Fittingly bearing what it looks like a psychoactive toad on its cover, today we have Tusmörke and their trippiest release to date “Fort Bak Lyset”. Combining psychedelic and folk elements ina a very proggy way, the band crafts seven unique pieces that are beyond original and totally weird. If you are looking for weird psychedelic music, this is probably as weird as you are going to get in 2016.
Opening with the Jethro Tull-esque “Ekebergkongen”, the band sets a very odd stage with tons of psychedelic atmospheric elements and very proggy music. Entirely sung in Norwegian, the music in this album explores all kinds of weird folk corners as we can hear on “Et Djevelsk Mareritt” and “De Reiser Fra Oss”. While one can quickly picture a bunch of geeky larpers frolicking around with their foam swords to this music, we have to say that even this is too weird and out of the ordinary (in a good way!) for said sinister purposes.
Hailing from Colorado, today we have the elusive duo The Flight of the Sleipnir and their fifth full-length release titled “V.”. Featuring seven tracks of very mellow improvisational-style Psychedelic Sludge/Doom, this band delivers a very unique aural experience with over 59 minutes of very diverse and sonically pleasing music that evokes the likes of folk-induced Agalloch, Velnias, mixed with countless Doom Metal acts.
The release kicks off with a very Empyrium-esque opener with “Headwinds”, a track that slowly builds up to some powerful Sludgy riffs and tight drumming. The mixture of and Sludge elements is quite well crafted and the clean vocals nicely fit the bill, the harsh vocals while odd at first create a very contrasting vibe that ultimately fits the song perfectly. Things get a bit more psychedelic, or should we say ‘sludge-chedelic’ in the trippy “Sidereal Course”. This song has a very nice free-flowing vibe and feels like a jam session in some places.
Heavy, creepy and atmospheric are words that we usually like when talking about a release, in “The Kingdom Field” Darkher perfectly crafts her sound around those three words. Hailing from the UK, this female-fronted outfit delivers four brilliant tracks that combine elements from old-school bands like The 3rd and the Mortal, to newer acts like Hexvessel and Jex Thoth.
We are slowly initiated to Darkher’s captivating sound with the atmospheric intro to “Ghost Tears”. The dark and somber vocals work amazingly well with the minimalistic percussions and guitars in this track. We are reminded of a mixture of Jamie Myers (Sabbath Assembly), Jex Thoth, and Kari Rueslåtten (ex The 3rd and the Mortal), as it goes from somber and deep to sweet and innocent in tracks like “Hung”, these changes make this release very versatile and intoxicating.
Having waited for more than 10 years for a new Empyrium release, the arrival of this release was the highlight of our month. With “The Turn of the Tides”, Ulf Theodor Schwadorf and Thomas Helm return with a release that combines all elements from Empyrium’s past in a very fresh and masterful way. Featuring seven tracks of majestic atmospheric music, the band surpasses all the expectations and once again, sets the bar higher.
The release opens with the ray of light called “Saviour”. In this track the somber piano opening perfectly sets the mood for this majestic release. As the atmospheric elements keep unveiling parallel to Helm’s vocals, the full Empyrium experience begins. The release continues with the already unveiled “Dead Winter Ways”, a majestic track that is both bleak and dramatic. Featuring distorted guitars, this is a first in a few releases for Empyrium.
Today we have another very interesting re-release through Pesanta Urfolk, and this release is none other than Noctooa’s “Adaptation”. Featuring a very unique sound, this band mixes Neofolk with New Wave elements creating something very original that is labeled “Cave Wave” by the band themselves. One thing is for sure that their sound is quite engaging and hypnotic, so be prepared to be trapped by their dark atmosphere.
In the opener “Persistence” the first impression we perceive is the very somber atmosphere nicely surrounded by piercing vocals. With a certain Tenhi vibe, the string instruments in this track (and release) are quite well arranged to create a very dense atmosphere. As the album rolls through very melancholic tunes like “Can’t Serve” and “Poly-Dimensional”, it is not until “Sleeping Beira” that we are truly enchanted by the ritualistic feeling behind the music.
Finally seeing the light of day on a physical release, today we have Blood and Sun’s “White Storms Fail”. Out in May via Pesanta Urfolk, this is an excellent Neofolk release that spawned as the collaboration between Tanner Anderson (Obsequaie/Celestiial), Luke Tromiczak (Maledicere), and Erik Wivinus (Thunderbolt Pagoda). Quickly gathering attention as one of the best Neofolk acts from North America, you can’t afford to miss this collector’s edition release of the album.
With the intro nicely bleeding into “Merciless Master”, the band instantly establishes a very somber and engaging mood. Luke’s vocals nicely draw the listener into the very interesting lyrics presented. The music at its core is very traditional but the incorporation of elements like the hammered dulcimer, violin, and cello, make for a more immersive and unique experience.
Receiving this release with the bittersweet news that this will be the last Dornenreich release for a while, “Freiheit” is the band’s eight studio album in 18 years. Even though the band is not splitting up or anything, the band leaves us with a very unique release that combines both aspects of the band over the years: their dark neo-folk incursions and the more traditional Pagan/Black Metal elements. With eight tracks and over 45 minutes of music, the listener will accompany Dornenreich into their very special world.
The dramatic “Im ersten aller Spiele” opens with piercing violins and lush string instruments. There is something about the spoken German vocals that adds a great level of depth to the band’s unique music. “Von Kraft und Wunsch und jungen Federn” continues with a very dramatic and heartfelt approach, with hasty vocals and some intense sections, we can instantly feel the mood transmitted by the band in this track. Things turn darker and slower once more with one of our favorites “Des Meeres Atmen”, a very melancholic and enchanting tune.
The weirdest band in the planet has finally returned with an even weirder release with “Quaternity”. Sabbath Assembly has been focusing since its inception to re-interpret the hymns of The Process Church of the Final Judgment, and with this release they take things further into darker corners with a bit of a shift from the more Psychedelic/distorted guitars oriented music to a more rudimentary and bone chilling musical deconstruction.
After the chilling intro “Let Us Who Mystically Represent...”, Jamie Myers (vocals) and Dave Nuss (drums) return with a more elaborate and expansive sound combining minimalistic percussions and string instruments on “Jehovah on Death”. The music in this release, in its majority, is all new and original from the band with just a lyrical inspiration of the Process Church’s vast weirdness.
Arriving from Germany, today we have Neo-folk trio Nebelung and their latest full-length release titled “Palingenesis”. Featuring six tracks of hauntingly dark compositions, this outfit delivers a similar vibe to genre greats Empyrium and Tenhi. Filled with lush soundscapes and very elegantly crafted melodies, this is one Neo-folk release you don’t want to miss in 2014.
The album opens with the mellow “Mittwinter”, a song that nicely builds momentum and showcases lush acoustic guitar arrangements. As we move into the somber “Nachtgewalt” we get that instant Empyrium “Weiland” vibe with the imposing cello leading the way. The band’s ability to keep the tension escalating without giving anything away is one of their top skills in this release.
Being used to receive very weird and unique releases, we can’t say that we ever expected to come across an album as unique and puzzling as Albatwitch’s “Only Dead Birds Sing Over the Graves of Fallen Kings”. Mixing Folk with Americana, Drone, Sludge, d-beat, crust, Black Metal and a slew of other influences, this is one hell of a rollercoaster ride that is better left to fully unravel rather than try to understand it.
The album opens with a Folk track that brings back memories of the banjos in the movie “Deliverance”, but it quickly transforms into punishing Noise with hellish vocals. And this is just in the first 3 minutes of music. Sludgy Black Metal quickly follows in “Beneath The Flood”, just before we jump into Burzum-esque territory (his instrumental stuff) and then back into more lush Neo-Folk/Folk with very melancholic vocals and the album’s title track.