Year of the Cobra - Ash and Dust (2019)

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Hailing from Seattle, Year of the Cobra was one of the revelations during the North American edition of Prophecy Fest back in 2018. This high-powered duo unleashed one of the most intense performances of the fest, and show that this was no fluke with their latest full-length release “Ash and Dust”. Crafting a very unique and powerful sound with a very bare-bones instrumental core (bass guitar and drums), this band unleashes a very Doomy vibe while keeping things fresh and engaging.

With a warm and fuzzy hypnotic bass guitar, the band starts their onslaught with “The Battle of White Mountain”. Perfectly creating a thick psychedelic/doomy atmosphere, Amy Tung Barrysmith’s vocals remind us a bit of Jex Thoth and Rosalie Cunningham. As masters of their trade, this duo crafts slow burning progressions weaving back and forth between droney passages and faster paced sections, tracks like “The Divine” and”Demons” are perfect examples.

Nachtterror - Judgement (2019)

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Unleashing one of the most unique and unexpectedly awesome releases of 2019, today we have Canada’s Nachtterror with their debut release “Judgement”. Clocking in at over 60 minutes of music, this release has a bit of everything for everybody, from heavy riffs and fast-paced sections to more atmospheric and melancholic passages. As the band’s first full length release, it shows a unique trajectory path between different styles and influences through the tracks presented in this release.

Setting a very dreamy and mellow vibe when starting with “Behold the Terror”, we have a certain Pyogenesis/Decoryah vibe. This track slowly builds up to blistering drumming and harsh vocals, marking a very interesting and yet drastic transition. Settling into an older retro Gothic Metal-ish style with “Sea of Dread”, the band again exploits their multi-vocalist approach and delivers a very harmonious track with excellent distorted guitars and tempo changes.

Sabaton - HammerFall - Center Stage, Atlanta, GA - 10/6/2019

After unleashing their latest opus "The Great War" over the summer, we had been completely psyched to see the band live with their killer live energy and stage antics. Paired up with Sweden's HammerFall, this is definitely THE Power Metal tour of the year.

With the Atlanta show sold out for months, we made our way to the excellent venue: Center Stage, for a few hours of killer music. Surprisingly enough the venue was completely packed since the doors opened and people were psyched for the HammerFall opening the night.

The Kryptik - When The Shadows Rise (2019)

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We are huge suckers for Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal and luckily for us The Kryptik delivers one hell of a release with “When The Shadows Rise”. Clocking nearly 40 minutes, this album features eerie atmospherics, killer vocals, and an overall very melodic and explosive nature. If you are a fan of older bands like Limbonic Art, Tartaros, etc. this release is right up your alley.

After a dreamy instrumental intro, the band pounces on the lister with the demonical “Damned”. This track has that old-school vibe of just synths and no over the top orchestrations BS. While we enjoy dramatic orchestrations, there is something chilling and eerie about regular synths creating an enveloping atmosphere. The melodic nature of songs like “Flames of Revenge” showcases the band’s guitar driven mentality that while nicely leveled during the mix, they allow the track to be punishing and yet atmospheric.

Aegrus - In Manus Satanas (2019)

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Our favorite track is the dramatic tour-de-force “L’île des morts”, full of highly emotive atmospheric moments and soul crushing harsh vocals sections. The band is que proficient in setting a very engaging pace in their songs, allowing their musical artistry to be fully consumed by the listener. Evoking a feeling of wonder and amusement, “Le Miroir” is one of the band’s most accomplished and yet minimalist transition songs. Saving the dreamiest song for last, the album title track creates that magical feeling we have all felt when seeing the band live as they perform covered in fog as their shoegazing guitars fill the room with sound.

The pillaging starts with the relentless “Hymn To The Firewinged One”, a track that has a certain early Emperor/Limbonic Art vibe with its intense guitars and hellish vocals. The band’s no bullshit attitude oozes out of the magnificent “Nightspirit Theosis”, full of melody and aggression, making it one hell of a headbanging ride. The band continues to belt out pummeling tracks like “Gestalt of Perdition” and the somber “Ascending Shadows”, which features a darker and even doomier vibe. We enjoy how Aegrus does not stick to a single style and blends in a wide variety of elements in their crushing sound while never straying from the left hand path.

Kadavar - For the Dead Travel Fast (2019)

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As one of the most intense and authentic (modern) Psychedelic Rock bands we have ever seen, Kadavar continues to propel themselves to the top with killer releases. “For the Dead Travel Fast” is yet another highlight in their storied career, filled with over 45 minutes of fantastic and engaging music. If you like riff-driven releases Rock releases, this album will satisfy your quota… for a few years. With this highly creative and moody release, the band reaches new heights.

Starting off with the chilling-eerie intro “The End”, the band sets a very moody vibe that fully unravels with “The Devil's Master”. This last track perfectly combines fuzzy guitars, funky vocal arrangements and a very martial pace that slowly builds up. The Psychedelic brilliance of “Evil Forces” makes it one of the band’s most engaging and retro sounding tracks, thanks to a very natural and authentic old-school vibe. We are fans of more mysterious tracks, like the dramatic “Children of the Night” and it's very atmospheric vibe mixed with killer guitar leads and a pulsating bass guitar line.

Alcest - Spiritual Instinct (2019)

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The initiators of the Blackgaze movement are back with yet another majestic release in “Spiritual Instinct”. With over 40 minutes of music, Alcest finds a middle ground between their heavier and harsher sound of albums like “Souvenirs d'un autre monde” and “Écailles de lune” with the dreaminess and directness of “Shelter”. While “Kodama” felt more back to basics, this release feels more of a hybrid of their calmer sound with their early days exploits.

With the release opening with the playful “Les jardins de minuit”, the band leads with their signature guitars and crafty drumming. We particularly enjoy the typical dreaminess of the clean backing vocals as it contrasts with the heavier guitar sections. Of course there are faster paced passages with harsh vocals and furious drumming for their older fans, like on “Protection”. There are certain Post-Metal elements which make the songs a bit different than what “Kodaima” presented, like on the funky “Sapphire” and its intricate bass guitar line.

Vinsta - Drei Deita (2019)

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Unleashing a truly unique release, today we have Austria’s Vinsta and their full-length release “Drei Deita”. Perfectly blending Folk elements into and engaging Progressive/Melodic Death Metal core, this band delivers a very interesting and harmonious sound. With nearly 50 minutes of music, we are treated to brilliant melodic passages, catchy riffs, and dreamy parts. Imagine a mixture of Insomnium with Opeth and the Folky edge of early Kauan.

After the traditional instrumental intro, “Weisse Deckn” creates a very lively and ethereal atmosphere with the contrast of dreamy vocals and powerful guitars. This track also introduces the band’s folkier side with lush violins in a very dramatic melodic passage. Weaving back and forth between their two main styles, tracks like “Oafocha Loda” nicely build up the atmosphere and reach its crescendo with crushing guitars and harsh vocals.

Exmortus - Legions of the Undead (2019)

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As the album closes with the moody “Derniers chants (Un monde dépourvu de Dieu)”, the band has managed to unleash yet another excellent full-length release. It is very clear that Ossuaire is truly a creative force to be reckoned with, since very few bands can claim they released to killer albums in one year. Completely recommended for fans of Black Metal, ranging from Watain, Nightbringer, to rawer territories like Sargeist, Behexen and Horna.

The release opens with the brilliant album title track, full of crazy guitar leads and a crystal clear production, this track sounds both familiar and fresh at the same time, something not very common. The guitar acrobatics continue in the sinister “Swallow Your Soul”, which delivers catchy tempo changes and headbanging melodic passages.

Ossuaire - Derniers Chants (2019)

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Continuing their takeover of the Canadian Black Metal scene, today we have Ossuaire and their second full-length release of 2019: “Derniers Chants”. Delivering over 45 minutes of neck-snapping music, this band continues to punish their listeners with a barrage of riffs and hellish vocals. If “Premiers chants” was not enough, this release will surely satisfy your cravings for nihilistic BM thanks to the band’s direct and pummeling style. Any fan of the genre must not miss out on such a monumental release.

The savagery starts with the intense “Pestilence Rampante”, a track that starts with punishing guitars and never lets go. The band’s sound is quite massive and ravaging, allowing all elements to be nicely channeled to blow your eardrums apart. As impressive as any other Norwegian or Finnish Black Metal band, Ossuaire excels in crafting brutal tracks like the pummeling “À l'ombre du Très-Haut” and it's perfect balance of intense riffs and mid-tempo rhythmic drumming.

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