Metal Storm logo
The Best Melodic Black Metal Album - Metal Storm Awards 2020





The last time ...And Oceans released a full-length studio album was in 2002, when, as we all know, the world was perfectly all right. Despite allowing nearly two decades to pass before their return to the high life in an anagrammatic year, ...And Oceans's piston-like percussion has not slowed, nor its demonic synthesizers softened, nor its ferociously frigid riffs melted. With choirs in attendance and a predilection for atmospheric enlargement that sometimes veers from grandiose symphony to industrial-style electronics, Cosmic World Mother's shocking heaviness is matched by its compositional ambitions. The production carefully blurs these elements together, imbuing the many layers with an almost dreamlike quality; it's a dream haunted by black clouds and primordial evils, of course, but the enveloping darkness of Cosmic World Mother is a nightmare you won't mind surrendering to.

Apple Music / Deezer / Spotify / YouTube Music / YouTube

›› Full review...
Cult Of Fire returned 7 years after मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान with not one, but two albums. Both being around 35 minutes and being able to fit on a single record made the separate releasing a bit weird, especially since the two albums aren't that different, but Nirvana remained more memorable than Moksha simply because its melodic and compelling atmospheres elevated it to something more soaring and epic without compromising the Vedic theme and the pummeling black metal of it, perhaps because the organic atmospheres actually make it sound a tad more spiritual.

Bandcamp / Apple Music / Deezer / Spotify / YouTube Music / YouTube

›› Full review...
Moving away over the years from their rapid blast-laden era, the iconic Dark Fortress find themselves setting their sights on a darker atmosphere this time around, pushing their already intense playstyle to the next level with daunting melodies and eerie keyboard passages that lay the groundwork for more experimental songwriting structures. Following in the footsteps of its more recent predecessors, Spectres From The Old World also isn't ashamed of its prog influences, and the resulting variation in tempo and extremity along with its technical delivery provides layers of material to dissect and analyze.

Apple Music / Deezer / Spotify / YouTube Music

›› Full review...
The Funeral Pyre blends Swedish melodic black metal with second-wave Norwegian black metal and '80s thrash/speed metal, but Kvaen is really its own blizzard beast playing music that brings the glaciers, the darkness, and the fog of the Nordic lands into your living room. If you manage to get past the opening track, "Revenge By Fire", without having destroyed the replay button, you will be rewarded with seven more songs that breathe fire across frostbitten landscapes. Get on with the times - Blashyrkh is so nineties; welcome to Kvenland!

Bandcamp / Apple Music / Deezer / Spotify / YouTube Music / YouTube

›› Full review...
Slovakia's Malokarpatan take late first-wave black metal in the vein of Master's Hammer and apply a folk horror filter over it. Based on some pretty nasty history, Krupinské Ohne thrives by taking an olden sound and providing enough oddball moments of synths and folk instruments to throw some conventions off the rails. But that is done sporadically enough that it has to rely on the strength of its riffs and the creepiness of its atmospheres. And you can bet the riffs are strong and the atmosphere creepy.

Bandcamp / Apple Music / Deezer / Spotify / YouTube Music

›› Full review...
Two years after Mark Of The Necrogram, Necrophobic decided to reveal its twin brother. Dawn Of The Damned is chock full of icy, melodic death and black metal the way Dissection once made it, with infernal riffs raging like wildfire, extravagant leads, and breathtaking solos, as well as groove created by the forces of the damned battling in the thunderstorm. Such back-to-back brilliance between albums may have been impossible for most bands, but Necrophobic pulled it off.

Apple Music / Deezer / Spotify / YouTube Music

›› Full review...
The cover is a sea of gorgeous hues. The title acknowledges the existence of the sun. How far does this bizarre coloration extend into what is ostensibly a black metal album? Well, sure, the blast beats are there, the tremolo-picked, minor-key guitar lines are there, the smeared echoes of wistful screams are there, and a vein of bitterness infects the melodic instincts of Skyforest, but A New Dawn is a fantastically vivid album. The music is awash with as many colors as the packaging, full of strings, synths, clean vocals, and keenly emotional melodies that check the traditionally chaotic temper of black metal; there are only six tracks, each a journey in itself, offering not merely one mood or one idea but the complete experience of climbing that mountain on the cover, throwing yourself into nature, feeling the rain, hearing the trees, whispering into the wind, and persevering through your travails, growing with each step. When you finally crest the top to gaze out over the valley, taking in the breadth of your journey, this is what you will hear.

Bandcamp / Apple Music / Deezer / Spotify / YouTube Music

›› Full review...
Livslede is an altogether emotional undertaking that traverses the most anguished, remorseful recesses of your mind while deviously alleviating all sense of internal guilt with its beautiful, grandiose melodies and wall-of-sound synth waves. Sunken may not be a household name in the scene yet, but this sudden push into the elite rankings with one of the lushest and most immersive experiences in the atmospheric black metal realm should raise expectations substantially with regards to future material, as this all-encompassing masterclass in bittersweet torment still retains potential for growth in the years to come.

Bandcamp / Apple Music / Deezer / Spotify / YouTube Music

›› Full review...
The saloon piano of "The Curtain Pulls Back" sets the stage for the next journey into the Old American West. Beyond that, Wayfarer display their characteristic atmo-black sound, bringing the sparseness of that period to life with their signature guitar tones, whether blackened or clean, their compelling use of melody, and their stellar compositional skills. Adding in additional little elements, such as occasional but effective use of synths, to further enrich their sound, the group build upon the momentum from their previous album and further mature their sound, culminating in the impressively theatrical closing track "Vaudeville", featuring Kelly Schilling of fellow Coloradan band Dreadnought.

Bandcamp / Apple Music / Deezer / Spotify / YouTube Music / YouTube

›› Full review...
Drawing from the experience of their prior acoustic deviation, Winterfylleth's neofolk influences are on full display in The Reckoning Dawn, a pristine offering of epic, soaring leads that establish an anthemic vibe persisting through to the album's finale. Delivering more of what led to their positive reception dating back to their debut, this is a mesmerizing picture painted with every color of the uplifting, accessible tones of black metal without losing momentum despite shifting gears throughout.

Bandcamp / Apple Music / Deezer / Spotify / YouTube Music

›› Full review...