Album Reviews

  • 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.

  • On Thorns I Lay - Threnos (2020)

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    We are quite psyched that Greek Death/Doom legends On Thorns I Lay have remained active and releasing albums since they reformed back in 2015. With “Threnos”, the band continues their musical journey with yet another powerful and melancholic release. Featuring over 45 minutes of music, this album delivers on the band’s signature style while adding a few surprises to keep the listener’s engaged and entertained.

    The opener, “The Song of Sirens”, has that signature OTIL sound of their 90’s releases, with the firm growls, crafty riffs and subtle atmospheric keyboards, perfectly contrasted by weeping lead guitars and a hyper melancholic atmosphere. We particularly love the band’s timeless mixture of heavy foundations, like crushing riffs and tight drumming, with dramatic atmospherics delivered by the keyboards, clean vocals, and string arrangements on tracks like “Ouranio Deos” and the superbly catchy “Cosmic Silence”.

  • Fluisteraars - Bloem (2020)

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    Unleashing contrasting brutality with unfathomable melancholy, today we have Fluisteraars and their third full-length release “Bloem”. Delivering over 30 minutes of highly creative and unique music, this band explores a wide spectrum of sounds, instruments and elements, infusing them into a high-octane raw Black Metal core to create a brilliant release. If you like non-linear BM that explores the boundaries of the genre, do not miss out of this album.

    Starting with the (early) Ulver-esque rawness of “Tere Muur”, the band sets a furious BM pace that nicely continues into the first minute or so of “Nasleep”. This last track slowly turns more melodic with a lively bass guitar line and catchy passages. As the song descends into madness it suddenly leads into one of the bleakest and most disarming melodic passages ever written. The oozing melancholy of the second part of this song is brilliant as it creates a truly oppressive atmosphere.

  • Pure Wrath - The Forlorn Soldier (2020)

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    Hailing from Indonesia, today we have one-man battalion Pure Wrath with the very impressive “The Forlorn Soldier” EP release. Unleashing a masterful combination of dramatic atmospherics, blistering Black Metal onslaughts and a hearty sense of melody, this release delivers almost 30 minutes of flawless music. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Sad Legend, Saor and Vallendusk, be prepared for an aural assault with this one.

    The release opens with the blistering “When a Great Man Dies” and its waves of punishing riffs perfectly intertwined with catchy atmospheric elements and harsh vocals. This combination creates a very chaotic, yet refined and lush experience that will quickly grab the listener's attention and never let go. We particularly enjoy the solemn clean vocal arrangements in the superbly melodic closing stages of the song.

  • Blaze of Perdition - The Harrowing of Hearts (2020)

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    Unleashing an early front-runner for Black Metal album of the year, today we have Blaze of Perdition and their fifth full-length release. Featuring over 50 minutes of sinister music, this release delivers the perfect mixture of atmosphere, brutality and melody that few achieve. As their first release through Metal Blade Records, the band showcases a ravaging sound that is ready to be massively divulged.

    The opener “Suffering Made Bliss” delivers a devastating blow of layered guitars, hellish vocals and bestial drumming that slowly eases into crafty and more melodic passages with a throbbing bass guitar line. Using creepy samples and a very hypnotic atmosphere, “With Madman’s Faith”, builds up on the first onslaught and unleashes a more sinister and hellish side to the band, additional to their pummeling and ravaging onslaughts.

  • Diabulus In Musica - Euphonic Entropy (2020)

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    Hailing from Spain, Diabulus In Musica is a band that has passed under the radar to many fans of Symphonic Metal. However, their music has always been top-notch and up to par with genre greats such as Epic, Delain, etc. With “Euphonic Entropy” the band casts a wider net with a few more influences incorporated to their already bombastic style.

    After the traditional intro, “Race to Equilibrium” delivers over-the-top dramatic orchestrations, rich choir arrangements and powerful growls. This track makes a great statement as to the band’s chops to deliver complex songs that are both intense and complex in nature. Opening with crushing guitar riffs, “Nuevo Rumbo” and “Otio” have a very Epica-esque feeling that is nicely shifted once Zuberoa and Gorka sing in a different language, immediately challenging the listener’s idea that most songs in the genre are usually sung in English.

  • Karg - Traktat (2020)

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    Oozing melancholy, today we have Karg’s latest opus “Traktat”. As a one-man project from J.J of Harakiri for the Sky fame, this band focuses more on a more dreamy Post-Black Metal style, perfect for any fan of the genre. While this project has evolved from Atmospheric Black Metal territories to this more compact sound, this release shows the evolution of a musician refining his signature elements and further complimenting them with subtle improvements. Delivering the perfect mixture of bleak desolation and harsh aggressiveness, this release is certainly an intense ride.

    Opening with the dreamy layered guitars of “Irgendjemand wartet immer”, this release sets a very moody atmosphere that is quite traditional of Karg. With J.J handling all instruments, you can hear the very effective interplay of the drums and guitars. The vocals are the typical harsh screams that add anxiety inducing helplessness to the songs, perfect examples of this are “Jahr Ohne Sommer”, and the doomier “Stolperkenotaphe” and its excellent string arrangements.

  • Sylosis - Cycle of Suffering (2020)

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    After a super busy touring schedule since joining Architects since mid-2016, Josh Middleton and company finally return with their crushing fifth full-length release “Cycle of Suffering”. Building up on their powerful Melodic Death/Thrash Metal sound, this release unleashes 50 minutes of crafty music filled with intricate guitars and punishing aggression. Like no time has past, this release continues the band’s legacy of well crafted brutality and melody.

    Quickly getting in the listener’s face, “Empty Prophets” delivers an exquisite balance of crunchy riffs and crafty guitar leads. Others might prefer the more melodic and mellow side of the band with tracks like “I Server” and the album title track delivering a unique mixture of Death-like guitars and intricate melodic passages. The headbanging value of the band’s music is unrivaled as we can enjoy sweeping transitions from dramatic melodic passages into brutal agressive onslaughts thanks to Josh Middleton’s harsh vocals.

  • God Dethroned - Illuminati (2020)

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    Delivering a firm and switch brutal onslaught of intense riffing, today we have God Dethroned and their latest opus “Illuminati”. Luckily for early fans, Henri Sattler decided to revive the band a few years back and now they unleash one hell of a release divided into nine ear-piercing tracks. While not long in duration, the 36 minutes of music presented are some of the finest this Dutch outfit has ever produced.

    The album title track opens the release with a vicious old-school Death Metal vibe, perfectly adorned with Blacked Harsh screams and lush atmospheric keyboards. With “Broken Halo” continuing in the same fashion, we are completely floored as “Book of Lies” unleashes hell with piercing riffs and brilliant melodic intensity. This last track is definitely one for brutal headbanging, and with some contrasting solemn guitar leads, it is just magical.

  • Delain - Apocalypse & Chill (2020)

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    Consistently pushing their sound and delivering excellent releases, today we have Delain’s fifth full-length release “Apocalypse & Chill”. With a very modern concept and image, the band unleashes 13 hyper catchy songs that are full of lush orchestrations and the signature angelic vocals of Charlotte Wessels. If you are a fan of the band, this release will certainly rank among their best, after a small adaptation period.

    Opening with style, “One Second” sets a very bombastic and explosive mood. The band’s well oiled machinery seemingly effortlessly crafts one intense and lush opener. As the band experiments with some electronic elements on tracks like “We Had Everything”, “To Live is to Die”, and “Chemical Redemption”, we get a slight modern Within Temptation and Amaranthe edge, but of course with Delain’s brilliant balance of melody and crunchy guitars. While the band hasn’t gone full-on mainstream Pop-ish Metal, this release does hedge them a bit more into that space.

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