Derdian – Evolution Era (2016)

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Hailing from Italy, Derdian is one of the most underrated Power Metal bands in the world. With a very explosive and dynamic sound, the band has delivered five excellent releases before the “Evolution Era”. In this release the band has re-recorded tracks from their first three albums making them more epic and amazing by adding a plethora of vocal guest appearances. If you are looking for explosive Power Metal that will keep you at the edge of your seat, this is the album you have been waiting for.

Not wasting any time, the band opens with the epic “Overture” with Apollo Papathanasio on guest vocals. Wasting no time, Henning Basse helps out on the epic “Burn”. In this track we hear the band’s Power Metal chops with brilliant guitar leads and very melodic passages that capture the listener’s attention. Our first favorite tracks are the bombastic “Beyond the Gate” and the playful epic “Battleplan”, both tracks have intense guitar sections, lush keyboards and a very hefty pace that keeps the listener engaged and fully invested in the music.

Dysylumn – Chaos Primordial (2016)

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France continues to surprise use by producing some of the most interesting Metal bands in the last 10 years. Dysylum continues this tradition by leveling our speakers with their dissonant Progressive mixture of Death and Black Metal with some Sludge elements in “Chaos Primordial”. Featuring 28 minutes of crushing music, this release creates a very thick atmospheric atmosphere that is perfect for a dark and gloomy day.

After the opening intro, the album title track delivers some mid-tempo oppressive Black Metal-ish riffs that suddenly morph back and forth into heavy Sludgy Death riffs. The vocals are quite harsh and perfectly fitting for such an oppressive sound. Things pick up with the ravaging onslaughts of “Œuf Cosmique”, filled with eerie growls and screams. The drumming intensifies for some parts, changing the pace and levels of brutality of this song accordingly.

Downfall of Gaia – Atrophy (2016)

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Wasting no time and keeping up their momentum going, today we have Downfall of Gaia and their latest full-length opus “Atrophy”. Delivering over 40 minutes of brutally crafted Post-Black Metal with some Sludge and Crust influences, the band continues their musical journey with one of the most intelligent and yet extremely brutal releases of 2016.

Opening with the brutal “Brood”, the band quickly builds up a massive wall of sound with distorted guitars, a ponding bass guitar, and blistering drums. The vocals are as punishing as you can possibly imagine, adding to the overall demoralizing atmosphere of the track. In a bit more melodic tone, the opening riffing of “Woe” starts quite brutal and it slowly progresses into more Sludgy territories.

Sign of the Evil – Black Throne of Blood (2015)

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There is a certain magical rawness to South American Black Metal release that is missing from bands from other parts of the world. In this vein, today we have Peru’s Sign of the Evil and their crushing full-length debut “Black Throne of Blood”. Delivering over 30 minutes of blistering and ravaging Black Metal, this album perfectly balances rawness with a small dose of melody to keep things interesting and engaging.

After the atmospheric intro, the band delivers their first blow with the pummeling “Black Throne of Blood”. This track reminds us of bands like Avzhia and their primitive Black Metal rawness. The onslaughts continue with the brutality of “Demoniac War” and “Christian Blood for Satan”, both filled with tremolo picking guitar passages and hellish subhuman vocals.

Necromonkey – The Shadow of the Blind Man (2016)

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Celebrating their East Coast tour, Experimental Swedish duo Necromonkey unleash upon the world their latest EP titled “The Shadows of the Blind Man”. Featuring three tracks that push the sonic boundaries of sanity, this outfit manage to deliver very unique music that will puzzle and amaze you at the same time.

Opening with the crazy titled “Kinky Panda”, the band crafts a very unique sort of improvisational experimental piece with odd percussions and quite disturbing vocals to kick off this short release. As the funkadelic string instruments lead the charge, the odd tempos and atmospheric elements make this track as weird as you can expect from Necromonkey.

Bahrrecht – L'aube glacée (2016)

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Hailing from France, today we have Melodic Black Metal outfit Bahrrecht and their sophomore full-length release “L'aube glacée”. Originally started by Fëanor and Winterhalter (Alcest, Glaciation), this band unleashed their debut album back in 2011 and finally returns after a few line-up changes (Winterhalter has departed) with a very solid and engaging old-school sounding Melodic Black Metal opus. Filled with over 45 minutes of music, this album is both punishing and atmospheric enough to sound different and entertaining.

After the folky/atmospheric opener “Hommage à une foi perdue”, the band delivers their first blow with the crushing “Un orage éternel”. In this track the band often changes tempos while delivering waves of powerful Black Metal riffs and melodic solos. This level of intensity nicely continues in the playful “Le géant des neiges”, which reminds us of “Nemesis Divina”-era Satyricon, thanks to its atmospheric elements and overall pace.

Trees of Eternity – Hour of the Nightingale (2016)

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Hands down the most emotionally draining album of 2016 has to be Trees of Eternity’s debut full-length release “Hour of the Nightingale”. Filled with lush Atmospheric/Gothic Doom songs, this release is nearly as emotional as its back story. After a few years in limbo and a bit too late for some, released under Svart records, this release will definitely crawl up under your skin and fill you with melancholy.

Opening with Swallow the Sun-esque heavy riffs, “My Requiem” sets the listener into an emotional journey for over 62 minutes of unparalleled melancholy. As the band’s singer Aleah Stanbridge first showcases her vocal talents, the music quickly becomes even darker and more emotive. Unluckily for the world, Aleah’s talents will no longer be present as she passed before the release of this album. However, her presence in this release at least shines light of her talents and dedication to the band.

Alcest – Kodama (2016)

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Making their triumphant return after their mostly Post-Rock only release “Shelter”, today we have Alcest and their latest effort “Kodama”. Stepping a bit back into their darker and ‘heavier’ days, this release delivers 48 minutes of the band that so many Metal heads secretly love. The band’s magical sound returns with seven songs that feature a bit of an ideological change into Japanese culture.

The album opens with the whimsical “Kodama”, a very ethereal piece that brings back memories of “Écailles de lune” and “Les Voyages de l'âme”. The dreamy vocal arrangements are made even stronger with guest vocals from Kathrine Shepard of Sylvaine. Continuing in the same vein, the quintessential Alcest shoegazy riffs open “Eclosion”, a piece that nicely builds up while delivering goose bumps. This track marks the return of Neige’s harsh vocals, something that fans thought “Shelter” was missing.

Madder Mortem – Red in Tooth and Claw (2016)

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As one of the biggest surprises of 2016, today we have the return of Madder Mortem and their whacky Progressive Metal with “Red in Tooth and Claw”. Always hard to peg down and describe, this Norwegian band has consistently released very unique album and with this one they sound as crazy as ever. Delivering over 50 minutes of music, this release was definitely worth the 6 year wait.

Opening with the funky “Blood on the Sand” we are instantly transported to the band’s unique musical world. Agnete’s signature vocals perfectly lead this very engaging track that features tons of odd tempo changes and has a certain circus vibe to it. The madness continues in very different shapes as “If I could” and “Fallow Season” deliver funkadelic rhythms and very playful combinations of intricate bass guitar lines and heavy riffs.

Anaal Nathrakh – The Whole of the Law (2016)

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Pushing the limits of what is defined as extreme; today we have Anaal Nathrakh and their latest crushing release: “The Whole of the Law”. Ever since the band moved to Metal Blade Records, they have been on a warpath of destruction and insanity. Delivering over 42 minutes of brutal aural devastation, the band cranks up eleven of the most chaotic and abusive songs we have ever heard.

After the slow atmospheric intro, the band opens their portal to hell with the crushing “Depravity Favours the Bold”. This track is filled with atmospheric arrangements paired with Dave Hunt’s multi-faceted range of vocals. The release continues to punish the listener with the brutal Grindcore onslaughts of “Hold Your Children Close and Pray for Oblivion”, the eerie Industrial elements of “We Will Fucking Kill You”, and the totally deranged vocals and Death Metal vibe of “So We Can Die Happy”.

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