Hailing from Slovakia, Malokarpatan delivers a re-issue of their 2018 EP via Sun & Moon Records. While we don’t really subscribe to the hype behind the band, this 7” presents us two conceptually related tracks that continue to push the boundaries of the genre, as the band has set to do since their origins a few years ago.
The release opens with an instrumental/atmospheric side A track that sets a very sinister and engaging mood. Not too much else to talk about here. Side B gives us a proper old-school Black Metal piece, sounding like Master’s Hammer and Tormentor, but with thicker and more punishing atmosphere. The riffing and vocal’s give this track a very raw and punishing vibe, thanks to the contrasting underlying melodic nature of the track.
Béla Lugosi and Pestifer are back with this short but sweet 7” Siculicidium EP titled “A halál és az iránytű”. Always crafting a truly unique and foul sound, this Romanian outfit unleashes two powerful tracks that will generate expectations of what is to come in the future.
Opening with the clean intro of “A halál”, this tracks slowly builds up to a cool Black’n’Roll-ish guitar section that gives a certain twangy vibe to the song. Béla Lugosi’s deep vocals perfectly fit the funky tempo of this track, mostly marked by the Punk-ish drum patterns.
Unleashing a dense and punishing Funeral Doom/Death Metal release, today we have Ataraxie and their latest effort “Résignés”. Featuring four tracks and over 80 minutes of music, the listener is in for monumental 20 minute tracks that slowly unravel to unleash heaviness and brutality. Blending old-school Death Metal elements into their Funeral Doom composition, the band creates a very unique and ravaging aural assault.
The album leads with the pummeling “People Swarming, Evil Ruling”, as heavy crunchy riffs lead the way to traditional growls and an overall feeling of helplessness. We particularly enjoy the dreamy interlude that breaks the song in two, just before more brutality is around the corner. Our version of the release continues with the album title track, a song that combines the rawness of Thergothon with the weeping guitars of Mournful Congregation in a crushing package.
Truly experimental experimental releases that are cohesive and engaging are hard to find. Luckily, today we have Bergraven and their masterfully chaotic release “Det framlidna minnet”. Completely pushing the sonic boundaries of Folk and Black Metal, this album delivers eight tracks and over 54 minutes of maddening jazzy music that is not for the faint of heart. Similar to band’s like Furze, Virus, Code and DHG, this outfit delivers truly mesmerizing music.
Opening with a trippy psychedelic intro, the band slowly eases the listener into their decadent world with “Allt”. This track unleashes harsh screams paired with proggy riffs and chaotic tempo changes, in a very jazzy and moody atmosphere. We are sucker for jazzy songs and “Den följsamma plågan” is an absolutely brilliant one, filled with lush string and wind instrumental arrangements, which are perfectly offset by funky guitars and harsh screams.
As one of the most anticipated Atmospheric Black Metal releases of 2019, today we have Austria’s Ellende with “Lebensnehmer”. Slowly gaining underground notoriety with their first two releases, this one-man band is ready for the spotlight with their lush atmospheric sound that perfectly combined melody with sheer aggression. For over 50 minutes and eight tracks, this release continues to polish the band’s sound and delivers ravaging soundscapes that should not be missed by anyone.
After a moody intro, “Augenblick” delivers waves of punishing riffs, blasting drums and melodic passages, perfectly combined in one hell of an emotional rollercoaster of a song. Handling all instruments (except drums) and all songwriting duties, Lukas Gosch is an expert in creating raw melancholic tracks, like “Die Wege”, which are full of charisma and a massive wall of sound. Never getting dull or repetitive, Ellende’s strength lies on timing and flawless execution, introducing plenty of tempo changes that completely change the shape of songs.
Moving away from the lively Progressive/Technical Death Metal from their last release, Fallujah returns with the atmospheric “Undying Light”. Having lost long-time vocalist Alex Hofmann and guitarist Brian James since the last release, has made Fallujah turn into uncharted territories with their sound. Featuring 10 tracks and over 44 minutes of music, this release feels a bit too atmospheric and experimental to be digested easily. The sound is crushing and commanding at times, but at other times it just feels lost and unguided.
Opening with “Glass House”, we get that sweet Melodeath riffing from French bands like Hacride, but with extra kick and aggression thanks to new vocalist: Antonio Palermo. Some Deathcore elements are back and they sound ok when mixed in with semi-proggy passages, as in “Last Light”. For those looking for sheer brutality and catchiness, “Ultraviolet” achieves this with superb drum patterns and solid riffs. On the other hand, we have tracks like “Dopamine”, which feel a bit too convoluted with too many things going on at once and not really engaging the listener. The dreamy guitar leads are great, but the vocals kind of ruin the mood on this track.
After their brilliant and lively debut “This is the Sound” back in 2017, Cellar Darling quickly established themselves as one of the most promising up-and-coming Folk Metal/Rock bands in the scene. With “The Spell”, the band builds up on their earlier sound and turns into more Progressive territories with 13 superbly crafted tracks. Featuring a wide variety of folk elements , the super talents of Anna Murphy on vocals, and proven song-writing capabilities, the band delivers one of the best releases of their genre in 2019.
Opening with “Pain”, we notice and instant shift into darker and more progressive territories. The band continues to deliver their signature lush vocal arrangements, but in a more conservative and yet engaging manner. As “Death” and “Love” roll in, the band’s sound feels like a combination of Kari Rueslåtten’s folkier works with Anneke van Giersbergen’s charisma and sense of melody. This is quite a killer combination we have to say, however, of course Cellar Darling imprints their own ideas and style in the mix.
Unleashing a very unique an dreamy EP, today we have UK’s Parting Gift with “Ensom”. Featuring five tracks and around 18 minutes of music, this release blends Post-Rock/Shoegazey elements with moody vocal arrangements and lush atmospheric elements. If you are into Post-Rock, Dream Pop, Shoegaze and have a sweet spot for Alternative rock, this is certainly a release that will appeal to your senses.
The album kicks off with the dreamy intensity of “Pale”, a track that instantly showcases the band’s moody vocals and excellent guitar work. This track feels a bit heavier than it sounds, as the guitars could pass on for Melodic DM, but the vocals and overall atmosphere change the vibe to a mellower one. With “3:07 (Moonlight)” the band opens the song in an Alcest-like manner with a very subtle atmosphere, as the vocals nicely elevate the song and complete the moody atmosphere.
Unleashing over 35 minutes of crunchy modern sounding Death Metal, today we have Misery Index and their latest release “Rituals of Power”. Masterfully combining raw brutality with craftiness, the band pummels through nine tracks filled with intricate guitar work and inhuman growls. With their fifth full-length release, this American outfit is ready to get the crowds moshing and prepared for devastation.
First and powerful, “Universal Untruths” delivers waves of crushing guitars and crafty drumming, setting a very punishing and intense vibe since the beginning. As the band steamrolls through “Decline and Fall” and “The Choir Invisible”, we notice how they deliver signature DM elements with a modern and fresh take, allowing their sound to be both classic and yet fresh. For those of use craving intensity, “New Salem” is the perfect example of abusive guitar work brilliantly paired with meaty hooks and an intense tempo.
Unleashing one of the most demoralizing and punishing Post-Black Metal releases of 2019, today we have Chrome Waves and their debut full-length release “A Grief Observed”. Formed by members and ex members of USBM bands like Twilight, Abigail Williams, Wolvhammer, this outfit crafts some truly harrowing songs filled with emotions and contrasted by savage Black Metal undertones. Presenting brilliantly atmospheric and moody songs, Chrome Waves makes a huge splash in the Post-Black Metal/Blackgaze scene with this release.
Opening with “Burdened”, we instantly get the vibe of bands like Old Silver Key, Grey Waters, thanks to the mixture of dreamy clean vocals and harsh screams. The instrumentation in this opener is quite dramatic with solemn atmospheric passages that perfectly change the tempo of the track. Keeping things heavy and melodic, “Past the Lights” delivers catchy riffs and tight drumming, creating a very powerful and yet melancholic vibe. Again, there is some magic to the way the clean vocal arrangements contrast the pace and intensity of this track, creating a very trippy dreamy depressing vibe.