Armnatt - Immortal Nature (2022)

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Unleashing raw darkness, today we have Portugal’s Armnatt and their latest full-length release “Immortal Nature”. Not for the faint of heart and refined in taste, this release delivers nearly 40 minutes of crushing rawness with a rudimentary sound and a savage execution. This album is a perfect homage to the old-school brutal Black Metal sound of the early days.

The release sets a cavernous vibe with the atmospheric opener “All is Silent”, only to quickly deliver the first punch with the rudimentary and crusty riffs of the album’s title track. The band’s sound is not fancy, or very crisp, however, it is quite raw and direct, like a head-on hit from a bag of bricks, like “Imponent Ruins” quickly demonstrates.

Edenbridge - Shangri-La (2022)

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If 2022 wasn’t already a great year in terms of Symphonic Metal releases, Edenbridge returns with another brilliant album titled “Shangri-La”. Featuring their signature high-octane and cinematic sound, Lanvall and company deliver nearly one hour of extremely well crafted immersive music. With each release being a journey on its own, this album perfectly blends Power Metal with lush symphonic arrangements, crafty story telling, and killer vocal arrangements.

Leading with the explosive “At First Light”, the band sets in motion an elegant musical journey, while paying equal attention to both the Symphonic and Metal side of things. We have always been quite impressed with Lanvall’s engaging compositions, and how they are brought to life by band members: Sabine Edelsbacher on vocals, Dominik Sebastian on guitars, Johannes Jungreithmeier on drums, and Steven Hall. Songs are dynamic, explosive and quite engaging as we can hear from “The Call of Eden”, “Hall of Shame”, and the melodramatic “Savage Land”.

Elegeion - Plight of the Heretic (2022)

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Unleashing a monolithic piece of highly engaging and melancholy oozing music, today we have Elegeion, with their first full-length release in 17 years, and “Plights of the Heretic”. Hailing from Australia, Elegeion was one of those bands that we got introduced to via the Modern Invasion Music label, the other band was a personal favorite: Chalice. Continuing exactly where they left off, but with a mostly new line-up, we are treated to 49 minutes of heart-wrenching melancholic music.

The release starts with the album title track featuring some engaging and mysterious momentum building percussion. Around the second and third minute of this song, the Elegeion signature melodic riffs and guitar leads come in alongside Kindabah’s solemn and excellent vocals. The band’s sound is quite unique to them, and its creator Anthony Kwan, but for the uninitiated, it's highly melancholic and yet straightforward. The somber melancholy perfectly bleeds into the excellent “Dust” and its lush string arrangements paired with harsh vocals and a very Doomy tempo.

Might - Abyss (2022)

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Blowing us away in 2020 with their self-titled debut release, Germany’s Might returns with an even more intricate and captivating sophomore release titled “Abyss”. With a fitting album title, this release feels like an exploration of levels of the abyss with tons of extra ideas and eerie atmospherics mixed in with the band’s rudimentary (and crushing) Doom Metal foundation. While less straightforward than their first release, this album is ready to turn some heads thanks to its uniqueness and crafty execution.

The album opens up with the ominous and creepy intro “Naked Light”, slowly transitioning with crushing riffs and a very imposing momentum that is nicely picked up with “Lost”. The first couple of tracks are the most ‘traditional’ ones with “Abysses” having those classic Doom elements that we all love. We particularly enjoy the mixture of clean male and female vocals with hypnotic percussion and enigmatic guitar leads.

Sigh - Shiki (2022)

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As one of those bands that is always innovating and creating something weirdly unique, Sigh returns with more of their Avant-garde/Black Metal with “Shiki”. Featuring over 45 minutes of hypnotic, chaotic, and completely weird music, this album is enjoyable for more than a few spins as the listener will constantly discover new details with each listen. Highly recommended for fans of the band, or music connoisseurs that like odd, chaotic, and yet highly engaging Metal music.

The album kicks off with a short atmospheric intro and the pummeling Doomy riffs of “Kuroi Kage”, a track that is heavy and punishing as it transitions to even weirder territories. The band’s vocals are quite fitting for such a diverse and engaging musical foundation, particularly for the heavier and more experimental tracks like the previously mentioned one and the playful “Shoujahitsumetsu”. One thing to note is the band’s old-school Heavy Metal musical core that clearly shines on tracks like “Shikabane”, and its funky atmospherics and percussions.

Brutal Assault will feature a record number of 151 bands in five days

Already on Tuesday, 9 August 2022, the gates of the fortress in Josefov will open again to thousands of extreme music lovers. The twenty-fifth anniversary edition of the Brutal Assault festival will begin, with 151 bands, including legends such as Mercyful Fate and Cannibal Corpse, performing over five days.

Arch Enemy - Deceivers (2022)

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Since the addition of Alissa White-Gluz on vocals, and Jess Loomis on guitars back in 2014, Arch Enemy has massively improved the dynamics of their sound and now function like a precise Swiss watch when making catchy and technically brilliant music. On “Deceivers”, the band channels their creativity on 11 tracks and nearly 45 minutes of their signature sound… but better.

Opening with the scorcher of “Handshake with Hell”, we get killer guitar leads, superbly catchy melodies, and a very crafty mixture of harsh and clean vocals, making this one hell of an opener and a small taste of what is to come. It is quite impressive how the band’s Melodic Death Metal sound is like no one else, as their Heavy Metal (e.g. “The Watcher” and “In the Eye of the Storm”) and even Thrash Metal (e.g. “Deceiver, Deceiver”, “Spreading Black Wings”) nicely complement the barrage of melodic riffs and wild guitar leads.

The Halo Effect - Days of the Lost (2022)

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Coming to take the best Melodic Death Metal release of 2022 title, today we have The Halo Effect and their debut full-length release “Days of the Lost”. For the uninitiated, as soon as this band was announced, we knew they would release something insanely awesome. Featuring Mikael Stanne (Dark Tranquillity) on vocals, and pretty much every good musician In Flames started or had a long time with, like Jesper Strömblad and Niclas Engelin on guitars, Daniel Svensson on drums, and Peter Iwers on bass, this line-up is beyond stacked.

Immediately making an impact with “Shadowminds”, we quickly get an old-school Dark Tranquillity whiff, but this is slowly replaced with a very interesting hybrid of both early DT and In Flames, but with a modern edge, experienced musicianship, and excellent production values. It is very cool to hear songs like the album title track, “The Needless End” and “Conditional”, and wonder if this is how things would have shaken out if these guys would have made music together since back in the day.

Soilwork - Övergivenheten (2022)

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The always evolving Björn Strid and Soilwork are finally back, with yet another boundary smashing release. Far from the band’s original Melodic Death Metal style, it seems like this band style is heading in a collision course with Björn’s other band The Night Flight Orchestra sans the 80’s glam. Most of the tracks are both soothing and catchy, with a rock’n’roll vibe, leaving aside from time to time, some of their heavier elements from before.

Starting with some funky folky atmospherics of the album title track, it quickly brings back some familiar onslaughts as there are plenty of heavy riffs and harsh screams, blended in with soaring melodic passages. This initial impression is quickly changed with “Nous Sommes La Guerre”, a piece more in the Night Flight Orchestra vibe, with pop-ish edges and engaging vocal melodies. The band’s duality to more melodic and ‘accessible’ pieces, and the heavier melodic DM influences is a bit confusing and chaotic as they transition through pieces like “Electric Again” and “Valleys of Gloam”.

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