• Riverland – Riverland (2013)


    Making its way from Finland, today we have Riverland and their self-titled debut release. Featuring a very soothing and relaxing combination of Progressive / Alternative Rock with some Folk elements, this duo delivers seven excellent tracks. Heavily focusing in creating lush atmospheres, Riverland manages to craft a very unique and well balanced debut.

    Immediately creating a ‘feel good’ mood with the lush opener “Hope in The Air”, we can hear the band’s pop to folk influences in the span of the first minute. Miko Heino’s vocals are quite well suited for the music’s relaxing nature. “Help!” starts more in a folk-ish fashion with some cool beats and a very atmospheric vibe. On “Sounds” we can easily hear how they can perfectly fit the scene of a coffee house on a rainy afternoon. The band’s sound is quite direct and simple, perfectly fitting atmospheric concept of the album.

  • Lacrimas Profundere – Antiadore (2013)


    Having been huge fans of the band’s earliest Gothic/Doom work, we have been reluctant to fully enjoy their most recent releases until this one. In “Antiadore” Lacrimas Profundere belts out 12 Gothic Rock anthems that are quite moody and catchy. The band has finally won us over with very catchy tunes, signature deep vocals, and excellent arrangements that make their music very dynamic and enjoyable.

    Led by the only remaining original member, Oliver Nikolas Schmid, on guitars, the band opens with “My Release in Pain”, a very catchy and emotional song. The band quickly warms up with tracks like “Antiadore”, “What I’m Not”, and “Dead To Me”, perfectly combining their powerful dual guitar attack with catchy keyboards and the trademark vocals of Rob Vitacca.

  • Kadavar – Abra Kadavar (2013)


    Germany’s latest export Kadavar is finally making their latest release, “Abra Kadavar”, available to the people of North America through Nuclear Blast this May 14th, 2013. If you have been living under a rock for the last few years, Psychedelic Rock is making a big comeback and Kadavar is one of the most authentic and enthusiastic bands leading the charge. Featuring nine rocking anthems, this release is filled with energy and groovy tunes.

    Opening with the super catchy “Come Back To Life”, the band has that natural feeling to their music of the old-school bands from the 70’s. With a very basic set-up this band focuses more on creating fun and hard-rocking tunes than on any technical aspects of the production and fancy layering of things. “Doomsday Machine”, “Black Snake”, and “Dust” are clear examples of how the band delivers catchiness effortless while having a very organic and raw sound.

  • Purson – The Circle and the Blue Door (2013)


    Greatly diversifying their roster, Metal Blade has picked up for distribution in the US UK-based underground sensation Purson and their latest release “The Circle and the Blue Door”. Lead by singer/guitarist Rosalie Cunningham, this band has nailed the retro/psychedelic Rock vibe from the 60’s/70’s to perfection with their very authentic sound that will surely gather them international recognition.

    Opening this release with the solemn “Wake Up Sleepy Head” and “The Contract”, the band immediately transports the listener to earlier times of free love and enigmatic music of the 60’s. The band’s authentic sound featuring instruments like the Mellotron and the Wurlitzer is greatly enhanced by Rosalie’s sultry vocals and excellent guitar skills. If you played this band for anybody into the music from those days, we are sure they would not be able to tell if it was a recent or an older band.

  • Mother Susurrus – Maahaavaa (2013)


    Fully recorded using analog gear, today we have Finland’s Mother Susurrus and their debut full-length release “Maahaavaa”. Combining elements from bands like Neurosis, High of Fire, and more traditional Hard and Acid Rock influences, they masterfully crafted a sound that is quite hard to pin down, but is very interesting and unique sounding. This 48 minute release contains five solid tracks that command maximum aural attention.

    True audiophiles greatly appreciate when things are recorded via analog gear, and this is very evident when you get those nice grainy effects and elements in the music that really make things pop and sound natural. The first example of said things is the crushing opener “Superposition”. Clocking in at around 10 minutes, this mammoth track shows the band’s Sludge/Doom power with some more direct Hard rock influences.

  • Blacklands – A New Dawn (2013)


    Featuring almost 80 minutes of beautifully crafted Progressive/Melodic Rock, today we have Germany’s Blacklands and their latest release “A New Dawn”. In this very competitive and highly repetitive music scene, it is quite refreshing to hear such a heartfelt and powerful release. With “A New Dawn”, the band takes traditional Melodic Rock with Progressive elements and ads lush female vocals for a great dramatic and highly pleasing effect, something that will surely appeal to fans from Gothic Metal all the way to Progressive Rock aficionados.

    Opening the release with the melancholic “Cold Embrace”, we get first glance of the excellent keyboards of Manfred Reinecke together the vivid and sultry voice of Moja Nardelli. This song also shows the clear Progressive elements in the band’s music perfectly mixed with their more melodic and at times Symphonic/Gothic Metal influences. With a folky edge, “Dance of The Witches” nicely changes up the pace and showcases the band’s versatility.

  • Beissert – Darkness:Devil:Death (2013)


    We have been very troubled by writing a review for this release since it is one very complex and intricate album that is hard to swallow in a few (dozen) spins. Building up on their already very intoxicating sound, the band brings together Groove/Technical Metal elements into some Sludge and even Heavy Metal/Hard Rock influences all coming together in some kick as Metal-with-attitude as we would describe it.

    The album starts in a confusing manner with tracks like “The Chthonic Cathedral” and “DarknessDevilDeath”, both filled with killer riffs and soaring vocals, but seem very overwhelming for opening tracks. While band’s sound is very present in said tracks, we think that maybe something more approachable and mellow as “Age Ov Darkness” (and its sick melodic riffs) would have better served as a lead-up into the band’s groovy music. However, once the first two song hump is behind you, all the rest of the release is just sweet aggressive and melodic brilliance.

  • Russkaja – Energia! (2013)


    In the same vein of truly unique and completely bizarre bands like Diablo Swing Orchestra and the Leningrad Cowboys, today we have Austria’s Russkaja and their latest release “Energia!”. Featuring 12 tracks of ‘Russian Turbo Polka’ music as the band describes it, any fan of truly experimental and very unique music will be creaming their pants with this bizarre musical output. Combining Polka, Metal, Ska, Rock, Jazz, and Funk, this release is anything but standard and predictable.

    Open the release wide open we have the catchy “Energia!” a track so engaging that we are sure some people will immediately start dancing. The band’s sound resembles some of the Ska we have listened to in the past, but with a higher intensity and heavier guitars. “Barada” sounds like old Russian Rock songs that we had the misfortune of listening to on the net, but the band adds the wind instruments to keep it interesting and very catchy.

  • Prehistoric Pigs – Wormhole Generator (2012)


    Arriving from Moonlight Records, today we have another solid Stoner Rock/Metal release that hails from Italy. We have seen a surge in Stoner Rock/Metal releases in the last few years and luckily for Prehistoric Pigs, they fall under the ‘better than average’ category. Cranking out 55 minutes of catchy music, “Wormhole Generator” is a quite a solid release from any fan of the genre.

    Starting the release with the trippy “Swirling Rings of Saturn”, the band showcases their very simplistic approach into creating catchy and trippy music. There is nothing very fancy about their sound or event extremely technically proficient, it is just straight up effective riffing and traditional song structures. The fact that “Wormhole Generator” is fully instrumental makes it even better since you can enjoy the hard-rocking tracks without the need of putting up with a (maybe) bad singer on top.

  • Vreid – Welcome Farewell (2013)


    The kings of catchy Black ‘n’ Roll have returned with another killer release in “Welcome Farewell”. Continuing to push the boundaries of Black Metal mixed with old-school Metal, Vreid shows that they can only keep improving their very unique and aggressive musical approach. For over 40-minutes the band delivers waves of uber catchy riffs paired with hellish vocals and a knack for ridiculously entertaining song arrangements.

    Immediately pounding away with “The Ramble”, the band shows that they haven’t forgotten their Black Metal roots, but they deliver them on their own terms. There are very typical BM riffs here, but they are given an old-school vibe that makes them as addictive as heroin. Tracks like “Way of The Serpent” and “The Devil’s Hand” are excellent examples of riff-a-thons that are the staple of this band’s excellent song writing skills.


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