Days before 2015 is over, I’ve invited UK-based atmospheric black metallers Hryre to join the “Bands recommend” series with their top five favorite albums of this year. This is the first out of two-part installment featuring vocalist and guitar player Rick Millington who has been kind to share his short list of underground black metal albums. If you haven’t heard of Hryre before, make sure to follow them on Facebook.

Beware The Sword You Cannot See – A Forest of Stars

An obvious choice for me and in some ways I can be blamed for being totally bias here but I’m not going to let that stop me. These guys for me are one of the best at crafting a concept out of the most demanding of sonic landscapes. Their approach and attitude towards orchestration, instrumentation and form is something I deeply admire and for me, they just keep getting better and better. This record is a real head-melter and something that gets better and more intricate with every listen. This is a must for anyone who likes their Black Metal a litle more Progressive and Avant Garde. If you haven’t got your ears round this one yet then you’re seriously missing a trick!

The Consuming Essence – The Inmost Blight

This is another one that I am going to be accused of being biased of having worked with Michael Blenkarn on Hryre material but in all honesty I put it on here because I truly admire and respect Mike’s ability and talent. Anyway, I always like what Mike comes up with and from working with him I think that sways me more towards what he releases because I have more of an appreciation of where he’s batting from in a way. This album gives you everything you could ask for and expect in a Black Metal record however the orchestration and ambience always allows for fresh or an alternative appreciation as there’s so much going on to get your head round you can completely immerse yourself in it. For me, that’s exactly what any great record should do. This comes as a serious recommendation to anyone.

A Furrow Cut Short – Drudkh

Maybe not considered an underground band in this genre per se however if the truth be told I haven’t really indulged in a great amount of underground Black Metal as much a perhaps I should. Anyway I am a pretty big fan of Drudkh and their latest installment “A Furrow Cut Short” was a standout for me this year. It delivers what you expect from these guys and I always like a bit of groove in Black Metal. This record doesn’t really boast the same Folk elements their earlier material yields but that seems to be the natural progression of the band and they’ve acknowledged and utlised this to great effect in my opinion. This is definitely one worth a listen.

Passage – Alda

The more melodic choice in my 2015 selection and one I am very fond of. Alda are a band that I have become a fan of particularly as I like my acoustic/folk music on top of the atmospheric connotations of Black Metal. Comprising of some nice transitions from clean to harsh along utilising some fantastically progressive use of form and structure to achieve so with great effect. This is one you simply have to listen through from start to finish but you won’t be disappointed you did exactly that. Worth fifty minutes of anyones time.

Tenebrosum – Windfaerer

“Tenebrosum” is a good shout out for a 2015 release by anyone’s standards in my opinion. What I like about this record is it’s outstanding in terms of production. There seems to be a “KVLT” attitude regarding production in Black Metal, which for me can hold everything back. There are some fantastic musical elements in this album and they’re emphasised all the more by great production. Again, this is one for those who like a bit of Folk & Tradition in their Black Metal yet there’s still plenty of room for some hints of thrash, power and progressive metal in there that we recognise from the first wave of Black Metal from the 1980s. I’d say this was a good recommendation and definitely worth a listen.