ALBUM REVIEW: Svalbard – The Weight Of The Mask


I’ve been looking forward to wrapping my ears around Svalbard’s new material after catching snippets of what was to come when I caught them live supporting Russian Circles and Cult Of Luna over in Berlin earlier in 2023. And landing that European tour signified a fine start to a year which has also seen the Bristol based band sign for Nuclear Blast Records, with The Weight Of The Mask their first album for the prestigious new label and their first collection of new songs since the excellent When I Die, Will I Get Better? which was released on Church Road Records back in 2020.

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ALBUM REVIEW: The Sun’s Journey Through The Night- Worldless


Whilst perhaps not as highly regarded for the genre as the likes of Norway, the United Kingdom does have a formidable pedigree for producing Black Metal, whether that being down to recognisable names such as Cradle Of Filth up to a current and brilliant crop including the likes of Underdark and Dawn Ray’d. Adding to these ranks are the enigmatic The Sun’s Journey Through The Night, led by vividly masked architect No One (and now joined by equally mysterious Corvus, Deimos, and Lune) and quickly growing a formidable reputation following three, contrasting, full-length albums encompassing raw Black Metal and a full ambient release, plus several smaller releases and demos, leading up to this, their fourth full-length and most realised and adventurous work to date.

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Svalbard Shares a New Single and Video “Faking It” – New Album Incoming

UK Blackend Death Metal band Svalbard are proud to announce their ardently anticipated new studio album, The Weight Of The Mask, due out on October 6th via Nuclear Blast Records. White-hot new single ‘Faking It’ has also been revealed, accompanied by a video. The track lays bare a poignant, candid account of dealing with depression and coming to the realization that you are “faking it” to just get by. Watch the video now and pre-order the album at the links below.

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Skaldic Curse – Devourer

Skaldic Curse was a band from UKBMs early 2000’s heyday, featuring members of Fen, Akercocke, and other contemporaries. Sadly, defunct after their second album World Suicide Machine I must admit I was rather surprised to see this album in my inbox for review as they officially split up back in 2011.Continue reading

Fen – Winter

Of all the grandchildren of heavy metal subgenres, one of the most precocious and still burgeoning is atmospheric black metal. As my colleague Richie HR noted in his recent new column for Ghost Cult, it seems that even the most mainstream bands are reaching for opportunities to expand their sonic palettes to include the more unconventional, and extreme styles. However, time and time again we return to the underground to seek greatness, from those who follow their own path, and eschew typical glory. One of those bands is Fen.Continue reading

Crom Dubh – Heimweh


Since their previous album, Omnia Mutantur (self-released), was a collection of their demos and EP, Heimweh (Ván Records) is technically the first full-length album by Black Metal band Crom Dubh. This London-based quartet has been writing Viking-themed music since 2003, and show their experience and skill on this album.

Upon seeing the track list I was immediately intrigued by not one but two two-part songs; namely ‘Cutting Teeth’ and ‘Kings’. In both cases the first part is a short instrumental piece that serves as a gentler introduction to the heavy second part. The guitar lines on ‘Cutting Teeth’ have enough variation to keep things interesting, and the blastbeats are on point. The grunts are also quite varied and sometimes the vocal lines combines with the guitars have a little of that folk-metal vibe. That folky feel comes back at several points later on the album but most clearly in the guitar lines in ‘Sedition’.

In ‘Kings I’ the band shows that they are capable of great subtlety, with not only a gentle but dark melody coming through on one side, but also a corresponding echo on the other. I would have liked the intro to have a bit more of a build up to the main event, but because ‘Kings II’ continues in the same chord it at least sounds like it belongs together. ‘Kings II’ shows a much greater amount of variation than the previous songs, and it really works rather well. The sound is still dark, but the alternating melodies of the guitars open the piece up and make it really enjoyable and captivating to listen to.

All in all, this is a very interesting Black Metal album with some hints of folk. I want to mention that the drumming is absolutely phenomenal and carries the music very well. The rhythms are always effective and interesting, and the fills spice things up nicely. Just listen to ‘The Invulnerable Tide’ and you’ll understand what I mean.

A thoroughly enjoyable listen, and the band can take great pride in having this as their first full album.



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