After all the new releases and surprise returns from many of our favorite bands, Tenhi was the one we least expected. Marking their first release in nearly 12 years, after the excellent “Saivo”, the band returns with “Valkama”. Featuring 12 tracks and 70 minutes of solemn and enigmatic music, it is like the band never left as the melancholy and mysterious beauty of this release oozes through your speakers. Needing no introduction, if you are into Dark Folk/Neo-folk music, and never heard of Tenhi, you are missing out.
The release kicks off with the gentle and immersive “Saattue”, the band always crafts dark and powerful atmospheres with very minimal instrumentation and this track is a clear example of this. Fully enveloping the listener in the band’s world, “Valkama”, “Kesävihanta”, and “Rannankukka”, are tracks that mix lush acoustic guitars with hypnotic Finnish-only vocal arrangements and very subtle atmospheric arrangements.
The highly underrated Graveworm is finally back after eight years since their last release and with “Killing Innocence” they are making up for lost time. With a very unique mixture of Melodic Death/Black/Gothic Metal, this band has released some pretty epic albums over the years and they now unravel ten tracks and around 50 minutes of highly engaging music. Hailing from Italy, this band has a very unique sound and a knack for highly melodic songs, as this release is a testament to.
Opening with “Escorting the Soul”, we get a sinister and engaging atmospheric introduction that slowly transforms into pummeling drumming and crafty riffing. Having a certain Hypocrisy-esque vibe from their “The Fourth Dimension” period, “We are the Resistance” is an excellent track with excellent guitars and tempo, creating a very mysterious and yet highly melodic piece. The band’s sound has a retro-sounding component to it, drawing older listeners like ourselves into their style.
As one of the most fun and over the top Symphonic Power Metal, Gloryhammer is finally back with the highly entertaining and equally solid release “Return to The Kingdom of Fife”. This release has plenty of lol’s alongside very well crafted and executed songs that will appeal to fans of bands like Sabaton and Powerwolf, but with a less serious and more playful edge.
Setting a regal mood with the album intro, the listener is quickly treated to the playfulness of the keyboards of “Holy Flaming Hammer of Unholy Cosmic Frost”. The only newcomer in the band is Sozos Michael is a very talented vocalist, as we can hear in songs like the epic “Imperium Dundaxia” or the playful “Wasteland Warrior Hoots Patrol”.
Unleashing a gargantuan slab of Funeral Doom Metal, today we have Australia’s moodiest outfit Mournful Congregation with part two of “The Exuviae of Gods”. Clocking in at nearly forty minutes of excruciating misery inducing music, this release features three highly demoralizing tracks. If you like your Doom to be slow, painful and soul-crushing, you know that there is no other band better than these guys, and with this release they continue to up their game.
Unleashing their traditional ravaging intensity, Immortal is back after five years with the blistering “War Against All”. Delivering nearly 40 minutes of head banging glory, this release is as great as you can expect from Demonaz and company. We have always been great fans of the band’s intense guitar driven approach and they never fail to disappoint as this one is filled to the brim with masterful riffing and crafty drumming.
Opening with the album title track, we immediately get transported back to the simpler days of “Battles in the North”. As we transition into “Thunders of Darkness” and the superb catchiness of “Wargod”, the band’s old-school signature style perfectly blends with the crystal clear production values. We particularly enjoyed “Return to Cold” and “Nordlandihr” filled with epic head banging moments, and some excellent melodic passages.
With a highly polished and equally crushing Progressive Death Metal/Grindcore sound, today we have Cattle Decapitation and their latest demoralizing release “Terrasite”. Unleashing 50+ minutes of music in 10 tracks, the band unravels their most punishing release to date. Aging like a fine wine, this outfit has constantly evolved their sound to be a great balance of brutality with technicality and atmosphere, creating some of the nicest sounding imposing releases in the scene.
Opening with the dramatic “Terrasitic Adaptation”, we get some chilling atmospheric keyboards, courtesy of Dis Pater, aka Tony Parker, alongside imposing riffs and the insanely dynamic vocals of Travis Ryan. We particularly love how the band goes from 0 to 100 in seconds, unleashing hellish drumming, diverse vocal styles and an overall sense of brutality unlike no one else. Perfect examples of this devastating style are songs like “We Eat Our Young”, the more traditional DM “The Insignificants”, to the extravagant bombasticness of “A Photic Doom”.
In the last few years we have increasingly gotten into Psychedelic/Occult Rock/Folk bands as the music is quite engaging and different to our regular dose of distorted guitars and harsh vocals. Sleep of Monsters falls in this category, with a very unique and intoxicating sound. Hailing from Finland, the band is ready to drop “ΓΓΓ”, featuring ten tracks and nearly 50 minutes of enigmatic music. For fans of bands like Sabbath Assembly, Årabrot, Hexvessel, King Dude, etc., this outfit will certainly haunt you with its gloomy moodiness.
Getting down to business with the sultry “Black Blacker Than Black”, the band sets a very mysterious and yet lively mood. With a multi-pronged vocal approach, the overlay of female and male clean vocals works wonders, adding depth to the band’s sound and creating some lush moments on songs like the gloomy “Language of the Birds”, or the more upbeat “Alexandia” and “Melinoe”. Aside from the band’s crafty vocal melodies, the instrumentation in this release is quite warm and fuzzy, creating very unique soundscapes, captivating the listener as hits like “Language of the Birds”, “The Singer”, and the mystical “Nyktophoros” roll around.
It has been a while since we had new music from Germany’s Heretoir and their dreamy post-Black Metal music, since 2017 to be exact. With the EP “Wastelands” the band unleashes three new songs and three live recordings, creating a solid mix of anticipation and insight into the band’s intense live performances. If you are a fan of the genre, or outfits like (older) Lantlos, Ghost Bath, and Alcest to some degree, you should not miss out on this excellent band and this solid release.
Opening with the expansive “Anima”, perfectly layering mellow vocal arrangements and the band’s signature guitars. We particularly enjoy the tempo changes and overall atmospheric brilliance of the song, creating a very engaging and yet dynamic soundscape. Our favorite track in this EP has to be “At Dusk” and its dreamy vocals overlaid over atmospheric arrangements, certainly having a very Alcest-ish vibe to it from their “Shelter” days.
Constantly delivering lush and bombastic releases, Morten Veland and Sirenia return once more with “1977”. In this album, the band further evolves by incorporating synthwave and even 80’s rock sounds to their already crafty and engaging music. For over 49 minutes, the band serenades the listener with a rollercoaster ride of emotions and tempos, creating for a very diverse and explosive release, filled with surprises for new and old fans alike.
Opening with the bombastic “Deadlight”, Sirenia kicks things off with one of their signature epically catchy tracks filled with engaging arrangements and the Gothic Metal darkness that we all love from them. Over the last seven years, Emmanuelle Zoldan vocals have been perfectly fitting the band’s explosive and yet introspective style, delivering soaring chorus sections and heartfelt ballads, as we can hear in “Wintry Heart”, “Nomadic”, to “Oceans Away”.
Few Melodic Death Metal bands have had the consistency and tenacity of Omnium Gatherum. Slowly building up their reputation when they were on LifeForce Records until their switch to Century Media, the band has gradually gotten better and better. With “Slasher”, the band reminds us of their quality with four killer tracks, one cover, two outtakes from their 2021 “Origin” release, and a brand new song. Be prepared to headbang non-stop from start to finish of this sweet EP, so be warned and be ready.