Esben and the Witch - Nowhere (2018)

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Unleashing a very unique amalgamation of sounds, today we have Esben and the Witch and their latest effort “Nowhere”. Featuring a darker tone than their previous releases, this album perfectly contrast the fragility of Rachel Davies vocals and the commanding presence of heavy guitar riffs and hypnotic drumming. Blurring the lines between several genres and influences, this release is certainly one to digest after a good amount of listens and with undivided attention.

Slowing building up their atmosphere in “A Desire for Light”, the band nicely shuffles elements around to create a very powerful and direct song. The band’s sound while simplistic in nature, allows them to play around with the song tempos while crafting memorable tracks that keep you guessing and engaged. The best example of this is the exploratory nature of “Dull Gret” with its heavy guitar riffs, and the dreamy folky piece “Golden Purifier”, which mostly focuses on subtle percussions and solemn guitar leads.

Rotting Christ - The Heretics (2019)

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The ever changing and always improving Rotting Christ return this 2019 with yet another brilliant release. Further developing the Melodic BM sound with dramatic vocal arrangements and subtle atmospheric elements, “The Heretics” delivers over 45 minutes of expertly crafted music that is both engaging and brilliant for a long head banging session. If you have been following the band’s music progression, this release takes their sound and makes it even more grandiose and expansive.

Fully immersing the listener into the band’s dark world, “In the Name of God” starts the album with the signature Rotting Christ melodic riffing. The band crafts a very eerie atmosphere in this track (and release) thanks to the choral arrangements that brilliantly contrast Sakis Tolis harsh vocals. The addition of female vocals on “Vetry Zlye” creates a very unique vibe that is well complemented with dramatic arrangements and tight drumming.

Hexvessel - All Tree (2019)

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With three years passing since their last release, today we have Hexvessel with their darkest and craftiest album to date: “All Tree”. Combining elements from their earlier releases, this album shows the band’s progression into fragile and more subtle territories with over 45 minutes of music. Moving away from the Psychedelic elements of “When We Are Death”, allows this release to be dark and mystic while keeping the same vibe through the whole release.

After setting a very folky mood with the opener, the band casts a magical spell on the listener with the enigmatic nature of “Son Of The Sky”. Relying on a very basic structure, this track nicely incorporates lush vocal arrangements and crystal clear string instruments. As the we go through “Old Tree” and “Changeling”, we get shivers down our spine thanks to the very martial and somber atmosphere crafted by the minimalist use of instruments and McNerney’s penetrating vocals.

Ensiferum - Septicflesh - Arsis - 1/28/2019 - The Masquerade - Atlanta - GA

Monday night concerts are usually an odd affair in Atlanta with only a handful of people showing up as they turn into ‘open’ rehearsals. However, with Ensiferum, Septicflesh and Arsis on the bill, The Masquerade - Hell was as packed as on a Friday night. With such an impressive line-up we were excited to see their performances.

Yerûšelem - The Sublime (2019)

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Unleashing a truly psychotic and bizarrely mesmerizing release, today we have Yerûšelem and their debut release “The Sublime”. Helmed by Vindsval and W.D.Feld of Blut Aus Nord fame, this release blends Industrial elements with chilling atmospherics and sinister guitar riffs, sounding unlike anything you have heard before. This album creates a whole new dimension of music, which could be described as a mixture of Mysticum, Diabolos Rising and Manes, but with a completely different direction.

The title track opens the release with a hypnotic pace, thanks to a drony vibe with subtle electronic elements and eerie guitars. The aural madness continues with the intoxicating beats of “Autoimmunity”, a song that nicely contrasts odd vocals with a catchy tempo and punishing guitar riffs. Other tracks create a very awesome discomforting claustrophobic atmospheres like the dissonant “Eternal” and the creepy “Joyless”.

Downfall of Gaia - Ethic Of Radical Finitude (2019)

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Unleashing one of the early candidates for best album of 2019, today we have Downfall of Gaia and their crushing masterpiece “Ethic Of Radical Finitude”. Slowly perfecting their trade, this German outfit deliver six brilliant songs filled with unrivaled melancholy and sheer power. With over 40 minutes of majestic atmospheric sludginess, this release perfectly combines Post-Metal elements with Sludge, Crust and even some more traditional Post-Rock passages.

After the opening intro, “The Grotesque Illusion of Being” wastes no time in unleashing brutal vocal onslaughts perfectly framed by dreamy guitars and blistering drums. The band has perfected the ability to unleash both brutal and melancholic pummeling onslaughts. Moving into more crafty territories, “We Purse the Serpent of Time” starts of with ritualistic percussion as the riffs slowly build up to create a crushing wall of sound, the signature style from the band. The clean vocals here add extra depth and mystery to an already pretty impressive song.

Within Temptation - Resist (2019)

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Very far removed from their days of being a Symphonic Metal powerhouse (“Mother Earth” and “The Silent Force”), Within Temptation returns after four years with “Resist”. Attempting a dead cat bounce, the band puts out an extremely overproduced release that while it might appeal to the fans the band has gained since “The Unforgiven”, it will probably completely turn off their older fan base. We rarely write bad reviews these days as we rather save the time and energy for good releases that deserve to be heard, but “Resist” was just asking for it.

The album kicks off with the first single, “The Reckoning” a song that takes about 20 seconds to realize it will be bad. With Jacoby Shaddix on guest vocals, yup, the dude from Papa Roach, this track starts the trend of overproduced tracks. The song, while trying to be heavy and melancholic falls completely flat due to their lack of imagination and passion. The trend continues with the futuristic “Endless War”, which at least has some old school vocal arrangements… at times, and the vanilla “Raise Your Banner”, which features Anders Fridén on guest vocals.

The Sabbathian - Latum Alterum (2019)

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From the mind of Chad Davis, today we have The Sabbathian’s debut full-length release “Latum Alterum. Fronted by Anette Uvaas Gulbrandsen from Norway, this duo unleashes a very unique brand of Doom Metal filled with psychedelic and occult elements, similar to the early days of Sabbath Assembly, and the music of Jex Thoth. Delivering over 44 minutes of crunchy gloomy music, this is definitely a must have for fans of the genre.

After setting a somber mood with the intro track, “The Brightest Light” unravels the band’s full potential with piercing warm fuzzy riffs and dreamy female vocals. The music is quite hypnotic, instantly creating a very creepy and powerful wall of sound. With Chad Davis handling all the instruments, we get that very well crafted core of rudimentary Doom elements that are playfully arranged to craft haunting melodies like on “Liti Kjersti” and “Head of a Traitor”.

Hecate Enthroned - Embrace of the Godless Aeon (2019)

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A blast from the past made it to our review queue today with Hecate Enthroned and their first album in six years “Embrace of the Godless Aeon”. We remember back in the late 90’s when bands were trying to sound like Cradle of Filth and while many tried, Hecate Enthroned was one of the few that got close. While the band got unfairly treated as a clone, we always enjoyed their spin on Symphonic/Gothic Black Metal back in those days. With a new vocalist and their signature style, the band makes a very strong comeback in 2019.

Blasting away after their atmospheric intro, “Revelations in Autumn Flame” takes us back in time with the over the top synths that nicely contrast the shrieks and blast beats. The mixture of growls and shrieks is definitely something that attracted us to the band back in the day and on tracks like “Temples that Breathe” brings back some nice memories. However, the best thing about the band is how they create sinister atmospheres thanks to the sultry voice of Sarah Jezebel Deva in “Goddess of Dark Misfits”, our favorite song in the release.

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