Hailing from Italy, today we have Blackened Death Metal outfit Simulacro and their second full-length release "Echi dall'abisso". Packed with 45 minutes of punishing tracks, this release created a very thick and demoralizing atmosphere that will destroy your psyche and bend you into submission. Led by Xul and Anamnesi of Absentia Lunae and Progenie Terrestre Pura fame, this release is not for the weak of mind.
The album opens with the incisive riffing of “ECO I”, in this song a think atmosphere is set with harsh vocals and pummeling drums flanking ethereally eerie female vocals. As the album progresses, the band gets crafty with some Post-Metal-ish moments in songs like “ECO II” and “ECO III”, remind us of the early sound of The Ocean. Usually in many releases the Bass guitar drowns in the mix, but here Ombra delivers the goods with a heavily emphasized bass guitar line in pieces like “ECO IV” and “ECO V”.
Hailing from Sweden, one-man battalion Svartsyn returns with a crushing and demoralizing release titled “In Death”. Featuring seven anthems of foul and deathly Black Metal, this release is as punishing as it gets. Delivering over 46 minutes of music, this release has a very oppressive vibe to it while leveling listeners with their violent riffing and hellish vocals. If you like dark and sinister BM from bands like Weapon, Watain, Nightbringer, etc., this is the album for you.
The album kicks off with the ravaging intensity of “Sevenheaded Snake”, where the band’s sole member Ornias showcases great intensity and brutality. After such an onslaught, we move into more atmospheric territories with the chilling “Dark Prophet”, a very well-paced piece that oozes that brilliant Scandinavian Black Metal vibe. Bringing back the intense pace, “With Death” is one of our favorite tracks in this release thanks to the relentless drumming of guest Hammerman and the sickening tempo to it.
Hailing from Germany, today we have one of the most original and downright weird releases of 2017. On “Smaragd”, this dynamic duo delivers 53-minutes of a mixture of Progressive Black Metal with tons of Jazzy and Folky influences, creating a very engaging sound unlike anything you have heard before. If you are into highly experimental music that defies the boundaries of genres, this is definitely the release for you.
Opening with the moody “Into Depression”, the band slowly leads the listener down to their magical universe. This track starts off very Jazzy as it weaves back and forth between heavy passages and emotional acoustic interludes with killer guitar leads. Just when you think you have figured the out, the band delivers the raw onslaught of “My Terrifying Mirror”, with a furiously crushing opening that slowly morphs into madness. The band’s ability to change course mid-song and between songs, it is quite impressive creating magical contrasts and keeping the listener on their toes (eg. transitioning into the Proggy/Occult Rock elements of “In My Shadow”).
Featuring a very unique mixture of elements, today we have Æra and their debut EP titled “Of Forsworn Vows”. Combining elements from 90’s Black Metal with more modern Pagan Metal elements, this release unleashes over 20 minutes of highly addictive music that is quite epic and engaging. For fans of bands like Borknagar and early Emperor to outfits like Thyrfing, this release will certainly fit very well on your collection.
Opening with the powerful atmospheric elements of “An Affirmation of Forsworn Vows”, the band makes a bit splash with tense keyboards and a very melodic core. The riffing reminds us of bands like Falkenbach, which is straightforward but very melodic in nature. The vocals are quite fitting and add that extra layer of power to this impressive song as it weaves back and forth between different tempos.
Hailing from Germany, today we have one of the best Black Metal releases of 2017. Perfectly combining furious onslaughts with moody atmospheric elements, Nemesis Sopor delivers over 57 minutes of majestically crafted music that captivate the listener. Highly recommended for those fans of very refined melancholic Black Metal, “MMXL” is one of those releases that will command your full attention as it unravels fully after more than a handful of listens.
The album opens with a ferocious 15-minute piece titled “Untertan”, which give a little taste of what is to come. This track has it all: blisteringly fast sections, solemn melancholic passages, and very powerful transitions, making this song very unique and a true tour de force performance... just to start the album. Providing a lush breather, we have the instrumental “Saat”, just before things speed up again with the expansive “Herscher”. This track delivers more incisive riffing and crushing harsh vocals paired with a very mysterious tempo and brilliant atmospheric sections.
Arriving all the way from Lebanon, today we have one-man project Moonaadem and their self-titled debut release. Featuring seven tracks of very well crafted Atmospheric Black Metal, this release is filled with raw misery and solemn music that will crush your spirits and soul. Staying away from the clichés of the genre, and avoiding sounding like everybody else, this outfit keeps things very dark and melancholic for over 25 minutes.
Starting with “Multivers”, the album sets a very sinister mood with a mid-paced Black Metal piece that is quite engaging. Blending atmospheric elements with traditional riffs allows this track to have that certain BM-vibe, while further expanding its effect with an eerie atmosphere. The punishing “Pleine Lune”, is one of the best tracks in this release with its very melodic approach and furious intensity. This is masterfully contrasted by dreamy atmospherics and violent BM shrieks, leading to trippy passages.
Originally released back in 2012, Panopticon’s “Kentucky” is the band’s seminal release in which they mix both Black Metal and Folk/Americana/Bluegrass elements in a brilliant way. Just as when it was originally released, this release will certainly catch a new wave of people by surprise as the genres are not intuitively easily combined. Multi-instrumentalist Austin L. Lunn certainly pulled of one of the most unique releases of all times, and this is you latest chance to get a copy of it.
The album instantly raises eyebrows with the Folky/Americana-inspired “Bernheim Forest in Spring” as it leads into the explosive and very aggressive “Bodies Under the Falls”. With this transition we are back into more familiar territories with harsh vocals, punishing riffs and tight drums. This track masterfully weaves back and forth between heavy passages and lush banjo-led sections that work perfectly with the flow of the song.
Hailing surprisingly from the USA, today we have Amiensus and their latest EP “All Paths Lead to Death”. We are surprised they are from the USA because their Progressive Black Metal sound is quite European-like, delivering nearly 30 minutes of quality music that should not be missed by any fan of the genre. Perfectly mixing aggression with technical proficiency, this release has a certain Agalloch, Aenaon, and even Borknagar-ish vibe, making it quite impressive.
Opening with the brutal “Gehenna”, the release starts up with a very intense pace and crafty vocal arrangements going from harsh to clean. This opening track provides a peek into the band’s creative range and musical creativity. The onslaught continues with the pummeling drumming of “Moth of the Abyss” and its intricate guitar work. We particularly like how tight this release sounds thanks to the crystal clear production behind it.
Hailing from Denmark, today we have Sunken and their killer debut release “Departure”. Delivering over 50 minutes of heavily atmospheric Black Metal, this band creates a very powerful and melancholic atmosphere that will enshroud you with its misery. Focusing on crafting smarter tracks, this release feels and sounds a lot different than your run-of-the-mill Atmospheric BM outfit.
After the warm-up instrumental opening, the band opens this release with the full-blast onslaught of the first few minutes of “Void”. This song slowly mellows out and leads way to brilliant atmospheric passages with a prominent bass guitar line and catchy percussions. The album title track comes at us with another brilliant mixture of melancholy with devilish intensity with harsh vocals, furiously paced sections, and jazzy atmospheric passages.
Featuring current and past members of bands like Negură Bunget, Din Bard, and Dordeduh, Argus Megere delivers a very interesting full-length release titled “VEII”. With some clear Negură Bunget/Dordeduh influences, the band’s atmospheric Black Metal is top notch and for over 40 minutes transports the listeners into unique soundscapes.
Opening with “Carul cerului” the mood is slowly being set with distorted guitars and a very ritualistic atmospheric progression. This progression slowly leads to harsh BM-style vocals and very lively guitar work that crafts a unique and distinctive style for the band. Keeping the atmosphere going, we have a very chilling opening to “Tronul celui ce stă de strajă” which suddenly leads to harsh Black Metal passages and very magical keyboard arrangements. The clean vocal sections are quite well introduced and nicely boost the level of epicness of the song.