Dropping one of the most surprisingly awesome releases of 2020, today we have Chrome Waves and their latest amalgamation of Post-Black Metal with all kinds of extra genres, under the title “Where We Live”. Featuring nearly 45 minutes of brilliantly intricate and nicely layered music that will appeal to fans from bands like Deafheaven, Abigail Williams, to Mountaineer or Alcest.
Opening with the dramatic “Hallow Dreams”, the band leads with lush instrumentation and suddenly escalates to dreamy riffs and catchy passages, all rounded up by harsh vocals. This track instantly showcases the band’s unique musical proposal as the vocal harmonies further elevate the already imposing atmosphere. This bleeds into “Gazing Into Oblivion”, a track that gives us that playful and in a way a bit pop-ish sound of bands like Amesoeurs.
Featuring members of Falaise, Morwinyon is an Italian outfit crafting soothing Atmospheric Black Metal tunes in the same vein as Saor and similar bands. With “Pristine”, the band unleashes nearly 40 minutes of atmospheric brilliance divided into four powerful tracks. While this genre is getting a lot of competition in the last few years, bands like this one clearly stand out from the rest thanks to their creative musical ideas and excellent execution.
The release opens with the dreamy “The Intangible Void”, a song filled with mystical synths and a good dosage of incisive riffs. The atmospheric components are a bit overpowering in the production of this release, but they still allow the ‘heavier’ elements to shine as this mid-tempo track unleashes a good amount of harsh screams alongside the very hypnotic vibe. “Sea of Stars” takes a more dramatic and darker turn with crafty drumming and some very solemn and effective passages that provide respite from the overpowering atmosphere, similar to what is found on releases by Lustre.
Unraveling part two of their cinematic masterpiece “Phanerozoic”, today we have Germany’s The Ocean (Collective) with 50-plus minutes of captivating music. Split in eight gargantuan tracks, this release keeps the same dramatic and larger-than-life vibe from the previous release while introducing a few new elements into the fold. If you like the band’s previous releases, you will instantly enjoy this blistering release.
Opening with “Triassic”, we are immediately immersed into the band’s subtle instrumentation with calming guitars and a very mellow and hypnotic pace. The first thing that stands out is Loïc Rossetti’s use of different vocal styles, in this track using some effects to add versatility to his already signature style. This is actually one of the biggest differences in this release as there is a lot more use of clean vocals (“Jurassic | Cretaceous” and “Eocene”) and
Unleashing frosty waves of intense atmospheric Black Metal, today we have Ukraine’s Eskapism and their latest EP titled “Reminiscence”. Delivering a brilliant balance of melody, rawness, and old-school atmospherics, this trio creates very dynamic and engaging songs that are both uncompromising and expertly crafted. Recommended for fans of early Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child, Kampfar.
The release leads with the mystical “A Cry into Oblivion”, a song that slowly builds up into a superb headbanging session thanks to its melodic nature alongside lush and dramatic atmospheric keyboards. The blistering album title track captures that timeless mystical sound of late 90’s Black Metal, similar to Tartaros, Limbonic Art, and Emperor, with its dramatic synths and crafty tempo changes. The mood suddenly shifts with the ambient instrumental “Whisper of Ancient Times”, a very nice piece to come full circle in this release.
Creating a very punishing and miserable aural experience, today we have Finland’s Blood Red Fog and their very aptly titled “Fields of Sorrow” release. With a vibe similar to bands like Mortualia, this release unleashes over 50 minutes of exciting Black Metal with tons of experimental atmospheric elements and a very demoralizing mood. Only for masochists, this release will turn any day into a bleak ordeal.
The hypnotic “Before The Cold Light” sets a very trippy metaphysical mood that is instantly ravaged by the blistering BM onslaughts of “Gallows Poles and Shallow Graves”. With such a fierce tempo change, the band delivers a punishing blow with brutal guitars and hyper fast drumming, we love these types of contrasts. The depressive mode of “Abode of Shadows” gives you that certain Doomy vibe that perfectly blends with BM harshness, creating an immersive wallowing experience, this brilliant misery bleeds into the eerie “Ever-Returning Genocide”.
Unleashing yet another outstanding release this 2020, today we have multi-instrumentalist Déhà with “A fleur de peau - III - A Fire That Does Not Burn”. Featuring over 35 minutes of excruciatingly effective atmospheric/depressive Black Metal, this release creates a very chaotic and yet hypnotic atmosphere that features some cool guest appearances and a very unique feeling of urgency/desperation.
The release starts with the pummeling “The Tree and the Death”, featuring a very melancholic pace combining aggressive harsh screams and dreamy clean vocals. This track also adds the angelic female vocals of Natalie Koskinen to add additional layers of atmosphere and contrast. The saxophone in “Hope for Twilight” makes it a very unique aural experience, as it is nicely added to create a very dynamic contrast to the guest vocals of Tim Yatras (ex-Austere, Germ).
One of the few benefits of working from not being able to travel the last few months is that we have extra time to dig up more promos that make it to our inbox. Back in May we missed the release of Vermilia’s stunning EP “Keskeneräisiä tarinoita”, filled with lush atmospheres and a good eye for crushing aggression as contrast. If you like bands like WITTR, Agalloch, but with a more Pagan/heavier edge, this is a release to check out.
The EP leads off with the very dramatic “Hauras, Kuollut, Kaunis”, a track that slowly builds up with a certain folky vibe and deep clean vocals, creating a very dark and somber atmosphere. Not being shy from heavy riffs and blistering drumming, “Taivas Hiljaa Huutaa” quickly changes the pace to a lively Pagan/Folk Metal style led by firm clean female vocals that suddenly transform into harsh screams. The variety of elements makes this song be quite enjoyable and diverse, while delivering an extra level of catchiness.
Unleashing a behemoth filled with creativity and interesting ideas, today we have Aleynmord and their 35-minute opus “The Blinding Light”. Creating a very unsettling and yet experimental atmosphere, this four track release explores the depth of hell with unique crafted chaotic passages that are elegantly contrasted by rich instrumental interludes. If you are looking for a combination of Elend with a heavier side and less arrangements, this release is the one for you.
Setting a very mysterious and dissonant opening, “Spores of Possession” slowly builds through intricate guitars and harrowing vocals. After plateauing, the track dwells in weirdly calming acoustic explorations reminding us of bands like Urfaust and The Ruins of Beverast. As “Wounded Monolith” enshrouds the listener with its unique atmosphere, dramatic guitar leads and doomy melodic passages build up the track. Just when you think you have the band figured out, lush clean vocals and even more cathartic moments will sneak up on you.
Finally seeing the light of day after a COVID related delay, today we have our favorite album of 2020 so far: Dynfari’s “Myrkurs er þörf”. Slowly improving over each of their previous albums, this Icelandic outfit has managed to achieve near perfection with the eight tracks and 46 minutes of music in this release. Perfectly combining Post-Black Metal and Atmospheric Black Metal, the album is full of melancholy and lush atmospheres.
Opening with the mood setting bleakness of “Dauðans dimmu dagar”, the song slowly builds up with a majestic Lantlôs-esque opening as it transitions with magical distorted guitars and perfect pacing. On “Langar nætur (í botnlausum spíralstiga)” the mood takes a turn with more sweeping guitar melodies, intricate guitar solos, and a combination of dreamy clean vocals and harsh screams. This track creates a very dynamic and yet enveloping atmosphere that will hypnotize you as tracks like the album title track continue to build up on it.
Having full creative control, one-man projects usually deliver very focused and highly cohesive music, today we have Noctem Aeternus and his sophomore release “Landscape of Discord”. Unraveling over 55 minutes of lush music, we are in awe of the quality and creativity presented in this release. While we will always love one-man projects like Unreqvited and Violet Cold, this one catapults itself to the first three spots on our list with this release.
After lifting our spirits and expectation with the magical “Invocation”, the band leads into the lavish atmospherics of “Those Who Shall Perish” paired with superb drumming and very emotional shireks. The release continues with the ravaging “Coming Home, Twilight”, another mid-tempo onslaught filled with lush arrangements and very well crafted moments of sheer intensity. While many one-man bands rely on plenty of samples and synths, this release includes mostly live instruments, adding clarity to an already epic package.