Six years have passed since the Evig Natt’s previous release “Darkland”. Luckily for us, this means that “Evig Natt” is a very refined and well-crafted that perfectly transmits raw emotions through dark and somber music. Delivering over 51 minutes of a very dramatic combination of Gothic and Doom Metal, this release is caters to the old-school fans of Gothic Metal that prefer raw atmosphere over fancy orchestrations and arrangements.
Immediately after the instrumental intro, “How I Bleed” sets a very dark mood with punishing guitars and atmospheric keyboards paired with harsh vocals. This basic structure is quite traditional of releases in this genre from the late 90’s, early 2000’s, reminding us particularly of the album “Disclosure in Red” by Trail of Tears. The vocal arrangements of tracks like “Silence Falls” make this release more special as they evolve the listener in the band’s musical journey.
Hailing from Italy, today we have two-man outfit Abisso and their debut release “WRNSS” out on Third-I-Rex. Featuring around 40 minutes of soul crushing Black Metal, this release creates a crushing atmosphere that is oppressive and nature and never lets go. Highly consistent, Abisso’s oppressive sound is nicely contrasted by a few experimental elements that the band introduces occasionally. If you like powerful Black Metal which focuses more on atmosphere than speed, this is the album for you.
Opening with the dissonant “I”, the band slowly builds up their atmospheric vibe with incisive riffs and tight drumming. The deeper vocals fit the atmosphere perfectly as they command more attention than your traditional BM shriek. Continuing their atmospheric onslaught, “II” provides the perfect progression in the band’s aural abuse. Avoiding being too linear, the band experiments with intricate bass guitar lines and some interesting guitar leads that change the direction of the track momentarily.
As one of the most expected Melodic Death Metal releases of 2016, today we have Aussies Be’lakor and their Napalm Records debut “Vessels”. Nearly four years in the making, this release showcases a more mature band with a darker and yet more melodic and catchy sound. Delivering over 55 minutes of music, this release continues to separate the band from the rest as their sound continues to be more unique.
The album slowly warms up with the catchy riffing of the short opener “Luma”, which is nicely balanced out by a slow pace and the traditional Be’lakor growls. Instantly following we have the more mysterious and intricate “An Ember’s Arc”, where the band nicely delivers atmospheric and acoustic elements mixed in with the song’s progression. The buildup achieves it sweets stop with the killer catchiness and traditional Be’lakor rhythmical brilliance with “Withering Strands”. This track delivers 11-minutes of pure melodic magic as it is one of the best in this release.
As one of the few bands we get to listen to from Iran, The Unknown is a very promising Atmospheric Doom /Post-Rock outfit that has managed to craft a very impressive 40-minute debut release titled: “In Search of the Unknown”. Featuring a guest appearance by Thomas Helm, this release is filled with surprises and a very unique progression. If you like highly atmospheric and very melancholic music, you will find yourself lost with this release.
As the album single track opens, the music is framed by dramatic orchestrations and heavy riffs. This suddenly changes into a brilliant spoken word passage with a very eerie vibe. This part reminded us of Anathema in their “Eternity” days. Luckily for us it lasts for quite a while and creates a very unique tension. Moving closer to the last minutes, the release turns into a lush Post-Rock piece with very lively guitars and lush piano sections. The transitions between sections are quite well crafted and create a very unique musical journey.
When a band is named after one of the songs of one of your favorite bands, you can’t help it to be quite skeptical about their quality (or lack of thereof). Luckily, Be’lakor’s song “Countless Skies” is also well represented by the killer Melodic Death Metal that the band of the same name plays. Delivering eight tracks of pure melodic brilliance, “New Dawn” is the perfect debut release from this UK outfit.
As soon as “Aubade” gets heavy, we instantly thought we had put an Insomnium/Omnium Gatherum album instead. The band’s guitar wizardry is this good, with James Pratt and Ross King delivering some brilliant melodic guitar passages from start to finish. Fully exploding into melodic brilliance, “Heroes” continues the onslaught with tons of killer leads and very expressive melancholic passages. The growls and drumming style are both quite familiar to the typical Finnish Melo-Death scene, but it is how all things come together that truly showcases the power behind this very proficient.
Hailing from the USA, today we have the superbly unique Vex and their 3rd full-length release “Sky Exile”. Seamlessly blending influences of Death/Thrash/Progressive Metal with melodic undertones, this band’s sound is quite refreshing and unique. Reminding us of bands like Cenotaph, Buried Dreams and The Chasm, this band has a very unique and polished sound that is very diverse and engaging.
Slowly building up from the intro, the album really kicks off with the intense “To Anacreon (Strangling the Muse)”, a very diverse track that showcases heavy riffs, crushing growls and very proggy Enslaved-like rhythmical sections. Perfectly continuing the uniqueness of this release, “Empyrean” provides an interlude before the melodic brilliance of “Antithetical Age”. In this track we have again that gritty Death/Thrash Metal influences paired with more melodic influences, and even some clean vocals to fully round up the song.
Arriving from Australia, today we have one-man battalion Subterranean Disposition’s second full-length released titled “Contagiuum and the Landscapes of Failure”. Delivering over 60 minutes of crushing Death/Doom, the band keeps things fresh by adding extra atmospheric elements that blend very well together. Perfectly crafted for fans of slow and painful Doom music, this release is filled with unique ideas and interesting songs.
Opening with the crushing riffs of “Hungry Ghosts on Rotten Soil”, the album sets a very dominant tone. This mood continues with the melancholic opening of “Wooden Kimono Fixative” and its disarming pairing of moody guitars and sultry saxophone. This opener nicely transitions into more familiar Death/Doom territories with gusto and crushing tempo changes. Remaining us of bands like Avrigus, “Embittered Final” turns darker and more atmospheric. The haunting female vocals give an extra level of eeriness to this already emotional track.
Originally labeled as a mysterious Chinese outfit, Ghost Bath has taken the Depressive Black Metal/Post-Black Metal scene by surprise since their debut release “Funeral”. The band plays very raw and emotional Black Metal that instantly transmits feelings of despair and unease, unlike any other band in the world. Fast-forward 2 years since the release of their debut album, the band turned out to be from North Dakota and their sophomore release (which is even better than the fest) is currently being re-released through Nuclear Blast in June 2016.
Having played over a thousand times “Moonlover” when it first came out in 2015, it is quite impressive to see that this release still has the same effect on us after more than a year. Opening with the mysterious atmospheric elements of “The Sleeping Fields”, the album comes wide open until the blistering “Golden Number”. In this track, we can instantly hear the band’s raw emotions explode with the harsh vocals as they perfectly contrast the intense drumming and the punishing riffs. The track nicely morphs into a very unique kind of beast when the guitar leads change the tempo and the drumming because more intricate. Comparisons to the likes of Deafheaven, Bosse-de-Nage are instantly warranted, but Ghost Bath is its own unique monster.
Hailing from Finland, today we have the promising debut release “Blood. Stone. Sun. Down.” of melancholic outfit Vuolla. Perfectly blending elements of Gothic/Death Doom with melancholic Depressive Rock, this band manages to deliver over 60 minutes of truly emotive music. Focusing on crafting lush melancholic songs, the band will surely appeal to all fans of bands like Katatonia, Draconian, and everything in between.
Opening with the super bleak intro to “Death Incredible”, the band instantly reminded us of Svarti Loghin. This song nicely transitions into a more straightforward Gothic Doom piece perfectly blending Kati Hämäläinen’s vocals and keyboards with powerful Doom riffs. In a more traditional Gothic Doom fashion, the disarming “Emperor” is one hell of a rollercoaster ride which features a brilliant atmospheric passage around the 4 minute mark that will instantly get you hooked into the band’s sound.
Delivering over 55 minutes of superbly catchy Black/Pagan/Viking Metal, today we have France’s Vindland and their debut full-length release “Hanter Savet”. With the current influx of brilliant French bands to the Metal scene, it is not surprising that this band is a good as they are. Perfectly capturing the essence of bands like Kampfar, Windir, Thyrfing, this band has managed to craft nine excellent songs that will have you headbanging from start to end.
Opening with some great intensity, “Orin Kozh” immediately sets the pace for quite a hectic and yet melodic release. The band perfectly weaves back and forth between full-on Metal sections and more subtle Folk-ish influences. The incisive riffing is exactly what makes this release quite melodic and enjoyable, similar to what one would expect from the genre. Tracks like “Treuzwelus”, “Serr-Noz” and “Pedenn Koll” really showcase how the band excels in writing cunning songs that are quite enjoyable and satisfying.