Just before the end of the year we received on our review queue on of our favorite albums of 2018: Crippled Black Phoenix’s “Great Escape”. As one of the most melancholic and mellow Rock albums we have heard, this international band unleashes over one hour of truly disarming music. Mixing elements of bands like Anathema, God is an Astronaut and countless others, this is definitely one of the most unique and diverse releases you will hear in 2018.
After opening with the dreamy “You Brought it Upon Yourselves”, the band sinks into the bleakness of “To You I Give”, a Post-Rock-ish tune in nature. Masterminded by Justin Greaves, this band’s releases are always very rich and diverse and extremely hard to categorize, but always top notch in terms of quality. After the interlude “Uncivil War, Pt. 1”, “Madman” features a dark wave vibe with heavy synths and a very martial pace.
Unleashing one of the most harrowing Atmospheric/Experimental Black Metal releases of 2018, today we have Adaestuo and their debut full-length “Krew Za Krew” . Created by VJS of Nightbringer fame, P.E. Packain ex-Horna, ex-Sargeist, and with Hekte Zaren handling all vocals, this outfit presents a very unique aural abuse that is quite intoxicating and engaging. For over 50 minutes the listener descends into the band’s suffocating madness, making it a very excruciatingly amazing experience.
Wasting no time to make an impression, “Red Moon” creates a very tense and dominant atmosphere with hellish vocals and chilling atmospherics. The tension continues with the Ambient/Noise piece “Transcendental”, which provides some sort of an interlude to their next punishing onslaught: “Monument”. Clocking in at 10 minutes, the hypnotic riffing sets a very dire tone, but it’s the whirlwind raw Black Metal elements that brings the listener into the early days of bands like Emperor and Enslaved.
This year has been a great one in terms of killer Black Metal releases, but before we all go making our top albums of the year lists, Sweden’s Valkyrja states their case with their latest full-lenght “Throne Ablaze”. Featuring over 46 minutes of Dissection-style Black Metal, this album instantly grabs the listener’s attention with a mixture of gritty and yet melodic elements in a very refined and expertly crafted package. For those that like Black Metal to be punishing and yet inspiring, this is a release you can’t miss.
After a mood setting intro track, the band instantly wages war with “Crowned Serpent”. Providing a certain old-school Black/Death Metal vibe, this song is filled with riveting guitar leads and crunchy tempo changes. As “Opposer of Light” comes on, the mood shifts into Black-n-Roll’ish elements with piercing riffs and a sinister tone. The band’s ability to transmit aggression through their music is quite evident on crushing songs like “Tombs Into Flesh”, a track filled with hate and well introduced melodic passages, creating a very unique and intense musical experience.
Unleashing one of the most expected and full of hype (in some circles) releases of 2018, In the Woods… delivers one of their most direct and engaging albums. Filled with over 53 minutes of music, the band leaves no stone unturned with their highly diverse and creative musical repertoire. If you thought “Pure” was a one-off release after their return from a 14-year hiatus, this album will set the record straight that they are fully back and ready to rock.
Opening with the mystical “Empty Streets”, the band invokes similarities to old school outfits like Yearning, but with their own Progressive influences. James Fogarty had been instrumental for the band’s return and with his performance in this album (and the live shows) he cements his legacy in the storied history of this band. Going from soaring clean vocal passages to frenetic harsh sections, his vocals work wonders with the band’s unique music. As tracks like “Substance Vortex” and the epic “Respect My Solitude” establish the album’s mood, we are instantly brought back to the band’s revolutionary beginnings with a plethora of influences and genres mixed in together in perfect unison.
We usually don’t review re-releases but Ellende’s debut EP “Rückzug in die Innerlichkeit” is one of our favorite releases and we are psyched that Art of Propaganda is making it available to a wider audience. One-man Ellende is one of the top Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-Black Metal outfits to come out in the last few years and this album is a landmark release that deserves more attention.
The EP starts with a dreamy introduction that reminds us of the middle releases of Alcest, with moody tempo changes into very aggressive and demoralizing passages filled with harrowing vocals and punishing drumming. The atmosphere is quite oppressive and masterfully contrasted with acoustic elements. The dramatic string instruments of “Pfad der Endlichkeit” create a very solemn mood that slowly descends into some of the bleakest aural passages ever crafted. This is one of our all time favorite songs due to its dramatic atmosphere and the very raw and primitive emotions transferred by the music.
Recorded at the top of the band’s career (so far), this 25 year anniversary release gives us an insight into Amon Amarth and two of their most leveling performances to date. Having had the honor of being at these Summer Breeze shows, check out our live gallery here , we can certainly verify that they were as epic as they sound here. Live releases have been getting better and better in the last few years and this one takes the cake in terms of audio quality and how it transports the listener into the middle of the action.
Divided into two shows, Amon Amarth’s takeover of Summer Breeze started with a surprise show at the T-stage the day the festival kicked off. As the band rocked through some of their best material people started going nuts and there were a considerable amount of people crowd surfing, prompting for the stage security to come out in force to receive them safely. Featuring a set of older and songs that the band does not play very often live, their T-Stage show was truly a memorable one filled with pyro and the infamous viking ship making an appearance.
Two years have passed since their crushing release “Weltenasche”, and now Karg returns with a more refined and poignant release with “Dornenvögel”. As a one-man project from V. Wahntraum of Harakiri for the Sly fame, the band’s sound is quite melancholic with plenty of Post-Black Metal elements thrown into the mix. Clocking in at 76 minutes, this album has a lot of intricacies to be discovered before it fully unravels to the listener, making it a very rich listening experience.
Exploring the darker sides of Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-Black Metal, “Drangsal” starts off the release with melancholic weeping guitars and a very desolate vibe. This track nicely weaves back and forth between bleak soundscape and heavier sections filled with aggression and desperation. The dreamy and Post-Rock-ish passage in “La tristesse durera toujours” is definitely one of the best and most emotionally charged sections we have heard in a while.
Riding one last time, Norway’s infamous hard rockers Chrome Division unleash their last opus “One Last Ride” this November. Featuring 12 superbly catchy tunes about boozing and women, this release is full of attitude and the band’s signature playful music. Catering for fans of The New Black, The Carburetors, and similar outfits, Shagrath and company have consistently delivered highly memorable music since their inception 15 years ago and with Eddie Guz back on vocals they decide to sign off into oblivion.
Straight out of a Robert Rodriguez movie, the epic opener “Return From The Wastelands” sets a very epic vibe for such an intoxicating release. Pummeling through “So Fragile”, we are quickly reminded of Eddie Guz signature vocals and while bittersweet that Shady Blue is not participating, Eddie’s vocals were made for this kind of music. The album’s first standout hit is the majestic “Walk Away in Shame”, with is playful chorus section and insanely funny lyrics.
It is rare for us to find a release that is just so catchy that we drop everything else we have to review and focus 100% on it. Luckily for us, The Moor’s latest album “Jupiter’s Immigrants” falls in this very elusive category. Delivering nine brilliant and super melodic tracks, this Italian band managed to capture our undivided attention for hours on end. Mixing Progressive Metal and Rock elements, this album will captivate you since the first few seconds until the last note.
Opening with the highly melodic riffing of “Lead the Difference”, the band’s vocal melodies are what hooks you right in. Reminding us a bit of Edu Falaschi’s Almah, this band does a super job in oozing melody and catchines as we can hear in the album’s titled track. Packed with hefty dose of heavy riffs, subtle atmospheric keyboards and the guest appearance of Mikael Stanne, this title track is hands down one of the best songs of 2018.
After unleashing one of the most intricate en exciting releases of 2017 with “Visions”, Anomalie returns with a brilliant four song EP titled “Integra”. Led by Chris Marrok, Anomalie is a force to be reckoned crafting very powerful music which explores the depths of both brutality and atmosphere to perfection. Delivering nearly 30 minutes of music, this EP is the perfect continuation of the band’s unique musical trajectory.
Opening with the ritualistic and atmospheric intro to “Rebirth”, the band sets a decadent mood that expertly layers harsh riffing and intense drumming delivered on a masterful pace. This track features eerie vocal arrangements that help further the songs atmospheric prowess. “Aurora” rolls in with a vicious Black Metal onslaughts that nicely change the dynamics of the EP as it changes the pace back and forth.