Unleashing one of the most expected releases of 2020, today we have Sweden’s Dark Tranquillity and their mesmerizing release “Moment”. Featuring over 50-minutes of superbly crafted Melodic Death Metal, the band continues to deliver their signature style music with a few additions courtesy of new guitarists Johan Reinholdz and Christopher Amott.
Opening the release with great style and energy, “Phantom Days” sets forth this aural journey with the futuristic keyboards of Martin Brändström alongside re-energized melodic guitar passages and exciting guitar leads. As both Amott and Reinholdz have integrated into the band, tracks like “Transient” and “Identical to None” change things up a bit and feel more energetic and engaging, with ripping solos and unparalleled guitar craftsmanship, to go alongside the band’s signature melody.
Atmospheric Black Metal is one of those genres where bands can either deliver excellent and chilling releases or just completely shit the bed. Luckily for us, Boreal’s debut full-length release “The Battle of VOSAD” is quite good, providing a solid experience to the listener. For fans of bands like Limbonic Art or Mysticum, this release creates a haunting and yet magical vibe.
Opening with the lush intro of “The Battle”, the band sets a very regal and fantasy-like ambiance before hitting the listener with a Mysticum-esque Industrial-ish sounding Black Metal with powerful vocals and solid riffs. The drums, which sound more like programmed drums, but you never know these days as software has gotten quite good, set a very martial and hypnotic pace, keeping the atmospheric elements flowing effectively and elegantly.
Unleashing a thunderously frosty release, today we have Greek battalion Sad and their latest full-length release “Misty Breath of Ancient Forests”. Delivering over 54 minutes of raw and crushing Black Metal, this band carries the flame of old-school BM with intensity and gusto. For fans of bands like Horna, Sargeist and similar, this album will pummel your senses from start to end.
The duo kicks off this release with the blistering “Self Hatred”, a track that brings that Satyricon “Mother North”-era vibe but with a sharper edge and pummeling guitars. With a very melodic approach, the band’s frosty style delivers a great contrast between non-stop aggression and well paced melodic passages. Tracks like the desolate “Enjoy Your Pettiness” and the two parts of the album title track create a very hectic and effective atmosphere.
As a fine wine, Carcass has nicely matured over time while keeping true to their signature sound, the band continues to aggressively tour and give killer performances. As a preview for their upcoming full-length release, the band delivers “Despicable”, just in time for Halloween. Featuring four tracks and nearly 20 minutes of music that will not be part of their next release, this album delivers the signature melodic/catchy Death Metal/Death’n’Roll sound we all love.
The release kicks off with the signature Carcass guitars of “The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue”. In this track we get a nicely paced piece filled with chugging riffs and crafty tempo changes. Jeff Walker’s usual snarl is as powerful as always, and on “The Long And Winding Bier Road” it shows that clean vocals can also create very catchy and engaging chorus sections, alongside pretty epic guitar leads.
Unleashing a very unique and auraly abusive release, today we have experimental/atmospheric Black Metal duo Shaidar Logoth and their gargantuan “Chapter III: The Void God” release. Featuring a mix of traditional USBM with more esoteric atmospheric/ambient elements and a splash of Post-BM elements, this release delivers over 47 minutes of creepily captivating music.
The release opens with the multi-layered “Nest of Pigs”, a track that slowly builds up with a very ethereal feeling thanks to the Post-BM-ish guitars in the first few minutes. The band’s aggressive side is not to be trifled with as this opener reaches a high point with blistering BM aggression through intense riffing and drumming. The band’s more atmospheric/ambient influences help transition this track into the cavernous “Anguish Cradle”. This song creates a very unique and effective oppression sound with a slow drawn melody and a chaotic ending.
France has been on the forefront of pushing Black Metal to new auditory levels with bands like Blut Aus Nord and Throane. Today we have the latter’s new effort: “Une Balle Das Le Pied” a one-track, 13-minute 7” release that continues Dehn Sora’s musical exploration with plenty of unique elements. Not for the close-minded, this short but sweet release encapsulates a very unique concept alongside hellish music.
Unleashing a hellish attack on your senses, the juxtaposition of Industrial elements and trance-inducing Dark Ambient influences creates a very thick and chaotic atmosphere, similar to what Yeruselem crafted last year but with a more punishing and hypnotic edge. The song is divided into three main movements separated by eerie interludes. However, every single part delivers relentless aggression with harsh screams and crushing guitars.
A bit outside of our regular reviewing domain, today we have electronic music project Bergeton and their debut release “Miami Murder”. Formed by Morten Bergeton Iversen (Teloch) from Nidingr and Mayhem fame, this one-man outfit crafts a unique mixture of video game-like music with more traditional electronic elements, and of course some heavy distorted guitars thrown into the mix. If you are the type of Metal head that enjoys Ulver and similar outfits, then this release will certainly appeal to you.
Kicking off with the hypnotic “Arabian Nights”, “Depeche Load, and “Fort Apache Marina”, we are instantly transported to the times of 8-bit music from Nintendo and old-school computer games. However, Bergeton adorns this style with more lush and rich electronic elements to these tracks and some nice ripping guitars to the former track. The playful nature of the music is quite engaging and far from linear, tracks like “Lambo” have a cohesive and yet differential feeling to them, keeping the album interesting and fresh.
As one of the most senior bands in the scene, Leaves’ Eyes has marked the path for countless others. With “The Last Viking”, the band delivers their signature bombastic music with a few additional surprises and great intensity. Featuring over 60 minutes of lush songs, this release showcases the band having fun while staying true to their lyrical and musical foundations.
Leading with the cinematic opener, “Death of a King”, the band continues with the folkier and Turisas-esque “Chain of the Golden Horn”. This very lively track unleashes masterful choir arrangements and Elina Siirala’s enchanting lead vocals. With a folkier and very dynamic guitars/drums approach, this and other tracks like “War of Kings” have a very epic and powerful sound. Our personal favorite is the dramatic “Black Butterfly” with its lush instrumentation and superbly catchy duet between Elina and Visions of Atlantis Clémentine Delauney.
Behind a crushing debut release, there is usually an equally inspired and punishing demo. With “Radical Malice”, Germany’s Slagmark showcases their relentless and grim approach to Black Metal that nicely transferred into their brilliant “Purging Sacred Soils” debut full-length. Now being released through Purity Through Fire, this demo unleashes nearly 20 minutes of raw and uncompromising old-school Black Metal filled with buzzsaw-like incisive guitars and hellish shrieks.
Opening with the ravaging “Behold the Raging Darkness”, the band sets a very hectic mood with bustling riffs and precise drumming. The screams are typical of such releases, but nicely round up the band’s raw and blistering aural approach. The demo title track continues the furious onslaught with another intense track filled with vicious guitars and a very desolate vibe, just perfect for unruly headbanging.
Delivering a fresh and quite engaging take on Post-Metal, today we have Finland’s Atlases and their sophomore release “Woe Portrait”. While many bands are staying within the confines of the genre, this band expands its boundaries with a very melancholic and melodic approach, filled with lush vocal arrangements, and additional atmospheric elements to create a very cohesive and expansive sound. As always, releases from LifeForce records continue to amaze us by their creativity and uniqueness, and this one is no exception to the rule.
The release opens with the punishing riffs and growls of “Dreadlight”, a very typical and powerful opening that gradually transforms into a completely pummeling riffing contest, setting a very hectic mood. “Halos” and “Eternia” change the pace a bit with a more hypnotic approach with lush clean vocals that suddenly merge with very aggressive onslaughts. These tracks have more of a Post Rock vibe with very interesting and powerful contrasting elements thrown in the mix, keep things heavy and dreamy at the same time.