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.
Constantly getting better with time, Cult of Luna is ready to unravel their latest non-collaborative release: “A Dawn to Fear”. Featuring nearly 80 minutes of demoralizing music, this release showcases the band’s evolution into one of the most versatile and complex bands in the world. Picking up where they left off on their “Mariner” collaboration, the band creates lush soundscapes full of intricacies and magical details, making their music highly enjoyable and engaging.
The band wastes no time in setting up a very hypnotic mood with “The Silent Man”. Weaving back and forth between crushing guitar riffs, a trembling bass guitar onslaught and the band’s signature harsh vocals, this track perfectly prompts the listener to strap down to their seats and enjoy the ride. With the ritualistic “Lay Your Head to Rest”, the band sets a trance-like mood that bleeds into the more mellow album title track. We particularly enjoy how the band perfectly times the tempo changes, while keeping things fresh and interesting.
Unleashing a whole new different kind of beast, today we have Ukraine’s White Ward and their sophomore full-length release “Love Exchange Failure”. Featuring over 65 minutes of captivating music, the band seamlessly blends Post-Black Metal with an Avant-garde edge an a serious dose of hypnotic brutality. Pushing the genre to new heights, this is one hell of a release that fans of the experimental should not miss.
The album opens with the title track setting a very lounge like vibe with sparse piano notes, hypnotic percussions and a jazzy sax. All the calm suddenly transforms into chaos with blistering aggressive passages filled with crushing riffs and harrowing vocals. As the first track petters off, “Poisonous Flowers of Violence” delivers a more calculated attack that blends the ambiance of Post-Metal bands like Amenra and Neurosis, with a more vicious and yet delicate edge. The band’s ability to amalgamate genres in uncanny and each track demonstrates this, like the convoluted “Dead Heart Confession”.
Canadian label Hypnotic Dirge Records certainly has one of the best underground Metal rosters with very unique bands, and now it has partnered with American outfit Sertraline to help them spread their very emotionally charged and powerful music. Delivering three tracks and nearly 20 minutes of lush Atmospheric Post-Metal, this release creates a very powerful atmosphere that is nicely delivered via crushing guitars and crafty percussions.
Opening with the dramatic “Hours of Avarice”, the band slowly builds up into a trippy Post-Rock/Metal tune with subtle dreamy guitars and hypnotic drumming. While the music is lush and mysterious, the vocals come off a bit weird, not really a shriek, not really a growl, they sound odd when layered on top of the instrumentation. However, they are not too distracting and still allow the band’s melancholic elements to ooze out of their music.
The album sets a very somber and yet optimistic mood with the moody opener “Far from Home”. We particularly love how cinematic and otherworldly the atmosphere is crafted as songs like “The Way the World Was” and “In Exchange for a Memory” roll in. The band’s ability to slowly build into cathartic moments is just brilliant, with a crescendo of weeping guitars and crafty percussions.
The band sets the stage with a very dramatic choral intro as it settles into heavy and punishing Doomy riffs on “II”. This first track at a glance seems a straightforward Doom affair, if it wasn’t for the interesting tempo changes Sludgier undertones and Post-Metal passages. Things get a bit bizarre and yet quite interesting with the weirdness of “III”. While the music seems to follow a typical direction, the vocals sound a bit odd at first. Might be some weird artifact of the mix, but they don’t quite blend with the rest of the music. Unfortunately this is the case for other tracks in the album, so we find it a bit odd.