Back in the late 80’s Mortician and Macabre were two of the most extreme and yet crafty bands in the scene, we remember listening to all those horror movie samples just before the bands wailed with pummeling fury. Macabre has slowly evolved over the years and with “Carnival of Killers”, the band delivers nearly 41 minutes of music in 16 pieces encapsulating both their heavy and their bizarre side. While I am sure this will appeal to older folks like us, there are still some interesting and downright hilarious things to discover from this release.
As their first album in nearly a decade, “Carnival of Killers” continues the band’s fascination with serial killers and delivers a wide variety of tracks that range from Grindcore to Thrash to plain weird, with some brilliant sing-along sections. Never as heavy as Mortician, tracks like “Your Window is Open”, “Richard Speck Grew Big Breasts” and “The Murder Mack”, do still deliver some powerful riffs and Thrash-tastic tempo changes, mixed with the band’s funky vocal melodies and funny lyrics.
With the state of affairs in 2020, music has been a great escape for many. With “Another World”, Light Field Reverie beautifully transport the listener on a highly ethereal journey with their captivating music. Featuring both members of Draconian and Sojourner, this release unleashes over 40 minutes of majestic music that incorporates tons of different elements outside of the normal Metal music scope.
Opening with the dreamy “Ultraviolet”, we are greeted with the sultry vocals of Heike Langhans and very moody atmospheric elements ranging from electronic beats, to dreamy synths. Alongside the atmospherics, we also have a well defined Doom-ish structure of heavy guitar riffs and crafty drums, creating a very piercing and yet enigmatic sound, as tracks morph between highly emotional passages to heavier counterparts, like on “The Oldest house”.
With hundreds of releases making into our inbox every day, we need to carefully pick which ones we listen to. Band releases that are ‘professionally’ submitted usually get our attention over non-major label releases. Lucky for us, today we have For Ruin and their killer self-released EP “Elapse”. Delivering nearly 20 minutes of blistering Melodic Death Metal, these types of musical discoveries are what makes our day at Infernal Masquerade.
Opening with the quick and pummeling “Elapse”, the band sets a very hectic and engaging energy from the get go. Reminding us a bit of bands like Kalmah and Mors Principium Est, this track nicely leads into the riffing acrobatics of “Fiel to the Fire”. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals is well balanced with the faster paced sections in this highly headbangable track.
Always delivering a truly hypnotic and ritualistic aural experience, today we have Dark Buddha Rising and their latest opus “Mathreyata”. Hailing from Finland, this outfit continues to captivate audiences with their piercing and ritualistic compositions, unleashing nearly 43 minutes of music in four tracks. For those that like heavy distorted guitars, trippy percussions and tempo changes, alongside a good dose of Drone, Sludge, and Pysch, this release is face melting.
Opening with the trippy “Sunyaga”, the listener is faced with a barrage of pummeling riffs alongside a psychedelic undertone. Vocalist Marko Neuman is one of those weird forces that seems to unleash multiple personalities while singing, creating a very mysterious and yet brutal aural. Feeling already numb and subdued, the second track “Nagathma” takes the eerie atmospherics to a whole new level thanks to some superbly creepy elements paired alongside crafty drum patterns and spacious guitars.
Unleashing one of the most impressive releases of 2020, today we have Countless Skies and their sophomore full-length release “Glow”. In a time that there is so much uncertainty and shittiness in the world, one of the things that brings smiles to people is music, and this is one of those releases that will captivate and change the mood of the listener from the first minute. If you thought that Dark Tranquillity was going to take the best Melodic Death Metal release of 2020, you better wait until you check this one out.
Opening with an instrumental intro, “Tempest” sets a very magical and wondrous vibe thanks to its crafty use of atmospheric keyboards and the soaring guitars. The mixture of harsh vocals and soaring clean vocals alongside epic guitar leads gives the song a certain proggy edge that makes it even more impressive. The magic continues with the lush “Summit”, a slowly building piece that shines a very bright light by combining elements of bands like Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum, with the roughness of Bela’kor. This track takes epic vocal arrangements to a whole new level for the band, creating an epic complement to their already superb core.
Hailing from Germany, today we have Melodic Death/Doom Metal outfit Décembre Noir with their harrowing fourth full-length release “The Renaissance of Hope”. Featuring nearly 50 minutes of firm and yet highly emotional music, the band delivers six brutal tracks that brilliantly balance fragility, aggression and melody. For fans of bands like Swallow the Sun, My Dying Bride, and similar outfits, this release will certainly bring some fuzzy warmness during the winter months.
Opening with the pummeling “A Swan Lake Full of Tears”, the band quickly establishes a hefty balance between incisive guitar riffs and gruff growls. Setting a high bar, this track is quite hectic and powerful even as it progresses into more melodic and solemn minimalist interludes with clean vocals. Those looking for heavier pieces, “Hope/Renaissance” and “Wings of Eschaton” are both quite pummeling thanks to crafty drum patterns and very heavy dueling guitar work. While many bands tend to become overly melodic, Décembre Noir’s sound is quite firm and ravaging.
The always mysterious and intoxicating sound of Völur is quite hard to describe but completely unique to experience. Delivering their third full-length release “Death Cult”, the band continues their path of darkness with a very lush, engaging, and captivating release. For nearly 40 minutes the band transports the listener into a very unique and mystical folky world that is beautifully crafted.
Starting with the hypnotic “Inviolate Grove”, the band quickly creates a very distressing atmosphere thanks to the dramatic use of string instruments and a captivating bass guitar line. For those not familiar with the band, Völur shies away from your traditional distorted guitars to a combination of pummeling bass guitar, electric violins/violas, and lush percussions, creating a very unique and dense atmosphere that can only be compared to some extent to parts of bands like Elend and early Silent Stream of Godless Elegy.
Striking while the iron is hot, Brazilian Black Metal duo The Kryptik follow up their crushing 2019 release with a superbly impressive EP titled “Behold Fortress Inferno”. With nearly 40 minutes of music, this release creates a very sinister symphonic atmosphere paired with hellish shrieks and blistering guitars to deliver one hell of a ride. If you like adorned, raw, and powerful BM, this is one release you can’t miss.
Setting a very cinematic and gothic mood with the album title track’s opening atmospherics, The Kryptik brings back the days of Charmand Grimloch and his Tartaros project. The chilling atmosphere is nicely complemented by the pummeling blast-beats and hellish screams, creating a very intense experience. The brutality continues as “The Plagues of the Abyss” and “Black Legions March” continue to perfectly balance eerie atmospherics, melodic passages, and creepy interludes with pummeling riffing and a pretty aggressive overall pace.
Unleashing one of the most diverse and engaging ‘traditional’ Black Metal releases in 2020, today we have Odiosior and their multifaceted “Syvyyksistä”. Taking elements from tons of different variants of the genre and wrapping them around a pummelling and frosty superbly raw core, this release changes colors like a chameleon. If you like diverse BM this is one of those releases that feels like a buffet of different flavors.
The release opens with the hyper violent “Viha Minussa” and its bestial onslaughts of shrieks of pain and intense guitars. Some more interesting elements start to appear, like haunting keyboards and funky atmospherics that will play a larger role as the album progresses. With a certain Darkthrone-esque rawness, “Takaisin Kaaokseen” has that playful Punkish sound with crafty drums and catchy passages. On “Laulu Pimeydessä” the band makes keyboards the focal atmospheric point, creating a very engaging and at times chilling song, with a certain horror-movie-like flair.
Perfectly crafted for those of us that like funky Black Metal with tons of unique and at times bonkers elements, Void Paradigm prepares to unleash: “Ultime Pulsation | Demain Brûle”. In this 38+ minute release, the band presents two songs that create very unique atmospheres and are full of intricate little details to discover. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Ved Buens Ende and Ephel Duath.
The release kicks off with side A, “Ultime Pulsation”, a chilling song that slowly builds up to a very chaotic catharsis and a hefty dosage of creepy atmospherics and stern vocals. With incisive and punishing riffs flanking the hellish vocals of Jonathan Théry, the release instantly induces anxiety upon the unsuspecting listener. We particularly enjoy how the crafty tempo changes and funky drum patterns shape how the song unravels to the listener while creating some interesting and subtle instrumental passages.