Album Reviews

  • Uada - Crepuscule Natura (2023)

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    Continuing their path of cosmic catchiness, today we have Uada and their latest opus “Crepuscule Natura”. Featuring five tracks and over 41 minutes of music, the band unleashes their riff-driven Black Metal continuing with the intensity and magic that “Djinn” left off. Full of highly memorable moments and plenty of headbanging/moshing opportunities, this album is a testament to the band’s search for perfection and polish of their sound and message.

    Opening with the “The Abyss Gazing Back”, the riffing onslaught is quickly present with incisive guitars and masterfully crafted drumming. The tempo changes allow for some nice transitions between aggressive passages and more mellow melodic interludes. Without needing many additions or experimentation, the band’s sound is crips and direct as pummeling tracks like “Crepuscule Natura” and “The Dark (Winter)” unleash a plethora of crafty guitar elements alongside moody vibes.

  • Shining - Shining (2023)

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    As polarizing of a person as Niklas Kvarforth is, his music is always full of raw and unadulterated emotion. With Shining’s self-titled release, the band continues its path of decadence into weirder and equally disturbing territories. With a (mostly) new line-up that includes additions such as Nick Barker on drums, Alex Friberg on bass guitar, and Charles Hedger on guitars, this album delivers over 50 minutes of chaotic and yet masterfully constructed music.

    Opening with the powerful “Avsändare okänd”, we get that slow and atmospheric pace that the band has mastered, with a mixture of harsh snarls, clean vocals, and furious onslaughts of harsh brutality. The dark vibe that the band has been creating over the years, is perfectly encapsulated in the lush “Snart är dom alla borta” with its jazzy undertones and dramatic lead guitars.

  • Cryptopsy - As Gomorrah Burns (2023)

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    Fully righting their musical ship, today we have Canadian legends Cryptopsy and their first full length release in over 10 years: “As Gomorrah Burns”. Returning to that vicious Brutal Death Metal sound from their earlier years, the band delivers eight tracks and 33 minutes of crushing brutality. While the band showed their mettle with a new lineup during “The Book of Suffering - Tome I and II”, this release perfectly blends their old style with newer and fresher Technical DM elements that nicely polish their sound.

    The band quickly makes a statement with the pummeling “Lascivious Undivine”, and follows it with the even more blistering “In Abeyance”. The best part of this opening pair of tracks is that you can hear the old-school Death Metal from the band perfectly blended with a fresher and more modern edge of current Technical Death Metal/Deathcore productions. Blasting the listener away, one of our favorite tracks has to be “Godless Deceiver” and its intense drumming, perfectly flanked by chuggy riffs and hellish vocals.

  • Hexvessel - Polar Veil (2023)

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    From the mind of Mat McNerney, aka Kvohst, Hexvessel has been a very unique and engaging band throughout their multiple stylistic changes. From the dark and eerie occult folk/doom/rock days of “Dawnbearer“ and “No Holier Temple”, to the more psychedelic rock edge of “When We Are Death”, “All Tree”, and “Kindred”. The band has always had a very mysterious and eerie core that now fully unravels alongside piercing Black Metal riffs and creepy atmospherics. With only a handful of bands being able to drastically transition into (or from) Black Metal, “Polar Veil” showcases a very powerful aural experience that shows the band morphing into yet another version of themselves and unleashing one of the best releases of 2023.

    Opening with “The Tundra is Awake”, we get vicious and raw Black Metal riffs, for a moment you will be taken aback as this is not where the band seemed to be going on their last release. However, after McNerney’s signature vocals come into the mix, that whole ‘Hexvessel vibe’ is immediately felt as it brilliantly blends together. This release is heavy and yet quite atmospheric, as pieces like “Older Than The Gods” seem to be pulling one way with the guitars and yet the lush vocal arrangements pull a different way, creating a very intoxicating and yet perplexingly harmonious sound.

  • Marduk - Memento Mori (2023)

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    Unleashing their first full-length release in nearly 5 years, today we have legendary Marduk and the piercing “Memento Mori”. Consistency has been one of the band’s greatest strengths as they pummel through ten tracks and over 40 minutes of punishing Black Metal music. With a straight-forward and yet quite violent approach to the genre, the band certainly delivers on all expectations as this release is filled with excellent tracks with the band’s signature DNA.

    The band obliterates the listener with their signature short burst of devastation from the opener, “Memento Mori”. This piercing track has the Marduk signature violent drumming and aggressive riffing complementing Mortuus’ pummeling bass guitar line and snarls. Focusing on crafting piercing riffs, Morgan delivers that magical mixture of old-school BM style with a mixture of more modern and incisive elements, as we can hear on songs like “Heart of the Funeral”, “Blood of the Funeral” and on the chilling “Shovel Beats Scepter”.

  • Warmen - Here for None (2023)

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    It has been a while since Janne Warman has turned his attention to Warmen and their insanely fast and technical music. While their previous 2014 release was meh at best, their first four albums are just amazing. With “Here for None”, Janne alongside his brother and new additions Petri Lindross and Seppo Tarvainen, return with a refreshed sound that is more aggressive, (a bit) slower, and yet more cohesive and equally enjoyable.

    Opening with the catchy “Warmen are Here for None”, the band quickly unleashes their more aggressive nature with Lindross snarl and heavier/more melodic death metal-esque guitar work. However, the magic of Warmen is always present as Janne’s over the top keyboards and Antti’s guitar wizardry as songs like “The Driving Force”, “A World of Pain”, and “Too Much, Too Late” demonstrate. There are certain Children of Bodom elements in the music, but the band imprints their own spin, like one epic songs such as “Night Terrors”.

  • Dymna Lotva - Зямля пад чорнымі крыламі: Кроў (2023)

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    Creating one of the more harrowing and intense releases of 2023, today we have Dymna Lotva and their third full-length release “Зямля пад чорнымі крыламі: Кроў”. With over 72 minutes of music, this album is both beautiful and demoralizing. Full with eerie atmospherics, lush arrangements and intense vocals, this release is one of the most powerful ones that Prophecy Productions has put out in quite a while.

    Opening with “Ідзі і глядзі”, we get very powerful atmospherics and crafty guitar work. The wide variety of vocal styles create a very diverse and engaging narrative, ranging from mourns to screams, masterfully paired around lush arrangements. As “Пахаваны жыўцом” and “Смерць цалуе ў вочы” roll by, the band weaves back and forth between lush Doomy passages and full-on atmospheric oppression, always flanked by piercing guitars and tempo changes.

  • Godthrymm - Distortions (2023)

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    Unleashing misery and heaps of gloominess, today we have UK’s Godthrymm and their sophomore release “Distortions”. Led by Shaun Taylor-Steels and Hamish Glencross of My Dying Bride fame, this album delivers nearly one hour of majestic Epic Doom with killer riffs and crafty heaviness. As a well oiled machine, this outfit’s song writing abilities perfectly shine with some monumental headbanging sessions.

    The release quickly sets a very oppressive and doomy mood with the ripping guitars of “As Titans”, featuring a nice MDB and Mournful Congregation-esque vibe. However, the band is far from just copying others as they weave in their own signature style alongside the clean male and female vocals of Hamish and Catherine Glencross. Some Epic Doom bands overdo it on the clean vocals, but here we get a perfect balance as tracks like “Devils”, “Echoes” and “Obsess and Regress” showcase.

  • Welmoed - Ask & Embla (2023)

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    Crafting a truly unique and powerful mixture between heaviness and dreaminines, today we have Dutch project Welmoed and their debut release “Ask & Embla”. Featuring five tracks and over 33 minutes of Atmospheric Post-Black/Shoegaze Metal/Rock music, this release creates a very engaging and fragile atmosphere thanks to ethereal keyboards and dramatic vocal arrangements.

    The album sets a very hypnotic pace with the shoegaze-y opener “Naga'' and its dramatic tempo changes alongside crafty instrumentation. While the opener is pretty good, one starts thinking that this will be just another one of those Post-Black Metal releases as the intense tremolo picking sets in. This impression continues as “Ask & Embla” continues the release, until a magical change happens as angelic female vocals are introduced and the whole vibe instantly changes.

  • Asphodelus - Sculpting from Time (2023)

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    Bringing back the days of mid to late 1990’s Death/Doom Metal, today we have Finland's Asphodelus and their sophomore release “Sculpting from Time”. With a very retro and yet engaging sound, at least for oldtimers like us, we are transported to the time when bands like (early) The Gathering, Yearning, Anathema, Castle, Katatonia, etc. started adding atmospheric elements to Doomy music.

    Opening with the moody guitars of “Waterside”, we are magically transported to the past with a very direct and old-school production and a style we haven't heard in quite a while. Led by Jari Filppu, the band perfectly captures that gloomy vibe and delivers tracks like “Fallen Dreamer”, “Life Painted Vermillion”, and “World of Hollow”. There are also some hints of old-school Finnish Death Metal, and even some 90’s Greek Metal hints from bands like The Elysian Fields.

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