Album Reviews

  • Felled - The Intimate Earth (2021)

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    Unleashing a very powerful and emotionally charged release, today we have Felled and their debut full-length “The Intimate Earth”. Perfectly mixing Black/Folk and some Doom Metal elements, this outfit creates a very unique and ravaging sound thanks to the misery-inducing Violin that accompanies all songs. Particularly reminding us of the short lived band Forty Days Longing, this is one hell of an emotional release filled with crafty songwriting.

    Immediately a very somber mood is set with the piercing “Ember Dream” and its dramatic arrangements. Weaving back and forth intense onslaughts and melodramatic tempo changes, this track perfectly blends Black Metal with a doomier edge and some Folky elements. The mixture of harsh vocals alongside sweeping guitar leads nicely evolve into a very cathartic closing. Showing the first track was not fluke, “Fire Season on the Outer Rim” nicely continues the dramatic aural experience by adding some clean female vocals into the mix.

  • Wizardthrone - Hypercube Necrodimensions (2021)

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    Unleashing one of the most over the top and yet brilliant Symphonic-whatever-Metal releases, today we have Wizardthrone and their debut full-length release “Hypercube Necrodimensions”. Featuring members from bands like Alestorm, Nekrogoblikon, Gloryhammer, and Æther Realm, this band creates a very explosive and lush Metal sound with tons of wacky influences and over the top orchestrations. Imagine Gloryhammer, Æther Realm, with a dose of Children of Bodom and Obscura, and you can almost approximate what this band sounds like.

    The release opens with the ravaging “Black Hole Quantum Thermodynamics”, perfectly blending dramatic orchestrations with heavy melodic guitars and a crafty use of harsh and clean vocals. The mood is set very epic from the start, and it never lets go as we can hear in the immersive “Frozen Winds Of Thyraxia” and the playful “Incantation Of The Red Order”, both tracks filled with killer guitar leads and well crafted tempo changes.

  • Powerwolf - Call of the Wild (2021)

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    There are two things that are guaranteed in life: death and taxes, one more thing that should be added as a third guarantee: Powerwolf will deliver epic music. With “Call of the Wild”, the band returns with over 40 minutes of high-octane lush Power Metal unlike any other band can deliver... maybe Sabaton, but that is it. Filled with epic songs, soaring choirs and arrangements, alongside the band’s traditional hilarious lyrics, this release is what everybody was expecting.. and then some.

    Opening with “Faster Than the Flame”, the band slowly builds ambiance before exploding into lush vocal arrangements, and a very perky overall feeling of epicness. Attila Dorn’s signature lead vocals mark way for expertly crafted Power Metal antics, including blistering guitar solos and superbly crafted drumming as tracks like “Beast of Gévaudan” and “Dancing with the Dead” deliver. The band’s cheeky musical style feels more refined, as the songs feel more grandiose than before.

  • Nigrum Pluviam - Eternal Fall into the Abyss (2021)

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    One-man battalion Nigrum Pluviam is ready to unleash to the world its debut full-length “Eternal Fall into the Abyss”. Released through Signal Rex, mastermind Kraëh Määtruum delivers one of the most punishing and lo-fi releases of 2021. With a sound from the 90’s and a legit production style, the listener is treated to 40 minutes of cavernous and demoralizing music.

    Opening with the mysterious intro “The Whisper of the Black Rain”, things really get down and dirty with the pummeling “A Catharsis for the Wretched Carrying the Divine Cross”, a track that quickly reminds us of bands like Fimbulwinter and old-school Gehenna. As tracks like “The Reflection of Your Agony in the Vulture's Eyes”, and “Devotion to Absolute Evil” spew their rawness, we can enjoy some blistering tremolo-picking alongside hellish vocals and a very oppressive atmosphere.

  • Ulvik - Cascades (2021)

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    Hailing from Northern Canada, today we have Ulvik and their hypnotic Atmospheric Black Metal release “Cascades”. With elements from outfits like Wolves in the Throne Room, Saor, and similar bands, this release unleashes over 30 minutes of punishing BM filled with lush atmospheric elements and an eerie vibe. If you like meticulously constructed music that is both brutal and engages all your senses, this is the album for you.

    Opening with the expansive “Baaltis”, we are treated to an unsettling calm in the first few minutes that slowly escalates into blistering guitars, harsh screams, and very hypnotic drum patterns. As this track dramatically scales back and turns into a lush cinematic experience, “Nokhur” follows up with unapologetic rawness. We particularly enjoy how the ‘clam’ interlude allows for some respite just before more hellish vocals and dissonant guitars disrupt the flow of things.

  • Lantlos - Wildhund (2021)

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    Seven years have passed since Lantlos released “Melting Sun”, an album that turned the page from the early Post-Black Metal days into more sonically diverse and immersive territories. With “Wildhund”, Markus Siegenhort further develops his musical exploration and delivers over 50 minutes of superbly catchy and sonically engaging music. If you like heavy, lush, and sonically imposing releases that are not quite Metal music, this album should peak your interest.

    The release quickly sets a very dreamy mood with the lush atmospherics of “Lake Fantasy”. This track continues the “Melting Sun” style of soaring vocal arrangements alongside powerful distorted guitars and generous atmospherics. “Magnolia” nicely continues with playful tempo changes and lively clean vocals alongside a commanding bass guitar line and crafty drumming.

  • Year of No Light - Consolamentum (2021)

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    Nearly eight years have passed since Year of No Light’s last full length release “Tocsin”. Making all the wait completely worth it, “Consolamentum” delivers a monumentally sonically abusive 55 minutes of soul-crushing instrumental Post-Metal/Doom. Competing with the latest Amenra release, this album explores the depths of sound with its punishing onslaughts and nicely evolves the band’s already signature style.

    Opening with a few minutes of drone/atmospheric intro, “Objuration” slowly builds up to massive riffs and oppressive drum patterns. The atmospherics nicely further elevate the band’s sound, creating very contrasting and dissonant sections. The second piece, “Alétheia” burns even slower with a dreamy Post-Rock-ish/Shoegazy intro that gradually escalates into sweet sweet heaviness.

  • Xasthur - Victims of the Times (2021)

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    It was quite a shock when we listened to the first cross-over dark/neo folk Xasthur release as we expected the band’s older style. However, we managed to get over it as many years have passed and actually enjoyed their Prophecy Fest 2018 (USA edition) performance quite a lot. In “Victims of the Times”, Malefic delivers around 70 minutes of engaging dark and somber music that could be described as a combination of King Dude, Dornenreich, with some Americana elements.

    Not everybody can pull off the Dark Folk style, but as the album starts with “Same Old Suspects”, it is instantly clear that Malefic perfectly blends somber arrangements with crafty guitars and a personable voice. Mixing in acoustic 1 -2 minute long interludes between the first 10 or so tracks brilliantly works for this release as a transition between tracks like “Mirror in the Face”, “Fairy Tale Ideologies”, and “Stars Amongst Failures”, allows the songs with vocals to be better framed and more effective.

  • Enshine - Transcending Fire (2021)

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    Perfectly blending melancholy and melody, today we have the latest EP of international duo Enshine, titled “Transcending Fire”. Highly recommended for fans of In Mourning, Insomnium and similar outfits, this release delivers 20 minutes of highly refined melancholic music. Slowly evolving since their 2013 debut release, the band seamlessly blends different influences in a highly appealing and atmospheric package.

    Opening with the title track, we are treated to a slow and melodic intro with lush guitar arrangements and highly melancholic atmosphere. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals works in perfect harmony as the track weaves back and forth between heavy passages to more exploratory melody interludes. One of the band’s greatest strengths is the ability to create highly enjoyable songs that are conducive of both fearless headbanging and hypnotic contemplation, as we can hear in “Awake in Void” and the dreamy “Ascend”.

  • Fractal Universe - The Impassable Horizon (2021)

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    With the Progressive/Technical Death Metal scene getting crowded, it is hard to find releases that are both excellently crafted and technically proficient. It takes good musicians to do the latter, but an excellent band to do first. France’s Fractal Universe have been slowly refining their trade and with “The Impassable Horizon” the band reaches new heights. Rivaling cohesive albums from bands like Between the Buried and Me and Obscura, this release is brilliant in all its aspects.

    Opening with “Autopoiesis”, we instantly get blistering onslaughts of crafty drumming, intense guitar solos and a wide variety of crushing vocal arrangements. Not stopping at just awesome, “A Clockwork Expectation”, “Interfering Spherical Scenes”, and “Symmetrical Masquerade” perfectly blend virtuosity with excellent songwriting skills. With influences ranging from more traditional Tech Death Metal, to Jazzy and even Groove/Djent Meshuggah-esque elements, each track is a unique and expansive musical journey.

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