Unleashing some creepy and aurally dominating release, today we have Dutch outfit Am Himmel and their opus “As Eternal”. With a ‘weirder’ approach to Post-Black Metal, this band creates roughly 37 minutes of captivating music with the magic of bands like An Autumn for Crippled Children and Lustre mixed in with a darker and drone-ish edge. Not recommended for close-minded people, this album is more of an aural exploration than your typical cookie-cutter BM.
Opening with the piercing “Bleared By The Infinite Wings”, the listener instantly knows this is a completely different release. The fuzzy and yet dreamy atmospherics are nicely flanked by harsh screams, delivered in a very monotonic way, creating a unique and engaging atmosphere. Things get dreamier and a bit shoegazy on “The Patience and Silence of a Saint’s Death”, a piece that slowly builds up momentum and creates plenty of tension.
Hailing from the Netherlands, Sever Torture is one of those bands that has been around for a while and still does not get the recognition they deserve. With their “Fisting the Sockets” EP, the band’s first formal release in over 12 years, we get three tracks of crushing (and catchy) Death Metal with that old-school Dutch flair and some modern elements.
Just when you think a band can’t get any better, you get a release like “False Light”, showcasing that White Ward’s sound and creativity are boundless. Digging deeper than in “Love Exchange Failure”, the band explores more sultry dark-jazz/avant-garde territories with the 66 minutes of music unleashed here. As one of the finest releases of 2022, this album needs to be enjoyed and carefully examined to get the fullest out of it.
Starting this magical tour-de-force we have the powerful “Leviathan”, a track that nicely builds up to some harsh Black Metal passages and nicely transitions into sultry jazzy greatness. With a more somber and darker tone, “Salt Paradise” mixes the guest clean vocals from Jay Gambit (Crowhurst) and the band’s more enigmatic and atmospheric side. “Phoenix” and “Silent Circles” nicely balance the band’s heavy side with melancholy and crafty instrumentation.
The moment we saw the name Lord Belial in our promo inbox, we immediately thought it was a re-issue of their earlier works, but we never expected that “Rapture” would be a brand new album from this Swedish outfit. We have been fans of the band’s unique take of the genre since their 1997 release “Enter the Moonlight Gate”, which featured a more melodic approach with some female vocals and additional elements. For nearly 50 minutes the band captures their past glory with a very interesting and yet punishing release.
Opening with the blistering “Legion” and the equally punishing “On a Throne of Souls”, one would never guess that this band has been quite a while in hibernation and that it still features all its original members. The band’s sound is savage and brilliantly produced by none other than Andy LaRocque. Mixing that old-school Scandinavian Black Metal of bands like Immortal, Tartaros, Naglfar, etc. with a more melodic and melancholic edge, the band manages to deliver pummeling pieces like “Rapture of Belial”, “Destruction”, and “Belie all Gods”.
It’s been almost four years since Mournful Congregation’s last release and they have been some very doomy years indeed. Luckily for fans of Funeral Doom Metal, the band returns with a ‘short’ EP titled “The Exuviae of Gods - Part I”, which of course clocks in at 37 minutes and unleashes three piercing tracks. Needing no introduction, this Aussie band is about to make your day a whole darker and gloomier with this crushing release.
Finally stabilizing their sound and style around lead vocalist Clémentine Delauney, Visions of Atlantis unleashes their best album of their career with “Pirates”. Featuring nearly one hour of music, this release further elaborates on their pirate-related themes and creates a very dynamic and engaging mood thanks to dramatic atmospherics alongside soaring dueling vocals and killer instrumentation.
Setting a very regal mood thanks to its lush vocal arrangements and lively guitar leads, “Pirates Will Return” perfectly opens this very engaging release. The band showcases its versatility with the moody duets of “Melancholy Angel”, the over the top symphonic arrangements of “Master The Hurricane”, and the playfulness of “Clocks”. All pieces are perfectly brought to life with the masterful vocal duets of Clémentine Delauney and Michele "Meek" Guaitoli, perfectly boosted by excellent drumming and crushing guitar solos.
Quickly returning after the highly emotional 2021 release “Escape of the Phoenix”, Evergrey continues the same path of melancholy with the excellent “A Heartless Portrait: The Orphean Testament”. Featuring over 50 minutes of mellow Progressive/Power Metal, with Tom Englund’s signature vocals, this album just further refines the band’s polished and effective style and delivers exactly what the fans are expecting.
The album opens with the soaring guitars and vocal arrangements of “Save Us”, a very powerful and mood-setting track filled with crafty atmospherics and a hefty dose of catchiness. The band’s mixture of explosiveness with melancholy oozes from pieces like “Midwinter Calls” and “Ominous”, one of our favorite tracks in this release thanks to the amazing vocal arrangements and killer guitar leads. For those preferring the band’s Power ‘ballads’, “Call out the Dark” is a fine addition.
Showcasing a different side of Lars Are Nedland, today we have his latest project Black Void, a sort of polar opposite release from his 2021, White Void “Anti”, release. Perfectly combining Punk and Black Metal with a mild dose of his soaring clean vocals, Lars delivers around 40 minutes of intense, hellish, and masterfully crafted music featuring a few guest appearances and a stellar supporting cast.
Opening with the sleazy “Void”, a statement piece that while it starts with typical Black’n’roll fare plus some hefty Punk-ish influences, the listener is still treated to majestic clean vocal arrangements and plenty of melody. Creating chaos and confusion, “Reject Everything” and “Death to Morality” pounce at the listener with ravaging guitars, courtesy of Jostein Thomassen (Borknagar), and a good dose of harsh vocals thrown into the mix.
Constantly evolving, American outfit Our Dying World returns with their latest release “Hymns Of Blinding Darkness”, with an engaging Symphonic/Gothic Metal sound. While not extremely polished and still a bit rough around the edges, this outfit delivers nearly 40 minutes of exciting music showcasing good skill and promising songwriting abilities.
After setting the mood with the opener “Ars Moriendi”, the band unleashes “Everything We Know Is Gone”, a track that has a Dark Lunacy vibe, with additional Power/Symphonic Metal elements in the relentless guitar work and keyboards. This style works very well for the band as they deliver engaging songs like “Under The Hunter's Blade”, “Survivor”, and “Path Of The Nomad”.
With every release, Watain manages to further refine their craft to be more incisive, sinister, and piercing, and “The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain” perfectly reflects this. Featuring nearly 50 minutes of bone-chilling music, this release blends aggression with atmosphere and musicality, to create some of the foulest and most oppressive Black Metal anthems to date.
Opening with the vicious “Ecstasies in Night Infinite”, the listener is quickly blasted with the band’s ravaging guitar work alongside Erik Danielsson’s evil snarl. This opener has a certain retro Dissection-like vibe that sets the tone for the release. We particularly love how elegant melody is infused into the band’s music on tracks like “The Howling”, “Black Cunt”, and “Serimosa”, that still have that razor sharp BM edge, but sound different than most bands.