Stream Roundup: Sorcier des Glaces, Underling, Mord’A'Stigmata

Sorcier des Glaces – “The Frozen Sword of Midnight”

If there’s one thing in common among the bands that make up the thriving Quebec black metal scene, it’s a sort of understated epic quality. There’s no overproduced bombast up north, and many Quebecois black metal bands slow it down to the mid-tempo zone, resulting in a sort of militaristic march. Sorcier des Glaces is a good ambassador of the style—rich in atmosphere, bitter cold (the name translates to “Wizard of Ices”), and deceivingly huge-sounding. “The Frozen Sword of Midnight” is the first track off of Sorcier des Glaces’ forthcoming fifth full-length, Ritual of the End. Over nine minutes long, this song covers some distance, entering hypnotic territory but never becoming tiring. Ritual of the End will be out on January 31st on CD via Obscure Abhorrence Productions and on tape via Les Productions Hérétiques.

Underling – Breathe Deeply

Underling comes out of Northern California, and the band plays a brand of atmospheric post black metal similar to another Norcal band, recently very notable—yes, I’m talking Deafheaven here. Big gorgeous guitars meet shimmering blastbeat sections across Underling’s four-song Breathe Deeply, the band’s second EP this year (two songs from their first, Crows, were reissued on Breathe Deeply). These songs shine—my favorite is probably “Erosion,” but it’s a tough call. Download via Bandcamp.

Mord’A'Stigmata – Ansia

What starts out as seemingly straightforward (but good!) black metal skews experimental just a couple minutes in on track one of Mord’A'Stigmata’s Ansia. It works really well—unlike some bands that decide a 2-minute drone break is a good idea, Mord’A'Stigmata actually nails it and turns it into a suspense-building passage that eventually works itself to a riffed-out conclusion. Track two, “Shattered Vertabrae of the Zodiac,” is a somewhat different type of monster, no less powerful, that showcases the band’s sludge and psychedelic chops. Mord’A'Stigmata is from Poland, their album is out on Pagan Records.

— Wyatt Marshall