Delivering eleven piercing icicles of frosty Atmospheric Black Metal, today we have one-man battalion Paysage d'Hiver and their latest full-length release “Geister”. For the uninitiated, this band is Tobias Möckl's (Darkspace) solo-project that mainly focuses on Winter-inspired raw and punishing music. Captivating the scene with countless demos, this is just the second official full-length release, and it is one hell of a pummeling ride.
With the typical samples of eerie winds, “Schattä” takes a bit to blast off into infamy with razor sharp screens and violent riffs. The band’s core sound is raw and savage, while the trippy atmospheric undertones allows it to create a captivating experience. As the release pummels through “Bluet”, “Wüetig”, and the more mellow “Undä”, the listener experiences various levels of intensity under the same intoxicating atmosphere.
Empyrium has a way of making fans way for long periods of time for new music, but yet when they release something, all is forgotten as the band’s sonic magic appeases even the most disgruntled fan. Just making us wait seven years, instead of twelve as in the last time, Schwadorf and Thomas Helm return with over 52 minutes of music that manages to merge the band’s original ingenuity and ferocity, with their more refined and Folky sound of their later releases.
The release opens with the solemn acoustic guitars of “The Three Flames Sapphire”, a track that slowly moves into more complex territories with the lush clean vocals of Thoman Helm and layers of additional classical elements. However, one of the most interesting parts is the introduction of distorted guitars and harsh vocals, turning the track’s mood in a completely new dimension and bringing back “A Wintersunset...” vibes, and this is just the first song.
Hailing from Germany, today we have blistering Black Metal duo Imha Tarikat and their latest opus “Sternenberster”. Combining the melody and intensity of Mgła and Misþyrming, this release delivers over 45 minutes of expertly crafted music, split along eight crushing tracks. If you like well crafted and intense BM with a knack for high-quality production values and a pummeling attitude, this is one album you can miss.
From the incisive first minutes of “Ekstase ohne Ende”, the listener can appreciate the higher level of craftsmanship in this release thanks to a blistering guitar solo that leads to a brutal onslaught of a pummeling bass guitar line and hellish deep vocals. With this relentless attitude, the band blows past crushing songs like “Sturm der Erlösung”, “Kreuzpunkt der Schicksale”, and “Brand am Firmament”, while showcasing their diverse influences and crafty approach to songwriting alongside a ravaging tempo.
The always mysterious and intoxicating sound of Völur is quite hard to describe but completely unique to experience. Delivering their third full-length release “Death Cult”, the band continues their path of darkness with a very lush, engaging, and captivating release. For nearly 40 minutes the band transports the listener into a very unique and mystical folky world that is beautifully crafted.
Starting with the hypnotic “Inviolate Grove”, the band quickly creates a very distressing atmosphere thanks to the dramatic use of string instruments and a captivating bass guitar line. For those not familiar with the band, Völur shies away from your traditional distorted guitars to a combination of pummeling bass guitar, electric violins/violas, and lush percussions, creating a very unique and dense atmosphere that can only be compared to some extent to parts of bands like Elend and early Silent Stream of Godless Elegy.
Creating a truly unique and immersive sound, today we have Seattle’s Eye of Nix and their latest full-length opus “Ligeia”. Borrowing elements from every single band we know, this band crafts a very dense atmosphere that is flanked by Black Metal, Doom and even some Progressive onslaughts. Only for those that like to dissect music and listen to an album on repeat non-stop for a few weeks, this band rewards patience with unparalleled musical brilliance.
The album sets out with a very mellow progression as “Concealing Waters” slowly warms up the listener with crafty percussions and Joy Von Spain dreamy clean vocals. However, the pace quickly picks up with furious Black Metal onslaughts thrown into the mix. This interesting interplay of very aggressive passages with dreamy interludes gives the band a dynamic sound that keeps the listener always on the edge, as on brilliant tracks like: “Pursued” and the haunting “Tempest”.
For those looking for the Black Metal version of Secrets of the Moon, you can move along as there is nothing to see here. However, for those with an open mind, “Black House” continues the band’s evolution into Alternative/Gothic Rock/Metal territories with nine brilliantly catchy songs. While not entirely surprising to all, the band’s sonic evolution is quite interesting and this release shows their skills on a completely different playing field.
The album opens in a Katatonia-esque tone with the sultry “Sanctum” and its ridiculously catchy chorus section. This track oozes melancholy and darkness, while keeping things engaging and dynamic. On “Don’t Look Now” we have interesting vocal arrangements and very dreamy atmospheric keyboards creating a very playful back and forth between different moods. In just the first few songs, the band has set a completely different style for themselves and it works perfectly as tracks like “Veronica’s Room” and “He is Here” deliver very well crafted melodies that are perfectly flanked by unique vocal arrangements and engaging songwriting.
Unleashing a weird Black Metal onslaught, today we have a split release from two very promising and highly unconventional bands: Vuur & Zijde from the Netherlands and Impavida from Germany. With each band having a unique take on the genre, this split release shows us a glimpse of the future, and let us tell you: it is quite dissonant and punishing.
Vuur & Zijde opens this release with the haunting “Zonnesstorm”, a track that is nicely contrasted by some Chelsea Wolfe female vocals and furious guitars/drums, creating a very unique and powerful vibe. Waiting to come out after the band’s bursts of intensity are creepy atmospheric passages that set a chilling mood, as we hear on “Zilt”. Vocalist F. delivers a very intense and ethereal performance, particularly on the eerie “Noordzee” and its dramatic keyboards.
Enigmatic dutch outfit DOOL is ready to unleash their latest full length release with “Summerland”. Led by charismatic front-woman Ryanne van Dorst, this outfit delivers the perfect mixture of Dark Rock, Gothic Pop and Psychedelic Metal spread out in nine elaborate tracks. Featuring members of bands like Gold, The Devil’s Blood among others, the band’s sound is quite intoxicating, so be prepared for a dark and sinister ride.
The album opens with the masterful “Sulphur & Starlight”, a very somber and yet catchy track that slowly builds up on enigmatic guitars and crafty drumming. The soothing raspy vocals of Ryanne perfectly blend with the playful bass guitar line as the mood changes throughout the song. The hard rocking attitude of the band is truly evident in the epic “Wolf Moon” and the dreamy “God Particle”. The band’s musical influences are vast and varied, as you can even hear some Cult of Luna-esque elements in the later of the previously mentioned tracks.
Just when you think you have a band figured out, Unreqvited continues to push its aural boundaries with the lush and brilliant “Mosaic II: la déteste et la détresse”. Taking the best elements of its earlier releases and adding more dynamic and contrasting ones, this one-man outfit manages to create a magical atmosphere that is quite hard to come out of. If you are into Atmospheric Post-Black Metal and you think you have heard it all, this release will change your opinion.
Opening with subtle atmospherics in “Nightfall”, the track slowly evolves into an excruciating passage to the bowels of hell thanks to its punishing shrieks. However, the music stays dreamy and ethereal, creating a very interesting and powerful contrast. With a heavier vibe, “Wasteland” continues spiraling into madness with dramatic guitar work and intricate drum patterns, creating a very visceral and yet melodic experience.
Hailing from San Francisco, Lotus Thief has slowly been evolving into one unique and captivating musical outfit over the years. On their latest effort, “Oresteia”, the band takes their sound a step further by unleashing eight tracks of enigmatic Avantgarde Metal with tons of Doom and ambient influences. Highly recommended for people that like somber, exploratory and at the same type captivating music, this album will elevate your state of awareness with its uniqueness.
The release opens up with haunting vocal arrangements in “Agamemnon”, a very mystical track that slowly crafts an enigmatic atmosphere. Things get heavier as the melodic guitar leads give way to creepy piano laden passages. Being the first track, this song truly captures the uniqueness and intensity of what is to come. Allowing the listener to fully digest the first onslaught, “Banishment” is a trippy atmospheric piece that sets up the progression into the captivating “Libation Bearers”. The crescendos in this track are quite magical as the band perfectly creates magical soundscapes filled with harsh vocals and delirious laughs.