Album Reviews

  • Hanging Garden - Skeleton Lake (2021)

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    Returning with an even more bombastic and yet misery inducing release, today we have Finland’s Hanging Garden and their latest effort “Skeleton Lake”. Moving a bit away from their traditional old-school Death/Doom Metal, the band steps in territories pioneered by bands like Tristania, Theatre of Tragedy, etc. with the addition of more Gothic/Pop-ish elements in the 46 minutes of music. If you like well crafted melodic, catchy and engaging music with diverse influences, this release will bring the band close to the previously mentioned bands.

    Opening with the lush and bombastic “Kuura”, new female vocalist Riikka Hatakka shines as her sweet voice is the perfect contrast to heavy distorted guitars and energetic growls. While the atmospheric component of the band’s sound is still present and the mournful melodic riffs are there, tracks like “Faith”, “Nowhere Haven”, and “Winter’s Kiss” add extra Gothic-like elements alongside additional catchiness. The use of clean male vocals also gives the band a certain To/Die/For edge, making their sound more dynamic than before.

  • Olhava - Frozen Bloom (2021)

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    Delivering an relentless wave of atmospheric brilliance, today we have Russia’s Atmospheric/Post-Black Metal/Blackgaze duo Olhava and their mesmerizing release “Frozen Bloom”. Filled with intensity, ravaging brutality, and yet unparallelled beauty, this release unleashes nearly 60 minutes of crushing music. For fans of bands like Lustre, An Autumn for Crippled Children, Heretoir, Alcest, Deafheaven, etc. this release takes the genre to a whole new level of intensity and explosivity.

    Opening with the towering “The Queen Of Fields'' and it’s 20 minutes of sheer intensity, we are treated to lush shoegazey guitars, pummeling drums, frosty harsh screams and crafty tempo changes. The switch between furious onslaughts and more delicate atmospheric dreaminess is one of the band’s strengths and signature moves. The dreamy instrumental “Adrift” paints a more restrained picture with lush arrangements and very introspective moments.

  • Dordeduh - Har (2021)

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    Creating a magical and transcendental aural experience, today we have Romania’s Dordeduh and their latest effort “Har”. It has been nine years since the band’s debut release and the wait was well worth it, thanks to the maturity and polish put into these 61 minutes of music. Mixing the early Negură Bunget folk mysticism with the modern proggy Black Metal elements of Enslaved, this release is filled with interesting passages and extremely intoxicating melodies.

    The album starts with the ritualistic intro of “Timpul întâilor”, as the song evolves we get that nice playful Enslaved-esque mixture of distorted guitars, crafty tempo changes, and mystical atmospherics. This opener clocks in at 12 minutes, giving the listener a great taste of what is to come, we particularly love the very melodic and dramatic vocal arrangements in this track. The sweeping guitars and keyboards of “În vieliștea uitării”, create a very imposing mood, perfectly contrasted by sinister harsh vocals, and more playful clean vocal arrangements.

  • Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen - Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen (2021)

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    With the COVID-19 pandemic canceling all touring plans for all bands, some special projects and solo albums have come out of this down time. Luckily for us, Esa Holopainen from Amorphis was already itching to come out with his own solo project: Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen. Featuring over 37 minutes of superbly catchy and moody music, Esa manages to capture some of his signature Amorphis sound while further exploring personal influences to create nine very unique and engaging songs.

    Featuring that warm heart-felth wonder of his Amorphis music, the opener “Silver Lake'' creates a mystical mood for this release. With each other song featuring guest vocalists, “Sentiment” delivers a very moody and a bit folky vibe with Jonas Renkse of Katatonia on vocals. The album’s first single comes under the name of “Storm”, with the talented Håkan Hemlin on vocals. This track has that certain epicness vibe that Esa is very proficient, while delivering uplifting atmospherics and crafty drums.

  • Inferno - Paradeigma (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity) (2021)

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    Providing a very enigmatic and expansive aural experience, today we have Czech outfit Inferno and their latest opus of decadence: “Paradeigma (Phosphenes of Aphotic Eternity)”. With a very oppressive and hard to describe style, we can just say that the band amalgamates elements of Blut Aus Nord and YERÛŠELEM, but still managed to create a truly immersive and punishing unique style. If you want to be mesmerized and subdued for over 35 minutes, this release is just what you are looking for.

    After the playful intro, “The Wailing Horizon” delivers a wave of furious riffs, massive drumming and crafty atmospherics. The immediate vibe is quie oppressive and it only gets more dominant as the harsh vocals roll into the picture. This blistering onslaught is nicely flanked by some catchy melodic passages and moody tempo changes. By the time we get to “Descent into Hell of the Future” we feel like a bag of bricks just hit us, and then the weird and playful industrial-esque elements of this track continue delivering an imposing hellish vibe.

  • Djevel - Tanker som rir natten (2021)

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    Unleashing a fierce and yet haunting offering of Norwegian Black Metal, today we have Djevel and their latest opus “Tanker som rir natten”. Slowly improving with each release, this outfit explores more atmospheric and eerie territories with the nearly 60 minutes of music unleashed in this album. Having the blistering BM core in the bag, this release showcases the band’s knack for enigmatic and creepy atmospheres surrounded by interesting vocal arrangements and slower and more melodic onslaughts.

    Opening with the razor sharp distorted guitars of “Englene Som Falt Ned I Min Seng, Skal Jeg Sette Fri Med Brukne Vinger Og Torneglorier” alongside some epic drumming, the release sets a very moody and yet sinister vibe. Just before the blistering tremolo-picking onslaughts, we love the eerie clean vocal atmospherics. The band’s sound is as vicious as ever, but with more playful and melodic passages as “Maanen Skal Være Mine Øine, Den Skinnende Stierne Mine Ben, Og Her Skal Jeg Vandre Til Evig Tid” and “En Krone For Et Øie Som Ser Alt, Tusind Torner For En Sønn Som Var Alt” punish the listener with aggression and creepy vocals.

  • Psychonaut / Sâver - Emerald (2021)

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    Featuring two of the most interesting and genre bending bands in Pelagic Records roster: Psychonaut and Sâver, “Emerald” is a massive 35-minute long EP. With each band doing just one long song, we get to perfectly enjoy the moody Post-Metal antics of Belgium’s Psychonaut, and the lush atmospheric intro to the punishing sound of Sâver. If you like Post-Metal and adjacent styles, you can’t miss out on this

    Opening with the introspective and slow-building “The Great Realization”, we get a very nice warmup to when the vocal arrangements quick in and the tempo changes go in full effect. This gives a certain dreamy and mellow effect that suddenly transforms with waves of heavy riffs and harsh vocals. The band’ perfect timing and elegant evolution creates very lively and mellow passages that are nicely contrasted with more dominant and loud yet also melodic sections.

  • Hymnr - Far Beyond Insanity (2021)

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    Unleashing a very frosty and devastating 44 minutes of harsh Black Metal, Hymnr’s debut full-length release “Far Beyond Insanity” is quite punishing. Combining crafty atmospherics with traditional tremolo-picking BM and some Doom elements, this release is by far conventional as it envelops the listener in a sinister shroud of mystery. If you like dense and demoralizing music, this release has plenty to offer.

    The release kicks off with the melodic riffing of “Part I”, a track that changes gears between blistering BM onslaughts and more catchy melodic passages, perfect for intense headbanging. What stands out of the band’s style is the deep vocals, that break away from your traditional BM shrieks, alongside heavier and slower riffs, giving it a certain Doom-esque edge, at certain times. However, blistering pieces like “Part II” and “Part III” are there for fans of shrieks and subtle atmospherics, creating very immersive experiences.

  • Odal - Welten Mutter (2021)

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    With a very well curated roster of artists, Eisenwald surprises us today with Odal and their highly melodic release “Welten Mutter”. Featuring over 47 minutes of crafty Pagan Black Metal, this German outfit manages to carve a unique style out of combining traditional elements with unconventional instruments. If you are into bands like Thyrfing and Månegarm, this is a band that will catch your attention.

    Opening with the melodically intense “...um Ewiges zu schaffen”, the band sets a very lively and intense mood with piercing guitars and catchy tempo changes. We particularly enjoy the band’s superbly melodic core, as waves and waves of riffs make tracks like this, and “Hellwach schwelgend”, and “Schattental” very enjoyable. The additional string instruments nicely give that Pagan/Folk BM edge to the music, breaking any monotony and keeping things interesting.

  • Cannibal Corpse - Violence Unimagined (2021)

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    Unleashing one of their most crushing and ravaging releases of their long career, today we have the legendary Cannibal Corpse and their latest effort “Violence Unimagined”. Clocking in at 42 minutes over 11 tracks, with the addition of Erik Rutan as lead guitarist, the band sounds refreshed and ready for blood. Rarely disappointing over the years, Cannibal Corpse manage to blow past expectations due to the sheer brutality and effectiveness of this release.

    As “Murderous Rampage” kicks off this release, we immediately see the fantastic interplay of Corpsegrinder’s signature growls alongside blistering guitar work, including some intense leads. With tracks like “Necrogenic Resurrection”, “Inhumane Harvest”, and “Condemnation Contagion” featuring the traditional meaty hooks, crafty tempo changes, and violent drumming, we found ourselves furiously headbanging most of the time.

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