Keeping the Swedish Death Metal flag flying high, today we have another gargantuan release from legendary Centinex titled “Death In Pieces”. While the band went through a full line-up change before this album, Martin Schulman has pulled together a great cast and delivers the goods in the ten songs unleashed in this release. If you like older Grave, Entombed, and the usual Swedish suspects, this album will certainly bring back some good memories.
As the horns blow on the opening track “Only Death Remains”, we are instantly transported to the 90’s with the band’s timeless sound. In your face drumming and crafty riffs are just what the doctor ordered as tracks like “Derelict Souls” and “God Ends Here” continue to flow as an initial blast of energy. The band does not fuck around, and their craftiness is clearly demonstrated with the superbly catchy and traditional chugging riffs of “Tomb of the Dead”, one of our favorite tracks.
Always keeping us on our toes, Canadian label Hypnotic Dirge Records always delivers something truly unique and engaging. Today we have Omination’s one-track EP “The Pale Horseman”. Clocking in at around 26 minutes, this one-song gargantuan contribution delivers tons of influences perfectly blended together to create one hell of a memorable and captivating experience.
As the brainchild of Fedor Kovalevsky, this outfit delivers a very emotional piece that slowly progresses from church-like spoken sections to Neurosis-like harsh screams and then some. While the central features are slow Doomy riffs and lush atmospherics, the way that other influences are weaved between is quite unique and engaging. Dramatic synths and crafty vocal arrangements perfectly complement weeping guitars lead way to weird experimentation around the half-way mark and close off with some old, old Septic Flesh/On Thorns I Lay Doom dreaminess.
As one of the most fitting soundtracks for weird times, today we have Asofy’s latest release “Amusia”, which takes the listener into a highly experimental and chaotic journey. For nearly an hour, the listener gets transported into this one-man outfit’s world, filled with abstract textures and a highly melancholic atmosphere. If you like weird, this is one of the weirdest (and yet good) of 2020.
Opening with the moody “Agnosia”, we get some Jazzy glimpses with crafty percussions, subtle guitars and trippy vocals. The song feels very free flowing as it progresses between different moods. Continuing with the captivating “Palinodia”, we get a darker and more moody side of the band with minimalist arrangements and very eerie atmospherics. For those looking into heavier and creepier sounds, the album title track has a good kick as it eases into the harrowing madness of “Residuo”.
Not even the COVID-19 pandemic can stop Behemoth from spewing their powerful gospel, and “A Forest” is the evidence of it. Featuring two new songs and two versions of a cover of The Cure’s “A Forest” with Niklas Kvarforth on vocals, this EP continues the path of devastation the band has set upon their 2018 “I Loved You at Your Darkest” release. If you are looking for a way to stay entertained and headbanging through this pandemic, this short but sweet release will carry you over.
For those The Cure fans, Behemoth’s rendition of “A Forest” is a perfectly fitting one. Adding their own sinister touch and the incisive vocals of Niklas Kvarforth. The combined result is one hell of crushing track with ravaging guitars and punishing vocal onslaughts that perfectly bring the band’s touch to an already classic song. Both the studio and live versions are quite engaging, leaving us wishing we could witness the track being played live one day.
Unleashing one of the most cathartic albums of 2020, today we have October Falls and their latest opus “A Fall of an Epoch”. Seven years since their last release, the band returns with their blend of Atmospheric/Folky Black Metal that perfectly combines elements from bands like Ensiferum with the more vicious onslaughts of outfits like Behexen and Horna. With a hefty dosage of brutality and crafty introspective passages, this release will command your full attention for nearly 55 minutes.
The album kicks off with the bleak acoustic guitars of the title track, this solemn peace suddenly transforms in all-out- brutality with crushing riffs, blistering drums, and punishing screams. Within the all-out pummeling onslaught, there is a very nice melodic delineation that has that Folk/Pagan Metal vibe as it contrasts with melodic passages. On a slower tone, “The Endtimes Rising” delivers a nice blend of incisive guitar riffs and harsh screams, perfectly framed on a more melodic drum track.
In these pandemic times we have had tons of extra time to hunker down and enjoy music. One of the absolute highlights of this time has to be Mountaineer’s third full-length release “Bloodletting” and its oozing melancholy. Perfectly refining their mixture of Sludge/Doom/Post-Metal over the last few years, the band has hit its prime with this majestic 53-minute musical journey. The band’s uniquely crushing sound creates a very powerful and yet mellow atmosphere unlike anything else you have heard before.
Opening with “Blood of the Book” the band slowly builds up to harsh vocals and cascading guitar riffs. This track nicely sets a moody opening as it transforms into gargantuan walls of distortion and highly emotive clean vocals. Just getting warmed up, the band unleashes the superb catchiness of “The Weeds I Have Tended” and its crafty tempo changes. This track is one of our favorites, as it is both engaging and punishing while delivering the full spectrum of the band’s intricate sound.
As one of the most expect releases of 2020, today we have Iceland/Germany’s Árstíðir lífsins and their “Saga á tveim tungum II: Eigi fjǫll né firðir” release. With a very enigmatic and ritualistic approach, this band’s Black Metal onslaughts are perfectly flanked by rich lyrics and lush mood setting atmospheric passages. If you are looking for an intense release that sets a very dark tone by mixing plenty of different elements with crushing Black Metal, you do not want to miss out on this one.
Building an eerie atmosphere in its two first tracks, the band creates a killer anticipation for the ‘heavier’ stuff, as “Sem járnklær nætr dragask nærri” rolls. With a relentless drumming backdrop and pummeling riffs, this track sets a very punishing mood that is perfectly complemented by creepy choir arrangements and a sinister pace. With “Gamalt ríki faðmar þá grænu ok svǫrtu hringi lífs ok aldrslita” the band keeps their destructive momentum going with waves of energetic guitar riffs and crafty tempo changes. As the song progresses, you get a very epic vibe that usually Pagan BM bands manage to craft.
Unleashing a very dreamy and ethereal debut release, today we have Cosmic Burial and “Impakt”. Featuring over 75 minutes of instrumental music, this album goes from the bowels of hell, thanks to some furious BM onslaughts, to the depths of space, thanks to hypnotic atmospherics. Led by V. V. of Nachtig and Valosta Varjoon, this one-man battalion creates a very unique and enigmatic sound that will enshroud the listener from start to end.
Setting a very bleak mood with “EO40”, the track dabbles between solemn keyboards and harsh melodic riffs. Similar to bands like Lustre, but with a simpler tone and a more direct approach. Tracks like “VK184” nicely experiment with different tempos and create very unique melodic passages that can be considered brilliant headbanging moments. There is a certain magical aura behind the music, and this is thanks to the crafty use of synths.
For those looking for the Black Metal version of Secrets of the Moon, you can move along as there is nothing to see here. However, for those with an open mind, “Black House” continues the band’s evolution into Alternative/Gothic Rock/Metal territories with nine brilliantly catchy songs. While not entirely surprising to all, the band’s sonic evolution is quite interesting and this release shows their skills on a completely different playing field.
The album opens in a Katatonia-esque tone with the sultry “Sanctum” and its ridiculously catchy chorus section. This track oozes melancholy and darkness, while keeping things engaging and dynamic. On “Don’t Look Now” we have interesting vocal arrangements and very dreamy atmospheric keyboards creating a very playful back and forth between different moods. In just the first few songs, the band has set a completely different style for themselves and it works perfectly as tracks like “Veronica’s Room” and “He is Here” deliver very well crafted melodies that are perfectly flanked by unique vocal arrangements and engaging songwriting.
Unleashing a weird Black Metal onslaught, today we have a split release from two very promising and highly unconventional bands: Vuur & Zijde from the Netherlands and Impavida from Germany. With each band having a unique take on the genre, this split release shows us a glimpse of the future, and let us tell you: it is quite dissonant and punishing.
Vuur & Zijde opens this release with the haunting “Zonnesstorm”, a track that is nicely contrasted by some Chelsea Wolfe female vocals and furious guitars/drums, creating a very unique and powerful vibe. Waiting to come out after the band’s bursts of intensity are creepy atmospheric passages that set a chilling mood, as we hear on “Zilt”. Vocalist F. delivers a very intense and ethereal performance, particularly on the eerie “Noordzee” and its dramatic keyboards.