Unleashing what is most likely the most explosive and melodic Black Metal release of 2020, today we have Uada and their third full-length release “Djinn”. Slowly refining their craft over time and gathering wide acclaim over the last few years, this North American outfit delivers almost 60 minutes of non-stop high-octane music that will have people headbanging from start to finish. If you like bands like Mgła, Pilorian, Inquisition, etc. you will love this exciting release.
Opening the release with the album title track, the band sets a relentless pace with superbly catchy riffs and a very engaging and energetic vibe. The dual guitar attack of James Sloan and Jake Superchi, works magically as their intensity and craftiness is quickly evident, creating a very powerful mood and the perfect environment for furious headbanging, as shown in the opener and the blistering “The Great Mirage”. Other tracks like “No Place Here”, show a mellower and yet still incisive side to the band’s superbly melodic musical approach.
When bands and musicians say the experiment in their music only to please themselves, there is always that lingering concern that holds them back to truly revolutionize their sound to avoid upsetting their fans. Ihsahn is one of those that keeps true to his vision and always pushes the boundaries of his sound to please his creative endeavors, and “Pharos” is the latest example of this. Featuring three original songs and two covers, this release explores Progressive Rock/Metal territories while still delivering some of his signature staples.
The release opens with “Losing Altitude”, a track that reminds us of “After” but with a more definite Proggy vibe and no harsh vocals. The vocal and atmospheric arrangements are brilliant and quite neat, perfectly paired with Ihsahn signature guitar riffs and crispy distortion. Delivering serious Haken vibes, “Spectre at the Feast” is another exploratory piece with lush atmospheric arrangements, a pulsating bass guitar line and soaring vocals.
Three years after terraforming the scene with their excellent 2017 release, today we have Brasil’s Jupiterian dropping the massive “Protosapien”. Pushing the boundaries of the genre and always delivering something interesting and aurally punishing, this band is one of the few that constantly improves over time and morphs into new shapes in each release. If you like punishing riffs, a wide variety of genres, and the feeling of being on a choke hold (by music), then you can’t miss out on this one.
After slowly creating a very dissonant atmosphere with their opening track, “Mere Humans” instantly unleashes a barrage of punishing riffs and a hypnotic pace. As one of their specialties, the band suddenly switches gear into heavier and slower territories with the (newer) Lantlôs-esque “Voidborn” and its waves of pummeling guitars. The growls are a perfect match for such an aggressive and yet subtly melodic onslaught.
Unleashing a short but sweet barrage of hateful and raw Black Metal, today we have God’s Bastard and their debut EP “Last Standing Village”. Originally self-released last year, on I, Voidhanger Records gives this EP a limited digipak release to introduce the band to a wider audience. Featuring a very raw and direct sound with some Punk/Hardcore elements, similar to bands like Bosse-de-Nage, 20 minutes will pass by in seconds in this very promising release.
Opening with the ravaging “Chaos Apologist”, the listener is quickly immersed with a very chaotic and punishing sound. The band’s brutal onslaughts change from almost Nordic BM riffs at first, to a more diverse and crafty and all-out chaotic mode. Building on their dissonance, “God Raise The Sea” delivers a more carefully constructed onslaught of punishing riffs and some more experimental and jazzy melancholic passages, adding to the band’s unique musical approach, similar to what early Epel Duath used to do.
Unleashing nearly 40 minutes of crafty Technical Death Metal, today we have Italy’s Hateful and their third full-length release “Set Forever On Me”. While most bands in the genre currently focus on technical wankery, this band actually delivers cohesive songs that are both technically proficient and enjoyable to listen to. The band’s sound is a mixture of old-school Death/Necrophagist Tech Death Metal with a few modern touches, so you know you are in for a treat.
The band quickly blasts into the playful craftiness of “On the Brink of the Ravine”, flanked by intricate drumming and engaging riffs, the band sets a very hectic pace. The band’s ability to still sound like a traditional Death Metal band is quite evident as tracks like “Phosphenes” and “Oxygen Catastrophe” have heavy roots and just need some technical sprinkles to come together, and deliver brilliant headbanging passages.
As one of our most anticipated releases of 2020, today we have Chile’s Poema Arcanvs and their sixth full-length release titled “Stardust Solitude”. Being huge fans of their music since their “Iconoclast” album back in 2002, we love the band’s unique style that delivers a mixture of Moonspell and My Dying Bride branded Death/Doom. With nearly an hour of music, this release will certainly please their fans and fans of the genre due to the high quality of its eight tracks.
Opening with the album title, we get the band’s traditional heavy riffs, crafty drumming and the hypnotic lead vocals of Claudio Carrasco Garcia. The vocal arrangements and uniqueness alone is the signature of the band, while their creative and yet traditional sound perfectly complements them on tracks like “Orphans”, “Haven” and the playful “The Lighthouse Keeper”. Thanks to its very atmospheric mood, this last track creates a very decadent and melancholic vibe.
Crafting a very unique and yet recognizable sound, Finland’s Noumena delivers “Anima”, their latest full-length effort. Mixing a folkier edge to traditional Melodic Death Metal similar to bands like Wolfheart and early Amorphis, the band unleashes nearly one hour of expertly crafted music that will appeal genre nostalgics while introducing a few different elements into the mix.
After the folky opening with “Kaiku”, the band’s sound oozes emotions and melody in the superbly crafted “Saatto”. Alongside the weeping lead guitars and growls, we have lively clean female vocals and very solemn slower passages. In full-on Amorphis worship, “Murtuneet” and “Seula” made us instantly think that we had our playlist on shuffle, however, the band continues to infuse their uniqueness to the music with a jazzy bass guitar line and some killer guitar leads.
Hailing from France, today we have a very disturbing duo playing Depressive Black Metal under the name Suicide Circle. Delivering around 26 minutes of music, this demo release is split in four punishing songs that draw more on the raw and dissonant side of the genre. If you are looking for oppressive atmospheres to drown your sorrows, this release certainly will help you.
Opening with “From the Void of their Mind”, the band sets a very raw and stripped down atmosphere with their riffs and harsh screams. There is absolutely no flair or gimmicks in the band’s sound, as the tracks in this release are quite direct, basic, and to the point. We appreciate how the band’s sound needs very minimal external elements aside from the furious guitars and hellish drumming, as “Prophet of Doomsday” lays waste to the listeners.
Keeping the flame alive of Melodic Death/Doom Metal releases, today we have Australia’s Myridian and their killer third full-length release “Light in the Abyss”. Reminiscing of bands like October Tide, In Mourning, etc., this release delivers nearly 70 minutes of highly melancholic music filled with crafty guitars, lush atmospherics, and firm growls. We have no idea how this release made it to our inbox, but we are quite intoxicated by it.
Creating a fully immersive aural experience, “Light is Lost” starts with waves of melodic riffs, harsh vocals and a very mellow tempo that creates a highly melancholic vibe. The playful guitar leads and crafty instrumental passages nicely lead the way to the faster pace of “Nidellavir”, a track that includes some proggy experimental elements paired with solemn clean vocals. Keeping the melancholic vibe going, “Babylon” delivers a classical Death/Doom approach with contrasting vocal styles and firm riffing.
All the way from Israel, today we have a very unique and star-studded Death/Doom Metal release titled “Hollow”. With nearly 52 minutes of music, Tomorrow’s Rain's ambitious release pays off as they complement their very traditional sound with the talents of their guest musicians, creating one of the most powerful and refined releases of the genre. If you like melancholic Death/Doom Metal, it surely can’t get any better than this in 2020.
The release kicks off with the mood setting and mysterious “Trees”, a song that slowly builds up to the typical commanding Doom riffs and excellent growls. Featuring Aaron Stainthrope of My Dying Bride, “Fear” sets a darker tone with lush atmospherics, dramatic clean vocal arrangements, and crafty drumming. The only track that does not feature guests is “A Year I Would Like To Forget”, which allows you to actually get a feel for the band’s excellent melancholic sound and solid instrumentation.