Returning after 4 years of no releases, today we have Norway’s Ragnarok and their latest opus of darkness titled “Psychopathology”. Featuring 49-minutes of soul crushing Black Metal, the band shows no signs of slowing down and manages to deliver one hell of a release from start to finish. Further refining their traditional Norwegian Black Metal sound, the band is ready to steamroll the competition with incisive riffs and sheer brutality.
Delivering the first blow with the monster opener “Dominance & Submission”, the band punishes the listener with crushing riffs and very elaborate drums. The band changed its configuration and now the sole remaining founding member, Jontho, handles the vocals, shifting the drumming duties to Malignant. With this little change, the band’s sound is a bit more dynamic, allowing tracks like “Psychopathology” and “My Creator” to be quite crafty and enjoyable.
The most epic band in the world returns with a very good live album that gives the listener a small glimpse into their live performance magic. Having seen Sabaton live multiple times, the band always delivers a brilliant live set and this is excellently captured in this 2DVD/CD release. With the audio part of this release featuring 16 tracks, the listener is fully immersed into the band’s live production quality and antics.
After setting the mood with “The March to War”, the band delivers a brutal hit with an epic combo of “Ghost Division”, “To Hell and Back” and the brilliant “Carolus Rex”. The band’s live sound has always been amazing and this is perfectly captured as they deliver “No Bullets Fly” and “Resist and Bite”. While we are only treated to an audio experience on the CD, we can totally imagine Joakim running around and goofing off with his band mates as the songs are played.
As one of the most unique and odd bands of North America, The Body has made a name for itself by doing tons of unique collaboration while refining a punishing experimental Sludge/Drone sound. On their fifith full-length release “No One Deserves Happiness”, the band continues to push the boundaries of normal and delivers what they call “the grossest pop album ever”. After listening for multiple days we have to completely agree with their claim, as this is one nightmarish release that will puzzle the masses and hypnotize the illuminated ones.
Opening with the haunting “Wanderings” we get some fragile female vocals nicely contrasted by some Sludgy dissonant riffs and a very unnerving tempo. As soon as the harsh vocals come into the picture the album gets even weirder with such an extreme contrast… signature move of the band. After a little breather with the weird “Shelter is Illusory”, the band delivers a violent Drone/Noise pair of tracks with “For You” and “Hallow/Hollow” that will rattle anybody out of their seat.
Hailing from Sweden today we have Hyperion’s brilliant debut full-length release “Seraphical Euphony”. Feeling like it was trapped on a time capsule for over 10 years, this highly melodic and catchy release features a melodic Death/Black Metal sound from the 90’s. Perfectly packaged with all the technological advances of our current time, this album is one very unique sounding release in a sea of clones and bands trying too hard to sound ‘vintage’.
After the acoustic building up “Remnants of the Fallen”, “Novus Ordo Seclorum” is a brilliant guitar-led piece that instantly reminded us of Dissection and their legendary “Storm of the Light's Bane”. With a timeless guitar sound, tracks like “Flacellum Dei”, “Seraphical Euphony” and the dramatic “Moral Evasion” really hit that old-school spot, but at the same time combine more atmospheric elements of period bands like Dismal Euphony. We particularly enjoy how this last track evolves after an atmospheric opening and leads into balls to the wall headbanging passages.
Making Black Metal trippy with their Doom/Psychedelic influences, Oranssi Pazuzu returns with another brilliant deconstruction of the genre in “Värähtelijä”. Delivering over 60 minutes of madness, this release captures the listener’s attention and imagination since its first riff and never lets go. If you are a fan of the unconventional, this is an album you can’t miss.
The release slowly opens with the atmospheric piece “Saturaatio” that presents us with a powerful guitar onslaught and some trippy keys. The harsh vocals suddenly appear to add an extra level of heaviness to an already very crafty song. Changing the mood into darker and more sinister territories, “Lahja” features a very hypnotic tempo. This track while different than the opener, continues the underlying dark and mysterious atmosphere of this release.
Being the most anticipated 2016 release at Infernal Masquerade, we have been sitting on writing this review for a few weeks to fully digest and process this album. Hailing from Germany, Todtgelichter started playing somewhat straightforward Black Metal until they started experimenting with other influences since their 2010 release “Angst”. From that release and to these days, the band has managed to craft a very unique blend of experimental/Avant-garde Black Metal that is completely disarming and emotionally raw. If you liked the band’s last two releases, you will be in for a treat with this one.
The album opens with the emotionally charged “Ghost” and its brilliant atmospheric elements. This track perfectly contrasts harsh and clean vocals while slowly building up the tempo with intricate drumming and lush atmospheric details. Continuing the emotional rollercoaster, the rawness of the opening of “Scherin” nicely transforms with all-out Post-Rock/Shoegazey melodic passages perfectly adorned by Marta’s iconic voice. This is one of the band’s best tracks to date due to the perfect contrast of heavy and melodic elements.
During the last few years Svart Records has been introducing to the world countless bands in the Psychedelic Rock/Doom realm and High Priest of Saturn is another hidden gem they managed to uncover. Hailing from Norway, this four piece outfit has a very warm and fuzzy retro sound that allows them to deliver extremely well crafted songs that will put the listener into a trance.
Opening with the psychedelic “Aeolian Dunes”, we get a hefty dosage of ripping Doom riffs courtesy of band’s mastermind Martin Sivertsen. What caught our attention instantly is the enigmatic voice of Merethe Heggset, which handles the bass guitar as well. Her vocals remind us of a more centered version of Jex Thoth. This 10 minute opener piece is the perfect mood setter for the musical journey that unfolds with this release.
As Delain continues their world domination with their relentless touring schedule, today we are lucky to have their latest EP titled “Lunar Prelude”. Providing some insights into the band’s future full-length release, this EP gives us two new tracks, one new version of an older song, four live takes and an orchestral piece. As bombastic as any of their previous releases, this album will captivate all fans and entertained until their next release.
Opening with the bombastic “Suckerpunch”, this is the quintessential Delain track with lush keyboards, brilliant solid arrangements and very catchy melodic sections. Charlotte’s vocals have come a long way since the band’s debut “Lucidity” and sound very firm and yet as sweet as ever. After such an explosive opener, “Turn the Lights Out” opens more in a mellow mood that is nicely elevated thanks to super catchy arrangements and strong guitar work. The band recently added Merel Bechtold into their ranks as second guitarist as well as new drummer Ruben Israël further strengthening their musical core.
Brilliantly returning with eight highly intricate tracks, today we have Obscura and their latest acrobatic effort “Akróasis”. Featuring completely new line-up since last release, Steffen Kummerer manages to again gather a stellar group of musicians and delivers another Obscura-quality release. If you like Technical/Progressive Death Metal, we highly doubt that there will be a better album in 2016.
Opening with the brilliant “Sermon of the Seven Suns”, we instantly notice that the band’s trademark sound is intact and yet it feels slightly evolved with cleaner and melodic passages. The playful back-and-forth between instruments is insanely well crafted making songs like the opener and the heavier “The Monoist” (among others) sound amazingly elaborate and tricky. The vocal effects of songs like “Ten Sepiroth” give the band a certain Cynic edge. Additionally this track features some killer bass guitar sections.
Gloomy February approaches with yet another solid Portuguese release through Signal Rex. Atmospheric Doomsters Löbo are re-releasing their 2010 EP “Älma” on cassette and vinyl. Perfectly packing their piercing riffs, the band delivers a truly unique and transformative aural experience in over 35 minutes of music.
Setting the mood with the mysterious opener “Aqui em baixo a alma mede-se com mãos cheias de pedras”, the band creates a very well balanced atmosphere that is both chilling and intriguing. The track also has a very well-crafted tempo that allows things to slowly progress and surround the listener. The mood turns a bit more direct and poignant on the magical “Por fim só. Livre” thanks to the trippy synths and arrangements.