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.

Eximperitus – Šahrartu

Eximperituserqethhzebibšiptugakkathšulweliarzaxułum – Šahrartu
Willowtip Records
Release date: 29/01/2021
Running Time: 38:34
Review by Dark Juan

Alright, muckers? It is January, it’s pissing it down outside and I am being forced to dispense cuddles to the warhound that goes by the name of Sir Zeusington-Zeus VC, KCVG, MM, Croix de Guerre, DFM and Bar because he’s feeling sorry for himself. Hence, I am typing this with one hand so it’s taking a while. Now I have been invaded by the rest of the pack – the Dread Lord Sir Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover is trying to attack my feet whilst Hodgson Biological-Warfare is insisting it is time for his tea, three hours too early. The travails! The travails I go through to bring you high quality record reviews, my dear, beautiful readership! (Insert dramatic collapse upon my chaise longue with a hand to my fevered brow here.)

However, January has brought me some music to listen to, and as you all know I am a child of extremity in both styles of music and concept. The bar has been set extremely loftily indeed for high concept extreme metal of late, with Manchester’s The Machinist and Canada’s Fractal Generator releasing genre smashing works of absolute genius – have a root on Ever-Metal’s review section and you’ll find me unleashing disturbing torrents of enthusiasm about them. However, we are not here for me to tell you how great they are in this instalment of manic frothing about metal. We are here to discuss something rather more exotic.

Eximperituserqethhzebibšiptugakkathšulweliarzaxułum (I shit you not and I’ll only be spelling that fucker once, everyone else shortens it to Eximperitus, but I am an annoying bastard and I have decided the band for the rest of this review shall be known as Dave) are from Eastern climes, more specifically Minsk in Belarus, which, let us be fair, is not a hotbed of metal talent normally. ‘Šahrartu’ is Dave’s second album and a companion piece to their debut, nattily entitled “Prajecyrujučy Sinhuliarnaje Wypramieńwańnie Daktryny Absaliutnaha J Usiopahłynaĺnaha Zła Skroź Šaścihrannuju Pryzmu Sîn-Ahhī-Erība Na Hipierpawierchniu Zadyjakaĺnaha Kaŭčęha Zasnawaĺnikaŭ Kosmatęchničnaha Ordęna Palieakantakta, Najsta” which is apparently written in a transliterated form of archaic Belorussian. Whereas that worthy release (which I am NEVER typing again) concerned itself with life and creation, “Šahrartu” (translated by the joy of Google Translate as something resembling Devastation) is a companion piece more interested in the darker side of life and more specifically the end of it. Also, the lyrical component of “Šahrartu” follows a fairly unique path, being composed to a specific form and having only eleven lines to each song and I am probably not having the full experience of the album as Dave themselves say that there are (and I’m quoting them here) “In comparison with previous releases, the lyrics of ‘Šahrartu’ seem drained. There is no former plethora of terms, names, allegories, epithets and metaphors. But despite the apparent simplicity and accessibility, this is an extremely conceptual work. The design of [the] physical format contains a lot of connecting links, references and unique elements, without which a complete understanding of the release is impossible. The spells on the album noticed by a watchful listener serve the focus of Black Logos within microcosm. They are composed in so called artlang, a constructed language for a work of art.”

Which for this Satanic simpleton means that Dave are extremely interesting. The music they play (there appears to be three members in the limited photos of Dave that I can find and ABSOLUTELY no suggestion of their names anywhere on the interwebs) is technical death metal with a large and puissant esoteric component. The production of the record is somewhat…unusual. The drums are muffled and lack punch, yet the cymbals are pin sharp. The bass is satisfyingly huge (fnarr, fnarr) yet the guitarist’s pedal box appears to be a Boss MT-2 and a compressor and that’s it apart from the echo and chorus. However, Dave 1 (I have ascribed numerical values to the members because I have no other way of telling you who’s doing what) is a fine player and his riffs run from the awesome to the sublime. Dave 2 (bass) is also a worthy musician, twatting the cables that pass for strings on his instrument with speed, precision and considerable aplomb. Dave 3 (drums) appears to be an amphetamine fuelled madman – on opener and instrumental (emphasis on the mental) ‘Šaqummatu’ he goes from slow, gentle tinking on cymbals over the sound of arctic winds through to what can only be described as a rampant, speed fuelled onslaught on his kit as the guitar builds up from quiet to fucking loud. So, all three Dave’s in Dave are very good musicians. Thankfully, they can write some absolutely brutal music as well as being skilled players. They have mastered a rare thing with death metal – they have managed to light and dark work. The sheer sonic mayhem of death metal is occasionally mastered and it flows organically into beautiful, quieter passages that still drip with venom. VocalDave (or possibly Dave 4 – fuck knows and trust me I have scoured the internet for hours trying to find out for you all) is a mighty DM vocalist – his throat has been constructed from RSJs and hydrochloric acid and his is a bowel shaking rumble. Clearly, he is not human.

I can’t pick out standout tracks because this is an, “Antique tragedy in six acts, each of which is a chapter dedicated to a certain stage in the existence of being” and therefore has to be taken as a complete body of work in six movements. Using that as a basis for my opinion, I have to say this is one of the most expansive and experimental esoteric records I have heard in a long while and I am definitely going to be buying a physical copy so I can get the full experience of Dave. Plus, I am a denizen of the underground and for our kind of music Eastern frontiers are about as underground as you can get at the moment.

Is it worth your pennies/dollars/kopecks then? Oh hell yes, as long as you can ignore the slightly dodgy production and are able to grasp that song titles are in a variety of ancient languages, you’ll love it. I did.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Запатэнтаваная сістэма ацэнкі брызг крыві ў цёмным коле) makes its first appearance of 2021 in a spangly, ABBA inspired new jumpsuit and awards Dave (Eximperituserqethhzebibšiptugakkathšulweliarzaxułum) a mighty 8/10. Marks off for shocking guitar sound and dodgy production. Otherwise, it’s a great record.

(Thought you might appreciate the translations and the languages)
01. Šaqummatu (Sumerian – Silence)
02. Utpāda (Sanskrit – Genesis)
03. Tahâdu (Assyrian – Becoming/Prosperity)
04. Anhûtu (Akkadian – Dilapidation)
05. Inqirad (Arabic – Decay)
06. Riqûtu (Akkadian – Absence)

Dave 1 (GuitarDave )- Guitars
Dave 2 (BassDave) – Bass
Dave 3 (DrumDave) – Drums
And possibly a Dave 4 (VocalDave) doing vocals.

It’s not me not doing due diligence. I have spent rather a long time researching this Belarusian band and it is nigh on impossible to find anything out about them as people. Hence, they are all called Dave, as every band in the western hemisphere has had a Dave in it at some point.


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ 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.

Countless Skies – Glow

Countless Skies – Glow
Willowtip Records
Release Date: 06/11/2020
Running Time: 43:38
Reviewed by Tammy Lomax

I really ought to express how much I love what I do here at Ever Metal. I have had some emotional times during the lockdown, as I am sure we all have, right? Having an outlet is important for our health and wellbeing. We all need a chance to escape and just be ourselves and…breathe. I do it via my writing, and I am very grateful. Without it, I dread to think! 😅 Plus, I have the amazing opportunity to get my hands all over some new music!

So, during these emotionally challenging times, I thought Countless Skies was a perfect selection.

UK based, they erupted onto the metal scene in 2014 with their self-titled EP. “Glow” is the follow-up to 2016’s full-length debut, “New Dawn”, and takes the band’s progressive brand of Melodeath metal to a new level. Recently, they have shaken hands and sealed the deal with Willowtip Records for the release of “Glow”.

The album itself was recorded in the home studio of guitarist James Pratt. He says “It took a lot of learning and some expensive purchases, but it did have its upside. Not under the normal time constraints of being in a studio, we could take more risks, and get better performances from everyone. We also spent a lot of time adding more layers, harmonies, and even some extra instruments”. “Glow” was also mixed and mastered by Juho Räihä of SoundSpiral Audio.

Well, let’s play this bad boy then!

‘Tempest’ makes me a happy Tammy. What a perfect way to open this album. The setting for it is my perfect place, the beach. As the waves fade you are hit with the most atmospheric vibe. Vocalist Ross King is pure, he strikes some notes that honestly had me flabbergasted. The tech vibe bumps you spiritually and powerfully. You instantly realise this album is going to be full of raw emotion!

I am really liking the added instrumental extras, too. They fit, are in the right place, and definitely hit the spot! I’m feeling very zen!

‘Summit’ brought to mind Cradle Of Filth. Throughout you have some injurious drums, they literally are bashing at your ears. The tech remains, but you have some coatings of harmonies, and it’s all moulded together very well.

Tracks ‘Moon’ and ‘Zephyr’ flow together, perfectly matching the previous tracks. I do understand what Countless Skies are doing, and fair play. Sometimes you can’t guarantee the results you desire when adding some new flavours. It could be seen as trying to squish too much together, but it’s not with these fellas! They also take their time through each track, and that is a good thing, especially with all these new sounds. Anyway, why is everyone in such a rush these days? Good things come to those who wait!

The tracks ‘Glow’ Part One, Part Two, and Part Three, bring the album to a climax. Part One has been released already and had a good amount of attention. I can say now that I was absolutely dumbfounded with them and they left me speechless. And to be fair, shutting me up from waffling takes some serious doing! I am stunned. I just let these 3 tracks play together out of respect, and really tuned my ears, and my actual everything into them. They’re a montage of EVERYTHING!

I am assured there is a feel of Pink Floyd, just more modern, especially when the instruments play and tell their story, you drift off in your own music bubble and the story unfolds. I feel a love story, passion, fire, and some dangers and challenges. These tracks are a 20-minute opus split into three parts.

There has been a lot more creativity put into these masterpieces, the results are positive.

For me, this album could not have come at a better time. I really needed to get some of these built up emotions out! It just had to happen, and what better way to do it than with Countless Skies. They have demonstrated and proved through their music that, it doesn’t matter who you are, or what you are about, it’s literally all about feeling the music.

Who else is missing gigs?!

I miss gigs so much. Live streams will just have to do for now but, as soon as everything resumes some normality, I’m certainly going to a Countless Skies gig!

01. Tempest
02. Summit
03. Moon
04. Zephyr
05. Glow Part 1
06. Glow Part 2
07. Glow Part 3

Ross King – Vocals and Guitars.
James Pratt – Guitars and Backing Vocals.
Phil Romeo – Bassist and Clean Vocals.
Nathan Robshaw – Drums.

Arianna Mahsaveh – Cello (Tracks 2/5)
Marcello Ciciriello – Piano (Tracks 1/4/5)
Anthony Trimming – Choir (Tracks 2)
RJ Learmouth – Choir (Tracks 2)
Vicky Harley – Choir (Tracks 2)


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.