Hailing from Germany, today we have relentless Black Metal outfit Imha Tarikat and their latest opus “Hearts Unchained - At War with a Passionless World”. With a heavy focus on melody and raw emotions, this release unleashes a well polished and yet crushing onslaught of ten powerful tracks. For fans of outfits like Fell Voices and Vanum, this band means business as it levels everybody on their path.
After an unsettling intro, “Radical Righteousness” quickly delivers waves of rawness and brutality, with crafty drumming and hectic guitars. While seemingly just raw and powerful, the band’s sound takes a turn as “Touch of Mercy” showcases a different side full of melodic guitars and a playful bass guitar line. We particularly enjoy how the band seamlessly weaves back and forth different styles, but all is glued together by the aggressive vocals.
Set to be released on Prophecy Production’s sub-label Auerbach Tonträger, today we have Håvard Jørgensen and his Neofolk release “Haavard”. Labeled by promotional materials to the closest thing to Ulver’s masterpiece “Kveldssanger", this album delivers 13 tracks of very melancholic and somber music. Yes, the music style is similar to Ulver’s second album that shocked many, but it is also on the lines of records released by outfits like Empyrium (“Weiland”) and Tenhi to name a few.
Opening with the lush “Printemps” and “Heartwood”, we quickly got chills as it has plenty of Empyrium’s purely Neofolk phase thanks to its solemn acoustic guitars and very unsettling and somber mood thanks to additional string instruments. The folky nature of the music is further appreciated in the lively “Oberon” and the transition piece “The Chase”, just before the minimalist and mysterious “Snhetta”.
Unleashing a very unique release that has a certain retro Death Metal vibe paired with some crafty proggy and dreamy passages, Disillusion delivers their 4th full length release with “Ayam”. Originally founded back in the 90’s, this band has slowly evolved into more avant-garde territories, but still manages to keep some of that old-school vibe in their highly elaborate music. For fans of early 90’s Melodic/Doom Metal to fans of Opeth, Anathema, and Devin Townsend, this release has something for nearly everybody.
Opening strong with “Am Abgrund”, we get a very unique old-school Benediction meets Ihshan vibe thanks to the contrast of growls, clean vocals, proggy guitars and crafty trumpets. The band brilliantly balances their more experimental and proggy edge in tracks like “Tormento”, “Driftwood”, with this last track dazzling users with soaring vocal melodies and waves of melancholy, giving those Anathema vibes
Clearing our backlog of releases after our run covering and attending summer festivals after 3 years of COVID-19 hiatus, today we have Pencey Sloe and their dreamtastic release “Negelect”. Being huge fans of Shoegaze/Dreamgaze music, this release delivers 40 minutes of very ethereal and engaging music filled with hypnotic vocals and crafty guitar work. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Alcest, Tides From Nebula and EF.
The release opens with the expansive “What they Need'' and its moody vibe, created via dreamy guitars and the fragile vocals of Diane Pellotieri. Things gradually get a bit more elaborate with pieces like “Smile to Zero” and the album title track building momentum and further mesmerizing listeners with their subtle craftiness. Perfectly creating unique tempos and allowing the music to have a certain exploratory nature, Clément Hateau’s drums/percussions make songs like “Mirror Rorrim” be a cinematic experience.
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.