As one of the most anticipated Atmospheric Black Metal releases of 2019, today we have Austria’s Ellende with “Lebensnehmer”. Slowly gaining underground notoriety with their first two releases, this one-man band is ready for the spotlight with their lush atmospheric sound that perfectly combined melody with sheer aggression. For over 50 minutes and eight tracks, this release continues to polish the band’s sound and delivers ravaging soundscapes that should not be missed by anyone.
After a moody intro, “Augenblick” delivers waves of punishing riffs, blasting drums and melodic passages, perfectly combined in one hell of an emotional rollercoaster of a song. Handling all instruments (except drums) and all songwriting duties, Lukas Gosch is an expert in creating raw melancholic tracks, like “Die Wege”, which are full of charisma and a massive wall of sound. Never getting dull or repetitive, Ellende’s strength lies on timing and flawless execution, introducing plenty of tempo changes that completely change the shape of songs.
Moving away from the lively Progressive/Technical Death Metal from their last release, Fallujah returns with the atmospheric “Undying Light”. Having lost long-time vocalist Alex Hofmann and guitarist Brian James since the last release, has made Fallujah turn into uncharted territories with their sound. Featuring 10 tracks and over 44 minutes of music, this release feels a bit too atmospheric and experimental to be digested easily. The sound is crushing and commanding at times, but at other times it just feels lost and unguided.
Opening with “Glass House”, we get that sweet Melodeath riffing from French bands like Hacride, but with extra kick and aggression thanks to new vocalist: Antonio Palermo. Some Deathcore elements are back and they sound ok when mixed in with semi-proggy passages, as in “Last Light”. For those looking for sheer brutality and catchiness, “Ultraviolet” achieves this with superb drum patterns and solid riffs. On the other hand, we have tracks like “Dopamine”, which feel a bit too convoluted with too many things going on at once and not really engaging the listener. The dreamy guitar leads are great, but the vocals kind of ruin the mood on this track.
Unleashing a monumental symphonic/atmospheric Doom Metal release, today we have Norway’s Abyssic and their sophomore release “High the Memory”. With some members being quite active in the Norwegian Metal scene, this band crafts a very unique and sinister vibe that is quite eerie and oppressive in nature. If you are looking for a Doom version of Fleshgod Apocalypse or similar symphonic outfits, Abyssic is the closest you will get.
The album creates a monstrous atmosphere with the opener “Adoration”, a track that features prominent guitar riffs and crushing growls, courtesy of band’s mastermind Memnoch. Things get heavier and even more atmospheric as the album title track rolls in with its 20 minutes of sweeping brutality. This track is expertly adorned with fragile keyboards and dramatic orchestrations, creating a very powerful contrast between the growls and the lush atmospherics.
Unleashing their most mature and crushing release to date, today we have Germany’s King Apathy with “Wounds”. Perfectly blending melancholy and melody with aggression, the band’s sound is quite unique and captivating. Distributing over 45 minutes of music in 9 heavy hitting tracks, the band guides the listeners through a devastating and quite punishing aural journey. If you like dreamy music that is both oppressive and raw, this is certainly the album for you.
The album kicks off with the mysterious “Civilization Kills”, a track that sets a very desolate mood thanks to its crushing bass guitar line, perfectly paired with incisive riffs. The explosiveness of “The Scars of the Land” fits perfectly with the harsh vocals and the crafty drumming patterns. This track also features a very dreamy Post-Rock/Shoegazey passage that nicely changes the pace of the song. Slowly building up with a certain Doomy vibe, “Cleansing” is one of our favorite tracks, thanks to the soaring guitar leads and very intense tempo changes.
Being huge suckers for heavily atmospheric releases, we instantly liked Maestus full-length release “Deliquesce”. Magically combining Atmospheric Doom Metal elements with Funeral Doom and some Black Metal influences, this release is an aural delight from start to finish. With four tracks delivering over 50 minutes of music, each song crafts an oppressive atmosphere that slowly chokes the listener with its sonic intensity.
Opening with the album title track, we have a 15-minute behemoth that opens with a ray of light as the lively atmospherics lead into gargantuan riffs and crushing growls. The band brilliantly knows how to mix repetition with atmosphere to create a very crushing mood. With all the elements of an old-school Funeral Doom masterpiece, “Black Oake” blends in dramatic tempo changes, lush synths and plenty fo head banging passages for any fan of the genre.
Unleashing a very unique amalgamation of sounds, today we have Esben and the Witch and their latest effort “Nowhere”. Featuring a darker tone than their previous releases, this album perfectly contrast the fragility of Rachel Davies vocals and the commanding presence of heavy guitar riffs and hypnotic drumming. Blurring the lines between several genres and influences, this release is certainly one to digest after a good amount of listens and with undivided attention.
Slowing building up their atmosphere in “A Desire for Light”, the band nicely shuffles elements around to create a very powerful and direct song. The band’s sound while simplistic in nature, allows them to play around with the song tempos while crafting memorable tracks that keep you guessing and engaged. The best example of this is the exploratory nature of “Dull Gret” with its heavy guitar riffs, and the dreamy folky piece “Golden Purifier”, which mostly focuses on subtle percussions and solemn guitar leads.
Unleashing one of the early candidates for best album of 2019, today we have Downfall of Gaia and their crushing masterpiece “Ethic Of Radical Finitude”. Slowly perfecting their trade, this German outfit deliver six brilliant songs filled with unrivaled melancholy and sheer power. With over 40 minutes of majestic atmospheric sludginess, this release perfectly combines Post-Metal elements with Sludge, Crust and even some more traditional Post-Rock passages.
After the opening intro, “The Grotesque Illusion of Being” wastes no time in unleashing brutal vocal onslaughts perfectly framed by dreamy guitars and blistering drums. The band has perfected the ability to unleash both brutal and melancholic pummeling onslaughts. Moving into more crafty territories, “We Purse the Serpent of Time” starts of with ritualistic percussion as the riffs slowly build up to create a crushing wall of sound, the signature style from the band. The clean vocals here add extra depth and mystery to an already pretty impressive song.
Making our start of 2019 a lot more gloomier, today we have SLOW and the re-recording of their 2015 release “IV - Mythologiæ”. Helmed by the multitalented Déhà, this outfit delivers some of the most painful and crushing Atmospheric/Funeral Doom to ever exist and with this release they unleash nearly 60 minutes of monolithic bleakness. Only for fans of bands like Thergothon, Shape of Despair, etc., this music will certainly strike a nerve with its sheer raw power.
The album kicks off with the desolate soundscape painted by “The Standing Giant”. This track starts with minimalist atmospheric elements and weeping guitars that slowly progress to powerful riffs and deep growls. The pace of this song makes it just magical, allowing the listener to be at the edge of their seat for over 10 minutes. The build-up is one of our favorite elements of the genre and on “The Drowning Angel”, we get a majestic one that takes nearly half the song but unravels into demoralizing brilliant as the song comes to a climax.
After a busy 2018 with live appearances, Saor return with yet another brilliant Atmospheric/Folky Black Metal release with “Forgotten Paths”. Filled with magical and lush melodic passages, this album delivers over 38 minutes of intense and mystical music. With a very busy touring schedule in 2019, this is the perfect album to conquer hordes of new fans and followers.
Opening with intensity, the album title track leads way for a musical experience filled with crafty guitar melodies and very dreamy atmospherics. There are even moments that Saor dwells in more Alcest-like passages in this lush and quite intense piece. The buildup on songs like “Monadh” is just brilliant, showing the listener just little peeks of what is to come as the track comes unraveled through its moody tempo changes and expert instrumentation.
Unleashing a crushing amalgamation of distorted guitars and powerful atmospheres, today we have France’s Dirge and their latest opus “Lost Empyrean”. Bordering in many genres like Slude, Doom, Post-Metal, this French outfit delivers a captivating release that is quite dense and engaging. For over 56 minutes and seven tracks, we are taken through dismal soundscapes that feel quite oppressive and showcase the band’s fresh and unique sound.
Opening with pummeling distorted guitars on “Wingless Multitudes”, the band’s wall of sound slowly builds up as the guitar layers pile up and craft a tense mood. Weaving back and forth between Amenra-esque moments and more traditional Doom passages, this track brilliantly blends into the next” “Hosea 8:7”. Masterfully maintaining the tension and overall ambiance, the mixture of clean and harsh vocals provides a nice layer to an already intricate mixture of sounds.