Seemingly a straightforward Black Metal outfit, Dismal Aura is a lot more than that as “Imperium Mortalia” showcases. Released via Avantgarde Music, this release delivers around 30 minutes of atmospheric and well crafted Black Metal with subtle influences from the Post-Black Metal scene. With similarities to bands like Saor, Winterfylleth, and Advent Sorrow, this release is quite melancholic and aggressive at the same time.
Crafting a truly unique and powerful mixture between heaviness and dreaminines, today we have Dutch project Welmoed and their debut release “Ask & Embla”. Featuring five tracks and over 33 minutes of Atmospheric Post-Black/Shoegaze Metal/Rock music, this release creates a very engaging and fragile atmosphere thanks to ethereal keyboards and dramatic vocal arrangements.
The album sets a very hypnotic pace with the shoegaze-y opener “Naga'' and its dramatic tempo changes alongside crafty instrumentation. While the opener is pretty good, one starts thinking that this will be just another one of those Post-Black Metal releases as the intense tremolo picking sets in. This impression continues as “Ask & Embla” continues the release, until a magical change happens as angelic female vocals are introduced and the whole vibe instantly changes.
We sometimes wonder how the guys over at Hypnotic Dirge Records have such a similar music taste to us. From highly melancholic, to extremely experimental releases, this label has landed another winner with Urbain’s release “A Soul Purged”. Hailing from Texas, this band feels like a mixture of Vesperian Sorrow, Limbonic Art, with some splashes of Dimmu Borgir. With nine brilliant and high-octane tracks, this release is one of our early candidates for album of the year for 2023.
Opening with the release with the dramatic atmospherics of “Perception”, the mood is set very efficiently as the ravaging intensity of the guitar riffs is introduced alongside piercing shrieks and lush melodic passages. With an atmospheric transitioning track between each song, the band nicely changes the tempo and mood while preparing themselves to unleash aggressive onslaughts with a hearty balance of melody as we can hear in excellent songs like “Without Conscience” and “A Soul Purged”.
Just when you think you have a band figured out, they pull a 180 degree turn and unleash a very unique and different release. In this case, Fen is the band in question and the release is “Monument to Absence”. Diverging a bit from their usual dreamy and mellow style into a more ravaging Atmospheric Black Metal style, this release unleashes nearly 70 minutes of high-octane music with a proggier and very aggressive music.
Opening with a bang with “Scouring Ignorance”, the band quickly sets an intense pace with fierce riffing and blistering drumming. If you didn’t know this song was from Fen, you would think it is from a more ‘traditional’ Black Metal outfit. It is not until the more melodic passages are brought forth that you can hear the band’s DNA in this song. The album title track craftily brings the more desolate and melancholic passages the band is known for, creating a very immersive atmosphere.
It has been a long four years since mysterious entity NONE unleashed their last release “Damp Chill of Life”. With a very piercing and demoralizing sound, this North American outfit delivers some of the most nihilistic aural experiences you will ever encounter. With “Inevitable”, the band keeps the pain going with 56 minutes of soul crushing music. For any fan of Atmospheric Black Metal, this is exactly what dreams are made from.
Opening with the somber “Never Came Home”, momentum is slowly built with clean guitars and atmospherics just before the wall of distortion sets it. The interplay of whispers as the harsh screams come in showcases the band’s brilliance when it comes to shift momentum and create devastating transition. Eerie pieces like “Alone, Where I Can See” and “A Reason to Be”, further push the band’s ability to deliver melancholy amongst aggressive onslaughts to completely new heights.
Unleashing a monumental nightmare-inducing behemoth of a release, today we have Hasard and their chaotic opus “Malivore”. Filled with intensity and lunacy, this release delivers five tracks and roughly 45 minutes of some of the most disturbing music ever created. With elements from bands like Blut Aus Nord and Ævangelist paired with the theatrics of Devil Doll and Elend, this release is both punishing and haunting.
The release kicks off with the foul “Hypnocentrisme”, and its cavernous first few minutes. Mixing creepy and harsh vocals with lush and over-the-top orchestral arrangements, this album quickly sets a haunting vibe as it gets under your skin. Both “Vicivers” and the album title track slowly creep on you with funky atmospherics and heavy Black Metal onslaughts, creating a very visceral and disturbing atmosphere that few have dared to craft.
Gladly surprising everybody about a comeback a few years back, Austere returns with a brilliantly hypnotic and demoralizing release with “Corrosion of Hearts”. Featuring four tracks and clocking in at 46 minutes, this release is everything that any fan of the band could have expected, and then some. As one of the best outfits of the Depressive Black Metal movement, their mid 2000’s “Withering Illusions and Desolation” release is soul crushing, and this release shows they didn’t skip a beat.
Opening with “Sullen”, this track was premiered during their first live shows in 2022 at Dark Bombastic Evening and Prophecy Fest. For nearly 12 minutes we get that signature trance inducing melancholic riffing alongside the signature screams of Tim Yatras. Always perfectly in sync with Mitchell Keepin’s dramatic atmospheric and hypnotic songwriting, the band unleashes sheer misery inducing onslaughts with the moody tempos of “A Ravenous Oblivion”.
Unleashing a very hypnotic and highly atmospheric beast, today we have France’s Bacchus and their debut full-length release “II”. With a very interesting and oppressive sound, this band sounds a bit like The Ruins of Beverast meets Urfaust meets Fluisteraars. For six tracks and nearly 35 minutes, the band haunts the listener with piercing compositions that are both mysterious and highly disturbing.
Opening with the atmospheric funkiness of “II.I”, the band quickly sets a very hypnotic tempo that is nicely amplified by (very) weird vocal arrangements that create a very oppressive atmosphere. The atmospheric synths and samples give a certain Germ/Galaktik Cancer Squad and create some truly unique and disturbing soundscapes, as delivered by “II.II” and “II.III”.
Drowning in atmospheric brilliance, today we have Aara closing their trilogy with “Triade III: Nyx”. Delivering six sweeping songs of brutality and lush dreaminess, this release keeps the momentum of the first two parts and brings this period of the band to a close with a big bang. Highly recommended for fans of extremely atmospheric and intense music, this release will immerse you into the band’s world instantly with its relentless aural abuse.
Opening with the enigmatic “Heimgesucht”, the mood is perfectly set as the band escalates their riffing onslaughts to frantic mode. The sheer intensity and ravaing speed of Berg’s guitars perfectly aligns with the pummeling drumming of J. The band’s core sound is intense and violent, greatly amplified by the haunting harsh screams of Fluss, as we can hear on riveting pieces like “Emphase der Seelenpein”, “Moribunda”, and “Unstern”.
It has been a while since we heard from Downfall of Gaia and their uniquely devastating mixture of Atmospheric Black/Post-Black Metal with some Crust and Sludge elements. With “Silhouettes of Disgust” the band marks their return and they are thirsty for blood. Featuring 45 minutes and eight tracks of crushing music, the band creates a very hectic and demoralizing atmosphere with waves of punishing riffs, blistering drumming, and hellish vocals.
Opening with the powerful and melodic “Existence Of Awe”, the band sets on a crushing path with their signature Atmospheric nature alongside crafty aggression. The Punkish drumming of the opener and “The Whir of Flies” nicely gives that Euro Crust vibe, while perfectly blending in with the more traditional Black Metal elements. We particularly enjoy the band’s relentless tempo changes as they weave between high-octane sections to more introspective and melancholic passages.