Making our start of 2019 a lot more gloomier, today we have SLOW and the re-recording of their 2015 release “IV - Mythologiæ”. Helmed by the multitalented Déhà, this outfit delivers some of the most painful and crushing Atmospheric/Funeral Doom to ever exist and with this release they unleash nearly 60 minutes of monolithic bleakness. Only for fans of bands like Thergothon, Shape of Despair, etc., this music will certainly strike a nerve with its sheer raw power.
The album kicks off with the desolate soundscape painted by “The Standing Giant”. This track starts with minimalist atmospheric elements and weeping guitars that slowly progress to powerful riffs and deep growls. The pace of this song makes it just magical, allowing the listener to be at the edge of their seat for over 10 minutes. The build-up is one of our favorite elements of the genre and on “The Drowning Angel”, we get a majestic one that takes nearly half the song but unravels into demoralizing brilliant as the song comes to a climax.
After a busy 2018 with live appearances, Saor return with yet another brilliant Atmospheric/Folky Black Metal release with “Forgotten Paths”. Filled with magical and lush melodic passages, this album delivers over 38 minutes of intense and mystical music. With a very busy touring schedule in 2019, this is the perfect album to conquer hordes of new fans and followers.
Opening with intensity, the album title track leads way for a musical experience filled with crafty guitar melodies and very dreamy atmospherics. There are even moments that Saor dwells in more Alcest-like passages in this lush and quite intense piece. The buildup on songs like “Monadh” is just brilliant, showing the listener just little peeks of what is to come as the track comes unraveled through its moody tempo changes and expert instrumentation.
Following a killer 2018 in terms of Melodic Death Metal releases, it is now the turn of Italy’s Lahmia to make their case with “Resilience”. Being blown away by their 2012 debut full-length “Into the Abyss”, we are more than psyched that this album is even better. Featuring eight tracks and over 50 minutes of neck-breaking Melodic DM, the band combines elements of outfits like Kalmah, Amon Amarth, Insomnium, etc into a juicy melting pot of brilliance.
The towering pummeling riffs of “Elegy for a Dying Sun” instantly give that epic and melodic vibe that bands take years to master. With a knack for epic headbanging passages, this release perfectly flows into superbly catchy tracks like “Her Fanatic Call” and “Divide Et Imperia”. While the Amon Amarth influences are obvious, the band weaves them into their own sound with superb craftsmanship and attention to details. We particularly enjoy how the mood varies between tracks as “The Frayed Lines of Time” opens with a more epic and melodic atmosphere that evolves into a full-blown moshing masterpiece.
Originally a side project of Ed Guy’s mastermind Tobias Sammet, Avantasia has grown to be a full-fledged act which features tons of guest appearances and very engaging and cinematic musical experiences. In the vein of artists like Ayreon and the Trans Siberian Orchestra, this band delivers some of the most lush and intricate releases filled with interesting topics and colorful characters. With “Moonglow”, the band unleashes on hell of a release with over 70 minutes of music.
The experience begins with the lush and dramatic “Ghosts in the Moon”, a track that nicely sets a very grandiose mood. Filled with catchy vocal melodies and superb instrumentation, this track leads way to a very lively and emotional rollercoaster ride. The second track quickly rolls down the red carpet with killer vocal contributions from Ronnie Atkins, Jørn Lande, Hansi Kürsch and Mille Petrozza, making it one the the most bombastic and engaging songs of the release.
Delivering the first truly pummeling Black Metal sonic abuse of 2019, today we have Barshasketh and their self-titled fourth full-length release. Featuring over 53 minutes of blistering BM, this band is set to conquer the scene with the relentless music filled with oppression and destruction. Out on World Terror Committee, this band’s release has the seal of approval of a label that always releases high quality BM albums.
Instantly abusing the listener with their incisive riffs, “Vacillation” sets a very intense mood to start the album. The band’s sinister music is crafted to perfection, playing around with slower tempos to create a very cavernous atmosphere, like on the crushing “Resolve”. In the two parts of the track “Consciousness”, the band nicely crafts a very powerful atmosphere with intricate riffing and a pulsating bass guitar line that will make your speakers rumble.
Unleashing one of the most disarming releases of 2019, today we have Germany’s A Secret Revealed and their devastating blend of Post-Metal. As the band’s sophomore release, “Sacrifices” is one hell of an emotional rollercoaster with eight complex compositions that will transport you to some very bleak and desolate soundscapes. LifeForce records has great taste in music, and this band is no exception to their expertly curated roster of artists.
The onslaught begins with the tense and mysterious “Grieved”, a track that starts very dreamy in a certain Post-Rock/Shoegazey way and transforms into a crushing piece filled with piercing vocals and monstrous riffs. With a Black Metal-esque edge to it, “The Isolation” reminds us of German bands like Sun Worship and Der Weg einer Freiheit, thanks to its ferocity and tempo. One of our favorite tracks is the very dynamic “Ashes”, which slowly builds up momentum is a very commanding way.
As one of the most unique up and coming bands, today we have Ukraine’s Jiner and their latest EP: “Micro”. Mixing up elements of Groove Metal, Progressive Metal, Nu Metal and even some Hardcore/Rapcore elements, this band turns heads with their intense style and charismatic front woman: Tatiana Shmailyuk. Featuring five tracks, this EP should stir up some more momentum for the band as they tour Europe with Amorphis and Soilwork this year.
Wasting no time, “Ape”kicks things off with crafty tempo changes and intricate guitar work to set a vibrant and aggressive move immediately. Things get a bit more melancholic with the groveness of “Dreadful Moments”, which features some Meshuggah-like chops and brilliant hellish hash vocal onslaughts. The riffing power of “Teacher, Teacher!” when contrasted with the rap-like vocals make up for a very odd and yet intoxicating track.
It is not everyday that you receive a release from a band hailing from Iran. With our curiosity peaked, Eternal Candle’s debut full-length “The Carved Karma”, is one hell of a Progressive Death/Doom Metal release. Combining elements from old-school Death Metal, Doom Metal all perfectly paired with a Progressive edge, this release delivers almost one full hour of masterful music. For fans of old Opeth, Katatonia, My Dying Bride, this release will certainly resonate with you.
Immediately after the dreamy instrumental opener, the band gets down to business with the sheer power of “The Ripped Soul”. Reminding us of Amorphis on their “Privilege of Evil” days, this track is heavy and pummeling, thanks to its powerful riffs and old-school vibe. Things quickly move into more Progressive / Katatonia-esque territories with the intricate “Sick Romance”, and even further into old-school Death/Doom influences with “A Path to Infinity”.
Ever since ‘bumping’ into their set at ProgPower USA in 2018, we have been quite taken by Soen and their mixture of Progressive Rock/Metal music. With “Lotus”, the band opens up 2019 with a captivating release filled with crafty melodies and soaring vocal arrangements. If you like proggy/dreamy music, this is definitely the band for you.
Opening the release, “Opponent” sets a very playful and yet somber tone. Intricate guitar melodies perfectly intertwined with a pulsating bass guitar line and tight drumming. As “Lascivious” and “Martyrs” roll, we are intoxicated with the versatile vocals of Joel Ekelöf and how they are perfectly complemented by crafty percussions and very subtle keyboards. The band’s ability to craft unique songs with a proggy foundation and a very dramatic mood is exactly what makes them stand out from the rest.
As the first review of 2019, we are quite glad that it is Soilwork’s latest opus “Verkligheten”. Featuring a more melodic and catchy edge, this release continues the band’s musical progression into more engaging and innovative territories. Picking up where they left us with “The Ride Majestic”, the band delivers heaps of superbly catchy chorus sections, expertly crafted vocal melodies and lush instrumental arrangements that will have you hitting the repeat button more than a few hundred times on this release.
Immediately after setting the mood with the mysterious album title track, the band hits the gas with a furious combination of blistering drumming and a harsh vocals. This opener is definitely quite heavy and very fitting as the song transforms back and forth between harsh and brutal to more melodic thanks to Björn Strid soaring clean vocals. After catching the listener by surprise with the intensity of the previous song, the band keeps things hectic with the hard rocking riffing of “Bleeder Despoiler”. This track provides an interesting combination of some Heavy Metal-esque influences mixed together with the band’s brand of Melodic Extreme Metal they have refined over the years.