It’s Krampus time! Hopefully you weren’t carted off and eaten by a large angry goat devil. In honor of December’s favorite devil, this week we’ve got a collection of the creepiest (hopefully) black metal we can scare up…

Ghoatte Hordour – Blackened Blood on the Suthourn Altar

The night kicks off with Ghoatte Hordour, an Australian one-man project created by Lee Hartney of The Smith Street Band. With a song called “Churchburner” and all the weird spellings you can shake a stivke at, all the classic black metal cliches are in play on debut EP Blackened Blood on the Suthourn Altar. The first couple of tracks are fairly atmospheric in an 80s movie soundtrack way. Things pick up speed around “Churchburner”, though, and the final three tracks are pretty straightforward old-school black metal, with a mix of classic black metal riffs and lo-fi synths and atmospheres. The drumming and riffs are on the simple side, but everything is well-assembled so that it feels lo-fi, but doesn’t lose any listenability in the process. On the whole, Blackened Blood… is maybe a little too cliched, but it’s a delightful homage to classic 80s black metal.

Blackened Blood on the Suthourn Altar came out October 30 via Pool House Records. You can check out the video for “Refuge of the Serpiant” HERE

Valle Crucis – Iron & Blood

Next up is Valle Crucis, from the US. This duo has been making waves in the US black metal scene since their initial appearances in 2016, and from the first notes of Iron & Blood, their debut full-length, it’s clear to see why. The band may be only two members, but they get a lot of bang for their buck sound-wise. These tracks feel aggressive and heavy, balanced by simple yet elegant melodic passages. The intro to “Soul Fucker” is a particular favorite of mine, as the rhythms throw the listener off balance before resolving every few measures. My only gripe is that the band is a bit loose on some of the tracks, particularly on the later sections of “Funeral Light”. They’ve got the power and the fury to be an amazing band, and Iron & Blood is still an impressive debut on the whole.

Iron & Blood was released November 8 via Pagan Pride Records. You can grab it HERE

Calvaire – Je Me Souviens

Finally, we’ve got Canadian black metallers Calvaire and their first release, Je Me Souviens. Right away, Je Me Souviens is a surprising record, as lead track “Nous Ne Descenderont Plus La Rivière “ starts off with a cheery jig of all things, before quickly transitioning to a Mayhem-inspired black metal piece – it’s not the smoothest transition, but the idea behind it is great. Second track “La Derniere Bataille” is a particularly good track, though the choir feels out of rhythm and a bit thin at times. The lyrics take the listener through the battles between the Quebecois and the English in Canada’s history, though my French is nowhere near good enough to look at those in any detail. It’s a unique take on paying tribute to one’s ancestors, and the band gives that particular trope a new lease on life here.

Je Me Souviens was released November 25 on Purity Through Fire Records. You can check it out HERE

And with that, our exercises in darkness have come to an end. See you all next week!