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Album Reviews Reviews Short Sharp Shock

Short Sharp Shock #35: Prime Blackened Darkness

Welcome to the latest edition of Short Sharp Shock, where we take a look at some of the shorter metal releases that are out there.

A black metal special, you say? Why sure! Let’s do it! Get your ears ready for some prime blackened darkness…

Plague Weaver - Plague WeaverBand(s): Plague Weaver
Title: Plague Weaver
Style(s): Black Metal
Duration: 8 minutes
Release date: March 17, 2019

Here we have a taste of things to, (hopefully), come from this new Canadian band. There are only two songs here, but they’re ripe with promise and potential. This is black metal with an old soul, channeling the spirit of the 80s and 90s mixed. Additionally, we get a doom element that adds a forlorn, emotive layer to things. Melody is rich, but not in the sense that you’d call Plague Weaver melodic black metal. The vocals are expressive and clearly passionate.

Overall, a very strong and enjoyable debut release that successfully balances atmosphere and extremity. Plague Weaver are ones to watch for sure.

Primogenorum - Ye Last OrdealBand(s): Primogenorum
Title: Ye Last Ordeal
Style(s): Black Metal
Duration: 22 minutes
Release date: March 27, 2019

Apparently, this is the last release from Primogenorum, unleashed to mark the 10 year anniversary of their first demo. This is fuzzy, dirty, underground black metal of the most blasphemous and hateful variety. Foul and harsh, but not without atmosphere or twisted melody, these songs are worthy ones for the band to go out on. My favourite track is probably “Ominous Nights,” which lives up to its name with creepy and sinister vibes running through it deeply.

Dratna - An Cath (The Battle)Band(s): Dratna 
Title: An Cath (The Battle)
Style(s): Black Metal
Duration: 28 minutes
Release date: April 20, 2019

Dratna is an Irish one man project that operates in the more atmospheric side of black metal’s varied territories. The sound is raw, but clear, lending the music room to breathe without sacrificing any blackened aesthetics or feel.

Atmospheric in that rather special way that certain 90s black metal bands were, very few bands seem to be able to replicate this today, but Dratna is one of them. The first track – “Shadow of the Mountain” – is probably the most well-realised example of this form of black metal art, but the entire EP is like an ode to the kind of black metal I was listening to back in the day. I particularly like the use of piano.

Apparently, the artist behind Dratna is currently working on a full album. Well, I’d certainly be interested in hearing it after this EP.

Woe - A Violent DreadBand(s): Woe
Title: A Violent Dread
Style(s): Black Metal
Duration: 18 minutes
Release date: March 15, 2019

Woe are one of the more highly regarded and elite black metal bands out there. Having a firm grip on the mastery of combining darkness, melody, and songwriting skill, Woe bless us here with one new song and a cover track, (by Dawn), exemplifying just why the band are so good at what they do.

2017’s Hope Attrition was a stunning record, and I mean it as the largest of compliments when I say that “A Violent Dread” could have come off that album. It’s dark, emotive, and atmospheric, and really draws you into the music. Both this track and the cover song combine together to create a thoroughly enjoyable EP that any black metal fan should make sure they check out.

It seems that Woe’s continued domination of the black metal arena is assured.

Dwell in Solitude - The End of SorrowBand(s): Dwell in Solitude
Title: The End (of Sorrow)
Style(s): Black Metal
Duration: 25 minutes
Release date: April 24, 2019

This Italian act plays a mix of atmospheric, depressive, and post-black metal that is well-written and quite immersive. The music is layered and has plenty of introspective and reflective moments alongside the more distorted sections. Resplendent melody is used well in the tracks, as are tastefully-used synths. The screamed vocals have a kind of static-like feel that I particularly like in my atmospheric black metal, and are put to good use on these songs. I like that acoustic guitars are occasionally used well too, rather than as just aimless filler, and that bass is an actual thing in Dwell in Solitude’s world.

The End (of Sorrow) is a strong release, one which I would heartily recommend for any fan of underground atmospheric darkness.

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