Solacide - Fall from Eternity (2021)

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With almost every Finnish musician playing on an average of 3 bands, we get tons of high-quality outfits like Solacide. This band features an intense Melodic Black Metal sound filled with excellent musicianship and solid songwriting capabilities. In “Fall from Eternity”, the band unravels nearly 40 minutes and seven tracks of music reminiscent of bands like Old Man’s Child, Dimmu Borgir, and Naglfar.

Opening with the album title track, the band quickly makes a statement with commanding guitars, blistering drumming and subtle atmospherics. Being far from linear, playful pieces like “Forsaken Gods” perfectly blend the band’s Symphonic BM core sound with some progressive elements thrown in the mix, alongside some killer vocal lines. Changing the pace with the instrumental “Oblivion”, the band returns with the lush, more elaborate, and slightly slower tempo “Far Beyond Reality”.

Sol Sistere - Sol Sistere (2021)

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Unleashing one hell of a crafty and emotional release, today we have Chilean outfit Sol Sistere and their eponymous third full-length release. With over 60 minutes of intense Atmospheric Black Metal / Post-Black Metal music, this album delivers waves of aggression, melancholy alongside hellish vocals and very solemn passages. While most bands in these genres sound the same, this outfit manages to carve an original style that will certainly appeal to fans of outfits like Heretoir, Alcest, Harakiri for the Sky, etc.

After an instrumental opener, “The Narrow Path” fully demonstrates the band’s powerful sound with blistering onslaughts of aggression perfectly flanked by emotionally charged layered guitars and very melodic passages. Long tracks like “Ashes” showcase Sol Sistere’s ability to weave back and forth from traditional Atmospheric BM territories into dreamier and more melancholic territories, making them quite unique and engaging.

Olio Tähtien Takana - Spectral Katharsis (2021)

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Featuring V-KhaoZ of Druadan Forest handling all instruments and Profundus of Sargeist handling the vocals, Olio Tähtien Takana aka “Creature behind the stars” is one crushing two-man battalions ready to take over the Atmospheric Black Metal scene with their full-length release “Spectral Katharsis”. With nearly 5 minutes of superbly crafted music, this band brings back memories of bands like Tartaros and old Emperor and mixes those retro-elements with more modern Atmospheric Black Metal influences.

After the traditional atmospheric intro, “Towards The Dying Moon” instantly brings that old-Emperor circa “In the Nightside Eclipse” sound thanks to its crafty guitars and playful vocal combination. As the keyboards soar alongside the incisive riffs, we get that nice retro vibe, perfectly blending into pieces like “Excrucior” and the dramatic “A Sorcery Written In Stars”. While most bands in the genre focus on adding more fluff and ‘pretty’ up their sound with more synths and cinematics, this outfit seems more focused on the harshness and aggressiveness of their sound and we love it!

Ghost Bath - Self Loather (2021)

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As a huge fan of the band’s first two releases, the band continues to struggle to find a new identity. With “Starmourner” things seemed to be going well as it had great ideas and solid songs, however, “Self Loather” seems a bit too sparse and while it has some fine moments, the band sounds too much like others in those slivers of home. For over 45 minutes we get a mixture of old-Ghost Bath and some odd new elements thrown into the mix, creating an interesting release in some parts, but mostly average.

Starting strongly with “Convince Me to Bleed”, we get a blistering opening with crushing drums, punishing harsh vocals, and soaring guitars similar to Deafheaven’s pre-2021 releases. With a darker atmosphere, “Hide from the Sun” is an interesting piece with a certain sinister sound that we enjoyed. On the other side, “Shrines of the Bone” and “Sanguine Mask” mix long instrumental and minimalist sections with average heavy onslaughts.

Catalyst Crime - Catalyst Crime (2021)

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Thanks to technology, bands like Catalyst Crime can ‘easily’ come together featuring an assortment of musicians around the world. Featuring members of bands like Xandria (drummer Gerit Lamm), Pyramze (keyboardist Jonah Weingarten) alongside Zoë Marie Federoff (ex-Insatia), this outfit delivers a very bombastic and explosive combination of Symphonic/Gothic Metal with cinematic elements, creating a very immersive and highly enjoyable release.

With nearly 50 minutes of explosive music, the band quickly sets a lush and bombastic vibe with the opening intro. The band’s power-ballad game is strong as “Projection Of My Mind” nicely starts with a piano passage and explodes into a superbly catchy piece with killer keyboard solos and guitar solos, distinguishing them from the pack. The album’s first standout piece has to be the memorable “Condemn Me To Chaos”, a track that will sound quite familiar but will take you a bit to realize that it has the same melody as “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak but with some twists and turns.

Vetrar Draugurinn - The Night Sky (2021)

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With the amount of releases we get at Infernal Masquerade, sometimes killer albums fall through the cracks and we end up reviewing them later than anticipated. In this category, today we have Dutch outfit Vetrar Draugurinn and their sophomore full-length release “The Night Sky”. Featuring one of our favorite singers, Marjan Welman of Autumn fame, and ex-Stream of Passion guitarist Eric Hazebroek, this band creates a very unique and dense sounding Gothic/Doom Metal.

Opening with the heavy riffs of “The Observer”, this track nicely combines melancholic passages with some proggy influences, creating a very unique and powerful style that nicely bleeds into “The Night Sky”. For fans of more melancholic and Autumn-like songs, “Lansdown Hill” perfectly uses Marjan’s vocals alongside clean male vocals to create a dark and somber piece.

Two Hundred Wolves - The Hold (2021)

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One of the best parts of the gig of reviewing music for this site is that I get to enjoy countless amounts of music, particularly the submissions from up-and-coming bands. Today we have one killer gem that made its way into my inbox: Two Hundred Wolves and their release “The Hold”. With a style similar to Jess and the Ancient Ones and Madder Mortem but with a fuzzier and jazzier side, this release delivers 44 minutes of captivating music led by the sultry vocals of Anna Matveinen.

Opening with the jazzy/proggy “Visceral Redemption”, the first impression the band makes is one of a highly original sound perfectly fronted by a versatile singer. We like all kinds of music, and this band certainly has a bit of everything, from post rock to occult rock/metal influences, creating tracks like “Oblivion”, the dynamic “Absolute Bearing”, and the highly emotive “Event Horizon”. We are huge fans of deep and unique female voices, and the band’s vocalist definitely stands out from the rest.

Thulcandra - A Dying Wish (2021)

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Unleashing waves of old-school Melodic Black/Death Metal in the vein of Dissection, today we have Thulcandra and their latest opus “A Dying Wish”. Packed with ten tracks and nearly 45 minutes of incisive music, Steffen Kummerer keeps the old-school vibe alive with this excellent release. With a heavy tribute to Jon Nötveidt's style, the band continues to refine their sound and create brilliantly executed pieces that will appeal to old and new Black/Death Metal fans.

The release opens very strongly with the dreamy “Funeral Pyre” and its mixture of melodic passages and furious onslaughts, perfectly balancing brutality and melody while delivering a timeless sound and aural aggression. We are particularly blown away by the fast-paced songs in this release that remind us of early Entombed and Sacramentum, for example songs like “Scarred Grandeur”, “In Vain”, and “Nocturnal Heresy”.

Hate - Rugia (2021)

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Led by Adam Buszko, Hate is one of Metal Blade’s heaviest bands and they have returned with a vengeance with “Rugia”. Unleashing nine tracks and nearly 40 minutes of devastating music, Hate features a sound similar to Behemoth but with its own brand of aural poison and intensity. If you are a fan of Blackened Death Metal, and bands like Belphegor and Azarath, this is one release you can’t miss.

Opening with the album title track, the band makes a vicious statement with crushing riffs, devilish snarls and tight drumming. The band’s sound is quite refined and vicious, allowing them to introduce melody alongside their superbly brutal and swift onslaughts, evidence of this are songs like “The Wolf Queen”, “Exiles of Pantheon”, and one of favorites “Awakening the Gods Within”. Not just blasting the listener away with sheer brutality, the band systematically attacks with their musicality and execution.

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