• Cold Colours – MMXIV (2014)


    Hailing from the USA, today we have Atmospheric Death/Doom Metal outfit Cold Colours and their three songs EP “MMXIV”. With a distinctive European sound, this band reminds us of a slower and gloomier version of Swallow The Sun, My Dying Bride, and Frailty mixed in with some Thorns of The Carrion and (older) Eternal Tears of Sorrow influences. If the name-dropping was not enough for you to pick a copy of this, we will surely convince you by the end of this review.

    Opening with the bleak “Heathen”, the band instantly paints a very desolate melodic atmosphere with great pace and weeping guitars. This opening is indeed quite doomy and yet unconventional for what we usually get from Doom bands. The singing is a mixture of growls and screams that works quite well with the pace of the music. After warming you up with a solid opener, the band goes full Doom on the crushing “From This Pain”. Again, the riffing is brilliant and nicely outlined by very solid drumming. The tempo changes are brilliant and deliver a truly intense rollercoaster-like experience.

  • Mortualia – Blood of the Hermit (2014)


    Unleashing one of the most barbaric Black Metal releases to date, Moribund Records unearths Mortualia’s sophomore release “Blood of the Hermit”. Featuring around 60 minutes of nihilistic raw music, this release will crush your soul and you will be begging for more. Shatraug is the true raw Black Metal master and with this release he shows how melancholic rawness can affect your psyche.

    Opening with the bestial “Becoming Meaningless”, Shatraug unleashes pure evil with a doomy/atmospheric induced coma filled with punishing guitars and inhuman screams. Lasting 12 minutes, this song is a brilliant exercise in expertly crafted melodic riffs that suddenly turn sour with the harsh screams. With a more typical structure, “Manic Euphoria” keeps the tempo slow but the dissonance to its highest for 10 minutes of pure hatred.

  • Anathema – Distant Satellites (2014)


    Riding on the success of their 2012 amazing release “Weather Systems”, Anathema returns with yet another masterpiece of highly melancholic and atmospheric Progressive Rock titled “Distant Satellites”. With a surprise rise in productivity from the band, we are stoked that they are consistently releasing albums and very good ones as well, and that we didn’t have to wait 7 or so years between releases. This release is highly comparable to the band’s efforts on “Weather Systems” and the style they proposed in that release.

    This album kicks off with the very emotional first two parts of the track “The Lost Song”. In each these parts we have Lee shinning ever so brightly with her gifted vocals and the raw emotions she transmit through them. These tracks are also very well arranged and nicely change tempos and have brilliant climaxes. Following up with “Dusk (Dark is Descending)”, we now shift focus to Vincent’s signature pipes and the way they seamlessly blend with the very dramatic (and cinematic) musical backdrop.

  • The Approach and the Execution – Kings among Runaways (2014)


    After blowing us away with their debut album “The Blood March” back in 2011, The Approach and the Execution returns with another master class in Melodic Metal with “Kings among Runaways”. Now relocated to California and with a few line-up changes, The Approach makes a very strong comeback with nine tracks filled with awesome melodic passages and some serious guitar wizardry.

    Opening with the brilliant “The Warrior’s Psalm”, the band delivers their signature vocal harmonies surrounded with catchy riffing. The band’s ability to switch between singing styles is quite impressive and they are not afraid to use it. Also, their guitarists Andy Fisher and Mike Notte showcase their talents with excellent solos and acrobatic passages. The second track is a familiar one since it is a re-recording of their epic song “The March of The Guillotine”. If you have a song this awesome, I am sure more than a few bands would try to get it on every album they produce. The main noticeable difference here is that the female vocals are gone and seems like some of the guitar work is improved.

  • Tombs – Savage Gold (2014)


    Unleashing their third full-length release, today we have Mike Hill’s Tombs and their crushing multi-faceted album “Savage Gold”. As one of the most unique and complex bands in the US Metal scene, Tombs crafts ten demoralizing songs that brilliantly combine Black Metal influences with Neurosis-like Post-Metal/Hardcore antics. Featuring a very interesting album concept, this release has everything going for it in terms of musical quality, production values, and high replay value; this is one of the best releases we have heard in a while from Relapse Records.

    Opening with a trippy atmospheric intro in “Thanatos”, this album suddenly morphs into a nightmarish Swedish Death Metal meets Hardcore/Post-Metal screaming match in a very odd but yet unique and devastating manner. The riffs are pummeling, particularly when they switch into full-on Black Metal mode. The band instantly delivers their unique brand of weirdness and we love it. “Portals” follows a similar path of attack than the opener, but the first truly outstanding song is the throbbing “Seance”. This song features some of the most vicious riffs written in the last few months and Tombs deserves recognition for it…. quickly.

  • Metsatöll – Karjajuht (2014)


    With the whole Folk Metal craze finally dying down, it is time to see who the real players in the genre are; and Metsatöll is one of the surviving ones. With “Karjajuht” they continue their legacy of crushing releases with just enough Folk elements surrounded by pouncing guitars and heavy melodies. Showing their strengths are no gimmicks, this release delivers 12 head banging anthems that will not be forgotten.

    Opening with great energy, “Külmking” nicely blends an acoustic opening with pummeling guitars and a heavy dose of melody. The band’s sound is intact and they even sound a bit more aggressive than on their previous release. The metal foundations are strong Scandinavian Death Metal pillars that nicely blend in with the ingenious instrumentation of Lauri and Atso’s percussions. Songs like “Lööme mesti” and “See On See Maa” are perfect examples of this.

  • Coraxo – Starlit Flame (2014)


    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.

  • Xandria – Sacrificium (2014)


    Bouncing back from losing yet another vocalist, Xandria returns with Dianne van Giersbergen fronting the band and with their most mature record to date “Sacrificium”. Marco Heubaum continues to push the band, and with this release they greatly surpass their previous release “Neverworld's End” with a more cohesive and rich sounding album.

    Opening with the 10-minute album title track, we are treated to lush orchestrations and commanding riffs. The band’s sound is quite powerful and Dianne’s vocals fit the sound perfectly since they are very operatic and well defined. With the new front woman, the band pushes the envelope with more dramatic and bombastic songs like “Nightfall”, “Dreamkeeper”, and “Stardust”.

  • Vanhelga – Längtan (2014)


    Deconstructing Black Metal into its rawest elements seems to be the task of Vanhelga since its inception. With “Längtan” the band continues its journey into the deepest and darkest corners of musical exploration with 12 terrifying tracks of pure misanthropy and bleakness. Gaining a few members along the way, 145188 brings his vision to life with a truly sickening sound that is quite raw and direct.

    Opening with the twisted melodies of “Svartsint ömhet” we get an assortment of deranged vocals laid over truly haunting simplistic music that will instantly get under your skin. Focusing on an eerie atmosphere, “Där evigheten inväntar mig” is one of our favorite tracks thanks to its raw power and bizarre tempo changes. The band’s ability to switch the direction of the song mid-course it’s one of the best assets that Vanhelga has in this release, making for a truly unique and abusive experience as heard in tracks like “Evig förändring” and the melancholic “Med mina andetag”.

  • Harakiri For The Sky – Aokigahara (2014)


    After leaving a great impression on us with their self-titled debut full-length, Austria’s Harakiri For The Sky returns with an even more impressive release with Aokigahara. Delivering nine (plus one bonus track) onslaughts of perfectly crafted Black/Post-Black Metal anthems, the band calls upon a wide variety of guest vocalists to further expand their commanding (and very atmospheric) sound.

    Setting a very depressing mood with the demoralizing “My Bones to the Sea”, the doomy riffs nicely dictate a very calm pace to this killer song. With M.S in charge of all the instruments and J.J delivering the punishing vocals, this duo produces very melancholic music in the vein of acts like Heretoir, Lantlos, etc., but with their own signature style. The intensity picks up with the emotive “Jhator”, a track that features Seuche (Fäulnis) on guest vocals, and nicely shapes the aural abuse in a different direction than the band’s usual antics.


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