Cailleach Calling - Dreams of Fragmentation (2022)

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Delivering a highly atmospheric brand of Post-Black Metal, today we have Cailleach Calling and their debut full-length release “Dreams of Fragmentation”. Featuring Tony Thomas (Botanist/Dawn of Ouroboros) handling all guitars/bass/and synths, alongside Chelsea Murphy (Dawn of Ouroboros) in vocals and Yurii Kononov (ex-White Ward) on drums, the band unleashes nearly 40 minutes of relentless music with a certain cosmic/urban vibe unlike no other.

Immediately laying down some thick atmospherics, “Phosphenic Array” kicks off the release with brutal harsh screams and superbly crafted blistering drumming. While the intensity varies, the atmosphere is made even richer with powerful synths. Reminding us a bit of Frozen Ocean and Lustre, this epicness continues into the sultry “Bound by Neon” a piece with a more desolate futuristic urban vibe, which features some intense tempo changes and elegant melancholic interludes.

E-L-R - Vexier (2022)

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Unleashing waves of trance inducing music, today we have Switzerland’s E-L-R and their sophomore release “Vexier”. As it is to be expected from a Prophecy Productions release, this album goes beyond atmospheric and into hypnotic territories with a brilliant mixture of Doom, Shoegaze, and Post-Metal elements. For around 46 minutes, the listener is nicely transported by the intricately crafted expansive music in this release.

Opening with the dreamy “Opiate the Sun”, the band slowly unravels a 12-minute piece filled with haunting atmospherics and powerful distorted guitars. Think of The Ocean paired up with some Tide From Nebula and some sprinkles of SubRosa, as other tracks like “Three Winds” and “Seeds” further enshroud the listener into the band’s unique and expansive sound.

Non Est Deus - Impious (2022)

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As a side project of multi-instrumentalist Noise of Kanonenfieber fame, Non Est Deus delivers waves of superbly catchy Black Metal with a certain retro vibe. With nearly 40 minutes of music distributed in 8 crushing songs, this one-man battalion perfectly brings a nostalgic vibe that has been missed for a while.

The release kicks into full gear with “Save Us”, a crafty piece that creates a piercing atmosphere alongside furious riffs and tight drumming. We particularly like the subtle extra elements that add depth and atmosphere to this piece. Screaming 90’s BM catchiness, “Burn it Down” is one of those tracks that gets stuck in your head thanks to its chorus section, while “Fuck Your God”, “Celebrate The Selfdestruct”, and “Hexenwahn” inflict violent waves of tremolo picking ala Horna.

Order of Nosferat - Nachtmusik (2022)

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Unleashing 46 minutes of highly melancholic and yet quite piercing Black Metal, today we have Order of Nosferat and their new full-length release “Nachtmusik”. Perfectly balancing mood-setting atmospheric instrumental pieces alongside savage BM onslaughts, this release is both intense and engaging from multiple different angles.

The album sets off with the raw power of “Tunes of Nocturnal Tragedies”, a six-minute piece filled with melodic elements thrown into a very compact and powerful mixture. Atmospheric pieces are woven into the album’s fabric, between each ‘heavy’ song, making the transitions quite smooth and cinematic. We particularly enjoy the fury and melancholy of pieces like “As the eternal Night fell upon us” and the catchiness of “Bloodlust Nightmares Raging Wild”.

Sylvaine - Nova (2022)

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Being huge fans of multi-instrumentalist Sylvaine and her enchanting music, we completely cleared our review queue and went deep into the intricacies and layers of “Nova”. Perfectly balancing the fragility of genres like Shoegaze and Atmospheric Metal with the aggression of Black Metal and Post-Metal influences, this release marks Sylvaine’s best effort to date with around 45 minutes of complex enchanting music.

Setting a very ethereal vibe with the album title track, things quickly escalate with the piercing guitars of “Mono No Aware”. This track perfectly blends onslaughts of harsh screams alongside dreamy vocal melodies, creating a very intense and yet melancholic atmosphere. We are always quite impressed with the build-up of songs like “Nowhere, Still Somewhere”, which slowly hypnotize the listener with siren-like vocal arrangements and shoegazey guitars.

Sabaton - The War to End All Wars (2022)

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We have always stated that we have two definitions of epic around IM: regular epic, and then Sabaton epic. This Swedish band continues to deliver killer War-inspired Power Metal unlike any other band in the scene, and with “The War to End All Wars” the band focuses their songwriting efforts on WWI. For over 45 minutes, the band reminds us why they have propelled to Metal scene stardom, touring with greats like Judas Priest and headlining summer festivals.

Opening with the emotional “Sarajevo”, the band sets their regal mood quite early with insightful narrations and lush choral arrangements. The first stand-out track comes under the name of “Stormtroopers” and its soaring vocal lines alongside superb guitar leads. This track, and the rest of the album, features more of a stripped down Power Metal vibe than in previous releases, but with Joakim Brodén lead vocals marching the listener down into battle.

Agathodaimon - The Seven (2022)

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Back in the day, Agathodaimon was one of those bands that pushed Black Metal into Symphonic/Gothic territories with some brilliant releases like “Blacken the Angel” and “Higher Art of Rebellion”. Unfortunately the band split up in 2014, leaving behind great promise and a very solid and unique sound. Fast forward to 2022, Sathonys is back with Chris Bonner on vocals and a set of new members with “The Seven”.

Featuring ten tracks and around 45 minutes of music, this release feels a bit exploratory, unleashing some killer tracks alongside some odd elements that take a few listens to fully digest. As “La Haine” rolls in with piercing riffs, hellish harsh screams and a fast pace, time is erased and Agathodaimon is certainly back. There are some superb sinister melodic passages that change the mood of the track and are nicely adorned by lush synths, alongside some not-so-great clean vocals. This approach is mimicked in “Ain't Death Grand” and “Ghosts of Greed”, both fairly solid tracks but with odd and contrasting clean vocal arrangements.

Messa - Close (2022)

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Completely blowing us away with their even more refined and enigmatic mixture of Doom and Psychedelic Metal with tons of lush atmospheric elements, today we have Messa and their latest opus “Close”. If you thought the band’s first two full-length releases were awesome, this one takes things to a whole new level. Delivering over 64 minutes of trance-inducing music, this release will most likely end up at the top of our best albums of 2022 list.

Slowly building up anticipation, “Suspend” quickly escalates into a powerful mixture of crushing distorted riffs and Sara Bianchin siren-like vocals. This track perfectly evolves into more Psychedelic and atmospheric territories as it progresses into more free-flowing pieces like “Dark Horse”, “Rubedo”, and the sultry “Orphalese”. There are obvious comparisons to be made to Jess and the Ancient Ones and Jex Thoth, but Messa manages to craft an aura of uniqueness around their music.

Ysyry Mollvün - Ysyry Mollvün (2022)

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Always keeping things interesting, Avantgarde Music is set to unleash the debut release of Argentinian outfit Ysyry Mollvün. Eponymously titled, this release delivers nearly 36 minutes of punishing Black Metal, featuring a very old-school Scandinavian vibe paired with some interesting folk elements. While the release is more on the ‘traditional’ BM side, there is definitely some level of uniqueness to this band.

Starting with the ravaging intensity of “K’aux Rise”, the band’s sound is piercing and very guitar driven, featuring some vicious riffs and crafty drumming. Besides the traditional onslaughts, the band teases the listener with an eerie and engaging folky/atmospheric passage with a certain ritualistic feeling. After that small tease, “K’aux See Reconquista Ysyry” and “K’aux Lament” come back in full force with additional waves of aggressive riffs and a very oppressive and yet melancholic vibe.

Moonlight Haze - Animus (2022)

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Fronted by the charismatic Chiara Tricarico, today we have a superbly bombastic release filled with Symphonic/Gothic and Power Metal elements titled “Animus”. As the third full-length release of Moonlight Haze, the band shows maturity and refinement in their style, delivering almost 45 minutes of catchy and engaging music

Opening with “The Nothing”, we instantly get that lush and explosive vibe of bands like Nightwish, Visions of Atlantis, Epica, etc. However, what sets the band apart is Tricarico’s vocals and their own dynamism as shown in the dreamy “It’s Insane”, “Kintsugi” and its lush choral arrangements, and our personal favorite the cinematic “The Thief and the Moon”.

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