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  • Words by Faye Coulman, Jonesy and Scott Emery


With September already in its dying throes, it's hard to believe this freshly-launched column has been up and running for a little over a month now. Better still, Anthems #4 is by far our biggest and most colourfully varied edition yet, featuring everything from the vicious, coldly entrancing magic of Shining and the deathly savagery of New Zealand aggressors Ulcerate to the madly barrelling, classic noise-mongering of Motörhead. And in our less-than-rosy present circumstances, it's the fittingly brutal, frenzied and eerily beautiful balm for the soul we so sorely need right now. So tune in, crank up the volume and enjoy another weekly round of killer choice cuts handpicked by our intrepid crew of extreme metal scribes.

DISCLAIMER: May contain dangerous levels of fanboy/girling.


'For the God Below' (Redefining Darkness, 2012)

From violently contorted strains of seething, tar-thick distortion and layer upon layer of frigidly chilling tremolo to exquisitely fine lashings of acoustic fretwork, the brilliant and notoriously tortured mind of Shining’s Niklas Kvarforth has birthed more than its share of immersive, compositionally expansive gems. And among the many noteworthy standouts forever etched into the recollection of the Shining-obsessed scribe currently typing up this entry, 'For the God Below's' ingenious melding of ripping aggression and darkly absorbing atmosphere has certainly made something of a lasting impression.

Taken from masterful 2012 opus ‘Redefining Darkness’, the opening portion of this infernal epic sees gossamer-fine wisps of acoustic guitar instantly ensnare the listener with deadly, nimbly orchestrated magnetism. Then, in just a few short but brutally explosive hammer-blasts of aggression, we’re plunged headlong into a blackly turbulent undertow of bass-laden fretwork whose grandiose, sleekly elongated throes audibly bristle with infernal fire. Brimming with bile and black-hearted malice, ghoulishly compelling frontman Kvarforth bellows into the ether like the proverbial man possessed, his every howling accent and syllable utterly awash with feeling. Seamlessly fluid, too, are his rapid-fire transitions back and forth between tenderly crooning melodiousness and jugular-ripping aggression. Spliced with a solo that features some of the most exquisitely crafted riffs ever to grace the extreme metal world, it’s with violently climactic momentum that we’re borne aloft on towering, reverb-laden crescendos that, time after time, take the listener somewhere far removed from this grey and weary mortal realm.



'Beneath, To The Earth' (Self-titled, 2020)

Hailing from Sheffield, Hidden Mothers have just released their debut EP and it’s a blinder! ‘Beneath, To The Earth’ is the opening track and really encapsulates the essence of the band. A delightful blend of blackgaze and post-metal/post-rock that undulates from a raging storm to quiet seas and back again seamlessly. The loud-quiet-loud (or vice versa) dynamic is nothing new, granted, but when bands master it they can conjure wonderful emotional music that will really stick with you and Hidden Mothers have a really good grasp on it. I always feel that even if a genre starts to get flooded, the bands that really mean it will always stand out; the cream always rises to the top, so to speak. It's as simple an equation as emotion in tends to translate to emotion out. Sonic pointers for me are bands like Oathbreaker and Møl, which is never a bad thing in my eyes! Sure, this style is polarising but if you appreciate the style then there is a bucketload to offer here. In fact, just go get the whole EP, it's wicked!