Vargrav - Reign in Supreme Darkness (2019)

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Bringing back memories of the simpler days of Melodic Black Metal, when bands like Limbonic Art, Emperor, ...and Oceans added keyboards and orchestrations to the genre, today we have Vargrav and its sophomore release “Reign in Supreme Darkness”. Delivering over 40 minutes of lush arrangements, solid BM core elements and crafty songwriting, this one man unit unleashes a timeless sounding release that should not be overlooked.

After the traditional intro, Vargrav goes full steam with the lush “The Glory of Eternal Night”, a brilliant old-school sounding track that reminds us of Emperor’s classic “I am the Black Wizards”. The pacing and intricate tempo changes make this song quite enjoyable and a very strong opener. As “Dark Space Dominion” and “In Streams from Great Mysteries” roll in, we find ourselves impulsively headbanging thanks to their ravaging and yet playful nature. Both tracks are filled with majestic atmospheric arrangements, perfectly offset by catchy riffs.

Ossuaire - Premiers Chants (2019)

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Canadian Black Metal has been surprising us in the last few years with excellent bands like Monarque, Délétère, Csejthe, and countless others. Ossuaire is the latest addition to this wave of blast beats and tremolo picking from the North. With their debut release “Premiers Chants”, the band unleashes 40 minutes of ferocious music that reminds us of bands like Au Champ Des Morts, Vanum, Anorexia Nervosa and Glaciation amongst others.

Jumping at the listener’s throat, the album starts furiously with the pummeling drums and intense riffing of the album title track. The band’s sound is very well defined and nicely produced to sound devastating and yet melodic in nature. With “La Procession des Flagellants”, the band takes a darker approach filled with highly precise guitar melodies and Hérésiarque’s hellish vocals, just the perfect mix of a growl and a shriek, allowing them to be quite commanding and intimidating.

Úir - Óenach Tailten (2019)

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We receive over 40 album submissions each weak, so it is quite tricky to find what exactly to listen to and what to unfortunately discard. Luckily for us, we recently stumbled upon Úir’s second EP titled “Óenach Tailten”. Creating a very unique and dense Atmospheric Black Metal sound, this EP delivers three brilliant tracks that showcase the band’s raw power and boundless talent. Featuring members of unique bands like Haar and Úlfarr, this outfit is a band to keep an eye out for.

Opening with the sinister riffing of “V.S.F.P.A.”, the band sets a very hypnotic and cavernous early mood with a slow build-up. With a very martial pace, this track delivers powerful distorted guitars intertwined with a playful bass guitar line and hellish Watain-esque screams. After a devilish opener, the metalic sound of the guitars opening “Deiwos” is just perfect. This track turns a bit more hectic with a more defined wall of sound and ravaging onslaughts of total madness, thanks to the versatility of the vocals, which sound very mournful and haunting at times.

Violet Cold - kOsmik (2019)

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Embracing the contrast between dreaminess and aggression, today we have Azerbaijan’s one-man battalion Violet Cold and his latest full-length release “kOsmik”. Perfectly blending elements from Shoegaze, Post-Black Metal, Post-Metal, with very interesting more mainstream elements, the band’s releases are always very interesting to dissect since you will spend days trying to peel all the layers to be found. Clocking in at 36 minutes, this album will fly by very quickly, but it just means you get to start it again.

Creating a very soothing and uplifting mood with the opener “Contact”, this vibe transforms with the heaviness of “Black Sun”. The Shoegazey guitars are nicely contrasted with harsh vocals as this track travels between atmospheric passages, somber female vocals and an overall more aggressive and hectic pace. Creating a very Alcest-like heavenly mood, “Mamihlapinatapai” is definitely one of the most magical and engaging songs in this release thanks to its vocal arrangements and overall pace.

Mord’A’Stigmata - Dreams of Quiet Places (2019)

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Slowly building up, “Void Monolith” starts the performance with an introduction to craft psychedelic extravagance thanks to the warm and fuzzy distorted guitars and trippy synths. The madness truly begins with the chaotic “The Shamanic Vision” and its crushing drumming. The deranged vocals make this song even more terrifying thanks to their unique range and style. The underlying melodies of songs like “Seeker’s Reflection” and “Journey to the Center of Mass” are quite intoxicating with a certain jazzy vibe, and perfectly crafted around trippy tempo changes.

Opening with the intricate atmospherics of “Between Walls of Glass”, the track sets a very hypnotic and ritualistic vibe that slowly builds up as the electric guitars come into play. Evoking the psychotic rhythmic powers of bands like Oranssi Pazuzu, the band sets a very unique vibe to this release. Keeping the weirdness going with its odd tempo changes, “Exiles” gives more of a Post-Metal vibe paired with hellish screams and pretty intense drumming.

GOLD - Why Aren’t You Laughing Now (2019)

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Hailing from the Netherlands, GOLD is a band that has been on our radar for quite a while since we saw them at Roadburn festival in 2013. Playing a interesting mixture of Dark Rock with Post-Metal/Punk/etc. elements, this band has a very unique and crafty sound that instantly makes them recognizable. With the current wave of bands playing Psychedelic Rock and all variants, GOLD is one that stands above the rest thanks to their crafty music and interesting amalgamation of styles.

As soon as “He is Not” opens, we get a certain mysterious vibe and then the sultry vocals of Milena Eva take over the driver’s seat. As one of the signature elements of the band, Milena’s vocals are the perfect mixture of enigmatic and intoxicating. After the opening track ends with a Post-Rock-ish passage, the band changes pace to a more mellow lounge-ish tempo in “Things I Wish I Never Knew”. The guitar work is quite excellent and there are definitely more than a few layers to digest.

Waste of Space Orchestra - Syntheosis (2019)

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Luckily for those of us unfortunate to Waste of Space Orchestra at Roadburn, Svart Records releases a perfect quality recording of this event with “Syntheosis”. For the uninitiated, this project is a collaboration between Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising, two of the most exciting genre-bending bands to ever come out of Finland. Clocking in at 65 minutes, this a unique musical exploration that transports the listeners to a bizarre plane of existence.

Slowly building up, “Void Monolith” starts the performance with an introduction to craft psychedelic extravagance thanks to the warm and fuzzy distorted guitars and trippy synths. The madness truly begins with the chaotic “The Shamanic Vision” and its crushing drumming. The deranged vocals make this song even more terrifying thanks to their unique range and style. The underlying melodies of songs like “Seeker’s Reflection” and “Journey to the Center of Mass” are quite intoxicating with a certain jazzy vibe, and perfectly crafted around trippy tempo changes.

NONE - Damp Chill of Life (2019)

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There are good releases and then there are those albums that crawl under your skin and make you crave for more. NONE has continuously delivered some of the most punishing and bleak Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal releases since its inception and “Damp Chill of Life” is yet another brilliant addition to their discography. Filled with haunting atmospheric elements and just the right amount of heaviness, this release is one of the best in the genre for 2019, so don’t miss out.

After the atmospheric opener, the album title track kicks off the release properly with an enigmatic pace and punishing distorted guitars. Additional atmospheric elements create a very vast and desolate soundscape that will immerse you in misery and sorrow. If the previous song was not punishment enough, the minimalist opening to “Cease” sets a very grievous mood with sparse piano notes to warm up. The song’s climax comes with heavy distorted guitars, crushing vocals and a killer slow pace.

Eluveitie - Ategnatos (2019)

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Unleashing one of the most lively and engaging Folk Metal releases of 2019, today we have the legendary Eluveitie with “Ategnatos”. With the ‘new’ band members settled, this release delivers a more cohesive and in a certain way exploratory sound that further improves the band’s catchiness with more upbeat and exciting elements. Featuring over 60 minutes of music, this is a release that all fans of the band will love and enjoy.

Leading with the album title track, the band quickly starts telling their story and sets a very ‘medieval’ mood with their lush instrumentation, rich vocal arrangements and powerful distorted guitars. The band’s uncanny abilities to perfectly mix their Melodic Metal side with intricate arrangements of folk instruments is top not as we can hear in the multi-faceted “Deathwalker”. For those looking for the folkier side of things, this release does not disappoint with excellent tracks like “Black Water Dawn”, “The Silvern Glow” and “Trinoxtion”.

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