Album Reviews

  • Marianas Rest - Fata Morgana (2021)

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    Unleashing crushing melancholy and gloom, today we have Finland’s Marianas Rest and their third full-length release “Fata Morgana”. For being huge fans of Melodic Death/Doom Metal we are quite shocked that we never heard of this band before, but we are glad that this has since been corrected. Featuring Aapo Koivisto of Omnium Gatherum fame, this band delivers some of the most impressive and demoralizing melancholic music we have ever heard.

    Creating an unsettling mysterious atmosphere in “Sacrificial”, the band starts building up the pummeling momentum of this release with solid atmospherics, diverse guitar styles and subtle piano passages. Jaakko Mäntymaa vocals perfectly fit the overall mood of the band’s sound, as their versatility (shrieks to growls to clean) allows the band to not sound like any of their other Finnish counterparts. “Glow from the Edge” keeps the misery rolling with bleak guitars, and haunting female vocals courtesy of guest Lindsay Schoolcraft, further elevating the band’s atmospheric brilliance.

  • Shadows - Shadows (2021)

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    When it comes to weird and out of the ordinary music, we are always on looking for the next weirdest thing. Today, via Agonia Records, we have Shadows and their self-titled debut EP. Led by Alex Bouks of Incantation and Goreaphobia fame, this band unleashes a very intoxicating and unique release with a blend of musical styles within Metal and bordering with Rock and Goth elements.

    Opening with the somber “Ghosts of Old”, we get an interesting mixture of crafty drumming, firm riffs and a very moody tempo. The clean vocals remind us a bit of the band EverEve, with a certain twang added to them. The album’s atmosphere is quite dark and enjoyable as tracks like “Shadows”, “Night of the Goat Winter Moon”, and “Elders” have a nice mixture of warm and fuzzy psychedelic distortion with engaging tempo changes and very solemn vocals.

  • Ordo Cultum Serpentis - Derej Najash (2021)

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    Delivering a 26 minute slab of crushing music, today we have International entity Ordo Cultum Serpentis and their debut EP “Derej Najash”. Featuring two tracks of 13 minutes each, the band’s sound is as close as we can imagine the depths of hell to sound like. Mixing a great deal of ambient elements with chugging slow riffs and creepy vocals, this release is perfect for a dark somber night.

    Opening with “Chapter 1”, the album starts with a ritualistic vibe of eerie chants and sounds and slowly descends into madness with superbly slow distorted guitars and desolate atmospherics. As the track evolves, there are fierce fast-paced passages with hellish shrieks and a very cavernous vibe. The second piece, “Chapter 2”, continues with the ritualistic atmospherics and sparse drumming, slowly building into savagely punishing simple riffs and more disturbing vocal arrangements.

  • Gorr - Kvit Som Snøen, Kald I Blikket (2021)

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    Hailing from the frosty lands of Norway and South Carolina, today we have International duo Gorr and their latest full-length release “Kvit Som Snøen, Kald I Blikket”. Delivering over 25 minutes of raw Black Metal, this outfit unleashes an interesting mixture of rawness and mid-tempo atmospherics, creating a very unique and engaging sound. If you like Black Metal that while sounding like it was recorded in the woods, it also has a more thoughtful and melancholic edge, then you should definitely check this out.

    Opening with the mellow “Innleiing”, we get a nice contrast between simple guitars and raspy harsh vocals. Skuggimaðr is the band’s vocalist and Norwegian member, whose singing style perfectly fits the duality of the band’s sound. Tracks like “Bitande Kaldt”, “Kvit Som Snøen, Kald I Blikket”, and “Ditt Uendelege Raseri”, are your run of the mill BM songs, with some Death Metal and even Doomy influences that makes them interesting and nice complement to the more atmospheric pieces like “Mørkt Føre, Mørke Bak” and “Kom Ut I Mitt Mørke”.

  • The Amenta - Revelator (2021)

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    It has been a while since we have heard anything from Australia’s weird Industrial Metal outfit The Amenta. Returning with “Revelator”, the band continues their path of weirdness with an interesting blend of experimental elements and Industrial Metal foundations, creating a very chaotic and yet interesting sound. If you like odd and unconventional music with a good dose of heaviness, this release has some nice surprises in store for you.

    The release starts with the pummeling “An Epoch Ellipsis”, a track that starts with a similar pace to Anaal Nathrakh’s music, but quickly shows that it is a completely different beast with funky tempo changes, soaring clean vocals, and some underlying industrial elements. The uniqueness of “Sere Money” nicely changes the pace a bit as the band showcases their more melodic and catchy side, with lush rhythmic sections and a nice blend of harsh and clean vocals.

  • Evergrey - Escape of the Phoenix (2021)

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    Originally not big fans of the band, with their last few releases they have converted us thanks to their engaging Power/Progressive Metal with somber undertones and the fantastic voice of Tom Englund. In “Escape of the Phoenix”, the band builds up on the success of their previous album and delivers nearly one full hour of high-octane music with tons of mood changes and soaring vocal melodies.

    The release opens strongly with the heavy guitars of “Forever Outsider”, a track that nicely sets a very dynamic mood thanks to the funky keyboards. One of the first heavy hitters is the very melodic and catchy “Where August Mourn” and its dreamy atmospherics paired with Tom’s emotive vocals. This track has some nice Dark Tranquillity vibes to it as well. After the power ballad “Stories”, the album’s best song “Dandelion Cipher” delivers waves of soaring vocal arrangements, heartfelt lyrics and very explosive instrumentation, making it an instant epic.

  • Empyrium - Über den Sternen (2021)

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    Empyrium has a way of making fans way for long periods of time for new music, but yet when they release something, all is forgotten as the band’s sonic magic appeases even the most disgruntled fan. Just making us wait seven years, instead of twelve as in the last time, Schwadorf and Thomas Helm return with over 52 minutes of music that manages to merge the band’s original ingenuity and ferocity, with their more refined and Folky sound of their later releases.

    The release opens with the solemn acoustic guitars of “The Three Flames Sapphire”, a track that slowly moves into more complex territories with the lush clean vocals of Thoman Helm and layers of additional classical elements. However, one of the most interesting parts is the introduction of distorted guitars and harsh vocals, turning the track’s mood in a completely new dimension and bringing back “A Wintersunset...” vibes, and this is just the first song.

  • Hån - Breathing the Void (2021)

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    Crafty and melodic Black Metal releases are on the rise with bands like Uada and Mgła, Switzerland is throwing their hat in the ring with Hån and their latest release “Breathing the Void”. Featuring over 46 minutes of blistering music, this release perfectly balances raw aggression with melody and a top-notch production. Highly recommended for fans of this modern approach to a timeless genre.

    After an ominous intro, the album title track delivers waves of crushing guitars and intense drumming. The band does a solid job in crafting intelligent tracks that are marked by catchiness and aggression. Similar to bands like Misþyrming, the melody infused by the twin-guitar attack into songs like “Olethrus”, “Enter An Eternal World”, and “Goatman”, serves as the perfect contrast to the harsh vocals and the tempo changes.

  • Epica - Omega (2021)

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    Unleashing one of the most explosive and bombastic releases of 2021, today we have Epica and their latest opus “Omega”. Featuring over 70 minutes of music, this release capitulates on the band’s experience, execution, and expansive sound to deliver their strongest album to date. With all of their signature elements taken into a new level, this release is exactly what all fans are expecting.

    After setting a magical and mystical tone with the opening intro, the band’s explosive sound in “Abyss of Time - Countdown to Singularity” perfectly delivers their well-balanced bombastic sound with rich classical arrangements and crushing distorted guitars. One of the band’s virtues is how they can create very playful tracks while pitting the sweetness of Simone’s vocals against Marc’s growls and aggressive riffs, as crafted in “The Skeleton Key”.

  • Moonspell - Hermitage (2021)

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    Portugese legends Moonspell mark their return with a very unique and captivating release titled “Hermitage”. Featuring over 52 minutes of very emotive and dreamy music, the band will surely surprise their fans with this melancholic Gothic/Dark Metal release. With a darker edge to their sound, this release takes a bit to sink in, but once it does, it delivers some of the finest musical moments the band has ever produced.

    The release kicks off with the mysterious “The Greater Good” and its crafty drumming alongside enigmatic atmospherics and subtle layered guitars. Fernando Ribeiro’s signature deep vocals give that extra element of mystery to this track as he goes from clean passages to harsh sections. The enigmatic atmosphere continues with the hard rocking opening of “Common Prayers”, a song that slowly introduces additional atmospheric elements and a very epic bass guitar line.

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