Album Reviews

  • Nebelkrähe - Ephemer (2023)

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    Hailing from Germany, today we have the strange but quite awesome Nebelkrähe and their first release in ten years “Ephemer”. Combining elements from bands like Eisregen, Pensées Nocturnes, Devil Doll, The Vision Bleak, User Ne, etc., this outfit delivers seven tracks and over 50 minutes of catchy, melodic, and yet odd music. Full of blistering onslaughts alongside a wide range of different instruments like saxophone, harp, dulcimer, the band creates a very melancholic atmosphere that is quite bleak and exciting.

    Opening with “Tumult auf Claim Abendland”, the band sets a dissonant mood thanks to its lush acoustic opening that suddenly tours dark and sour with the distorted guitars and harsh snarls. With the band singing exclusively in German, the vocals sound harsher than average, reminding us of Eisregen. While not being soft or too melodic, tracks like “Nielandsmann” and “Ephemer” have a very theatrical vibe, with lush melodic passages alongside creepy clean vocals creating a doomy atmosphere.

  • ONI - The Silver Line (2023)

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    Delivering a guest-appearances filled full-length release, today we have Canadian ONI and their return “The Silver Line”. As a brainchild of Jake Oni, the music created is an interesting mixture of Progressive/Djent Metal with some Metalcore elements. Featuring nine tracks and 30 minutes of music, this release has quite enjoyable and epic songs that are quite dynamic and engaging.

    Opening with “Silhouette”, we get a nice contrast between powerful distorted guitars, clean soaring vocal harmonies, and crafty atmospheric synths. The songs are well written and all have catchy hooks, what makes the release even more enjoyable is the assortment of guests used like Sueco on “Spark”, “Underneath my Skin” featuring Kellin Quinn, and “Aura” with Jost Gilbert and Howard Jones. They all bring a different edge to each track, keeping things fresh.

  • Heretoir - Nightsphere (2023)

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    Unleashing one of the best Post-Black Metal releases of 2023, today we have Heretoir and their crushing third full-length release “Nightsphere”. Showing great promise with their earlier “Wastelands” EP, this release delivers on that promise clocking in at 42 minutes and five masterful tracks. Filled with dreamy and bleak soundscapes, this release will please any fan of the genre and the band.

    Opening with the dramatic “Sanctum - Nightsphere Part I”, we get an elegant piece oozing melancholy thanks to its lush vocal arrangements (both harsh and clean) and its very crafty pace. For those looking for more typical pieces, “Twilight of the Machines” has that mid-tempo brilliance the band is known for, with blistering onslaughts mixed in between atmospheric passages. The band’s weeping lead guitars are to die for, and this release provides plenty of them.

  • October Tide - The Cancer Pledge (2023)

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    Since leaving Katatonia in 2009, the Norrman brothers reactivated their melodic Death/Doom Metal outfit October Tide and have been releasing killer albums since then. On “The Cancer Pledge”, the band unleashes over 45 minutes of crafty melodic music with a hefty dose of heaviness. The band’s sound is quite timeless, as they have continued to add minor tweaks and refined it over the years.

  • Linus Klausenitzer - Tulpa (2023)

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    Delivering over 52 minutes of intricate Technical/Progressive Death Metal, today we have German virtuoso Linus Klausenitzer. As one of the best 6-string fretless bass guitar players (the other has to be Jeroen Paul Thesseling), Linus manages to craft ten very engaging, and diverse tracks, that while they always highlight his staple instrument, they are very well rounded with tons of guest guitar solos, variety of vocal styles, and Hannes Grossmann on drums. If you like proggy/jazzy extreme metal, and are a fan of bands like Obscura, Obsidious, etc. this release will blow you away.

    Opening with acoustic guitars and quickly jumping into incisive riffs, “King of Hearts” sets the stage for a very engaging and crafty release. The bass guitar lines are superb, as to be expected, but instead of just banking on this ability, Linus has composed very intricate tracks like “Axiom Architect”, and the extremely catchy “Our Soul Sets Sail”, which has a certain Soilwork-esque vibe. Other pieces like “Sister in Black” are quite playful and exploratory, creating a sultry atmosphere, while delivering insane technical proficiency.

  • Nervosa - Jailbreak (2023)

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    Unleashing one of the most intense and crushing Thrash Metal releases of 2023, today we have Nervosa and their latest opus “Jailbreak”. Prika Amaral and company return with a vicious vengeance and deliver over 45 minutes of crazy fast and extremely crafty music, filled with epic riffs, blistering drumming, and hellish vocals. Perfectly balancing an old-school Thrash vibe with a modern and clean production, this album sounds like a million dollars while beating the listener into submission.

    Opening with the thunderous “Endless Ambition”, the band means business from the start. Filled with fast Thrashy riffs alongside crushing drumming, and Prika’s aggressive vocals, this track nicely sets a high-octane tone that is greatly amplified by intense pieces like “Suffocare”, “Ungrateful”, “Seed of Death”, and the blistering album title track that fires on all cylinders. The band perfectly brings an element of melody and explosiveness to the genre that only a handful of bands can deliver, as heard on “Sacrifice” and “Behind the Wall”.

  • Den Saakaldte - Pesten Som Tar Over (2023)

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    Unleashing a hefty dose of Norwegian Black Metal, today we have Den Saakaldte and their first release in nearly eight years: “Pesten Som Tar Over”. Originally started as a one man project, this now band returns with a vengeance delivering over 60 minutes of dense music. For fans of bands like Ved Buens Ende, Dold Vorde Ens Navn, and similar outfits, this release is filled with crafty riffs and hellish vocals.

    When bands go dark for some years, there is always the concern that they might come back sounding dated, however, this is definitely not the case here as “Av Satans ild” is a fierce opening track showing the band didn’t miss a beat. Incisive guitar work alongside your traditional BM snarl, provide a nice core for that Norwegian BM sound, as shown in tracks like “Dødstrett av alt” and “En ode til spinnersken”, which are both over eight minutes long. These longer form songs allow for moody tempo changes and a nicer flow within songs.

  • Dismal Aura - Imperium Mortalia (2023)

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    Seemingly a straightforward Black Metal outfit, Dismal Aura is a lot more than that as “Imperium Mortalia” showcases. Released via Avantgarde Music, this release delivers around 30 minutes of atmospheric and well crafted Black Metal with subtle influences from the Post-Black Metal scene. With similarities to bands like Saor, Winterfylleth, and Advent Sorrow, this release is quite melancholic and aggressive at the same time.

  • Primordial - How it Ends (2023)

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    Always consistently good, Primordial releases are special happenings that take a few years to materialize and a more than several dozen spins to really digest. With “How it Ends” the band continues their ritualistic ways of Doomy and Blackened Celtic Metal. Featuring sixty-five minutes of music spread out in ten tracks, the band shows great refinement and direction with their music. Enchanting and fully immersing the listener since the first minute, this release is another excellent addition to the band’s storied career.

    Opening with the album title track, we get a very doomy and decadent mood. Ciáran MacUiliam’s guitars create the distinctive Primordial sound while also having some elements of bands like My Dying Bride baked into the mix. However, we all know that the soul of the band has to be the melancholic vocals of Alan Averill, which perfectly craft a very moody vibe as tracks like “Plougs to Rust, Swords to Dust”, “We Shall Not Serve”, and “Traidisiunta” perfectly mix styles and genres.

  • Mercenary - Soundtrack to the End of Times (2023)

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    Here is a band we never thought we would hear from again: Denmark’s Mercenary makes a triumphant return with “Soundtrack to the End of Times”. For the uninitiated, the band had a great run in the 2000’s with killer releases like “Architect of Lies” and our favorite “11 Dreams”. Crafting a mixture of Melodic Death/Power Metal, the band’s sound is still fresh, powerful and engaging, delivering over 60 minutes of high-octane music.

    Opening with the crafty “Burning in Reverse”, the band brings back those excellent memories of their dramatic clean/harsh vocal lines alongside catchy melodic riffs and superb guitar leads. Dusting off the cobwebs early on, the soaring melodies the band creates continue to be top notch as songs like “Heart of the Numb”, “Where Darkened Souls Belong”, and “Through this Blackened Hatred” perfectly showcase their musicianship and experience.

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