As one of the most fitting soundtracks for weird times, today we have Asofy’s latest release “Amusia”, which takes the listener into a highly experimental and chaotic journey. For nearly an hour, the listener gets transported into this one-man outfit’s world, filled with abstract textures and a highly melancholic atmosphere. If you like weird, this is one of the weirdest (and yet good) of 2020.
Opening with the moody “Agnosia”, we get some Jazzy glimpses with crafty percussions, subtle guitars and trippy vocals. The song feels very free flowing as it progresses between different moods. Continuing with the captivating “Palinodia”, we get a darker and more moody side of the band with minimalist arrangements and very eerie atmospherics. For those looking into heavier and creepier sounds, the album title track has a good kick as it eases into the harrowing madness of “Residuo”.
In these pandemic times we have had tons of extra time to hunker down and enjoy music. One of the absolute highlights of this time has to be Mountaineer’s third full-length release “Bloodletting” and its oozing melancholy. Perfectly refining their mixture of Sludge/Doom/Post-Metal over the last few years, the band has hit its prime with this majestic 53-minute musical journey. The band’s uniquely crushing sound creates a very powerful and yet mellow atmosphere unlike anything else you have heard before.
Opening with “Blood of the Book” the band slowly builds up to harsh vocals and cascading guitar riffs. This track nicely sets a moody opening as it transforms into gargantuan walls of distortion and highly emotive clean vocals. Just getting warmed up, the band unleashes the superb catchiness of “The Weeds I Have Tended” and its crafty tempo changes. This track is one of our favorites, as it is both engaging and punishing while delivering the full spectrum of the band’s intricate sound.
Delivering one of the most magical and atmospheric Black/Folk Metal releases of 2020, today we have Sojourner and their third full-length release “Premonitions”. Featuring over 55 minutes of masterfully crafted emotional music, this release explores tons of textures and tempos to create one very cohesive and lush aural journey. If you are into bands like Saor, Winterfylleth, etc. but always wanted a folkier and even Gothic/Doomy vibe infused with them, you are in luck with this release.
The release leads off with the dramatic atmospherics of “The Monolith”, a track that delivers both aggressive guitars and lush atmospheric arrangements, perfectly led by the charming clean vocals of Chloe Bray and contrasted by the harsh screams of Emilio Crespo. The female vocals at points sound like Amy Lee, but they are enchanting in their own right as they perfectly capitulate the very elaborate atmospheric components the band lays down with their mixture of rich keyboards and additional elements like a Tin whistle.
Perfectly fitting for a dark and gloomy day, today we have Aeonian Sorrow’s latest EP: “A Life Without”. As the title indicates, this release is full of melancholy and gloom, delivering exactly what the fans of the band and the genre expects. For over 30 minutes the band explores cavernous atmospheres filled with crushing riffs, demoralizing growls and angelic female vocals.
The album slowly builds up with the opener “The Endless Fall of Grief”. Instead of the traditional long instrumental intro, this track quickly unravels brutal growls and heavy guitars, creating a very imposing and commanding mood since the first few minutes. Ville Rutanen (Red Moon Architect) handles all growls, perfectly contrasting them from Gogo Melone’s sultry female vocals, a brilliant example of this is the emotional “One Love” and its dramatic guitar leads and ‘beauty and the beast’ vocal interchanges.
Unleashing relentless misery, today we have legendary My Dying Bride and their latest opus: “The Ghost of Orion”. Filled with melancholy and pain, the album from beginning to end delivers the band’s signature Doom Metal as it combines elements from their later releases with the gloom of releases like “The Light at the End of the World” and “The Angel and the Dark River”. Five years in the making, this release is a quintessential MDB album that is musically and emotionally one of their best.
The release starts with the heavy hitting “Your Broken Shore”, a very powerful and mournful track that is both punishing and very melancholic. The contrast between Aaron’s signature clean vocals and the heavy riffs is something that keeps drawing us back to the band’s music as it perfectly conveys a multitude of emotions, as we can hear in the epic “To Outlive the Gods” and its enchanting violins, as well as on the emotional roller coaster of “Tired of Tears”.
Crafting a haunting atmosphere with crushing walls of sound and eerie synths, today we have Insect Ark and their crushing release “The Vanishing”. With a certain minimalist and drone edge, the band’s music creates cavernous avenues for waves of distorted bass and lap steel guitar. For fans of bands like Earth, Jex Thoth, SubRosa, all minus the vocals, this release will command your attention and take it for a warm and fuzzy trippy ride.
The album kicks off with the interstellar antics of the crafty “Tectonic”, a piece that nicely builds as the bass guitar leads into crafty percussions and dreamy synths. The duo’s ability to slowly build tension and atmosphere is quite impressive as tracks like “Three Gates” slowly build from minimalist passages to fuzzy onslaughts that are both playful and yet pummeling. The experimental component of the band’s music allows them to create tracks that are highly hypnotic, like the trance inducing “Philae” and the slow burning “Danube”.
We are quite psyched that Greek Death/Doom legends On Thorns I Lay have remained active and releasing albums since they reformed back in 2015. With “Threnos”, the band continues their musical journey with yet another powerful and melancholic release. Featuring over 45 minutes of music, this album delivers on the band’s signature style while adding a few surprises to keep the listener’s engaged and entertained.
The opener, “The Song of Sirens”, has that signature OTIL sound of their 90’s releases, with the firm growls, crafty riffs and subtle atmospheric keyboards, perfectly contrasted by weeping lead guitars and a hyper melancholic atmosphere. We particularly love the band’s timeless mixture of heavy foundations, like crushing riffs and tight drumming, with dramatic atmospherics delivered by the keyboards, clean vocals, and string arrangements on tracks like “Ouranio Deos” and the superbly catchy “Cosmic Silence”.
As the days get shorter and the dark nights get longer (in the Northern Hemisphere), Officium Triste arrives with perfect timing and their bleakness inducing full-length release “The Death of Gaia”. Unleashing over 55-minutes of devastating Death/Doom Metal, we are reminded that this Dutch outfit is by far one of the best at their craft.
Opening with the misery inducing dramatic arrangements of “The End is Nigh”, the band sets a very dark and funeral-esque vibe that features some slight glimmers of hope. The interplay of Pim Blankenstein crushing growls, the incisive guitar riffs and the melodramatic keyboards creates a superb atmosphere that sets the mood for a very somber release. With some crafty percussions and melancholic headbanging passages, “World In Flames” continues that oppressive atmosphere with a plethora of weeping guitar leads and crafty tempo changes.
Continuing the band’s brilliant rise as one of the best Melodic/Atmospheric Doom/Gothic Metal outfits, Hanging Garden delivers their latest opus titled “Into That Good Night”. Featuring eight tracks and nearly 46 minutes of highly addictive music, the band perfectly blends elements from their heavier earlier days and their more dynamic and Gothic Metal influences of later days. Full of melancholy and expert songwriting abilities, this release is yet another highlight on their already storied career.
Opening with the playful riffs of “Of Love and Curses”, we got a certain Lacrima Profundere vibe as the more enigmatic atmospheric interludes nicely contrast the heavier parts of the song. The more traditional Melodic Doom Metal roots of the band can be found on the dreamy “Fear, Longing, Hope and the Night” which has a certain Insomnium vibe. We particularly enjoy the crafty guitar melodies and the combination of growls and clean vocal arrangements, making it a superbly catchy song.
The highly productive Déhà is back with his Atmospheric/Funeral Doom Metal project SLOW and their latest masterpiece of sorrow with “VI - Dantalion”. Crafting monolithic atmospheres around soul crushing riffs, this release unleashes nearly 80 minutes of powerful music. Just when you think the boundaries of the genre cannot be pushed further, an album like this comes along and shatters them completely.
Warming up the listener with the bleak soundscapes of “Descente”, the album slowly gets fired up as you come across the 17-minute behemoth of “Lueur”. The slow growls lead to monumental riffs and tense atmospherics, creating a very unsettling mood. The dramatic arrangements created by the synths perfectly complement the ravaging guitar structures. However, what really captures the listener is the dramatic tempo changes and mood swings within songs like the later and “Futilité”. Alternating a ‘shorter’ song between 10+ minute pieces, Slow explores darker territories with the harsher vocals and more sinister atmosphere of “Géhenne”.