As a relatively new band, Aran delivers some intense and lush Atmospheric Black Metal that many other bands wish could emulate. With “Pimeyttä vasten”, band mastermind Juhani K unleashes over 45 minutes of intense and captivating music. Filled with crushing harshness and dream-like atmospherics, this release is highly recommended for fans of bands like Lustre and Midnight Odyssey.
The release kicks off with the magical and enchanting atmospherics of “Valon Vienyt”, a track that has that vibe that Sci-Fi/Fantasy movies create of distant realms, perfectly paired with harsh Black Metal shrieks and crushing guitars. There is an art to creating versatile atmospheric BM, and Aran has it figured out with tracks like “Musta meri”, which start quite punishing and slowly evolve into more dreamy and ambient-ish territories.
Consistently pushing the boundaries of creating misery-inducing music, Clouds is one of those bands that with each release only keeps getting better and more refined. With “Despărțire” the band sets a new bar for Atmospheric Death/Doom Metal releases with nearly 60 minutes of emotive music that will rip your heart out of its cavity in minutes. Featuring some excellent guest appearances and some additional elements to the band’s already all-encompassing sound, this release is as brilliant as any of the band’s previous efforts.
Opening with the imposing “Deepen This Wound”, we get a very solemn vibe thanks to weeping violins and piercing riffs, perfectly paired with Daneil’s rumbling growls. The use of clean vocals provides a nice contrast and allows the music to flow into more emotional dimensions. In the piercing “This Heart, A Coffin”, the band enlisted none other than Mick Moss to provide additional vocals in this total banger of a song. We particularly enjoy the juxtaposition of the violins, tempo, and clean vocals in this very dynamic piece.
Unleashing one of the most emotionally charged and disarming releases of 2021, today we have Illudium with “Ash of the Womb”. With a very difficult sound to define, the band mixes elements from acts like Kate Bush, Pencey Sloe, all the way to ISIS and Alcest, creating a very dreamy and yet powerful amalgamation of melancholic sounds. If you are looking for dark, dreamy, but with a hefty dose of fuzzy heavy riffs, this release is one you can’t miss.
Opening with the moody “Aster”, the band creates a very overpowering atmosphere with heavy distorted guitars paired with Shantel Amundson’s emotionally charged vocals and a slow but steady progression. As “Sempervirens” comes along, the mood shifts into a livelier Post-Rock/Metal territory with a wide variety of guitar progressions, crafty drumming and a solemn bass guitar line. We particularly enjoy how the band transitions between levels of melancholy, while keeping their signature elements intact.
Slowly evolving over time, Unreqvited has always pushed the boundaries of Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-Black Metal with its lively and expertly crafted music. With “Beautiful Ghosts”, this one-man project nearly achieves Nirvana, thanks to the unparalleled liveliness and emotiveness of this excellent release. With a very positive and uplifting nature, the seven tracks and 42 minutes of music in this release are plain brilliant.
Opening with the moody “All is Lost”, we get a bit of the band’s previous style with more lush and ‘bright’ atmospherics. The mixture of harsh screams with dreamy arrangements is top notch, but the simplicity of the guitar work and drumming is what really separates this opener. Focusing more on the atmospheric part, “Autumn Everley” builds slowly into some killer aggressive cathartic moments adorned by a subtle piano track.
Hailing from Northern Canada, today we have Ulvik and their hypnotic Atmospheric Black Metal release “Cascades”. With elements from outfits like Wolves in the Throne Room, Saor, and similar bands, this release unleashes over 30 minutes of punishing BM filled with lush atmospheric elements and an eerie vibe. If you like meticulously constructed music that is both brutal and engages all your senses, this is the album for you.
Opening with the expansive “Baaltis”, we are treated to an unsettling calm in the first few minutes that slowly escalates into blistering guitars, harsh screams, and very hypnotic drum patterns. As this track dramatically scales back and turns into a lush cinematic experience, “Nokhur” follows up with unapologetic rawness. We particularly enjoy how the ‘clam’ interlude allows for some respite just before more hellish vocals and dissonant guitars disrupt the flow of things.
Delivering over 55 minutes of lush and epic Atmospheric Black Metal with some Dungeon Synth elements, today we have Firienholt and their debut full-length release “By the Waters of Awakening”. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Bal-Sagoth, Summoning, Enid, and Mortis, this release creates a very regal and epic atmosphere that immerses the listener into the band’s musical realm.
Opening with the lush “A Forgotten Legacy”, which sets a very cinematic and dramatic atmosphere that is led by over-the-top synths and crafty drum programming. With nearly all songs being over 10 minutes each, tracks like “War of Wrath, War of Ruin” and “Ashes of the Golden Hall”, slowly develop via melodic passages into heavier territories with the use of harsh vocals and imposing guitars with some BM riffs thrown into the mix.
One man Italian outfit The Nightly Disease is ready for the spotlight with their excellent debut full-length release “Delicate White Sound”. Unleashing nearly 40 minutes of highly intoxicating atmospheric music, this release delicately blends Doom and Atmospheric Metal with additional instrumental elements. While many bands seem formulaic in nature, this one-man project carves very unique moods through the four tracks presented here.
After creating an eerie atmosphere with its first few minutes, the first part slowly transforms into a doomier version of older Burzum music. The hypnotic drums and guitars create a very regal and yet piercing vibe. We particularly enjoy the Doomy vibe the song features in its second half, as it nicely progresses with the acoustic guitars and more ambient elements of the second part.
Unleashing one of the most dreamy and melancholic releases of 2021, today we have ISON with “Aurora”. After the departure of original vocalist Heike Langhans, many of us were concerned about what direction (If any) this project from Daniel Änghede would take. Instead of finding a new singer, ISON enlisted eight unique singers from different bands/projects around the world to bring additional life to its very ethereal music. The result is one hell of an album that any fan of the band will certainly love.
The sidereal journey commences with the dreamy opening of “Jupiter”, as the track progresses distorted guitars lead the way alongside Vila’s dreamy vocals. Signaling things to come, this track sets a very hypnotic mood that is continued with the drony opening of “Waves” and the sultry vocals of Cammie Gilbert. Filled with emotive arrangements and a mellow pace, the album title track brilliantly combines Lisa Cuthbert’s vocals alongside Daniel’s in a very.
Marking the release number 200 from the forward thinking label Debemur Morti, Ukraine’s White Ward unleash two very unique pieces of music with their signature style. Featuring anything but traditional elements, this release delivers nearly 18 minutes of enigmatic and highly experimental Black Metal. For the uninitiated, White Ward is one of the most exciting bands of the last few years, with their expertly crafted experimental music featuring heavy atmospheres and an avant-garde mixture of elements and styles that puts them years ahead from their competition.
Opening with the EP title track, the band first sets a very jazzy and sultry atmosphere that quickly escalates into full on blistering drums alongside a sexy saxophone. Things pick up as the aggressive BM onslaughts proceed alongside crafty tempo changes. If this wasn’t enough, guest vocalist Lars Nedland (Solefald, Borknagar) soaring clean vocals provides a brilliant complement to an already highly intricate backdrop.
Hailing from Australia, Mesarthim creates one of the most mystifying and unique blends of Metal with electronic/atmospheric elements. Similar to bands like Germ, Violet Cold, and Progenie Terrestre Pura, the band’s sound is both bombastic and pretty aggressive, keeping things superbly catchy and still heavy enough for Metal fans to enjoy. With 5 tracks and nearly 30 minutes of music, “Vacuum Solution” is one hell of a unique and engaging release.
The album title sets a very dramatic futuristic vibe with super catchy synths and beats, paired with powerful guitars and fiendish shrieks. This is the exact explosivity we loved from bands like Germ, but Mesarthim takes it to a whole new level with more electronic/dark electro elements. Track like “Matter and Energy” also have a certain Industrial-like vibe, reminding us of Italy’s Aborym but with a catchier edge.