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.
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.
Featuring a very old-school Death/Doom vibe, today we have Into the Arcane and their debut EP titled “Het Verlangen Der Geest”. Delivering four tracks that will appeal to fans of Winter, Etherial Winds, and Phlebotomized, this music is for the old-school lovers of Doomy Death Metal bands with atmospheric elements.
The album opens with the crafty “The Glass King” and its very melodic guitar work. This very catchy song is very rudimentary, but gets the job done as it brings back that old-school vibe that the scene has been missing since the late 90’s early 00’s. “The Innocent Hunter” brings a more atmospheric side to the mix with some very interesting piano sections and brilliant tempo changes. The band further explores their Doomy side and creates a very emotional track filled with masterful guitar leads.
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”.
Originally intended to be the demo of the band formed by Aad Kloosterwaard and Alex Paul when Sinister split up back in 2003, “Gods of the Abyss” sees the light of day via Vic Records. This four song demo marked the move of Aad to vocals, and also the new era of Sinister with a renewed Nuclear Blast record band in the day. The tracks presented her formed part of the “Afterburner” album in 2006.
Leading with the piercing riffage of “The Grey Massacre”, we instantly get Sinister’s traditional intensity and viciousness with pretty solid vocals. One has to remember that before the band broke up in 2003, they had a terrible vocalist that single-handedly made “Savage or Grace” and “Creative Killings” two of the worst albums of the time. Anyways, the move of Aad to handle vocal duties was a pretty good one.
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”).
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.
Delivering over 50 minutes of brilliantly crafted Death Metal with tons of melodic undertones, today we have France’s Serenius and their third full-length release “Cocoon”. In a day and age when most band are moving their Death Metal sound to feature either Core or Progressive elements, it is quite cool to hear a band keeping the old-school style alive by injecting some energy into it, but keeping the essence intact.
After the album opens with the crushing “World”, the band wastes no time in keeping the momentum going and delivers the high-octane “Identity”. This very melodic song is one of our favorites, and will surely get the headbanging started with its pace and brilliant guitar work. “The Shell” and “Shadows of Misery” continue the onslaught with even more catchier and craftier tracks that showcase the band’s musical range and the wide variety of unique ideas they incorporate into their music.
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.