Album Reviews

  • GOLD - Why Aren’t You Laughing Now (2019)

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    Hailing from the Netherlands, GOLD is a band that has been on our radar for quite a while since we saw them at Roadburn festival in 2013. Playing a interesting mixture of Dark Rock with Post-Metal/Punk/etc. elements, this band has a very unique and crafty sound that instantly makes them recognizable. With the current wave of bands playing Psychedelic Rock and all variants, GOLD is one that stands above the rest thanks to their crafty music and interesting amalgamation of styles.

    As soon as “He is Not” opens, we get a certain mysterious vibe and then the sultry vocals of Milena Eva take over the driver’s seat. As one of the signature elements of the band, Milena’s vocals are the perfect mixture of enigmatic and intoxicating. After the opening track ends with a Post-Rock-ish passage, the band changes pace to a more mellow lounge-ish tempo in “Things I Wish I Never Knew”. The guitar work is quite excellent and there are definitely more than a few layers to digest.

  • Waste of Space Orchestra - Syntheosis (2019)

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    Luckily for those of us unfortunate to Waste of Space Orchestra at Roadburn, Svart Records releases a perfect quality recording of this event with “Syntheosis”. For the uninitiated, this project is a collaboration between Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising, two of the most exciting genre-bending bands to ever come out of Finland. Clocking in at 65 minutes, this a unique musical exploration that transports the listeners to a bizarre plane of existence.

    Slowly building up, “Void Monolith” starts the performance with an introduction to craft psychedelic extravagance thanks to the warm and fuzzy distorted guitars and trippy synths. The madness truly begins with the chaotic “The Shamanic Vision” and its crushing drumming. The deranged vocals make this song even more terrifying thanks to their unique range and style. The underlying melodies of songs like “Seeker’s Reflection” and “Journey to the Center of Mass” are quite intoxicating with a certain jazzy vibe, and perfectly crafted around trippy tempo changes.

  • NONE - Damp Chill of Life (2019)

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    There are good releases and then there are those albums that crawl under your skin and make you crave for more. NONE has continuously delivered some of the most punishing and bleak Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal releases since its inception and “Damp Chill of Life” is yet another brilliant addition to their discography. Filled with haunting atmospheric elements and just the right amount of heaviness, this release is one of the best in the genre for 2019, so don’t miss out.

    After the atmospheric opener, the album title track kicks off the release properly with an enigmatic pace and punishing distorted guitars. Additional atmospheric elements create a very vast and desolate soundscape that will immerse you in misery and sorrow. If the previous song was not punishment enough, the minimalist opening to “Cease” sets a very grievous mood with sparse piano notes to warm up. The song’s climax comes with heavy distorted guitars, crushing vocals and a killer slow pace.

  • Eluveitie - Ategnatos (2019)

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    Unleashing one of the most lively and engaging Folk Metal releases of 2019, today we have the legendary Eluveitie with “Ategnatos”. With the ‘new’ band members settled, this release delivers a more cohesive and in a certain way exploratory sound that further improves the band’s catchiness with more upbeat and exciting elements. Featuring over 60 minutes of music, this is a release that all fans of the band will love and enjoy.

    Leading with the album title track, the band quickly starts telling their story and sets a very ‘medieval’ mood with their lush instrumentation, rich vocal arrangements and powerful distorted guitars. The band’s uncanny abilities to perfectly mix their Melodic Metal side with intricate arrangements of folk instruments is top not as we can hear in the multi-faceted “Deathwalker”. For those looking for the folkier side of things, this release does not disappoint with excellent tracks like “Black Water Dawn”, “The Silvern Glow” and “Trinoxtion”.

  • Armagedda - The Final War Approaches (2019)

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    This re-issue of the Black Metal classic “The Final War Approaches”, showcases Armagedda and their raw sound that inspired legions of BM bands to this day. Originally released in 2002, this release has aged very well as we still get 20-30 albums a year that try to capture the grittiness of such old-school albums. Armagedda has long split-up, but this debut release is a testament to their contributions to the early days of Black Metal.

    Opening with the intense “Deathminded”, we instantly get that old-school European Black Metal rawness with its intense riffing and hellish vocals. The signature punk-ish drumming on tracks like “Sign of Evil” and “Skogens mörka djup” keeps the songs tight and engaging. The songs in this release perfectly combine speed and all-out destruction with more moderate melodic passages, similar to bands like Satyricon and Enslaved (early days). Vintage songs like “Unholy Sacrifice” are the types of tracks that got us into BM back in the day, and are still effective in delivering the genre’s aggressive message.

  • Latitudes - Part Island (2019)

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    Unleashing a truly contrasting and quite engaging release, today we have Latitudes and their latest opus “Part Island”. Perfectly blending Sludge, Post-Metal and even some Black Metal-ish elements with dreamy clean vocals, this release will weird you out at first, but will captivate you by the second track. With over 43 minutes of music, the band creates six intricate tracks that feel like you are listening to Amenra or The Ocean with and incorrect vocal track.

    Opening with a folky build-up, “Underlie” creates the perfect mood to blow the listener away as the wall of distortion creeps up with thundering riffs. This big transition introduces the band’s pummeling sound in whole and will completely catch the listener off guard. This lush mixture of dreamy vocals and pummeling guitars is perfectly developed in pieces like “Moorland Is The Sea”, were the band slowly builds up an ethereal atmosphere that shifts moods with the heavier onslaughts.

  • Nordjevel - Necrogenesis (2019)

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    Taking the scene by storm, Nordjevel has been destroying stages with their ravaging Black Metal assaults in the last couple of years. With “Necrogenesis” they unleash 47 minutes of intense music that puts them on the level of bands like Old Man’s Child, Dark Funeral and Marduk. With vicious intensity and a knack for melody, this Norwegian band’s sophomore release is very refined and highly stylistic, blowing past any expectations.

    The album kicks off with the savage “Sunset Glow” and its intricate riffing. The band quickly makes a statement with the sheer intensity delivered by the aggressive guitar melodies and crushing harsh vocals in this opener. The onslaught continues with the violent riffing of “Devilry”, a track that reminded us of early 2000’s European Black Metal. The Dimmu Borgir-esque “The Idea of One-Ness” is definitely one of our favorite tracks, thanks to the crushing atmosphere created and the blistering drumming.

  • Laster - Het wassen oog (2019)

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    Completely taking the boundaries of Black Metal for a spin, today we have Laster and their latest effort “Het wassen oog”. Featuring over 44 minutes of truly bizarre and yet completely intoxicating music, this release will have you listening to it over and over and over to discover all the little weird and quirky details baked into their music. If you like outfits like Mord'A'Stigmata and Fruze, you will find this band amazing.

    Opening with the dreamy and intense “Vacuüm ≠ behoud”, the band opens a can of weird after the first couple of minutes. This track features a very comfy pace and dreamy guitars, flanked by a mixture of intense harsh vocals and ethereal clean vocal sections. The overall atmosphere is quickly established to be kind of dreamlike and very trippy, thanks to the throbbing bass guitar lines and the funky jazzy elements thrown into the mix, like the piano arrangements of “Schone schijn”.

  • Aoratos - Gods Without Name (2019)

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    From mastermind Naas Alcameth (Nightbringer, Akhlys), today we have a very interesting Black Metal/Dark Ambient release titled “Gods Without Name”. Under the moniker of Aoratos, this outfit unleashes nine highly atmospheric pieces to comprise their debut release. Full of ideas perfectly executed, this release is in the vein of experimental BM bands like Blut Aus Nord as well as Mysticum and with some hits of Diabolos Rising thrown in the mix.

    After setting a very hellish ambiance with “Parallax I”, the band slowly drifts into heavier territories with the ravaging “Holy Mother of Terror”. The band unleashes a commanding aural onslaught filled with dissonant riffs and blistering drumming. Paired with hellish vocals, the attack continues as “Of Harvest, Scythe and Sickle Moon” unravels. The band’s sound is both raw and punishing without the need to sound like it was recorded on a shed, allowing the listener to experience it at full blast and not damage their speakers.

  • Helevorn - Aamamata (2019)

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    Getting over 50 promos a week, sometimes we miss excellent releases like Helevon’s “Aamamata”. Hailing from Spain, this Gothic/Doom Metal outfit took around 5 years to unleash their latest effort, but it was definitely worth the wait. With nearly an hour of music, this release further evolves their sound into more atmospheric and epic territories. If you are a fan of bands like My Dying Bride, The Foreshadowing and similar outfits, this release should be in your collection.

    The release opens with the lively riffs of “A Sail to Sanity”, in this opener, the band has their older more direct Death/Doom Metal style, delivered with a catchy bass guitar line and solid tempo changes. The band steps up their efforts with the gut-wrenching “Goodbye Hope”, perfectly blending clean and harsh vocals with subtle piano elements and clean guitars. Josep Brunet signature vocals brilliantly infuse songs like “Blackened Waves” with raw emotions.

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