Hailing from Switzerland, today we have Sludge/Doomsters Wolf Counsel and their sophomore release “Ironclad”. Delivering over 43 minutes of ripping tunes, the band nicely pummels the listener with tangy riffs and plenty of headbanging moments. Perfectly blending Sludgy element into a Doom core, the band crafts a unique signature style that differentiates them from the rest.
The release rips wide open with the incisive opening riffs of “Pure as the Driven Snow”. The band instantly marks their territory with piercing riffs and a very mellow and gloomy tempo. Things quickly move into the Sludge/Southern Metal territory with the catchy album title clad. Here we also get a good combination of clean and harsh vocals, making things interesting and diverse.
Hands down the most emotionally draining album of 2016 has to be Trees of Eternity’s debut full-length release “Hour of the Nightingale”. Filled with lush Atmospheric/Gothic Doom songs, this release is nearly as emotional as its back story. After a few years in limbo and a bit too late for some, released under Svart records, this release will definitely crawl up under your skin and fill you with melancholy.
Opening with Swallow the Sun-esque heavy riffs, “My Requiem” sets the listener into an emotional journey for over 62 minutes of unparalleled melancholy. As the band’s singer Aleah Stanbridge first showcases her vocal talents, the music quickly becomes even darker and more emotive. Unluckily for the world, Aleah’s talents will no longer be present as she passed before the release of this album. However, her presence in this release at least shines light of her talents and dedication to the band.
Six years after their brilliant sophomore release “Falling Mist”, today we have Heaven Grey’s latest opus “Manuscriptum”. As one of the hidden Baltic gems of Gothic/Doom Metal bands (Frailty is another one), the band delivers nine excellent tracks of melancholic music which show the band’s musical evolution over the years.
Opening with the dramatic atmospheric intro of “Insomnia”, the band nicely settles with some melancholic riffs and very well crafted tempo changes. This track perfectly sets a very mellow and depressive mood that is nicely enhanced by the excellent clean vocals of the band’s new singer Artūrs Fishers. Mixing clean and harsh vocal styles, tracks like “Drown in My Shade” and “Sirds Balss” showcase a perfect balance and great complementarity between the styles.
Hailing from Spain, today we have Post-Metal newcomers The Holeum and their debut release “Negative Abyss”. Drawing influences from the likes of Neurosis, Amenra and Cult of Luna, this band pushes the boundaries on the genre with unique ideas and very engaging songs. Delivering 8 tracks of skilled aural abuse, this band is ready to take the scene by surprise.
The cosmic journey starts with the intense bass guitar line of “Chemical Ghosts”. This track is probably the most straightforward one as it follows your typical Post-Metal song aside from a few interesting tempo changes. Our favorite track in this release has to be the Doomy “Philosopher’s Stone” and its very atmospheric nature. During one of its melodic passages they perfectly add a saxophone section that magically elevates this unique song.
Arriving via Godz ov War Productions, today we have France’s Autokrator and their devastating and brutal mix of Death/Doom elements with heavy Drone influences. Easily as one of the most oppressive and aurally disturbing releases of 2016, the band delivers 36 minutes of pure madness that will take you to the edge of sanity.
Delivering the first punch with “Chapter I’, the band opens with a disturbing audio clip that is closely followed by hellish growls and their crushing drumming. This duo does a great job in crafting a massive wall of sound that is only disturbed by the deep growls. The sheer brutality continues with the intricate “Chapter II” and the demolishing “Chapter IV”. In both tracks we noticed the mixture of influences from outfits like Autor & Punisher and the all mighty Anaal Nathrakh, but taken to the extreme.
Perfectly marketed as a no-bull Epic Doom Metal outfit, today we have Sweden’s Void Moon and their sophomore full-length release titled “Deathwatch”. Presenting the listeners with nine brilliant tracks full of melancholy, this band focuses on epic soaring vocals and sorrowful riffs. Drawing comparisons with bands like the epic Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus, this album will surely keep any fan of the genre at the edge of the seat.
Leading with the mournful riffs of “Rivers of the Moon”, the album instantly showcases the brilliant vocals of Jonas Gustavsson. The overall tempo of this track is brilliant, allowing the punishing riffs to brilliantly offset the clean vocals. By featuring such a clean and professional production, tracks like “Where the Sleeper Lies Awake” and the Pentagram-esque “Assassin of an Age”, the band allows to have a timeless sound while being quite clean and direct.
Hailing from the Bay Area, today we have Mountaineer and their very unique and emotional mixture of Doom/Sludge influences with dreamy Post-Rock/Shoegaze passages. Featuring members and ex-members of bands like Lament Cityscape, Lycus, and Secrets of the Sky, this outfit delivers a very solid two song EP as their debut release.
Opening with the crushing Doom riffs of “Come Fever”, you instantly get My Dying Bride-esque flashbacks. However, once the clean vocals appear, you know you are in for a completely different experience. Perfectly contrasting emotive vocals with punishing guitars, this track slowly moves into more ethereal atmospheres with Post-Rockish vibes and soaring weeping guitars.
Brilliantly continuing the 2015 album "Epsilon Aurigae", today we have Monolithe and the crushing “Zeta Reticuli”. Originally recorded back in 2015, this album further expands the band’s refined Doom/Funeral Doom sound into more progressive and experimental territories while preserving their atmospheric elements. Clocking in at 45 minutes, this is definitely one of the most engaging releases of 2016 so far.
Opening with “Ecumenopolis”, the band slowly changes from atmospheric sounds to piercing Doom riffs. This continues slowly as the vocals suddenly appear and the atmospheric elements turn a bit more psychedelic as the crushing wall of riffs lurks in the back. The band does a solid job in keeping things interesting by delivering crafty drum patterns near the end.
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.
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.