As a release dedicated to Ildjarn, “Likegyldig Raseri” is a very raw and direct release by Frozen Ocean. While we are fans of the band’s Ambient Black Metal and Ambient/Drone escapades, we can’t say that we really got into this one. Featuring almost no atmospheric elements, this release focuses on barbaric riffing, hellish vocals, and ponding drums, something perfect for your average Black Metal fan, but from this band/project, we expected a lot more.
While not bad at all, from tracks I to VIII we only get skull crushing sawing guitars and demonic shrieks of pain, something that many would call paradise. We find these tracks a bit linear since the riffing gets to be quite repetitive, but for what it is, it is actually not that bad for the standard in the scene. It is not until IX that we get a torturous break with some creepy atmosphere and some nerve wrecking vocals.
Originally recorded in 2009, today we have Frozen Ocean and ‘their’ release “Vestigial Existence”. This highly active one-man outfit keeps cranking out releases like they are pancakes, but impressively enough they are all pretty good. Whether they are Dark Ambient/Drone or Atmospheric Black Metal, the releases by this band are very well crafted and deliver the right amount of melody, atmosphere, and aggression. Luckily for us, this release is more on the Metal side, and we can enjoy some cool atmospheric elements thrown in with punishing riffs.
Immediately after the ambient intro “In Derelict”, the guitars start pounding on “Winter – Aelean Being”. In this track, a very melancholic vibe is present thanks to the solemn riffs and powerful vocals. The song structure is quite engaging and you can hear that is some of Frozen Ocean’s earlier work since their style is not as refined and sounds rawer. The catchiness is always present with “Mute Walls” and some cool sort-of-electronic elements that make this song very appealing for fans of Industrial Black Metal.
Extremely productive one-man project Frozen Ocean delivers their one of their four full-length releases of 2011 with the transcendental “Oneiric In Geocentrism”. Featuring over 65 minutes of nightmare-inducing Dark Ambient/Drone music, this release feels like a journey through space. While we are bigger fans of Frozen Ocean’s Atmospheric Black Metal, this album delivers a similar vibe that will send chills down your spine.
Setting off with “The Striding Watchtower”, the mood is very mystic and ethereal allowing the listener to fully immerse into Frozen Ocean’s world. Our sidereal journey continues with the tense “A Chink in Coelosphere” and “Levitation”, two tracks that clock in around 24 minutes of intense atmospheric brilliance. On a lighter note, “Quiver in the Voidrift” releases some of the tension initially, but keeps the album’s flow going very steady.
The highly atmospheric Astarium strikes again with their 2011 EP titled “Ostracism of Anachoret”. In this bone chilling release this one-man band continues with their highly creepy and theatrical music and delivers 4 very solid tracks filled with eerie atmospheres and sorrowful shrieks. Having been released and re-released multiple times since 2011, we are writing this review based on the Hexenreich Records highly limited edition that we got in the mail.
Opening with the lush “Birth of the Flame”, the band sets a very creepy Dracula-esque mood with excellent orchestrations and a tense development. The guitars finally appear on “Recantation by Death”, a track that keeps the same atmosphere but delivers some very solid riffs and shrieks. The drums are clearly programmed, but they don’t sound as fake as many one-man releases, and they nicely set the pace for the track.
With a slight alternative rock edge to their sound, today we have Finland’s Minutian and their very entertaining release “Repercussions”. Delivering seven tracks of super catchy rock tunes with some Progressive Rock/Metal elements, the band showcases their knack for epic melodies and intricate passages arranged in a very approachable and engaging manner.
Opening with the playful “Hole”, the band sets a very light mood for this release. Mikko Heino does a great job delivering emotionally charged vocals on top of the very mellow music. The progressive touches are more present on “In Circles”, a track that reminds us of a more Rock version of King Crimson with very dreamy melodic passages. Things get a bit heavier with “Cold & Tight” one of the best tracks in this release thanks to its very intricate instrumental passages.
Delivering one of the most unique and sonically crushing releases of 2011 (and we missed it then!), today we have Italy’s TalismanStone and their monumental “Lovecraftpolis” release. Comprised by 3 musicians, this outfit delivers a Sitar induced double-bass guitar aural assault that combines Pyschedelic Rock elements with Doom and Sludge into four tracks of biblical proportions. If you think this combination is weird, TalismanStone manages to pull it off graciously and crank out over 45 minutes of hypnotic music.
Opening with the Stoner/Southern Metal sounding “By The Sun of The Light Keeper”, the band establishes a very mellow and sludgy atmosphere. The bass guitars (yeah, that is right, TWO of them) replace all guitars in this track and they perfectly create that thick distortion that one would expect from a Sludge/Stoner Metal release. The female vocals courtesy of Erica Bassani are both haunting and intoxicating. However, the best part is when the trippy sitar makes its entrance to this already excellent song.
Filled with hate and self-destructive emotions, today we have Nocturnal Depression’s “Suicidal Thoughts” release. This release constitutes of a re-recording and re-arranging of their 2004 demo. Clocking in at 35 minutes, these four tracks deliver painful blows of nihilistic Black Metal that will surely please any fans of the genre due to their rawness and their slow tempo, reminding us a bit of Dodsferd and similar bands.
After the mysterious intro track, “When Darkness Covers My Soul” delivers the first blow with painful screams and a very well-paced tempo that keeps the song very direct and engaging without blowing up into a full on blast-beat competition. This is one of the things we like the most about Depressive/Suicidal Black Metal bands, even though we think the message is retarded, the music is pretty solid sometimes. There simple combination of the riffing, the rhythmical drumming and the keyboard hints makes this track very catchy indeed.
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.
Arriving through Malevolence Records, today we have T.C.F a Dutch band playing some very well crafted Thrashcore. If you didn’t know the band is from the Netherlands, you would easily mistake them for any band from the late 80’s, early 90’s from the USA. Delivering thirteen tracks of balls to the wall Thrashcore, “Where Madness Reigns” is a pretty solid release for any fan of the genres.
With a very authentic vibe, the band opens with hateful riffs and powerful drums on “Face the Truth”. Keeping the initial vibe rolling, tracks like “Slave to the Suit”, “Mass Hysteria” and “Where Madness Reigns” feature very typical song structures that will have you jumping up and down immediately. It is quite funny to think that this is a fairly young band since they nail 100% the atmosphere needed to pull off this kind of music.