Since leaving Katatonia in 2009, the Norrman brothers reactivated their melodic Death/Doom Metal outfit October Tide and have been releasing killer albums since then. On “The Cancer Pledge”, the band unleashes over 45 minutes of crafty melodic music with a hefty dose of heaviness. The band’s sound is quite timeless, as they have continued to add minor tweaks and refined it over the years.
Unleashing a hefty dose of Norwegian Black Metal, today we have Den Saakaldte and their first release in nearly eight years: “Pesten Som Tar Over”. Originally started as a one man project, this now band returns with a vengeance delivering over 60 minutes of dense music. For fans of bands like Ved Buens Ende, Dold Vorde Ens Navn, and similar outfits, this release is filled with crafty riffs and hellish vocals.
When bands go dark for some years, there is always the concern that they might come back sounding dated, however, this is definitely not the case here as “Av Satans ild” is a fierce opening track showing the band didn’t miss a beat. Incisive guitar work alongside your traditional BM snarl, provide a nice core for that Norwegian BM sound, as shown in tracks like “Dødstrett av alt” and “En ode til spinnersken”, which are both over eight minutes long. These longer form songs allow for moody tempo changes and a nicer flow within songs.
Slowly inching their way into being one of the most exciting Gothic Death/Doom Metal bands in the scene, Hanging Garden returns with their latest full-length release “The Garden”. Featuring eleven expertly crafted tracks filled with melancholy and lush atmospherics alongside enchanting female vocals and a mixture of growls and clean male vocals. As huge fans of the genre, this release has that magical Theater of Tragedy “Aegis” vibe paired in with a modern sound and brilliant productions.
Opening with the crushing album title track, we get a slowly building piece with excellent heavy passages and a very solid dose of melancholy. Riikka Hatakka’s vocals have a certain Liv Kristine-esque vibe while unleashing unparalleled sweetness to a dark and somber mix as tracks like “The Four Winds”, “The Construct”, and “The Song of Spring” showcase. With each tracking having great melodic undertones, the songs in this release are both catchy and yet eerie and dark.
Creating a totally unique and extremely well crafted intricate atmosphere, today we have Poland’s Entropia and their latest opus “Total”. Intelligently blending elements from Black, Sludge, and Post-Metal with avant-garde weirneds, the band unleashes five tracks and nearly 50 minutes of excellent music. If you are a fan of bands like Code, Ephel Duath, and Mord'A'Stigmata to name a few, you will love this release.
Opening with the crafty tempo changes of “Retox”, the band sets a very playful and yet intricate tone with lush atmospherics, masterfully layered guitars and intricate drumming. Weaving back and forth brutal onslaughts, the screams fit perfectly with this contrasting musical style as tracks like “Mania” and “Orbit” demonstrate. The band’s ability to merge dissonance with avant-garde weirdness is quite masterful.
Creating the perfect soundtrack to induce nightmares, today we have Decline of the I with their latest effort “Johannes”. Featuring a new lyrical concept and band members, this release builds on the band’s unique and demoralizing brand of highly atmospheric Black Metal and elevates the listener’s experience to a whole new level. With over 50 minutes of cavernous and bone chilling music, this release is highly recommended for fans of bands like The Ruins of Beverast and Blut Aus Nord.
Opening with the hellish “A Selfish Star”, the listener is treated to very crafty atmospherics featuring spoken word ramblings and haunting clean singing. This atmosphere is further exacerbated by the layered aggressive guitars and harsh screams, and nicely shocked into tranquility by some dreamy slower tempo passages. The cinematic experience bleeds into the punishing “The Veil of Splendid Lies” and its superbly crafted drum patterns alongside dramatic guitar leads and haunting choral arrangements.
When it comes to weird and out of the ordinary music, we are always on looking for the next weirdest thing. Today, via Agonia Records, we have Shadows and their self-titled debut EP. Led by Alex Bouks of Incantation and Goreaphobia fame, this band unleashes a very intoxicating and unique release with a blend of musical styles within Metal and bordering with Rock and Goth elements.
Opening with the somber “Ghosts of Old”, we get an interesting mixture of crafty drumming, firm riffs and a very moody tempo. The clean vocals remind us a bit of the band EverEve, with a certain twang added to them. The album’s atmosphere is quite dark and enjoyable as tracks like “Shadows”, “Night of the Goat Winter Moon”, and “Elders” have a nice mixture of warm and fuzzy psychedelic distortion with engaging tempo changes and very solemn vocals.
Delivering a swift, short, and sweet EP, today we have Australia’s premiere Technical Death Metal unit Pyscroptic and their crushing EP “The Watcher of All”. Perfectly maturing over time, the band’s sound is as tight as ever with even some Thrash elements thrown into the mix to create a very high-octane set of tracks that will generate great expectation within their fan-base.
The release kicks off with the crafty “A Fragile Existence” and its intricate guitar work. The band’s technical proficiency does not get in the way of catchiness as this track is both engaging, complex and perfect for headbanging. The mixture of screams and growls is well balanced, creating an intense atmosphere. The album title track starts off with a certain Testament-like vibe as it rages through intense riffing, superbly crafted drum patterns and a total balls-to-the-wall vicious intensity.
Perfectly blending hyper fast Death Metal brutality with Black Metal hellishness, today we have Azarath and their latest offering: “Saint Desecration”. Building up on their transition into Blackened DM territories over their last releases, this album unleashes nearly 40 minutes of swift aggression and crushing speed, leaving the listener’s ear ringing for a couple of hours after it is over.
The band’s ‘new’ vocalist/guitarist Skullripper (Marcin Sienkiel) perfectly fits in the band’s energetic style and wastes no time to make his presence felt in the furious opener “Death-at-will”. While some might expect more Behemoth-styled because Inferno’s drumming, the band forges their own signature style with a pummeling and firm Death Metal core that turns Blackened in certain occasions thanks to the riffs or some screams, like on “Sancta Dei Meretrix” and “Let Them Burn”.
For some reason a band like Opeth and their newest Progressive/Psychedelic antics, while great sounding, they usually put us to sleep. Contrastingly, Greece’s Hail Spirit Noir and their latest newfound Psychedelic/Progressive endeavors incite a great level of curiosity and engagements from us. Unleashing “Eden in Reverse”, the band delivers a mixture of their weird avant-gardeness of their earlier days and trippy Proggy/Psych brilliance, perfectly delivered in seven tracks and nearly 45 minutes of captivating music.
The album opens up with the more traditional old-school Prog/Space rock of bands like Hawkwind and Magnum on pieces like “Darwining Beasts” and “Incense Swirls”. While catchy, we didn’t really get turned fully into the release until “Alien Lip Reading” comes in with a certain weird Solefald sounding angle, creating captivating guitar melodies and hypnotic vocal arrangements. This track nicely turns the release into a very interesting and completely trippy experience as it sounds like your old prog/space rock, but with a fresher and more dynamic edge.
Keeping the Swedish Death Metal flag flying high, today we have another gargantuan release from legendary Centinex titled “Death In Pieces”. While the band went through a full line-up change before this album, Martin Schulman has pulled together a great cast and delivers the goods in the ten songs unleashed in this release. If you like older Grave, Entombed, and the usual Swedish suspects, this album will certainly bring back some good memories.
As the horns blow on the opening track “Only Death Remains”, we are instantly transported to the 90’s with the band’s timeless sound. In your face drumming and crafty riffs are just what the doctor ordered as tracks like “Derelict Souls” and “God Ends Here” continue to flow as an initial blast of energy. The band does not fuck around, and their craftiness is clearly demonstrated with the superbly catchy and traditional chugging riffs of “Tomb of the Dead”, one of our favorite tracks.