• Earth – Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II (2012)


    As a perfect continuation/extension of their acclaimed (and excellent) “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light I”, Earth is releasing the second part of this masterpiece in 2012. The new album titled “Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light II”, keeps the very hypnotic sound of the first one and extends it for over 45 minutes more.

    With a very whimsical approach to music, Earth continues to break the molds and produces five tracks of brilliant atmospheric quality that almost nobody else can pull off. The minimalist nature of the band’s compositions will have you at the edge of your seat waiting for what is next and you will react to it. Moving away from the Drone/Doom Metal the band used to execute, this record feels like a right of passage into a more mature and different age for Earth.

  • Botanist – I: The Suicide Tree / II: A Rose From The Dead (2011)


    Making its way from the USA, today we have one album that has been generating a lot of fuzz and even my non-Metal hipster friends (I apologize for them) have been talking about the last few months, Botanist’s double debut release: I: The Suicide Tree / II: A Rose From The Dead. In this ‘release’ we have a dude tired of playing traditional music going full-retard and delivering something very unique and disturbing: Black Metal with a hammered dulcimer and an extreme plant-loving concept.

    While we can’t deny The Botanist’s originality to some extent, we can also notice that the music is complete shit. Random attacks of aggression feature through the 17 + 23 = 40 total ‘tracks’ presented in this release. All songs are highly incoherent and are written around the crap hammered dulcimer elements with some random drums thrown in and so-so vocals. We love experimental stuff, but when these experimental sections sound like a retarded kid whacking at an instrument, we lose all respect for the album.

  • Blut Aus Nord – 777 – The Desanctification (2011)


    As the second stop in their chilling and somewhat perplexing 777 trilogy, today we have Blut Aus Nord and “The Desanctification”. In this release, the band continues their journey with “Epitomes VII to XII”, featuring very interesting compositions that take their unique and very imaginative sound to new heights. If you are expecting a crushing Black Metal release, we strongly advice you skip this one (and the previous one), but if you have an open mind and you are ready to be transported, you should keep reading.

    The band has always been pushing the boundaries of Black Metal, and Metal itself, but with this 777 trilogy we find them even further down the spiral into an abyss of solid music but with sometimes doubtful directions. The riffing and the overall songwriting are very typical of the band, but some of the industrial/electronic elements felt a bit weird on the first few times we played this album. However, as with any Blut Aus Nord release, there is always something lurking in the songs that will surprise the listener and keep it engaged.

  • Visthia - In Aeternum Deleti (2011)


    Mixing things up when combining traditional Black Metal with some industrial/drone elements, today we have Italy’s Visthia and their latest release “In Aeternum Deleti”. As one of the most complicated albums we have received in quite a while, this release posed a great challenge to sit through and finally make up our minds about a review of it. The band combines some elements of experimental bands like DHG, Aborym and others that are pushing the edges of Black Metal, but still fails to achieve anything more than shock value with their very disturbing and dissonant sound. Calling their new ‘style’ Black Powernoise, we can’t stop feeling that they might be a bit ahead of their time.

    Switching back and forth between spoken Latin sections, some beats and drone elements and a mid-tempo Black Metal, Visthia does achieve a very cavernous and disturbing atmosphere, but nothing more. The vocals are excellent and very creepy indeed, but the slow tempo of things and the samples kind of kill the mood of the BM guitars.

  • Chasma – Declarations of the Grand Artificer (2011)


    Featuring members of Nanda Devil, today we have the American band called Chasma and their experimental Black Metal sounds. With a very experimental European sound, it is nice to hear that some bands in the USA are not getting stuck with the typical USBM approach to things and are crafting some very interesting releases with foreign influences.

    With three monolithic tracks each clocking on average around 10 minutes, the band creates very emotionally charged music that flows from instrumental sections to harsh-scream filled passages that will rattle your ears and soul. Mixing some Doom Metal influences with Black Metal, the band creates a less pretentious ‘Depressive Black Metal’ sound that only a handful of European bands can achieve.

  • Dystopia Nå! – Syklus (2011)


    Presenting their first full-length release “Syklus”, today we have Dystopia Nå!. In this very interesting release, the band mixes influences of Doom Metal, Shoegaze and Black Metal to create a very unique and excellent sounding album. For eight tracks the band will surely grab your attention whether you like doom-ish distorted guitars, Black Metal assaults, or beautiful Shoegaze passages that will hyptonize you.

    Immediately after the mood setting (and momentum gainer) “Vemod”, the band delivers “Piller”, a very diverse song that shows a hefty amount of Doom Metal influences. After some BM assaults, the song nicely transforms around the 4 minute mark to a full-on Doom Metal tuned down guitar opus. However, just before finishing we have another BM onslaught and some very cool ‘alarm clock’ like sample allowing the listener to wake up from the hypnotic trance of this song.

  • Alternative 4 – The Brink (2011)


    Super talented multi-instrumentalist Duncan Patterson gives us his latest project Alternative 4. In this band, Duncan produces a very interesting and cinematic experience that merges some of the old elements of Anathema (from back in the day) and Antimatter (before he left obviously). This combination produces a very interesting and organic sound that we have missed since he started doing his last projects Íon and The Aftermath.

    With a very mysterious opening track titled “The Brink”, this album nicely generates some expectation before “False Light” sets the tone of how (most) of this release is going to go. With nice distorted guitars and a very somber atmosphere, this song nicely delivers a very experimental yet familiar sound. Having recorded the album in several parts of the world including Ireland and Mexico, the overall product is very well integrated and full of atmospheric surprises. For the Anathema fans, the bass guitar line near the end of the song will nicely bring you back to the band’s old albums for sure.

  • Heirs – Fowl (2011)


    Featuring one of the weirdest covers ever, Heirs delivers their sophomore released titled “Fowl”. In this album the band explores many different genres, manages to stitch them all together and create a truly disturbing and very complex listening experience.

    We have been putting out writing this review for quite a while due to the complexity and intricacies of this very dense release. The band creates very thick layers of guitars that are nicely maneuvered to shape seven songs that are very complex and multi-layered, leaving the listener baffled at first glance.

  • Thomas Giles – Pulse (2011)


    After not liking any of Between the Buried and Me’s stuff, I was about to hurl when I got this promo in my review queue. However, something magical will happen to you when you listen to this album since you will end-up loving it for its originality and freshness.

    I believe since I was expecting some crap like Between the Buried and Me I was less critical about this release, but many listens to this album you will still find yourself appreciating it and finding new details about the music. Thomas Giles crafts 11 songs that are very rich sounding and that have the perfect amounts of electronic elements, rock guitars, melancholic vocals and piano sections.

  • Lifelover – Sjukdom (2011)


    After their brilliant “Konkurs”, it seems like the band ended their life and sent over some cheap copycats with “Sjukdom”. As you all might know, Lifelover is one of the most interesting bands when it comes to playing depressing experimental Metal. But with “Sjukdom” the band succumbs to mediocrity by playing the same things as on “Konkurs” and using cliché elements for shock value.

    The brilliant guitar driven atmosphere is missing for most of the album, and on songs like “Expandera”, it sounds like a carbon copy of what they did on “Konkurs”. The band’s consistency is also put to question with uninspired filler songs like “Homicidal Tendencies”, where the band leads off with basic guitar riffs and the cliché samples of little kids in the middle of the song.


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