American black metal despot Palace of Worms returns with “Lifting the Veil,” another nail in the coffin of the depressing trend of hipster black metal. A brilliant follow up to the infinitely layered and terrifyingly perverse masterpiece “The Forgotten.” Once again, Balan conjures a unique and churning work that in a single breath defines black metal. “Lifting the Veil” offers 40+ minutes of angular, ugly, suffocating and utterly hate-filled atmosphere, subtly amalgamating elements of thrash, doom, post-rock and dark ambient under the fetid banner of black metal. Those familiar with Palace of Worms know to expect nothing less than truly impressive musicianship and a uniquely demented take on the dark arts of black metal informed as much by classics like “A Blaze in the Northern Sky” as by the twisted visions of bands like Leviathan and Ruins of Bevarast. “Lifting the Veil” differs from “The Forgotten,” in its unhealthy obsession with atmospherics, it reveals the world as it truly is, a rotten, doomed rock hurling through an infinite void, a realization that will leave listeners despotic and enlightened. Ultimately “Lifting the Veil” is a welcome chapter in the legacy of Palace of Worms, as well as an appropriate expression of disgust toward the progressively condemning nature of our obsession with modernity. -D.L.