Unleashing a whole musical experience on its own, Project 34 is set to release their eponymous third release in December of 2022. Led by Chris & Renee Lahoud from Australia, this project combines over 30 musicians from over 13 countries, creating one of the most distributed collaborations we have heard in the dark corners of Metal music. Clocking in at 64 minutes, this album is composed of three different chapters divided in 19 songs that cover many genres of Metal and non-Metal styles.
Instead of reviewing track by track, we will focus more on each of the three chapters, the first one is comprised of tracks 1 to 5 and it kicks off with Middle-Eastern instrumentation and it quickly leads into heavy distorted guitars and a certain Ihshan-esque proggy vibe as the saxophone comes into play. The guitar leads are quite intoxicating and perfectly blended between moments of aggression and great melody, particularly in the third song of this chapter which sounds a bit like if Opeth would play both their old stuff with some of their groovier newer elements.
Hailing from Sweden, Maulén is a music collective with a very unique and engaging sound. We like weird and atmospheric stuff and this EP perfectly fits into both categories. With three tracks and nearly 20 minutes of music, Carlos Ibarra (Age of Woe) and company take listeners through desolate soundscapes that are both exotic and quite melancholic. Not for the close minded, this release has a certain magic that will find you listening to it over and over without even noticing.
Opening with the dreamy “Rostro” and its droney core, nicely adorned by minimalistic guitars and haunting vocal arrangements. This track immediately drew our attention and hooked us on this musical journey. On “Sirjatan” we have Lea Alazam unleashing her hypnotic vocals, reminding us a bit of bands like Wolvennest and Jex Thoth, this track nicely sets a very somber tone that slowly gains momentum until reaching its climax.
Finally catching up with some of the September releases we flagged to review but didn’t get to, today we have Kathaaria’s sophomore release, after 14 years, title “To Be Shunned by All... As Centres of Pestilence”. Playing a weird and decadent interpretation of Black Metal, this duo crafts six very interesting songs that have influences from the Scandinavian Avant-garde Black Metal scene.
Opening with the piercing “Agenda Nihil”, the band immediately makes their pitch of uncompromising madness with the intricate riffing and drummer of this sinister song. Things are just getting warmed up as “The Last Act of Rebellion” keeps the madness going with some playful tempo changes and very crafty arrangements, delivering a tricky and yet very enjoyable song that goes beyond your typical BM piece.
Blowing us away in 2020 with their self-titled debut release, Germany’s Might returns with an even more intricate and captivating sophomore release titled “Abyss”. With a fitting album title, this release feels like an exploration of levels of the abyss with tons of extra ideas and eerie atmospherics mixed in with the band’s rudimentary (and crushing) Doom Metal foundation. While less straightforward than their first release, this album is ready to turn some heads thanks to its uniqueness and crafty execution.
The album opens up with the ominous and creepy intro “Naked Light”, slowly transitioning with crushing riffs and a very imposing momentum that is nicely picked up with “Lost”. The first couple of tracks are the most ‘traditional’ ones with “Abysses” having those classic Doom elements that we all love. We particularly enjoy the mixture of clean male and female vocals with hypnotic percussion and enigmatic guitar leads.
Released entirely by surprise on digital platforms first, Satyricon’s commissioned piece for the Edvard Munch museum, titled “Satyricon & Munch”, is a piece full of promise that never really delivers. We understand that this music was supposed to be the backdrop of the exhibit in the new museum, but while putting in context with Edvard Munch’s art there is some cohesion, the 57 minute piece never really builds up to much.
Unleashing some creepy and aurally dominating release, today we have Dutch outfit Am Himmel and their opus “As Eternal”. With a ‘weirder’ approach to Post-Black Metal, this band creates roughly 37 minutes of captivating music with the magic of bands like An Autumn for Crippled Children and Lustre mixed in with a darker and drone-ish edge. Not recommended for close-minded people, this album is more of an aural exploration than your typical cookie-cutter BM.
Opening with the piercing “Bleared By The Infinite Wings”, the listener instantly knows this is a completely different release. The fuzzy and yet dreamy atmospherics are nicely flanked by harsh screams, delivered in a very monotonic way, creating a unique and engaging atmosphere. Things get dreamier and a bit shoegazy on “The Patience and Silence of a Saint’s Death”, a piece that slowly builds up momentum and creates plenty of tension.
Just when you think a band can’t get any better, you get a release like “False Light”, showcasing that White Ward’s sound and creativity are boundless. Digging deeper than in “Love Exchange Failure”, the band explores more sultry dark-jazz/avant-garde territories with the 66 minutes of music unleashed here. As one of the finest releases of 2022, this album needs to be enjoyed and carefully examined to get the fullest out of it.
Starting this magical tour-de-force we have the powerful “Leviathan”, a track that nicely builds up to some harsh Black Metal passages and nicely transitions into sultry jazzy greatness. With a more somber and darker tone, “Salt Paradise” mixes the guest clean vocals from Jay Gambit (Crowhurst) and the band’s more enigmatic and atmospheric side. “Phoenix” and “Silent Circles” nicely balance the band’s heavy side with melancholy and crafty instrumentation.
Showcasing a different side of Lars Are Nedland, today we have his latest project Black Void, a sort of polar opposite release from his 2021, White Void “Anti”, release. Perfectly combining Punk and Black Metal with a mild dose of his soaring clean vocals, Lars delivers around 40 minutes of intense, hellish, and masterfully crafted music featuring a few guest appearances and a stellar supporting cast.
Opening with the sleazy “Void”, a statement piece that while it starts with typical Black’n’roll fare plus some hefty Punk-ish influences, the listener is still treated to majestic clean vocal arrangements and plenty of melody. Creating chaos and confusion, “Reject Everything” and “Death to Morality” pounce at the listener with ravaging guitars, courtesy of Jostein Thomassen (Borknagar), and a good dose of harsh vocals thrown into the mix.
It is rare to find truly unique bands these days, luckily for us Eight Bells answers the call with their powerful release “Legacy of Ruin”. Featuring an extremely crafty amalgamation of Post-Metal, Doom Metal, and even some Black Metal-ish elements, this release unleashes over 45 minutes of intricate and engaging aural assaults.
Led by Melynda Jackson, the band quickly establishes their piercing atmosphere with the opener “Destroyer”, a piece filled with piercing guitars and harrowing and contrasting vocal arrangements. Creating a very sinister mood, the release is far from one dimensional as “The Well” explores calmer and yet disturbing interludes alongside faster and punishing onslaughts of heaviness.
Unleashing a very unique and disturbing combination of Black Metal, Death Metal, and some atmospheric elements, today we have France’s Archaeopteris and their debut EP “Visions chaotiques d´un songe halluciné”. With a short but chaotic duration, this release delivers both aggression and extreme weirdness. Definitely recommended for fans of the bizarre and unconventional.
Opening with “Visions Chaotiques”, after a short atmospheric intro, the band instantly dives into the depths of hell with a fierce combination of punishing riffs and crafty drums. Far from traditional, this track changes tempos very oddly, creating a very cavernous and yet disturbing atmosphere. The second song, “Songe Halluciné” leads with lush acoustic guitars as it quickly transitions into piercing aggressive guitars and deep harsh screams.