Marking the release number 200 from the forward thinking label Debemur Morti, Ukraine’s White Ward unleash two very unique pieces of music with their signature style. Featuring anything but traditional elements, this release delivers nearly 18 minutes of enigmatic and highly experimental Black Metal. For the uninitiated, White Ward is one of the most exciting bands of the last few years, with their expertly crafted experimental music featuring heavy atmospheres and an avant-garde mixture of elements and styles that puts them years ahead from their competition.
Opening with the EP title track, the band first sets a very jazzy and sultry atmosphere that quickly escalates into full on blistering drums alongside a sexy saxophone. Things pick up as the aggressive BM onslaughts proceed alongside crafty tempo changes. If this wasn’t enough, guest vocalist Lars Nedland (Solefald, Borknagar) soaring clean vocals provides a brilliant complement to an already highly intricate backdrop.
Hailing from Serbia, CMPT is an anonymous punishing Black Metal outfit with hints of atmospheric elements. In this two song EP, the band instantly makes a name for themselves with a very unique and highly engaging 20 minutes of music. For fans of piercing BM that is both melodic and highly aggressive, this release will leave you wanting more.
Opening with an ominous atmospheric intro that suddenly transforms into all-out-war, this first track creates a lasting impression on the listener. The contrast of imposing atmospherics with the ravaging guitars and intense drumming perfectly set the backdrop from the harsh screams and crafty tempo changes. With a more hellish vibe, the second track in this release is filled with pummeling riffs and creepy transitions from raw aggression to eerie atmospherics.
Hailing from Germany, today we have Dawn of Disease 2.0, under the name of Hiraes. Featuring all members of DoD up until 2019 plus a talented new vocalist in Britta Görtz, the band is ready to continue releasing highly melodic Death Metal that is both technically proficient and extremely catchy. Being huge fans of the genre, “Solitary” provides a very promising introduction from this band as they start their journey, already being compared with bands like Dark Tranquility, Nightrage, etc.
The release opens with the moody “Shadows Break” and its incisive guitar work, perfectly paired with Britta’s powerful growls. Crafted with intricate tempo changes, powerful distorted guitars and a perfect pace for headbanging, “Under Fire” and “Grain of Sand” continue the highly melodic and engaging mood. We particularly enjoy how each song is crafted to deliver a different facet of the band while solidifying their core elements, like the traditional “1000 Lights” and the Amon Amarth/Arch Enemy-esque “Eyes Over Black” and its killer guitar leads.
Being huge fans of Black Metal with additional elements other than raw power, we are quite enthralled by Order of Nosferat and their latest release “Arrival of the Plague Bearer”. Unleashing over 50 minutes of vampiric BM, we get a wide variety of haunting piano interludes, dreamy atmospherics, and savagely raw BM, with all elements blending in perfect harmony. If you are looking for creepy and cinematic BM releases, this one will satisfy your thirst.
Starting with an atmospheric mood setting intro, the album title track transforms into a behemoth with blistering drums, inhuman screams and a turmoil of high powered distorted riffs. Alongside the violent core sound, the keyboards provide a nice melodic contrast in this piece. The album’s atmosphere is greatly enhanced by instrumental tracks like “Sleepless in Sorrow and Bloodthirst”, “The Castle of Haunting Silence”, “Lost in the Crypts of my Need for Affection”, “As She Fades in Lamenting Winds”, and “Dance of the Wallachian Winter Spirits” which create a very spooky and solemn backdrop to the aggressive pieces.
Always surprising us with high quality and engaging releases, Rain Without End records is ready to unleash the third full-length release of Seeming Emptiness, titled “Bliss Entombed”. For the uninitiated, this band features members/ex-members of In Mourning and October Tide while creating a very unique blend of Melodic Death Metal, Doom, with some Post-Rock elements. With over 50 minutes of highly melancholic music, this release will please any fan of the previously mentioned bands and genres.
Opening with the Katatonia-esque “An Impious End”, we get a very moody track with crafty drums, incisive guitars and a well balanced mix of growls and clean vocals. Showing a more dynamic and yet melancholic side, tracks like “What Spirits Forebode” and “Infernal Charade” perfectly mix all of the band’s influences and are complemented with soaring clean vocals and engaging tempo changes.
There are only three guarantees in life: death, taxes, and Timo Tolkki crafting bad-ass Power Metal songs. Today we have Timo and his Avalon project unleashing their fourth full-length release “The Enigma Birth”. Featuring nearly one hour of music and eight guest vocalists, this release continues the band’s trend of delivering sweeping melodies, killer guitar solos, and highly engaging vocal lines. As occasional Power Metal listeners, we greatly appreciate these types of releases as you get to ‘discover’ some singers that wouldn’t be on our radar.
Opening with the crafty “Enigma Birth”, we have blistering guitars and drums, perfectly paired with Pellek’s dramatic and quite versatile vocals. This track sets a very bombastic and explosive mood that is perfectly continued with the hard rocking “I Just Collapse” featuring returning guest Caterina Nix and her talented pipes. Timo and company are masters at changing tempos and styles between songs and yet keeping that intensity and melodic edge.
Unleashing a 21 minute blistering self-titled album, today we have Canada’s Vrexiza and their no-bullisht Black Metal. Picked up to be released in tape format by Signal Rex, this 4 track release delivers waves of crushing riffs, pummeling vocals, and crafty tempos. Nothing fancy or overproduced here, just straight up raw and demoralizing BM.
The release opens with the crushing “Iron Spectres” and its intricate guitar work. Delivering a swift and brutal blow to the back of the head, this track is expertly crafted to be pummeling and highly demoralizing. After the intense opening, “Hürtgenwald” changes the pace to a more hypnotic, atmospheric, and incisive piece with piercing riffs, mid-tempo hellish vocals and blistering headbanging passages.
The always mysterious and captivating Neo Folk sound of Dornenreich has been one of our favorites alongside bands like Empyrium and The Moon and the Nightspirit. While the band’s style is far from Metal, they have a certain darkness to their music that makes it quite appealing and engaging. Led by Eviga, this trio has been creating unique music for over 20 years, and “Du wilde Liebe sei” is yet another excellent release filled with dramatic arrangements, somber tempos and lush violins.
The opener “So ruf sie wach das Sehnen” immediately sets the listener in a dark trance of lush acoustic guitars and playful drums. While all singing is done in German, the language it-self is very fitting to this kind of dark and melancholic music, as the listener can enjoy in “In Strömen aus Verwandlung ein flackerloses Licht”, “Dein knochern Kosen”, and “Liebes dunkle Nacht”. There is some slight use of electric guitars here and there, with distortion too, but we feel it distracts a bit from more eclectic acoustic efforts.
Hailing from Australia, Mesarthim creates one of the most mystifying and unique blends of Metal with electronic/atmospheric elements. Similar to bands like Germ, Violet Cold, and Progenie Terrestre Pura, the band’s sound is both bombastic and pretty aggressive, keeping things superbly catchy and still heavy enough for Metal fans to enjoy. With 5 tracks and nearly 30 minutes of music, “Vacuum Solution” is one hell of a unique and engaging release.
The album title sets a very dramatic futuristic vibe with super catchy synths and beats, paired with powerful guitars and fiendish shrieks. This is the exact explosivity we loved from bands like Germ, but Mesarthim takes it to a whole new level with more electronic/dark electro elements. Track like “Matter and Energy” also have a certain Industrial-like vibe, reminding us of Italy’s Aborym but with a catchier edge.
Completely unexpected after 17 years since their last release, Ancient Wisdom returns with ‘their’ mystical and enigmatic Atmospheric Black Metal. Being huge fans of the band’s earlier work, Marcus E. Norman keeps things simple and traditional while delivering 50 minutes of captivating music with an old-school vibe and tons of crafty ideas. If you like old-school Melodic/Symphonic Black Metal but with a more Atmospheric edge, you can’t miss out on “A Celebration In Honor of Death”.
Opening with the dramatic “Haec est Mors Secunda” we get lush operatic choir arrangements, sinister riffs, and an almost Doomy pace to start this release. Of course the band’s Black Metal roots instantly shine with the riffs of “Breaking the Circle of Life”, a track that nicely blends some Middle Eastern undertones to its powerful melodic passages and harsh snarls. Always focusing on creating weird and quirky tracks, songs like “Architect of Death - Laudamus Te” and “The Coronation” craft very unique atmospheres alongside funky guitars and interesting tempo changes, making the band’s diverse sound quite engaging and exciting.