Judging Albums By Their Covers

This week I bought a handful of new releases based solely on their album art. I have not heard of any of these bands before and had no idea what to expect, so here are the results of my expectations colliding with reality.

Band: Hermóðr
Title: Two Ravens
Label: Independent
Release date: 06 October 2019
Country: Sweden
Format reviewed: Digital album

Expectation: The album art is really pretty, a painting of an orb that I thought at first glance was an underwater picture of a lake bed or something. It seemed pretty approachable, I’m thinking it’s dark and gloomy, something along the lines of post black metal or blackgaze.
Reality: It starts off that way, ethereal, but only briefly. It’s a heavily distorted wall of black metal with vocals that were recorded on a toaster. Not my thing. I can tolerate low production value to a point, after the eight minute mark, it’s not awful, but overall I won’t listen to this again. 4/10

Band
Bandcamp

Band: Serpent Column
Title: Mirror In Darkness
Label: Independent
Release date: 9 September 2019
Country: United States
Format reviewed: Digital album

Expectation: This is another painted cover, some dead bodies in the corner and phantom fists and faces. I can dig it, especially because it would keep my mother out of my house. I’m leaning towards some sort of black metal.
Reality: Black metal. Very very black metal. The kind of chaotic black metal where the vocals are just another instrumental layer because they are indistinguishable screaming. The drums are frantic and the heavy distorted guitars are an impenetrable wall of noise. The music isn’t for me, but the album art for all their releases is great. 4/10
Album Art: Jane Morris Pack

Band
Bandcamp

Band: Arnaut Pavle
Title: Arnaut Pavle
Label: Independent
Release date: 9 September 2019
Country: Finland
Format reviewed: Digital album

Expectation: Black and white cover, scythes, busy but still minimal. More dead bodies, and it’s fairly grainy. I’m going to go with black or war metal. Something angry and aggressive.
Reality: This one is rather interesting, black metal mixed with punk, so as suggested it’s angry and aggressive. It takes the raw and dirty parts of black metal and throws them in a blender with the hyper charged punk rock drumming and riffs and explodes in short and sweet blasts of fury. Just enough melody and just enough abrasiveness. Glad I picked this one up. 6/10
Album Art: H.V.

Band
Bandcamp

Band: Uten Håp
Title: Dead By Hope
Label: Cult of Osiris
Release date: 22 September 2019
Country: Norway
Format reviewed: Digital album

Expectation: This cover is really simple, band name, album title, distorted background. Not much to pick apart and not much to make inferences about what’s inside. It could be death metal or black metal. I’m hoping for a bit of a change up, so I will wish for death.
Reality: Seeing as it’s from CoO, it’s black metal. It starts out really nice with the piano intro and then descends melodically into the pits of hell. Haunted screams and blast beats dominate the tortured depressive black metal. This solo project is full of misery and it’s great. 8/10

Band
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Band: Ysaraal
Title: Chained to the Roots
Label: Independent
Release date: 6 October 2019
Country: Czechia
Format reviewed: Digital album

Expectation: A stone marker set on a frosty winter forest landscape with a stylized yet hard to read logo. Must be black metal. I like how this cover makes me feel cold.
Reality: Black metal, raw black metal. Punishing and unapologetic. It’s fast and cold, the epitome of trve black metal. It’s not breaking any boundaries or trying anything new, it’s not mind blowing, but it’s not bad. A good variation on the vocals and the production quality is higher than usual for the genre. 7/10

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Article by Annihilatrix

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