Cult of Luna - The Raging River (2021)

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Still suffering PTSD from remembering that our last in-person concert was exactly 11 months ago, watching Cult of Luna, Intronaut and Emma Ruth Rundle, today we have Cult of Luna and their latest EP “The Raging River”. As a great intermediate step between their 2019 opus “A Dawn to Fear” and what is next to come, this release showcases the band firing on all cylinders and delivering their highly refined atmospheric brand of Sludgy Post-Metal for over 38 minutes.

The band instantly set their captivating atmosphere with the crafty “Three Bridges”, a slow moving piece that quickly delivers massive layered guitars and lush percussions. The more signature-styled “What I leave Behind” features high-octane melodic passages alongside the cathartic moments we all know and love from Cult of Luna. The harsh vocals are something that we always enjoyed from this band as they perfectly juxtapose the band's aggression alongside their elegant arrangements.

Korpiklaani - Jylhä (2021)

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As one of the liveliest releases of 2021, we have found ourselves enjoying a bit too much of Korpiklaani’s latest full-length release “Jylhä”. Featuring over 60 minutes of the band’s signature Folk Metal, this release balances the over-the-top party songs with more mellow and melodic pieces that are great to zone of the current state of affairs of the world and enjoy a nice cold beer along the songs.

Opening with the catchy “Verikoira”, the band rapidly sets a very lively and engaging tone. The hard rocking nature of this track’s guitars alongside the crafty drumming and rich instrumentation creates a very positive and party-like atmosphere. This mood continues as the band pummels through tracks like “Niemi” , “Leväluhta” and “Mylly”, all of which feature vocalist Jonne doing his thing while layers of folk instruments nicely adorn the proceedings.

Omination - NGR (2021)

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Hailing from Tunisia, today we have a very unique and aurally abusive outfit: Omination. Dropping their third full-length release, “NRG”, this band delivers one hell of an expansive sound that incorporates elements of traditional Funeral Death/Doom Metal with some more cinematic and experimental endeavors.

Unleashing an eerie and ritualistic aural assault with “Crossing the Burned Wasteland”, the band sets a very punishing and intriguing atmosphere. This oppressive atmosphere is further explored with the monolithic onslaughts of “Apocalyptic Ignis Fatuus”, a very powerful track featuring hellish atmospheric elements and potent distorted guitars. The band’s drums, which seem to be programmed, at times give the music a certain industrial edge that classes at times with their atmospheric context, but at the same time creates a very unique and aurally confusing experience, like on “Last Trisagion”.

Everdawn - Cleopatra (2021)

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Hailing from the USA, today we have Everdawn and their lush Symphonic Metal sound. In “Cleopatra”, the band delivers eleven tracks and over 48 minutes of majestic music that could be comparable to any of the European heavy hitters for the genre. Featuring Mike LePond (Symphony X) on its ranks, this band is a new blank slate spawning from Midnight Eternal. Filled with crafty ideas and dramatic arrangements, this release is of high quality and great entertainment value.

Opening with the heavy hitting “Ghost Shadow Requiem”, the band sets a very regal and engaging atmosphere thanks to the lush keyboards and intricate guitar work. Vocalist Alina Gavrilenko does a great job delivering remarkable vocal melodies from the opener, and as the band unleashes unparalleled catchiness and craftiness in pieces like “Stranded in Bangalore”, “Cleopatra”, and the mysterious “Your Majesty Sadness”.

Sirenia - Riddles, Ruins & Revelations (2021)

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Being one of our favorite bands we might be a bit impartial, but Sirenia keeps getting better and better with time. Unleashing over 50 minutes of superbly bombastic and explosive Symphonic/Gothic Metal, “Riddles, Ruins & Revelations'' is probably our favorite album from the band. All of the eleven tracks in this release are superbly crafted, making them highly memorable and intoxicating.

Opening with the absolutely brilliant “Addition No. 1”, the band instantly delivers waves of lush symphonic arrangements, heavy distorted guitars, and one hell of a brilliant hook, reminding us of the song “Wicked Game”. If the opener was not epic enough, the dramatic introduction of “Towards an early Grave” gives a certain dance/techno vibe mixed with the band’s signature aggressive and yet very melodic riffs.

Wolvencrown - A Shadow of What Once Was (2021)

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Seems to us that there are almost more Black Metal bands than actual musicians these days, as we get more and more promos of this genre each day. Luckily for us, bands like Wolvencrown keep the flame of the genre alive by unleashing crafty releases that while not revolutionary, they deliver solid aggression with good doses of melody and atmosphere to keep things interesting.

As a three song EP, “A Shadow of What Once Was” opens with a very cavernous atmosphere crafted by punishing guitars and ritualistic drumming. The album title track is split into two songs, perfectly capturing the band’s old-school vibe and unleashes creepy atmospherics alongside sinister and aggressive onslaughts. In particular the dynamic and immersing second part of the title track and its dramatic arrangements.

Aethyrick - Apotheosis (2021)

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After unleashing one hell of a release last year with “Gnosis”, Finland’s mysterious duo Aethyrick swiftly returns with the lush and crushing “Apotheosis”. Delivering over 41 minutes of highly Atmospheric Black Metal, this release builds up on its predecessor while further refining the band’s immersive sound. Featuring the perfect blend of melancholy and harshness, this release quickly establishes itself as one of 2021 finest.

Opening with a chaotic and ravaging intro in “The Starlit Altar”, the band sets the mood via their layered guitar work and hectic drumming. With a commanding pace and hellish scorn behind it, “Rosary of Midnights” is one of those tracks that incites melodic headbanging while it weaves back and forth furious onslaughts and devilish screams. The atmospheric elements are quite subtle, yet strong enough to pierce through the distorted guitars and deliver an ethereal feeling.

Wampyric Rites - The Eternal Melancholy of the Wampyre (2021)

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Perfect for a cold and snowy day, today we have Ecuador’s Wampyric Rites and their debut full-length release “The Eternal Melancholy of the Wampyre”. While we feel silly writing Wampyr, the band’s music is no joke as their low-fi blistering Black Metal is savage and direct. Perfectly adorned by gaudy keyboards and atmospherics, this release has a very nice retro vibe to go along its sheer brutality.

After the warm-up atmospheric opening of “As Light is Absorbed by Darkness”, the band will rattle your speakers as it transitions to blistering drumming and furious riffing to deliver a swift and punishing Black Metal blow. We particularly like the mid-tempo catchiness of songs like “As Light is Absorbed by Darkness” and “Tyrant’s Blood”, where the band can be savage with their vocals and incisive riffs, and yet keep things hypnotic and melodic.

Tribulation - Where the Gloom Becomes Sound (2021)

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Delivering one of the early surprises of 2021, today we have Tribulation and their latest release “Where the Gloom Becomes Sound”. While we have never been huge fans of the band, the maturity and darkness of this release is highly addictive. The band’s Gothic/Dark Metal sound of later years has evolved very nicely, unleashing over 48 minutes of intricately crafted music that is both catchy and engaging.

Opening with the sinister “In Remembrance”, the mood instantly turns bleak thanks to Johannes Andersson’s characteristic snarl that perfectly adorns layered guitars and moody tempo changes. The band’s sound is not immediately straightforward as you get a mixture of Doomy Heavy Metal with Gothic undertones, but the band makes it quite accessible and distinct from what others are doing, a testament to this are songs like “Hour of the Wolf” and its crafty intoxicating guitars, the warm and fuzziness of “Leviathans” with some Psychedelic Metal/Rock elements, to the playful darkness of pieces like “Dirge of a Dying Soul”.

Harakiri For The Sky - Mӕre (2021)

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As one of the most awaited releases of 2021, Harakiri For The Sky returns with their melancholic Post-Black Metal with “Mӕre”. Unleashing a massive 84 minutes of music, this release further develops the band’s melodic sound into more complex and yet atmospherically sweeping territories. From start to finish, this release will please fans due to the band’s signature style, while taking in new listeners with a more refined take on the genre.

Opening with “I, Pallbearer”, we get that signature bleakness of Harakiri For The Sky through their layered guitars and J.J’s emotional vocals. Expanding the band’s sound, “Sing for the Damage We’ve Done” has a dreamier edge while featuring Neige on guest vocals, and “Us Against December Skies” delivers a doomier edge with dramatic keyboards and a very crafty drumming.

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