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.
Always improving with each release, An Autumn for Crippled Children (AAAFCC) delivers one of the most sonically complex releases of 2013 with “Try Not to Destroy Everything You Love”. Not relying on technical virtuosity, but rather a perfect layering of intense elements, this album is further expands on the band’s melancholic Post-BM / Shoegaze sound with lush guitar arrangements and brilliant atmospheric elements.
Opening with the intense “Autumn Again”, we have immediately a wall of dramatic synths and a throbbing bass guitar line that is instantly complemented by the band’s shoegazing guitars. Inserting back and forth Black Metal riffs into the melting pot, AAAFCC quickly establishes the sonic power of this release. The harsh vocals are excellent as always, and the underlying melancholic passages of tracks like “The Woods are on Fire” and “Never Complete”, allow their thick sound to take many different shapes.
Groovy, spacey, psychedelic are a few words that come to mind when listening to Sons of Hippies and their latest full-length release titled “Griffons at the Gates of Heaven”. Mixing Psychedelic/Space Rock influences with Post Shoegaze and a very catchy Alternative Rock foundation, this three piece band delivers 12 superb tracks that take the listener through a trippy journey. With authentic retro instruments like a mellotron and moog paired with a sitar and some weird audio oscillations, the band has a wide spectrum of appeal for fans of any of the previously mentioned genres.
Setting a very unique mood in the trippy opening “Forward”, we are immediately intoxicated by the catchy guitars and Katherine Kelly’s signature vocals. The band’s auditive exploration continues with the hypnotic “Mirrorball”, one of our favorite tracks of this release. The atmosphere of this track is magical thanks to the ethereal backing vocals and shoegaze-ish vibe. The guitar driven “Dark Daisies” shows more of the band’s versatile songwriting skills, in a very unique and oddly constructed song.
Going over tons of releases every month, we rarely get to enjoy unexpected masterpieces like Apocynthion’s “Sidereus Nuncius”. Having received the promo directly from the band, we got immediately hooked into their music after the first song and we have been constantly listening to it non-stop since then. Delivering seven tracks of majestic Post-Rock/Post Black Metal with Shoegaze and some Doom elements, the band’s sound is quite moving and powerful.
Opening in a very dreamy note with a sample from “2001: A Space Odyssey” on top of atmospheric arrangements, the band commands attention with this hypnotic opening. “Redshift” continues with a Post-Rock vibe, similar to Godspeed Your Black Emperor and God is an Astronaut, filled with cool percussions and dreamy clean vocals. This ten-minute track slowly morphs into Post-Black Metal territories with powerful and dreamy guitars accompanied by shrieks of desperation. The band reminded us of Heretoir, Lantlos and similar outfits, but they always keep their own musical identity.
After their impressive EP “White Bed Sheet”, we were thrilled to know that Closed Room signed with Sun & Moon Records to release their self-titled debut album. As many of the band’s in this label, Closed Room is a very unique ensemble that mixes Trip-Hop with Post-Metal and some Shoegaze elements brilliantly and in their previous work has delivered very interesting and engaging tracks drawing comparisons to Amesoeurs and such bands.
Setting the mood with the Post-Metal influenced “Behind the Locked Door”, the band nicely established very high expectations for a very unique sounding release. This track reminds us a bit of the experimental side of bands like Sigh and Ephel Duath. Things turn dark with the Blackgaze riffing of “Tempted to Illuminated”, then the ethereal vocals of Morena kick in and the whole atmosphere suddenly feels a bit different. This track is very well crafted and the contrast between the music and the vocals is just outstanding and works very well.
With an extremely unique sound, today we have Sichelstein and their self-titled EP. Presenting five tracks of very retro sounding music, this band manages to create a sick mixture of Shoegaze and Black Metal with Darkwave and Gothic Rock elements with very depressive vibe. Totally unexpected and raw, this release is one of the most interesting ones we have received from Valse Sinistre in the last few months.
The opener builds up nicely with some very raw sounding guitars and some very new wave-ish keyboards, but it finally explodes with creepily distorted harsh vocals and some organs. “Das Leben” is the most Shoegaze-y track in thise release with a heavy dose of trippy guitars paired with more creepy keyboards and completely deranged vocals, a very interesting listening experience indeed.
The highly mysterious and anonymous Dutch outfit An Autumn For Crippled Children (AAFCC for short) returns with another dreamy journey into the depths of Post Black/Shoegaze music. “
Only The Ocean Knows” delivers eight magical tracks of very aggressive and ethereal sounding music. This release is by far the band’s best effort to day, and you should definitely check it out.
“Past Tense” delivers a very cool intro that made us believe the band was going to bust out an electro track, but it nicely shifts into fuzzy distorted guitars and very rhythmical drumming. The Post-Black influences are very evident and propel this song into atmospheric brilliance. Continuing the band’s atmospheric efforts, “Yes I Know… Love And Death… Always” delivers a bit of a change of pace with some excellent ‘melodic’ passages, but the majority of the time we have the guitars pounding away, keeping the album’s atmosphere flowing.
As one of the weirdest but also very interesting releases we have received in 2012, today we have Closed Room and their promotional EP titled “White Bed Sheet”. This Belarus band features three very different and equally intoxicating tracks that range between Trip-Hop to Post Black Metal. With similarities to bands like Ulver and Amesoeurs, this is indeed one very difficult band to categorize.
Opening with the atmospheric and very trippy “White Bed Sheet”, the band delivers a very Ulver-like song that has a very powerful atmosphere and excellent vocals. The jazzy female vocals nicely hypnotize the listener while the atmospheric beats work their magic in creating a very dense mood. We are not huge fans of Trip-Hop, but this song is brilliant.
The one man musical factory of Hypomanie returns this 2012 with its most ethereal and dreamy sounding release to date: “Calm Down, You Weren’t Set On Fire”. With such a puzzling title, this release delivers six tracks of pure aural depression that delivers very well crafted Blackgaze elements merged into more traditional Post-Rock structures of bands like God is an Astronaut and such.
With the dreamy opening provided by “19 Starts and the Sweet Smell of Cinnamon”, this release starts very well with lush guitars and an excellent atmosphere. The production behind this release sounds a bit off since the guitars sound funky and too high pitched sometimes, other than this little detail everything else sound great. The band’s change into a more Post-Rock oriented outfit is clearly evident in tracks like “Alissa Loves Perfume” and “If Only the Seas Were Merciful”. On “If Only..” the band still features some Black Metal influences in their Shoegazing guitars, keeping them a bit on par with their previous release.