As one of the most awaited releases of 2020, today we have Norwegian Vikings Enslaved and their latest musical opus: “Utgard”. Continuing their musical evolution into more textured and proggy territories, this release delivers over 45 minutes of captivating music that perfectly blends their signature heavier onslaughts with their more delicate and intricate experimental constructs. If you have enjoyed everything the band has put out since “Axioma Ethica Odini”, this release continues this awesome transformation.
With a very mystical opening, “Fires In The Dark” delivers the band’s signature interplay of guitars alongside a combination of multiple vocal styles, creating a very lush and expansive melodic sound. Grutle’s signature snarl, nicely blends with the clean counter parts of Håkon Vinje and Iver Sandøy, particularly on tracks like “Jettegryta” where the heavier passages lead way to crafty and elegant melodic and proggy interludes. Other songs deliver the band’s traditional catchiness like the melancholic “Sequence”, which combines some funktastic bass lines alongside generous atmospheric elements.
Hailing from Sweden, today we have Trident’s sophomore release “North”, featuring nearly one hour of crushing Black/Death Metal. With a firm and pummeling style, the band’s ability to Blacken their Death Metal roots oozes both melody and brutality sprinkled with over the top atmospherics and lush arrangements creating a very elegant and devastating release. If you are a fan from bands like Dissection to Necrophobic to Dimmu Borgir, you will greatly enjoy this release.
Making a grandiose entrance, the lush intro track perfectly sets the stage for the Thulcandra/Dissection-esque antics of “Death”. The band quickly showcases their full power with incisive guitar riffs, a thundering bass guitar line, and hellish screams. The band’s ravaging pace continues through intense tracks like “Imperium Romanum” and its sharp guitars leads, and the sinister melodies of “Summoning”.
Unraveling part two of their cinematic masterpiece “Phanerozoic”, today we have Germany’s The Ocean (Collective) with 50-plus minutes of captivating music. Split in eight gargantuan tracks, this release keeps the same dramatic and larger-than-life vibe from the previous release while introducing a few new elements into the fold. If you like the band’s previous releases, you will instantly enjoy this blistering release.
Opening with “Triassic”, we are immediately immersed into the band’s subtle instrumentation with calming guitars and a very mellow and hypnotic pace. The first thing that stands out is Loïc Rossetti’s use of different vocal styles, in this track using some effects to add versatility to his already signature style. This is actually one of the biggest differences in this release as there is a lot more use of clean vocals (“Jurassic | Cretaceous” and “Eocene”) and
Always delivering extremely interesting releases, today we have Germany’s Ancst and their latest effort “Summits of Despondency”. Intricately layering many styles into a very pummeling and yet melancholic sound, this album features nearly 45 minutes of viciously delivered intense music. While genre purists will not enjoy the medley of styles in this release, we are huge fans of the amount of creativity and well crafted intermingling of everything from hardcore to Post-Black Metal.
Opening with the crushing “Kill Your Inner Cop”, the band instantly oozes an Hypocrisy vibe with menacing guitars and relentless intensity. The vocals are quite hectic and probably the singular identifying characteristic of the band’s diverse musical explorations, as this track bleeds into the more melodic “Inferno” and “Final Hour”. Due to the intensity of the band’s musical approach, songs quickly blend into each other, and before you can tell , you have heard 4-5 songs without even noticing.
Unleashing frosty waves of intense atmospheric Black Metal, today we have Ukraine’s Eskapism and their latest EP titled “Reminiscence”. Delivering a brilliant balance of melody, rawness, and old-school atmospherics, this trio creates very dynamic and engaging songs that are both uncompromising and expertly crafted. Recommended for fans of early Dimmu Borgir, Old Man’s Child, Kampfar.
The release leads with the mystical “A Cry into Oblivion”, a song that slowly builds up into a superb headbanging session thanks to its melodic nature alongside lush and dramatic atmospheric keyboards. The blistering album title track captures that timeless mystical sound of late 90’s Black Metal, similar to Tartaros, Limbonic Art, and Emperor, with its dramatic synths and crafty tempo changes. The mood suddenly shifts with the ambient instrumental “Whisper of Ancient Times”, a very nice piece to come full circle in this release.
Creating a very punishing and miserable aural experience, today we have Finland’s Blood Red Fog and their very aptly titled “Fields of Sorrow” release. With a vibe similar to bands like Mortualia, this release unleashes over 50 minutes of exciting Black Metal with tons of experimental atmospheric elements and a very demoralizing mood. Only for masochists, this release will turn any day into a bleak ordeal.
The hypnotic “Before The Cold Light” sets a very trippy metaphysical mood that is instantly ravaged by the blistering BM onslaughts of “Gallows Poles and Shallow Graves”. With such a fierce tempo change, the band delivers a punishing blow with brutal guitars and hyper fast drumming, we love these types of contrasts. The depressive mode of “Abode of Shadows” gives you that certain Doomy vibe that perfectly blends with BM harshness, creating an immersive wallowing experience, this brilliant misery bleeds into the eerie “Ever-Returning Genocide”.
Hailing from Austria, today we have the pummeling Theotoxin and their latest hellish offering “Fragment: Erhabenheit”. Delivering a dynamic mixture of Black/Death Metal, the band unravels nearly 45 minutes of ravaging songs filled with brutality and dissonance. For fans of bands like Behemoth, Belphegor and Old Man’s Child, this release balances a brilliant production and waves of brutal onslaughts.
The ritual begins with the blistering opener “Golden Tomb”, a very punishing track filled with demonic vocals, waves of ravaging guitars and bestial drumming. Combining shrieks with deeper snarls, allows the band to create a very effective vehicle to deliver their lyrics while the world seems to crumble with the relentless intensity of the band’s music, as we can hear both in “Obscure Divinations” and the commanding “Prayer”, which give that Behemoth vibe but with a different twist.
Unleashing a wave of ritualistic Black Metal, today we have Finland’s Ordinance and their sophomore release “In Purge There is No Remission”. With nearly 50 minutes of music, this release covers a wide gamut of BM styles with some tracks being more traditional, others being quite old-school, but an overall sense of brutality and destruction is nicely conveyed by the band. If you like fast, raw, and punishing music, this release is certainly for you.
Opening with the blistering “Obstructed Paths”, we get a hefty dose of buzzsaw like guitars, blistering drumming and slower incisive passages with a certain ritualistic vibe. And that was just in the first five minutes. As the band pummels through pieces like the eerie “Diabolopathia” and its hypnotic riffs, the more traditional “Gathering Wraiths” with its savage intensity, and the pummeling “Credo Sceleratum” with its Philippines-style Thrash/Black Metal guitars and heavy metal screams, there is a clear indicator that this band is full of creativity and a knack for brutality.
Unleashing what is most likely the most explosive and melodic Black Metal release of 2020, today we have Uada and their third full-length release “Djinn”. Slowly refining their craft over time and gathering wide acclaim over the last few years, this North American outfit delivers almost 60 minutes of non-stop high-octane music that will have people headbanging from start to finish. If you like bands like Mgła, Pilorian, Inquisition, etc. you will love this exciting release.
Opening the release with the album title track, the band sets a relentless pace with superbly catchy riffs and a very engaging and energetic vibe. The dual guitar attack of James Sloan and Jake Superchi, works magically as their intensity and craftiness is quickly evident, creating a very powerful mood and the perfect environment for furious headbanging, as shown in the opener and the blistering “The Great Mirage”. Other tracks like “No Place Here”, show a mellower and yet still incisive side to the band’s superbly melodic musical approach.
When bands and musicians say the experiment in their music only to please themselves, there is always that lingering concern that holds them back to truly revolutionize their sound to avoid upsetting their fans. Ihsahn is one of those that keeps true to his vision and always pushes the boundaries of his sound to please his creative endeavors, and “Pharos” is the latest example of this. Featuring three original songs and two covers, this release explores Progressive Rock/Metal territories while still delivering some of his signature staples.
The release opens with “Losing Altitude”, a track that reminds us of “After” but with a more definite Proggy vibe and no harsh vocals. The vocal and atmospheric arrangements are brilliant and quite neat, perfectly paired with Ihsahn signature guitar riffs and crispy distortion. Delivering serious Haken vibes, “Spectre at the Feast” is another exploratory piece with lush atmospheric arrangements, a pulsating bass guitar line and soaring vocals.