Now on a bigger label and with an organically evolved sound, today we have Fen’s debut release on Prophecy Productions titles “The Dead Light”. Featuring nearly an hour of dreamy Atmospheric Black Metal, the band continues to evolve with more proggy influences added to their already very distinctive aural identity. If you liked anything that the band has put out before, this release will surely propel the to higher levels thanks to its craftsmanship and atmospheric brilliance.
Opening with “Witness”, the listener is instantly immersed in the band’s world with subtle guitars and a very moody intro passage. As the track slowly picks up, we can feel a bit of a Lantlôs vibe created by the cascading guitars and somber clean vocals. As the two parts of the album title track come along, we get to hear a proggier side of the band with sweeping crafty passages that mix faster paced sections and crafty tempo changes. These two tracks have a certain vibe that can be compared to a version of Opeth playing Atmospheric Black Metal.
Hailing from Seattle, Year of the Cobra was one of the revelations during the North American edition of Prophecy Fest back in 2018. This high-powered duo unleashed one of the most intense performances of the fest, and show that this was no fluke with their latest full-length release “Ash and Dust”. Crafting a very unique and powerful sound with a very bare-bones instrumental core (bass guitar and drums), this band unleashes a very Doomy vibe while keeping things fresh and engaging.
With a warm and fuzzy hypnotic bass guitar, the band starts their onslaught with “The Battle of White Mountain”. Perfectly creating a thick psychedelic/doomy atmosphere, Amy Tung Barrysmith’s vocals remind us a bit of Jex Thoth and Rosalie Cunningham. As masters of their trade, this duo crafts slow burning progressions weaving back and forth between droney passages and faster paced sections, tracks like “The Divine” and”Demons” are perfect examples.
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.
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.
Backed by a killer production, “Wanderers” is one hell of a great sounding quality Symphonic Metal album. We have been huge fans of the band since their early days and all the line-up changes, however, with this release they show they are back, firing on all cylinders and the scene better watch out for them. If you like expertly crafted Symphonic Metal songs that are both intense and highly emotional, look no further and give Visions of Atlantis a chance.
The album kicks off with the haunting “I: Citadel Alunar”, a track that slowly builds up momentum with its mellow riffs and hellish screams. Perfectly mixing dramatic synths with tense drone-ish moments, this track creates a chilling vibe. In tracks like “II: The Voice of Nebular Flame” and “III: The Senility of the Hourglass”patience rewards the listener with slow and intricate build-ups and crafty transitions.
Hailing from the Netherlands, this Dark Rock outfit delivers some of the most interesting and enchanting tunes to come out of this European country. Fronted by the charismatic Ryanne van Dorst, the band unleashes their latest EP, “Love Like Blood”, through Prophecy Productions this May. Featuring one cover track and two live recordings, you can get a peak at the band’s live intensity and magic with this short but sweet release.
Opening with Killing Joke’s “Love Like Blood”, the band infuses their magical mellowness into this legendary song. With dreamy guitars and a very intoxicating pace, Ryanne nicely captures the essence of the original piece while adding the band’s own atmospheric dreaminess to it. Featuring members of Gold and The Devil’s Blood, this band has a highly talented core that instantly reflects in their execution and creativity.
German masters of the bizarre Bethlehem are back to full form with the punishing “Lebe dich leer”. Reminding us of their “Dictius Te Necare” and “Dark Metal” days, the band delivers 41 minutes of truly punishing music filled with madness and brutality. Jürgen Bartsch and company are ready to take back their throne and this release is one huge step in the right direction.
Opening with “Verdaut in klaffenden Mäulern”, the band makes an instant impression with the demonic shrieks of Onielar, also the front woman of Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult. With her completely ravaging vocals, the already mysterious music takes a completely different and pummeling turn, making it quite violent, mystical and at times quite experimental, like on “Niemals mehr leben”. Atmospheric pieces like “Ich weiß ich bin keins”, will send chills down your spine thanks to the whispered vocals and the very deranged song progression.
Completely taking the boundaries of Black Metal for a spin, today we have Laster and their latest effort “Het wassen oog”. Featuring over 44 minutes of truly bizarre and yet completely intoxicating music, this release will have you listening to it over and over and over to discover all the little weird and quirky details baked into their music. If you like outfits like Mord'A'Stigmata and Fruze, you will find this band amazing.
Opening with the dreamy and intense “Vacuüm ≠ behoud”, the band opens a can of weird after the first couple of minutes. This track features a very comfy pace and dreamy guitars, flanked by a mixture of intense harsh vocals and ethereal clean vocal sections. The overall atmosphere is quickly established to be kind of dreamlike and very trippy, thanks to the throbbing bass guitar lines and the funky jazzy elements thrown into the mix, like the piano arrangements of “Schone schijn”.
With three years passing since their last release, today we have Hexvessel with their darkest and craftiest album to date: “All Tree”. Combining elements from their earlier releases, this album shows the band’s progression into fragile and more subtle territories with over 45 minutes of music. Moving away from the Psychedelic elements of “When We Are Death”, allows this release to be dark and mystic while keeping the same vibe through the whole release.
After setting a very folky mood with the opener, the band casts a magical spell on the listener with the enigmatic nature of “Son Of The Sky”. Relying on a very basic structure, this track nicely incorporates lush vocal arrangements and crystal clear string instruments. As the we go through “Old Tree” and “Changeling”, we get shivers down our spine thanks to the very martial and somber atmosphere crafted by the minimalist use of instruments and McNerney’s penetrating vocals.
Unleashing a very lively proggy release with “Aeon Chaser”, Norway’s Oberon self-labels their music a Gnostic Rock and they are not very far from the truth. Exploring a wide palette of sounds in their 11 songs, the band perfectly pairs acoustic passages with tons of atmospheric elements alongside a Progressive/Folk Rock core. In a similar vein than bands like Anathema, this release contains very well crafted songs that have a high replay value.
Opening with the dreamy “Omega”, we are instantly taken on a very trippy journey with songs that remind us of outfits like Yes and Marillion. The band’s progressive core allows them to craft intricate songs like “Walk in Twilight”, “The Secret Fire” and “Surrender” filled with memorable guitar melodies and soaring vocal arrangements. For those that like dreamier songs, “To Live to Die” crafts a very delicate atmosphere that nicely progresses as layers of additional elements like subtle piano arrangements are introduced.