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.
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.
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.
Hailing from the UK, today we have Telepathy and their crushing release “Tempest”. Mixing elements of Post-Rock/Metal with Sludge and a few other influences, the band manages to release a triumphant album that will put them on the spotlight right next to outfits like Cult of Luna, The Ocean, and Tides from Nebula.
Setting the mood with “First Light”, the band really showcases its riffing capabilities with the tense “Smoke from Distant Fires”. In this track we have a slow progression that weaves back and forth between Post-Metal and Post-Rock soundscapes. The drumming even reaches some Black Metal-esque passages that are actually quite fitting with the music’s direction.
Cranking up the level of melancholy to 11, today we have Bay Area’s Mountaineer and their debut full-length release “Sirens & Slumber”. After blowing us away with their two song EP back in 2016, this band formed by ex-Secrets of the Sky’s guitarist Clayton Bartholomew, continues to further develop their highly atmospheric sound by moving into Katatonia-esque territories. Delivering nine brilliant tracks, this is definitely one of the releases to get in 2017 if you are a fan of deeply melancholic music.
Opening with the dreaminess of “Foam”, the band sets a very ethereal mood with such a lush opener. Taken from the band’s first 2-song 7” release, “Coma Fever” leads with ripping Doom riffs and the contrasting vocals of Miguel Meza. The album continues with this lively pace on tracks like “Measured Breaths” and “Womb”, the band excels a wrapping a ton of atmosphere around heavy Doomy riffs.
Hailing from France, today we have Post-Rock newcomers Saar and their solid full-length release “Sol”. Featuring seven tracks and around 45 minutes of music, the band manages to capture the listeners attention with their polished songwriting skills and brilliant execution. Highly recommended for fans of bands like God is an Astronaut, Tides of Nebula, Ef and related.
Opening with the moody “Rise”, the band sets slowly progressing tone with this lush and emotional track. Things get a bit more intense with the minimalistic percussions of “Lux” and its subtle guitar work; we particularly love these kinds of songs that set you in trance. The intensity picks up on “On My Skin”, a track that shows a heavier and darker side of the band thanks to the powerful guitars and well-defined bass guitar line.
The first time we came across The Ruins of Beverast was with their 2009 release “Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite”… and we totally hated that album. Fast-forward eight years and two releases, we have learned to appreciate the complexity and uniqueness of the band’s sound. On “Exuvia”, sole member Alexander von Meilenwald takes things to a completely new level in terms of gripping atmosphere and brilliant mixture of diverse elements.
Opening with the hypnotic title track, this song starts with some Native American leading to a few eerie guitar notes that open up the traditional wall of sound that the band delivers. Featuring bone chilling female vocals, this track perfectly blends the band’s dissonant aggression with more mysterious elements and it progresses into very dramatic passages led by majestic clean vocal arrangements.
Our never-ending quest to find the most unique and bizarre Metal bands has lead us this month to Poland’s White Ward and their debut full-length release “Futility Report”. This very unique band delivers a strange mixture of Black Metal with Jazzy and a few Electronic elements structured in a very unusual way. For over 40 minutes you are led to a very different and exciting musical journey that will haunt your dreams from start to finish.
The album opens with the first few minutes of “Deviant Shapes” sounding like you are in for another Melodic/Post-Black Metal release. However, as soon as the 2:30 minutes mark hits the album takes a turn for the unexpected with a solemn saxophone making its entry and switching the entire direction of the band’s sound. Creating a very unique and relaxing vibe, this element while not atypical in Metal releases is unique combined by this band to craft a contrasting and yet brilliant juxtaposition of sounds.
Hailing from France, today we have Symphonic/Progressive Black Metal outfit Akroma and their fourth full-length release titled “Apocalypse (Requiem)”. Delivering over 40 minutes of intricate music and catchy melodic passages, the band spends most of the release trying to overcome their terrible singer. Luckily for the band, their music and other vocal arrangements are good enough to not fully bring down such an interesting release.
Opening with “Kyrie” we get that old-school Symphonic Black Metal vibe from the late 90’s and all things seem to be on track for a great album. However, the mixture of shrieks/Heavy Metal-styled vocals come on and they are downright horrendous and painful to listen to. Imagine a mixture of King Diamond and Dani Filth having a very bad vocal day and magnify it by 10x. While the growls and female vocals are pretty good and well fitting, sometimes is pretty hard to zone out the bad ones as you can hear on the awesomely proggy “Offertorium”.
As one of the most anticipated releases of 2017, today we have Ides of Gemini and their latest opus “Women”. Between releases the band changed their lineup a bit, freeing up Sera Timms to focus on vocals while adding Scott Batiste and Adam Murray. With this new configuration the band unleashes upon us ten solid tracks that further develop their already quite unique and intoxicating sound. If you like music that is both Doomy and mysterious, you are in for a treat with this one.
The album instantly pulls you to its magic with the opener “Mother Kiev”. In this piece we have J. Bennett delivering his signature riffs under the enchanting vocals or Sera Timms. While not overly flash or technically complex, the band’s atmosphere is very dense and efficient. As the band rolls through “The Rose” and “The Dancer” we get to appreciate their fuzzy Psychedelic elements which make the band’s sound even more diverse and intoxicating.