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.
Switzerland has been recently surprising us with their masterful Black Metal bands, Aara is another one of those outfits. Focusing on dramatic atmospherics and lush melodies, “En Ergô Einai” delivers over 33 minutes of emotionally intense music that brings back memories of bands like An Autumn for Crippled Children and Deafheaven. For those that like a melody and ambiance with their brutality, this album is one hell of a discovery.
Easing the listener into a state of hypnosis, a lush opening to “Arkanum” was laid down by Vindsval (Blut Aus Nord), as the band quickly escalates things with furious drumming, dreamy riffs and harrowing shrieks. The cohesion presented by seemingly disparate musical elements is quite effective as the duo’s music perfectly blends that subtle dreaminess with crushing aggression, perfectly illustrated by “Stein auf Stein”.
Oozing melancholy, today we have Karg’s latest opus “Traktat”. As a one-man project from J.J of Harakiri for the Sky fame, this band focuses more on a more dreamy Post-Black Metal style, perfect for any fan of the genre. While this project has evolved from Atmospheric Black Metal territories to this more compact sound, this release shows the evolution of a musician refining his signature elements and further complimenting them with subtle improvements. Delivering the perfect mixture of bleak desolation and harsh aggressiveness, this release is certainly an intense ride.
Opening with the dreamy layered guitars of “Irgendjemand wartet immer”, this release sets a very moody atmosphere that is quite traditional of Karg. With J.J handling all instruments, you can hear the very effective interplay of the drums and guitars. The vocals are the typical harsh screams that add anxiety inducing helplessness to the songs, perfect examples of this are “Jahr Ohne Sommer”, and the doomier “Stolperkenotaphe” and its excellent string arrangements.
Now on a bigger label and with an organically evolved sound, today we have Fen’s debut release on Prophecy Productions titles “The Dead Light”. Featuring nearly an hour of dreamy Atmospheric Black Metal, the band continues to evolve with more proggy influences added to their already very distinctive aural identity. If you liked anything that the band has put out before, this release will surely propel the to higher levels thanks to its craftsmanship and atmospheric brilliance.
Opening with “Witness”, the listener is instantly immersed in the band’s world with subtle guitars and a very moody intro passage. As the track slowly picks up, we can feel a bit of a Lantlôs vibe created by the cascading guitars and somber clean vocals. As the two parts of the album title track come along, we get to hear a proggier side of the band with sweeping crafty passages that mix faster paced sections and crafty tempo changes. These two tracks have a certain vibe that can be compared to a version of Opeth playing Atmospheric Black Metal.
With a huge infusion of Post-Black Metal bands these days, it has become a very interesting job to listen to all their releases and find diamonds in the rough. Today we got lucky and found Sertraline’s latest EP release “These Mills Are Oceans”. While most bands try to copy the genre pioneers, this outfit marks their own path with the perfect balance between shoegazey guitars and furious BM onslaughts.
This short and sweet release kicks off with the Post-Rockish beginning of “Eyes As Tableau”, a track that slowly builds up to pretty cathartic moments of dreamy guitars and harsh vocals. The particularly enjoy how well is the bass guitar mixed, allowing it to lead the way. For those looking for more dreamier Lustre kind of tracks, “Their Cities” is that perfect mood shifting track that will send you into an aural trance.
Raving everything on their path, today we have Iceland’s latest sensation: Une Misère. With a pummeling sound a certain knack for technical complexity, “Sermon” is one hell of a debut release from this exciting band. Perfectly designed for fans of Post-Hardcore/Metal release from bands like Amenra, Neurosis and their intersection with more modern/groove Metal influences from outfits like Gojira and Hacride.
Opening with the pummeling “Sin & Guilt”, the band means serious business with monstrous harsh screams and crushing guitars. The Grooviness of this release comes as the album title track unleashes its fury. The band does a great job in crafting powerful atmospheres with a few elements and keeps the listener always guessing with powerful tempo changes as we hear on “Overlooked / Disregarded” and “Burden / Suffering”.
The initiators of the Blackgaze movement are back with yet another majestic release in “Spiritual Instinct”. With over 40 minutes of music, Alcest finds a middle ground between their heavier and harsher sound of albums like “Souvenirs d'un autre monde” and “Écailles de lune” with the dreaminess and directness of “Shelter”. While “Kodama” felt more back to basics, this release feels more of a hybrid of their calmer sound with their early days exploits.
With the release opening with the playful “Les jardins de minuit”, the band leads with their signature guitars and crafty drumming. We particularly enjoy the typical dreaminess of the clean backing vocals as it contrasts with the heavier guitar sections. Of course there are faster paced passages with harsh vocals and furious drumming for their older fans, like on “Protection”. There are certain Post-Metal elements which make the songs a bit different than what “Kodaima” presented, like on the funky “Sapphire” and its intricate bass guitar line.