ATMF is always surprising us with some mind-bending music as well as some ear raping releases, the label with Tal’set’s “La Via del Guerreiro” has managed to release something that is very rare these days: Truly Original Music. Before you go thinking that the end is near (due to such inconceivable fact), Tal’set’s musical style is a pretty interesting amalgamation of other styles into a weird hybrid that sounds like nothing else and everything else put together in perfect harmony.
The album starts with a very trippy intro titled “Il Vecchio Alla Stazione” that sets the mood for a deeply confusing and weird release indeed. “La Via del Guerreiro” features some weird proggy elements from the 70’s mixed with some heavy duty Death Metal elements adding to the confusion of where is this band going with this. Same happens with the medieval sounding opening of “Intento” only to go back into some barebones Death Metal with chunky riffs and some BM sounding drumming.
As the USBM scene keeps getting better and better over the years, it is not surprising to find high-quality releases, like Kommandant’s “The Draconian Archetype”, that keep pushing the boundaries of Black Metal. The band’s delivers 10 tracks and over 50 minutes of excellent Black Metal with an emphasis on the atmospheric side of things. With a sound similar to bands like Nightbringer and Canadian’s Weapon, Kommandant clearly knows what they are doing and transmit their sickness perfectly in this release.
With excellent dissonant guitars and a balls-to-the-wall approach, “We are the Angels of Death” makes a powerful statement as the opener for this release. The thick atmosphere created by the guitars is outstanding and gives that veil of darkness that many BM releases lack these days. The vocals are creepy and intense, adding an extra layer of dissonance to the music. “Victory Through Intolerance” features a more traditional structure, but that dense atmosphere is nicely present throughout this track as well.
Mixing things up when combining traditional Black Metal with some industrial/drone elements, today we have Italy’s Visthia and their latest release “In Aeternum Deleti”. As one of the most complicated albums we have received in quite a while, this release posed a great challenge to sit through and finally make up our minds about a review of it. The band combines some elements of experimental bands like DHG, Aborym and others that are pushing the edges of Black Metal, but still fails to achieve anything more than shock value with their very disturbing and dissonant sound. Calling their new ‘style’ Black Powernoise, we can’t stop feeling that they might be a bit ahead of their time.
Switching back and forth between spoken Latin sections, some beats and drone elements and a mid-tempo Black Metal, Visthia does achieve a very cavernous and disturbing atmosphere, but nothing more. The vocals are excellent and very creepy indeed, but the slow tempo of things and the samples kind of kill the mood of the BM guitars.
Blowing past the boundaries of Depressive Black Metal and ending up on the Alternative Rock side of things, today we have Svarti Loghin and their latest skillful release “Sea of Green”. The band since their last release “Drifting Through the Void” was showing extreme signs of moving away from BM, and on this latest release they complete the transition.
Evoking elements from Alternative Rock to Grunge, “Sea of Green” features five very interesting tracks that need your complete open-mindedness or you will completely hate this release. The depressive vibe of the band is totally present in this release; this is excellent since the band has a very unique sound. However, you will have to deal with almost no Metal elements, and a very mellow and ‘alternative’ approach to things.
One of the most mysterious bands coming from the Dutch scene has to be An Autumn for Crippled Childern. After their monumental 2010 debut album “Lost”, they return with an even more impressive and lush release with “Everything”. If you though that their first album was pushing the limits of creativity and delivering in almost every single aspect, wait until you get your hands on this excellent release.
Being released on ATMF records, “Everything” opens with powerful Shoegaze influenced guitars in “Forever Never Fails”. Drawing similarities to Alcest, Lantlos and similar Post-Black Metal/Shoegaze bands, the band is greatly refining their sound from their first release. The distorted desperate screams of pain that are featured in this track (and throughout the release) greatly contrast the beauty of the music, but in a very effective and devastating manner.
Finally getting a proper release, today we have Sacrarium’s debut full-length “March to an Inviolable Death”. This album by far is one of the most brutal we have received in a while, but it is also one of the least creative ones.
The band punishes the listener with tremolo-picking sections galore and hellish Dark Funeral style vocals, but nothing else in terms of creativity and originality. The sound is indeed massive and if you are looking for a quick fix of brutality, you will relish this album for eternity.
Featuring a session member of Svarti Loghin, Srodek brings us with their second full-length “Förfall”, a total of 37 minutes of bleak and depressive Post-Black Metal. While Srodek is not as good as Svarti Loghin and genre heroes Lantlôs, this one man project does a pretty solid job in creating desolate landscapes and populates them with Post-Rock/Black Metal elements.
With the eloquent name of Nekrofucker, the band mastermind gives us 7 tracks that have a very familiar Svarti Loghin sound. While this is not completely bad, we can’t help but wonder where the creativity presented in “En Hälsning Till Döden” has gone. But it’s not all bad news since some moments of this release set it apart and make up for a good album.
Featuring two members of Glorior Belli, 11 as in Adversaries is another great addition to the ATMF roster, and with their debut full-length album “The Full Intrepid Experience of Light” they will surely get their name on the map. As the main selling point of 11 as in Adversaries, we have that their sound is very unique since they mix a blend of Post-Rock/Metal with Extreme Metal and Progressive Metal, creating a very rich spectrum of sounds unlike other band in the scene these days.
Getting things moving with the 15 minute epic “The Full Intrepid Experience of Light”, the band sets their sound apart for the rest immediately with the different textures presented in this song. Immediately the melodic and yet powerful guitar work stands out shifting from a Post-Rock/Metal approach to darker corners of Extreme Metal. The typical Progressive Metal tempo changes also add to the overall richness of this track and work wonders with the intricate Blues-infused bass guitar presented.
Usually when we get stuff from ATMF we are very excited since they have some of the most different and interesting releases, with Disiplin’s fourth full-length release we find ourselves puzzled and a bit disappointed with the end result. Mixing Black Metal with Industrial/Ambient elements the band manages to create a very disturbing sound that is very effective for a couple of songs only.
“Radikale Randgruppe” kicks-off with a very straight forward Industrial Black Metal sound with catchy beats and crushing guitars. As dissonant as this may sound, it’s pure evil and creates a dense atmosphere, something that is continued with the second track “Me Ne Frego”. The flow is somewhat hindered by the uninspired and very repetitive “Triarii”, here is were you start to notice the band will fire blanks for the rest of the album since the drums are very dull and similar to the first songs and the overall atmosphere gets a bit stale.
Every once in a while we get a release that makes us think: What the fuck was the band thinking?. The majority of the time this is in a bad way, a clear example is “Trilobeth” from Umbah. This release feels as disconnected as a bunch of tracks pieced together by a baby playing with Pro-Tools.
We must say that if originality is what you look for then you will be blown away by “Trilobeth” since we never heard something quite like this. But if you are actually looking for music with structured songs and a logical flow then you will hate this album.