As one of the most awaited releases of 2021, Harakiri For The Sky returns with their melancholic Post-Black Metal with “Mӕre”. Unleashing a massive 84 minutes of music, this release further develops the band’s melodic sound into more complex and yet atmospherically sweeping territories. From start to finish, this release will please fans due to the band’s signature style, while taking in new listeners with a more refined take on the genre.
Opening with “I, Pallbearer”, we get that signature bleakness of Harakiri For The Sky through their layered guitars and J.J’s emotional vocals. Expanding the band’s sound, “Sing for the Damage We’ve Done” has a dreamier edge while featuring Neige on guest vocals, and “Us Against December Skies” delivers a doomier edge with dramatic keyboards and a very crafty drumming.
Hailing from Georgia, a place where we have only heard of a few bands, today we have deranged outfit Psychonaut 4 and their latest opus “Beautyfall”. As one of the weirdest and intense bands in Depressive Black Metal, this album showcases their maturity and intensity of their craft. We rarely review albums we didn’t receive for review, but this release is one that has been in constant rotation in our playlist and we believe more and more people should know about this excellent band.
The release kicks off in style with the pummeling opening of “One Man's War”, showcasing that this album will be heavy and yet feature a good dose of melody as the song evolves alongside dramatic vocal arrangements and solid guitar work. Our favorite track in this release, and probably one of our top 10 of the year has to be the emotive “Tbilisian Tragedy”. We particularly enjoy the eerie atmospherics and funky tempo changes, transmitting magical misery through its mixture of clean vocal passages and dramatic guitars.
Crafting a very unique and cinematic Post-Black Metal experience, today we have Russia’s Epitimia and their latest opus: “Allusion”. Featuring seven tracks and nearly one hour of extremely crafty and well engineered music, this release has a little bit of everything. Not going down the same path of most Post-Black Metal bands, this outfit focuses on creating a brutal experience that manages slower and melancholic passages quite efficiently.
After a lush opening, “Clue I: Animist” delivers blistering harsh vocals alongside intense guitars creating a hash but intriguing atmosphere. Weaving back and forth between melodic interludes and aggressive passages, this track sets a very engaging mood. After a punishing opening, “Clue II: Melancholia I” hones in on more melancholic and intricate territories with some more experimental and seemingly free-form sections near its end.
Delivering a fresh and quite engaging take on Post-Metal, today we have Finland’s Atlases and their sophomore release “Woe Portrait”. While many bands are staying within the confines of the genre, this band expands its boundaries with a very melancholic and melodic approach, filled with lush vocal arrangements, and additional atmospheric elements to create a very cohesive and expansive sound. As always, releases from LifeForce records continue to amaze us by their creativity and uniqueness, and this one is no exception to the rule.
The release opens with the punishing riffs and growls of “Dreadlight”, a very typical and powerful opening that gradually transforms into a completely pummeling riffing contest, setting a very hectic mood. “Halos” and “Eternia” change the pace a bit with a more hypnotic approach with lush clean vocals that suddenly merge with very aggressive onslaughts. These tracks have more of a Post Rock vibe with very interesting and powerful contrasting elements thrown in the mix, keep things heavy and dreamy at the same time.
Dropping one of the most surprisingly awesome releases of 2020, today we have Chrome Waves and their latest amalgamation of Post-Black Metal with all kinds of extra genres, under the title “Where We Live”. Featuring nearly 45 minutes of brilliantly intricate and nicely layered music that will appeal to fans from bands like Deafheaven, Abigail Williams, to Mountaineer or Alcest.
Opening with the dramatic “Hallow Dreams”, the band leads with lush instrumentation and suddenly escalates to dreamy riffs and catchy passages, all rounded up by harsh vocals. This track instantly showcases the band’s unique musical proposal as the vocal harmonies further elevate the already imposing atmosphere. This bleeds into “Gazing Into Oblivion”, a track that gives us that playful and in a way a bit pop-ish sound of bands like Amesoeurs.
Unraveling part two of their cinematic masterpiece “Phanerozoic”, today we have Germany’s The Ocean (Collective) with 50-plus minutes of captivating music. Split in eight gargantuan tracks, this release keeps the same dramatic and larger-than-life vibe from the previous release while introducing a few new elements into the fold. If you like the band’s previous releases, you will instantly enjoy this blistering release.
Opening with “Triassic”, we are immediately immersed into the band’s subtle instrumentation with calming guitars and a very mellow and hypnotic pace. The first thing that stands out is Loïc Rossetti’s use of different vocal styles, in this track using some effects to add versatility to his already signature style. This is actually one of the biggest differences in this release as there is a lot more use of clean vocals (“Jurassic | Cretaceous” and “Eocene”) and
Delivering a very rich and emotional 48 minutes of soul crushing Post-Black Metal with a Cascadian vibe, today we have With The End In Mind and their sophomore release “Tides of Fire”. Perfectly contrasting fragility with crushing aggression, this release unleashes three masterful tracks that weave together tons of influences while creating a very powerful and complex sound. If you are a fan of bands like Agalloch, Wolves in the Throne Room and Vanum, this release will blow you away.
The release leads with the dreamy opening of “Set the Cavernous Soul Alight”, which slowly turns into a very chaotic and savage onslaught of harsh screams, blistering drumming and a very firm and crushing pace. We particularly love how the band weaves pockets of intense brutality into mellow and lush soundscapes that are both hypnotic and eerie. Just as this track slowly built up, the ending soothes the listener with eerie clean vocals and a certain folky vibe.
Unleashing one of the most melancholic releases of 2020, today we have Russia’s one-man project A Light in the Dark and his latest full-length release “Insomnia”. Featuring over 45 minutes of completely enchanting music, this release is perfectly crafted for fans of Alcest, Lantlôs, Heretoir and Amesoeurs. Oozing melody and dreaminess since the first minute, this is one hell of an ethereal release.
The album opens with the very lively and dynamic “Aimless”, a song that has a certain Harakiri For the Sky edge as it delivers very poignant guitars and harsh vocals. Shifting the pace more into the Post-Metal/Blackgaze lands, “Let it Guide You” delivers sweeping atmospheric passages and interesting electronic elements thrown into the mix. Both “Vortex” and “四” take thing into more depressive rock territories with a similar approach to Violet Cold and their use of samples for extra ambiance.
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.
Being one of the best Post-Black Metal/Blackgaze bands in the world, we were quite impressed and glad at the same time that An Autumn fo Crippled Children is now on a ‘bigger’ label like Prosthetic Records. With the potential to reach a broader set of audiences, “All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet” is one the band's most exciting releases to date. Featuring ten songs and nearly 40 minutes of captivating music filled with dreamy atmospherics and contrasting harsh vocals.
The release starts with the lush “I Became You”, which sets a very melancholic backdrop to this release. The distinctive metallic textured guitars nicely weave back and forth Post-Rocky interludes and tempo changes as we can hear in “Water’s Edge” and “Everlasting”. While you can recognize some Alcest-like and Deafheaven-esque elements in the band’s sound, they have been refining their signature style through their eight full-length releases.