Flying high on the success of their classic “Écailles de Lune”, Alcest has managed to tour the world and still found time to record “Les Voyages de l'Âme”. In this new release, the band efficiently re-hashed “Écailles de Lune”, toned down the Black Metal aspect of things, and still delivers 8 brilliantly atmospheric tracks. However, the ‘originality’ or ‘something different’ factor is lacking a bit with this release.
Opening with “Autre Temps”, Alcest makes it very clear that their sound is untouched and delivers a very ethereal track. The vocal harmonies are as heavenly as possible and they beautifully contrast the powerful guitars. The bass guitar and drums are also very well incorporated and perfectly mixed to be in the background of the atmospheric elements.
After five years of ‘silence’, Tenhi band finally returns with another mystical exploration into the dark realms of neo-folk music with “Saivo”. Keeping their very dark yet lush sound intact, the band delivers 12 tracks of majestic compositions that push the boundaries of Tenhi’s sound into less traveled areas of musical exploration.
Four years in the making, “Saivo” marks the band’s best release to date. This is due to the complexity of the songs presented and the amazing atmosphere created in this release. The dark and minimalistic passages are always present while the enigmatic vocals push the somber atmosphere into darker places. If you never heard of Tenhi before, it is very hard to find a way to explain how something this somber can be as beautiful as it is, so we strongly recommend you check out some of the band’s earlier material.
Just one year after their excellent release “Andromeda Awaiting”, Nucleus Torn returns with another brilliant excursion into Avant-garde Folk Metal but now with a Progressive twist. Making homage to 70’s Progressive Rock/Metal bands, “Golden Age” is a lush release that will intoxicate you since the first minute with its very intricate and yet exquisite songs.
Being considerably more diverse and exciting than any previous Nucleus Torn release, “Golden Age” delivers six beautifully crafted tracks that showcase the band’s ability in combining stunning musical passages with harmonious vocals. With Fredy Schnyder handling most of the instrumentation and the production work, “Golden Age” sounds as good as you can ever imagine Nucleus Torn sounding.
In this 2011 we have been treated to excellent Progressive album so far: Leprous “Bilateral”, White Willow’s “Terminal Twilight” and Dream Theater’s “A Dramatic Turn of Events”, however Dark Suns latest opus “Orange” comes just in time to find its spot between these gems in our top progressive album’s list of the year. After somewhat consolidating their change to Dark Progressive Metal/Rock in their last release “Grave Human Genuine”, the band comes back with a very cohesive and interesting sounding album with “Orange”.
Featuring all the elements of Progressive music we all have grown to love but with a dark and sinister twist, “Orange” delivers 10 tracks of excellently composed tracks that will demand your attention since the first minutes of this release. Opening with the very psychedelic “Toy”, the band quickly delivers crazy keyboards and very effective guitar riffs. The overall atmosphere of this song is very retro and magical. The vocals are excellent since they fit the music just perfectly.
There are tons and tons of Black Metal bands these days, but it is very hard to find the ones that manage to deliver and original album that keeps you wanting for more. Farsot managed to achieve that with their previous release “IIII”, and now with “Insects” the band proves that they are not a one-album kind of band. Playing Black Metal with an edge of Doom and Post-Metal, “Insects” is by far one of the most interesting and different sounding albums this 2011.
“Like Flakes of Rust” opens this release with an atmospheric section followed by heavy guitars and very desolate vocals. Here you can start noticing that while music is aggressive, there is just something that makes it different from the cookie cutter bands (like the subtle bass guitar in this track). “Empyrean” delivers a very effective atmospheric section with nicely distorted guitars and some amazing clean vocals in the same vein as Ulver and similar bands. The riffing is excellent and nicely creates a very powerful atmosphere without being completely on your face.
After releasing the impressive “.Neon” last year, Lantlôs returns with an even better release with “Agape”. In this album, Herbst basically takes apart Post-Black Metal and infuses brilliant instrumental passages and a nihilistic raw energy that creates an even more crushing and beautiful sound than ever before. While at first glance “Agape” might catch you off guard, this release is truly worth your attention to detail and how all elements weave together in a big bleak dark atmospheric could unlike anything heard before from Lantlôs.
The opener “Intrauterin” quickly exposes some Drone-like elements with some Doom influences in its first few minutes. Very similar to Funeral Doom, this makes a very harsh and quick statement about the intensity and rawness of some of the songs to follow. The guitars are heavy and crushing, but they very effectively switch when the instrumental passage kicks in. Having some minor Post-Black metal hints to it, it feels like being pulled out of the water after almost drowning. Just before you think that the song will end quietly, there is another onslaught of harsh vocals and pummeling guitars, very nicely arranged.
In this 2011 re-recording of Alcest’s first EP “Le Secret”, Niege and company manage to make this release even more impressive with a crystal clear production. With the upgraded production we can instantly hear the sublime beauty of the band’s sound the way it has been portrayed in their last studio album “Écailles de lune”.
Featuring re-recorded versions of “Le Secret” and “Elevation” as well as the original version, this EP is a true gem for any Alcest fan. If you want to go all out with the super deluxe edition, you will get an assortment of goodies that will make your friends and your mom envious of how much of a true Alcest fan you are.
After their brilliant “Konkurs”, it seems like the band ended their life and sent over some cheap copycats with “Sjukdom”. As you all might know, Lifelover is one of the most interesting bands when it comes to playing depressing experimental Metal. But with “Sjukdom” the band succumbs to mediocrity by playing the same things as on “Konkurs” and using cliché elements for shock value.
The brilliant guitar driven atmosphere is missing for most of the album, and on songs like “Expandera”, it sounds like a carbon copy of what they did on “Konkurs”. The band’s consistency is also put to question with uninspired filler songs like “Homicidal Tendencies”, where the band leads off with basic guitar riffs and the cliché samples of little kids in the middle of the song.
As the last part of a trilogy, “Andromeda Awaiting” closes of the band’s previous two albums “Nihil” and “Knell” with a very melodramatic sound of beautifully constructed neo-classical/neo-folk pieces. Produced and written by Fredy Schnyder, this album has the same cinematic feeling that the band’s previous releases have presented us and provides a peaceful closure to a 4 year writing period.
The beautiful vocals of Maria D'Alessandro adorn this release since the opening track and provide a very solemn performance that at some points (like on “II”) will give you the chills. On the other side we have some male vocals on here and there that give that extra touch to this release to make it a very personal and emotive.
Released as a compilation album “Travellers” features most of the band’s earlier works and two unreleased songs. All of the earlier songs have been re-worked and sound better than ever. If you are into Neo-folk and Avant-garde music, this is a brilliant opportunity to catch up with the band’s discography.
“Travellers” starts off with the 4 songs of the “Krähenkönigin”. All of these songs are mainly neo-folk pieces and feature no vocals. Fredy Schnyder the band’s mastermind, multi-instrumentalist, producer, mixer, and jack of all trades has done a great job in making these four songs sound even better than the first time.