The Best Melodic Black Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2017





Ulfven is enveloped in a cold black metal atmosphere and brilliantly merges Ereb Altor's Viking metal with Swedish folk melodies. Thick power chords and thundering percussion go hand-in-hand with epic clean vocals and harsh and raspy roars, while airy keyboards add a more melodic flair. Filled with Bathory nostalgia and Quorthon-inspired riffs, Ulfven is the soundtrack narrating the glory of warriors travelling to Valhalla.

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Winter was released in the spring. That makes the matter of the title a little awkward, but the somber progressions of this album are as biting and menacing as any frost-covered blizzard beast. Even the stillest and most withdrawn passages, wherein Fen exercise their post-rock muscle, are no more relaxing or comforting than the all-out, howling black metal. Fen put a lot of stock in building atmosphere, and that's what you get in spades for 75 minutes, but that doesn't just *happen* - that comes from powerful performances and a unified sense of direction that make Winter a classic for all seasons.

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We Owe You Nothing features Forgotten Tomb's trademark melodies and dissonant arpeggios, but also showcases an emphasis on slower/mid-tempo songwriting and a sludgier approach in their sound. With beefy sludge/doom riffs, a subtle, nihilistic punk attitude, and the surprising Obituary-like vocals, We Owe You Nothing reaffirms this band's uniqueness, achieved by constant evolution.

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Strings, keys, and choirs frame Gnosis in a rather gothic manner; there's certainly some texture of ancient, fustian horror tomes in Saille's sound. But before we start waxing too classical, let's keep in mind that this is melodic black metal, and Saille is about the most aggressive and up-tempo artist you'll find in this category. Impassioned black metal with high production values is a dangerous thing...

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Ghostlands - Wounds From A Bleeding Earth is influenced by classic Swedish black metal, Viking metal and Scandinavian folk. Brutal male growls are combined with the ethereal female voice of Alexandra Moqvist and crushingly heavy guitars turn into heavenly melodic leads. Add the mellowness of synths and violin and lose yourself in stunning atmosphere while experiencing a vast range of emotions. Wormwood's debut is a gem from start to finish.

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