Vermilia - Keskeneräisiä tarinoita (2020)

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One of the few benefits of working from not being able to travel the last few months is that we have extra time to dig up more promos that make it to our inbox. Back in May we missed the release of Vermilia’s stunning EP “Keskeneräisiä tarinoita”, filled with lush atmospheres and a good eye for crushing aggression as contrast. If you like bands like WITTR, Agalloch, but with a more Pagan/heavier edge, this is a release to check out.

The EP leads off with the very dramatic “Hauras, Kuollut, Kaunis”, a track that slowly builds up with a certain folky vibe and deep clean vocals, creating a very dark and somber atmosphere. Not being shy from heavy riffs and blistering drumming, “Taivas Hiljaa Huutaa” quickly changes the pace to a lively Pagan/Folk Metal style led by firm clean female vocals that suddenly transform into harsh screams. The variety of elements makes this song be quite enjoyable and diverse, while delivering an extra level of catchiness.

Oneiric Celephaïs - The Great Flood (2020)

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Delivering a swift Progressive Death Metal debut EP, today we have Oneiric Celephaïs with “The Great Flood”. Hailing from Italy, this technically proficient foursome unleashes over 24 minutes of superbly crafted music, perfectly balancing brutality and craftiness. Delivering a balance between Obscura and Persephone, this release is highly recommended for fans of the genre.

Leading with the elegant and dreamy opening of “The Eldritch Dark”, the band slowly eases the listener into their musical world. “The Aeon of Death” delivers the first doses of heaviness with perfectly weaved in onslaughts of intense riffs, a playful bass guitar line, and engaging drumming. The band’s Death Metal core is nicely complemented by the proggier guitar leads and intricate tempo changes, allowing their sound to be instantly catchy and engaging.

Writhing - Eternalised in Rot (2020)

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There must be something in the water in Australia that is helping the produce some killer Death Metal bands like Psycroptic and Writhing. Introducing themselves with a crushing two-track EP, Writhing delivers “Eternalised in Rot”, a short but sweet release that showcases the sheer power and brutality behind the band’s music.

Opening with the pummeling “Void of Derision”, we get the typical chugging riffs, extremely crafty drums, and hellish growls. There are certain proggy/technical DM elements that are nicely blended into the music's regular course of brutality and devastation. Rounding up the EP, we have the blistering “Eternalised in Rot”, a very lively piece with brilliant headbanging moments and a creative interplay of crushing guitars and a blistering drumming.

Selbst - Relatos de Angustia (2020)

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Unleashing one hell of a demoralizing onslaught, today we have Selbst with their sophomore full-length release “Relatos de Angustia”. Featuring the band’s characteristically savage sound, this release shows that their debut album was no fluke and that the band is quickly pushing up the Black Metal ranks with their intense and high-quality sound. Slowly building up their underground reputation and sound overtime, Selbst is ready to unleash their black arts to the wider audience through Debemur Morti Productions.

The opener, “Praeludium”, immediately transitions from cavernous atmospherics to completely sinister Black Metal riffs in a very moody tempo. Oozing melancholy and malice, this track sets a very punishing mood that is only exacerbated by the rest of this release, on blistering tracks like “Deafening Wailing of the Desperate Ones” and “The Depths of Selfishness”, both filled with ravaging guitar riffs, hyperfast drums and a very vicious edge.

Aleynmord - The Blinding Light (2020)

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Unleashing a behemoth filled with creativity and interesting ideas, today we have Aleynmord and their 35-minute opus “The Blinding Light”. Creating a very unsettling and yet experimental atmosphere, this four track release explores the depth of hell with unique crafted chaotic passages that are elegantly contrasted by rich instrumental interludes. If you are looking for a combination of Elend with a heavier side and less arrangements, this release is the one for you.

Setting a very mysterious and dissonant opening, “Spores of Possession” slowly builds through intricate guitars and harrowing vocals. After plateauing, the track dwells in weirdly calming acoustic explorations reminding us of bands like Urfaust and The Ruins of Beverast. As “Wounded Monolith” enshrouds the listener with its unique atmosphere, dramatic guitar leads and doomy melodic passages build up the track. Just when you think you have the band figured out, lush clean vocals and even more cathartic moments will sneak up on you.

Dynfari - Myrkurs er þörf (2020)

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Finally seeing the light of day after a COVID related delay, today we have our favorite album of 2020 so far: Dynfari’s “Myrkurs er þörf”. Slowly improving over each of their previous albums, this Icelandic outfit has managed to achieve near perfection with the eight tracks and 46 minutes of music in this release. Perfectly combining Post-Black Metal and Atmospheric Black Metal, the album is full of melancholy and lush atmospheres.

Opening with the mood setting bleakness of “Dauðans dimmu dagar”, the song slowly builds up with a majestic Lantlôs-esque opening as it transitions with magical distorted guitars and perfect pacing. On “Langar nætur (í botnlausum spíralstiga)” the mood takes a turn with more sweeping guitar melodies, intricate guitar solos, and a combination of dreamy clean vocals and harsh screams. This track creates a very dynamic and yet enveloping atmosphere that will hypnotize you as tracks like the album title track continue to build up on it.

Hinayana - Death Of The Cosmic (2020)

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Hooking us instantly into their highly polished Melodic Death Metal sound, today we have Hinayana and their major label debut EP “Death of the Cosmic”. Delivering 23 minutes of pure headbanging greatness, this release is of similar quality to anything that bands like Omnium Gatherum, Insomnium and Dark Tranquility have released. If you are a fan of the genre, it is quite nice that Napalm Records is giving the band the push they need to reach a wider audience with their killer music.

The album title opener creates a very mystical atmosphere with lush keyboards as the crafty guitars make their way. The band’s music is quite refined and this track showcases an exciting combination of melodic riffs, traditional growls, and a very lively vibe. After the brilliant opener, “Cold Conception” takes a bit of a step back and delivers a more stylized approach with intricate drum patterns and crafty guitar solos. While the band’s sound is typical of the genre, their unique and more atmospheric take on it sets them apart from the rest.

Kryptamok - Verisaarna (2020)

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Arriving to our review queue at the start of the pandemic craziness, we almost didn’t get to fully enjoy to Kryptamok’s debut full-length release “Verisaarna”. Being huge fans of Finnish Black Metal, this would have been a great mistake as this release unleashes nearly 40 minutes of raw traditional BM that oozes brutality and punishment. Led by Hex Inferi (ex-Horna), this project is straight to the point and savage with their musical execution.

Leading with the chaotic onslaughts of “Loputon, Totaalinen Sota”, this band means serious business as the incisive guitar riffs lead to punkish drumming, flanked by a vicious snarl. We particularly enjoy how old-school synths add a comfortable level of atmospherics to this and other tracks like the pummeling “Apokalypsin Epilooki”, and the headbanging inducing “Saastan Rekviemi”. Without the need for anything fancy, Krptamok creates a very hellish sound that balances brutality and melody.

Descend - The Deviant (2020)

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Breaking the funk of multiple weeks of non-stop Black Metal releases being reviewed, today we have an excellent Progressive/Melodic Death Metal outfit from Sweden named: Descend. Combining elements of bands like Opeth, Cynic, In Mourning, and Persefone, “The Deviant” is one hell of a cinematic experience filled with technical intricacies and superbly catchy songwriting.

Warming up the listener with the melodic instrumental opener “Avalin”, the band nicely builds up to the proggy melodies of “Blood Moon” and its crafty tempo changes. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals is nicely balanced, and the addition of female vocals on tracks like “The Purest One” add an extra layer to the band’s excellent sound. For those looking into more experimental/free-style songs, “Lily” has a nice mixture of fast-paced sections and highly crafty instrumental interludes.

Meridian Dawn - The Fever Syndrome (2020)

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Unleashing 35 minutes of superbly crafted Melodic Death Metal, today we have international project Meridian Dawn and their debut full-length release “The Fever Syndrome”. Being huge fans of the genre, we are quite critical of any release we get, however, this duo manages to craft nine tracks that are both engaging and exciting to listen, filled with melody and guitar wizardry. For those of you looking for your Melo Death fix of 2020, this is one release you can’t miss out on.

Opening with “Iconic”, the band gets straight to business with killer melodic guitars and a blistering tempo to quickly escalate things. With a certain Nightrage vibe, it took us a minute to realize that vocalist Antony Hämäläinen used to be the vocalist of this band back when they released “Insidious” and our favorite “Wearing a Martyr's Crown”. Tracks like “Fever Syndrome” and “With a Heavy Burden…” perfectly negotiate the balance between soaring melodies and aggressive tempo changes, delivering valuable minutes of headbanging bliss.

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