Having full creative control, one-man projects usually deliver very focused and highly cohesive music, today we have Noctem Aeternus and his sophomore release “Landscape of Discord”. Unraveling over 55 minutes of lush music, we are in awe of the quality and creativity presented in this release. While we will always love one-man projects like Unreqvited and Violet Cold, this one catapults itself to the first three spots on our list with this release.
After lifting our spirits and expectation with the magical “Invocation”, the band leads into the lavish atmospherics of “Those Who Shall Perish” paired with superb drumming and very emotional shireks. The release continues with the ravaging “Coming Home, Twilight”, another mid-tempo onslaught filled with lush arrangements and very well crafted moments of sheer intensity. While many one-man bands rely on plenty of samples and synths, this release includes mostly live instruments, adding clarity to an already epic package.
Always releasing superbly interesting stuff, Hypnotic Dirge Records unleashes Moonworshipper and their ‘EP’ “13 Fullmoon Nights of Loneliness”. Featuring a truly chaotic, experimental, and yet lush sound, this release pretty much takes elements from almost every genre of music and mixes them together in a very melancholic and tormentous release. If you are a fan of Manes, Lethe, Ulver, and similar outfit, this release is right up your alley.
Starting with some cavernously Doomy guitar riffs, the single 24-minute track in this release hints at a very heavy and punishing journey. The crushing guitars and rhythmic drumming is perfectly offset by hellish vocals and crafty tempo changes. This is until the band switches things up with hauntingly eerie piano/atmospheric passages and the introduction of sultry female vocals. Note that at this stage the guitars and doomy vibe are still very present as the band continues to dabble in some Depressive/Suicidal BM influences mixed into jazzy and noir-esque female singing.
Delivering a very rich and emotional 48 minutes of soul crushing Post-Black Metal with a Cascadian vibe, today we have With The End In Mind and their sophomore release “Tides of Fire”. Perfectly contrasting fragility with crushing aggression, this release unleashes three masterful tracks that weave together tons of influences while creating a very powerful and complex sound. If you are a fan of bands like Agalloch, Wolves in the Throne Room and Vanum, this release will blow you away.
The release leads with the dreamy opening of “Set the Cavernous Soul Alight”, which slowly turns into a very chaotic and savage onslaught of harsh screams, blistering drumming and a very firm and crushing pace. We particularly love how the band weaves pockets of intense brutality into mellow and lush soundscapes that are both hypnotic and eerie. Just as this track slowly built up, the ending soothes the listener with eerie clean vocals and a certain folky vibe.
As a side project of Fen’s members The Watcher and Havenless, Fellwarden is one of those bands that delivers a sound so hypnotic and sublime that you get completely immersed into their atmosphere. In “Wreathed in Mourncloud”, the band elevate their Atmospheric Black/Folk Metal sound to a whole new dimension. For nearly 55 minutes the band unleashes what can be best described as a mixture of early Fen with Empyrium, split into six lush songs that are set to never leave your music player for the rest of the year.
The mysterious “Pathmaker” opens up with lush percussion and delivers a glimmer of light between the darkness. The clean vocals are nicely flanked by melodic guitars and crafty drumming, creating a very regal and yet dreamy atmosphere, just imagine Alcest meets Fen. The band’s aggressive side comes at the listener in full force with the ravaging “Scafell's Blight” with its moody tempo changes and dreamy interludes.
Unleashing one of the most melancholic releases of 2020, today we have Russia’s one-man project A Light in the Dark and his latest full-length release “Insomnia”. Featuring over 45 minutes of completely enchanting music, this release is perfectly crafted for fans of Alcest, Lantlôs, Heretoir and Amesoeurs. Oozing melody and dreaminess since the first minute, this is one hell of an ethereal release.
The album opens with the very lively and dynamic “Aimless”, a song that has a certain Harakiri For the Sky edge as it delivers very poignant guitars and harsh vocals. Shifting the pace more into the Post-Metal/Blackgaze lands, “Let it Guide You” delivers sweeping atmospheric passages and interesting electronic elements thrown into the mix. Both “Vortex” and “四” take thing into more depressive rock territories with a similar approach to Violet Cold and their use of samples for extra ambiance.
Unleashing one of the most cathartic albums of 2020, today we have October Falls and their latest opus “A Fall of an Epoch”. Seven years since their last release, the band returns with their blend of Atmospheric/Folky Black Metal that perfectly combines elements from bands like Ensiferum with the more vicious onslaughts of outfits like Behexen and Horna. With a hefty dosage of brutality and crafty introspective passages, this release will command your full attention for nearly 55 minutes.
The album kicks off with the bleak acoustic guitars of the title track, this solemn peace suddenly transforms in all-out- brutality with crushing riffs, blistering drums, and punishing screams. Within the all-out pummeling onslaught, there is a very nice melodic delineation that has that Folk/Pagan Metal vibe as it contrasts with melodic passages. On a slower tone, “The Endtimes Rising” delivers a nice blend of incisive guitar riffs and harsh screams, perfectly framed on a more melodic drum track.
Unleashing a very dreamy and ethereal debut release, today we have Cosmic Burial and “Impakt”. Featuring over 75 minutes of instrumental music, this album goes from the bowels of hell, thanks to some furious BM onslaughts, to the depths of space, thanks to hypnotic atmospherics. Led by V. V. of Nachtig and Valosta Varjoon, this one-man battalion creates a very unique and enigmatic sound that will enshroud the listener from start to end.
Setting a very bleak mood with “EO40”, the track dabbles between solemn keyboards and harsh melodic riffs. Similar to bands like Lustre, but with a simpler tone and a more direct approach. Tracks like “VK184” nicely experiment with different tempos and create very unique melodic passages that can be considered brilliant headbanging moments. There is a certain magical aura behind the music, and this is thanks to the crafty use of synths.
Unleashing a weird Black Metal onslaught, today we have a split release from two very promising and highly unconventional bands: Vuur & Zijde from the Netherlands and Impavida from Germany. With each band having a unique take on the genre, this split release shows us a glimpse of the future, and let us tell you: it is quite dissonant and punishing.
Vuur & Zijde opens this release with the haunting “Zonnesstorm”, a track that is nicely contrasted by some Chelsea Wolfe female vocals and furious guitars/drums, creating a very unique and powerful vibe. Waiting to come out after the band’s bursts of intensity are creepy atmospheric passages that set a chilling mood, as we hear on “Zilt”. Vocalist F. delivers a very intense and ethereal performance, particularly on the eerie “Noordzee” and its dramatic keyboards.
Delivering one of the most magical and atmospheric Black/Folk Metal releases of 2020, today we have Sojourner and their third full-length release “Premonitions”. Featuring over 55 minutes of masterfully crafted emotional music, this release explores tons of textures and tempos to create one very cohesive and lush aural journey. If you are into bands like Saor, Winterfylleth, etc. but always wanted a folkier and even Gothic/Doomy vibe infused with them, you are in luck with this release.
The release leads off with the dramatic atmospherics of “The Monolith”, a track that delivers both aggressive guitars and lush atmospheric arrangements, perfectly led by the charming clean vocals of Chloe Bray and contrasted by the harsh screams of Emilio Crespo. The female vocals at points sound like Amy Lee, but they are enchanting in their own right as they perfectly capitulate the very elaborate atmospheric components the band lays down with their mixture of rich keyboards and additional elements like a Tin whistle.
Being one of the best Post-Black Metal/Blackgaze bands in the world, we were quite impressed and glad at the same time that An Autumn fo Crippled Children is now on a ‘bigger’ label like Prosthetic Records. With the potential to reach a broader set of audiences, “All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet” is one the band's most exciting releases to date. Featuring ten songs and nearly 40 minutes of captivating music filled with dreamy atmospherics and contrasting harsh vocals.
The release starts with the lush “I Became You”, which sets a very melancholic backdrop to this release. The distinctive metallic textured guitars nicely weave back and forth Post-Rocky interludes and tempo changes as we can hear in “Water’s Edge” and “Everlasting”. While you can recognize some Alcest-like and Deafheaven-esque elements in the band’s sound, they have been refining their signature style through their eight full-length releases.