Gravetemple – Impassable Fears (2017)

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Delivering one of the most decadent aural assaults of the year, today we have super group Gravetemple and their sophomore full-length release “Impassable Fears”. Featuring luminaries like Stephen O’Malley, Oren Ambarchi, Attila Csihar, and Matt Sanders, this super-band’s experimental Drone/Doom will leave your ears ringing and claiming for more. Filled with punishing riffs, trippy Drone elements and completely haunting vocals, this release will certainly catch you by surprise.

Opening with the track “A Szarka”, the band sets a very dissonant mood with funky percussions and heavily distorted guitars leading the way for Attila’s sickening vocals. Thing continue on a downward spiral as the superbly creepy “Elavúlt Földbolygó” arrives with its Event Horizon-like vocals and a very unsettling pace. Brilliantly crafting at atmosphere of anxiety and discomfort, in two tracks, Gravetemple has full control of the listener’s psyche.

Amiensus – All Paths Lead to Death (2017)

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Hailing surprisingly from the USA, today we have Amiensus and their latest EP “All Paths Lead to Death”. We are surprised they are from the USA because their Progressive Black Metal sound is quite European-like, delivering nearly 30 minutes of quality music that should not be missed by any fan of the genre. Perfectly mixing aggression with technical proficiency, this release has a certain Agalloch, Aenaon, and even Borknagar-ish vibe, making it quite impressive.

Opening with the brutal “Gehenna”, the release starts up with a very intense pace and crafty vocal arrangements going from harsh to clean. This opening track provides a peek into the band’s creative range and musical creativity. The onslaught continues with the pummeling drumming of “Moth of the Abyss” and its intricate guitar work. We particularly like how tight this release sounds thanks to the crystal clear production behind it.

Sunken – Departure (2017)

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Hailing from Denmark, today we have Sunken and their killer debut release “Departure”. Delivering over 50 minutes of heavily atmospheric Black Metal, this band creates a very powerful and melancholic atmosphere that will enshroud you with its misery. Focusing on crafting smarter tracks, this release feels and sounds a lot different than your run-of-the-mill Atmospheric BM outfit.

After the warm-up instrumental opening, the band opens this release with the full-blast onslaught of the first few minutes of “Void”. This song slowly mellows out and leads way to brilliant atmospheric passages with a prominent bass guitar line and catchy percussions. The album title track comes at us with another brilliant mixture of melancholy with devilish intensity with harsh vocals, furiously paced sections, and jazzy atmospheric passages.

Alestorm – No Grave but the Sea (2017)

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Everybody’s favorite pirates are finally back with yet another release filled with tales of their wanderings at sea. With “No Grave but the Sea” the band’s party atmosphere is untouched and they continue exactly where they left off. With over 45 minutes of music, the band showcases their maturity with tracks that go directly to the point while keeping intact all the elements that make people love them.

Opening with the album title track, Christopher Bowes signature pirate singing leads the way into this very cheerful song. Filled with funky keyboards and a lively pace, this track is the perfect onboarding piece for this Alestorm journey. The album’s first single comes under the name of “Mexico”, a track detailing the band’s debaucherous efforts in this country. As you can expect this track features soaring vocal arrangements and a killer chorus section that will be stuck in your head for days.

Argus Megere – VEII (2017)

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Featuring current and past members of bands like Negură Bunget, Din Bard, and Dordeduh, Argus Megere delivers a very interesting full-length release titled “VEII”. With some clear Negură Bunget/Dordeduh influences, the band’s atmospheric Black Metal is top notch and for over 40 minutes transports the listeners into unique soundscapes.

Opening with “Carul cerului” the mood is slowly being set with distorted guitars and a very ritualistic atmospheric progression. This progression slowly leads to harsh BM-style vocals and very lively guitar work that crafts a unique and distinctive style for the band. Keeping the atmosphere going, we have a very chilling opening to “Tronul celui ce stă de strajă” which suddenly leads to harsh Black Metal passages and very magical keyboard arrangements. The clean vocal sections are quite well introduced and nicely boost the level of epicness of the song.

Hexer – Cosmic Doom Ritual (2017)

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With countless bands playing Doom and its variants these days, it is hard to find bands that managed to deliver something different. Today we have Hexer and their Oriental infused Doom onslaughts that managed to grab our attention and a permanent spot on our Doom albums of 2017 rotation. Delivering three songs and around 36 minutes of music, the band presents a well-known sound with a set of tweaks that make it worthy of your attention.

The album starts with the mysterious “Merkaba”, a 12 minute piece that slowly builds up in a very ritualistic manner. This track is presents us with a unique journey that is far from linear and has more than enough surprises for the listener with multiple influences thrown into the mix. The band’s atmospheric journey continues with the punishing riffing of “Pearl Snake”, which borders in Sludge/Doom territories. The oriental elements take this track to a whole new level by adding depth and intrigue.

Grieving Mirth – Calamitosvs Omine (2015)

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Being huge fans of Atmospheric/Post Black Metal releases, we are quite puzzled how this little gem managed to sit on our virtual review queue for this long. Labeled as an international band, Grieving Mirth unleashes their debut EP titled “Calamitosvs Omine”, featuring five brilliant pieces of highly melancholic extreme music. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Heretoir, Anomalie, Harakiri for the Sky, Austere, this release is quite an interesting find.

The album opens with the ravaging “Malaugurio”, a song that sets the tone for this release with heavily melancholic riffs and powerful drumming. All of this is perfectly rounded up with firm harsh vocals that differ from your traditionally used BM shrieks. The band’s intensity level is quite impressive making the songs be both very melancholic and brutal at the same time, “Indelectavs” is a clear example of this.

DragonForce – Reaching into Infinity (2017)

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As one of the most anticipated releases of 2017, today we have DragonForce and their brilliant return with “Reaching into Infinity”. Delivering over 60 minutes of their signature Power Metal, the band returns with a highly palatable and diverse release that will please old and new fans alike. Never resting on their laurels, the band continues to shape their sound by crafting ten brilliant tracks that are versatile, fast-paced, and highly memorable.

The band perfectly anticipates this release with the grand opening of the album’s title track intro. This leads to the epicness of “Ashes of the Dawn”, a brilliantly paced tune that perfectly combines an upbeat tempo and emotional vocal arrangements. The band’s signature playful videogame-styled music appears on the intense “Judgment Day” and “Astral Empire”, where you have Herman Li, Sam Totman and Vadim Pruzhanov furiously playing off each other’s skills.

Interview with Dimmu Borgir - Shagrath (2017)

Having unleashed one of the most impressive live releases in Metal history with "Forces of the Northern Night" (read our review here), Dimmu Borgir is at an all-time career high. In this interview we talk to the band's mastermind Shagrath about the effort going into making these performances happen and the band's future plans. To listen to this interview please click on the player below this text.

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