Constantly evolving and refining their sound over the years, today we have Italy’s Blaze of Sorrow and their latest Atmospheric Black Metal opus: “Absentia”. Featuring seven songs and nearly 45 minutes of lush music, the band shows how their sound continues to improve with intricately crafted songs that are both pummeling and melodic. With similarities to bands like Fen, Agalloch, Saor, this outfit has marked their own path of blended melody and aggressiveness.
The album opens with the folky “Settimo Requiem”, a song that features a lively mood with creative tempo changes and a very epic feeling. The band’s ability to swing from ravaging Black Metal onslaughts to melodic interludes is amazing as it allows them to completely re-shape the direction of songs with these transitions as the pulverizing “Furia” demonstrates.
Switzerland has been recently surprising us with their masterful Black Metal bands, Aara is another one of those outfits. Focusing on dramatic atmospherics and lush melodies, “En Ergô Einai” delivers over 33 minutes of emotionally intense music that brings back memories of bands like An Autumn for Crippled Children and Deafheaven. For those that like a melody and ambiance with their brutality, this album is one hell of a discovery.
Easing the listener into a state of hypnosis, a lush opening to “Arkanum” was laid down by Vindsval (Blut Aus Nord), as the band quickly escalates things with furious drumming, dreamy riffs and harrowing shrieks. The cohesion presented by seemingly disparate musical elements is quite effective as the duo’s music perfectly blends that subtle dreaminess with crushing aggression, perfectly illustrated by “Stein auf Stein”.
Perfectly fitting for a dark and gloomy day, today we have Aeonian Sorrow’s latest EP: “A Life Without”. As the title indicates, this release is full of melancholy and gloom, delivering exactly what the fans of the band and the genre expects. For over 30 minutes the band explores cavernous atmospheres filled with crushing riffs, demoralizing growls and angelic female vocals.
The album slowly builds up with the opener “The Endless Fall of Grief”. Instead of the traditional long instrumental intro, this track quickly unravels brutal growls and heavy guitars, creating a very imposing and commanding mood since the first few minutes. Ville Rutanen (Red Moon Architect) handles all growls, perfectly contrasting them from Gogo Melone’s sultry female vocals, a brilliant example of this is the emotional “One Love” and its dramatic guitar leads and ‘beauty and the beast’ vocal interchanges.
As one of our favorite bands, Clouds delivers one of the most melancholic and depressive brands of Atmospheric Death/Doom Metal ever created. With “Durere”, the band’s mastermind, Daniel Neagoe, continues to explore the process of grief and loss in seven tracks and nearly one hour of soul crushing music. Never disappointing, the tracks in this release are filled with grief and despair perfectly translated into musical notes.
The album opens with solemn acoustic guitars and clean vocals in “Cold Guiding Light”, just before switching gears into ravaging growls and mournful violin arrangements. This track slowly erodes at the listener’s psyche with dramatic atmospherics. “Empty Hearts” continues the misery with distant weeping guitars and melancholic vocals. The band’s signature contrast between crushing riffs and growls with more mellow passages is very effectively delivered in this track.
Hailing from Indonesia, today we have one-man battalion Pure Wrath with the very impressive “The Forlorn Soldier” EP release. Unleashing a masterful combination of dramatic atmospherics, blistering Black Metal onslaughts and a hearty sense of melody, this release delivers almost 30 minutes of flawless music. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Sad Legend, Saor and Vallendusk, be prepared for an aural assault with this one.
The release opens with the blistering “When a Great Man Dies” and its waves of punishing riffs perfectly intertwined with catchy atmospheric elements and harsh vocals. This combination creates a very chaotic, yet refined and lush experience that will quickly grab the listener's attention and never let go. We particularly enjoy the solemn clean vocal arrangements in the superbly melodic closing stages of the song.
As a highly mysterious duo from Sweden, Greve unleashes upon the masses their debut full-lenght release “Nordarikets strid”. Featuring an eerie retro Atmospheric/Symphonic Black Metal sound, this album transport the listeners across aural planes with its incisive furious onslaughts and dramatic atmospherics.
Setting the mood with a dreamy intro, “Vid Dödens Tröskel” fully unleashes Greve’s fury with pummeling drums and piercing shrieks. The band’s Black Metal core is on point, delivering waves of crushing riffs and crafty tempo changes to keep things interesting as one can hear on the album title track and the Dissection-esque “I Svarta Solens Magi”.
Just when you think you have a band figured out, Unreqvited continues to push its aural boundaries with the lush and brilliant “Mosaic II: la déteste et la détresse”. Taking the best elements of its earlier releases and adding more dynamic and contrasting ones, this one-man outfit manages to create a magical atmosphere that is quite hard to come out of. If you are into Atmospheric Post-Black Metal and you think you have heard it all, this release will change your opinion.
Opening with subtle atmospherics in “Nightfall”, the track slowly evolves into an excruciating passage to the bowels of hell thanks to its punishing shrieks. However, the music stays dreamy and ethereal, creating a very interesting and powerful contrast. With a heavier vibe, “Wasteland” continues spiraling into madness with dramatic guitar work and intricate drum patterns, creating a very visceral and yet melodic experience.
Featuring two of our favorite artists, this Sylvaine and Unreqvited EP kicks off our 2020 reviews with a bang. Showing a slightly different face of both artists, this release will submerge the listener into their ethereal realms while delivering over 25 minutes of dreamy music. If you are a fan of either, you can’t miss out on this very magical release.
Opening the EP we have Sylvaine with “No More Solitude”, an acoustic piece that is full of raw emotion and dramatic piano passages. With “Falling”, we get a darker and more solemn piece that is nicely adorned by Sylvaine’s dreamy vocals arrangements and minimalist guitars. Both tracks are devoid of Metal elements, showing a more fragile side of the artist.
Unleashing one of the most monolithic Atmospheric Death/Doom releases of 2019, today we have Portugal’s OAK with “Lone”. Featuring four tracks and around 50 minutes of soul crushing music, this release highly recommended for fans of bands like Mournful Congregation, Shape of Despair and Ahab. Piercing through the listener’s psyche, this album is heavy and punishing, unlike anything else you will hear this year.
Slowly building up momentum with the gargantuan opening track “Sculptures”, this duo craft a very punishing atmosphere thanks to massive slow riffs and crushing growls. With a very mellow pace, this track crafts a mysterious cavernous atmosphere as the guitars unleash minimalist notes of desperation. Expertly crafting desolate passages, “Mirror” continues the funeral procession with more crushing guitar riffs and crafty drum patterns. The tracks’ catharsis is well earned and after a while of atmospherics the listener is treated to some truly haunting growling passages.
Now on a bigger label and with an organically evolved sound, today we have Fen’s debut release on Prophecy Productions titles “The Dead Light”. Featuring nearly an hour of dreamy Atmospheric Black Metal, the band continues to evolve with more proggy influences added to their already very distinctive aural identity. If you liked anything that the band has put out before, this release will surely propel the to higher levels thanks to its craftsmanship and atmospheric brilliance.
Opening with “Witness”, the listener is instantly immersed in the band’s world with subtle guitars and a very moody intro passage. As the track slowly picks up, we can feel a bit of a Lantlôs vibe created by the cascading guitars and somber clean vocals. As the two parts of the album title track come along, we get to hear a proggier side of the band with sweeping crafty passages that mix faster paced sections and crafty tempo changes. These two tracks have a certain vibe that can be compared to a version of Opeth playing Atmospheric Black Metal.