Finally, after years of waiting, Vibeke Stenne marks her return to the Metal scene with Veil of Secrets and their melancholic debut release “Dead Poetry”. Alongside Asgeir Mickelson, Vibeke graces us with eight tracks and nearly 50 minutes of highly emotional music, that is both dark and Doomy. While some people might have expected something more similar to old Tristania, this release showcases great maturity and undeniable vocal talents, while carving a different and distinctive sound.
Opening with the incisive guitars of “The Last Attempt”, the band instantly gives off a vibe similar to the short-lived Proggy/Doomy Alas from Erik Rutan and Martina Hornbacher. The atmosphere in this release is quite dark and very cohesive, crafted with only a few elements such as solemn violins from Sareeta and the occasional growl from Erling Malm. This allows Vibeke’s vocals to truly shine alongside weeping guitars, making tracks like “Sear The Fallen”, “Remorseful Heart”, and “The Lie Of Her Prosperity” quite effective and direct.
With the state of affairs in 2020, music has been a great escape for many. With “Another World”, Light Field Reverie beautifully transport the listener on a highly ethereal journey with their captivating music. Featuring both members of Draconian and Sojourner, this release unleashes over 40 minutes of majestic music that incorporates tons of different elements outside of the normal Metal music scope.
Opening with the dreamy “Ultraviolet”, we are greeted with the sultry vocals of Heike Langhans and very moody atmospheric elements ranging from electronic beats, to dreamy synths. Alongside the atmospherics, we also have a well defined Doom-ish structure of heavy guitar riffs and crafty drums, creating a very piercing and yet enigmatic sound, as tracks morph between highly emotional passages to heavier counterparts, like on “The Oldest house”.
Always delivering a truly hypnotic and ritualistic aural experience, today we have Dark Buddha Rising and their latest opus “Mathreyata”. Hailing from Finland, this outfit continues to captivate audiences with their piercing and ritualistic compositions, unleashing nearly 43 minutes of music in four tracks. For those that like heavy distorted guitars, trippy percussions and tempo changes, alongside a good dose of Drone, Sludge, and Pysch, this release is face melting.
Opening with the trippy “Sunyaga”, the listener is faced with a barrage of pummeling riffs alongside a psychedelic undertone. Vocalist Marko Neuman is one of those weird forces that seems to unleash multiple personalities while singing, creating a very mysterious and yet brutal aural. Feeling already numb and subdued, the second track “Nagathma” takes the eerie atmospherics to a whole new level thanks to some superbly creepy elements paired alongside crafty drum patterns and spacious guitars.
Hailing from Germany, today we have Melodic Death/Doom Metal outfit Décembre Noir with their harrowing fourth full-length release “The Renaissance of Hope”. Featuring nearly 50 minutes of firm and yet highly emotional music, the band delivers six brutal tracks that brilliantly balance fragility, aggression and melody. For fans of bands like Swallow the Sun, My Dying Bride, and similar outfits, this release will certainly bring some fuzzy warmness during the winter months.
Opening with the pummeling “A Swan Lake Full of Tears”, the band quickly establishes a hefty balance between incisive guitar riffs and gruff growls. Setting a high bar, this track is quite hectic and powerful even as it progresses into more melodic and solemn minimalist interludes with clean vocals. Those looking for heavier pieces, “Hope/Renaissance” and “Wings of Eschaton” are both quite pummeling thanks to crafty drum patterns and very heavy dueling guitar work. While many bands tend to become overly melodic, Décembre Noir’s sound is quite firm and ravaging.
The always mysterious and intoxicating sound of Völur is quite hard to describe but completely unique to experience. Delivering their third full-length release “Death Cult”, the band continues their path of darkness with a very lush, engaging, and captivating release. For nearly 40 minutes the band transports the listener into a very unique and mystical folky world that is beautifully crafted.
Starting with the hypnotic “Inviolate Grove”, the band quickly creates a very distressing atmosphere thanks to the dramatic use of string instruments and a captivating bass guitar line. For those not familiar with the band, Völur shies away from your traditional distorted guitars to a combination of pummeling bass guitar, electric violins/violas, and lush percussions, creating a very unique and dense atmosphere that can only be compared to some extent to parts of bands like Elend and early Silent Stream of Godless Elegy.
Three years after terraforming the scene with their excellent 2017 release, today we have Brasil’s Jupiterian dropping the massive “Protosapien”. Pushing the boundaries of the genre and always delivering something interesting and aurally punishing, this band is one of the few that constantly improves over time and morphs into new shapes in each release. If you like punishing riffs, a wide variety of genres, and the feeling of being on a choke hold (by music), then you can’t miss out on this one.
After slowly creating a very dissonant atmosphere with their opening track, “Mere Humans” instantly unleashes a barrage of punishing riffs and a hypnotic pace. As one of their specialties, the band suddenly switches gear into heavier and slower territories with the (newer) Lantlôs-esque “Voidborn” and its waves of pummeling guitars. The growls are a perfect match for such an aggressive and yet subtly melodic onslaught.
All the way from Israel, today we have a very unique and star-studded Death/Doom Metal release titled “Hollow”. With nearly 52 minutes of music, Tomorrow’s Rain's ambitious release pays off as they complement their very traditional sound with the talents of their guest musicians, creating one of the most powerful and refined releases of the genre. If you like melancholic Death/Doom Metal, it surely can’t get any better than this in 2020.
The release kicks off with the mood setting and mysterious “Trees”, a song that slowly builds up to the typical commanding Doom riffs and excellent growls. Featuring Aaron Stainthrope of My Dying Bride, “Fear” sets a darker tone with lush atmospherics, dramatic clean vocal arrangements, and crafty drumming. The only track that does not feature guests is “A Year I Would Like To Forget”, which allows you to actually get a feel for the band’s excellent melancholic sound and solid instrumentation.
Unleashing three gargantuan slabs of soul crushing Funeral Doom Metal, today we have Canada’s Atramentus and their epic “Stygian”. Perfect for the coming months of winter, this release delivers killer atmospheric misery paired with demoralizing growls and some crafty experimentation. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Shape of Despair, Mournful Congregation, etc., this release will turn even the brightest day, completely bleak.
Opening with the 16-minute beast “Stygian I: From Tumultuous Heavens… (Descended Forth The Ceaseless Darkness)”, the band does not fuck arround and quickly establishes riff dominance with punishing slow guitars. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals creates a very eerie contrast that works magically with such a lush and depressive backdrop. The interlude is provided by the noise-ish/atmospheric piece “Stygian II - In Ageless Slumber (As I Dream In The Doleful Embrace of The Howling Black Winds)”.
Unleashing a highly emotional and expertly crafted release, today we have Italy’s Svnth and their third full-length release “Spring in Blue”. Mixing the raw aggression of traditional Black Metal with the subtle intricacies and melody of Post-Rock, this release delivers one hour of hypnotic music. Recommended for fans of bands like Alcest, Deafheaven, Heretoir, etc.
The release opens with the doomy “Who is the Dreamer?”, a song that creates a very depressive and powerful atmosphere with its distorted guitars. After a dreamy intro on “Erasing God's Towers” the band transitions into heavier territories with weeping guitar leads and harsh screams, reminding us a bit of the American band 40 Days Longing from back in the day. The band expertly weaves back and forth aggressive onslaughts and crafty instrumental passages, creating a very chaotic and enjoyable mood.
Unleashing yet another outstanding release this 2020, today we have multi-instrumentalist Déhà with “A fleur de peau - III - A Fire That Does Not Burn”. Featuring over 35 minutes of excruciatingly effective atmospheric/depressive Black Metal, this release creates a very chaotic and yet hypnotic atmosphere that features some cool guest appearances and a very unique feeling of urgency/desperation.
The release starts with the pummeling “The Tree and the Death”, featuring a very melancholic pace combining aggressive harsh screams and dreamy clean vocals. This track also adds the angelic female vocals of Natalie Koskinen to add additional layers of atmosphere and contrast. The saxophone in “Hope for Twilight” makes it a very unique aural experience, as it is nicely added to create a very dynamic contrast to the guest vocals of Tim Yatras (ex-Austere, Germ).