Unleashing one of the most haunting releases of 2022, today we have Darkher and her truly eerie brand of Doom Metal. In “The Buried Storm”, Jayn Maiven continues to create highly atmospheric pieces perfectly blending just the right amount of distortion and tempo to create a very suffocating and yet liberating experience.
The album slowly builds its momentum with the sparse “Sirens Nocturne” and its tense atmospherics combined with lush vocal arrangements. Next up, “Lowly Weep” increases the tension with eerie cellos and the gradual introduction of distorted guitars alongside cathartic vocal arrangements. For those into folkier flavored Atmospherics, “Unbound” is a track to enjoy.
When there are seemingly endless amounts of Atmospheric Black Metal bands that all sound the same, it is quite nice to hear outfits like Tome of the Unreplenished and their take on the genre. In “Earthbound”, this originally a project, now a full fledged band, delivers over 46 minutes of captivating music filled with eeriness and interesting ideas.
The opener “Tellurian” unleashes furious riffs and blast beats, more typical traditional Black Metal that slowly transforms into more melodic and atmospheric soundscapes. Particularly a certain epic/folky vibe thanks to the clean vocal arrangements. The band’s style is more of a mixture of Saor and Windfaerer, as tracks like “Unbound” and “Tryst at the Gales of Cyprus” brilliantly mix atmosphere and melody.
Delivering a highly atmospheric brand of Post-Black Metal, today we have Cailleach Calling and their debut full-length release “Dreams of Fragmentation”. Featuring Tony Thomas (Botanist/Dawn of Ouroboros) handling all guitars/bass/and synths, alongside Chelsea Murphy (Dawn of Ouroboros) in vocals and Yurii Kononov (ex-White Ward) on drums, the band unleashes nearly 40 minutes of relentless music with a certain cosmic/urban vibe unlike no other.
Immediately laying down some thick atmospherics, “Phosphenic Array” kicks off the release with brutal harsh screams and superbly crafted blistering drumming. While the intensity varies, the atmosphere is made even richer with powerful synths. Reminding us a bit of Frozen Ocean and Lustre, this epicness continues into the sultry “Bound by Neon” a piece with a more desolate futuristic urban vibe, which features some intense tempo changes and elegant melancholic interludes.
Being huge fans of multi-instrumentalist Sylvaine and her enchanting music, we completely cleared our review queue and went deep into the intricacies and layers of “Nova”. Perfectly balancing the fragility of genres like Shoegaze and Atmospheric Metal with the aggression of Black Metal and Post-Metal influences, this release marks Sylvaine’s best effort to date with around 45 minutes of complex enchanting music.
Setting a very ethereal vibe with the album title track, things quickly escalate with the piercing guitars of “Mono No Aware”. This track perfectly blends onslaughts of harsh screams alongside dreamy vocal melodies, creating a very intense and yet melancholic atmosphere. We are always quite impressed with the build-up of songs like “Nowhere, Still Somewhere”, which slowly hypnotize the listener with siren-like vocal arrangements and shoegazey guitars.
Perfectly tailored to fans of music that pushes boundaries and that incorporates many disparate elements, today we have Lord Agheros and their latest opus “Koinè”. Mixing Ambient, Atmospheric and Avantgarde elements with a Black Metal core, this one man outfit continues to deliver unique and engaging releases that are varied and evocative from start to finish.
Opening with “The Prophecy”, we are treated to an Elend-esque momentum builder filled with dreamy atmospherics and crafty guitars. The musical exploration continues with the Industrial-elements of “The Walls of Nowhere”, paired with lush vocal arrangements and the doomier onslaughts of “Hold the Line”. As you can read, as the album hits the middle track, “Sow”, there are plenty of engaging elements from different genres, nicely arranged to create an immersive experience.
As one of the most anticipated 2022 releases for us, “Hymn To The Woeful Hearts” takes Pure Wrath’s music to a whole new level. Delivering over 44 minutes of highly atmospheric and very emotional Black Metal music, this album perfectly channels the fury and intensity of the band’s earlier releases with a hefty dose of melancholy and refinement.
Wasting no time in asserting itself, “The Cloak of Disquiet” opens with a very solemn and short intro as it quickly morphs into raw aggression thanks to blistering drumming and crushing harsh screams. We particularly love how the melodic arrangements quickly blend into the waves of brutality the band puts forth, as pieces like “Years of Silence” and “Presages From A Restless Soul” clearly show. There is great skill in being able to have such masterful transitions without sounding forced or abrupt.
Pumping freshness into the Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal genre, today we have newcomers Silhouette and their disarming debut release “Les Retranchements”. With a well defined core of BM onslaughts and harsh vocals, the band adds a layer of angelic female vocals to create a very powerful and effective mix. Think of the short-lived Asphodèle but with a more depressive/atmospheric edge.
Opening with “Ascension”, a very dreamy mood is set thanks to subtle guitars and Lilas Dupont’s siren-like vocals. The band’s elements mesh quite well, as tracks like “La Première Neige” deliver the ferocity some expect with relentless aggressive onslaughts, perfectly flanked by slower and dreamier passages, creating a very bleak soundscape. Keeping things simple and direct, pieces like “Au Seuil de l'Oubli” and “L'Etreinte de la Chute” are quite melancholic and magical.
After their killer 2021 “Awake” EP, all-star outfit SOM returns with their much anticipated full-length release “The Shape of Everything”. Featuring members of bands like Junius and Caspian, this album delivers over 34 minutes of extremely melancholic and yet heavy amalgamation of all kinds of genres ranging from Doom to Post-Rock and Post-Metal. Creating a very unique signature style, this release is set to be on plenty of best albums of 2022 releases.
Opening with the melancholy of “Moment”, the band quickly establishes a very moody atmosphere, similar to bands like Deftones and Junius, but with a more shoegazey and dreamy edge. The clean vocals create very powerful melodies, perfectly soaring from the textured guitars of tracks like the Deafheaven-esque “Animals” and the playful “Center”. The band’s versatility can be heard on our favorite “Shape”, a piece that delivers a hefty dosage of heavy riffs alongside more subtle and ethereal guitar work.
After making a huge splash with their 2020 release titled “Bloodletting”, Mountaineer achieves the impossible and unleashes an even more melancholic and more polished release with “Giving Up The Ghost”. For fans of Post-Rock/Doom/Shoegaze, this release delivers over 32 minutes of highly emotional and disharming music, creating a fully immersive atmosphere and a truly magical listening experience.
Opening with a mood setting instrumental, the band gets down to business with the dreamy “Blot Out the Sun”, filled with soaring vocal melodies (both harsh and clean) and very dynamic guitars, perfectly capturing the ‘Mountaineer vibe’ but further extending it with even more melancholy and sublime arrangements like we can hear in “Bed of Flower” or the The Ocean-esque “Touch the Glass”.
By far one of the most productive musicians in the Metal scene, Déhà’s creativity is probably just bounded by time as he continues to unleash massive albums under his solo project, Wolvennest, Slow, and plenty of other bands. In “Ave Maria II”, he continues work he released over 10 years ago under his side project Yhdarl. Featuring one monumental track of 42 minutes, this release is both haunting and completely harrowing, mixing up dense atmospherics, punishing screams and all mighty riffs.
Separated into two movements, the first part, “Morituri Te Salutant” sets a very cavernous mood that suddenly turns with the introduction of Thergothon-level distorted riffs alongside dramatic vocal arrangements, similar to what Elend did in the past, but with a heavier dose of distortion. The angelic female vocals are masterfully flanked with incisive guitars and massive growls/screams, perfectly turning beauty into nightmare.