Driving Slow Motion - Arda (2019)

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Unleashing one of the most disarming and lush Post-Rock releases, today we have Texas outfit Driving Slow Motion and their debut full-length release “Arda”. Featuring 10 tracks and around 42 minutes of instrumental music, this band delivers lush soundscapes similar to outfits like EF, Tides From Nebula and Mono. Filled with quality and engaging music, this debut release is one of the best Post-Rock albums to drop in 2019, so be sure to not miss out on it.

The album sets a very somber and yet optimistic mood with the moody opener “Far from Home”. We particularly love how cinematic and otherworldly the atmosphere is crafted as songs like “The Way the World Was” and “In Exchange for a Memory” roll in. The band’s ability to slowly build into cathartic moments is just brilliant, with a crescendo of weeping guitars and crafty percussions.

Batushka - Hospodi (2019)

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Stepping aside from all the controversy behind the band, we are just glad that we finally get a follow up to the amazing 2015 “Litourgiya” release. The Metal Blade signed and Bartłomiej Krysiuk-led Batushka delivers a very powerful release that is filled with interesting ideas and a massive atmospheric component. Featuring ten tracks, this release explores a more Black Metal side of things with pummeling tracks that are brilliantly balanced by eerie choir arrangements and superb drumming.

After setting a somber opening chants in “Wozglas”, the band explodes into the catchiness of “Dziewiatyj czas”. This song perfectly blends vicious Black Metal onslaughts with dreamy chants and a very melodic guitar driven vibe, similar to bands like Thyrfing and Vreid. The album’s second single, “Wieczernia” delivers another hellish onslaught of harsh vocals paired with funky guitars, which are quite punishing in nature. In “Powieczerje” we get an interesting mix of classic rock thrown into the band’s atmospheric style, creating a very unique and engaging song that is hard to not listen to over and over.

Timo Tolkki’s Avalon - Return to Eden (2019)

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Closing with the incisive “Envy The Moon”, we are left quite pleased with “In Splendor Below”. We expected non-stop Swedish Melodic Death/Doom Metal and that is exactly what you get with October Tide. The Norrman brothers have a great signature sound and this release maintains their legendary status since their early Katatonia days. If you like things to be consistent, direct and superbly catchy, look no further as you know exactly what to expect with this fine release.

The album starts with a bang after setting a very epic mood with the intro, in “Promises” we are instantly treated to Timo’s guitar wizardry and poignant Power Metal songwriting skills. The vocal arrangements are masterful as always, perfectly delivered by guest male vocalists Todd Michael Hall, Zak Stevens and Eduard Hovinga. Songs with duets like the album title track featuring Mariangela Demurtas, or the magical “Hear My Call”, featuring none other than Anneke van Giersbergen on vocals, are just the signature style of Avalon and we love it.

October Tide - In Splendor Below (2019)

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Consistency is the name of the game for the Norrman’s brothers October Tide band. With “In Splendor Below”, the band continues to deliver classic Melodic Death/Doom Metal filled with superb guitar work, dark atmospheric passages and plenty of headbanging opportunities. Featuring over 43-minutes of music, this release continues the band’s legacy as one of the best in the genre.

The album opens with “I, the Polluter”, a song that features the band’s signature riffing and mid-tempo pace. There are some more direct Death Metal elements thrown into the mix, but the track always keeps that old-school Swedish Melodic Death Metal vibe going. The playful “We Died In October” shows a more funky and crafty atmosphere with intricate drum patterns and very engaging tempo changes.

Jess By The Lake - Under The Red Light Shine (2019)

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The enigmatic Jasmin Saarela, better known as Jess from Jess and the Ancient Ones, is finally back with her debut solo release “Under the Red Light Shine”. Focusing more on fundamental psychedelic/acid rock influences, this release features eight intoxicating tracks filled with sultry vocals and groovy vibes. If you are a fan of any of her previous projects, you certainly can’t miss out on this one.

Opening with the album title track, we get a Danzing-esque tune with very warm and fuzzy guitars intertwined with playful drums and Jess’s vocals as the central focus. We are always impressed by the amount of feeling and conviction Jess’s vocals have, and this release is even more direct and engaging. The songs in this album nicely shift gears and provide a wide palette of influences like the funky “Freezing Burn”, the trippy “The Wait” and the eerie “Halo (Ghosts in the Flames)” a very loungey track that is quite enjoyable.

Misþyrming - Algleymi (2019)

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Taking the world by surprise with their incisive debut release “Söngvar elds og óreiðu”, this Icelandic outfit returns with “Algleymi”. With four years between releases, Misþyrming has had a chance to hone their craft through intense live performances and deliver 46 minutes of the best and most innovative Black Metal we have heard in 2019. Pushing the boundaries while staying true to their raw nature, this release is even better than the band’s debut.

The album kicks off with the crushing “Orgia”, a track with the intensity and viciousness of the band’s debut release. As “Með svipur á lofti” rolls in, we start to notice the band’s new melodic tendencies, which nicely enhance their devastating sound. The band’s sound is greatly enhanced as they at times and Black’n’Roll-ish in songs like the hypnotizing “Ísland, steingelda krummaskuð” and the brilliant “Hælið”. Both of these tracks are quirky and particularly the later has a certain twangy vibe to it that is hard to describe, but makes you want to listen to it over and over again.

Sadness - Circle of Veins (2019)

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Originally hailing from Mexico, Sadness is a one-man project that delivers harrowing Blackgaze music in the same vein of bands like Alcest, Heretoir, Falaise, etc. Cranking out more than a five releases in the last couple of years, this outfit is as productive as Cold World and many others. With over 37 minutes of music divided in five tracks, this release is a good addition to anybody’s Blackgaze collection.

Opening with “Eye of Prima”, the band unleashes their best song with a lively and yet bleak track filled with a subtle atmosphere and very engaging clean vocals. This track slowly progresses in to more aggressive territories with harsh screams and a darker pace. Our personal favorite is the dreamy “Cerrien”, a track that is quite intoxicating thanks to its funky atmospheric keyboards and the odd pace. The Shoegazey parts of “Lana”, make it a very entertaining song and quite a delight to hear.

Fleshgod Apocalypse - Veleno (2019)

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Hailing from Italy, Fleshgod Apocalypse has stormed the Symphonic Metal scene with their highly refined orchestral brutality. Perfectly blending dramatic orchestrations with complex Death Metal elements, this band delivers some of the most extreme melodic music ever written. With “Veleno”, the band further expands on their heavier side with brutal passages, and on their more melodic and theatrical side with very dramatic vocal arrangements and mellow interludes.

Opening with the ravaging brutality of “Fury”, the band makes their skills do the talking since the first song. Perfectly delivering crushing Death Metal riffs and growls in between dramatic choral arrangements, this track is quite a way to start the release. Moving on to “Carnivorous Lamb” and “Sugar”, the band showcases their dramatic orchestral layers and vicious guitar leads in yet another brutal piece. The combination of male harsh vocals, mad male clean vocals, and sweet female clean vocals works quite well and adds extra contrast to these tracks.

Délétère - Theovorator: Babelis Testamentum (2019)

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Keeping their momentum going, Sepulchral Productions Délétère unleash “Theovorator: Babelis Testamentum”, a 20 minute EP that continues to demonstrate the unholy abilities of this outfit to deliver bone chilling Black Metal. If their 2018 release “De Horae Leprae” wasn’t enough, the three tracks in this EP create a certain harrowing vibe that only a handful of BM bands can create. If you are a BM fan and haven’t heard from these guys, you are completely missing out.

Opening with the “Theovoratoris Aduentus”, the band sets an eerie atmosphere early on with raw keyboards, and suddenly explodes into all out war with pummeling drums, intense riffs and crushing vocals. The band’s sound is far from linear, and as the opener continues to progress, we are treated to creepy melodic passages that are both haunting and intoxicating. We are big suckers for Black Metal that you can headbang and enjoy due to its melodic nature, and “Babel Insanifusor” delivers just this. This track features a more organic and stripped down sound that will send shivers down your spine.

DOOL - Love Like Blood (2019)

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Hailing from the Netherlands, this Dark Rock outfit delivers some of the most interesting and enchanting tunes to come out of this European country. Fronted by the charismatic Ryanne van Dorst, the band unleashes their latest EP, “Love Like Blood”, through Prophecy Productions this May. Featuring one cover track and two live recordings, you can get a peak at the band’s live intensity and magic with this short but sweet release.

Opening with Killing Joke’s “Love Like Blood”, the band infuses their magical mellowness into this legendary song. With dreamy guitars and a very intoxicating pace, Ryanne nicely captures the essence of the original piece while adding the band’s own atmospheric dreaminess to it. Featuring members of Gold and The Devil’s Blood, this band has a highly talented core that instantly reflects in their execution and creativity.

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