Liminal Shroud – All Virtues Ablaze

All Virtues Ablaze Album Cover Art

Liminal Shroud – All Virtues Ablaze
Willowtip Records
Release Date: 05/08/22
Running Time: 40:03
Review by Laura Barnes

Although Black Metal has its roots planted firmly in Northern Europe, recent years have seen some ground-breaking bands coming out of North America. The likes of Wayfarer and Panopticon have revolutionised the Black Metal scene, creating music that is equally as thoughtful as it is extreme. This prospective third wave of Black Metal (and Christ almighty, that is not a debate I want to get into) is one that is philosophical, unashamedly political, and unafraid of experimentation.  It goes beyond the sinister; it is black metal that connects you to the wind in the trees and the dirt beneath your feet. Canadian Black Metal act Liminal Shroud fit neatly into this tradition. 

Liminal Shroud’s version of Black Metal is far more earthy than it is hellish, but is equally as crushing. “All Virtues Ablaze” is an album designed to be listened to loudly and intently. That said, it is certainly an easier listen than their previous album “Through The False Narrows”. The production is far more polished while managing to avoid veering into an overly glossy terrority, but more importantly Liminal Shroud sound fuller and more confident than ever before. The bass and snare combo used throughout this album gives “All Virtues Ablaze” that feeling of vastness and enormity that makes Black Metal special. Album opener ‘Hypoxic’ feels like standing under a waterfall, almost drowning but not quite. Lyrically, the song is a reflection on imprisonment and solitude, and – in my opinion – can be taken both physically and metaphorically. While this may be well-travelled territory for a Black Metal band, it is clear that Liminal Shroud have approached this topic with care and attention. The free and natural world is one that has been destroyed, and replaced with one of tall grey towers and stagnation. As the instrumentals reach their bone-chilling conclusion, an epiphany is declared: ‘We built these towers / and we must tear them down’. 

The rest of the album maintains it’s heavy impact, but also adds in a slightly melodic kick. Although three out of the four tracks exceed the eight minute mark (for me, eight minutes is the border between an ‘easy listening’ song and a ‘lay down with all the lights off’ song), they never once forget that they are songs above all else, weaving the instruments together to create a tapestry of atmosphere, emotion and story. ‘Transmigration I – Pelagic Voids’ features a brief but significant moment of clean singing, and ‘Transmigration II – The Cleansing Ash’ incorporates piano and church choir-esque vocals into a track that is otherwise a twelve minute exploding volcano of sorrow. This is a phenomenal way to round off the album, and those final fading notes will have you wishing that “All Virtues Ablaze” was just that bit longer. 

Although this album is one that I am proud to have in my collection and will no doubt turn back to whenever my skies grow that bit darker, I still feel that Liminal Shroud have more to give. Their sound has become more full and consistent, yes, but I believe that Liminal Shroud can grow their sound even higher, till it reaches snow-capped mountains and is tall enough to look down on those grey, lifeless towers. On a less metaphorical level, there is also a case here for bringing the vocals forward slightly. Whilst there are some Black Metal bands in which the vocals are just one instrument among many, designed to be incomprehensible and mysterious, Liminal Shroud’s lyrics seem too relevant and poignant to be completely buried. These minor gripes aside, “All Virtues Ablaze” gives something that I, personally, will always want more of: big Black Metal with a big black heart. If you’re anything at all like me, then I promise you: this will be worth your while. 

01. Hypoxic
02. Mists Along Florencia
03. Transmigration I – Pelagic Voids
04. Transmigration II – The Cleansing Ash

Aiden Crossley – Vocals, Guitar, Piano
Rich Taylor – Vocals, Bass
Drew Davidson – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Laura Barnes and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Keys Of Orthanc – Of The Lineage Of Kings

Of The Lineage Of Kings Album Cover Art

Keys Of Orthanc – Of The Lineage Of Kings
Naturmacht Productions
Release Date: 05/02/2021
Running Time: 53:22
Review by Rick Eaglestone

What would happen if there was an edition of the Lord of The Rings where the soundtrack was just black metal encased with dungeon synth? What would it sound like? Well, Orcs, Hobbits & Wizards let me introduce you to the new album from Canada’s Keys of Orthanc – “Of The Lineage Of Kings”.

For the last few years Keys of Orthanc have been producing Lord of the Rings themed albums, their previous album “Unfinished Conquests” the band’s first full dungeon synth album was only released 7 months ago and was made whilst working on this new album.

The title track ‘Of The Lineage Of Kings’ starts off very much as the previous release – dungeon synth with an ominous film score feel before ‘Shards Of Narcil’ erupts, wielding a longsword ready to battle. Next track ‘Her Mighty Heart’ feels very much like an extension of Shards but in particular I enjoyed the spoken cries to battle as it really tells the story of the album.

A short interlude is provided by ‘To The Paths Of The Dead’ before, for me, the highlight track ‘The Last Alliance’ takes shape. There are so many things that make this track stand out – the black metal parts, especially, make me feel that I’m taking the haunted path through the white mountains…

This is followed up by the equally powerful ‘King Of The Reunited Kingdom’ the cries of “Hold your guard!!” are still with me. Then the album moves in an entirely different direction with ‘I’ve Seen The Dragons Fly’ before arriving at the final, mind blowingly ambitious, 15-minute Caladan Brood cover track ‘Book Of The Fallen’, which is done so well that I immediately had to put on that bands 2013 album “Echoes Of Battle”.

“Of The Lineage Of Kings” has engulfed me like a whisper from Wormtongue and it is just as difficult not to play this as it is to break his spell.

‘Her Mighty Heart’ (Audio)

01. Of The Lineage Of Kings
02. Shards Of Narcil
03. Her Mighty Heart
04. To The Paths Of The Dead
05. The Last Alliance
06. King Of The Reunited Kingdom
07. I’ve Seen The Dragons Fly
08. Book Of The Fallen (Caladan Brood Cover. On CD & Tape as a hidden track)

Dorgul – Compositions, Guitars, Fretless Bass, Piano, Synths
Harslingoth – Vocals
Sarah Kitteringham – Additional Vocals on ‘Her Mighty Heart’
Dominic Nucciarone – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Rick Eaglestone and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Black Pestilence – Hail The Flesh

Black Pestilence – Hail The Flesh
Release Date: 01/05/2020
Running Time: 34:09
Review by Tammy Lomax

Tissues at the ready guys, we’re definitely going to need them!

Rolling in from Calgary, Canada, Black Pestilence started out as a solo studio project for bass player Valax, back in 2008. Pretty soon, one became three, and since then, there’s been over 12 years of hard work, releasing vast amounts of material, with motivation from huge bands like Municipal Waste and Midnight. Their latest release, “Hail The Flesh” has just been released, and is my subject here today. It’s Black Metal, mixed with punk, and some serious tapping into experimental sound and noise.

The moment album opener, ‘Hail The Flesh’, kicks in, all cards are on the table. I do like to indulge and ramp the volume up, and I most definitely needed to hear this a little bit louder! As the album continued, I was really drawn in by the lashing riffs winding into the intoxicating bass, the sound leaking through the speakers is fantastic, and I’m dribbling! It has some absolutely destroying vocals. They are colossal and literally slashing throughout the entire album. There is a lot of pain and misery in the lyrics, it’s a fantastic outlet, especially given recent events going on in the world. Stick that middle finger up!

Guitarist Daniel, and drummer Davey, complement Valax’s sound, and each other, superbly. For example, in the tracks ‘True To The Dark’ and ‘Cloven Decision’ the clunky bass sucks onto you like a Vacuum, and while you’re firmly stuck in place, you’re slapped with some fast guitars and even faster, harder drums. Amaze balls!! While we’re on the subject of drums, Davey Hellfire is actually jaw dropping. He is undoubtedly fast and certainly efficient. There’s nowhere that he isn’t consistently delivering it all.

‘Hellfire’ is ultimately the best track for me. It has many angles happening, whilst also being insanely swift. The strumming on the guitar follows a really deep bass and the riffs just melt me. I feel like my insides have been imploded! It’s hard and compacted, and I love it!

‘Ephemeral’ ends the album beautifully and most importantly, powerfully. I previously mentioned, Black Pestilence could be tapping into the experimental? Well, this is a perfect example. These fellas are more than capable of pulling on the heartstrings. This is a very well balanced and emotional track. It’s actually really beautiful. Hand me the tissues, will you?! I think next time I may need to review something a little less emotional! Give myself a little break so I can repair what is left off my brain!

Black Pestilence have a great concoction of sounds going on, they are fast paced, with dissolving slapping bass, diverse guitar skills, excellent footwork on the drums and vocals that can rip you apart in seconds! Every single track is done really well too, and there’s an aggressive atmosphere throughout! Your ears feel like they are bleeding!

However, in my personal opinion, Black Pestilence do play it safe with this album. Let me explain. Although the music itself is punchy and solid, it’s not overly technical, or mechanical. It’s robust and destructive, but there’s a certain ‘stability line’ to it and I just don’t feel these guys have pushed themselves to their potential. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not slating, quite the opposite. I love their sound, but I feel they could have tapped into being a bit more experimental. There’s some extreme talent within the band and it is paramount they explore that.

Aside from that small gripe, I love it. The whole album hammers at you like a pneumatic drill, at 100 mph. The album artwork is also bloody awesome and a well fitted representation of Black Pestilence.! It’s a robust design and offers some real rawness! It reminds me of artwork for bands like Bolt Thrower. And similarly, if you like Bolt Thrower, you’ll like Black Pestilence. In fact, if you enjoy any gut ripping black metal, then you’ll definitely appreciate these fellas. Pop over to their page and give them a like.

Look after each other everyone!

01. Hail The Flesh
02. Spurn All Gods
03. Hellfire
04. True To The Dark.
05. Cloven Division
06. Godless
07. Frauds To The Throne
08. My Will To Power
09. Ephemeral

Valax – Bass, Vocals, Samples
Daniel Toews – Guitar
Davey Hellfire – Drums


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Tammy Lomax and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.