Aeonian Sorrow - A Life Without (2020)

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Perfectly fitting for a dark and gloomy day, today we have Aeonian Sorrow’s latest EP: “A Life Without”. As the title indicates, this release is full of melancholy and gloom, delivering exactly what the fans of the band and the genre expects. For over 30 minutes the band explores cavernous atmospheres filled with crushing riffs, demoralizing growls and angelic female vocals.

The album slowly builds up with the opener “The Endless Fall of Grief”. Instead of the traditional long instrumental intro, this track quickly unravels brutal growls and heavy guitars, creating a very imposing and commanding mood since the first few minutes. Ville Rutanen (Red Moon Architect) handles all growls, perfectly contrasting them from Gogo Melone’s sultry female vocals, a brilliant example of this is the emotional “One Love” and its dramatic guitar leads and ‘beauty and the beast’ vocal interchanges.

Cult of Luna - Emma Ruth Rundle - Intronaut - 2/28/2020 - The Masquerade - Atlanta, GA

Finally! The season of North American tours is getting into gear and we are lucky to have Sweden’s Cult of Luna stop by The Masquerade to give one of their high intensity shows. We are big fans of the band and have seen them on big stages in Europe, so it is great to see them on a ‘small stage’. Paired with Emma Ruth Rundle and Intronaut, the lineup is quite solid for a good evening of music.

Lychgate - Also sprach Futura (2020)

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Unleashing a truly unique level of aural abuse, today we have UK’s Lychgate and their new label debut EP “Also sprach Futura”. If you think you have heard weird stuff before, this release will re-define the concept for you. Featuring four tracks of pure madness, this band combines elements from Doom/Jazz/Progressive/Brutal Death Metal, and pretty much everything else into an amalgamation of sonic abusive tracks.

The release opens with the cirquesque “Incarnate”, incorporating brutal guitar riffs with chaotic tempo changes and funky organ/mellotron atmospherics. Taking this track over the top are the throat singing moments that just add more confusion and madness between the Black Metal-ish harshness and funky atmospherics. Things settle down a bit on the interesting “Progeny of the Singularity”, where the band starts with brutal onslaughts and slowly evolves into an eerie sickening atmospheric passage , just as the brutality returns to close this magically weird piece.

My Dying Bride - The Ghost of Orion (2020)

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Unleashing relentless misery, today we have legendary My Dying Bride and their latest opus: “The Ghost of Orion”. Filled with melancholy and pain, the album from beginning to end delivers the band’s signature Doom Metal as it combines elements from their later releases with the gloom of releases like “The Light at the End of the World” and “The Angel and the Dark River”. Five years in the making, this release is a quintessential MDB album that is musically and emotionally one of their best.

The release starts with the heavy hitting “Your Broken Shore”, a very powerful and mournful track that is both punishing and very melancholic. The contrast between Aaron’s signature clean vocals and the heavy riffs is something that keeps drawing us back to the band’s music as it perfectly conveys a multitude of emotions, as we can hear in the epic “To Outlive the Gods” and its enchanting violins, as well as on the emotional roller coaster of “Tired of Tears”.

Clouds - Durere (2020)

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As one of our favorite bands, Clouds delivers one of the most melancholic and depressive brands of Atmospheric Death/Doom Metal ever created. With “Durere”, the band’s mastermind, Daniel Neagoe, continues to explore the process of grief and loss in seven tracks and nearly one hour of soul crushing music. Never disappointing, the tracks in this release are filled with grief and despair perfectly translated into musical notes.

The album opens with solemn acoustic guitars and clean vocals in “Cold Guiding Light”, just before switching gears into ravaging growls and mournful violin arrangements. This track slowly erodes at the listener’s psyche with dramatic atmospherics. “Empty Hearts” continues the misery with distant weeping guitars and melancholic vocals. The band’s signature contrast between crushing riffs and growls with more mellow passages is very effectively delivered in this track.

Insect Ark - The Vanishing (2020)

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Crafting a haunting atmosphere with crushing walls of sound and eerie synths, today we have Insect Ark and their crushing release “The Vanishing”. With a certain minimalist and drone edge, the band’s music creates cavernous avenues for waves of distorted bass and lap steel guitar. For fans of bands like Earth, Jex Thoth, SubRosa, all minus the vocals, this release will command your attention and take it for a warm and fuzzy trippy ride.

The album kicks off with the interstellar antics of the crafty “Tectonic”, a piece that nicely builds as the bass guitar leads into crafty percussions and dreamy synths. The duo’s ability to slowly build tension and atmosphere is quite impressive as tracks like “Three Gates” slowly build from minimalist passages to fuzzy onslaughts that are both playful and yet pummeling. The experimental component of the band’s music allows them to create tracks that are highly hypnotic, like the trance inducing “Philae” and the slow burning “Danube”.

Thokkian Vortex - Thy Throne is Mine (2020)

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Formed by Lord Kaiaphas ex-Ancient and ex- Grand Belial’s Key, today we have Thokkian Vortex and their sophomore release titled “Thy Throne is Mine”. With a relentless Black Metal style from the late 90’s, this band perfectly blends atmosphere, melody and creepiness to create ten engaging songs. Tailored for fans of old Dimmu Borgir, early Cradle of Filth and Ancient, this release feels like a trip down memory lane with the added value of a modern production.

After an intense intro, “Banishing the Lion of Kutha” unleashes dramatic lead guitars and playful keyboards to wrap around a blistering Black Metal core graced by Lord Kaiaphas harsh vocals and Asmodeus Draco Dux’s hyper-fast drumming. We particularly enjoy the slower and more atmospheric passages with ethereal clean male vocals. Fully evoking a Satyricon circa late 90’s vibe, “The Throne is Mine” is one hell of a vicious track filled with aggression and crafty riffs.

Sicarius - God of Dead Roots (2020)

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Hailing from the USA today we have Sicarius, a Black Metal battalion unleashing their sophomore full-length release “God of Dead Roots”. With a very violent and furious sound, this band feels like a less chaotic (but equally effective) version of Anaal Nathrakh but with a more melodic edge. If you like pummeling and unhinged BM, this is certainly a release to check out.

The album quickly goes at the listener’s throat with the ravaging opener “BIA”. This track unleashes an intense brutal onslaught that we were not expecting. Blistering drums, courtesy of Brandon Zackey, perfectly frame the band’s aural assaults with crafty tempo changes and demonic blast beats, as we can hear on “Open Fire”, “Immortal Plight”, and pretty much every other track in this release.

Taake - Whoredom Rife… Pakt (2020)

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Featuring two of Norway’s finest Black Metal outfits, Terratur Possessions unleashes “Pakt”, a thunderous split release oozing of raw aggression. With two tracks per band, the listener is treated to new material and a small preview of what is to come from both Taake and Whoredom Rife. Released as a 10” vinyl, this release is essential to any connoisseur of Norwegian BM.

The first side of this release features Whoredom Rife delivering two swift and brutal pieces with the ravaging grimness of “From Nameless Pagan Graves” and the old-school onslaught of “En Lenke Smidd i Blod”. The first track creates a very oppressive crushing atmosphere with pummeling riffs and crafty drums, while the second song has that 90’s Norwegian BM edge filled with hate and epic headbanging passages near the end.

Faustian Pact - Outojen Tornien Varjoissa (2020)

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Delivering a healthy dose of retro 90’s Melodic Black Metal, today we have Finnish outfit Faustian Pact and their debut full-length release “Outojen Tornien Varjoissa”. Like stepping into a time capsule, the band’s sound has a raw and simple BM core that is complemented by playful and simple keyboards and a melodic vibe similar to early Tartaros, Limbonic Art and similar outfits. For over 44 minutes the listener will be treated to 10 excellent tracks that combine all kinds of atmospheric elements and vocal styles to create a very unique retro experience.

Leading with the trippy “Saastainen Valo Lintutornissa” we get a very basic BM foundation perfectly adorned with gaudy keyboards and solemn female vocals. There is a certain Eisregen-esque vibe to the band’s music that allows it to be depressive, harsh, and very effective in crawling under your skin. The rawness of the band’s sound is quite intoxicating, as songs like “Myytti Am'Khollenin Kuninkaasta” and “Rauniopuhetta” have that old-school vibe of being recorded in a lo-fi setting.

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