Album Reviews

  • Aegrus - In Manus Satanas (2019)

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    Unleashing a savage Black Metal attack, today we have Finland’s Aegrus and their latest full-length release “In Manus Satanas”. With a very traditional and yet catchy BM sound, this band delivers over 44 minutes of intense music filled with crushing vocals and a dramatic pace. If you like intense music that is relentless and destructive, this is the release for you.

    The pillaging starts with the relentless “Hymn To The Firewinged One”, a track that has a certain early Emperor/Limbonic Art vibe with its intense guitars and hellish vocals. The band’s no bullshit attitude oozes out of the magnificent “Nightspirit Theosis”, full of melody and aggression, making it one hell of a headbanging ride. The band continues to belt out pummeling tracks like “Gestalt of Perdition” and the somber “Ascending Shadows”, which features a darker and even doomier vibe. We enjoy how Aegrus does not stick to a single style and blends in a wide variety of elements in their crushing sound while never straying from the left hand path.

  • Kadavar - For the Dead Travel Fast (2019)

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    As one of the most intense and authentic (modern) Psychedelic Rock bands we have ever seen, Kadavar continues to propel themselves to the top with killer releases. “For the Dead Travel Fast” is yet another highlight in their storied career, filled with over 45 minutes of fantastic and engaging music. If you like riff-driven releases Rock releases, this album will satisfy your quota… for a few years. With this highly creative and moody release, the band reaches new heights.

    Starting off with the chilling-eerie intro “The End”, the band sets a very moody vibe that fully unravels with “The Devil's Master”. This last track perfectly combines fuzzy guitars, funky vocal arrangements and a very martial pace that slowly builds up. The Psychedelic brilliance of “Evil Forces” makes it one of the band’s most engaging and retro sounding tracks, thanks to a very natural and authentic old-school vibe. We are fans of more mysterious tracks, like the dramatic “Children of the Night” and it's very atmospheric vibe mixed with killer guitar leads and a pulsating bass guitar line.

  • Alcest - Spiritual Instinct (2019)

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    The initiators of the Blackgaze movement are back with yet another majestic release in “Spiritual Instinct”. With over 40 minutes of music, Alcest finds a middle ground between their heavier and harsher sound of albums like “Souvenirs d'un autre monde” and “Écailles de lune” with the dreaminess and directness of “Shelter”. While “Kodama” felt more back to basics, this release feels more of a hybrid of their calmer sound with their early days exploits.

    With the release opening with the playful “Les jardins de minuit”, the band leads with their signature guitars and crafty drumming. We particularly enjoy the typical dreaminess of the clean backing vocals as it contrasts with the heavier guitar sections. Of course there are faster paced passages with harsh vocals and furious drumming for their older fans, like on “Protection”. There are certain Post-Metal elements which make the songs a bit different than what “Kodaima” presented, like on the funky “Sapphire” and its intricate bass guitar line.

  • Vinsta - Drei Deita (2019)

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    Unleashing a truly unique release, today we have Austria’s Vinsta and their full-length release “Drei Deita”. Perfectly blending Folk elements into and engaging Progressive/Melodic Death Metal core, this band delivers a very interesting and harmonious sound. With nearly 50 minutes of music, we are treated to brilliant melodic passages, catchy riffs, and dreamy parts. Imagine a mixture of Insomnium with Opeth and the Folky edge of early Kauan.

    After the traditional instrumental intro, “Weisse Deckn” creates a very lively and ethereal atmosphere with the contrast of dreamy vocals and powerful guitars. This track also introduces the band’s folkier side with lush violins in a very dramatic melodic passage. Weaving back and forth between their two main styles, tracks like “Oafocha Loda” nicely build up the atmosphere and reach its crescendo with crushing guitars and harsh vocals.

  • Exmortus - Legions of the Undead (2019)

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    As one of the most exciting and different bands in the USA Metal scene, Exmortus combines Melodic/Technical Death Metal with Thrash-tastic elements, creating a very fresh sounding musical hybrid. Featuring five tracks and over 15 minutes of music, “Legions of the Undead” is a nice sampler of the band’s musical abilities and unrivaled creativity. If you like guitar acrobatics and catchy tunes, look no further and pick up a copy of this EP..

    The release opens with the brilliant album title track, full of crazy guitar leads and a crystal clear production, this track sounds both familiar and fresh at the same time, something not very common. The guitar acrobatics continue in the sinister “Swallow Your Soul”, which delivers catchy tempo changes and headbanging melodic passages.

  • Ossuaire - Derniers Chants (2019)

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    Continuing their takeover of the Canadian Black Metal scene, today we have Ossuaire and their second full-length release of 2019: “Derniers Chants”. Delivering over 45 minutes of neck-snapping music, this band continues to punish their listeners with a barrage of riffs and hellish vocals. If “Premiers chants” was not enough, this release will surely satisfy your cravings for nihilistic BM thanks to the band’s direct and pummeling style. Any fan of the genre must not miss out on such a monumental release.

    The savagery starts with the intense “Pestilence Rampante”, a track that starts with punishing guitars and never lets go. The band’s sound is quite massive and ravaging, allowing all elements to be nicely channeled to blow your eardrums apart. As impressive as any other Norwegian or Finnish Black Metal band, Ossuaire excels in crafting brutal tracks like the pummeling “À l'ombre du Très-Haut” and it's perfect balance of intense riffs and mid-tempo rhythmic drumming.

  • Opeth - In Cauda Venenum (2019)

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    Fully embracing and developing their Progressive Metal/Rock sound, Opeth as embarked on a journey in their last few releases to discover and create an own cohesive sound. With “In Cauda Venenum”, the band seems to be nicely settled and delivers ten lush tracks that showcase their impressive progress in this genre. Released in both Swedish and English, this album is quite a treat to enjoy if you are a fan of the genre and bands like Leprous and Haken but with a funky Psychedelic punch to them.

    After setting a trippy mood with the opener “Garden of Earthly Delights”, the band starts their proggy journey with the funky “Dignity”. Featuring an intricate bass guitar line and psychedelic synths and eerie vocal arrangements, this track nicely showcases the band’s craftiness. Mikael Åkerfeldt’s clean vocals are a very nice complement to the music’s craftsmanship on tracks like “Heart In Hand” and “Next of Kin”. We particularly enjoy how the band shifts tempos and hooks the listener with subtle details between transitions.

  • Botanist - Ecosystem (2019)

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    After nearly getting hives and having to puncture my eardrums to make the sound stop with Botanist “I: The Suicide Tree / II: A Rose From The Dead” release back in 2011, I have seen the band from afar evolve their sound and actually saw them play live once. Arriving to our inbox, we have “Ecosystem”, the band’s latest offering through Aural Music. Hearing the band with a new perspective after 8 years, we have to say that their sound now seems more cohesive and engaging, completely changing our initial shock reaction to their music.

    Opening with “Biomass”, the hammered dulcimer creates a very unique and chaotic atmosphere, nicely exacerbated by the harsh screams. We are quite surprised by the contrast created by the angelic clean vocals in tracks like “Alluvial”, were they nicely change the mood of the track until the following hellish onslaught of harsh vocals and fast paced drums appear. Creating a very tense and dramatic atmosphere, the ravaging dulcimer makes “Harvestman” one of the best songs in this release.

  • Pencey Sloe - Don’t Believe, Watch Out (2019)

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    With a knack to uncovering and promoting highly unique and melancholic bands, Prophecy Productions present us with their latest signing: Pencey Sloe. Hailing from Paris, France, this Shoegaze trio delivers nearly 50 minutes of highly dreamy music that will set you on a hypnotic trance from start to end. “Don’t Believe, Watch Out” is one of those releases that are magical from the first note, so if you are a fan of outfits like Slowdie, Les Discrets and Alcest, but tend to lean into their softer and dreamier side, this is a release for you.

    Opening their debut full-length with the lush “Lust of the Dead”, you instantly know the band means serious business. Their sound is utterly intoxicating as the dreamy guitars surround Diane Pellotieri captivating voice. Slowly building up to majestic crescendos, tracks like “Buried Them All” and “All Ok” perfectly create a drifting atmosphere that is ethereal and appeasing. The playful album title track has a certain darker edge that slowly turns bright as the subtle percussions interweave back and forth between shoegazing guitars and haunting vocals.

  • Noekk - Waltzing in Obscurity (2019)

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    We just had to wait 11 year for a new full length release, from personal favorite band Noekk. On the bright side, I guess “Waltzing in Obscurity” did take one year less to be released than the time between Empyrium albums. Led by Markus Stock and Thomas Helm, this band is the proggier/psychedelic outlet from Empyrium, as you can hear some minimal influences in this and their previous release. However, this band is a very different outfit with a heavier and trippier edge to its music.

    Opening with the album title track, we have a folky opening that evolves into lush vocal arrangements and a retro vibe with its intricate synths. We particularly love that dramatic sound created by the powerful distorted guitars and the clean vocals around the 5 minute mark, which reminds us of Empyrium very quickly. That being the last comparison with their partner band, the album progresses with the psychedelic brilliance of “Perseus” and its superb instrumentation. The drum crash cymbals are just amazingly produced, and are perfectly contrasted with the funky retro synths, making for one hell of a song.

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