Silhouette - Les Retranchements (2022)

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Pumping freshness into the Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal genre, today we have newcomers Silhouette and their disarming debut release “Les Retranchements”. With a well defined core of BM onslaughts and harsh vocals, the band adds a layer of angelic female vocals to create a very powerful and effective mix. Think of the short-lived Asphodèle but with a more depressive/atmospheric edge.

Opening with “Ascension”, a very dreamy mood is set thanks to subtle guitars and Lilas Dupont’s siren-like vocals. The band’s elements mesh quite well, as tracks like “La Première Neige” deliver the ferocity some expect with relentless aggressive onslaughts, perfectly flanked by slower and dreamier passages, creating a very bleak soundscape. Keeping things simple and direct, pieces like “Au Seuil de l'Oubli” and “L'Etreinte de la Chute” are quite melancholic and magical.

The Mist from the Mountains - The Mist from the Mountains (2022)

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Creating a very unique and timeless-sounding release, today we have Finland’s The Mist from the Mountains and their eponymous debut full-length album. Mixing elements from old-school Borknagar and Arcturus with the ferocity and melody of the modern Black Metal of bands like Uada and Mgła, this release delivers nearly 40 minutes of pure musical bliss.

After a folky build up, “Empyrean Fields” grows into an all-out head banging section with catchy riffs and intense drumming. Here is where that Mgła/Uada melodic (and yet blistering) style blends into the band’s late 90’s/early 2000’s Nordic BM influences as pieces like “A Paean to Fire” and “Thus Spake the Tongueless Serpent” deliver that dynamism that soaring clean vocals and crafty instrumental and atmospheric arrangements bring to the table.

Persefone - Metanoia (2022)

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Over four years have passed since Persefone’s last release, and with “Metanoia”, the band shows the wait was more than worth it. Unleashing nearly one hour of high-octane Melodic/Progressive/Technical Death Metal, this Andorran outfit delivers ten expertly crafted songs filled with intricate details and superb catchiness. If you thought their previous releases were awesome, you are in for a treat with this one.

After the title track atmospheric opener, “Katabasis” shows that if you didn’t think the band’s sound could get any better, you are completely wrong as Einar Solberg’s vocals fully elevate it to new dimensions. Apart from the epic guest vocals, the perfect balance of musical wizardry and harshness is front and center on tracks like “Architecture of the I”, the quirky “Aware of Being Watched”, and the album's first single “Merkabah”.

Amorphis - Halo (2022)

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Just when you think that Amorphis music can not get any better, the band comes out with their killer latest release “Halo”. Dropping over 55 minutes of stellar music, the band continues to deliver polished, highly melodic, and extremely intoxicating Melodic Metal songs. Full of the epic vibe that the band’s releases carry, this album takes things further with even more bombastic arrangements and soaring vocal melodies.

Quickly warming up, “Northwards” delivers epic arrangements on top of the band’s traditional bombastic sound. Thanks to killer guitars provided by Esa Holopainen (leads) and Tomi Koivusaari (melodic), the band’s signature sound stays intact, with a few additions of more folky elements courtesy of Santeri Kallio’s synths on pieces like “On the Dark Waters”, “A New Land”, “War”, and “When the Gods Came”.

Hanging Garden - Neither Moth nor Rust (2022)

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Keeping themselves busy during the last couple of years, Finland’s Hanging Garden is set to unleash their latest EP titled “Neither Moth nor Rust”. After their very impressive 2021 release, this EP delivers around 25 minutes of highly dynamic and engaging music, with a well balanced mixture of Gothic and Doom Metal influences, this album reminds us of late Theater of Tragedy, To/Die/For/ and Beseech releases.

Creating a very somber and yet lively atmosphere, the album title track delivers a well balanced mix of growls and clean male and female vocals, alongside engaging and catchy music. This playful vibe continues on tracks like the dreamy “The Last Dance”, and the atmospheric “And Leave All Love Behind”, showcasing the band’s versatility and craftiness to write highly emotional and yet diverse songs.

Vastatum - Mercurial States of Revelation (2022)

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Unleashing the perfect mixture of atmosphere and crushing aggression, today we have newcomers Vastatum and their debut full-length release “Mercurial States of Revelation”. Hailing from Canada, this duo has crafted a very unique mixture of old-school Scandinavian Black Metal with a modern and melodic twist that needs to be heard.

Opening with the momentum builder “Nascent Mother of Night”, the listener is treated to an enveloping atmosphere led by melodic guitar riffs and sinister malice. The eerie mixture of clean and harsh vocals greatly enhances the atmosphere, creating a cavernous vibe similar to The Ruins of Beverast alongside a more straightforward instrumentation. This whirlwind experience is masterfully carried forward on pieces like the “Fall With Seclusion” and the devilish “Mortal Abrogation”.

SOM - The Shape Of Everything (2022)

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After their killer 2021 “Awake” EP, all-star outfit SOM returns with their much anticipated full-length release “The Shape of Everything”. Featuring members of bands like Junius and Caspian, this album delivers over 34 minutes of extremely melancholic and yet heavy amalgamation of all kinds of genres ranging from Doom to Post-Rock and Post-Metal. Creating a very unique signature style, this release is set to be on plenty of best albums of 2022 releases.

Opening with the melancholy of “Moment”, the band quickly establishes a very moody atmosphere, similar to bands like Deftones and Junius, but with a more shoegazey and dreamy edge. The clean vocals create very powerful melodies, perfectly soaring from the textured guitars of tracks like the Deafheaven-esque “Animals” and the playful “Center”. The band’s versatility can be heard on our favorite “Shape”, a piece that delivers a hefty dosage of heavy riffs alongside more subtle and ethereal guitar work.

Krvna - Sempinfernus (2021)

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Unleashing waves of Vampiric Black Metal, today we have Australia’s Krvna and their debut full-length release “Sempinfernus”. With over 35 minutes of intense music, this release reminds us of early Dimmy Borgir, Old Man’s Child, and similar outfits, filled with atmosphere and harshness. For a one-man project, this release packs a mean punch and high replay value.

Opening with the sinister “From The Shades Of Hades…”, the atmosphere immediately feels tense and eerie thanks to blistering drumming, intricate guitar work and devilish vocals. Things turn a bit more melodic and less chaotic with the melodic onslaughts of “...To The Targovistean Night”, contrasted by its punishing aggressive sections. We are suckes for epic melodies and the track “The Triumph Of The Flesh Over The Spirit” is one fine piece of melodramatic guitar work.

Mountaineer - Giving Up The Ghost (2022)

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After making a huge splash with their 2020 release titled “Bloodletting”, Mountaineer achieves the impossible and unleashes an even more melancholic and more polished release with “Giving Up The Ghost”. For fans of Post-Rock/Doom/Shoegaze, this release delivers over 32 minutes of highly emotional and disharming music, creating a fully immersive atmosphere and a truly magical listening experience.

Opening with a mood setting instrumental, the band gets down to business with the dreamy “Blot Out the Sun”, filled with soaring vocal melodies (both harsh and clean) and very dynamic guitars, perfectly capturing the ‘Mountaineer vibe’ but further extending it with even more melancholy and sublime arrangements like we can hear in “Bed of Flower” or the The Ocean-esque “Touch the Glass”.

Déhà - Ave Maria II (2021)

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By far one of the most productive musicians in the Metal scene, Déhà’s creativity is probably just bounded by time as he continues to unleash massive albums under his solo project, Wolvennest, Slow, and plenty of other bands. In “Ave Maria II”, he continues work he released over 10 years ago under his side project Yhdarl. Featuring one monumental track of 42 minutes, this release is both haunting and completely harrowing, mixing up dense atmospherics, punishing screams and all mighty riffs.

Separated into two movements, the first part, “Morituri Te Salutant” sets a very cavernous mood that suddenly turns with the introduction of Thergothon-level distorted riffs alongside dramatic vocal arrangements, similar to what Elend did in the past, but with a heavier dose of distortion. The angelic female vocals are masterfully flanked with incisive guitars and massive growls/screams, perfectly turning beauty into nightmare.

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