Creating one of the more harrowing and intense releases of 2023, today we have Dymna Lotva and their third full-length release “Зямля пад чорнымі крыламі: Кроў”. With over 72 minutes of music, this album is both beautiful and demoralizing. Full with eerie atmospherics, lush arrangements and intense vocals, this release is one of the most powerful ones that Prophecy Productions has put out in quite a while.
Opening with “Ідзі і глядзі”, we get very powerful atmospherics and crafty guitar work. The wide variety of vocal styles create a very diverse and engaging narrative, ranging from mourns to screams, masterfully paired around lush arrangements. As “Пахаваны жыўцом” and “Смерць цалуе ў вочы” roll by, the band weaves back and forth between lush Doomy passages and full-on atmospheric oppression, always flanked by piercing guitars and tempo changes.
Just when you think you have a band figured out, they pull a 180 degree turn and unleash a very unique and different release. In this case, Fen is the band in question and the release is “Monument to Absence”. Diverging a bit from their usual dreamy and mellow style into a more ravaging Atmospheric Black Metal style, this release unleashes nearly 70 minutes of high-octane music with a proggier and very aggressive music.
Opening with a bang with “Scouring Ignorance”, the band quickly sets an intense pace with fierce riffing and blistering drumming. If you didn’t know this song was from Fen, you would think it is from a more ‘traditional’ Black Metal outfit. It is not until the more melodic passages are brought forth that you can hear the band’s DNA in this song. The album title track craftily brings the more desolate and melancholic passages the band is known for, creating a very immersive atmosphere.
Finally! After ten years of waiting, Saturnus returns with another full-length release titled “The Storm Within”. Being a fan of the band has meant waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more between releases, but now that the time has come: the band delivers with this one. Oozing soul crushing melancholy, this release features nearly 60 minutes of crushing Doom, just what we expected from this band.
Opening with the album title track, the release slowly picks up as Thomas and his deep growls come front and center. With two new guitarists: Indee Rehal-Sagoo (lead) and Julio Fernandez (rhythm), the band’s sound is slightly different, with more ‘upbeat’ songs that border more in the melodic Death Metal realm, like “Breathe New Life”. However, the punishing and slow magic of their previous releases is also present in demoralizing pieces like “Chasing Ghosts” and “The Calling”.
After all the new releases and surprise returns from many of our favorite bands, Tenhi was the one we least expected. Marking their first release in nearly 12 years, after the excellent “Saivo”, the band returns with “Valkama”. Featuring 12 tracks and 70 minutes of solemn and enigmatic music, it is like the band never left as the melancholy and mysterious beauty of this release oozes through your speakers. Needing no introduction, if you are into Dark Folk/Neo-folk music, and never heard of Tenhi, you are missing out.
The release kicks off with the gentle and immersive “Saattue”, the band always crafts dark and powerful atmospheres with very minimal instrumentation and this track is a clear example of this. Fully enveloping the listener in the band’s world, “Valkama”, “Kesävihanta”, and “Rannankukka”, are tracks that mix lush acoustic guitars with hypnotic Finnish-only vocal arrangements and very subtle atmospheric arrangements.
Gladly surprising everybody about a comeback a few years back, Austere returns with a brilliantly hypnotic and demoralizing release with “Corrosion of Hearts”. Featuring four tracks and clocking in at 46 minutes, this release is everything that any fan of the band could have expected, and then some. As one of the best outfits of the Depressive Black Metal movement, their mid 2000’s “Withering Illusions and Desolation” release is soul crushing, and this release shows they didn’t skip a beat.
Opening with “Sullen”, this track was premiered during their first live shows in 2022 at Dark Bombastic Evening and Prophecy Fest. For nearly 12 minutes we get that signature trance inducing melancholic riffing alongside the signature screams of Tim Yatras. Always perfectly in sync with Mitchell Keepin’s dramatic atmospheric and hypnotic songwriting, the band unleashes sheer misery inducing onslaughts with the moody tempos of “A Ravenous Oblivion”.
Creating a truly haunting and crushing release, today we have Germany’s Fvnerals and their devastating release “Let the Earth Be Silent”, which we are sure the earth will be after listening to this towering album. Presenting an amalgamation of Doom/Post-Metal and Ambient elements, this release unleashes over 40 minutes of highly intoxicating and yet bone-chilling music.
Opening with the masterful “Ashen Era”, we are quickly led down a dark and sinister path thanks to the punishing riffs and eerie atmospherics. As soon as Tiffany Ström’s vocals come into play, the vibe is weirdly shifted with eerie dreaminess but still delivering its dark nature. This overall feeling of helplessness is perfectly maintained as “Descent”, “For Horror Eats the Light”, and the enigmatic “Annihilation” pass by making their mark.
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.