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.
Creating a magical and transcendental aural experience, today we have Romania’s Dordeduh and their latest effort “Har”. It has been nine years since the band’s debut release and the wait was well worth it, thanks to the maturity and polish put into these 61 minutes of music. Mixing the early Negură Bunget folk mysticism with the modern proggy Black Metal elements of Enslaved, this release is filled with interesting passages and extremely intoxicating melodies.
The album starts with the ritualistic intro of “Timpul întâilor”, as the song evolves we get that nice playful Enslaved-esque mixture of distorted guitars, crafty tempo changes, and mystical atmospherics. This opener clocks in at 12 minutes, giving the listener a great taste of what is to come, we particularly love the very melodic and dramatic vocal arrangements in this track. The sweeping guitars and keyboards of “În vieliștea uitării”, create a very imposing mood, perfectly contrasted by sinister harsh vocals, and more playful clean vocal arrangements.
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.