Jinjer - Wallflowers (2021)

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When a band usually says that their latest album is the heaviest to date, they are usually just playing the marketing game. However, once in a blue moon, this is actually true, and “Wallflowers” from Jinjer is one of those rare exceptions. Featuring an even more explosive and expansive sound than before, this release will certainly propel the band’s status thanks to its incisive and crafty songs.

The band opens with the in-your-face track “Call Me A Symbol” and never looks back, from Tatiana’s mountrous harsh vocals to the throbbing bass guitar and crafty drumming, this track sets a very intense pace. Songs like “Colossus”, “Vortex”, and “Disclosure!” perfectly showcase the band’s versatility and explosivity, going from playful clean vocal passages to crushing guitars and diverse tempo changes.

Sky Crypt - Incipit Anarchia: Eternity (2020)

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We are always suckers for good Melodic Death Metal releases and luckily for us, Sky Crypt unleashes nearly 40 minutes of catchy and old-school sounding music. In “Incipit Anarchia: Eternity”, this Russian duo manages to carve a personal sound from mixing elements from old Dark Tranquillity, In Flames and At the Gates. If you are a fan of older sounding Melo-Death, this release will keep you busy.

Opening with your traditional atmospheric intro, the release really warms up with “The Dawn of Tyranny” and its catchy riffs paired with crafty tempo changes. The band’s style is quite linear and traditional, and while not bad, it feels a bit uninspired at times with songs like “The Higher Walls”, “The Awe”, and “The Solemn Rite”, all blending together.

Burial in the Sky - The Consumed Self (2021)

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Hailing from the USA, today we have Progressive/Tech Death Metal outfit Burial in the Sky and their sublime release “The Consumed Self”. Perfectly blending technical proficiency, melancholic songwriting, and flawless execution, this release unleashes nearly one hour of mesmerizing music. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Sculptured, Obscura, Necrophagist, etc. this release will have you both in awe and bruised from all the headbanging.

The release opens with the dreamy/proggy intro “The Soft Violet Light” and pummels right into the sheer brutality of “An Orphaned City”. This contrast perfectly introduces the heavier side of the band and their technical proficiency with blistering guitars and massive drums flanking the harsh screams. The band’s seamless transition between heavier parts and more melodic and proggy passages, like on “On Wings of Providence”, is exactly what draws us to this outfit and their polished sound.

Arcane Existence - Colossus (2021)

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Hailing from the USA, today we have newcomers Arcane Existence and their lush and haunting Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal release “Colossus”. With a very lively and engaging style, the band borrows from some of the genre greats (Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, etc.) but manages to carve a different and unique style for themselves. For nearly 56 minutes this release will certainly transport you to a different world, exactly what albums like this one should do.

Opening with the lavish “Mystic”, the band sets a very cinematic and mysterious mood, thanks to lush symphonic arrangements and crafty Metal elements. As the album progresses, tracks like “Sovereign Blood” and “Transmutation” show the heavier side of the band with pummeling drums, varied riffs, and a good balance of harsh and clean vocals. With small transition pieces like “Formation” before more elaborate and moody tracks like Dimmu Borgir-esque “Conclave”, the band keeps the album interesting and fresh.

Baxaxaxa - Catacomb Cult (2021)

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Unleashing a 47 minute dose of foul, raw, and old-school sounding Black Metal, today we have Germany’s Baxaxaxa and their debut full-length release “Catacomb Cult”. Interestingly enough, the band originally formed in 1999 and 20+ years later finally unraveled their piercing debut. Perfectly crafted for those nostalgic BM fans, this release delivers a good mixture of old-school elements alongside crafty tempo changes and eerie atmospherics.

The band set a very cavernous atmosphere with the album title track, instantly transporting the listener to the mid 90’s BM years. The release continues its devastating path with the incisive “As The Moon Inhaled All Sunrays” and the punk-ish edge of “Flame Of Redemption”. While stylistically very different from how the genre evolved, tracks like “Kingdom Ablaze” and “The Great Malicious Tongue” feel eerily frozen in time.

The Amenta - Solipschism (2021)

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As if their 2021 full-length “Revelator” wasn’t enough, today we have Australia’s The Amenta back with an interesting 2-song EP titled “Solipschism”. Not that we are complaining, the band first makes us wait 8 years between releases and now we are treated to more madness in less than 6 months. Again, proceed with caution as this Aussie band kicks some serious ass while introducing some weird and creepy ideas.

With a heavier focus on atmosphere and weirdness, the release kicks off with “Solipschism”, a highly atmospheric piece with very eerie arrangements and a solemn pace. This track is a fresh and creepy soundscape that sets a very dark mood. The second piece, “Labourinth” slowly builds from distorted guitars with an industrial vibe to a more expansive crushing piece with hellish vocals alongside crafty drums and a faster pace, and a particularly dissonant closing.

Groza - The Redemptive End (2021)

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It is definitely a great time to be a Black Metal fan as bands like Uada, Mgła, etc. are leading a new wave of highly polished and modern sounding contributions. Germany’s Groza falls in this category with their guitar driven and brilliantly crafted and layered 42 minutes of music in “The Redemptive End”. Balancing out brutality and flawless execution with a good dose of melody, this band creates six very intense and punishing tracks that any fan of this modern style will enjoy.

Opening with the mood setter “Sunken In Styx - Part I: Submersion”, we get slowly introduced into the band's hypnotic and incisive style. As soon as “Sunken In Styx - Part II: Descent” transitions in, the intensity becomes higher and the riffing takes command. The band’s harsh vocals and ravaging intensity quickly induce headbanging attacks.

Thyrfing - Vanagandr (2021)

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After a wait of 8 years, Thyrfing is finally back with their high-octane brand of Viking/Pagan Metal. “Vanagandr” unravels nearly 50 minutes of superbly catchy and highly polished melodic music, just as one would expect from this band. Perfectly mixing precise guitar work with lush atmospherics and firm vocal melodies, this release is as good as it gets in this genre.

Opening with “Döp dem i eld”, we get that vibrant mixture of atmospherics and incisive guitar riffs. Always creating a very epic Folky/Viking vibe while maintaining a hefty dose of heaviness, “Undergångens länkar” and “Fredlös” are prime examples of the band’s duality. We particularly enjoy how the band uses additional instruments to adorn a very powerful guitar-driven musical core like “Järnhand” shows.

Wormwood - Arkivet (2021)

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Unleashing some of the most incisive and yet superbly catchy melodic Black Metal of 2021, today we have Sweden’s Wormwood and their latest opus “Arkivet”. Delivering the perfect blend of aggression, melody, and melancholy, this outfit unravels 46 minutes of highly intense and piercing music. Recommended for fans of bands like Ellende, Netherbird, and Seth, this release is one of the most impressive ones we have heard in a while.

Opening with the incisive guitars of “The Archive”, the band sets a very high-octane mood thanks to the crafty drums and engaging vocal styles. There is no shortage of brutality in this release as the headbanging quickly starts and alternates with dreamy interludes. Tracks like “Overgrowth”, the melancholic “End of Message”, and the captivating “My Northern Heart”, slowly unravel the band’s very complex and yet precise songwriting, weaving different tempos and styles seamlessly together.

Æpoch - Hiraeth (2021)

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Hailing from Canada, today we have Progressive/Technical Death Metal outfit Æpoch with their latest EP “Hiraeth”. Delivering nearly 20 minutes of high-octane music, this band shows great maturity and originality in their very polished sound. From start to finish, this release will have you furiously headbanging and moshing with your friends.

Opening with “Atonement”, we get that immediate Death worship within the first few minutes as the band transitions into intense melodic riffs and proggy tempo changes. The opener perfectly bleeds into “Amnesia” another piece with ravaging guitars and tight drumming. The growls are deep and firm, allowing the music to sound quite brutal with the addition of extra vocals by Alustrium’s Jerry Martin.

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