• Forte Ruin – Forte Ruin (2015)


    Always excited to receive promo materials from new and upcoming bands, today we find ourselves quite entertained with Forte Ruin’s self-titled EP. Mixing Melodic Death Metal elements with some Power Metal influences, this release sounds like Children of Bodom, Tracedawn and Shade Empire had a genetically engineered baby.

    Opening with the lively Children of Bodom-esque “Alienated Humanity”, the band instantly makes an impression with well-crafted guitars and playful keyboards. The harsh vocals are very typical for the genre, but the clean vocals nicely catch the listener off-guard and have a certain Proggy vibe to them. After setting the bar high with the opener, the band continues with lush keyboards and excellent tight drumming in “45 Days”. Being quite catchy and melodic, this reminded us a bit more of Tracedawn and Kalmah, brilliantly smashed together.

  • Jess and the Ancient Ones - Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes (2015)


    As one of the most anticipated releases of 2015, Jess and the Ancient Ones return with their sophomore release “Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes”. Moving away from their Doom influences and fully embracing the psychedelic/progressive side of their sound, the band delivers nine enigmatic tracks that will intoxicate all fans of the band and the genre. Greatly improving over their first effort, this is one release that nobody will want to miss.

    Opening with the creepy playfulness of “Samhain”, the band set a very enigmatic mood with funky samples and a truly psychedelic vibe. There are some parallels to bands like Purson, but with the signature JATO style. Jess’s mesmerizing vocals do a great job in setting a very mellow and dark mood on tracks like trippy “The Flying Man” and super catchy psychedelic anthem “In Levitating Secret Dreams”. The band truly travels in time with a very organic and natural sounding recording, allowing all the sounds captured to be truly authentic sounding.

  • Tine - The Forest Dreams of Black (2015)


    Hailing from the USA, today we have the very unique and promising debut release from Tine. Titled “The Forest Dreams of Black”, this debut album delivers over nine tracks of a very solid blend of Symphonic Black/Death Metal. As a two-person outfit, this band mixes elements from old-school greats like Bal-Sagoth, Limbonic Art and Canada’s Necronomicon. As a very atypical North American release, this album is definitely worth your time.

    Opening with the pyscho sexy riffs of “Enter the Black Forest”, the band sets a very intoxicating mood. With Count Murmur handling all the guitars, bass guitar, vocals, and programmed drums, the band still manages to sound like a real band and not some dude in his parents basement. In “Horrors at Antioch”, the solid integration of the musical base-layer and Vanth’s keyboards creates a very eerie atmosphere and reminds us of Limbonic Art and some of the early days of Charmand Grimloch’s Tartaros.

  • Leave Scars – Chain of Redemption (2015)


    Hailing from Belgium, today we have Leave Scars and their sophomore release “Chain of Redemption”. As with many Thrash Metal bands, this outfit has only released two albums in the decade the band has been together, and luckily for us, the eleven tracks presented here are quite polished and well crafted.

    Opening with the in-your-face riffage of “P.B.D”, the band sets quite a solid bar with a very melodic and fast-paced song. Evoking old-school Destruction and Exodus, the band plows through killer tracks like “Final Chance”, “The Faceless” and the anthem “Chains”. This last track suddenly busts out a melodic passage that completely elevates it to a whole other dimension. The vocals in this release are quite diverse as the swing between old-school Dave Mustaine (minus the whiny parts) to more mainstream Modern Metal and swing back into typical Thrash-styled screams.

  • Phantasma – The Deviant Hearts (2015)


    Delivering twelve tracks of brilliant Symphonic Rock/Metal, today we have super group Phantasma and their debut release “The Deviant Hearts”. Featuring Delain’s Charlotte Wessels, Everon’s Oliver Philipps and Georg Neuhauser of Serenity fame, this band is one of the most ambitious outfits in this musical space. The band does not disappoint with brilliant songs and even more impressive guest appearances to round up an excellently crafted release, if you are a fan of symphonic/melodic music, you will not want to miss this one.

    Opening with the very solemn “Incomplete”, we are instantly pleased with the excellent duet of Charlotte and Georg. After starting on a dark note, the album quickly picks up with the mellow opening of “The Deviant Hearts”. Featuring Tom Englund in this bombastic song, all fans of either Delain or Evergrey will instantly geek out due to the way both singer’s vocals blend in this track. After a very Delain-ish “Runaway Gray”, the ballad “Try” greatly showcases Chloe Lowery and Dennis Schunke’s vocal talents in a very dramatic and epic way, easily one of the best tracks in this release.

  • Despite Exile – Disperse (2015)


    Hailing from Italy, today we have Deathcore battalion Despite Exile and their latest EP titled “Disperse”. Usually not a fan of the genre, when a band commands of attention it means that the have unique elements to make them stand out from the rest. Delivering five tracks and two interludes, the band crushes the competition with a perfect balance of melody and aggression that only a handful of bands can master. While not as crushing as The Black Dahlia Murder, this band does not lag behind with excellent moshing passages and solid melodic head banging moments.

    Leading the charge with the melodic “Act I – Gaze of Leviathan”, we instantly got a certain Soilwork vibe from the first few minutes of the track. This playful and very melodic piece brilliantly weaves back and forth from all out brutality to excellent momentum-building sections. Seamleasly bleeding into “Act II – Panoptic Servant”, the band changes the pace to crushing a more typical Deathcore with funky tempo changes thanks to some killer drum patterns.

  • Wreckmeister Harmonies – Night of Your Ascension (2015)


    Featuring over 30 musicians ranging from members of Yakuza to The Body, Wreckmester Harmonies is the brainchild of J.R. Robinson. Mixing elements of Drone, Doom, Post-Metal, and ambient into one very dense wall of sound, the collective creates haunting music that goes beyond just making crushing and punishing tracks. In this release we are presented with two monumental tracks that combined clock in around 48 minutes of sheer darkness and emotion.

    Leading the charge we have the opening 32-minute behemoth “Night of Your Ascension” which starts in a very ethereal way. The bone-chilling female angelic voices slowly lead into compelling string instrument arrangements just before it all turns completely somber with some punishing Doom riffs. This transition is handled in a very masterful way, as the tension is slowly rising. The heavier side of this track is filled with punishing riffs and some hellish screams that create a sense of urgency due to their aggressive nature.

  • Anomalie – Refugium (2015)


    Hailing from Austria, today we have Anomalie and their sophomore release “Refugium”. Started as a one-man battalion by Marrok of Selbstentleibung and Harakiri for the Sky (live) fame, this outfit crafts a very melancholic blend of Black Metal that is very rare and extremely addictive. Traversing over 52 minutes of music, this album takes its time to fully develop and to explore its deepest and darkness corners it requires patience and understanding.

    Opening with Katatonia meets Post-Black Metal “In Fear of Tomorrow”, we are instantly hooked on the band’s very melancholic and yet intense sound. The hypnotic clean vocals will haunt you after this track is over. As “Spiritual Dimension” and “Untouched Walls” roll around, we start to notice some resemblance with bands like Agrypnie in terms of the vocals/riffing, but quickly stray away from this when the atmospheric passages go by.

  • Kaeck – Stormkult (2015)


    Arriving from Folter records, today we have Dutch war Black Metal outfit Kaeck and their decadent debut release “Stormkult”. For fans of old-school Raw Black Metal with a traditional Dutch flair, this release delivers over 30 minutes of devastating music that will leave you uneasy for a few months.

    Opening with the highly atmospheric “De kult”, we instantly get an oldschool Satyricon/Emperor vibe thanks to the simple yet effective atmospheric elements surrounded by crushing riffs and harsh vocals. The band continues to steamroll the listener with the brutality of “De heerser wederkeet” and the sickening atmosphere of the creepy “Holenmuur”. Both tracks are very dense and deliver the right amount of aggression and eeriness in a very balanced and destructive way.

  • Narbeleth - Through Blackness and Remote Places (2015)


    We get all kinds of bands from all the corners of the world, but it is quite rare to have one from Cuba. Today we have Cuba’s most savage and destructive Black Metal band: Narbeleth. As a one-man battalion, this band perfectly captures the punishing rawness of Scandinavian Black Metal from the late 90’s, and delivers eight brilliant tracks filled with hate and crushing riffs.

    Opening with “Sons of the Grand Cosmic Emanation”, Dakkar unleashes a bestial barrage of unholy melodic BM riffs unlike anything we have every heard before from the small Cuban island. The quality of the music is uncanny as it demolishes everything in its way with a mixture of Immortal acrobatics with the rawness of Gorgoroth. The band’s sound is quite compact and brutal, and the influences of Norwegian Taake are very present in songs like “Mesmerized by the Pale Ghost Moonlight”.


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