Unleashing their latest bombastic Symphonic/Power Metal opus, today we have Amberian Dawn with “Looking for You”. Featuring a very retro and yet futuristic vibe, the band delivers over 40 minutes of lush music filled with captivating vocals and superbly catchy arrangements. If you are a fan of bands like Avantasia, Sonata Arctica and similar, you will not be disappointed by this release.
The album opens with the sonically brilliant “United”. Delivering retro synths that give you an 80’s vibe, this track is quite catchy as this majestically pairs with Capri’s signature vocals. With a heavy emphasis on dramatic futuristic (for the 80’s) synths, tracks like “Eternal Fire Burning”, “Looking for You”, and the explosive “Two Blades”, create a very upbeat and playful atmosphere. The dynamic sound of the band nicely keeps the listener engaged thanks to its craftiness.
Unleashing one of the first 2020 contenders for Black Metal album of the year, today we have Finland’s mysterious duo with “Gnosis”. While most bands follow a marked path, Aethyrick brilliantly blends elements of traditional BM with more refined atmospheric/Post-BM influences with an overall punishing but melodic approach. Always keeping the listener engaged, this release features over 40 minutes of dramatic and high quality music.
Opening with the moody “Will Embodied”, Gall and Exile set a furious tone with blistering riffs and hellish drums, however it is the melancholic guitar leads and the overall oppressive atmosphere that sets the band apart. With certain influences of outfits like Vanum, Ash Borer and Post-Black Metal elements, the band’s style is quite refined and cut-throat as we can her in crushingly melodic tracks like “Oneiric Portals” and the heavily atmospheric “Stellar Flesh”.
Aside from the cringey name, Goats of Doom hails from Finland and it is ready to kick some ass with their high-octane Black Metal that reminds us of the melodic brilliance of Catamenia. Unleashing over 35 minutes of frosty music, the band does a great job in crafting intricate melodies that are just perfect for headbanging on a nice cold winter night.
Kicking off with the catchiness of “Mustan Unen Äiti”, the album sets a very intense and yet melodic tone that is rare to find these days. The epic guitar leads and hash vocal perfectly blend as the pace intensifies and the riffs continue to rip through our speakers. Avoiding repetition, the band’s track have blistering tempo changes and crafty drumming to keep things interesting when contrasted by slower paced passages with clean vocals and folky/pagan Metal vibes on tracks like “Kuolonkorjaaja” and “Sinne Mihin Valheet Ei Yllä”.
Unleashing one of the most furious and yet catchy releases of 2020, today we have one-man battalion Midnight with “Rebirth by Blasphemy”. With over 16 years of existence, this release is surprisingly the fourth full-length record after a large series of EPs, splits and demos. Thanks to its completely intense live shows and the superb catchiness of their music, Athenar has managed to get signed to Metal Blade Records and now can conquer bigger stages with his intoxicating music.
Opening with the blistering “Fucking Speed and Darkness”, you get that Speed Metal vibe crossed over with Punkish elements and a hearty dose of Black Metal. This is indeed the band’s signature sound and it is perfectly paired with a completely bonkers attitude of chaos and not giving many fucks. This is clearly materialized on pummeling tracks like “Escape by Blasphemy”, “Devil’s Excrement” and the retro-sounding “Rising Scum”.
Today we have a highly melodic Black Metal entity called Vananidr and their latest full-length release “Damnation”. With a vicious edge to their sound, this band perfectly blends old-school Melodic BM elements with modern production values and a knack for long and seizure inducing headbanging passages. Showing that you don’t need too many bells and whistles to deliver a punishing performance, this album is one of the most direct and yet well-crafted releases we have heard in quite a while.
Opening with the hurricane like-tempo of the blistering drumming of “Distilled”, the listener is treated to a ravaging song with crafty tempo changes and a very oppressive atmosphere. The harsh vocal snarls perfectly pair with the sinister atmosphere crafted by the band’s mixture of piercing guitar riffs and melodic tremolo-picking passages, as perfectly outlined on the album’s title track and in the superbly catchy “Hunter”.
Sneakily released on the 24th of December, Sargeist unleashes nearly twenty minutes of their signature brand of Black Metal with “Death Veneration”. As one of the premiere bands of the genre, these Finns craft four intense anthems filled with furious riffing, devilish vocals and blistering drumming. As a great addition to any BM collection, this EP deserves to be heard and purchased.
Blasting the listener straight to hell with the pummeling “To Make Wolves of Men”, we have Profundus spewing his inhuman shrieks to the tune of Shatraug and VJS furious guitar work. With their signature rawness and intensity, the band transitions into the machiavellian “To Feast on Astral Blood”. We particularly enjoy this piece a lot thanks to its highly memorable melodic passages that are just brilliant for an intense headbanging session.
Just when you think you have a band figured out, Unreqvited continues to push its aural boundaries with the lush and brilliant “Mosaic II: la déteste et la détresse”. Taking the best elements of its earlier releases and adding more dynamic and contrasting ones, this one-man outfit manages to create a magical atmosphere that is quite hard to come out of. If you are into Atmospheric Post-Black Metal and you think you have heard it all, this release will change your opinion.
Opening with subtle atmospherics in “Nightfall”, the track slowly evolves into an excruciating passage to the bowels of hell thanks to its punishing shrieks. However, the music stays dreamy and ethereal, creating a very interesting and powerful contrast. With a heavier vibe, “Wasteland” continues spiraling into madness with dramatic guitar work and intricate drum patterns, creating a very visceral and yet melodic experience.
Hailing from San Francisco, Lotus Thief has slowly been evolving into one unique and captivating musical outfit over the years. On their latest effort, “Oresteia”, the band takes their sound a step further by unleashing eight tracks of enigmatic Avantgarde Metal with tons of Doom and ambient influences. Highly recommended for people that like somber, exploratory and at the same type captivating music, this album will elevate your state of awareness with its uniqueness.
The release opens up with haunting vocal arrangements in “Agamemnon”, a very mystical track that slowly crafts an enigmatic atmosphere. Things get heavier as the melodic guitar leads give way to creepy piano laden passages. Being the first track, this song truly captures the uniqueness and intensity of what is to come. Allowing the listener to fully digest the first onslaught, “Banishment” is a trippy atmospheric piece that sets up the progression into the captivating “Libation Bearers”. The crescendos in this track are quite magical as the band perfectly creates magical soundscapes filled with harsh vocals and delirious laughs.
Featuring two of our favorite artists, this Sylvaine and Unreqvited EP kicks off our 2020 reviews with a bang. Showing a slightly different face of both artists, this release will submerge the listener into their ethereal realms while delivering over 25 minutes of dreamy music. If you are a fan of either, you can’t miss out on this very magical release.
Opening the EP we have Sylvaine with “No More Solitude”, an acoustic piece that is full of raw emotion and dramatic piano passages. With “Falling”, we get a darker and more solemn piece that is nicely adorned by Sylvaine’s dreamy vocals arrangements and minimalist guitars. Both tracks are devoid of Metal elements, showing a more fragile side of the artist.
Today we are almost closing 2019 with some ritualistic Black Metal from Greece, under the moniker of Haxandraok. With “KI SI KIL UD DA KAR RA” this duo delivers a highly ritualistic crushing example of punishing and yet eerily atmospheric BM. With a certain Melechesh, Nile and even Orphaned Land vibe, this release delivers over 30 minutes of engaging music that will keep the listener on a heightened state of awareness.
Opening the release with lush middle-eastern arrangements, “The Temptress of UD DA KAR RA” slowly proceeds to unleash waves of piercing riffs and creepy clean vocals. The band’s sheer power is made quite evident with the level of intensity of this track, but the crafty tempo changes are what makes the song stand out. Crafting an ambiance of decay, “Ba'al Zel Bul at the Gates of NOX” continues spewing the band’s ritualistic message with more creepy vocal arrangements, intense drumming and crafty guitar leads.