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  • Review by Faye Coulman


From relentlessly battering and brimstone-scorched black metal to crushing, beautifully orchestrated doom that palpably reeks of the grave, Dark Matter rounds up some of the Russian label’s finest recent exports…


Frequently classified as: Black metal

Hailing from: Switzerland

For fans of: Dark Funeral, Watain, Mayhem

With a sound that’s rich in ceaselessly battering aggression and insanely paced whorls of tremolo, it’s no surprise that Enoid pinpoints “inexorable brutality” as their primary point of appeal. But while there’s no doubting the dizzyingly aggressive pleasure to be savoured here in spades, the impeccably engineered precision with which these brimstone-scorched dynamics are handled makes clear that this is no simple and primitive exercise in aggression.

Glistening with all the coldly majestic presence of Dark Funeral, new outing ‘Livssyklus & Dodssyklus’ sees every thorny whorl of tremolo and battering blast cleanly audible and crackling with electrifying clarity. With its tautly muscular tangles of fretwork seething like a writhing nest of agitated vipers, diabolical choice cut ‘Riruop’ delivers tantalising levels of suspense in a sudden percussive break that’s finally enveloped in a blindingly aggressive finale of screams. Strategically placed, too, are the explosive clusters of blastbeats that punctuate this wondrously unpredictable beast of a stand-out, while ‘Erviv’s’ swaggering grooves add darkly mesmeric magnetism to its grimly unrelenting, monochrome throes. Peaceful and grounded neutrality this is not...


Frequently classified as: Death metal

Hailing from: Spain

For fans of: Decapitated, Nile, At The Gates

Within seconds of hearing a disarmingly delicate piano movement being violently engulfed in a veritable deluge of madly accelerating grooves, it’s hard to imagine Neter’s blackly expansive sound once being limited to a single variant of extreme metal. Starting out in 2004 as a rather atypically Swedish-flavoured ensemble, additional inspiration from the likes of Decapitated and Nile soon began to infiltrate and transform their rapidly evolving sound into something altogether darker.

From coldly majestic lines of riffage whose snaking contortions ooze ritualistic horror to scalpel-edged flurries of arpeggios and bloodcurdling screams, latest opus ‘Inferus’ displays seamless ease in mixing and manipulating its respective dynamics. And it’s this seamlessly fluid synergy that lends to Neter a presence infinitely greater than the sum of its composite parts, with ‘The Pillars of Heracles’ being exceptionally rich with ink-black atmospherics. With its bracing stints of battering hyperblasts and gargling screams displaying a tautly engineered balance of scalding ultra-violence and meticulous pacing, it’s with bewildering speed and complexity that these nimble, knife-edged configurations leave the synapses crackling with adrenaline. And from viciously abrasive hooks to face-melting solos whose sleekly luxuriant throes abound with ancient majesty, ‘Inferus’ is as deliciously vicious as it is intelligently crafted.


Frequently classified as: Death/doom metal

Hailing from: Hungary

For fans of: Bolt Thrower, Crowbar

Despite being neatly compartmentalised as “death metal”, Nadir’s classic wealth of turbulent, restlessly churning bass grooves and caustic gargling is but one dimension of this intensely sinister Hungarian act. Together with nightmarish, gargantuan slabs of guitar that instantly recall the doom-laden majesty of My Dying Bride, new album ‘The Sixth Extinction’ sees these inky energies permeate breakneck episodes of scabrous shredding to richly intoxicating effect.

Interlacing towering, luxuriantly melodic fretwork alongside dry-lung screams and ragged hooks that audibly bristle with aggression, ‘Along Came Disruption’ showcases superb counterbalancing of these varying musical dynamics. But it’s not until the coldly glacial atmospherics of ‘I, Arctic’ erupt in a richly melancholic swell of howling guitars that the darkly expansive scope of Nadir’s sound is revealed in all its epic, eerily affecting glory. With its raging undercurrent of chugging bass plunging still deeper into impenetrably dark territories as this instrumental number accelerates into the violent throes of ‘To Leave It All Behind’, theirs is a crushingly immense presence. Crowned with generous lashings of haunting guitar accents and screams that echo like restless spirits from the beyond, ‘The Sixth Extinction’ is a delectably dark and heavy slab.


Frequently classified as: Atmospheric black metal

Hailing from: Russia

For fans of: Alcest, Woods of Desolation

For those somewhat lacking in geographical lingo, the term “taiga” refers to an expanse of winter forest located in areas of extreme northern latitudes. And with exquisitely delicate, notey intricacies that display stunning crystalline clarity above a densely muscular undertow of craggy tremolo and sleekly expansive fretwork, it’s easy to see how these atmospheric Russians arrived at such a namesake.

Fresh from releasing their fourth studio opus ‘Cosmos’ at the tail-end of 2017, this tautly orchestrated blend of inky distortion, knife-edged shredding and endlessly unfurling riffs abounds with a darkly intoxicating richness of sound. Straddling influences as varied as transcendental, Alcest-flavoured atmospherics and the dark-hearted hues of funeral doom, deathly standout ‘Всё позади’ sees crushing percussive blasts intermingle with an elegantly orchestrated wealth of smouldering grooves and sumptuous riffage. Mixed with meticulous care and attention to detail, the resulting array of viciously abrasive and stirringly ethereal energies is a hauntingly immersive feast of a listen.

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