Unleashing one of the most haunting releases of 2022, today we have Darkher and her truly eerie brand of Doom Metal. In “The Buried Storm”, Jayn Maiven continues to create highly atmospheric pieces perfectly blending just the right amount of distortion and tempo to create a very suffocating and yet liberating experience.
The album slowly builds its momentum with the sparse “Sirens Nocturne” and its tense atmospherics combined with lush vocal arrangements. Next up, “Lowly Weep” increases the tension with eerie cellos and the gradual introduction of distorted guitars alongside cathartic vocal arrangements. For those into folkier flavored Atmospherics, “Unbound” is a track to enjoy.
Unleashing waves of trance inducing music, today we have Switzerland’s E-L-R and their sophomore release “Vexier”. As it is to be expected from a Prophecy Productions release, this album goes beyond atmospheric and into hypnotic territories with a brilliant mixture of Doom, Shoegaze, and Post-Metal elements. For around 46 minutes, the listener is nicely transported by the intricately crafted expansive music in this release.
Opening with the dreamy “Opiate the Sun”, the band slowly unravels a 12-minute piece filled with haunting atmospherics and powerful distorted guitars. Think of The Ocean paired up with some Tide From Nebula and some sprinkles of SubRosa, as other tracks like “Three Winds” and “Seeds” further enshroud the listener into the band’s unique and expansive sound.
It is rare to find truly unique bands these days, luckily for us Eight Bells answers the call with their powerful release “Legacy of Ruin”. Featuring an extremely crafty amalgamation of Post-Metal, Doom Metal, and even some Black Metal-ish elements, this release unleashes over 45 minutes of intricate and engaging aural assaults.
Led by Melynda Jackson, the band quickly establishes their piercing atmosphere with the opener “Destroyer”, a piece filled with piercing guitars and harrowing and contrasting vocal arrangements. Creating a very sinister mood, the release is far from one dimensional as “The Well” explores calmer and yet disturbing interludes alongside faster and punishing onslaughts of heaviness.
Unleashing waves of melancholic bleakness, today we have Arð and their debut full-length release “Take up my Bone”. Perfectly crafting over 43 minutes of mournful Doom Metal, this one-man outfit takes atmosphere and doom to a whole new level with this opus. Just imagine an even more doomier and more atmospheric version of Hamferð and you can only begin to picture what this release brings to the table.
Opening with the mid-tempo “Burden Foretold”, we get a nice combination of punishing distorted riffs with elegant guitar leads and spine-chilling vocal arrangements. Self-labeled as “Monastic Northumbrian Doom”, tracks like the album title track, “Raise then the Incorrupt Body”, and “Boughs of Trees”, perfectly deliver this very unique and eerie feeling. With some of the clean instrumentation resembling elements from Tenhi and Empyrium, but sprinkled with soaring vocals and some intensely dramatic tempo changes.
Releasing four years after the death of Negru, “Zău” is the last piece of the Negură Bunget aural saga. With the original drum track recorded by Negru years back, and all the original musical direction and ideas in place, some of the last members of the band Tibor Kati, Adrian "OQ" Neagoe, and Petrică Ionuţescu, have managed to put this mystical release together, true to its original creation. Mixing both the dreamy/atmospheric and the heavier side of the band’s sound over the years, this release is a fitting conclusion to such a unique musical outfit.
The release sets a very dreamy and ethereal mood with the opener “Brad”, a 15-minute piece featuring angelic female vocals of Manuela Marchiș, and the band’s signature tempo changes into more aggressive territories. “Iarba Fiarelor” explores richer instrumentation and longer heavier sections, with aggressive growls alongside uplifting atmospherics. The band’s signature style is present in all aspects of this release, giving it a very nostalgic edge.
Unleashing one of the most emotionally charged and disarming releases of 2021, today we have Illudium with “Ash of the Womb”. With a very difficult sound to define, the band mixes elements from acts like Kate Bush, Pencey Sloe, all the way to ISIS and Alcest, creating a very dreamy and yet powerful amalgamation of melancholic sounds. If you are looking for dark, dreamy, but with a hefty dose of fuzzy heavy riffs, this release is one you can’t miss.
Opening with the moody “Aster”, the band creates a very overpowering atmosphere with heavy distorted guitars paired with Shantel Amundson’s emotionally charged vocals and a slow but steady progression. As “Sempervirens” comes along, the mood shifts into a livelier Post-Rock/Metal territory with a wide variety of guitar progressions, crafty drumming and a solemn bass guitar line. We particularly enjoy how the band transitions between levels of melancholy, while keeping their signature elements intact.
Slowly evolving over time, Unreqvited has always pushed the boundaries of Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-Black Metal with its lively and expertly crafted music. With “Beautiful Ghosts”, this one-man project nearly achieves Nirvana, thanks to the unparalleled liveliness and emotiveness of this excellent release. With a very positive and uplifting nature, the seven tracks and 42 minutes of music in this release are plain brilliant.
Opening with the moody “All is Lost”, we get a bit of the band’s previous style with more lush and ‘bright’ atmospherics. The mixture of harsh screams with dreamy arrangements is top notch, but the simplicity of the guitar work and drumming is what really separates this opener. Focusing more on the atmospheric part, “Autumn Everley” builds slowly into some killer aggressive cathartic moments adorned by a subtle piano track.
Seven years have passed since Lantlos released “Melting Sun”, an album that turned the page from the early Post-Black Metal days into more sonically diverse and immersive territories. With “Wildhund”, Markus Siegenhort further develops his musical exploration and delivers over 50 minutes of superbly catchy and sonically engaging music. If you like heavy, lush, and sonically imposing releases that are not quite Metal music, this album should peak your interest.
The release quickly sets a very dreamy mood with the lush atmospherics of “Lake Fantasy”. This track continues the “Melting Sun” style of soaring vocal arrangements alongside powerful distorted guitars and generous atmospherics. “Magnolia” nicely continues with playful tempo changes and lively clean vocals alongside a commanding bass guitar line and crafty drumming.
It was quite a shock when we listened to the first cross-over dark/neo folk Xasthur release as we expected the band’s older style. However, we managed to get over it as many years have passed and actually enjoyed their Prophecy Fest 2018 (USA edition) performance quite a lot. In “Victims of the Times”, Malefic delivers around 70 minutes of engaging dark and somber music that could be described as a combination of King Dude, Dornenreich, with some Americana elements.
Not everybody can pull off the Dark Folk style, but as the album starts with “Same Old Suspects”, it is instantly clear that Malefic perfectly blends somber arrangements with crafty guitars and a personable voice. Mixing in acoustic 1 -2 minute long interludes between the first 10 or so tracks brilliantly works for this release as a transition between tracks like “Mirror in the Face”, “Fairy Tale Ideologies”, and “Stars Amongst Failures”, allows the songs with vocals to be better framed and more effective.
The always mysterious and captivating Neo Folk sound of Dornenreich has been one of our favorites alongside bands like Empyrium and The Moon and the Nightspirit. While the band’s style is far from Metal, they have a certain darkness to their music that makes it quite appealing and engaging. Led by Eviga, this trio has been creating unique music for over 20 years, and “Du wilde Liebe sei” is yet another excellent release filled with dramatic arrangements, somber tempos and lush violins.
The opener “So ruf sie wach das Sehnen” immediately sets the listener in a dark trance of lush acoustic guitars and playful drums. While all singing is done in German, the language it-self is very fitting to this kind of dark and melancholic music, as the listener can enjoy in “In Strömen aus Verwandlung ein flackerloses Licht”, “Dein knochern Kosen”, and “Liebes dunkle Nacht”. There is some slight use of electric guitars here and there, with distortion too, but we feel it distracts a bit from more eclectic acoustic efforts.