Masterminded by Alex Poole, Ringarë is an Atmospheric Black Metal outfit that focuses on creating lush and ethereal soundscapes, and contrasting them against frosty and bitterly furious BM onslaughts. With a singular and very bombastic style, “Thrall of Winter’s Majesty” delivers over 40 minutes of intense and transcendental music that only bands like Lustre or Spectral Lore are capable of unleashing.
Starting the uplifting etherealness of “Witness to Winter's Lament”, this track sets a very dreamy mood that is suddenly muddled by waves of crushing guitar riffs and very contrasting harsh vocals. We particularly love the duality of the band’s sound and their ability to quickly poison dreamy parts with venomous aggression. More in ambient territories, “O'er Winters Shroud” is an instrumental piece that feels quite cinematic and liberating, providing a breather from the harshness of this release.
Unleashing waves of old-school Black Metal with tons of Dark Ambient elements, Germany’s Lebensnatch took us by surprise with “The Realm Beyond”. Released via Naturmacht Productions, this album has that naivety and minimalist approach of early 90’s BM that newer and more polished bands have lost. If you like overly dramatic and yet simple atmospherics alongside raw and basic BM, this release should be at the top of your list.
Opening with the dreamy “Fallen Soul Under A Pale Star”, we get a very nice retro vibe surrounded by dramatic atmospheric keyboards/synths. The band’s sound is raw and retro, making their music quite direct and not overly adorned. With a certain (old) Burzum-esque vibe “Moon And Stars”, this is our favorite track due to its simplicity and very effective harshness.
Canada continues to impress us with their constantly growing Black Metal scene, today we have one-man outfit Nordicwinter with “Sorrow”. Being the band’s fourth full-length release, this release unravels nearly one hour of highly melancholic Atmospheric BM, filled with mournful and doomy passages. If you like heavily emotional music that combines both lush atmospheric arrangements and savage onslaughts of harshness, you are in the right place.
The album sets a very hypnotic and tempered mood with the start of “Somber Winds Of Despair (Part I)”. As this song progresses we are treated to wonderful harsh shrieks paired with melancholic guitars and a very restrained tempo. We particularly enjoy the overly dramatic atmospheric keyboards that nicely envelop the slow and painful distorted riffs. Creating a very dense and yet lush atmosphere, tracks like “Sullen Echoes” and “This Mournful Dirge” are very immersive, as we foundouselves getting lost in their magical misery-inducing atmosphere.
Creating the perfect soundtrack to induce nightmares, today we have Decline of the I with their latest effort “Johannes”. Featuring a new lyrical concept and band members, this release builds on the band’s unique and demoralizing brand of highly atmospheric Black Metal and elevates the listener’s experience to a whole new level. With over 50 minutes of cavernous and bone chilling music, this release is highly recommended for fans of bands like The Ruins of Beverast and Blut Aus Nord.
Opening with the hellish “A Selfish Star”, the listener is treated to very crafty atmospherics featuring spoken word ramblings and haunting clean singing. This atmosphere is further exacerbated by the layered aggressive guitars and harsh screams, and nicely shocked into tranquility by some dreamy slower tempo passages. The cinematic experience bleeds into the punishing “The Veil of Splendid Lies” and its superbly crafted drum patterns alongside dramatic guitar leads and haunting choral arrangements.
After their crushing 2020 release “En Ergô Einai”, Aara showcased their blistering brand of Atmospheric Black Metal, making this album one of the highlights of the year. Wasting no time and keeping their momentum going, this Swiss trio now unleashes “Triade I: Eos” with nearly 45 minutes of even more impressive and commanding music. If you like furiously paced guitars and lush atmospherics filled with intensity, this is one release you can’t miss.
Setting a somber atmosphere with the first few minutes of “Fathum”, the band suddenly explodes with a very ferocious into all-out onslaught of piercing riffs, crushing drums, and shrieking vocals. The intensity delivered is nicely contrasted by subtle atmospheric and melodic elements, creating a very unique and powerful experience that nicely bleeds into “Tantalusqual”. One of our favorite tracks has to be the haunting “Naufragus” and its majestic atmospheric keyboards, giving us that Symphonic Black Metal vibe of bands like Limbonic Art and early Emperor.
One man entity, Nachtig is ready to unleash misery to the masses with its second full-length release “Der stille Wald”. As yet another brilliant Black Metal project from V. V. (Cosmic Burial and Valosta Varjoon), this outfit explores the more atmospheric and depressive corners of the genre. Unleashing over 54 minutes of crushing music, this release is perfect for anybody looking for bands similar to Mortualia with some sprinkles of Heretoir.
The album title track opens the proceedings with fury and melancholy. Featuring mid-tempo drumming alongside piercing riffs and hellish vocals, a very oppressive and excruciating mood is quickly established. Perfectly pairing subtle atmospheric keyboards with weeping guitar riffs, the vibe continues to be misery-inducing as tracks like “Im Hohen Gras” and “Berg und Tal”. There are some hints of modern Post-Black Metal elements, making the songs lush and delicate while retaining the band’s core rawness.
Hailing from the USA, today we have one-man entity Suicide Forest and its second full-length production “Reluctantly”. Unleashing over 43 minutes of harrowing Depressive/Atmospheric Black Metal, this band’s sound has that European vibe while introducing its own brand of creepiness to the mix. Recommended for fans of bands like Lifelover, Dodsferd, and similar outfits, be prepared to be crushed by this album.
Opening with the title track, the band sets a very demoralizing pace with a mid-tempo excruciating exercise in oppression. Thanks to its piercing riffs, ravaging shrieks, and subtle atmospheric keyboards, this track sets a very dense atmosphere. The crunchy “As the Light Fades Part 1” has a livelier pace to start as it has that rawness of early 90’s BM with its crafty guitar leads and faster tempos, reminding us a bit of Ancient in their “Svartalvheim” days.
Featuring members of bands like Constants, Junius, and Caspian, today we have the dreamy SOM and their highly intoxicating EP “Awake”. With two original songs and three remixes, this release is a teaser of what is to come from this unique outfit. Filled with tons of ethereal and highly atmospheric elements, the band’s sound is quite mellow and yet expansive and highly exploratory, creating a very cinematic listening experience.
Opening with the sweeping “Awake // Sedate”, we are quickly immersed in the band’s very dreamy sound thanks to its dramatic guitars and mellow vocals. There is certain warmth and dreaminess that is quite hard to describe, but is immediately felt when listening to this track. In a more dramatic fashion, “Youth // Decay'' delivers shoegazey emotions with a good dose of dream pop infused in the mix. We particularly love how the song slowly progresses, providing a truly energizing emotional rollercoaster ride.
Always pushing the envelope when it comes to unique aural experiences, Ván Records is set to unleash one of the most unique, and yet intoxicating releases of 2021 with Wolvennest’s “Temple”. Clocking in at nearly 80 minutes, this eight song release is filled with haunting atmospherics, eerie arrangements and solid doses of heaviness. Mixing elements from all kinds of genres like Psychedelic Metal, Ambient, to Apocalyptic Folk, and everything in between, this is one truly majestic experience that demands attention and patience.
The album warms up with the ambient/atmospheric elements of “Mantra”, a track that slowly evolves into a mystical piece with piercing guitars and eerie vocal arrangements. Reminding us a bit of Dark Buddha Rising but with some restraint, plus the enigmatic vocals of Shazzula. The mood feels rising with “Swear to Fire” and its incisive riffs and ghastly vocal melodies mixed in with a very crafty tempo and cathartic guitar leads.
After unleashing one hell of a release last year with “Gnosis”, Finland’s mysterious duo Aethyrick swiftly returns with the lush and crushing “Apotheosis”. Delivering over 41 minutes of highly Atmospheric Black Metal, this release builds up on its predecessor while further refining the band’s immersive sound. Featuring the perfect blend of melancholy and harshness, this release quickly establishes itself as one of 2021 finest.
Opening with a chaotic and ravaging intro in “The Starlit Altar”, the band sets the mood via their layered guitar work and hectic drumming. With a commanding pace and hellish scorn behind it, “Rosary of Midnights” is one of those tracks that incites melodic headbanging while it weaves back and forth furious onslaughts and devilish screams. The atmospheric elements are quite subtle, yet strong enough to pierce through the distorted guitars and deliver an ethereal feeling.