Thrice BlackenedYou know how these roundups work, so let's get to the black metal.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Bölzer has managed to be blistering, pure, and old-school, while writing songs that get stuck in my head for a good, long while. They haven't been terribly prolific, but maybe that's the key to success in an age of over-saturation: Make damn sure that every song you release is going to blow everyone's mind. That way, people pay attention. These two songs are worth more than your typical full-length release.
Fiends at Feast / Tragic Death: Purgatory Rites
3.5 out of 5 stars
Fiends at Feast start Purgatory Rites with an awkward-sounding spoken-word intro. Then it breaks into high-speed, deathened black metal* of a high caliber, broken up with an eerie interlude. Tragic Death take over, playing more deathened black metal, but with a cadence and epic sensibility that hints at Bathory's Viking metal period. Unfortunately they aren't as succinct as they could be.
* Does anyone else hate when they read that term? Yeah, but I'm using it anyway.
Weeping, Kneeling: Blood of Ritual
3 out of 5 stars
I listened to Blood of Ritual because, in my head, I had confused the atmospheric black metal band Weeping, Kneeling with the black/doom band Wound Upon Wound. While I am utterly disappointed that I couldn't hear more Wound Upon Wound, this is actually not bad for atmospheric black metal. The songs are short enough and different enough. But as good as it is, there are a lot of things I'd rather be listening to.