Mgła - Age of Excuse (2019)

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After conquering the world of Black Metal in the last few years, enigmatic entity Mgła return with an expertly crafted release with “Age of Excuse”. Delivering a masterclass of riffing and pacing finesse, this album unleashes over 42 minutes of blistering music that any fan of the genre will be extremely appreciative of. The band’s ability to deliver intense and direct music to their audiences is unrivaled and with this release they further refine their trade.

The band wastes no time as track “I” delivers the first blow of intricate riffs and punishing drumming. With a superb metallic sounding distortion, the band feels above the traditional raw and harsh sounding bands, favoring a more refined and elegant delivery. Presented with incredible poise and restraint, “II” and “III” warm up the listener with countless intricate tempo changes and crafty arrangements.

Draagyn - Majesty

To be clear, this isn’t metal. In fact, it’s the end of times. The chilling moment right before you die. It’s something to be loved, feared and hated at the same time. An intense cataclysm, clawing and writhing its way from the blackened abyss. It’s to be adored or recoiled in disgust with no compromise in between. A grotesque, iconoclastic deity that should be worshipped or burned at the stake. A magnificent terror caught in the crossroads between heaven and hell that lights the way for the damned amidst eternal darkness. It’s artistry for the outliers and outlaws; for those with reckless abandon and exclusive fetishes. This is Draagyn.

With its first offering, “Majesty,” Draagyn parts a dead sea with an 8-minute opus of juxtaposing sound, beginning with an ethereal prelude, before all out collapsing into a torrent of violent darkness and immense doom. Bound by no rules and apathetic to any preconceived notions as to what is considered “music” or “art,” Draagyn manifests a supreme intensity and fearless brilliance which knows no limits.

Vintersea - Illuminated (2019)

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Hailing from the USA, today we have Vintersea and their very unique and interesting sophomore release “Illuminated”. Featuring tons of cool influences ranging from bands like Borknagar, Cronian to the likes of Into Eternity and more proggy outfits, this album contains nearly 40 minutes of exciting music. If you are a fan of melodic and progressive music with a very experimental edge and don’t mind growls or clean female vocals, this is certainly something to check out.

The album deceivingly starts quite intense with “Spawn Awakening”, but this does not last too long as the track transitions into proggy and dreamy territories quite quick. With the opening track finishing quite intensely, the band nicely transitions to the mellower “Old Ones”, which is led by the fantastic clean vocals of Avienne Low. With Avienne also handling the harsh vocals, the transitions are quite seamless and interesting, allowing the songs to shift moods very quickly and dramatically, as on the excellent melancholic track “Illuminated”.

White Ward - Love Exchange Failure (2019)

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Unleashing a whole new different kind of beast, today we have Ukraine’s White Ward and their sophomore full-length release “Love Exchange Failure”. Featuring over 65 minutes of captivating music, the band seamlessly blends Post-Black Metal with an Avant-garde edge an a serious dose of hypnotic brutality. Pushing the genre to new heights, this is one hell of a release that fans of the experimental should not miss.

The album opens with the title track setting a very lounge like vibe with sparse piano notes, hypnotic percussions and a jazzy sax. All the calm suddenly transforms into chaos with blistering aggressive passages filled with crushing riffs and harrowing vocals. As the first track petters off, “Poisonous Flowers of Violence” delivers a more calculated attack that blends the ambiance of Post-Metal bands like Amenra and Neurosis, with a more vicious and yet delicate edge. The band’s ability to amalgamate genres in uncanny and each track demonstrates this, like the convoluted “Dead Heart Confession”.

Sonata Arctica - Talviyö (2019)

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Unleashing their latest lively effort, today we have Sonata Arctica and their 10th full-length release “Talviyö”. The band’s characteristic Power Metal sound gets a certain Pop/Rock edge in this very entertaining release. Feature eleven tracks and nearly one hour of music, these Finns keep things interesting with a wide variety of moods, allowing listeners to be fully challenged and rewarded by their music.

Leading with the dreamy “Message from the Sun”, the angelic choirs and subtle keyboards nicely lead into a catchy Power Metal onslaught. As always, Tony Kakko’s vocals nicely harmonize the very ethereal music in this release. With a certain funky Psych Rock influences in the opening of “Whirlwind”, the band unleashes their characteristic catchiness in this lovely piece. “Cold” is one of our favorite tracks in this release thanks to its darker and more dramatic edge, contrasting with the throbbing bass guitar line and powerful guitars.

Netherbird - Into The Vast Uncharted (2019)

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Unleashing one hell of a lush and bombastic Melodic Black Metal release, today we have Sweden’s Netherbird and their fifth full-length release “Into the Vast Uncharted”. With a very dynamic sound that incorporates influences from bands like Dissection, Siebenbürgen , (early) Illnath, and (early) Naglfar, this release will satisfy that urge for old-school Melodic Black Metal.

Wasting no time, “Saturnine Ancestry” opens with a high octane onslaught of killer riffs, intense drumming and lush guitar leads to fully set the mood for this brilliant release. After their amazing 2016 release, “The Grander Voyage”, the band continues to crush the competition with dramatic compositions like “Harvest the Stars” and the mellow “Mercury Skies”. Showcasing their unparalleled ability to slowly build up to head banging orgies, “Lunar Pendulum” is one of those tracks that you can listen to it 20 times and still find joy in its intricacies.

Prag 83 - Énouement (2019)

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We find ourselves again reviewing a magical 7” EP that came our way through Nordvis Produktion. Prag 83 is a German entity that delivers enigmatic Folk music in the vein of Hexvessel, King Dude, Antimatter, etc. with some mid-career Katatonia influences.

The EP starts with “Circle”, a very somber song that reminds us of Antimatter with a lounge feeling. The guitars are quite enigmatic and the overall mood quite mellow and a bit creepy, in a good way. This is the type of dark Folk music we truly enjoy, particularly when it is nicely executed and simple, this is, there are not too many over the top elements added just for the sake of being more ‘authentic’.

Bhleg & Nechochwen - Split (2019)

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We rarely review Split releases and EP’s, but with this one we had to make an exception. Featuring two extraordinary Folk Metal artists, Nordvis Produkt unleashes one hell of a split release that will captivate the listener. One band hailing from Sweden, the other from North America, however there is an unwritten cohesion behind both band’s approach at making lush and engaging songs.

Side A of this split contains “Sorlande Sky”, a 7 minute song that expertly crafts a very intense and misty atmosphere. The harsh screams are nicely contrasted by dreamy clean vocals and as the song delivers punishing riffs and fast drumming. The track ends on a very hypnotic note and it seems to very nicely bleed into Side B’s music.

Imperium Dekadenz - When We Are Forgotten (2019)

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Delivering a hefty dose of melody, melancholy and atmosphere, today we have German duo Imperium Dekadenz and their latest release “When We Are Forgotten”. Invoking the early days of Vried and Thyrfing, we are treated to one hell of a Black Metal release that will have you headbanging from start to finish.

The release opens with the grandiose album title track, gaining momentum as the layered guitars craft a punishing and yet very melodic atmosphere. Horaz vocals have a slight Immortal-esque edge, allowing them to perfectly complement the intensity of the music, as “Bis Ich Bin” demonstrates. The band’s ability to switch gears and unleash their melodic brilliance in dramatic interludes or more somber tracks like “My Solace I (Choirs Of Solitude)” makes them one of the more exciting bands in the scene these days.

Aureole - Alunar (2019)

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Backed by a killer production, “Wanderers” is one hell of a great sounding quality Symphonic Metal album. We have been huge fans of the band since their early days and all the line-up changes, however, with this release they show they are back, firing on all cylinders and the scene better watch out for them. If you like expertly crafted Symphonic Metal songs that are both intense and highly emotional, look no further and give Visions of Atlantis a chance.

The album kicks off with the haunting “I: Citadel Alunar”, a track that slowly builds up momentum with its mellow riffs and hellish screams. Perfectly mixing dramatic synths with tense drone-ish moments, this track creates a chilling vibe. In tracks like “II: The Voice of Nebular Flame” and “III: The Senility of the Hourglass”patience rewards the listener with slow and intricate build-ups and crafty transitions.

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