I’ve been hearing contradictory opinions on whether 2016 was a fruitful year as to black metal and its sub-genres. My personal expectations however were met and I am beyond satisfied for all the goodies that came to my door. Apart from the ever growing tireless community of artists that are bursting with creativity, there are record labels whose work has left a major legacy for all of us, the connoisseurs of the blackened art. With this installment, I’ll present a short list of 5 record labels that did a remarkable job this year.
Fallen Empire Records
Contradictory to its name, Fallen Empire is rising in a blazing fast speed with an increasing tendency of delivering a spectacular array of releases for fans of atmospheric and traditional stuff. I do respect this label for the fact that the guys behind it hold tight to their principles and not give a single fuck for fortune, fame and other typical obsessions for the “pop culture.” They do what they do at any cost and it always comes down to pouring their heart and soul into their craft. In case you didn’t know, Death Fortress is part of their roster!
World Terror Committee
One of the main contributing forces pushing Germany’s darkest artisans forward is the infamous record label W.T.C. Productions. This is one of my favourite hubs for ritualistic extreme metal whose influence is growing rapidly for a good reason. The crew operating behind the scenes makes no compromises in selecting the artists they work with, thus offering some of the best releases rooted in the traditional vein. Every minute spent on their Bandcamp will only result in enriching your collection with high quality material. I don’t tend to believe that you have not heard of any of their productions yet but if that’s the case, better off start with this badass split featuring Acherontas and Slidhr.
Pushing the boundaries in mental, spiritual and artistic manner can basically summarize the work of Italian label Avantgarde Music. They’ve never stopped seeking out of the ordinary creators who will bring up another perspective on extreme metal to their fans. Most of their productions will either enchant you instantly or shock you depending on how open-minded you are. Experimentation and avant-gardeness are the two driving forces that move this label onward making it among the most superior wellsprings of otherworldly music. Example? Start off Panzerfaust’s masterpiece “The Lucifer Principle” below.
Iron Bonehead Productions
Another great example of a German record label that comes to my mind right away is Iron Bonehead Productions. In 2016 they kept on uncovering a wide selection of impacting albums ranging from oldschool to a new generation occult material that takes the genre to a whole new level. In most if not all occasions, their breed is vicious, brutal and wicked sick. If you are the type of person who is on the look for a truly disturbing form of music, consider checking IBP’s roster. The first example I’ll point you at is represented by Altarage’s debut “Nihl.”
I, Voidhanger Records
I didn’t have to do much thinking as to whether I should put I, Voidhanger Records in the list as this label keeps on making me come back to their site with their badass new and old material. One thing that I love about their productions is that they stretch the boundaries in extreme metal boldly, which is why their roster is associated with some of the most prolific selections of unique and ascending music that takes metal’s aesthetics to a greater level of complexity. By the way, this is a perfect moment for me to recommend one of their latest assets by Serpent Ascending titled “Ananku.”
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Despite that the list is over, there are a number of other record labels that did well, too. However, this isn’t based on voting whatsoever, and it has to be taken with a grain of salt. By all means, this selection reflects my own preferences, so don’t get offended if you don’t find your favourites among the above mentioned names. After all, the sole purpose of this post is to spread the black plague by promoting its sources. Enjoy and have a blasting New Year!
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