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Terra Relicta Top 20 Of 2017



01. Au Champ Des Morts
- Dans La Joie
02. Peter Bjärgö
- Animus Retinentia
03. Phallus Dei
- Black Dawn
04. Saille
- Gnosis
05. Black Anvil
- As Was
06. Heretoir
- The Circle
07. Last Leaf Down
- Bright Wide Colder
08. Bitterfeldt
- Götzen.Dämmerung
09. Elegi
- Bånsull
10. Isenordal
- Shores Of Mourning

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Draugnim - Vulturine (2016) - Review

Band: Draugnim
Album title: Vulturine
Release date: 11 March 2016
Label: Debemur Morti Productions

Tracklist:
01. That Name Is Hate
02. As In Hunger, So In Demise
03. A Passage In Fire
04. Grief Unsung
05. Drums Of Black Death
06. Serpent Stone

When the news of Draugnim's newest creation came to be, I was absolutely thrilled. Not only because I craved a good atmospheric black metal album and knew that Draugnim can flawlessly deliver it, but also because after many years of silence, I simply thought they called it quits. What started as a one man-project by Morior in 1999, Draugnim came to life when Chimedra joined shortly after and soon a release of their first demo Paynim Crusade followed. After three more demo recordings, Northwind's Ire, the band's startling debut finally came in 2008 and in two years its successor, Horizon's Low followed and so Draugnim made a name for themselves in the pagan/atmospheric black metal scene. But then everything went quiet and as you may assume, purely bureaucratic issues followed, up until this year, when Vulturine came to life - without any pompous or false promises. And it was clear to me by just one listen Draugnim still have it, as they have again delivered an album filled with dense, harrowing and excruciating atmosphere, painted in various shades of black and veiled in mists of northern folklore.

A six track album can be described in one word as nothing less than grandiose. Lengthy compositions flow from one to another so seemingly effortless, so as you enter the dark realm of Vulturine you witness one epic tale, being told by the songs. The solid foundation of melodic black metal peculiarly intertwines with features of pagan metal and the result is a powerful album, filled with savage dynamics and ghastly ambient. The opening track "That Name Is Hate" starts with a solemn sound of falling rain and then swiftly changes its charge to a full blasting melody. The use of steady guitar riffs and blasting rhythm section is enhanced by the melodic use of keyboards and haunting vocals, which it strangely reminded me of early Moonspell from their Goat On Fire/Wolves From The Fog and Under The Moonspell EPs or even their sisterly project Daemonarch, which came quite as a surprise to me, as I haven't heard anything like it since… well, never actually. Not to sound like Draugnim is a copycat though, as the song magnificently develops further until it reaches that very intense and majestic ambient I was bringing out earlier. The tales of northern folklore, battles, nature and disasters are rooted strongly in Draugnim's sound, so even if you are not familiar with the lyrics, you will fill the soundscapes bring out the story solely by itself. The pagan side of Draugnim is even more enhanced in the following "As in Hunger, So in Demise", especially when it shifts in the second half of the track, where it hits will all its charge. "A Passage In Fire" in contrast is build around the foundation of sharp, genuine black metal, with fast drumming, uncompromising guitar riffs and passion-filled, tenebrous growls. As the title already suggests, "Grief Unsung" then sinks the album in the more slow, doom-ish and morbid direction and in a similar manner follows the closing "Serpent Stone".

So you see, what makes Vulturine so distinctive are many aspects, which impact the kinetic energy of distinguishable soundscapes delivered on this album – it's like all pieces of puzzle fit together in one big, massive and dismal picture. The play of contrast, brought by peculiar use of instruments is strongly emphasized by Chimedra's astonishing vocal performance, as his versatile use of death growls strike as a scream of profound agony, as well as depict a more deathly and warlike ambient and together it flows with an emotional charge of each and every track with absolute brilliancy. Draugnim have again released an album with a power to put a nightmarish spell on you, from the first to the last second. Its fiery passion, flamboyant, yet not too pushy or over the head theatrical sensation is truly one of a kind. Vulturine is not only a must for Draugnim fans, as it follows the signature sound of their first two albums, but an album, which should stay in good graces of anyone who is seeking for a strong and versatile atmospheric black metal release.

Review written by: Ines
Rating: 9/10

Recommended by Terra Relicta

Band: Ugasanie
Album title: The Dark Side
Release date: 19 September 2015
Label: Black Mara Records

Ugasanie takes a vacation from his often polar dark ambient style, to give us a truly eerie album! White Silence's “To The Lord Of The Polar Desert With Seven Faces” and “Arctic Hysteria” on Call Of The North gave us a hint of some of the creepier territory that Ugasanie was comfortable in. However these tracks were part of greater polar-themed albums. The Dark Side takes us to a whole new place with Ugasanie, down the deep dark corridors of the underworld itself. The Dark Side is an ode to death and eternity, where you will hear field recordings captured in places such as morgues and cemeteries. It is a prayer to Mara, the Slavic goddess associated with seasonal rites based on the idea of death and rebirth of nature. She is associated with death, winter, and nightmares. A very fitting patroness for Ugasanie and a fitting name for the fledgling label Black Mara, which specializes in dark ambient. The darkness Ugasanie portrays here is as cinematic as it is unnerving, yet it is never too harsh or overwhelming for the listener. It holds us tightly in Mara’s embrace and keeps us there from beginning to end. Ugasanie has shown us the darkness of Mara, goddess of death, in a brilliant collection of tracks. This album is highly recommended for any fan of dark ambient with equal amounts of subtlety and aggression.

Read a full review HERE