After their killer 2021 “Awake” EP, all-star outfit SOM returns with their much anticipated full-length release “The Shape of Everything”. Featuring members of bands like Junius and Caspian, this album delivers over 34 minutes of extremely melancholic and yet heavy amalgamation of all kinds of genres ranging from Doom to Post-Rock and Post-Metal. Creating a very unique signature style, this release is set to be on plenty of best albums of 2022 releases.
Opening with the melancholy of “Moment”, the band quickly establishes a very moody atmosphere, similar to bands like Deftones and Junius, but with a more shoegazey and dreamy edge. The clean vocals create very powerful melodies, perfectly soaring from the textured guitars of tracks like the Deafheaven-esque “Animals” and the playful “Center”. The band’s versatility can be heard on our favorite “Shape”, a piece that delivers a hefty dosage of heavy riffs alongside more subtle and ethereal guitar work.
Unleashing waves of Vampiric Black Metal, today we have Australia’s Krvna and their debut full-length release “Sempinfernus”. With over 35 minutes of intense music, this release reminds us of early Dimmy Borgir, Old Man’s Child, and similar outfits, filled with atmosphere and harshness. For a one-man project, this release packs a mean punch and high replay value.
Opening with the sinister “From The Shades Of Hades…”, the atmosphere immediately feels tense and eerie thanks to blistering drumming, intricate guitar work and devilish vocals. Things turn a bit more melodic and less chaotic with the melodic onslaughts of “...To The Targovistean Night”, contrasted by its punishing aggressive sections. We are suckes for epic melodies and the track “The Triumph Of The Flesh Over The Spirit” is one fine piece of melodramatic guitar work.
After making a huge splash with their 2020 release titled “Bloodletting”, Mountaineer achieves the impossible and unleashes an even more melancholic and more polished release with “Giving Up The Ghost”. For fans of Post-Rock/Doom/Shoegaze, this release delivers over 32 minutes of highly emotional and disharming music, creating a fully immersive atmosphere and a truly magical listening experience.
Opening with a mood setting instrumental, the band gets down to business with the dreamy “Blot Out the Sun”, filled with soaring vocal melodies (both harsh and clean) and very dynamic guitars, perfectly capturing the ‘Mountaineer vibe’ but further extending it with even more melancholy and sublime arrangements like we can hear in “Bed of Flower” or the The Ocean-esque “Touch the Glass”.
By far one of the most productive musicians in the Metal scene, Déhà’s creativity is probably just bounded by time as he continues to unleash massive albums under his solo project, Wolvennest, Slow, and plenty of other bands. In “Ave Maria II”, he continues work he released over 10 years ago under his side project Yhdarl. Featuring one monumental track of 42 minutes, this release is both haunting and completely harrowing, mixing up dense atmospherics, punishing screams and all mighty riffs.
Separated into two movements, the first part, “Morituri Te Salutant” sets a very cavernous mood that suddenly turns with the introduction of Thergothon-level distorted riffs alongside dramatic vocal arrangements, similar to what Elend did in the past, but with a heavier dose of distortion. The angelic female vocals are masterfully flanked with incisive guitars and massive growls/screams, perfectly turning beauty into nightmare.
Another release that we didn’t have time to review in 2021, “The Undoer’s Key” is one hell of a debut album from Finland’s Caestus and their blistering Black Metal onslaughts. In the same vein of traditional Finnish BM releases from Horna, Sargeist and similar outfits, this album delivers 36 minutes of relentless music with savage riffs and hellish screams.
Opening with the punishing “Reclamation”, the band really warms up with the incisive riffs of “Ultimate Weapon” and its fierce brutality. By the time the album title track drops alongside the dissonant “Burning Hope”, the listener is fully immersed in the band’s piercing sound. Featuring members of Blood Red Fog (bass guitar), ex-Algazanth (guitars and backing vocals), this band delivers swift blows intense music as tracks like “Condescenders”, “Muinaisen Kunnian Taike” and “Dawn of Reckoning” showcase.
While not a 2022 release, we are reviewing a handful of albums we quite enjoyed at the end of 2021 but didn’t have enough time to review. One of those is the outstanding EP from France’s Ainulindalë, titled “Les chroniques d'Arda”. Featuring a combination of dreamy atmospherics, lush epic arrangements and a hefty dose of aggression, this EP nicely introduces a promising outfit.
Combining elements from bands like Enid, Battlelore, Turisas, “Les damnés de Numénor” sets a very regal and effective mood. We particularly like the crafty synths paired with solid screams and epic clean vocals. As “Dagor-nuin-Giliath” and “Le geste de Maeglin” up the tempo, the band nicely unleashes crafty drumming alongside melodic guitars to keep things fluid and the headbanging to the max.
Hailing from Spain, something we don’t say enough here at IM, today we have Black Metal duo Beyond Death’s Throne and their punishing debut mini-release “Haphazard Ethos”. Featuring four songs and over 27 minutes of powerful and enigmatic music. With a dense atmosphere and strong instrumentation, this release is the perfect succinct introduction to a promising band.
The release opens with the atmospheric mood setting intro of “A Threshold Of Harrowed Chants”, as it slowly transitions into blistering drumming and harsh screams. With an emphasis on both melody and brutality, this track grips the listener and never lets go. For darker and more complex Black Metal, we particularly like the deeper harsh vocals paired with ominous clean vocal elements, allowing the band to create a more sinister and eerie atmosphere as in “Diaphanous Lethargy”.
Unleashing hellish fury all the way from the Netherlands, today we have up-and-coming Black Metal duo Doodswens and their debut full-length release “Lichtvrees”. With a sound reminiscent of 90’s Black Metal with modern production values, this outfit delivers over 36 minutes of high-octane music that will surely propel them to bigger stages over the coming years. With a very raw and yet basic core, this release is both punishing and engaging.
Opening with the brutal onslaughts of “In Mijn Bloed”, the band sets a very enigmatic mood as the track slowly treads in more atmospheric and slower territories as it evolves. This bleeds into the beginning of the hypnotic “Zwarte Staar”, a 7-minute piece that slowly builds with incisive riffs and crafty percussion. This song showcases the band’s more atmospheric and slower paced side of their sound, will still creating eerie soundscapes that can transform into bestial fast-paced onslaughts at a moment’s notice.
Just when you think 2021 can not get any better with Black Metal releases, Sepulchral Productions drops the split release “Opus Blasphematum” between Canada’s finest Délétère and Germany’s Sarkrista. Unleashing nearly 40 minutes of soul-crushing BM, this release perfectly combines the fury and finesse of these two outfits with three songs from Délétère and four from Sarkrista. For fans of the genre, this is one of the best split releases of the year, so don’t sleep on it and get your speakers ready.
Canada opens this split with the punishing “Seule affamée”, a perfectly crafted piece that balances menacing riffing with melody and Thorleïf’s gut wrenching vocals. Délétère has been gradually getting better and more brutal over the years, and their intensity is perfectly framed by lush atmospheric and melodic undertones, as “Verminanda”. This track continues the blistering pace thanks to crafty drumming and incisive guitars. The band’s participation ends with the melancholic harshness of “ La cour des fanges”, our favorite song from this side of the release.
With the barrage of promos we get each month, it is easy to lose track of under the radar releases that are quite interesting. Luckily for us, Nightland’s latest album “The Great Nothing” popped in our queue and hasn’t left after more than a dozen spins. Mixing Progressive elements with a Symphonic Death Metal core, this release unleashes over 47 minutes of highly polished and very engaging music that will appear to fans from bands like Sculptured, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septicflesh, and Arcturus.
The release opens with the crafty “The Conjunction of Benetnash” and its intricate guitar lines paired with dramatic choral arrangements. This opener sets a very intriguing mood as the band’s sound is still yet to fully unravel. With a more mellow approach “For Once My Name” introduces a nice mixture of harsh and clean vocals, having a very epic feeling, a bit like bands like Arcturus, but with a cleaner and more ethereal purpose.