As one of the bands that paved the way for Symphonic Black Metal back in the 90’s, Limbonic Art returns with their first album in seven years titled “Spectre Abysm”. Featuring seven tracks of fast-paced BM, this release will surely be amusing and entertaining, feeling a bit like their older releases. With most of the Symphonic BM catching up and surpassing what Limbonic Art did in the past, this album is a bit exploratory as the band seems to take on uncharted territories while maintaining a familiar style.
The release kicks off with the 10-minute epic “Demonic Resurrection”, which features a very straightforward style of Black Metal, but adds a few odd elements like some creepy throat singing. The melodic riffing of “Ethereal Traveler” keeps the intensity up, while the intricate tempo changes of “Omega Doom” showcase Daemon’s songwriting skills. We particularly enjoy the more mellow and intricate pieces like “Requiem Sempiternam”.
Every few months we get a mysterious package from Poland wrapped around very creatively with saran wrap and newspaper. Arriving from Godz ov War productions, we get a pretty good variety of Death and Black Metal underground bands, one of the standouts this month has to be Loathfinder. Unleashing four tracks and over 28 minutes on their debut EP “The Great Tired Ones”, this Polish one-man battalion focuses on mixing elements of Black/Death Metal with Doom/Sludge guitar work.
Opening with the catchy “Genetic Gloom”, a layer of thick riffing and harsh growls sets the mood for this release. While featuring heavy riffs and a dense atmosphere, the song has a certain Sludgy edge to it that keeps it interesting and different from other bands. The album’s most engaging song has to be “Feast on My Entrails”, where we have ripping melodic riffs and devilish harsh vocals. This track features solid headbanging passages thanks to its extreme catchiness.
Hailing from Italy, today we have axe man Lelio Padovani and his hyper mellow Jazzy/Rock instrumental release “Waves”. Very aptly titled, this release will soothe your mornings or evenings with four tracks that are quite cinematic and engaging in nature. We are huge fans of guitarists solo releases and while many of the focus on speed and acrobatics, this one focuses on creating enjoyable and highly melancholic songs.
Opening with the lush “Time Traveler”, we get this cinematic/video-game-ish vibe from the tempo changes in the song. The keyboards nicely provide a good atmospheric backdrop for the playful interchange between the bass and the lead guitar. Continuing with the upbeat mood, “Siren Song” delivers great guitar leads under a very hypnotic bass line. This track is one of your typical songs were the guitars shine, but they never fully overpower the atmosphere created by Lelio.
Just when you think that Clouds can’t get any better, Daniel Neagoe and company unleash a short EP that takes the band’s sound to a whole new level. Delivering four new songs with guests like Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun), Ana Carolina (Mourning Sun), Gogo Melone (Luna Obscura), and Mihu Ilie (Abigail), this release pushes the limits of sorrow and melancholy. If you like the band’s previous efforts, this is an EP you cannot miss.
Opening with the bleak guitars and atmospheric violins of “The Wind Carried Your Soul”, Clouds instantly sets a very depressive and powerful mood. As soon as Ana Carolina’s vocals come forward, the atmosphere feels even bleaker and denser, and we have just gotten started. With “Fields of Nothingness” we are treated to Mikko’s vocals in a very lush track filled with warm vocal harmonies and masterful keyboards. Definitely one of the best songs in this EP, as the mood is quite desolate and crushing.
Hailing from Belorussia, today we have Lunacy, formed by Morena and Stone of Closed Room fame. In this full-length release, “Act One. Youth Manifesto”, we are treated to eight tracks of brilliant atmospheric Rock / Post-Metal in the vein of The Gathering, Amesoeurs, and Closed Room. If you like uniquely odd and very emotional female led dreamy music, this is definitely a release worth checking out.
Opening with the melancholic “The Ballad of Youth”, we are instantly graced with Morena’s sultry vocals surrounded by dreamy guitars and a very moody tempo. Interestingly enough this track takes a turn, and delivers a very aggressive closing. Delivering a more intense musical experience with lush guitar leads and a vibrant pace, “The First and the Last” is a very upbeat track that nicely sets the mood for this dynamic release.
After completely blowing us away with their 2015 EP “An Ominous Landscape”, Selbst returns with a vengeance with their demoralizing full-length debut release. Featuring over 45 minutes of expertly crafted Black Metal, this release is a strong candidate for BM album of the year. With a similar ravaging style to bands like Nightbringer and Watain, this Venezuelan/Chilean duo will ravage your speakers for months to come.
Opening with the bleak atmospheric riffing of “…Of Solitary Ramblings”, the mood is instantly set. Changing vocalists did not slow down this band, as Nicholas Onfray delivers some of the most powerful BM vocals we have heard in a while. The songwriting is quite diverse and while sometimes focuses in building up the atmosphere, some other times like on “Visions of mankind withering” it just focuses on pummeling the listener into submission with piercing aggression.
Perfectly aging with time, like a fine bottle of scotch, today we have Suffocation and their latest opus “…Of the Dark Light”. Delivering over 35 minutes of brutality, Frank Mullen and company embrace the more modern Technical/Brutal DM influences and manage to craft a very traditional Suffocation release that feels fresh and current.
Opening with the sinister “Clarity Through Deprivation”, the Suffocation instantly finds its groove with killer drumming and a very hefty pace. The band’s old-school sound is forever present and you can instantly hear it as they steamroll past “Your Last Breaths”, “Return to the Abyss” and “The Violation”. Paired with fresher ideas, the band manages to deliver punishing tracks filled with brutality and cheeky drum patterns like “Of the Dark Light”, which is both intense and crafty.
Getting tons of digital albums a month makes for a hard predicament of which ones to actually review. While some are easily eliminated by the fact that they are terrible, we are always left with a handful that really caught our attention. Self-released EP “As A Season Bloom” from Hitwood is one of those. Featuring 4 tracks of exploratory melodic Metal, this release has a certain vibe that will attract you to it and will keep you listening.
Opening with the Post-Rock-ish “A Spring Glare Where Green Shine the Brightest”, this one-man project sets a very lively and moody atmosphere. Soothing the listener into such a lush and carefully crafted atmosphere is definitely the best way to start a release. The mood then shifts to more of a folky power ballad with “Memories from a Gentle Summer Evening”, featuring relaxing clean/acoustic guitars and a killer last few minutes, this track nicely continues the moody nature of the EP.
Hailing from Germany, today we have Black Metal duo Rimruna and their devastating sophomore release “Der Hatz entronnen”. Featuring over 55 minutes of soul crushing BM, this release is full of traditional elements perfectly executed to crate superbly evil and oppressing atmosphere. For fans of old Satyricon, Marduk, Immortal, this is one hell of a straight up traditional BM release.
After the traditional acoustic intro track, the band goes on full on war mode with the blast beats and incisive riffing of “Tor der Zeit”. The level of rawness and brutality is quite astounding as this track needs nothing else than the traditional instrument core to be icy and demoralizing. Having that certain old-school Black’n’Roll-ish vibe, “Wirren” continues the onslaught with more intense riffing and the demonic vocals, both courtesy of Wintergrimm. This track also features some fine slower and darker passages.
Only a few bands manage to write a follow-up to a legendary album and succeed at it. Today we have Vintersorg blowing people away with their follow-up of the seminal “Till fjälls”. In this double release, the band unleashes over 75 minutes of classic Vintersorg music that will never leave your record player for the remainder of the year (possibly a few years). Going back to the basics, this is one release you can’t miss.
The album sets the tone with the intense opener “Jökelväktaren”, filled with soaring vocal arrangements and uber catchy guitar work, this perfectly sets the mood for what is to come. For any fan of Vintersorg, the brilliant combination of epic clean vocals and harsh vocals is one of the best features of their releases, particularly in epic tracks like “En väldig isvidds karga dräkt” and the crushing “Fjällets mäktiga mur”.