Marking the end of Les Discrets metal/rock musical era, today we have their “Live at Roadburn” release. Having been lucky enough to be at the show in person, I have to say that this magical occasion was very well captured for eternity in this live release. Featuring eight songs from the set the band delivered that day, the crystal clear audio from this release brings shivers to my spine just by listening to it.
Opening with “Linceul d'hiver” the atmosphere is instantly set with such a majestic piece. The band’s sound has always had a very unique aura around it and when I have seen them live its perfectly translated. With a lineup boosting Fursy Teyssier (on vocals/guitar) and Alcest musicians Neige (bass guitar), Zero (guitars / vocals) and Winterhalter (drums), unknowingly that was the last time that Les Discrets would sound like this. The tempo picks up with the lush “L'Échappée”, one of our favorite songs and most epic pieces of atmospheric music ever written.
Always expecting the unexpected from Code, the band takes a huge musical leap with “mut”. Usually characterized by playing intricate and unconventional songs, the band will surely puzzle their listeners with this Post-Rock/Progressive Rock album that keeps the band’s unique sinister atmosphere present, but with a different packaging.
The album starts off with the trippy and jazzy “On Blinding Larks” and “Undertone”, two tracks that are quite atmospheric and while different to what one would expect, they are quite engaging. The guitar work led by Aort and Andras is spot on, reminding us a bit of a jazzier and darker version of Anathema. Wacian further showcases his vocal magical powers with a very diverse and full of surprises performance through the album, but in particular tracks likes “Dialogue” and the deranged “Affliction”.
With a very engaging sense of experimentation and lush Post-Metal/Prog influences, today we have Ashen Waves and their debut album “Premonitions”. Being from the USA, the band brings some of that European ingenuity into their music with a very diverse blend of musical genres cohesively put together to deliver 10 tracks of solid music.
Opening with the Amorphis/Vintersorg influenced “Whispers”, we are treated to a very promising opener that perfectly blends multiple genres. We particularly enjoyed the upbeat keyboards and crafty mixture of clean and harsh vocals. The band’s next musical exploration is the surprising “Enmity” that delivers a healthy mix of Doom/Sludge riffs with dreamy Post-Metal/Proggy passages. While this style might sound odd, the band gracefully pulls it off.
Hailing from Switzerland, today we have Last Leaf Down and their dreamy Post-Rock/Shoegaze. Sounding like a combination of Katatonia, Tides from Nebula, and some sprinkles of Slowdive and Alcest, this band delivers a very unique and ethereal sounding release with “Fake Lights”. Clocking in at 51 minutes, buckle up for a very dreamy and ethereal ride with this one.
As the intro bleeds into “In Dreams”, the dreamy shoegazing galore starts. The band’s sound is very atmospheric and melancholic. Benjamin Schenk vocals are quite hypnotic and they perfectly fit to the album’s overall pace. The Katatonia influences, while on their experimental ‘alternative’ phase, are very clear in tracks like “In These Waters” and “Giant”, we particularly love this last one and its weeping depressive guitars.
Ever since their debut full-length “The Malediction Fields” Fen has always had a very clear and unique sound that has nicely transformed over the years. With “Carrion Skies”, the further elevate their musical magic in six brilliantly composed tracks. Perfectly blending atmosphere with aggression and desolate instrumental passages, this UK trio continues to blow everybody out of the water in terms of Atmospheric Black Metal.
Opening with the tour-de-force tow-part track “Our Names Written in Embers”, the band delivers 18 minutes of their signature atmospheric music paired with a few Post-Rock/Jazzy passages that nicely complement the aggressive vocals and furious riffing onslaughts. On part two, the band nicely crafts playful guitar melodies that are perfect for some melodic headbanging.
Hailing from Finland, today we have an Atmospheric Black Metal duo that comes under the moniker of Atrum Tempestas. Delivering 30 minutes of bleakness and aggression mashed together in three tracks, this release goes further than Atmospheric BM and touches the reals of Doom/ Post-Rock creating a very unique and satisfying blend music.
Opening with the melancholic “Quitter ceux qui étaient déjà partis”, the band sets a very mellow mood with very accessible atmospheric/melodic passages. The vocals range from BM screams, growls, and some spoken sections that nicely blend with the underlying Post-Rock foundation of this song. Coming in at 14 minutes, this track nicely adds some Doom-ish passages to keep things interesting and engaging.
Arriving on Eisenwald Tonschmiede, today we have Australian duo Autumn’s Dawn and their debut full-length release “Gone”. Being no strangers to the scene, Sorrow and Anguish are musicians that play in at least 4 bands each, the most famous of them being Tim Yartas of Germ and Austere fame. Anyways, the band presents nine melancholic tracks of pure brilliance that eerily remind us a whole lot of Tim’s previous band Grey Waters.
Opening this release we have the very emotive “The Ashes of a Life”, a track that has a very Rock-ish structure and melancholic clean vocals from Tim Yartas. The very ethereal atmosphere is always present and it is allowed to shine (even more) in some instrumental passages. Don’t you think this release only features clean vocals, we get a treat of Tim’s harsh singing through this release, starting with the epic “Until My Heart Corrodes with Rust”.
The ability of Herbst to create some of the bleakest music in the world with Lantlôs is truly outstanding, and with “Melting Sun” he takes the band’s sound even further. Continuing their musical journey without the vocals of Neige (Alcest), this album further advances the band’s quest for perfection. Delivering six songs of great despair and atmospheric brilliance, this is hands down one of the best releases in 2014.
As the album opens with “Melting Sun I: Azure Chimes”, the first few notes transmit a certain urge of despair and emptiness unlike anything else we have heard before. Painting a very desolate landscape, the band fully explodes with punishing riffs and a very mellow vibe. Herbst’s clean vocals nicely add to the mix by boosting the band’s melancholic charge. Moving into the more Post-Rock/Post-Metal ish “Melting Sun II: Cherry Quartz” we get another round of thunderous guitars and well-crafted drum patterns. Perfectly playing with space and time, the band’s intermingling of slow passages and powerful walls of distortion is masterful.
Arriving today from France we have Anathème and their Japanese themed “Kodama San” release. Featuring five brilliant Post-Rock tracks, this release gets the band comparisons to Godspeed Your Black Emperor, Mogwai, Tides of Nebula, and Poland’s Lebowski. Adorned by excellent cover art, the listener gets a fully immersive experience with this album and the band’s expansive yet melancholic music.
Opening with the eloquently titled “Gizmo vs 21st Passenger”, the band uses some cool spoken vocal/samples in Japanese to set the mood as their dreamy guitars lead the way. The vocal arrangements in this track are quite hypnotic and enjoying thanks to some catchy riffs. Further developing their sound with the cascading guitars/drums in “Le Russe Blanc”, we are immediately captivated by the band’s focus on atmosphere and how skilled they are at crafting moving songs.
Bordering on the limits of what we review here at Infernal Masquerade, today we have Alternative/Prog Rock outfit Reacta from Mexico. In their 2014 release “Refraction”, the band delivers 10 dreamy tracks of expertly crafted music that will grab the attention from fans of 30 Seconds to Mars all the way to God Speed Your Black Emperor.
Hailing from the city of Aguascalientes, Reacta kicks off the release with the perky “Lost”, a very mainstream track that has a super catchy vibe. This track instantly brings memories of bands likes Kings of Leon and similar outfits that have charismatic lead vocals and an eye for detailed guitar melodies. The Post-Rock/Atmospheric “Back Home” is another catchy piece with lush guitars and memorable vocals that sometimes have a certain ring to heavy weights U2.