Vorna - Sateet palata saavat (2019)

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Always surprising us with their excellent taste in music, LifeForce Records is prepared to unleash “Sateet palata saavat”, Finland’s Vorna’s latest effort. Magically combining elements of Folk/Pagan/Black Metal in a very atmospheric palette of sounds, this release delivers over 50 minutes of superbly melodic music. The closest band to Vorna’s sound that comes to mind has to be Eternal Tears of Sorrow and their highly diverse sound. This should let you know you are in for a treat with this album.

After the traditional mood setting intro, “Toinen” delivers the first onslaught of atmospheric brilliance. Creating a very moody and mystical atmosphere, the band pummels the listener with superb drumming, heavy riffs, and harsh vocals. The swings between lush melodic keyboard arrangements, harsh/clean vocals, and intense riffing, are just magical, creating a very immersive and engaging experience as heard on both “Toinen” and “Syvyydet”.

Capilla Ardiente - The Siege (2019)

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Hailing from Chile, today we have Epic Doom Metal outfit Capilla Ardiente and their sophomore full-length release “The Siege”. Perfectly aimed at those Candlemass, Saint Vitus and Solitude Aeturnus fans, this album unleashes over 45 minutes of pummeling riffs, moody vocals and an overall crushing atmosphere.

Side A of the release starts with “The Open Arms, the Open Wounds”, a very traditional Doom song that starts with one of the most typical riffs in the genre and quickly morphs into heavier territories. The dual guitar onslaught of Julio Bórquez (lead) and Igor Leiva (rhythm) allows for very engaging and powerful combinations, keeping tracks heavy and fun. “The Crimson Fortress” delivers more waves of distortion amidst crafty drumming and a powerful bass guitar line, giving it a certain old-school vibe.

Advent Sorrow - Kali Yuga Crown (2019)

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Australia is a place were some pretty interesting bands like Austere and Germ have spawned. Finally breaking into the global scene a few years back, Advent Sorrow delivers brutal Depressive Black Metal to the masses with their incisive and nihilistic style. “Kali Yuga Crown” is the band’s sophomore full-length release and with the wide release through Werewolf Records should propel the band to new audiences.

The album is all atmosphere start to finish, and it perfectly sets a very sinister and melancholic mood with the dramatic opener “Verminblood”. Unleashing intricate guitar melodies and a mournful bass guitar line, this track unleashes the band’s pain to the listener. Not settling for only one particular style, “Wolfhook and Weapon” showcases the band’s more upbeat and intense side, with an old-school sounding Black’n’Roll-ish style.

Mgła - Age of Excuse (2019)

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After conquering the world of Black Metal in the last few years, enigmatic entity Mgła return with an expertly crafted release with “Age of Excuse”. Delivering a masterclass of riffing and pacing finesse, this album unleashes over 42 minutes of blistering music that any fan of the genre will be extremely appreciative of. The band’s ability to deliver intense and direct music to their audiences is unrivaled and with this release they further refine their trade.

The band wastes no time as track “I” delivers the first blow of intricate riffs and punishing drumming. With a superb metallic sounding distortion, the band feels above the traditional raw and harsh sounding bands, favoring a more refined and elegant delivery. Presented with incredible poise and restraint, “II” and “III” warm up the listener with countless intricate tempo changes and crafty arrangements.

Draagyn - Majesty

To be clear, this isn’t metal. In fact, it’s the end of times. The chilling moment right before you die. It’s something to be loved, feared and hated at the same time. An intense cataclysm, clawing and writhing its way from the blackened abyss. It’s to be adored or recoiled in disgust with no compromise in between. A grotesque, iconoclastic deity that should be worshipped or burned at the stake. A magnificent terror caught in the crossroads between heaven and hell that lights the way for the damned amidst eternal darkness. It’s artistry for the outliers and outlaws; for those with reckless abandon and exclusive fetishes. This is Draagyn.

With its first offering, “Majesty,” Draagyn parts a dead sea with an 8-minute opus of juxtaposing sound, beginning with an ethereal prelude, before all out collapsing into a torrent of violent darkness and immense doom. Bound by no rules and apathetic to any preconceived notions as to what is considered “music” or “art,” Draagyn manifests a supreme intensity and fearless brilliance which knows no limits.

Vintersea - Illuminated (2019)

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Hailing from the USA, today we have Vintersea and their very unique and interesting sophomore release “Illuminated”. Featuring tons of cool influences ranging from bands like Borknagar, Cronian to the likes of Into Eternity and more proggy outfits, this album contains nearly 40 minutes of exciting music. If you are a fan of melodic and progressive music with a very experimental edge and don’t mind growls or clean female vocals, this is certainly something to check out.

The album deceivingly starts quite intense with “Spawn Awakening”, but this does not last too long as the track transitions into proggy and dreamy territories quite quick. With the opening track finishing quite intensely, the band nicely transitions to the mellower “Old Ones”, which is led by the fantastic clean vocals of Avienne Low. With Avienne also handling the harsh vocals, the transitions are quite seamless and interesting, allowing the songs to shift moods very quickly and dramatically, as on the excellent melancholic track “Illuminated”.

White Ward - Love Exchange Failure (2019)

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Unleashing a whole new different kind of beast, today we have Ukraine’s White Ward and their sophomore full-length release “Love Exchange Failure”. Featuring over 65 minutes of captivating music, the band seamlessly blends Post-Black Metal with an Avant-garde edge an a serious dose of hypnotic brutality. Pushing the genre to new heights, this is one hell of a release that fans of the experimental should not miss.

The album opens with the title track setting a very lounge like vibe with sparse piano notes, hypnotic percussions and a jazzy sax. All the calm suddenly transforms into chaos with blistering aggressive passages filled with crushing riffs and harrowing vocals. As the first track petters off, “Poisonous Flowers of Violence” delivers a more calculated attack that blends the ambiance of Post-Metal bands like Amenra and Neurosis, with a more vicious and yet delicate edge. The band’s ability to amalgamate genres in uncanny and each track demonstrates this, like the convoluted “Dead Heart Confession”.

Sonata Arctica - Talviyö (2019)

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Unleashing their latest lively effort, today we have Sonata Arctica and their 10th full-length release “Talviyö”. The band’s characteristic Power Metal sound gets a certain Pop/Rock edge in this very entertaining release. Feature eleven tracks and nearly one hour of music, these Finns keep things interesting with a wide variety of moods, allowing listeners to be fully challenged and rewarded by their music.

Leading with the dreamy “Message from the Sun”, the angelic choirs and subtle keyboards nicely lead into a catchy Power Metal onslaught. As always, Tony Kakko’s vocals nicely harmonize the very ethereal music in this release. With a certain funky Psych Rock influences in the opening of “Whirlwind”, the band unleashes their characteristic catchiness in this lovely piece. “Cold” is one of our favorite tracks in this release thanks to its darker and more dramatic edge, contrasting with the throbbing bass guitar line and powerful guitars.

Netherbird - Into The Vast Uncharted (2019)

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Unleashing one hell of a lush and bombastic Melodic Black Metal release, today we have Sweden’s Netherbird and their fifth full-length release “Into the Vast Uncharted”. With a very dynamic sound that incorporates influences from bands like Dissection, Siebenbürgen , (early) Illnath, and (early) Naglfar, this release will satisfy that urge for old-school Melodic Black Metal.

Wasting no time, “Saturnine Ancestry” opens with a high octane onslaught of killer riffs, intense drumming and lush guitar leads to fully set the mood for this brilliant release. After their amazing 2016 release, “The Grander Voyage”, the band continues to crush the competition with dramatic compositions like “Harvest the Stars” and the mellow “Mercury Skies”. Showcasing their unparalleled ability to slowly build up to head banging orgies, “Lunar Pendulum” is one of those tracks that you can listen to it 20 times and still find joy in its intricacies.

Prag 83 - Énouement (2019)

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We find ourselves again reviewing a magical 7” EP that came our way through Nordvis Produktion. Prag 83 is a German entity that delivers enigmatic Folk music in the vein of Hexvessel, King Dude, Antimatter, etc. with some mid-career Katatonia influences.

The EP starts with “Circle”, a very somber song that reminds us of Antimatter with a lounge feeling. The guitars are quite enigmatic and the overall mood quite mellow and a bit creepy, in a good way. This is the type of dark Folk music we truly enjoy, particularly when it is nicely executed and simple, this is, there are not too many over the top elements added just for the sake of being more ‘authentic’.

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