• Toumaï - Sapiens Demens (2013)


    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.

  • Manes – Teeth, Toes and Other Trinkets (2014)


    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.

  • tot aus dem Wald – Hatecore-Noir (2013)


    Arriving from Germany, today we have a one-man deranged project of pure musical vile. Featuring 11 tracks that range from Noise to Punk to Death Metal/Grindcore, this release is as decadent and random as they get… and we kind of like it. With only one track over 2.40 minutes, “Hatecore-Noir” is a crazy d.i.y release that is guaranteed to get a reaction (good or bad).

    Featuring intros similar to bands like Macabre on some of their songs, tot aus dem Wald starts the homebrewed proceedings with “Null im schwarzen Quadrat”. While most of the music seems like pure and total chaos, there are traces of certain Metal elements in the band’s music that are undeniably solid like the riffing on “Fahrstuhl ins Fegeteuer” and “Keiner darf überleben”. One very evident influence as well is the Punk/Crust vibe oozing from tracks like “Der Tod, ein einsames Geschaft” and “Zukunft verbraucht”.

  • Lethe – When Dreams Become Nightmares (2014)


    Many high-quality weird releases make it to our review ‘desk’, but none quite like Lethe and their debut release “When Dreams Become Nightmares”. As a project of Tor-Helge Skei (Manes) and Anna Murphy (Eluveitie) with the help of Eivind Fjøseide (Manes) and others, this band truly delivers a completely unique musical experience that is best described by the uniqueness (and weirdness) of their music, since it is nothing like you would expect.

    Opening with the trippy “In Motion”, you are immediately set in the mindset of expecting nothing conventional and hanging on for the ride. Anna’s vocals remind us of Shellyz Raven mixed with some of the experimental stuff from The 3rd and the Mortal on their Ann-Mari Edvardsen years. The tables are quickly turned on the dark “Haunted”, featuring a certain Industrial vibe but with tons of eerie atmospheric elements and Black Metal-ish guitars.

  • Strangeways - Rotting under the La La Bombs (2013)


    Always expecting the unexpected, today we have a very unconventional and rather unique release from Strangeways titled “Rotting under the La La Bombs”. Hailing from Israel, this duo produces one of the most dissonant and yet coherent releases we have reviewed in the last few months. With punishing Black Metal sections thrown into some Noise/samples experimentations, the band instantly establishes their uniqueness since the first minute of this release.

    “Licking the Pussy of Mother Earth” immediately blows things wide open with excruciating Black Metal onslaughts filled with weird samples and tormentous vocals. The riffing is quite powerful and the combination of madness and devastation will immediately fuck with your head. The cool glitching sounds of “BloodRedArt” will surely confuse you on the first spin, but you will soon find out that is all part of the madness in this release. Other tracks feature weird atmospheric elements like on “Manifesto” that has a brilliant section of typing (yeah you read it right) and lush piano notes that is simply amazing.

  • Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen (2013)


    Being huge fans of Ihsahn, we finally made the pilgrimage this year to watch him play live at the Afterburner in the legendary Roadburn Festival. Having surrounded himself with the extremely talented musicians of Leprous as his ‘backing band’, he delivered quite an impressive performance by nailing almost all the songs with brilliant technical perfection. Anyways, on his latest release, “Das Seelenbrechen”, he pushes the envelope even further with a lot of experimentation and a few of his signature elements. If you are expecting another “After” or “Eremita”, you might find yourself scratching your head a bit with this one.

    Enlisting Leprous drummer-extraordinaire Tobias Ørnes Andersen for this release, Ihsahn as always handled everything else. Things seem to open in a very traditional way with the beginning of “Hilber”, a seemingly straightforward track that starts getting crazy as the odd keyboards come up. While this track is quite engaging, the weirdness is still manageable for all fans of Ihsahn. “Regen” takes a turn for the dramatic with clean vocals and a very dark vibe. The ballad-esque opening nicely builds up to some very epic moments as the song progresses. This track is one of our favorite ones thanks to the brilliant mood progression and dramatic climax.

  • Germ – Grief (2013)


    The multi-talented Tim Yatras returns with another crazy release from his latest project: Germ. In “Grief” we get 69 more minutes of the deranged world that Germ creates with their truly unique and very extreme musical style. Arriving just in time for Halloween (in North America), this is one hell of a release that if you liked the band’s previous albums, it will push you to further limits thanks to a bigger assortment of diverse influences.

    After a space-ish intro, the album really starts with the very catchy and unsettling “Butterfly”. Featuring Audrey Sylvain (Peste Noire) on this track, we definitely got an instant Amesoeurs vibe from the track until Tim laid his chaotic screams. Besides the catchy song structure, the piano section is quite cool and unique sounding in this track. In true Germ fashion, “The Stain of Past Regrets” immediately blows in your face with powerful screams. The catchy mixture of electronic elements is a staple of the band and it elevates this track to further levels of awesomeness when paired with the clean vocals.

  • Pryapisme – Hyperblast Super Collider (2013)


    Being ample connoisseurs of weird (and totally awesome) music, we are rarely surprised when it comes to the releases we get at Infernal Masquerade. However, today we are totally caught off-guard by Pryapisme and their grandiose “Hyperblast Super Collider”. Mixing 8-bit ‘nintendo’ music with an experimental blend of distorted guitars, jazzy interludes and extreme madness, the band manages to deliver one of the most unique albums of 2013.

    Immediately establishing their 8-bit worship with the totally odd cover art of a pixelated cat, the band starts very strong with the intense “Un druide est giboyeux losqu’ll se prend pour un neutrino”. Their combination of intricate drumming with crazy electronic effects works wonderfully to create an atmosphere of madness. With a Jazzy edge, “Boudin blanc et blanc boudin” keeps things very interesting with a chaotic pace.

  • Riitaoja – Mantereelle (2013)


    Keeping things very weird and confusing, today we have Finland’s Riitaoja and their mystical release “Mantereelle”. With each song being weirder than the previous one, this band mixes elements from Folk, Southern Rock, and Jazz creating a very dark and experimental mix that is quite puzzling, but at the end of the day it is quite enjoyable and unique. An extra layer of mystery is added by the Finish lyrics, making the music even more confusing since it sounds familiar but we have to clue what they are trying to say.

    “Vähän matkaa vielä” opens this release with a very solemn vibe thanks to the subtle bass guitar and desolate female vocals. This track reminded us a bit of earlier Hexvessel but with a darker and slower pace. The experimental Tenhi-esque “Ilmiliekki”, leads to the quite interesting “Hengitän”, a song that has a Southern Rock vibe to it. As the album progresses until “Allergiset oireet” the band starts making their Southern Rock/Americana influences more evident by introducing traditional rhythms and elements like the harmonica.

  • Thaw – Thaw (2013)


    Arriving today from Avantgarde Music we have Thaw and their self-titled debut full-length release. Jumping on the current wave of Experimental Black Metal, this Polish band does a pretty good job in delivering seven tracks of weird-but-brutal Black Metal. Combining trippy atmospheric passages with some Noise/Drone elements, the band greatly complements their relentless Black Metal with some nice flair.

    After the Noise/Drone intro “The Gate”, this release starts picking up with the crushing “Ancestors”. We particularly love the mixture of relentless BM with the creepy clean vocals. The band’s BM foundations are quite strong and deliver waves of powerful riffs and brutal drumming. The same could be said about “Divine Light”, another fine example of the band’s sheer power combined with some cool atmospheric passages.


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