Top 10 Black Metal Albums of 2008
Happy New Year! 2009 has arrived, and it’s time to list my favorite Black Metal albums from the now previous year. As a bonus, I made a short film counting down each album, with a sample song and artwork from each. Enjoy!
And the list…
10. I SHALT BECOME – WANDERINGS
This USBM solo project, a decade dormant, resurges in a cloud of melancholy, atmospheric Black Metal. A stronger effort that the stale debut Wanderings, Requiem presents a clearer production and more use of synthesizers to paint a depressive picture. For fans of the mellower side of the genre.
9. NEO INFERNO 262 – HACKING THE HOLY CODE
Industrial Black Metal is a hit-or-miss genre. This attempt is a French “supergroup” of members from Antaeus, Arkhon Infaustus and Vorkreist. They do it right, with twisted riffs and eclectic samples set over trance beats and inhuman blast volleys. There’s never a dull moment on this, one of the most unique albums I’ve yet to hear.
8. LEVIATHAN – MASSIVE CONSPIRACY AGAINST ALL LIFE
This is Wrest’s magnum opus. Years of countless demos and splits culminate in this moment of grandeur. The Deathspell Omega influences help, but it’s Leviathan at its core. The scariest part, though, is that Wrest claims to have a few similar albums waiting in the wings.
7. VENEFICIUM – DE OCCULTA PHILOSOPHIA: A MISSAE TENEBRAE
This is symphonic Black Metal taken to the next level. Rather than laying synths over a Metal track, Veneficium play classical music with Black Metal instrumentation. Backed by strings and a mighty organ, the compositions ebb and flow with uncompromising power.
6. ARCKANUM – ANTIKOSMOS
Shamanistic ritual meets straight-up Black Metal styling. Their first full-length in a decade busts out crunchy, catchy and epic riffs, organic drumming and signature vocals.
5. NACHTMYSTIUM – ASSASSINS: BLACK MEDDLE PT. 1
2006’s Instinct: Decay was the perfect fusion of dark, ethereal Black Metal and psychedlic rock. This year’s output is the natural progression from that, and the Pink Floyd influence is now at the forefront. While they can never top their ’06 opus, Assassins delivers sufficient force drenched in trippy effects.
4. DARKESTRAH – THE GREAT SILK ROAD
I’m not much a fan of Folk/Black Metal, but when your native land is Kyrgyzstan, the ethnic flavors are most appetizing. This unique formula of Middle Eastern melodies and epic/melancholy riffing (provided by the German Anti) combine into a tour de force, celebrating centuries of tradition with a modern approach. And if their sound isn’t unique enough, they sport a rare female vocalist.
3. AVERSE SEFIRA – ADVENT PARALLAX
My first experience with this trio was at a show in New Hampshire. There I made this the first 2008 album I purchased (and got autographed) and it’s held up for many months against competing releases. Ironically, this band from Texas pen incredibly complex, “intellectual” Black Metal (just read the lyrics).
2. DARKSPACE – DARK SPACE III
This release blew through my soul like a supernova. This space-themed syndicate are masters of atmospheric Black Metal. Their third album combines their relentless debut with the maturity of its followup (Dark Space II), and stands a the Swiss’ best yet. My best description for this album is “being eternally blown in and out of a black hole.”
1. BEHEXEN – MY SOUL FOR HIS GLORY
This band took me completely by surprise. Since I picked up this gem in July I fell in love with these Finns’ whole discography. Of all the excellent efforts affording my ears this year, this is the one that struck the deepest nerve and gave me lasting pleasure through dozens of listens. Please check out my review of this victorious album.
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