Delivering a complete ‘holy shit’ moment, today we have the legendary Dødheimsgard returning with their first full-length release in eight years with “Black Medium Current”. While the band has continued to play live and deliver some truly enthralling performances, this release shows that the years of waiting were not in vain as it is their best release to date. Featuring nine tracks and nearly 70 minutes of masterful Avantgarde Black Metal music, this release will blow you away from the first couple of minutes.
The madness commences with the mellow opening to “Et smelter”, a slow momentum building couple of minutes until the relentless waves of BM riffs make their way. With Vicotnik and Tommy Guns handling the guitars, this opener oozes melancholy and intensity, perfectly paired with unique vocal arrangements and a very oppressive atmosphere. This unique and chaotic vibe is nicely continued with the ravaging and temperamental “Tankespinnerens Smerte”, a track that nicely leverages dreamy vocals and brilliant melodic interludes.
It has been a while since we heard from Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris and their highly polished and expertly crafted Progressive Extreme Metal. Luckily, 2023 marks the return of the band with a crushing full-length release titled “Exul”. Featuring six tracks and nearly one hour of high-octane and brilliantly crafted music, this release sets a whole new standard for a band with extremely high quality releases. If you like outfits like Persefone, Ihsahn, Be'lakor, Cynic, and older Opeth, you will love this release.
The album kicks off with the brilliant “Equus”, a masterful piece filled with crafty drumming, an insane bass guitar line, all alongside dramatic violin arrangements and punishing vocals. For 12 minutes, the opener lays down the foundation of highly polished aggression mixed in with lush instrumentation and a very dark and somber mood. Now that the band is warmed up, they rip through the two part “Misericorde” masterpiece, with the first piece, “As the Flesh Falls”, nicely creating a playful Obscura-esque foundation of guitar wizardry and dramatic clean vocals. The second part, “Anatomy of Quiescence”, is even more dramatic with even more lush and jazzy violin arrangements thrown into the mix.
Just when you think a band and their music can’t get any better, ISON comes at us with the majestic “Stars & Embers”. Daniel Änghede brings back Lisa Cuthbert to achieve total dreaminess in the eight tracks presented in this release. Perfectly blending Ambient with Darkwave and some additional ‘Doomgaze’ elements, this release is both haunting and captivating. While it might require a specific mood for full enjoyment, this release has been a great backdrop to some long days at work.
The release opens with the lush and sidereal “Luminescent Reverie”, a piece that instantly transports the listener to have an astral projection experience as the music blends with the hypnotic vocals and masterful pacing. ISON always has this experience on us, as their music is quite lush in the atmosphere and vocals department. Lisa’s range is amazing, allowing her voice to shift across songs this release progresses, additionally, Mikael Stanne lends his signature clean vocals in a duet on the shoegazey “Peregrination”.
Slowly inching their way into being one of the most exciting Gothic Death/Doom Metal bands in the scene, Hanging Garden returns with their latest full-length release “The Garden”. Featuring eleven expertly crafted tracks filled with melancholy and lush atmospherics alongside enchanting female vocals and a mixture of growls and clean male vocals. As huge fans of the genre, this release has that magical Theater of Tragedy “Aegis” vibe paired in with a modern sound and brilliant productions.
Opening with the crushing album title track, we get a slowly building piece with excellent heavy passages and a very solid dose of melancholy. Riikka Hatakka’s vocals have a certain Liv Kristine-esque vibe while unleashing unparalleled sweetness to a dark and somber mix as tracks like “The Four Winds”, “The Construct”, and “The Song of Spring” showcase. With each tracking having great melodic undertones, the songs in this release are both catchy and yet eerie and dark.
After some years out of the spotlight, legendary vocalist Liv Kristine is finally back with a full-length release that is as lively and engaging as any of her previous works. While her 2021 EP “Have Courage Dear Heart” was a nice teaser, “River of Diamonds” fully expands on its dynamics and delivers one hell of a catchy, raw, and heartfelt release. If you have been a fan of any of her work with either Theatre of Tragedy, Leaves’ Eyes, or her solo releases, you know that this album will feature tons of excellent vocal melodies and superb songwriting.
The release kicks off with the lush “Our Immortal Day” and Liv’s enchanting vocals immediately come front and center. Particularly when dueting with Østen Bergøy, this opener is bombastic and quite exciting as it gives off some ToT “Aegis” vibes and we love it. This release also has a more raw and personal side to lyrics, particularly on strong songs like “No Makeup”, “Gravity” and “Maligana”, both tracks that showcase a new side of Liv and her personal growth.
As the brainchild of Thomas Eriksen, Mork is one of those well polished bands that perfectly blends melody and catchiness with traditional Norwegian Black Metal. With “Dypet”, the band’s sixth full-length release we get 47 minutes spread out in eight tracks filled with sinister melodies and a very dark and eerie vibe, exactly what the doctor ordered for a cold and rainy day.
The release sets a dark and melancholic tune with the opener “Indre demoner” and it nicely transitions into typical Mork melodic madness with “Forført av kulden” and “Svik”. Keeping the band as a one-man outfit, the music is well honed into their signature style and every detail is quite polished to create a signature experience that the earlier releases have delivered, but with a slight forward push into darker territories.
Hailing from New Zealand and Australia, today we have a very unique and exciting debut release titled “Spleen”, from the outfit Orphans of Dusk. Featuring a very interesting old-school Gothic/Doom Metal sound, this band delivers nine tracks and nearly one hour of well crafted and completely Doomy music. If you are a fan of End of Green, Yearning, Type O Negative, and similar outfit, this release will appeal to you.
The album starts creating a somber and mysterious atmosphere, with a certain theatrical and very gothy edge. The riffing onslaught really begins with the tuned-down beginning of “Wasted Hero” and Chris G’s deep and enigmatic vocals. Like a mixture of Michelle Darkness (End of Green) and Peter Steele, his vocals are quite engaging as they morph between clean and harsh in songs like the extremely catchy “I’m Going To Haunt You (When I Die)” and “Aurora Australis”.
It has been a while since we heard from Elysion and their superbly catchy Gothic/Alternative Metal. As their first full-length release in nine years, “Bring Out Your Dead” keeps the band’s liveliness and incorporates a more modern and polish sound to create ten excellent and engaging songs. If you like late 2000’s Gothic/Alternative Metal bands like Unsun, Xandria, etc. you will definitely enjoy this release.
The release opens with the catchy “Blink Of An Eye” and its engaging guitar riffs alongside Christianna enchanting vocals. The band’s sound is quite dynamic and diverse, making songs like “Crossing Over”, “Far Away”, and “Buried Alive” showcase excellent songwriting skills alongside a knack for melody and somber atmospheres. While the band’s sound still has that late 2000’s Gothic Metal style, the additional atmospheric and electronic elements keep things fresh and engaging, as we can hear in “As The Flowers Wither” and “This Time”.
It is quite interesting how over the years Deathcore bands have managed to evolve and blend elements of Black/Death and even Symphonic Metal into their music, while keeping their signature breakdowns and overall intensity. Hailing from the USA, Ov Sulfur is the incarnation of one of those evolved bands featuring a crushing sound that also leaves room for atmosphere and melody. Comparable to bands like Lorna Shore, Carnifex, White Chappel, etc. this up and coming band is ready to destroy you with their well crafted music.
Opening with the intense “Stained In Rot” the band fully unleashes their sheer brutality on this one, while incorporating those atmospheric elements alongside punishing breakdowns. With the following two tracks, “Befouler” and “Unraveling”, the band adds a few guests on vocals to show range and showcase some of their additional creativity, keeping things interesting and fresh. We particularly loved the crafty “Death Ov Circumstance” and its engaging atmospherics intertwined with powerful guitar riffs and awesome drumming.
As a great complement and alternative to bands like Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum, and similar outfits, Marianas Rest has taken the scene by surprise with their highly melancholic and Doomy Melodic Death Metal. With “Auer” the band continues to deliver waves of atmosphere and bleakness in eight expertly crafted tracks. If you are a fan of melancholy, atmosphere, and heavy Death/Doom vibes, this is a release you can’t miss out on.
Opening with the album title track, we get a piercing mid-tempo track with punishing vocals and crafty guitars. The band really warms up as “Diseased” and “Light Reveals Our Wounds”, as we get more familiar melodic riffs and the atmospheric keyboards of Aapo Koivisto (Omnium Gatherum). We particularly enjoy how subtle and yet effective the atmosphere is, perfectly pairing with Jaakko Mäntymaa’s mixture of spoken and harsh vocals.