Arriving from Italy, today we have one-man project Nerij and his full-length release “Lophophora Williamsii And Monochromatic Perceptions”. In the vein of Dark Ambient greats Raison d'être, Frozen Ocean, etc., this band delivers 3 tracks that clocking in around 60 minutes of chilling cavernous passages of darkness and madness. If you think that Event Horizon needs a sequel, I believe we have found the soundtrack for it.
This self-released album starts with the ‘short’ (8-minutes long) “Mental Odyssey I: The Shaman Meets The Psychonaut”. This track provides a nice introduction to the darkest parts of Nerij’s inner workings and gives us an early taste of what is to come. With the first 20+ minute behemoth track being “Mental Odyssey II: Mescaline And The Antithesis Of Ethereal Visions”, we have a front row seat into a trippy sidereal journey. Feeling like an endless voyage through space in a very creepy vessel, this track provides excellent build-up fully immersing the listener.
Canadian Extreme Death Metal masters return after three years with the devastating “Waiting for the End to Come”. Being one of the most representative Metal bands in Canada, Kataklysm returns in full force with one of their most brutal releases in over a decade. Filled with 45 minutes of neck-snapping music, this release will surely bring back memories of the band’s heavier and more extreme beginnings, but with their more modern and more polished elements from their latest releases.
The album starts on a high note with the pummeling “Fire”. In this song we get a melodic intro that slowly progresses into full-on destructive mode with incisive riffs and punishing drums courtesy of newcomer Olivier Beaudoin. The Kataklysm signature sound is intact with hyper-fast sections and the killer vocals of Maurizio Iacono. Blending proficient songwriting with technical abilities, the band cruises through intense tunes like “If I Was God – I’d Burn It All”, “Like Animals”, and the brilliant “Kill the Elite”.
Hailing from Belgium, today we have the Cult of Erinyes horde and their sophomore full-length release “Blessed Extinction”. Filled with 43 minutes of hateful and chaotic Black Metal, this band has greatly improved over their debut release “A Place to Call My Unknown”. With some Avant-garde touches, this band creates epic Black Metal tunes with a knack for bizarre atmospheric passages.
Chaos instantly ensues with the crushing “From the Shattered Skies” and its dissonant guitars. The song structure is quite convoluted, creating an excellent chaotic feeling while retaining a good dose of melodic riffs. With its clean vocals this song and the album in general, gives that Code-like vibe that fans of Avant-Black Metal are always looking for. The relentless “Jibaku” keeps up a high level of intensity thanks to brutal drumming and inhuman vocals that send chills down the listener’s spine.
Today we have Fun at the Morgue, a Swiss band delivering their debut EP titled “Massoula”. Featuring 11 tracks, this makes it the EP with the most number of tracks we have every received. Filled with neck breaking Death Metal, this release provides a nice insight into the band’s crazy little world and showcases their musical abilities. While the majority of the release has pretty straightforward Death Metal tracks, there are a few songs here and there that make the experience a whole lot more interesting.
Opening with the commanding “Funeral Overture”, the band quickly establishes their power with their crushing riffing. This bleeds into “Faceripper” and “Heretic”, two short but sweet tracks filled with punishing guitars and thunderous drumming. The vocals are quite standard and very firm, as they should be in any DM release. “Dark Prophecy” is the longest song in this release clocking in at 4 minutes, and it has that Six Feet Under / Cannibal Corpse vibe thanks to the solid songwriting and attention to catchiness.
Four years have passed since their punishing “You Will Bleed” release, and Handful of Hate is ready to rock your world with an even more vicious release with “To Perdition”. In this devastating exercise in Black Metal brilliance, this Italian band delivers 11 tracks of relentless aural assaults that will leave you beat to a pulp. If you like the power of bands like Taake, Gorgoroth, Immortal, etc., this is one album that you can’t miss.
Opening with the ultra-violent title track, this release starts with a bang and keeps going like this for over 40 minutes. The riffing is quite punishing and very BM-esque, but the intensity of the drumming and hellishness of the vocals is what makes this band stand out. The band’s power goes unrivaled through epic tracks like “Cursed Be Your Breat”, “Far Beyond All Scourges”, and our personal favorite “Swines Graced Gods”. These songs provide a whirlwind of brutality and great levels of intensity that very few bands can delivers with such a quality production package.
Being huge fans of Ihsahn, we finally made the pilgrimage this year to watch him play live at the Afterburner in the legendary Roadburn Festival. Having surrounded himself with the extremely talented musicians of Leprous as his ‘backing band’, he delivered quite an impressive performance by nailing almost all the songs with brilliant technical perfection. Anyways, on his latest release, “Das Seelenbrechen”, he pushes the envelope even further with a lot of experimentation and a few of his signature elements. If you are expecting another “After” or “Eremita”, you might find yourself scratching your head a bit with this one.
Enlisting Leprous drummer-extraordinaire Tobias Ørnes Andersen for this release, Ihsahn as always handled everything else. Things seem to open in a very traditional way with the beginning of “Hilber”, a seemingly straightforward track that starts getting crazy as the odd keyboards come up. While this track is quite engaging, the weirdness is still manageable for all fans of Ihsahn. “Regen” takes a turn for the dramatic with clean vocals and a very dark vibe. The ballad-esque opening nicely builds up to some very epic moments as the song progresses. This track is one of our favorite ones thanks to the brilliant mood progression and dramatic climax.
After causing a lot of frowns and confusion with their solid “The Great Southern Darkness” release, France’s Glorior Belli returns with a more compact and fully integrated sound. In “Gators Rumble, Chaos Unfurs” their combination of Black Metal elements with a Southern Rock and Sludge comes to full fruition and delivers one of the best albums of 2013. With their previous album being a bigger jump of what we expected, we are glad that they regained control of their sound and produced 45 minutes of brilliant music.
Immediately as the album opens we have crushing twangy riffs that bleed Sludge and Southern Rock influences. The vocals are quite powerful and nicely complement the band’s knack for intoxicating melodies. While the band’s style change was very evident and in your face on their previous album, songs like “Wolves At My Door” and “Ain’t No Pit Deep Enough” quickly show how the tamed their explosive sound and combined better in this release.
With an eerie resemblance to Dark Lunacy and Eluveitie (sans the folk stuff), today we have Dawn of Tears and their excellent release “Act III: The Dying Eve”. Being huge fans of Melodic Death/Gothic Metal, this Spanish band blew us away since the first time we listened to this release. Mixing heavy guitars with tons of melodic/headbanging interludes and some female vocals and keyboards, they manage to deliver super catchy tracks that will have all fans of Dark Lunacy, Eternal Tears of Sorrow, etc. craving for more.
The album immediately starts on a high note with the high-octane “A Curse Herritage”. This track immediately shows great energy from this promising band. The incursion of female vocals is quite enjoyable, giving the music a completely different dimension. The album’s first single, “Present of Guilt”, is another mega-catchy melody that features an excellent chorus section and brilliant guitar work. With some cool atmospheric components, this song’s vocals reminded us of Eluveitie. Stepping up their game, “Lament of Madeleine” delivers a powerful opening that nicely turns mysterious in a very Eternal Tears of Sorrow way.
Nachtzeit’s one man project Lustre returns with another killer MCD featuring one 19 minute track title “A Spark of Times of Old”. For all fans of Atmospheric Black Metal, Lustre has been delivering very engaging releases since 2008, and with this EP the project continues to push forward their raw and uncompromising Black Metal filled with lush atmospheric elements and a certain feeling of bleakness that works great with this kind of music.
Opening in a very dramatic fashion, “A Spark of Times of Old” delivers a chilling introduction for what it’s set to be another epic Lustre release. The minimalistic atmospheric keyboards greatly setup a backdrop of ambiance for the crushing riffing and demoralizing vocals of Nachtzeit. We particularly enjoy how well Lustre manages to combine simple elements into a web of depressing and bleak soundscapes that very few bands can achieve, let alone in the first three minutes of a song. As the song progresses the atmosphere has slight changes thanks to the excellent keyboards, varying a bit from the basic structure but staying in tune with the overall nature of the track.
Delivering another brilliant onslaught of aggressive and catchy songs, today we have Sepultura and their latest release “The Mediator between Head and Hands Must Be the Heart”. With over 45 minutes of their signature sound, the band goes throw a wide variety of equally intoxicating tunes that will have all fans headbaning from beginning to end, and puzzling some with a few unconventional (for Sepultura) songs. With the band’s ‘new’ drummer, Eloy Casagrande, fully incorporated with the band, this is one release you don’t want to miss.
Opening with the powerful “Trauma of War”, we get the full-blown Seputural treatment with incisive riffs and pummeling vocals. The first unconventional song comes under the title of “The Vatican”, featuring very dark and sinister orchestrations to open. This reminded us a bit of Dimmu Borgir and Fleshgod Apocalypse thanks to how dramatic the song starts before it kicks off into full-on Sepultura mode with some pounding guitars and killer drumming. The tribal-esque drumming returns in “Impending Doom” and “The Bliss of Ignorants”, making these tracks very characteristic of the band.