Häxanu - Snare of All Salvation (2020)

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From the endless creativity of Alex Poole, today we have the ravaging Black Metal outfit called Häxanu. Focusing on brutality and atmosphere, this band delivers over 44 minutes of relentless music in “Snare of All Salvation”. Very few debut releases have the quality and teeth that this one has, so if you are a BM connoisseur, this is an album you cannot miss.

After setting a very mysterious mood with the intro, “Materia Prima” delivers dramatic atmospheric keyboards and waves of pummeling riffs. This track, while basic in nature, it is quite brutal and effective. Vocalist’s L.C. shrieks are quite ravaging and perfectly fit the intensity and brutality of the music. Both “Sulfur, Salt, Mercury” and “Smaragdina” show a more melodic side of the band, with brilliant headbanging passages crafted by tight drumming and crushing riffing.

Glaciation - Ultime éclat (2020)

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As a surprise to a lot of people and behind some controversy, today we have the return of Glaciation with the savage “Ultime éclat”. Re-formed by Hreidmarr, and without permission from Valnoir, this incarnation of the band delivers one of the most intense and ravaging Black Metal releases of the year. Focusing only on the music and not the drama, this album delivers seven brutal pieces of music that perfectly deliver that 90’s French BM vibe and bring back memories of outfits like Anorexia Nervosa.

Leading with the album title track, the band sets a very macabre vibe as it layers guitars and blistering drums around the intense vocals of Hreidmarr. The different instruments come together perfectly to deliver a blend of brutal melancholy that is incisive and violent, as tracks like “Le rivage” punish the listener with relentless aural attacks, mixed in with dramatic melancholic passages. Oozing melody, other tracks like “Et puis le soufre” magically weave back and forth from pummeling rawness and somber vocal arrangements.

Burning Witches - Dance with the Devil (2020)

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Creating quite a stir in the Metal world since their inception in 2015, Burning Witches are a Heavy/Power Metal band unlike no other. Formed by five lovely women, this band kicks some serious ass thanks to their high-octane no-holds-barred music filled with catchiness and technical proficiency. Easily compared to the likes of Judas Priest, Helloween, Stratovarius, etc., this outfit is here to have you headbanging from the nearly one hour duration of this crushing album.

After the traditional intro piece, “Lucid Nightmare” sets a furious pace with dueling guitars, hyper-crafty drumming, and the soaring vocals of new singer Laura Guldemond. If this intense opener was not enough, the shredding on “Dance with the Devil” creates an epic opening to a superbly melodic track filled with expert craftsmanship and an intense hard-rocking attitude. Sending shivers through the listener’s spines, “Wings of Steel” and its epic chorus section reminds us of bands like Iron Maiden.

Aeonian Sorrow - A Life Without (2020)

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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.

Cult of Luna - Emma Ruth Rundle - Intronaut - 2/28/2020 - The Masquerade - Atlanta, GA

Finally! The season of North American tours is getting into gear and we are lucky to have Sweden’s Cult of Luna stop by The Masquerade to give one of their high intensity shows. We are big fans of the band and have seen them on big stages in Europe, so it is great to see them on a ‘small stage’. Paired with Emma Ruth Rundle and Intronaut, the lineup is quite solid for a good evening of music.

Lychgate - Also sprach Futura (2020)

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Unleashing a truly unique level of aural abuse, today we have UK’s Lychgate and their new label debut EP “Also sprach Futura”. If you think you have heard weird stuff before, this release will re-define the concept for you. Featuring four tracks of pure madness, this band combines elements from Doom/Jazz/Progressive/Brutal Death Metal, and pretty much everything else into an amalgamation of sonic abusive tracks.

The release opens with the cirquesque “Incarnate”, incorporating brutal guitar riffs with chaotic tempo changes and funky organ/mellotron atmospherics. Taking this track over the top are the throat singing moments that just add more confusion and madness between the Black Metal-ish harshness and funky atmospherics. Things settle down a bit on the interesting “Progeny of the Singularity”, where the band starts with brutal onslaughts and slowly evolves into an eerie sickening atmospheric passage , just as the brutality returns to close this magically weird piece.

My Dying Bride - The Ghost of Orion (2020)

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Unleashing relentless misery, today we have legendary My Dying Bride and their latest opus: “The Ghost of Orion”. Filled with melancholy and pain, the album from beginning to end delivers the band’s signature Doom Metal as it combines elements from their later releases with the gloom of releases like “The Light at the End of the World” and “The Angel and the Dark River”. Five years in the making, this release is a quintessential MDB album that is musically and emotionally one of their best.

The release starts with the heavy hitting “Your Broken Shore”, a very powerful and mournful track that is both punishing and very melancholic. The contrast between Aaron’s signature clean vocals and the heavy riffs is something that keeps drawing us back to the band’s music as it perfectly conveys a multitude of emotions, as we can hear in the epic “To Outlive the Gods” and its enchanting violins, as well as on the emotional roller coaster of “Tired of Tears”.

Clouds - Durere (2020)

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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.

Insect Ark - The Vanishing (2020)

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Crafting a haunting atmosphere with crushing walls of sound and eerie synths, today we have Insect Ark and their crushing release “The Vanishing”. With a certain minimalist and drone edge, the band’s music creates cavernous avenues for waves of distorted bass and lap steel guitar. For fans of bands like Earth, Jex Thoth, SubRosa, all minus the vocals, this release will command your attention and take it for a warm and fuzzy trippy ride.

The album kicks off with the interstellar antics of the crafty “Tectonic”, a piece that nicely builds as the bass guitar leads into crafty percussions and dreamy synths. The duo’s ability to slowly build tension and atmosphere is quite impressive as tracks like “Three Gates” slowly build from minimalist passages to fuzzy onslaughts that are both playful and yet pummeling. The experimental component of the band’s music allows them to create tracks that are highly hypnotic, like the trance inducing “Philae” and the slow burning “Danube”.

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