Unleashing a monolithic piece of highly engaging and melancholy oozing music, today we have Elegeion, with their first full-length release in 17 years, and “Plights of the Heretic”. Hailing from Australia, Elegeion was one of those bands that we got introduced to via the Modern Invasion Music label, the other band was a personal favorite: Chalice. Continuing exactly where they left off, but with a mostly new line-up, we are treated to 49 minutes of heart-wrenching melancholic music.
The release starts with the album title track featuring some engaging and mysterious momentum building percussion. Around the second and third minute of this song, the Elegeion signature melodic riffs and guitar leads come in alongside Kindabah’s solemn and excellent vocals. The band’s sound is quite unique to them, and its creator Anthony Kwan, but for the uninitiated, it's highly melancholic and yet straightforward. The somber melancholy perfectly bleeds into the excellent “Dust” and its lush string arrangements paired with harsh vocals and a very Doomy tempo.
Led by the talented Mariangela Demurtas of Tristania fame, and multi-instrumentalist/producer Kris Laurent, Ardours is one of those rare unique bands that manages to perfectly blend all kinds of cool elements from Gothic Rock to Metal to 80’s new wave. With “Anatomy of a Moment” they hone in on the strengths of their debut album and unleash nearly 45 minutes of superbly catchy music filled with soaring vocal melodies, lush atmospheric arrangements and a hefty dose of funky beats.
Opening with the magical futuristic atmospherics of “Epitaph For A Spark”, one could immediately think the band turned into another Amaranthe, but as soon as the soothing guitars and Mariangela’s vocals come on, the whole vibe changes into a completely different beast. The band’s ability to create different moods, some darker or more playful than others, is their biggest strength as they deliver songs like “Insomniac”, “Identified”, and “Secret Worlds”, which range in styles but still feature a cohesive core of solid guitar work, crafty drumming and soaring vocal leads.
Constantly evolving, American outfit Our Dying World returns with their latest release “Hymns Of Blinding Darkness”, with an engaging Symphonic/Gothic Metal sound. While not extremely polished and still a bit rough around the edges, this outfit delivers nearly 40 minutes of exciting music showcasing good skill and promising songwriting abilities.
After setting the mood with the opener “Ars Moriendi”, the band unleashes “Everything We Know Is Gone”, a track that has a Dark Lunacy vibe, with additional Power/Symphonic Metal elements in the relentless guitar work and keyboards. This style works very well for the band as they deliver engaging songs like “Under The Hunter's Blade”, “Survivor”, and “Path Of The Nomad”.
Creating a very unique mixture of Black/Death/Gothic Metal, today we have Russia’s Saphath and their debut full-length release “Ascension of the Dark Prophet”. Delivering over 44 minutes of music, the ten tracks in this release nicely blend elements from bands like Behemoth, Moonspell, Epica, Dark Tranquillity, and creates a very bombastic and engaging listening experience with tons of hidden details to discover.
Opening with the lush “Children of the Night”, the band delivers vibrant guitars alongside a mixture of aggressive vocals and crafty tempo changes. The music is heavy, but with enough room to incorporate melodic passages and fierce guitar solos. This more melodic and bombastic nature comes front and center in pieces like “Outcast of Eden”, the gothic “Darkness Unleashed”, and the Moonspell-esque “Broken Mirror”. All tracks blend their influences quite well, and still manage to deliver a certain modern Metal edge as shown in “The Daughter of Ice Pains”.
Fronted by the charismatic Chiara Tricarico, today we have a superbly bombastic release filled with Symphonic/Gothic and Power Metal elements titled “Animus”. As the third full-length release of Moonlight Haze, the band shows maturity and refinement in their style, delivering almost 45 minutes of catchy and engaging music
Opening with “The Nothing”, we instantly get that lush and explosive vibe of bands like Nightwish, Visions of Atlantis, Epica, etc. However, what sets the band apart is Tricarico’s vocals and their own dynamism as shown in the dreamy “It’s Insane”, “Kintsugi” and its lush choral arrangements, and our personal favorite the cinematic “The Thief and the Moon”.
Led by Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun), Kuolemanlaakso, a Finnish outfit, delivers killer Death/Doom Metal with some Gothic elements. With “Kuusumu” the band further expands it sound and incorporates some more modern elements alongside their highly emotional and soul crushing antics. The band’s Finnish only lyrics add an extra layer of uniqueness to their piercing sound.
Opening with the dazzling atmospherics of “Pimeys laski”, a very somber and yet lush mood is set. The combination of clean and harsh vocals alongside female vocals and harsh shrieks gives the music a very theatrical versatility, like on the Therion-esque “Katkeruuden malja”, or the punishing “Surusta meri suolainen”. Far from linear and traditional, the band’s Doom influences provide a nice contrast to faster and heavier elements thrown into the mix as “Kuohuista tulisten koskien” showcases.
Keeping themselves busy during the last couple of years, Finland’s Hanging Garden is set to unleash their latest EP titled “Neither Moth nor Rust”. After their very impressive 2021 release, this EP delivers around 25 minutes of highly dynamic and engaging music, with a well balanced mixture of Gothic and Doom Metal influences, this album reminds us of late Theater of Tragedy, To/Die/For/ and Beseech releases.
Creating a very somber and yet lively atmosphere, the album title track delivers a well balanced mix of growls and clean male and female vocals, alongside engaging and catchy music. This playful vibe continues on tracks like the dreamy “The Last Dance”, and the atmospheric “And Leave All Love Behind”, showcasing the band’s versatility and craftiness to write highly emotional and yet diverse songs.
Thanks to technology, bands like Catalyst Crime can ‘easily’ come together featuring an assortment of musicians around the world. Featuring members of bands like Xandria (drummer Gerit Lamm), Pyramze (keyboardist Jonah Weingarten) alongside Zoë Marie Federoff (ex-Insatia), this outfit delivers a very bombastic and explosive combination of Symphonic/Gothic Metal with cinematic elements, creating a very immersive and highly enjoyable release.
With nearly 50 minutes of explosive music, the band quickly sets a lush and bombastic vibe with the opening intro. The band’s power-ballad game is strong as “Projection Of My Mind” nicely starts with a piano passage and explodes into a superbly catchy piece with killer keyboard solos and guitar solos, distinguishing them from the pack. The album’s first standout piece has to be the memorable “Condemn Me To Chaos”, a track that will sound quite familiar but will take you a bit to realize that it has the same melody as “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak but with some twists and turns.
With the amount of releases we get at Infernal Masquerade, sometimes killer albums fall through the cracks and we end up reviewing them later than anticipated. In this category, today we have Dutch outfit Vetrar Draugurinn and their sophomore full-length release “The Night Sky”. Featuring one of our favorite singers, Marjan Welman of Autumn fame, and ex-Stream of Passion guitarist Eric Hazebroek, this band creates a very unique and dense sounding Gothic/Doom Metal.
Opening with the heavy riffs of “The Observer”, this track nicely combines melancholic passages with some proggy influences, creating a very unique and powerful style that nicely bleeds into “The Night Sky”. For fans of more melancholic and Autumn-like songs, “Lansdown Hill” perfectly uses Marjan’s vocals alongside clean male vocals to create a dark and somber piece.
Portugese legends Moonspell mark their return with a very unique and captivating release titled “Hermitage”. Featuring over 52 minutes of very emotive and dreamy music, the band will surely surprise their fans with this melancholic Gothic/Dark Metal release. With a darker edge to their sound, this release takes a bit to sink in, but once it does, it delivers some of the finest musical moments the band has ever produced.
The release kicks off with the mysterious “The Greater Good” and its crafty drumming alongside enigmatic atmospherics and subtle layered guitars. Fernando Ribeiro’s signature deep vocals give that extra element of mystery to this track as he goes from clean passages to harsh sections. The enigmatic atmosphere continues with the hard rocking opening of “Common Prayers”, a song that slowly introduces additional atmospheric elements and a very epic bass guitar line.