Archaeopteris - Visions chaotiques d´un songe halluciné (2021)

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Unleashing a very unique and disturbing combination of Black Metal, Death Metal, and some atmospheric elements, today we have France’s Archaeopteris and their debut EP “Visions chaotiques d´un songe halluciné”. With a short but chaotic duration, this release delivers both aggression and extreme weirdness. Definitely recommended for fans of the bizarre and unconventional.

Opening with “Visions Chaotiques”, after a short atmospheric intro, the band instantly dives into the depths of hell with a fierce combination of punishing riffs and crafty drums. Far from traditional, this track changes tempos very oddly, creating a very cavernous and yet disturbing atmosphere. The second song, “Songe Halluciné” leads with lush acoustic guitars as it quickly transitions into piercing aggressive guitars and deep harsh screams.

The Nightly Disease - Delicate White Sound (2021)

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One man Italian outfit The Nightly Disease is ready for the spotlight with their excellent debut full-length release “Delicate White Sound”. Unleashing nearly 40 minutes of highly intoxicating atmospheric music, this release delicately blends Doom and Atmospheric Metal with additional instrumental elements. While many bands seem formulaic in nature, this one-man project carves very unique moods through the four tracks presented here.

After creating an eerie atmosphere with its first few minutes, the first part slowly transforms into a doomier version of older Burzum music. The hypnotic drums and guitars create a very regal and yet piercing vibe. We particularly enjoy the Doomy vibe the song features in its second half, as it nicely progresses with the acoustic guitars and more ambient elements of the second part.

ISON - Aurora (2021)

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Unleashing one of the most dreamy and melancholic releases of 2021, today we have ISON with “Aurora”. After the departure of original vocalist Heike Langhans, many of us were concerned about what direction (If any) this project from Daniel Änghede would take. Instead of finding a new singer, ISON enlisted eight unique singers from different bands/projects around the world to bring additional life to its very ethereal music. The result is one hell of an album that any fan of the band will certainly love.

The sidereal journey commences with the dreamy opening of “Jupiter”, as the track progresses distorted guitars lead the way alongside Vila’s dreamy vocals. Signaling things to come, this track sets a very hypnotic mood that is continued with the drony opening of “Waves” and the sultry vocals of Cammie Gilbert. Filled with emotive arrangements and a mellow pace, the album title track brilliantly combines Lisa Cuthbert’s vocals alongside Daniel’s in a very.

Helloween - Helloween (2021)

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After touring the world with their “Pumpkins United” line-up, Helloween returns to unleash their eponymous release, with Kai Hansen, Michael Kiske, and Andi Deris, all sharing vocal duties. For nearly 70 minutes, the band delivers 12 doses of high-octane Power Metal with one of the most epicly stacked vocal line-up for a non-project band. Featuring something for everybody, this release will please almost any fan of the band over their nearly 30-year career.

Opening with the epic “Out for the Glory”, you get that sensation of excitement as the track slowly builds up with crafty instrumentation, blistering guitars and soaring vocals. We wouldn't expect anything less from such a legendary band, and yet Helloween blows past any preconceived expectations as to how the multiple vocalist’s approach would work with solid tracks like “Fear of the Fallen”, “Best Time”, “Mass Pollution”, and “Angels”.

White Ward - Debemur Morti (2021)

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Marking the release number 200 from the forward thinking label Debemur Morti, Ukraine’s White Ward unleash two very unique pieces of music with their signature style. Featuring anything but traditional elements, this release delivers nearly 18 minutes of enigmatic and highly experimental Black Metal. For the uninitiated, White Ward is one of the most exciting bands of the last few years, with their expertly crafted experimental music featuring heavy atmospheres and an avant-garde mixture of elements and styles that puts them years ahead from their competition.

Opening with the EP title track, the band first sets a very jazzy and sultry atmosphere that quickly escalates into full on blistering drums alongside a sexy saxophone. Things pick up as the aggressive BM onslaughts proceed alongside crafty tempo changes. If this wasn’t enough, guest vocalist Lars Nedland (Solefald, Borknagar) soaring clean vocals provides a brilliant complement to an already highly intricate backdrop.

CMPT - Mrtvaja (2021)

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Hailing from Serbia, CMPT is an anonymous punishing Black Metal outfit with hints of atmospheric elements. In this two song EP, the band instantly makes a name for themselves with a very unique and highly engaging 20 minutes of music. For fans of piercing BM that is both melodic and highly aggressive, this release will leave you wanting more.

Opening with an ominous atmospheric intro that suddenly transforms into all-out-war, this first track creates a lasting impression on the listener. The contrast of imposing atmospherics with the ravaging guitars and intense drumming perfectly set the backdrop from the harsh screams and crafty tempo changes. With a more hellish vibe, the second track in this release is filled with pummeling riffs and creepy transitions from raw aggression to eerie atmospherics.

Hiraes - Solitary (2021)

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Hailing from Germany, today we have Dawn of Disease 2.0, under the name of Hiraes. Featuring all members of DoD up until 2019 plus a talented new vocalist in Britta Görtz, the band is ready to continue releasing highly melodic Death Metal that is both technically proficient and extremely catchy. Being huge fans of the genre, “Solitary” provides a very promising introduction from this band as they start their journey, already being compared with bands like Dark Tranquility, Nightrage, etc.

The release opens with the moody “Shadows Break” and its incisive guitar work, perfectly paired with Britta’s powerful growls. Crafted with intricate tempo changes, powerful distorted guitars and a perfect pace for headbanging, “Under Fire” and “Grain of Sand” continue the highly melodic and engaging mood. We particularly enjoy how each song is crafted to deliver a different facet of the band while solidifying their core elements, like the traditional “1000 Lights” and the Amon Amarth/Arch Enemy-esque “Eyes Over Black” and its killer guitar leads.

Order of Nosferat - Arrival of the Plague Bearer (2021)

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Being huge fans of Black Metal with additional elements other than raw power, we are quite enthralled by Order of Nosferat and their latest release “Arrival of the Plague Bearer”. Unleashing over 50 minutes of vampiric BM, we get a wide variety of haunting piano interludes, dreamy atmospherics, and savagely raw BM, with all elements blending in perfect harmony. If you are looking for creepy and cinematic BM releases, this one will satisfy your thirst.

Starting with an atmospheric mood setting intro, the album title track transforms into a behemoth with blistering drums, inhuman screams and a turmoil of high powered distorted riffs. Alongside the violent core sound, the keyboards provide a nice melodic contrast in this piece. The album’s atmosphere is greatly enhanced by instrumental tracks like “Sleepless in Sorrow and Bloodthirst”, “The Castle of Haunting Silence”, “Lost in the Crypts of my Need for Affection”, “As She Fades in Lamenting Winds”, and “Dance of the Wallachian Winter Spirits” which create a very spooky and solemn backdrop to the aggressive pieces.

Seeming Emptiness - Bliss Entombed (2021)

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Always surprising us with high quality and engaging releases, Rain Without End records is ready to unleash the third full-length release of Seeming Emptiness, titled “Bliss Entombed”. For the uninitiated, this band features members/ex-members of In Mourning and October Tide while creating a very unique blend of Melodic Death Metal, Doom, with some Post-Rock elements. With over 50 minutes of highly melancholic music, this release will please any fan of the previously mentioned bands and genres.

Opening with the Katatonia-esque “An Impious End”, we get a very moody track with crafty drums, incisive guitars and a well balanced mix of growls and clean vocals. Showing a more dynamic and yet melancholic side, tracks like “What Spirits Forebode” and “Infernal Charade” perfectly mix all of the band’s influences and are complemented with soaring clean vocals and engaging tempo changes.

Timo Tolkki’s Avalon - The Enigma Birth (2021)

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There are only three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and Timo Tolkki crafting bad-ass Power Metal songs. Today we have Timo and his Avalon project unleashing their fourth full-length release “The Enigma Birth”. Featuring nearly one hour of music and eight guest vocalists, this release continues the band’s trend of delivering sweeping melodies, killer guitar solos, and highly engaging vocal lines. As occasional Power Metal listeners, we greatly appreciate these types of releases as you get to ‘discover’ some singers that wouldn’t be on our radar.

Opening with the crafty “Enigma Birth”, we have blistering guitars and drums, perfectly paired with Pellek’s dramatic and quite versatile vocals. This track sets a very bombastic and explosive mood that is perfectly continued with the hard rocking “I Just Collapse” featuring returning guest Caterina Nix and her talented pipes. Timo and company are masters at changing tempos and styles between songs and yet keeping that intensity and melodic edge.

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