Aussichtslos - Schicksalstotschlag (2024)

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Delivering nine excruciatingly brutal tracks, today we have Germany’s Aussichtslos and their latest onslaught “Schicksalstotschlag”. Featuring nearly 50 minutes of fierce and punishing Black Metal, this outfit flattens their opposition with intensity and raw power. Not for the faint of heart and weak of mind, this is one of the most pummeling releases of 2024.

Immediately setting a very commanding and ravaging pace, “Am hohen Ross” delivers waves of intense riffs and pounding drumming, setting a high bar for this release. Both “Verwoben” and “Im Schützengraben” further elevate the all-out-war vibe with sinister guitar melodies and piercing snarls, perfectly paired with additional vocal arrangements to create very eerie and devilish atmospheres.

Black Sorcery - Plummeting into the Hour of the Wolf (2024)

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Being old enough, we miss those days of our youth when we purchased a random cassette tape with a cool looking cover and were pleasantly surprised that the band’s music was actually good and intense. Luckily for us, Black Sorcery revived those moments with their crushing release “Plummeting into the Hour of the Wolf”, which coincidentally is also released on tape by Eternal Death. Featuring three tracks of pure fucking destruction, the band’s Black Metal sound is magical.

Ancient Guard - Nightfall Enthroned (2024)

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As a new solo effort from Nightwolf of Runespell fame, Ancient Guard is a pretty interesting band that has an old-school Bathory days Black Metal sound with heavy atmospherics that remind us a bit of the early days of Emperor, Limbonic Art and Bal-Sagoth. Featuring four tracks and over thirty minutes of music, this release has a gloomy and mysterious vibe that feels fresh and highly appealing.

Alcest - Les chants de l'aurore (2024)

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As one of the most awaited releases of 2024, “Les chants de l'aurore” sees Alcest reaching new heights with their seventh full-length release. With a five year gap since their last release, Neige and Winterhalter are back with seven highly dreamy and engaging songs, clocking in at nearly 45 minutes of music. The band’s sound continues to be refined, keeping their core ‘ethereal’ dreaminess, but it also explores new textures and elements, creating an even more immersive and surreal experience.

Opening with “Komorebi” sets a very magical and ethereal stage with lush guitars alongside crafty atmospherics and masterful drumming. Neige’s clean vocals quickly set the mood and this track has very nice tempo changes with some excellent melodic passages and crescendos, creating a very traditional Alcest-like vibe. This brilliantly continues on pieces like “L'envol” and “Améthyste”, where the Blackgaze atmosphere nicely blends with more Post-Rock-style moments.

Mythraeum - Oblivion Aeternam (2024)

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Proposing a very lively and engaging Melodic/Symphonic Black Metal, today we have North American outfit Mythraeum and their sophomore release “Oblivion Aeternam”. With a sound similar to Vesperian Sorrow, Limbonic Art, and to a point mid-career Dimmu Borgir, this release unleashes nearly one hour of superbly crafted high-octane music that any fan of the genre will certainly love.

Opening strong with “Crown of Sepsis” after a flashy intro, the band quickly delivers waves of powerful guitar driven melodies perfectly accompanied by hearty snarls and a good dose of atmospherics. The band’s sound is very well crafted and polished, allowing tracks like “Harbinger’s Chant” and “Halls of Forgotten Will” to focus on mixing melodic passages with more faster-paced headbanging moments. Masterful tracks like “Terrestrial Despair”, showcase the band’s core influences, while still crafting their own style with tons of tempo changes and dramatic arrangements.

Evergrey - Theories of Emptiness (2024)

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Long running Progressive/Power Metal outfit Evergrey is one of the most recognized names in the scene and with “Theories of Emptiness”, the band keeps their momentum going with eleven epic tracks. Totaling over 45 minutes of music, this release continues the band’s highly melancholic journey with well crafted songs that perfectly show the band’s excellent songwriting skills and atmospheric prowess.

Opening with the banger, “Falling From the Sun”, we get Tom S. Englund’s signature vocals perfectly surrounded by subtle atmospherics and crafty instrumentation. We particularly love how the keyboards crafty dark vibes on songs like “Misfortune” and “To Become Someone Else”, giving the band’s sound that extra edge. However, the guitar work is also top notch, with a good amount of engaging solos and a mixture of powerful riffs with melodic passages, as heard on “Say” and “Ghost of My Hero”, our personal favorite song of the release.

Hippotraktor - Stasis (2024)

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Berlin based Pelagic record always finds some of the most interesting and genre-bending bands, with Hippotraktor the tradition continues. Blending elements of Post-Hardcore, Post-Metal and even some progressive touches, “Stasis” marks the band’s latest offering. Featuring seven crafty tracks filled with expert instrumentation and engaging tempo changes, this release delivers over 46 minutes of highly engaging music.

The album sets a very hectic page with the Djent-ish “Descent”, a track that has a nice Cult of Luna meets Meshuggah meets The Ocean, thanks to its crafty intensity, crushing vocals and ripping guitar work. As “Echoes” and “Silver Tongue” roll around, soaring clean vocals perfectly add an extra level of epicness to the band’s very well crafted and layered music. The drumming is top notch, unleashing some pretty cool patterns and brisk tempo changes on longer pieces like “Renegade”.

Rhapsody of Fire - Challenge The Wind (2024)

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Alex Staropoli and company are back with another fantastic release titled “Challenge the Wind”. The band’s signature high-octane Symphonic Power Metal continues to deliver epic songs as they unleash ten tracks and over 63 minutes of pure epic music. Rhapsody of Fire is a band in its own league and with this release they further consolidate their legacy as one of the best in the genre.

Opening with the perky album title track, we instantly get dreamy keyboard melodies, engaging vocal arrangements and intense guitar leads. Pretty much all the previously mentioned elements are staples of the band’s sound and they continue to deliver epic and memorable songs like “Whispers of Doom”, “The Bloody Pariah” and the 16-minute epic “Vanquished By Shadows”. This last track is definitely one of our favorites from the band as it weaves back and forth between moody passages with soaring vocals and dramatic tempo changes.

Ulcerate - Cutting the Throat of God (2024)

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Abundantly delivering on one of the most awaited releases of 2024, Ulcerate returns with another incisive release titled “Cutting the Throat of God”. Featuring seven tracks and nearly one hour of punishing music, filled with raw brutality alongside crafty instrumentation and hypnotic melancholy. Slowly getting better and better over time, we thought it would be hard for the band to surpass “Stare into Death and Be Still”, but they managed to completely leapfrog it and set a whole new standard.

Opening with the crushing “To Flow Through Ashen Hearts”, the band over the years has moved away from a more traditional Technical/Brutal Death Metal into more expansive and experimental Avant-garde territories and this track is one perfect example of that. The mysterious mood is perfectly flanked by textured guitars, pummeling drums, and harrowing harsh vocals, however, it's the crafty tempo changes and sinister melodies that make it interesting.

Teramaze - Eli - A Wonderful Fall from Grace (2024)

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Hailing from Australia, today we have Progressive Metal juggernauts “Teramaze” and their latest opus “Eli - A Wonderful Fall from Grace”. Featuring eight tracks and over 55 minutes of music, this release is highly polished and engaging, showcasing the band’s evolution over the years and abilities to craft superbly catchy and engaging tracks. While some might not like the band’s lyrical themes, the music is superb and definitely worth a listen for fans of the genre.

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