Delivering 11 tracks of emotional Depressive Black Metal, today we have one-man band Beyond Light and their sophomore release “Paintings in the Hall”. Clocking in at around 63 minutes, this album offers us glimpses into the band’s dark world with unique songs that loosely interconnect with each other. Mostly recommended for people not afraid to experiment and look outside the box, this release will command your attention since the first minute.
Opening with the somber “Blind But Drawing” intro, the band gets down to business with the very eerie and mysterious “Painted Memories”. The atmosphere is very well crafted, before we get to hear any vocals or fast parts, making it very effective in immersing the listeners. Depressive BM should be moody and firm, things that are perfectly embodied in “Beneath The Horizon” and “Her Broken Face”, two of the albums best tracks.
With a larger than life attitude, today we have Poois and their latest release “Soul Spook Collector”. Featuring 10 songs of very diverse and crafty music, this album has tons of influences mixed into a very cohesive and party-like sound that you rarely hear these days. By further enriching their sound, this American band manages to provide a very unique and energetic album that people will greatly enjoy.
The album opens with very unique and engaging tracks like the hectic “Fuckin’ Job” and the superbly catchy “Love Gun”. This clearly shows that the listener is in for a treat thanks to the wide variety of sounds and styles they will hear. The song lyrics are quite quirky with songs like “$19.95” and the funky effects of “Crack the Whip”, this gives that extra dimension to the music, and makes up for quite a hilarious time when trying to follow them.
Featuring a very unique combination of almost every genre in metal, minus all the ‘heavier’ ones, France’s Eltharia delivers their sophomore release “Innocent”. Delivering 11 songs filled with memorable moments and solid musicianship, this band has been around since 2001 and only released two full-length releases in the process. Luckily, all this experience translates in a very solid and well-crafted release that has high replay value.
Opening with the Power Metal anthem “Third World War”, the band sets a pretty high bar for this release. Moving into more Progressive territories, “Spite Still Remains” gives us a very interesting mixture of soaring clean vocals and growls in a Stratovarius-like environment. The band’s ability to mix styles is quite good as they produce some very memorable tracks, such as the epic album title track “Innocent” and its excellent guitar leads.
Arriving from Portugal, today we have Hourswill and their debut full-length release “Inevitable”. Playing Progressive Metal, this band has good command of the genre but they are still missing a signature sound that makes them stand out from the rest. If you like bands like Symphony X and Leprous, Hourswill will be to your liking.
After an initial intro track, the band fully comes to life with the catchy “Vows of Submission”, a very proficient track filled with solid guitars and soaring vocals. As “Inevitable Collapse” and “Dead End Memory” roll by, the band combines some growls into their music to make it more diverse, but they ultimately fall second place to the Progressive vibe of the music. There are also some riffs that are more along the lines of Modern Metal outfits, but they also feel a bit out of place.
Featuring all the right ingredients to make a great Symphonic Metal band, today we have Enemy of Reality and their bombastic debut release “Rejected Gods”. Filled with catchy vocal melodies and excellent atmospheric passages, these newcomers from Greece deliver the WOW factor with 45 minutes of brilliant music.
After the typical warm-up intro, the band starts things with the super catchy “My Own Master”, a track that features Mike LePond handling the bass guitar duties. In this song we are gladly impressed by the very mellow and yet powerful vocal performances, allowing Iliana Tsakiraki to instantly standout. The band’s music is much like your Serenity / Sirenia type of Symphonic Metal with Gothic elements, and they greatly interate their guest vocals into the band’s unique groove as we can hear in “Needle Bites” which incidentally features Ailyn from Sirenia.
Making it our review stack, today we have Russia’s Fright Night and their sophomore release “Life Eternal”. Featuring a keyboard-driven Gothic Rock/Metal style, the band nicely blends elements of other groups like Lacrimosa, Lacrimas Profundere, and End of Green, but keeps their sound timeless with a high atmospheric emphasis. Clocking in at 45 minute, this release consists of nine tracks that will surely please any fan of the genre.
Opening with lush atmospheric elements and prominent keyboards, “Cherry Blossom” is one of those bleak sounding tracks that is both catchy and dark. The usage of three different vocal styles is quiet solid, and the main female/male singers do a great job in fusing their vocals in several brilliant dual sections. The album mood is quite melancholic and tracks like “Gerda” and “Numb” bring us back to some of the early days of Gothic Metal from bands like Edge of Sanity.
Greatly improving from their 2010 debut release, today we have Belgium’s Pestifer and their sophomore effort “Reaching the Void”. In a scene as competitive as Technical Death Metal, there are always bands that are clearly better than the ‘known alternatives’ and one of those is Pestifer. Cranking out nine brutal hyperactive headbanging anthems, this album will blow you away since the first song.
Showing their insane musical skills since the opener, “Witness of the Loss”, the band demonstrates immense improvement since their previous release. Filled with hateful growls, acrobatic riffing and sick bass guitar lines, the album demolishes its way through tracks like “Exiled to the Abyss”, “Tree of Thorns” and the personal favorite “Abominations”. It is immediately evident that the dual guitar onslaughts by Antoine Paterka and Emerson Devresse will be responsible for multiple sore necks.
Hailing from France today we have an excellent Power Metal band called Waverly Lies North, and their debut full-length release “A Soul in the Void”. Being in the intersection between bands like old Stratovarius and Rhapsody of Fire, this French outfit delivers nearly 50 minutes of explosive music that will have you cheering and psyched up from start to end.
Opening with the epicness of “The Curse”, this release is off to a great start with lush orchestrations, solid guitar leads, and excellent vocals (courtesy of Eric Pariche). With a very well defined Power Metal foundation, tracks like “A Soul in the Void”, “Labyrinth” and “Chimaera” have a very epic mood that is greatly enhanced by excellent atmospheric elements, dramatic guitar leads, and very well rounded vocal performances that elevate the music.
While cleaning up stacks of CD’s from our review table we found this little hidden gem from 2014. Necrotted is a German outfit that produces some crushing Deathcore/Death Metal and on their sophomore release “Utopia 2.0”, they state their case for being one of the best German bands in the genre.
Opening with the pummeling “Utopia (We are the light)”, we get a classical DM vibe at first, and it suddenly morphs into more modern sounding Deathcore brutality. This mixture of styles is quite engaging and sets them apart from the majority of bands that just abuses the traditional formulas of modern Deathcore music, more evidence of this perfect blend can be hear on the intricacies of “Rebuild and Revive”, “Assimilation”, and the punishing “Xenophobic Attitude”.
At Infernal Masquerade we usually receive anywhere between 20 to 40 promos each week, so going ‘off script’ to review something requires a killer release. Wallower and their savage mixture of Black Metal with Shoegaze have managed to stand out enough for us to review their killer debut EP. Under the title “Vanishing In Bloom”, we are presented with four brilliant songs that deliver a rare mixture of melody and harshness perfectly in harmony.
The release explodes wide open with their pummeling “Meteor”, a blistering track that features ear-piercing vocals and superb guitar work. The bands demolishing sound is very raw and brutal, perfectly balanced by the shoegazy parts thrown into the mix. While not as cathartic as Deafheaven or atmospheric as An Autumn for Crippled Children, the band perfectly captures the rawness and bleakness behind acts like Ghost Bath and Heretoir, as shown in the crafty “Dispel”.