Chaos Magic - Emerge (2022)

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Led by the talented Caterina Nix, Chaos Magic is a Symphonic Metal band with similar style to outfits like Visions of Atlantis, Epica, Nightwish, etc. With so many similar bands in the genre, “Emerge” distinguishes itself as a release with Power and Progressive Metal elements, keeping things lean and direct. Featuring 50 minutes of music, this release is quite dynamic and keeps the listener engaged due to excellent songwriting and dramatic arrangements.

The release sets a mystical mood with the title track, delivering soaring vocal melodies and crafty electronic elements, all of these wrapped around hefty riffs and tight drumming. We particularly enjoyed that the release slowly builds up, and does not ‘explode’ in the listener’s face too quickly, as tracks like: “Beneath your Sin” and “Impossible”. This allows the listener to nicely warm up the band’s style and Caterina’s excellent vocals.

Memoremains - Pop Metal (2022)

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As one of the many variants of Metal, ‘Pop Metal’ has gained popularity over the last few years with bands like Amaranthe, Battle Beast, etc. Today we have Finnish newcomers Memoremains and their very uninspired titled release “Pop Metal”. Luckily for us, the name is the only uninspired part of this release as the nine tracks presented here are quite catchy and enjoyable.

Opening with “We are One”, the band has a dejavu Amaranthe opening with the first couple of seconds of the track, but then it transitions into their own making with some modern Dark Tranquility-esque keyboards and riffs. The first thing to have to be successful in this genre has to be a charismatic and distinguishable singer, and Johanna Ahonen does a very good job in making tracks like “Sympathy”, “Back Off”, and “Paralyze” her own.

Pestilent Hex - The Ashen Abhorrence (2022)

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Unleashing a blistering piece of majestic Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal, today we have newcomers Pestilent Hex. Polished in over five years, this album captures the magic of keyboard driven BM of the 90’s, with similarities to Emperor, Tartaros, Limbonic Art, however, the band manages to sound like something completely different. Be prepared for a dramatic and highly engaging 40-minute experience.

The release opens with the album titled chapter I, which sets a very hectic opening with blistering drumming, furious riffing, and powerful harsh vocals. This track nicely morphs into a very dramatic and intense atmospheric affair with piercing synths and lush piano arrangements. Both “Nature of the Spirit” and “Mephistophelean Liaison” perfectly build up on such a killer opener with tons of dynamic arrangements, dramatic tempo changes, and heaps of emotion and melody, making up for a very powerful first part of this release.

Massacre - Mythos (2022)

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Hailing from the swamps of Florida, today we Massacre and their latest EP “Mythos”. As you would expect, the band plays a mean old-school American Death Metal, with elements from all the genre greats plus their own antics. For a band that has been on and off over the years, the band’s sound is quite polished and will have you headbanging from start to end and feeling nostalgic, so definitely a good addition to any DM fan’s collection.

Starting with the chugging riffs of “Behind the Serpent's Curse”, the band sets a pretty gnarly mood with crafty drumming and engaging tempo changes. This track also features guest Anders Odden of Cadaver, giving it an extra killer punch. One of our favorite things about old-school American DM is that songs are usually short, with a heavy kick, and far from linear, as we can hear in “The Dunwich Horror” and “The Mythos That Lovecraft Built”.

Saor - Origins (2022)

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Unleashing one of the most majestic and expertly crafted mixtures of Atmospheric/Folk and Melodic Black Metal, today we have Saor and their latest release “Origins”. As the brainchild of Andy Marshall, this outfit has continually gotten better over the years and with this release they reach the pinnacle (for now) of their craftsmanship and songwriting abilities. Featuring six tracks and nearly 42 minutes of music, this is definitely one of the top releases of 2022.

Opening with the regal “Call of the Carnyx”, we get the band’s signature melodic riffing alongside crafty atmospheric and very ethereal clean vocals. As the track progresses more Folk elements are baked into the mix, perfectly leading to the lively “Fallen” and its graceful guitar leads intertwined with harsh screams and killer tempo changes. Never leaving the Folky and mystical nature of the band’s sound behind, “The Ancient Ones” is a magical piece where all these elements perfectly work together to create a very intense mood.

Kardashev - Liminal Rite (2022)

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Completely blowing us away with their EP “The Baring of Shadows”, earlier this year, we now have Kardashev’s sophomore full-length release and it is even more grandiose than their EP. Featuring almost one hour of music, this release delivers the perfect balance between aggression, technical proficiency, atmosphere and melancholy, in one very unique and explosive package.

After setting a very mysterious and imposing mood with the spoken words and atmospherics of the opener, “Silvered Shadows” shows the band at its element with a lush mixture of Progressive/Death-core/ and Post-Metal. This amalgamation of styles creates a very sublime and dreamy atmosphere, nicely bleeding into pieces like “Apparitions in Candlelight”, “Lavender Calligraphy”. Which nicely combines a mix of dreamy clean and crushing growls.

Stjärnfält - Lapporten (2022)

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Unleashing a highly engaging and extremely well crafted mixture of futuristic atmospherics and harsh Black/Post-Black Metal onslaughts, Stjärnfält returns with its second release “Lapporten”. As a one man-project now based in Sweden, M delivers four masterful tracks that have some elements of Germ, Galaktik Cancer Squad and Angst Skvadron.

The release opens with the sidereal journey of “Kebnekaise”, a 14-minute piece that slowly eases the listener into the band’s magical world. Masterful atmospheric synths are nicely paired with melodic riffs that quickly incite headbanging while the harsh vocals are introduced and tempo changes brilliantly shift the pace of things. After that magical opener, “Bruskleden” keeps the listener impressed with its lush atmospherics and very dynamic pace, creating a truly engaging and exciting listening experience.

Furis Ignis - Turn (2022)

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Out of the bowels of hell, today we have one-man battalion Furis Ignis and his latest EP “Turn”. Featuring nearly 31 minutes of music, this EP is nearly as long and equally impressive as the band’s debut release “Decapitate the Aging World”, out earlier this year. With a punishing no-bullshit raw Black Metal sound merged in with cavernous atmospheres, this release further cements the band’s minimalist yet effective approach to the genre.

Starting with the gritty “Vanguard of Black Years” and its incisive riffs and hellish vocals. This kind of old-school BM is hard to come by these days as bands try too hard and it comes out fake. The same sweeping vibe bleeds into our favorite “To Trespass the Commandments of Tangible Being”, a track that has an old school Ancient meets Immortal meets Darkthrone vibe.

Norilsk - Beyond the Mountains (2022)

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Hailing from Canada, today we have Death/Doom outfit Norlisk and their latest EP “Beyond the Mountains”. Since this is released through Hypnotic Dirge Records, you know this is going to be a good one. Featuring a retro but firm sound, the band unleashes two tracks filled with slow and crushing riffs alongside hefty growls. If you are a fan of My Dying Bride, Mournful Congregation, etc., you will definitely dig this one.

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