Just when you think that 2019 can’t get any better in terms of Black Metal release, Polish Arkona decides to drop their triumphant release “Age of Capricorn”. Delivering one of the most savage and yet melodic and refined BM releases of the last decade, we are treated to over 46 minutes of vicious music. If you are a fan of the genre that wants both relentless aggression and high-octane atmospherics, this is the best album you can get in 2019.
After a creepy intro with some eerie samples, “Stella Inferno” quickly unleashes grim riffs and bestial drums. This track is both atmospheric and in your face, blowing past your eardrums and rattling your brain as Khorzon and company spew their madness. The playful synths perfectly combine with the blistering pace of the demonical “Alone Among Wolves”. As if the BM aural assault wasn’t enough, some super creepy wolf samples add and insane amount of depth and vigor to this track.
The ever changing Blut Aus Nord returns with their most impressive release to date with “Hallucinogen”. Everybody knows the band’s releases always push sonic boundaries, but with this opus, Vindsval and W.D. Feld take their sound to completely new cosmic dimensions. For over 48 minutes of music the band explores uniquely melancholic and ethereal territories with an interesting blend of lush atmospherics and intricate guitar work. Unless something drastically changes, we can almost be sure that this album will be our top release of 2019.
Opening with the mesmerizing “Nomos Nebuleam”, the band sets a very dreamy and highly atmospheric mood. The dramatic guitar work perfectly blending with the intense drumming to create a very powerful vibe. Combining the intensity of Progenie Terrestre Pura and the sci-fi-esque edge of Frozen Ocean, Blut Aus Nord crafts some very intense moments on tracks like “Nebeleste” that are both punishing and highly inspired. The clean vocal arrangements are quite unique and adds to the music’s overall weirdness and atmosphere.
Unleashing a whole new different kind of beast, today we have Ukraine’s White Ward and their sophomore full-length release “Love Exchange Failure”. Featuring over 65 minutes of captivating music, the band seamlessly blends Post-Black Metal with an Avant-garde edge an a serious dose of hypnotic brutality. Pushing the genre to new heights, this is one hell of a release that fans of the experimental should not miss.
The album opens with the title track setting a very lounge like vibe with sparse piano notes, hypnotic percussions and a jazzy sax. All the calm suddenly transforms into chaos with blistering aggressive passages filled with crushing riffs and harrowing vocals. As the first track petters off, “Poisonous Flowers of Violence” delivers a more calculated attack that blends the ambiance of Post-Metal bands like Amenra and Neurosis, with a more vicious and yet delicate edge. The band’s ability to amalgamate genres in uncanny and each track demonstrates this, like the convoluted “Dead Heart Confession”.
Unleashing a truly contrasting and quite engaging release, today we have Latitudes and their latest opus “Part Island”. Perfectly blending Sludge, Post-Metal and even some Black Metal-ish elements with dreamy clean vocals, this release will weird you out at first, but will captivate you by the second track. With over 43 minutes of music, the band creates six intricate tracks that feel like you are listening to Amenra or The Ocean with and incorrect vocal track.
Opening with a folky build-up, “Underlie” creates the perfect mood to blow the listener away as the wall of distortion creeps up with thundering riffs. This big transition introduces the band’s pummeling sound in whole and will completely catch the listener off guard. This lush mixture of dreamy vocals and pummeling guitars is perfectly developed in pieces like “Moorland Is The Sea”, were the band slowly builds up an ethereal atmosphere that shifts moods with the heavier onslaughts.
From mastermind Naas Alcameth (Nightbringer, Akhlys), today we have a very interesting Black Metal/Dark Ambient release titled “Gods Without Name”. Under the moniker of Aoratos, this outfit unleashes nine highly atmospheric pieces to comprise their debut release. Full of ideas perfectly executed, this release is in the vein of experimental BM bands like Blut Aus Nord as well as Mysticum and with some hits of Diabolos Rising thrown in the mix.
After setting a very hellish ambiance with “Parallax I”, the band slowly drifts into heavier territories with the ravaging “Holy Mother of Terror”. The band unleashes a commanding aural onslaught filled with dissonant riffs and blistering drumming. Paired with hellish vocals, the attack continues as “Of Harvest, Scythe and Sickle Moon” unravels. The band’s sound is both raw and punishing without the need to sound like it was recorded on a shed, allowing the listener to experience it at full blast and not damage their speakers.
Unleashing a truly psychotic and bizarrely mesmerizing release, today we have Yerûšelem and their debut release “The Sublime”. Helmed by Vindsval and W.D.Feld of Blut Aus Nord fame, this release blends Industrial elements with chilling atmospherics and sinister guitar riffs, sounding unlike anything you have heard before. This album creates a whole new dimension of music, which could be described as a mixture of Mysticum, Diabolos Rising and Manes, but with a completely different direction.
The title track opens the release with a hypnotic pace, thanks to a drony vibe with subtle electronic elements and eerie guitars. The aural madness continues with the intoxicating beats of “Autoimmunity”, a song that nicely contrasts odd vocals with a catchy tempo and punishing guitar riffs. Other tracks create a very awesome discomforting claustrophobic atmospheres like the dissonant “Eternal” and the creepy “Joyless”.
Unleashing a crushing amalgamation of distorted guitars and powerful atmospheres, today we have France’s Dirge and their latest opus “Lost Empyrean”. Bordering in many genres like Slude, Doom, Post-Metal, this French outfit delivers a captivating release that is quite dense and engaging. For over 56 minutes and seven tracks, we are taken through dismal soundscapes that feel quite oppressive and showcase the band’s fresh and unique sound.
Opening with pummeling distorted guitars on “Wingless Multitudes”, the band’s wall of sound slowly builds up as the guitar layers pile up and craft a tense mood. Weaving back and forth between Amenra-esque moments and more traditional Doom passages, this track brilliantly blends into the next” “Hosea 8:7”. Masterfully maintaining the tension and overall ambiance, the mixture of clean and harsh vocals provides a nice layer to an already intricate mixture of sounds.
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.
Right up there with Behemoth, Vader and Hate, Outre is one of the most brutal and demoralizing Metal bands to come out of the Polish scene. Delivering another ravaging release with “Hollow Earth”, the band focuses on unleashing pummeling tracks filled with hate and destruction. Greatly improved from their 2015 debut “Ghost Chants”, the band is here to stay and level audiences and listeners in their path.
Setting the mood with a foul atmospheric intro, the release does not wait to hit hard with the blistering pace of “The Order of Abhorrence”. The band’s new vocalist, Mateusz Zborowski, keeps things interesting with a wide range of styles and levels of intensity that perfectly drive the aggression of the musical foundation. The guitar work in this release is exemplary as layers upon layers of distortion and crafted to create very thick and demoralizing walls of sound, like on “Combustion” and “Let the Earth Be Silent”.
As one of the most forward thinking and creative bands to come out of Norway, today we have Manes and their latest opus of madness titled “Slow Motion Death Sequence”. Featuring over 44 minutes of lush cinematic music filled with trip-hop, electronic, Metal, and even some synth-pop elements, this release further expands the band’s musical range. Constantly pushing the envelope, this release delivers nine intoxicating songs that demand attention and an open mind.
The release kicks off with the magical jazzy moodiness of “Endetidstegn”, a piece filled with dreamy atmospheric elements and lush vocal arrangements featuring Ana Carolina from Mounring Sun and the enchanting Anna Murphy of Cellar Darling. Things get futuristic with the catchy “Scion”, featuring some funky vocals and a very modern synth-pop-ish feeling. This song is one of the catchiest tracks in this release for sure.