Album Reviews

  • Horna - Kuoleman Kirjo (2020)

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    Unleashing hellish fury upon the world, today we have Horna’s latest opus “Kuoleman Kirjo”. With nearly 70 minutes of crushing music, this is THE Black Metal release to buy in 2020. For those uninitiated, this Finnish battalion has been delivering sweeping blows of BM brutality over the years and this release is no exception. Filled with perfectly layered rudimentary atmospherics and vicious guitar work, Shatraug and company once more seize the BM throne.

    The sheer violence of “Saatanan Viha” is the first indicator of what is to come in this release. Delivering sweeping aural violence, the guitars/drums/vocals combo signal for complete destruction. Completely riding on their signature in-your-face approach, tracks like “Elegia”, “Uneton”, and “Sydänkuoro” lay waste to listeners as crafty tempo changes and crushing drum patterns create a whirlwind dissonant experience.

  • Engulfed - Vengeance of the Fallen (2020)

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    Hailing from Turkey, today we have hard-hitting Death Metal battalion Engulfed and their latest effort: “Vengeance of the Fallen”. For a 25+ minute EP this release packs a mean punch with crushing riffs and crafty tempo changes, making the album quite engaging and unlike most of the very linear and dull Death Metal that kids release these days. If you are a fan of bands like Centinex, Origin and similar, you will find this album very enjoyable.

    Opening with the vicious “Rite Abandoned Heretics”, the band delivers a swift kick to the nuts with their relentless guitar work and brutal growls. Clocking in at around 8 minutes, this is definitely one of the longest Death Metal tracks we have heard in awhile, and luckily the band has the chops to keep it interesting and punishing. The guitar leads and tempo changes of “Summoning The Black Death”, make for a very interesting follow-up to a very pummeling opening piece.

  • My Dying Bride - Macabre Cabaret (2020)

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    As a nice complement to “Ghost of Orion”, today we have My Dying Bride’s latest EP titled “Macabre Cabaret”. Featuring over 20 minutes of new music, this EP is the perfect continuation to an already superbly impressive release earlier this year. Filled with melancholy and pain, the three new songs presented here as a must-have for fans of the band and the genre.

    The release opens with the creepy atmospherics and thunderous bass guitar lines of the EP’s title track. This song slowly evolves into a crushing experience with the band’s signature riffs and eerie ambiance. Lasting 10 minutes, this piece features some very eerie interludes that lead into chilling passages of Aaron’s harrowing clean vocals. Continuing the bleak mood, “A Purse of Gold and Stars” nicely continues the band’s dark and somber musical experience with a very subtle and yet elegant piece.

  • Macabre - Carnival of Killers (2020)

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    Back in the late 80’s Mortician and Macabre were two of the most extreme and yet crafty bands in the scene, we remember listening to all those horror movie samples just before the bands wailed with pummeling fury. Macabre has slowly evolved over the years and with “Carnival of Killers”, the band delivers nearly 41 minutes of music in 16 pieces encapsulating both their heavy and their bizarre side. While I am sure this will appeal to older folks like us, there are still some interesting and downright hilarious things to discover from this release.

    As their first album in nearly a decade, “Carnival of Killers” continues the band’s fascination with serial killers and delivers a wide variety of tracks that range from Grindcore to Thrash to plain weird, with some brilliant sing-along sections. Never as heavy as Mortician, tracks like “Your Window is Open”, “Richard Speck Grew Big Breasts” and “The Murder Mack”, do still deliver some powerful riffs and Thrash-tastic tempo changes, mixed with the band’s funky vocal melodies and funny lyrics.

  • Light Field Reverie - Another World (2020)

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    With the state of affairs in 2020, music has been a great escape for many. With “Another World”, Light Field Reverie beautifully transport the listener on a highly ethereal journey with their captivating music. Featuring both members of Draconian and Sojourner, this release unleashes over 40 minutes of majestic music that incorporates tons of different elements outside of the normal Metal music scope.

    Opening with the dreamy “Ultraviolet”, we are greeted with the sultry vocals of Heike Langhans and very moody atmospheric elements ranging from electronic beats, to dreamy synths. Alongside the atmospherics, we also have a well defined Doom-ish structure of heavy guitar riffs and crafty drums, creating a very piercing and yet enigmatic sound, as tracks morph between highly emotional passages to heavier counterparts, like on “The Oldest house”.

  • For Ruin - Elapse (2020)

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    With hundreds of releases making into our inbox every day, we need to carefully pick which ones we listen to. Band releases that are ‘professionally’ submitted usually get our attention over non-major label releases. Lucky for us, today we have For Ruin and their killer self-released EP “Elapse”. Delivering nearly 20 minutes of blistering Melodic Death Metal, these types of musical discoveries are what makes our day at Infernal Masquerade.

    Opening with the quick and pummeling “Elapse”, the band sets a very hectic and engaging energy from the get go. Reminding us a bit of bands like Kalmah and Mors Principium Est, this track nicely leads into the riffing acrobatics of “Fiel to the Fire”. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals is well balanced with the faster paced sections in this highly headbangable track.

  • Dark Buddha Rising - Mathreyata (2020)

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    Always delivering a truly hypnotic and ritualistic aural experience, today we have Dark Buddha Rising and their latest opus “Mathreyata”. Hailing from Finland, this outfit continues to captivate audiences with their piercing and ritualistic compositions, unleashing nearly 43 minutes of music in four tracks. For those that like heavy distorted guitars, trippy percussions and tempo changes, alongside a good dose of Drone, Sludge, and Pysch, this release is face melting.

    Opening with the trippy “Sunyaga”, the listener is faced with a barrage of pummeling riffs alongside a psychedelic undertone. Vocalist Marko Neuman is one of those weird forces that seems to unleash multiple personalities while singing, creating a very mysterious and yet brutal aural. Feeling already numb and subdued, the second track “Nagathma” takes the eerie atmospherics to a whole new level thanks to some superbly creepy elements paired alongside crafty drum patterns and spacious guitars.

  • Countless Skies - Glow (2020)

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    Unleashing one of the most impressive releases of 2020, today we have Countless Skies and their sophomore full-length release “Glow”. In a time that there is so much uncertainty and shittiness in the world, one of the things that brings smiles to people is music, and this is one of those releases that will captivate and change the mood of the listener from the first minute. If you thought that Dark Tranquillity was going to take the best Melodic Death Metal release of 2020, you better wait until you check this one out.

    Opening with an instrumental intro, “Tempest” sets a very magical and wondrous vibe thanks to its crafty use of atmospheric keyboards and the soaring guitars. The mixture of harsh vocals and soaring clean vocals alongside epic guitar leads gives the song a certain proggy edge that makes it even more impressive. The magic continues with the lush “Summit”, a slowly building piece that shines a very bright light by combining elements of bands like Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum, with the roughness of Bela’kor. This track takes epic vocal arrangements to a whole new level for the band, creating an epic complement to their already superb core.

  • Décembre Noir - The Renaissance of Hope (2020)

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    Hailing from Germany, today we have Melodic Death/Doom Metal outfit Décembre Noir with their harrowing fourth full-length release “The Renaissance of Hope”. Featuring nearly 50 minutes of firm and yet highly emotional music, the band delivers six brutal tracks that brilliantly balance fragility, aggression and melody. For fans of bands like Swallow the Sun, My Dying Bride, and similar outfits, this release will certainly bring some fuzzy warmness during the winter months.

    Opening with the pummeling “A Swan Lake Full of Tears”, the band quickly establishes a hefty balance between incisive guitar riffs and gruff growls. Setting a high bar, this track is quite hectic and powerful even as it progresses into more melodic and solemn minimalist interludes with clean vocals. Those looking for heavier pieces, “Hope/Renaissance” and “Wings of Eschaton” are both quite pummeling thanks to crafty drum patterns and very heavy dueling guitar work. While many bands tend to become overly melodic, Décembre Noir’s sound is quite firm and ravaging.

  • Völur - Death Cult (2020)

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    The always mysterious and intoxicating sound of Völur is quite hard to describe but completely unique to experience. Delivering their third full-length release “Death Cult”, the band continues their path of darkness with a very lush, engaging, and captivating release. For nearly 40 minutes the band transports the listener into a very unique and mystical folky world that is beautifully crafted.

    Starting with the hypnotic “Inviolate Grove”, the band quickly creates a very distressing atmosphere thanks to the dramatic use of string instruments and a captivating bass guitar line. For those not familiar with the band, Völur shies away from your traditional distorted guitars to a combination of pummeling bass guitar, electric violins/violas, and lush percussions, creating a very unique and dense atmosphere that can only be compared to some extent to parts of bands like Elend and early Silent Stream of Godless Elegy.

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