Unleashing a very unique amalgamation of sounds, today we have Esben and the Witch and their latest effort “Nowhere”. Featuring a darker tone than their previous releases, this album perfectly contrast the fragility of Rachel Davies vocals and the commanding presence of heavy guitar riffs and hypnotic drumming. Blurring the lines between several genres and influences, this release is certainly one to digest after a good amount of listens and with undivided attention.
Slowing building up their atmosphere in “A Desire for Light”, the band nicely shuffles elements around to create a very powerful and direct song. The band’s sound while simplistic in nature, allows them to play around with the song tempos while crafting memorable tracks that keep you guessing and engaged. The best example of this is the exploratory nature of “Dull Gret” with its heavy guitar riffs, and the dreamy folky piece “Golden Purifier”, which mostly focuses on subtle percussions and solemn guitar leads.
Just before the end of the year we received on our review queue on of our favorite albums of 2018: Crippled Black Phoenix’s “Great Escape”. As one of the most melancholic and mellow Rock albums we have heard, this international band unleashes over one hour of truly disarming music. Mixing elements of bands like Anathema, God is an Astronaut and countless others, this is definitely one of the most unique and diverse releases you will hear in 2018.
After opening with the dreamy “You Brought it Upon Yourselves”, the band sinks into the bleakness of “To You I Give”, a Post-Rock-ish tune in nature. Masterminded by Justin Greaves, this band’s releases are always very rich and diverse and extremely hard to categorize, but always top notch in terms of quality. After the interlude “Uncivil War, Pt. 1”, “Madman” features a dark wave vibe with heavy synths and a very martial pace.
Packed with tons of great releases, this 2018 fall also gives us a brand new Sylvaine album. Filled with her characteristic charisma and angelic vocals, “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone” is another brilliant step in her career which features a more consolidated sound and plenty of memorable songs. The combination of fragility, craftsmanship and occasional burst of aggression make this release one of the best albums of 2018.
Opening with the album title track, Sylvaine slowly builds up with an intense bass guitar line that leads into dreamy vocal arrangements a very melancholic pace. The track continues with some brilliant instrumental passages that feel exploratory in nature, but very well fitting to the overall mood of the song. The Shoegazey/Post-Rock-y vibe arrives in full force with “Mørklagt” a very lush track that explores the more ethereal side of Sylvaine’s music, but not without some heavier sections thrown into the mix.
After catching everybody by surprise with their dreamy 2017 debut, “Sirens & Slumber”, Bay Area’s Mountaineer returns with a more mature and equally aurally pleasing release titled “Passages”. Divided into two four-track sections, this album further expands the band’s dreamy Post-Metal/Post-Rock/Shoegaze sound.
The first movement, “Hymnal”, opens with the very moody and dreamy “Passage I”. The band sets a very light and emotional opening that quickly escalates into Post-Metal territories with lush guitar riffs and the visceral raspy screams of vocalist Miguel Meza. The battle between dreamy and crushing passages reaches its climax as “Passage III” intertwines both styles very skillfully and “Passage IV” slowly winds down a very emotionally intense first part of this release.
Unleashing one of the most unique and aurally abusive releases of 2017, today we have Austria’s Las Casas Viejas and their album “goul/H”. Featuring an amalgamation of dreamy Post-Rock passages, with Doom/Sluge/Black Metal elements, the band creates a very unique atmosphere and evangelizes the listener with five brilliant tracks filled with unique elements and surprises.
Slowly building up the momentum in their opener, “Morbundus”, the band starts off slow with some interesting aural abuse, luckily it slowly progresses into delivering more punishing and demoralizing guitar riffs and a plethora of harsh vocals. Mixing Sludge elements with some different ideas, this piece perfectly leads into the Doom-esque “Kein Ort 1: nicht die Stadt und Lethargie”. The female vocals at times remind us of late The 3rd and The Mortal elements, allowing the band’s sound to have an extra unconventional element.
Unleashing a very interesting sophomore release, today we have Switzerland’s Krane with “Pleonexia”. Crafting a very unique sound that blends Post-Metal with Post-Rock passages, this band sounds like the perfect child of Neurosis and From Nebula with some influences of Cult of Lune and Russian Circles sprinkled in. With over 35 minutes of music, this is one of those mostly instrumental releases that keep you wanting to play it over and over again.
Setting the mood with the mysterious “Deception”, the band slowly lures the listener into their world as “Strategic Level” kicks in with intense percussions. In this track the band comes out of its shell and delivers a somewhat ritualistic build-up into Neurosis-esque heavy riffs. With a certain futuristic edge provided by either a Theremin or some funky electronic synths. Delivering a bit of a shift in pace, “Destabilization” sooths out the listener before the next onslaught.
Hailing from the UK, today we have Telepathy and their crushing release “Tempest”. Mixing elements of Post-Rock/Metal with Sludge and a few other influences, the band manages to release a triumphant album that will put them on the spotlight right next to outfits like Cult of Luna, The Ocean, and Tides from Nebula.
Setting the mood with “First Light”, the band really showcases its riffing capabilities with the tense “Smoke from Distant Fires”. In this track we have a slow progression that weaves back and forth between Post-Metal and Post-Rock soundscapes. The drumming even reaches some Black Metal-esque passages that are actually quite fitting with the music’s direction.
Cranking up the level of melancholy to 11, today we have Bay Area’s Mountaineer and their debut full-length release “Sirens & Slumber”. After blowing us away with their two song EP back in 2016, this band formed by ex-Secrets of the Sky’s guitarist Clayton Bartholomew, continues to further develop their highly atmospheric sound by moving into Katatonia-esque territories. Delivering nine brilliant tracks, this is definitely one of the releases to get in 2017 if you are a fan of deeply melancholic music.
Opening with the dreaminess of “Foam”, the band sets a very ethereal mood with such a lush opener. Taken from the band’s first 2-song 7” release, “Coma Fever” leads with ripping Doom riffs and the contrasting vocals of Miguel Meza. The album continues with this lively pace on tracks like “Measured Breaths” and “Womb”, the band excels a wrapping a ton of atmosphere around heavy Doomy riffs.
Hailing from France, today we have Post-Rock newcomers Saar and their solid full-length release “Sol”. Featuring seven tracks and around 45 minutes of music, the band manages to capture the listeners attention with their polished songwriting skills and brilliant execution. Highly recommended for fans of bands like God is an Astronaut, Tides of Nebula, Ef and related.
Opening with the moody “Rise”, the band sets slowly progressing tone with this lush and emotional track. Things get a bit more intense with the minimalistic percussions of “Lux” and its subtle guitar work; we particularly love these kinds of songs that set you in trance. The intensity picks up on “On My Skin”, a track that shows a heavier and darker side of the band thanks to the powerful guitars and well-defined bass guitar line.
After a killer debut EP with “Waves” Owler returned in 2016 to unleash “Soil”, a highly melancholic collection of five songs that showcase more maturity and creativity from these Finns. Clocking in at around 30 minutes, this release takes all the elements of their first release and further refines them and integrates them into the band’s own signature style. This music is still highly recommended for fans of bands like Insomnium to The Man Eating Three.
Opening with the soaring vocals of “Storm”, the release kicks off with a very theatrical piece that fully takes advantage of “Juha Simola’s melancholic clean vocals. Things turn a bit darker and doomier with the heavy atmospheric and crushing riffs of “Amend”. We really enjoy how the subtle atmospheric keyboards set the mood for the harsh vocals and slower tempo.