2021 and The Extreme: Black, Death, and the Arcane!

RockmusicRaider - 2021 and The Extreme. Black, Death, and the Arcane!

Some years have a darker more ominous feel to them. And 2021 surely exudes those waves of additional woe in more ways than one, and we’re not quite done with it yet. At least that is what these first few months up to August taught us. And in truth, our late prog and alt harvest already spoke to that. Great findings for sure from metal bands of the light, but sparse pickings nonetheless.

On the other hand, the picture is much different from the extreme folks in the metal multiverse. This year, an avalanche of distorted sounds of the arcane kind emerged so far. And many of those largely remarkable records come from bands that suddenly came back from the dead.

But it’s not only the somewhat morose year, of course. We’re kinda wallowing in the dark and devious this year, that’s indeed true. But – little fun fact – the coverage of Black, Death, and Extreme Metal at RMR traditionally netted around 25% or so of all reviews. And that – of course – means that we’re a predominantly heavy and – yes – extreme ‘zine.

Also, this time there is a trend to the madness. Framed extremism, if you will. Can you spot it? How many of the bands originate from a predominantly French-speaking area in our short list below? It’s actually amazing, and we’re not making this up or did it on purpose.

Now, to sweeten yer reading pleasure, RMR has a somewhat lengthy playlist ready for you. Just hit the link and let ‘er roar while you browse our selection. Oh, and do like, follow, and share without restrictions. We always appreciate it.

And as always, this is not some preview of a future Top 10, only a selection of records that piqued our interest so far. There’s much more to be reviewed with blackened extremes galore. The year ain’t finished until it is.

But now, here’s to the juiciest findings of the year 2021 to date.


Exanimis – Marionnettiste

RockmusicRaider - Exanimis - Marionnettiste - Album Cover

I admit. At first, we were taken aback by a clone of Fleshgod Acopalypse from France that suddenly made its appearance. But that’s unfair, of course, and the sentiment quickly dissipated into nothingness. Instead, we found ourselves with one of the most intriguing Extreme Metal records 2021 has on offer to date. Steeped in Death Metal and adorned with as many symphonic and technical injections as you can possibly imagine, this record truly rearranged our hairdo. With all that abundant professionalism going on, one often forgets that this is Exanimis’ debut full-length album. And I daresay, it does make me wonder just how they will be improving on that one. But everything once the time is right, I guess.


Vulture Lord – Desecration Rite

RockmusicRaider - Vulture Lord - Desecration Rite - Album Cover

In many ways, 2021 seems to be the year of resurrections or – again – the raise of the undead. The return of the lost sons of filth. Whichever way you care to look at it. Like – for example – the Norwegian Black Metal band Vulture Lord. They did that with a red-hot grimy piece that tried to smash us to smithereens with their new piece some 18 years after the last unholy offering. And in a sense, they delivered exactly what we craved. Down ‘n’ dirty vile Black Metal that gleefully spews its blasphemy with unstoppable energy. A trait that we found pretty much irresistible. And they intend to ‘pervert the bible’ to boot. There you go, that’s quite a goal to strive for, right?


Seth – La Morsure du Christ

RockmusicRaider - Seth - La Morsure du Christ - Album Cover

Woe, here’s to another outfit that reemerged after a lengthy period of silence. And they, too, go deep in their quest for the Lightbringer. This is a Black Metal band that emerges straight from that primeval soup of the first and – chiefly – the second wave of old and traditional blackened fare. Yet, they managed to subtly spice their tune to keep it fresh and modern. If that’s a thing at all in that genre. Fact is that we were transfixed by its virulent heat with all those accouterments masterful Melodic Black Metal has on offer. And that comes against the terrible backdrop of the Notre Dame up in flames, just at that dire moment its famed spire came down.1) We just couldn’t resist.


Stortregn – Impermanence

RockmusicRaider - Stortregn - Impermanence - Album Cover

Stortregn always were an enigma to us. They play one of the most extreme and complex riffing we came across to date. Yet, it just sounds – easy. Only, try that at home, and you’ll feel the pain. Now, Impermanence here just added another layer to the already well-known complexity. The piece now storms the stage with a penchant towards moar tech death that rolls in on tastily blackened double growls. A friggin’ riff-fest that held us in its spiky grip until the last solo damaged our ears. But it was a sacrifice gladly endured because these guys are good. Very good indeed.


Felled – The Intimate Earth

RockmusicRaider - Felled - The Intimate Earth - Album Cover

Depictions of grand landscapes in Black Metal are legion. Those range from fantasy lands to historical events. Yet, never did we encounter a more pig-headed version than the one recently issued by Felled. Driven by strings, earthy oldish riffs, and rough growls, you cannot help but become entranced by the Cascadian delights the piece so aptly depicts. This is one record that operates out there in the raw. Where rough-hewn and scratchy melodies talk to your primeval senses that somehow must still exist somewhere within that gene pool we amassed during the eons of human existence. There you go, yet another example of how such Extreme metal pieces suddenly hit a poetic nerve that we didn’t even know existed. A record that tells a story, and the spirits it haunts are olde.


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