Slowly evolving into their current highly melancholic form, today we have Lacrimas Profundere and their 11th full-length release “Hope is Here”. As one of the marquee names of the Gothic Metal/Rock genre, this German band continues to improve with each release. The band does a great job in crafting twelve very bleak and gloomy pieces which are some of the most inspired songs the band has released in several years.
Opening with the mellow “The Worship of counting down”, the band is charismatically led by Rob Vitacca’s signature vocals and Oliver Nikolas Schmid’s guitar leads. This album instantly feels very dark and cold, drawing comparisons to the latest releases of bands ranging from Katatonia to To/Die/For. Keeping things interesting, the band always mixes up gloomy passages with hard rocking sections, allowing for tracks like “Hope is Here” and “Aramis” to keep things fresh and interesting.
Featuring a unique mix of Depressive Black Metal with Alternative Rock, Germany’s Freitod third full-length release “Der unsichtbare Begleiter” is quite a unique one. Clocking in at 44 minutes, this album has a very dreamy and melancholic vibe to it, making it one of the freshest sounding albums we have heard in quite a while.
Opening with the powerful riffing of “Unter schwarzen Wolken”, you can instantly hear that he tempo is a bit different of what you would expect. The harsh vocals and guitar work reminds us a bit of Harakiri for the Sky. The clean vocals are what really make this release magical as they transmit a sense of helplessness that only bands like Katatonia manage to achieve. Perfectly weaving back and forth from semi-aggressive Black Metal passages to more passive Rock-ish soundscapes, tracks like “Die falsche Krankheit” and “Der unsichtbare Begleiter” make this album truly magical.
Arriving all the way from Hungary, today we have Igor’z and their EP titled “All Fades Away”. Featuring three hard rocking songs, this EP serves as a good calling card for this up and coming band. While not too heavy, we appreciate bands filled with attitude and catchy music. Sounding like a lighter version of The New Black, Bombers, Chrome Division, etc., this band is quite entertaining.
Opening with the crunchy guitars of “All Fades Away”, the band sets a very playful and engaging mood. Perfectly paired with the distorted guitars are charismatic lead vocals which add character and definition to the band’s sound. Featuring a lighter opening, “Don’t Care” has a more radio friendly approach with its catchy vocal melodies and straightforward nature.
Slowly completing their musical transformation, today we have Nemesea and their catchy Gothic Rock. Completely separated from the sound on their debut release “Mana”, the band delivers 10 tracks of quite diverse rock music. As a the band has moved more into the mainstream eye, the majority of the band’s music has been growing more generic and the nearly 40 minute duration of this release makes this quite evident.
Opening with the bombastic “Hear Me”, the band nicely grabs the listener’s attention with Manda Ophuis charismatic vocals. Some tracks like the explosive “Forever” remind us of their fellow countrymen Delain. Our favorite track in this release is the highly emotional “Let it Burn” and its very dramatic tone perfectly paired with explosive tempo changes.
Delivering one of the most expected releases of 2016, today we have Pysch/Prog Rockers Purson and their sophomore album “Desire’s Magic Theatre”. Since creating quite a commotion with their creepy debut release “The Circle and the Blue Door”, the band has been gaining fans left and right in all parts of the world. Featuring a richer and warmer sound, this release delivers ten brilliant tracks that perfectly highlight all the awesomeness behind this promising band.
Led by the lovely and equally intimidating Rosalie Cunningham, this UK outfit opens with the fuzziness of the album title track. This piece sets retro Rock vibe with its groovy guitars and hypnotic percussions. The full-on explosion into melodic psychedelic/proggy interludes makes this track quite a solid opener. Moving on into more ‘traditional’ Jimi Hendrix-esque territories, the band delivers the trippy “Electric Landlady”, one of the most playful and engaging songs in this release.
Keeping up with times and the ever expanding musical scene, Nuclear Blast has managed to snag one of the best up and coming Hard/Modern Rock acts names Tax the Heat. Unleashing their debut full-length “Fed to the Lions” on April 8th, this band is ready to take center stage and blow people away with their upbeat super catchy tunes full of raw energy.
Opening with the commanding “Highway Home”, the band sets a very catchy vibe while making blending in some Aerosmith-esque influences in this very solid piece. With some certain Rolling Stones energy on the follow up “Animals”, the band instantly shows their knack for mixing old-school influences with their own modern energy and craft a very enjoyable hard rock atmosphere.
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 Austria, today we have a very unique release from an artist called Rusty Pacemaker. In “Ruins”, this one-man outfit delivers 53 minutes of very diverse music that blends Gothic Rock/Progressive Rock/Doom Metal with heavy atmospheric elements. Reminding us of bands like Yearning and some of the stuff on Holy Records back in the early 2000’s, this is a release that takes a few spins to fully sink in.
Opening with a very somber atmosphere in “Ruins”, the mood is set quite mellow and very mysterious. As Rusty’s vocals appear, the vibe shifts into a more Gothic Rock/Metal atmosphere, with very well crafted guitars, but somewhat odd vocal melodies. Moving into full-on H.I.M / To/Die/For territory, “Made of Lies” is quite straightforward and catchy, while being quite consistent with one genre. The use of female vocals on “Ocean of Life” greatly adds a different dimension to the band’s sound, making it more dynamic and engaging.
As one of the most anticipated releases of 2015, Jess and the Ancient Ones return with their sophomore release “Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes”. Moving away from their Doom influences and fully embracing the psychedelic/progressive side of their sound, the band delivers nine enigmatic tracks that will intoxicate all fans of the band and the genre. Greatly improving over their first effort, this is one release that nobody will want to miss.
Opening with the creepy playfulness of “Samhain”, the band set a very enigmatic mood with funky samples and a truly psychedelic vibe. There are some parallels to bands like Purson, but with the signature JATO style. Jess’s mesmerizing vocals do a great job in setting a very mellow and dark mood on tracks like trippy “The Flying Man” and super catchy psychedelic anthem “In Levitating Secret Dreams”. The band truly travels in time with a very organic and natural sounding recording, allowing all the sounds captured to be truly authentic sounding.
Delivering twelve tracks of brilliant Symphonic Rock/Metal, today we have super group Phantasma and their debut release “The Deviant Hearts”. Featuring Delain’s Charlotte Wessels, Everon’s Oliver Philipps and Georg Neuhauser of Serenity fame, this band is one of the most ambitious outfits in this musical space. The band does not disappoint with brilliant songs and even more impressive guest appearances to round up an excellently crafted release, if you are a fan of symphonic/melodic music, you will not want to miss this one.
Opening with the very solemn “Incomplete”, we are instantly pleased with the excellent duet of Charlotte and Georg. After starting on a dark note, the album quickly picks up with the mellow opening of “The Deviant Hearts”. Featuring Tom Englund in this bombastic song, all fans of either Delain or Evergrey will instantly geek out due to the way both singer’s vocals blend in this track. After a very Delain-ish “Runaway Gray”, the ballad “Try” greatly showcases Chloe Lowery and Dennis Schunke’s vocal talents in a very dramatic and epic way, easily one of the best tracks in this release.