Bringing back the days of tape trading and home-made demos, today we have Yith and ‘their’ “Demo 3” on a Maxell tape. This American one-man battalion delivers six tracks of punishing Black Metal with Doom Metal influences. As we dusted off our tape player, this demo is quite well produced and will send shivers down your spine with its devastating riffs and demoralizing atmospheric passages.
Opening with “Beneath the White Mountains”, the Yith immediately punishes the listener with savage Black Metal riffs and vocals. The moment of awesomeness comes when the track mellows out a bit and atmospheric keyboards and a Doomy passages breaks through the cloud of BM onslaughts. “The Woman in Black” is a more ‘mellow’ track where the Black/Doom vibe is very well crafted and creates a very bleak landscape.
American guitar virtuoso Dario Lorina delivers to us one of the best shred instrumental releases we have heard in quite a with his debut self-titled release. Feature 13 tracks of expertly crafted music, we are given a unique opportunity to hear Dario’s expert guitar skills surrounded by very well constructed and catchy melodies. Avoiding many pitfalls of guitarists, like trying to sing, this release has everything a fan of Hard Rock/Metal could wish for, plus extremely awesome guitar solos.
Making an immediate impact with the playful “Demon Rum”, we instantly hear the quality behind Dario’s music. The drums and bass guitar are very well executed by Dan Conway and Marten Andersson, allowing this release to sound 100% professional by avoiding dull programmed drums and linear bass guitar lines. With shredding being the main attractive, we found that tracks like “Pipe Dreams”, “My Heroine”, “Villains”, and “Silhouettes” offer a lot more than insane guitar work. The melodic and catchy songwriting makes them more appealing than your average one-man shows we have these days.
Today we have Oruga and the re-release of their 2011 self-titled EP on Apathia Records. Delivering six punishing tracks of an excellent mixture of Doom, Stoner, and Sludge Metal, this French band makes quite an impact with their powerful sound. If like bands like Neurosis, Year of No Light, Dark Buddha Rising, and The Ocean, you cannot afford to miss this pummeling release.
Starting with the incisive riffing of “Northern Promises”, the band immediately gets a hold of the listener by the neck with their raw brutality. The guitars have a certain Stoner/Sludge inclination, but the overall Doom vibe is quite vibrant. The screams of Cedric M. are quite fitting for the genre and nicely resonate over the powerful song structures. Reminding us a bit of Hacride, “Kissing the Void” keeps the intensity with interesting tempo changes and imposing drumming.
Featuring a solid ensemble of musicians from bands like The Amenta and Mhorgl, today we have Malignant Monster and their Aussie Black/Death/Thrash Metal attack. In “Yours in Murder” the band delivers over 40 minutes of crushing music combining traditional Death and Thrash Metal elements with a BM edge and a very modern and refined sound.
Making their presence felt, Malignant Monster delivers crushing riffs since the first song. This track has a vibe similar to The Amenta, but this suddenly changes with the band’s piercing tempo changes and devastating drumming. Certain melodic moments of songs like “Until It Withers” and “Nothing Left” nicely give a different edge to the band’s already polished sound.
The hardest job here at Infernal Masquerade is giving a bad review to very well intentioned releases. Mr. Vu sadly falls in this category, since while their enthusiasm is amazing, the lack is musical skills gets the better out of “Dark Tales”. We understand this is just a demo version of the tracks, but there are some glaring issues with them. Trying to be as minimally mean as we can, we will continue to go over this album.
Opening with “Only the hard ones”, we can instantly hear the production deficiencies in this album, but since they are demo versions of songs we will let this go. The style is quite decent, reminding us of retro-80’s music at points; however, the vocals are just awful. We have heard tons of bad singing before, but sadly Mr. Vu is probably one of the worst. Components of the music are quite solid, like on “King of Vitiation”, where we have solid guitar/bass guitar lines, but the vocals and some of the arrangements are very odd.
The highly anticipated debut of Finish Post-Punk/Rock outfit Beastmilk is finally here. On “Climax” the band will surely elevate their cult status to a whole new level with 10 sultry tracks that put together influences from Killing Joke, Joy Division, Misfits and even some hints of Hexvessel and similar outfits. Delivering one excellent track after the other one, the band really captures a timeless vibe and makes it their own in this vibrant release.
Since the album’s opener “Death Reflects Us”, the band produces that excellent Punk-ish vibe thanks to the drums/bass guitar. The vocals of Kvohst are just brilliant and fit the vibe of the music in a very effective way; they sometimes remind us of the older Misfits stuff mixed with some Peter Murphy sultriness. With super catchy tracks like “The Wind Blows Through Their Skulls”, “Genocidal Crush”, and “You Are Now Under Our Control”, the band fully establishes their uniqueness and brilliant songwriting skills.
With Alrealon releases being so few in between all the stuff we get, we were quite excited to receive [ówt krì]’s “The New Seed”. As a one member outfit, this ‘band’ delivers chilling Ambient music with a very unique sense of space and time. If you like trippy music that slowly unravels before your ears in a very passive and expansive manner, this is one of those releases that will keep you at the edge of your seat.
The first two tracks “Deep South” and “The New Seed” nicely set the stage in a very ethereal and direct way. Both songs remind us of the music they play on documentaries of stargazing and the deep ends of the universe. The piano at the end of the second song is quite magical and one of the highlight of this release. In a darker mood, “On Hostile Ground” and “Abandoned Path” deliver a harsher experience. The vocals are quite penetrating and the guitars are very dissonant, creating a very unique sense of urgency.
With a French scene recently growing in numbers and strength, Doyle Airence is another excellent band that is finally getting some attention in the international scene. “Monolith” marks the band’s sophomore release and mixes elements of Post-Hardcore with Ambient. Rock, and Metal. The band’s very unique sound will surely grab you attention and divide opinions since they are far from your typical run-of-the-mill ‘up and coming’ band.
Kicking off with a mood setting atmospheric track, “03.11.11”, it is not until “Painting with Lights” were we first hear the band’s punishing guitars. In this track we have a very typical Pos-Hardcore approach to thins, with devastating screamed vocals and pummeling drums. It is not until “Friendly Fire” that we get some of the band’s more experimental side with a modern sounding Metalcore-ish vibe and some very solid Post-Rock/Post-Metal passages thrown in between. While we are not huge fans of the Metalcore-ish clean vocals, they still fit the melodic aspect of the song very well.
Originally started as a Death/Doom outfit, Hanging Garden has been slowly drifting apart from this category into more Melodic Death/Doom territories like their fellow countrymen Swallow the Sun and Insomnium. After the release of “At Every Door” earlier this year, the band gives us a little taste of what is to come in the future with their EP “I Was a Soldier”. Featuring three tracks (with the digital bonus song), this release continues were their previous full-length left off with a good dose of crushing melancholic music.
Starting on a high note, “Winter to Summer Adverse” delivers punishing riffs, demoralizing vocals and a very cool atmospheric keyboard highlights. While this track sounds a lot like Swallow the Sun, the band does a great job in keeping their style evolving and creating a bleak atmosphere. The clean vocals certainly add an extra layer of awesomeness to this track. The EP’s title track continues the flow with more atmospheric passages and engaging vocals.
Being huge fans of the band’s earlier material from their “Enter” and “The Dance” days, we constantly grew apart from their Pop-ish music over the last few years. While they have some great songs here and there, most of their ‘mainstream’ recent music has not impressed us much. Well, with the EP “Paradise (What About Us?)” we are quite surprised that the band returns to some of their earlier foundations (“Mother Earth”) and delivers quite an excellent short release.
The immediate standout is the EP’s title-track, featuring an amazing duet with none other than Tarja Turunen. In this high-intensity tune the band busts out the heavy distorted guitars and excellent atmospheric arrangements. Both Sharon and Tarja do an excellent job in this track making it quite dramatic and intense. The music is nowhere near as Pop-ish as bands like Amaranthe, making us quite enjoy this song. With the remaining tracks being demo versions, we still stand to see how much they change for the actual album, but for now we will focus on how good they are.