With a very engaging sense of experimentation and lush Post-Metal/Prog influences, today we have Ashen Waves and their debut album “Premonitions”. Being from the USA, the band brings some of that European ingenuity into their music with a very diverse blend of musical genres cohesively put together to deliver 10 tracks of solid music.
Opening with the Amorphis/Vintersorg influenced “Whispers”, we are treated to a very promising opener that perfectly blends multiple genres. We particularly enjoyed the upbeat keyboards and crafty mixture of clean and harsh vocals. The band’s next musical exploration is the surprising “Enmity” that delivers a healthy mix of Doom/Sludge riffs with dreamy Post-Metal/Proggy passages. While this style might sound odd, the band gracefully pulls it off.
After blowing us away with their weird and extremely experimental “Hyperblast Supercollider”, France’s Pryapisme returns with an even more chaotic “Futurologie”. Pushing sonic boundaries even further, the band greatly builds up on their crazy video-game/experimental music and delivers a crazy EP with one songs divided into 11 parts for around 25 minutes of music, and the orchestral version of said track is included as well.
The release kicks off with the very progressive and jazzy extravaganza of “Petit traité de futurologie sur l'Homo cretinus trampolinis (et son annexe sur les nageoires caudales)”. The first and second parts of this song feature a wide palette of video game music and some Japanese/Asian influenced orchestrations with a collection of odd tempo changes and jazzy Oboe. Things vary from Ska-like to pure head on madness through parts III to VII with some very fast paced sections (VI) and crazy catchy instrumental interludes (VII).
As soon as we received this release with the association of featuring members of Botanist, we braced ourselves for the worst. In return, we actually are quite surprised and pleased on how Lotus Thief’s “Rervm” has turned out, featuring a truly unique and engaging sound that is very structured and free-flowing, unlike Botanist. Delivering six very solid tracks, this is probably at the top of our “Best surprises of 2014” list.
The album kicks off with the heavy riffing of “Aeternvm” creating a very hypnotic passage that is later complemented with brilliant atmospheric elements and female vocals. The drumming still has that Botanist edge to it, but it is far less chaotic and fits the music perfectly. There are some trippy atmospheric sounds here and there that nicely complement the atmosphere of this track. Things pick up with “Miseras” and its Sludge/Alt-Rock vibe, showing a different side of the band while retaining its atmospheric uniqueness.
Usually, there are weird releases that completely push the envelope and then you have Manes weird. “Be All End All” delivers nine tracks that mash genres together and crates a truly bizarre, and yet awesome, experience. Having passed seven years since the band’s last full-length release, this album will surely please and puzzle all fans of Tor-Helge Skei (aka Cernunus) and his uniquely odd musical vision.
Opening with the jazzy/trip-hopish “A Deathpact Most Imminent” clearly states that this is going to be one unique musical experience. Asgeir Hatlen’s vocals are one of the band’s signature elements and greatly enhance the experience with his unique pipes having influences of Kjetil Nordhus and Kristoffer Rygg. Experimentation is the main theme behind this release, and by the odd vocals mixed in with the mellow tempo and atmospheric jazziness of “A Safe Place In The Unsafe” you clearly notice how everything comes together in a very bizarre way.
Experimental/Avant-garde outfit Nucleus Torn returns in 2014 with their mesmerizing “Street Lights Fail”. Hailing from Switzerland, this outfit led by Fredu Schnyder delivers nearly 40 minutes of thought provoking music that pushes the boundaries of anything that could be defined. Mixing heavy distorted guitars with countless other instruments and a very mellow vibe, this is one album that you should listen to if you like bands like Lethe and Manes, you are in for a treat.
Opening with the warm-up desolate piece “-“, we are introduced to a very bleak atmosphere with lush pianos and haunting female vocals. This track suddenly morphs into a jazzy/lounge piece that is quite intoxicating and engaging. As the song bleeds into “Worms”, the distorted guitars quickly set the mood a bit livelier and greatly enhance the jazzy atmosphere that is mixed in between. Anna Murphy’s and Maria D’Alessandro’s vocals are amazing in this release and they sound like the post-Kari years of The Third and the Mortal. This 19 minute piece is pure magic and features just the right amount of experimental and complexity to fully captivate its audience.
As we all know, Finland is a country where creativity flourishes in terms of Metal music and Coraxo is here to deliver their own unique style of music. Playing an interesting mixture of Electronic/Industrial Metal, this band has a very futuristic sound that is greatly enhanced by the mastering of Dan Swanö in their debut EP “Starlit Flame”. With hints of many different bands, this Finnish duo delivers seven engaging tracks that will command your full attention.
Opening with a trippy/spacey atmospheric piece, things start getting hectic with the crushing “Signal Detected”. Filled with catchy electronic elements, this track has a nice Industrial vibe similar to Kovenant, Aborym, and Shade Empire, featuring vocals that blend between Black Metal and some other distorted outburst. The catchiness of “The Xenotaph” is quite amazing, delivering some sick electronics paired with demolishing riffs. As one of our favorite tracks of the release, this song has all the right elements at the correct times to make it an instant classic.
Today we have another very interesting re-release through Pesanta Urfolk, and this release is none other than Noctooa’s “Adaptation”. Featuring a very unique sound, this band mixes Neofolk with New Wave elements creating something very original that is labeled “Cave Wave” by the band themselves. One thing is for sure that their sound is quite engaging and hypnotic, so be prepared to be trapped by their dark atmosphere.
In the opener “Persistence” the first impression we perceive is the very somber atmosphere nicely surrounded by piercing vocals. With a certain Tenhi vibe, the string instruments in this track (and release) are quite well arranged to create a very dense atmosphere. As the album rolls through very melancholic tunes like “Can’t Serve” and “Poly-Dimensional”, it is not until “Sleeping Beira” that we are truly enchanted by the ritualistic feeling behind the music.
Delivering a monumental collaboration between Ulver and Sunn O))), two of the most pioneering bands when it comes to creating their own sound; today we have “Terrestrials”. In this three-song, 35-minute album, the bands merge their styles together creating a very dense an atmospheric performance that is extremely engaging and sonically orgasmic.
Kicking off with the highly atmospheric “Let There Be Light”, we can hear the assortment of Ulver aural experiments work perfectly with some Drone elements of Sunn O))). The track slowly unravels 11 minutes of atmospheric tension filled with very minimalistic elements such as sparse trumpets and a great build up that seems to take momentum as the track progresses.
Packaged in a beautiful digipack with killer artwork, today we have France’s Toumaï and their entirely insane “Sapiens Demens”. With equal levels of awesomeness to the band’s insane sound, this release presents nine tracks of experimental music combining everything from Groove Metal, Jazz, Fusion, to some Ska and other crazy elements. We are always looking for bands that push the envelope and this one takes it 100 steps further than your normal band.
With the elegant opener “Little Psycho”, the band slowly starts to peel the layers of their extremely experimental sound with jazzy pianos and cool vocal arrangements. This track gave us a Diablo Swing Orchestra vibe but with even more levels of madness and experimentation. The first mega-catchy song in this release comes under the name of “Madness In Mind”, a song that is quite unconventional, playful, and with some brutal sections.
Highly experimental and unconventional outfit Manes finally returns to the scene with a compilation release that will precede a new full-length release later this year (or so). In “Teeth, Toes and Other Trinkets” the band puts together a very eclectic assortment of tracks from their “Vilosophe" and "How The World Came To An End" eras. Any fan of the band will greatly appreciate the moodiness and uniqueness of the tracks presented in this release and will surely make them more excited for the band’s upcoming release.
In case you are still expecting any Black Metal from Manes (just in case), this release is far from it and showcases the band’s later musical progression into dark jazzy/avant-garde territories. Just imagine (current) Tiamat meets Green Carnation and throw in some of mid-career Ulver into the mix and this is what you will get. For everybody else staying with the Manes program, “Blanket Of Ashes” delivers quite a powerful opener with excellent vocals and trippy percussions.