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.
After a half-baked debut album “Sin4tr4” in 2012, Australasia returns with the very strong “Vertebra”. Combining dreamy soundscapes with ethereal guitars and solid drumming, this one-man outfit delivers 35 minutes of majestic music that fully explore Australasia’s potential in a more cohesive way.
Opening with the Post-Rock-ish “Aorta”, the band shows more solid songwriting skills and delivers very improved songs (when comparing to their debut release). The guitars are perfectly layered and with certain Shoegaze elements we are left with ton of highlights during the release. The experimentation with certain synth elements like the opening of “Vostok”, really give the music new avenues to explore and be unique, similar to bands like Closed Room. We particularly love the heavy Doom-influenced riffs on this track.
Fully coming out of their cocoon, today we have Alcest and “Shelter”. In this album we have Alcest dropping their last remaining Metal influences and swiftly delivering a Shoegaze/Post-Rock charged Dream pop release that will haunt you from beginning to end. Listing Birgir Jón Birgisson as a producer/mixer, from Sigur Rós fame, the band takes their dreamy sound to a whole new level of awesomeness.
With the band shedding their Black Metal feathers over the years, “Shelter” marks their biggest jump by not having any hard vocals or extremely heavy guitar parts. However, the atmospheric brilliance of the band is untouched and further explored within the eight tracks presented in this release. The journey begins with the atmospheric intro “Wings”, featuring some dreamy vocals that quickly build up the listener’s expectations. As this song blends into “Opale”, Niege leads the way with some awesomely crafted guitars and his signature clean vocals.
Ever since catchy Tides From Nebula at the WGT in 2011 we have been amazed by their cinematic Post-Rock/Instrumental Rock music. In “Eternal Movement”, the band’s third album, they keep delivering lush atmospheric and emotional songs that transport the listener to beautifully crafted soundscapes fit for the soundtrack of an indie mute film. Greatly maturing since “Aura” and “Earthshine”, this is one release that elevates the band’s sound to new heights.
Opening with the emotive “Laughter of Gods”, the band’s lush layered guitars and atmospheric elements greatly set the tone for an excellent journey. Filled with amazing tempo and mood changes, tracks like “Only With Presence” and “Satori” elevate the listener’s spirit with a wide palette of aurally pleasing sounds. The band’s strength lies in being able to build up from dark and moody passages into full-on smile inducing happier moments, a perfect example of this is the rich “Emptiness of Yours and Me”.
With a French scene recently growing in numbers and strength, Doyle Airence is another excellent band that is finally getting some attention in the international scene. “Monolith” marks the band’s sophomore release and mixes elements of Post-Hardcore with Ambient. Rock, and Metal. The band’s very unique sound will surely grab you attention and divide opinions since they are far from your typical run-of-the-mill ‘up and coming’ band.
Kicking off with a mood setting atmospheric track, “03.11.11”, it is not until “Painting with Lights” were we first hear the band’s punishing guitars. In this track we have a very typical Pos-Hardcore approach to thins, with devastating screamed vocals and pummeling drums. It is not until “Friendly Fire” that we get some of the band’s more experimental side with a modern sounding Metalcore-ish vibe and some very solid Post-Rock/Post-Metal passages thrown in between. While we are not huge fans of the Metalcore-ish clean vocals, they still fit the melodic aspect of the song very well.
The killer releases of summer of 2013 keep piling up with Autumnblaze delivering the long awaited “Every Sun is Fragile”. With an ever changing musical style, the German outfit delivers a very heartfelt Depressive/Post-Rock album that is filled with amazingly catchy songs and very melancholic atmospheres. Pushing their sound even further than on “Perdition Diaries”, fans of Green Carnation to Gothic Rock outfits will love this release instantly.
Markus Baltes has really pushed the band’s sound over the years but with the opener “New Ghosts in Town”, the listener will immediately know how far they have gone now. There are almost no harsh vocals, and the music is mostly on the Rock side of things, however, there are still some Metal influences present. This track is quite dramatic and thanks to the imposing clean vocals the overall atmosphere is quite dramatic. As heard on “Invisible Fields”, the band guitars are still quite catchy making the music perfect for some heavy duty headbanging.
Being huge fans of Post-Rock and Post-Metal, we were pretty psyched about this release after doing our research on the band. Needless to say, this release is one of those albums that feels extremely repetitive and after a while gets on your nerves. We do not doubt the band’s abilities or flow of ideas, but the songs in this release get very repetitive and dull after 15 minutes.
The album open with “Antenna”, a very dreamy Post-Rock piece that is quite good and engaging, the only issue is that all the remaining songs sound the same. The Black Metal-esque riffing is quite effective and promising, but was used more as a gimmick than actually part of the band’s sound. With “Spine” and “Apnea” we start getting quite sleepy since there are not many different things except for some cool keyboards and atmospheric elements, but not enough to really help discern the songs.
Arriving from Moodisorder, today we have Lost in Kiev and their debut full-length release “Motions”. Featuring seven lush Post-Rock tracks, this French band specializes in creating very emotional cinematic music that any fan of the genre would greatly appreciate. Heavily focusing on highly atmospheric content, this five-piece crafts very unique and powerful music that will transport you to landscapes painted by your imagination thanks to the very ethereal musical style.
The mood setting intro “>” nicely builds up to the hypnotic “A Mere Shift Of Origin”. This tracks atmosphere is greatly aided by the spoken vocals, creating a nice complementing feature that slowly explode into powerful distorted guitars. The band’s very martial approach allows the track to perfectly progress and the lush keyboards create a solid contrast in the atmosphere.