Unleashing a big glob of darkness, Alternative/Gothic/Post-Punk one-man unit Deeper Graves delivers their debut release “Open Roads”. From the mind of Jeff Wilson (Chrome Waves, ex-Nachtmystium), this release features nearly 40 minutes of superbly atmospheric and depressive music. While not really ‘traditional’ Metal, this album is still heavy in atmosphere and very enigmatic. For fans of Katatonia, Nick Cave, Sisters of Mercy, and Kayo Dot.
The release slowly unravels with the bleak “Final Divide” and its haunting clean vocals paired with sublime string instruments and an eerie tempo. This sinister aural exploration continues with the dreamy guitars of “Leave This World”, the Post-Punk/Gothic Rock vibe of “Ode to War”, and the enigmatic percussions of “Open Arms” and its shoegazy approach. As you can read, every track is a unique experience that perfectly blends genres while creating a very dense and emotional atmosphere, unique to Deeper Graves.
Unleashing one of the most melancholic releases of 2020, today we have Russia’s one-man project A Light in the Dark and his latest full-length release “Insomnia”. Featuring over 45 minutes of completely enchanting music, this release is perfectly crafted for fans of Alcest, Lantlôs, Heretoir and Amesoeurs. Oozing melody and dreaminess since the first minute, this is one hell of an ethereal release.
The album opens with the very lively and dynamic “Aimless”, a song that has a certain Harakiri For the Sky edge as it delivers very poignant guitars and harsh vocals. Shifting the pace more into the Post-Metal/Blackgaze lands, “Let it Guide You” delivers sweeping atmospheric passages and interesting electronic elements thrown into the mix. Both “Vortex” and “四” take thing into more depressive rock territories with a similar approach to Violet Cold and their use of samples for extra ambiance.
Being one of the best Post-Black Metal/Blackgaze bands in the world, we were quite impressed and glad at the same time that An Autumn fo Crippled Children is now on a ‘bigger’ label like Prosthetic Records. With the potential to reach a broader set of audiences, “All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet” is one the band's most exciting releases to date. Featuring ten songs and nearly 40 minutes of captivating music filled with dreamy atmospherics and contrasting harsh vocals.
The release starts with the lush “I Became You”, which sets a very melancholic backdrop to this release. The distinctive metallic textured guitars nicely weave back and forth Post-Rocky interludes and tempo changes as we can hear in “Water’s Edge” and “Everlasting”. While you can recognize some Alcest-like and Deafheaven-esque elements in the band’s sound, they have been refining their signature style through their eight full-length releases.
Returning with a dreamy Deampop/Shoegaze release, today we have Lunacy and their sophomore release “My Favourite Dreams”. Hailing from Belarus, this band delivers wave of moody music perfectly paired with lush female vocals. As one of our favorite singers, Morena, elevates Lunacy’s music to ethereal realms thanks to her subtle and fragile singing style. If you are a fan of bands like Amesoeurs and Malenuit, you cannot afford to miss out on this release.
Opening with the lush “Paints and Pictures”, the mood is set to be quite lively with Pop-ish arrangements and very melodic vocals. The surprise in this track is that out of nowhere we are treated to BM screams and a Alcest-like tempo change that perfectly contrasts this unique song. Building up on the ethereal vibe the release has, “The Road” has that Post-punk/Synth Pop edge that very few bands can pull off authentically.
The initiators of the Blackgaze movement are back with yet another majestic release in “Spiritual Instinct”. With over 40 minutes of music, Alcest finds a middle ground between their heavier and harsher sound of albums like “Souvenirs d'un autre monde” and “Écailles de lune” with the dreaminess and directness of “Shelter”. While “Kodama” felt more back to basics, this release feels more of a hybrid of their calmer sound with their early days exploits.
With the release opening with the playful “Les jardins de minuit”, the band leads with their signature guitars and crafty drumming. We particularly enjoy the typical dreaminess of the clean backing vocals as it contrasts with the heavier guitar sections. Of course there are faster paced passages with harsh vocals and furious drumming for their older fans, like on “Protection”. There are certain Post-Metal elements which make the songs a bit different than what “Kodaima” presented, like on the funky “Sapphire” and its intricate bass guitar line.
With a knack to uncovering and promoting highly unique and melancholic bands, Prophecy Productions present us with their latest signing: Pencey Sloe. Hailing from Paris, France, this Shoegaze trio delivers nearly 50 minutes of highly dreamy music that will set you on a hypnotic trance from start to end. “Don’t Believe, Watch Out” is one of those releases that are magical from the first note, so if you are a fan of outfits like Slowdie, Les Discrets and Alcest, but tend to lean into their softer and dreamier side, this is a release for you.
Opening their debut full-length with the lush “Lust of the Dead”, you instantly know the band means serious business. Their sound is utterly intoxicating as the dreamy guitars surround Diane Pellotieri captivating voice. Slowly building up to majestic crescendos, tracks like “Buried Them All” and “All Ok” perfectly create a drifting atmosphere that is ethereal and appeasing. The playful album title track has a certain darker edge that slowly turns bright as the subtle percussions interweave back and forth between shoegazing guitars and haunting vocals.
Originally hailing from Mexico, Sadness is a one-man project that delivers harrowing Blackgaze music in the same vein of bands like Alcest, Heretoir, Falaise, etc. Cranking out more than a five releases in the last couple of years, this outfit is as productive as Cold World and many others. With over 37 minutes of music divided in five tracks, this release is a good addition to anybody’s Blackgaze collection.
Opening with “Eye of Prima”, the band unleashes their best song with a lively and yet bleak track filled with a subtle atmosphere and very engaging clean vocals. This track slowly progresses in to more aggressive territories with harsh screams and a darker pace. Our personal favorite is the dreamy “Cerrien”, a track that is quite intoxicating thanks to its funky atmospheric keyboards and the odd pace. The Shoegazey parts of “Lana”, make it a very entertaining song and quite a delight to hear.
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.
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.
Hailing from Italy, today we have Post-Black Metal/Blackgaze newcomers Falaise and their sophomore release “My Endless Immensity”. Following the footsteps of bands like Amesoeurs, An Autumn for Crippled Children, Heretoir, etc, this band delivers 52 minutes of highly melodic and intoxicating music that will make you an instant fan of their sound.
After a mood setting intro, the release kicks off with the mellow atmosphere of “The Embrace of Water”. Providing some brilliant Amesoeurs flashbacks, this track perfectly showcases the band’s rich and powerful sound. With dreamy guitars and contrasting tempo changes, tracks like “You Towards Me”, “Crimson Clouds”, and “Dreariness” deliver excellent atmospheric experiences that evoke the likes of Alcest and Lantlos, but with Falaise’s own unique touch.