive and blasting to slow and somber. Vocals are grim and cold, very well done. The drumming is the driving force and is excellent. Production is great, musicianship is very good. My fave pick is “Call Of The Woods”.

Nogbold’s Palace (Germany)
Deep and haunting atmosphere created by heavy use of ultra-reverbed / flanged guitars and very thick keys. Drumming is equally heavy, employing a slower but very involved and bass driven beat most times unless the music is up-tempo. Vocals are overly distorted to where they become a sound instead of a voice with syllables. I really like this. Musicianship is good, production is fair. I’d like to see this with a cleaner recording. My fave pick is “The End Of Life”

Nordafrost (Germany)
Old style Black Metal with a great rhythm, very grim and frozen sound. Musicianship is simplistic but solid, this is a no frills whatsoever offering. Vocals are bitter and hateful, guitars are driving, and the drumming is decent. Good production.

Vinterriket (Germany)
Melodic Black Metal, very key driven with frozen guitars and blasting drums to fill in the rhythm. Perhaps it is the mix, but the keys are too dominant. However, the overall atmosphere achieved is well done. Very heavy in parts, very soft and melodic in others, and excellent vocals throughout. My fave pick is the mighty opus “Das Winterreich” which clocks in at a hefty 16:32.

Deviser (Greece)
Beautifully melodic and menacingly brutal, extraordinary musicianship and a unique approach to a well-known formula in Black Metal. Vocals are absolutely frozen, drumming is amazingly well done, guitars are crushing, and the key work is haunting, in a way it sounds like a Spanish trumpet. Production is excellent. My fave pick is “I Am In Awe”


Ancient Curse (Hungary)
Ranging from slow and heavy to blistering anger, the changeups make for an interesting listen. The opening keys set the atmosphere for the guitars to follow, and the vocals are very well done. The drumming is out of place in the mix, I think it is a drum machine. But notwithstanding, it is a good song.



Eneth (Italy)
They call themselves “Sophisticated Venetian Black art”. I would call them Progressive Black Metal. Heavy on guitars and uses classical instrumentation at times, with decent keys and excellent harsh and frozen vocals. Drumming is very heavy in parts, but overall it’s just “there”. Musicianship is good, production is ok. My fave pick is “Dominion Of Splendor”.

Handful Of Hate (Italy)
Very heavy and aggressive Black Metal. Reminds me a lot of Dark Funeral, and that’s never a bad thing to be reminded of. Drumming is very heavy and explosive, guitars are a constant wall of grinding sound, and vocals (while they do use effects) are frozen and grim. Musicianship is very good, production is decent. If this band puts out a CD, I’ll buy it.

Hiems (Italy)
Very raw Black Metal in both intent and production. One man project. Guitars are grinding, drums programmed. Vocals are shrieking, bitter, and hateful. Don’t let the production put you off; this is decent minimalist Black Metal. My fave pick is “As Life Fades Away…”

Garden Of Sadness (Poland)
Grim and aggressive Black Metal, very low end on production but the intended sound comes through and clear. Guitars range from grinding and harsh to light acoustical. Drums are via drum machine. Keys are sweeping and atmospheric. Vocals are bitter and grim. Musicianship is decent, production is low. My fave pick is "Droga Ku Nicości"

Amphion (Portugal)
Powerful and darkly melodic Black Metal. Very cold and distant feeling achieved through thickly reverbed guitars and echoed screeching vocals. Hard driving rhythms and aggressive drumming throughout, no frills such as keyboard or effects to be found. Good production, excellent musicianship. My fave pick is “The Crow Of My Sun”.

Celtic Dance (Portugal)
Slow and crushing old-style Black Metal with well-timed changeups to a more energetic rhythm, then breaks back down. The vocals are excellent, the guitar work is simplistic but well done, and the drumming is very effective with sparing use of blastbeats. Production is a bit off, but it doesn’t detract from the music much.

Flagellum Dei (Portugal)
Aggressive, raw, and minimal Black Metal. Blasting aggression and intense energy drives this sound. Reminiscent of the old Norwegian sound. Guitars are hard driving, drums are blazing fast, vocals are truly bitter and grim. Musicianship is good, production is ok. (Note- Flagellum Dei are on a shared label site, all three songs are not Flagellum Dei)

Requiem Laus (Portugal)
High-end Black Metal with some Death Metal influences. Incredible and inventive drumming, fantastic guitar work, and decent vocals. Overall tempo is very aggressive, and there is a lot of great melody here. Production is outstanding, musicianship is perfect. My fave pick is “Eternal Plague”.

Walpurgis Nacht (Portugal)
Amazingly bitter and grim frozen Black Metal. Vocals are chilling. Keys are well done and contribute to the overall atmosphere. Guitar work is decent, and the drumming is very well done. Musicianship is very good; production is a bit off but does not take away from the music. My fave pick is “Whence The Shadows Spawned…”

Avatar (Romania)
Mid-tempo melodic Black Metal with Death Metal influences. Guitars harmonize well, drumming is powerful regardless of speed, and vocals are well executed with harsh high tones and deep growls. Light keys add to the atmosphere. Musicianship is very good, production is decent.

Negura Bunget (Romania)
Ranging from blasting assaults to heavy atmosphere, an endless wall of sound is created through blasting drums, shredding guitars, and good key work. Production is murky, but not bad. The vocals are cold screams and done well. Musicianship is very good. My fave pick is “A-Vant In Abis”.

Vokodlok (Romania)
Pure Black Metal, no frills or gimmicks. This band stands solely on the honestly of their approach and intent. Production is a bit raw, but better than many I have heard. The bass portion of the drums sounds like they are programmed, but the rest of the drumming is real (you can tell from the disparity of recording quality between the two different sounds). The vocals are grim and bitter, and overall, this band is Black Metal the way it used to be done. My fave pick is “Ars Occulta”

Empty Horde (Spain)
Hard frozen and bitter sound, accomplished with deeply echoed vocals and a constant wall of sound. The drumming is simplistic but effective, as well as the grinding guitars. No frills here, this is Black Metal done the old way.

Hallstatt (Spain)
Raw, pure, and minimal Black Metal done the old way. Intense drum rhythm, shredding guitar, and hoarse throated vocals. Nothing pretty or nice here, this is totally hateful. Production is low, musicianship is simplistic. My fave pick is “Return To Battlefield”.

Mysterion Noctum (Ukraine)
Hard driving Black Metal played the old way. Has very distinct influences. Overall atmosphere is dark and distant. Guitars grind endlessly, drumming is hard driven, and vocals are frozen and grim (ala thick reverb). Musicianship is decent, production is low but not bad. My fave pick is “Noch Temna”.

Nokturnal Mortum (Ukraine)
Eclectic Black Metal, ranging anywhere from traditional folk instruments to thick ambient keys, to outright full-force blasting assaults. Very well done in all aspects.
Vocals use too much distortion. My fave pick is “The Funeral Wind Born In Orian”.

All My Sins (Yugoslavia)
Raw and simplistic Black Metal, very aggressive in parts. Heavy on guitars, drums are lost a bit in the mix and are used mostly to maintain a beat, they are sufficient but nothing amazing. Vocals are hateful and grim, very raw. Musicianship is off a bit, as is the tuning of the guitars. Production is low. My fave pick is “In The Apocalyptic Dream She Arrived”.