Album Reviews

  • Chrome Division - One Last Ride (2018)

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    Riding one last time, Norway’s infamous hard rockers Chrome Division unleash their last opus “One Last Ride” this November. Featuring 12 superbly catchy tunes about boozing and women, this release is full of attitude and the band’s signature playful music. Catering for fans of The New Black, The Carburetors, and similar outfits, Shagrath and company have consistently delivered highly memorable music since their inception 15 years ago and with Eddie Guz back on vocals they decide to sign off into oblivion.

    Straight out of a Robert Rodriguez movie, the epic opener “Return From The Wastelands” sets a very epic vibe for such an intoxicating release. Pummeling through “So Fragile”, we are quickly reminded of Eddie Guz signature vocals and while bittersweet that Shady Blue is not participating, Eddie’s vocals were made for this kind of music. The album’s first standout hit is the majestic “Walk Away in Shame”, with is playful chorus section and insanely funny lyrics.

  • The Moor - Jupiter’s Immigrants (2018)

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    It is rare for us to find a release that is just so catchy that we drop everything else we have to review and focus 100% on it. Luckily for us, The Moor’s latest album “Jupiter’s Immigrants” falls in this very elusive category. Delivering nine brilliant and super melodic tracks, this Italian band managed to capture our undivided attention for hours on end. Mixing Progressive Metal and Rock elements, this album will captivate you since the first few seconds until the last note.

    Opening with the highly melodic riffing of “Lead the Difference”, the band’s vocal melodies are what hooks you right in. Reminding us a bit of Edu Falaschi’s Almah, this band does a super job in oozing melody and catchines as we can hear in the album’s titled track. Packed with hefty dose of heavy riffs, subtle atmospheric keyboards and the guest appearance of Mikael Stanne, this title track is hands down one of the best songs of 2018.

  • Anomalie - Integra (2018)

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    After unleashing one of the most intricate en exciting releases of 2017 with “Visions”, Anomalie returns with a brilliant four song EP titled “Integra”. Led by Chris Marrok, Anomalie is a force to be reckoned crafting very powerful music which explores the depths of both brutality and atmosphere to perfection. Delivering nearly 30 minutes of music, this EP is the perfect continuation of the band’s unique musical trajectory.

    Opening with the ritualistic and atmospheric intro to “Rebirth”, the band sets a decadent mood that expertly layers harsh riffing and intense drumming delivered on a masterful pace. This track features eerie vocal arrangements that help further the songs atmospheric prowess. “Aurora” rolls in with a vicious Black Metal onslaughts that nicely change the dynamics of the EP as it changes the pace back and forth.

  • Décembre Noir - Autumn Kings (2018)

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    Arriving just in time for those long and dark Autumn/Winter days, today we have Décembre Noir and their monumental third full-length release “Autumn Kings”. Oozing with melancholy, this German band delivers eight soul crushing tracks that clock in at around 70 minutes of music. Perfectly crafted for fans of old Insomnium, Forest of Shadows, Rapture, etc., this release is gearing up to be the best one of its genre in 2018.

    The album kicks off with the atmospheric build-up of “In the Pouring Rain” as it suddenly erupts in mournful riffs and firm growls. Perfectly immersing the listener into their melancholic sound, the band slowly progresses into heavier and more sinister territories with some crushing passages. The album title track continues the gloomy vibe with more incisive riffs and brilliantly crafted tempo changes, which allow the song be engaging and never get dull.

  • Sylvaine - Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone (2018)

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    Packed with tons of great releases, this 2018 fall also gives us a brand new Sylvaine album. Filled with her characteristic charisma and angelic vocals, “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone” is another brilliant step in her career which features a more consolidated sound and plenty of memorable songs. The combination of fragility, craftsmanship and occasional burst of aggression make this release one of the best albums of 2018.

    Opening with the album title track, Sylvaine slowly builds up with an intense bass guitar line that leads into dreamy vocal arrangements a very melancholic pace. The track continues with some brilliant instrumental passages that feel exploratory in nature, but very well fitting to the overall mood of the song. The Shoegazey/Post-Rock-y vibe arrives in full force with “Mørklagt” a very lush track that explores the more ethereal side of Sylvaine’s music, but not without some heavier sections thrown into the mix.

  • The Ocean - Phanerozoic I: Palaeozoic (2018)

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    After unleashing one of the most gargantuan releases of 2013 with “Pelagial”, The Ocean comes back at us with part one (out of two) of the “Phanerozoic” releases. Intended to be in the middle of their “Precambrian” and “Heliocentric” / “Anthropocentric” releases, both conceptually and musically, this album showcases the band crafting their signature enigmatic atmospheres surrounded by heavy crushing riffs and melancholic vocal melodies.

    Slowly building up in the opener “The Cambrian Explosion”, we are treated to an atmospheric opening with playful synths that creates tension and expectation. Things blow wide open on “Cambrian II: Eternal Recurrence” as we are greeted with powerful guitar riffs and intricate drumming. This lush track perfectly layers the aggressive wall of sound with a combination of harsh growls and fragile clean vocal arrangements. Full of surprises, the band’s music is very carefully crafted to feature playful elements that are slowly discovered the more times you listen to each track.

  • Unleashed - The Hunt for the White Christ (2018)

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    Back in the day when we started listening to Metal music, a loooong time ago, we remember having a tape of the Unleashed debut “Where No Life Dwells” and worshipping their ‘different’ sounding Death Metal music (in comparison to their American counterparts). Fast forward 27 years and the band’s sound is still timeless and equally punishing. With “The Hunt for the White Christ” the band continues to spread that heavy and crunchy old-school Swedish Death metal sound.

    Bursting at the listener with “Lead us Into War”, we are instantly enveloped by the band’s sinister old-school sound. The guitars are flowing, the pace is hecting and the timeless vocals of Johnny Hedlund rattle our speakers as tracks like “You Will Fall” and “Stand Your Ground” demolish our eardrums. We particularly enjoy songs like “Gram” were the riffing is vicious and more mellow passages are perfectly introduced to keep the listener guessing and never bored.

  • Sirenia - Arcane Astral Aeons (2018)

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    Morten Veland and company have been quite busy since their last release and now presents us with another master class of Symphonic/Gothic Metal with “Arcane Astral Aeons”. Featuring nearly one hour of music, this release continues the band’s exploration of highly atmospheric and energetic music through 12 excellent songs.

    The band kicks off with the lush “In Styx Embrace” in typical Sirenia style with a heavy hitting super catchy tune filled with dramatic choir arrangements and piercing distorted guitars. Continuing with the hectic pace and dramatic orchestral arrangements, “Into the Night” is perfectly led by Emmanuelle Zoldan’s charismatic vocals. The way that the band’s music envelops the listener in over the top atmospheric elements is brilliant and one of the reasons we love the band’s music.

  • Outre - Hollow Earth (2018)

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    Right up there with Behemoth, Vader and Hate, Outre is one of the most brutal and demoralizing Metal bands to come out of the Polish scene. Delivering another ravaging release with “Hollow Earth”, the band focuses on unleashing pummeling tracks filled with hate and destruction. Greatly improved from their 2015 debut “Ghost Chants”, the band is here to stay and level audiences and listeners in their path.

    Setting the mood with a foul atmospheric intro, the release does not wait to hit hard with the blistering pace of “The Order of Abhorrence”. The band’s new vocalist, Mateusz Zborowski, keeps things interesting with a wide range of styles and levels of intensity that perfectly drive the aggression of the musical foundation. The guitar work in this release is exemplary as layers upon layers of distortion and crafted to create very thick and demoralizing walls of sound, like on “Combustion” and “Let the Earth Be Silent”.

  • Oberon - Aeon Chaser (2018)

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    Unleashing a very lively proggy release with “Aeon Chaser”, Norway’s Oberon self-labels their music a Gnostic Rock and they are not very far from the truth. Exploring a wide palette of sounds in their 11 songs, the band perfectly pairs acoustic passages with tons of atmospheric elements alongside a Progressive/Folk Rock core. In a similar vein than bands like Anathema, this release contains very well crafted songs that have a high replay value.

    Opening with the dreamy “Omega”, we are instantly taken on a very trippy journey with songs that remind us of outfits like Yes and Marillion. The band’s progressive core allows them to craft intricate songs like “Walk in Twilight”, “The Secret Fire” and “Surrender” filled with memorable guitar melodies and soaring vocal arrangements. For those that like dreamier songs, “To Live to Die” crafts a very delicate atmosphere that nicely progresses as layers of additional elements like subtle piano arrangements are introduced.

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