Outlaw, Reaching Beyond Assiah (AOP 2023)

Brazil’s Outlaw adds new essential black metal to their canon with their third album, Reaching Beyond Assiah.

Outlaw started in São Paulo, Brazil in 2015, and they have already made an indelible impression on heavy music with their two previous albums and the 2021 EP Death Miasma. Mixing and merging traditional black metal formulations with more melodic passages and temperate stances, they have over the years, created music that is immediately recognizable. The band has seen a number of lineup shakeups, and now, according to The Metal Archives, is founder Daniel Souza (vocals, guitar), with Amilcar Rizk (bass) and Tommi Tuhkala (drums).

The first of seven songs on the new album is “Bliss of Soul.” The music rises from a deep pit, bursting to the surface with edges and spikes. After the initial flurry, the rhythm settles down into a steady crunch, punctuated by sudden eruptions. “To Burn This World And Dissolve The Flesh” is a charging attack from the beginning, and as the battle engages, the ferocity intensifies. In between the surges, the steady romp keeps the momentum headed in a determinable direction before and after the melancholic cooldown in the middle. “Beyond The Realms of God” holds a different mirror up at first. Quiet, pondering, lyrical. We know that can’t last, though, don’t we, and true to our expectations, the black metal standard takes the reigns. Excellent.

“The Unending Night” and “Everything That Becomes Nothing” sound very much like traditional formulations along genre lines while “The Serpent’s Chant” diverges notably in vocalizations and with a short, calm interlude. The final plank in the coffin is the album’s namesake, “Reaching Beyond Assiah.” This song encapsulates what the band stands for musically and can be taken as a wrap-up to the set and, more generally, a mission statement of the band. The melodic elements enhance the black metal underpinning here and throughout the record, elevating the compositions. Recommended.

Reaching Beyond Assiah is out on Friday, March 31st through AOP Records. In the US, Bandcamp is a good place to pick up the physicals.


Bandcamp, https://outlaw218.bandcamp.com/album/reaching-beyond-assiah

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/OutlawBlackMetal

AOP Records, http://www.aoprecords.de/

© Wayne Edwards

Outlaw, Reaching Beyond Assiah (AOP 2023)

Spiral Skies, Death Is But A Door (AOP Records 2022)

Radio-friendly heavy psych band Spiral Skies release their second album, Death Is But A Door.

Centered in Stockholm, Sweden , Spiral Skies is a band of mystery. They released an EP in 2015 called A Queendom To Come, and their debut full-length album, Blues For A Dying Planet (2018), attracted good notices. Their musical style is an amalgam of 1970s and 1980s European rock themes combined with a light version of heavy psych, perhaps designed to reach a broader audience than a heavy stoner vibe likely would. The band is Frida Eurenius (vocals), Dan Svanljung (guitar, key, didgeridoo), Jonas Lyander (guitar), Eric Sandberg (bass), and Daniel Bäckman (drums).

There are nine tracks on the album, starting with “The Endless Sea” which begins sweetly then turns toward the aggressively dramatic before you have a chance to get fully settled in. The shifting landscape in this composition signals what is to come. Not every song plays with this much variety, but a good deal of ground is covered throughout the set. “Into The Night,” for example, is a peppy, radio-friendly song, and a diversion from its predecessor. It reminds me a little of some of the music by Demon I used to listen to in the eighties, except more lyrical and, well, better.

“Time” is a track to look out for as it has nice lead guitar work. The closer, “Mirror Of Illusion,” is quiet and reflective, and it turned out to be a favorite of mine as well. The music is very listenable. Frida Eurenius’ voice is beautiful to hear, and the compositions are engaging and approachable. The guitar-driven light stoner vibe is just the ticket when you are in that place in your head. Recommended.

Death Is But A Door is out through AOP Records on Friday, March 25th. Links below.


Bandcamp, https://spiralskies.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/spiralskies

AOP Records, http://www.aoprecords.de/

© Wayne Edwards. All rights reserved.

Spiral Skies, Death Is But A Door (AOP Records 2022)

Anomalie, Tranceformation (AOP Records 2021)

The fourth album from Austrian band Anomalie spins a preternatural web of post-black metal: Tranceformation.

Aomalie is Christian “Marrok” Brauch, joined by Lukas Schlintl on drums and percussion. Operating under this name for just over a decade, Anomalie has released three previous long-players and the EP Integra (2018).

The new album is an induced trance in six movements. The opening track is absolutely mesmerizing. It is not too much to call it hypnotic. The black metal elements are clear but they are not as prominent as the comely vocals and the melodic guitar entreaties. The percussion is held at a subdued level in the mix but the playing wicked indeed. This is “Trance I: The Tree” and if it was the only song on the album I would be satisfied, but it is only the beginning.

“Relics” is next and it lays down a pulsing groove. The track is nine minutes long and by the end you are sorry to see it go because the composition somehow keeps you transfixed the entire time. The movement from melodic to coarser vocals is seamless and occurs in synch with unseen powers that, while unexplained, make perfect sense. “Alive” is quieter overall but has some of the most urgent guitar work in its midst. By this point I was completely absorbed in the music and I had only heard side one.

The back half of the trance-set continues the work of the first part. I don’t know what I expected from this album, but what I heard was fantastic. Calling the music post-black metal isn’t wrong, but it doesn’t cover it, either. Cross-over and fusion music is sometimes disappointing because it ends up with too much of one thing or not enough of the other. But Anomalie has created something that is completely different from its constituent parts where the balance is unassailable.

Set aside some time to be taken away because when this album is on your attention cannot go anywhere else. Highly recommended.

Tranceformation is out now through AOP Records. In the US, Bandcamp is the one-stop shop.


Bandcamp, https://anomalie-official.bandcamp.com/album/tranceformation

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/The.Anomalie.Experience

AOP Records, http://www.aoprecords.de/

Anomalie, Tranceformation (AOP Records 2021)