Featuring a very diverse and international cast of characters, today we have Gone in April and their sophomore release “Threads of Existence”. Led by the beautiful vocals of Julie Belanger Roy, this band combines everything from Gothic to Death to Symphonic to Folk Metal, creating a very rich and unique listening experience for the 43 minutes of music crafted in this release.
Opening with the theatrical intro “Dawn of Time”, it is not until “The Curtain will Rise” that the band showcases their rich sound. In this track we have some very catchy melodies paired perfectly with super tight drumming, courtesy of Yanic Bercier, and Haggard-esque male growls. Perfectly blending intensity with melody the band delivers superb tracks like the “Our Future Line”, which also showcase the Bass guitar wizardry of the highly experienced Steve DiGiorgio.
Turning 20 years old, today we have a remastered version of Satyricon’s masterpiece “Nemesis Divina”. Considered one of the most important Black Metal albums of the history of the genre, this album marked a unique contrast between the traditional Trve Norwegian Black Metal and more refined, melodic, and lush interpretations of the genre. Many people hated the band after this ‘soft’ release, but it is as crushing as any other BM at the time. Sounding a bit better than before, Napalm Records brings back tons of memories with the re-release of this album.
As the opener “The Dawn of a New Age” delivers the line ‘This is Armageddon’, chills instantly run over our spines. The music is raw and brutal while still being elegant and better directed than other releases of the time. The novelty of this album was the mixture of slower tempos and more melodic elements as we can hear as the opener winds down and “Forhekset” rolls in. The atmospheric use of synths also adds depth to the music, while causing confusion and anger to fans of the genre’s traditional rawness.
Featuring members of several high profile Finish bands, today we have the True Black Dawn and their debut release (as TBD) titled “Come the Colorless Dawn”. Delivering 11 bestial tracks of ravaging Black Metal, this album is quite intense from start to end. Having been around since the early 90’s under two different names, this band crafts very nihilistic and tight BM soundscapes that rival any other famous band in this genre.
After warming the listener up with an intro, the album’s title track opens the proceedings with great force and brutality. The dual growls/shrieks vocal onslaught perfectly fit the music’s moody and tempo changing nature. The band’s vocalist, Wrath, is of Enochian Crescent fame, and having personally seen them live, he is one hell of a showman and an intense vocalist. The evidence is on the level of brutality shown on tracks like “The Light Goes Out” and the sinister “Cinereous”.
Crawling out of the depths of Scandinavian hell, today we have Behexen and their long awaited release “The Poisonous Path”. Featuring over 55 minutes of ravaging Black Metal, the band continues to be at the top of their game when it comes to crafting brutally raw tracks. Not for the faint of heart, this is one of the premiere BM releases of 2016.
Unleashing their hateful musical onslaught with opener “The Poisonous Path” and the intense “The Wand of Shadows”, the band creates a very oppressive atmosphere filled with crushing riffs and the demoralizing vocals of Hoath Torog. As the album progresses with songs like “Cave of the Dark Dreams” and “A Sword of Protean Fire”, we noticed that there are some atmospheric elements thrown into the mix to make the band’s music more intense and expansive.
Arriving from Germany, today we have one of the most disarming releases in the last few years with Thränenkind‘s “King Apathy”. Filled with emotional bleakness, this release features 46 minutes of brilliant music that will evoke an emotional response from the toughest Metalhead out there. Completely intense and gratifying from start to finish, this is one of the best albums of 2016.
Setting the mood with the crushing opener “Desperation”, we are instantly immersed in the band’s unique mixture of Post-Metal/Black Metal thanks to the incisive riffs and mournful vocals. Expertly contrasting brutality with melody, the band delivers an intense performance filled with raw passion. As the album slowly progresses, the songs keep getting darker and darker as “King Apathy” and “Ghosts” storm the listener.
Continuing her highly atmospheric and dreamy musical direction, today we have one-woman outfit Sylvaine and her sophomore release “Wistful”. With a style similar to a mellower Alcest and Les Discrets, we are completely intoxicated by the fragile nature of the songs presented in this release. Instantly enchanting the listener like the mythological chant of a siren, Sylvaine will captivate you with this release.
Opening with the 10-minute “Delusions”, the mood is perfectly set with the opening folky vocal section, reminding us of Kari Rueslåtten in her early days. The song quickly progresses into more familiar territories with dreamy guitars and intense atmospherics bringing memories of Alcest’s “Les Voyages de l'âme”. Showcasing some ethereal shoegaze and dream-pop influences, “Earthbound” provides an interesting contrast between angelic clean vocals and hash Black Metal screams, both performed by Sylvaine herself.
Mixing elements of Nu Metal with some heavier Modern Metal and Metalcore influences, today we have Fallen Eight and their EP “Rise & Grow”. For over 23 minutes this French band delivers very clean catchy songs that will undoubtedly make you want to headbang in some moments.
Leading with “Reborn”, the band heavily relies on the vocal talents of Clem to make them stand out from the rest. The music is quite catchy, but very typical of more ‘mainstream’ Metal bands. The Metalcore influences are always present as one can listen to in “Come from the Sky” and the superbly entertaining “Final Shot”. We appreciate that the band keeps their sound consistent as the influences they blend together merge pretty well and crate enjoyable tunes.
Slowly completing their musical transformation, today we have Nemesea and their catchy Gothic Rock. Completely separated from the sound on their debut release “Mana”, the band delivers 10 tracks of quite diverse rock music. As a the band has moved more into the mainstream eye, the majority of the band’s music has been growing more generic and the nearly 40 minute duration of this release makes this quite evident.
Opening with the bombastic “Hear Me”, the band nicely grabs the listener’s attention with Manda Ophuis charismatic vocals. Some tracks like the explosive “Forever” remind us of their fellow countrymen Delain. Our favorite track in this release is the highly emotional “Let it Burn” and its very dramatic tone perfectly paired with explosive tempo changes.
Four years in the making, today we have In Mourning and their killer “Afterglow” release. Featuring 56 minutes of music divided in seven tracks, the band continues to move into Progressive/Melodic Death Metal territory with this brilliant album. Showcasing influences of bands like Kalmah mixed in with elements of October Tide and other more experimental outfits, this release is definitely one of the band’s best.
Opening with the superb melodies of “Fire and Ocean”, the band starts the release with a heavy headbanging dose. Nicely bleeding into “The Grinning Mist”, the melodic atmosphere is very well crafted and oozes to the traditional In Mourning signature sound with a few progressive elements thrown into the mix, such as the intricate bass guitar line and killer tempo changes.
Hailing from France, today we have the return of Southern/Stoner Black Metal outfit Glorior Belli. In “Sundwon (The Flock that Welcomes)”, the band delivers eight tracks and around 48 minutes of very crafty and completely unique music. If you are a fan of the band already, this album further refines their very unique style and you will love it, if you are just curious, be ready for a very bizarre and different musical ride.
Opening with a bang, “Lies-Strangled Skies” delivers a crushing mostly straightforward Black Metal onslaught with heavy guitars and hyper fast drums. Combining the very characteristic sound of French Black Metal with some funky melodic guitars, the band crafts a very powerful opening piece. The second track continues in the same vein, but slowly introduces some of the band’s more melodic and crafty passages near the end.