Unleashing one of the most disarming releases of 2019, today we have Germany’s A Secret Revealed and their devastating blend of Post-Metal. As the band’s sophomore release, “Sacrifices” is one hell of an emotional rollercoaster with eight complex compositions that will transport you to some very bleak and desolate soundscapes. LifeForce records has great taste in music, and this band is no exception to their expertly curated roster of artists.
The onslaught begins with the tense and mysterious “Grieved”, a track that starts very dreamy in a certain Post-Rock/Shoegazey way and transforms into a crushing piece filled with piercing vocals and monstrous riffs. With a Black Metal-esque edge to it, “The Isolation” reminds us of German bands like Sun Worship and Der Weg einer Freiheit, thanks to its ferocity and tempo. One of our favorite tracks is the very dynamic “Ashes”, which slowly builds up momentum is a very commanding way.
As the second full-length release from Unreqvited this 2018, this is certainly the most ambitious one. Mostly diverging away from the more traditional Post-Black Metal elements of their first two albums, “Mosaic I: l'amour et l'ardeur” is a lush introduction into a more atmospheric and dream-like world that is quite magical to experience. This one-man outfit does a great job in creating magical soundscapes with dreamy guitars and solemn piano elements, so be prepared to be fully immersed into Unreqvited’s musical journey.
The album sets a magical mood with the majestic “Sunrise”, a piece that is quite ethereal in nature and perfectly crafted to give that warm fuzzy sense of awe. “Dreamscape” has a distinct Blackgaze vibe, nicely created by the active guitars and a backdrop of harrowing harsh shrieks, perfectly contrasting the brightness created by the instruments. We are suckers for playful piano songs and “Radiant” delivers on this. Perfectly named, this track feels quite radiant as it shines thanks to its dramatic arrangements and masterful distorted guitars as contrast.
We usually don’t review re-releases but Ellende’s debut EP “Rückzug in die Innerlichkeit” is one of our favorite releases and we are psyched that Art of Propaganda is making it available to a wider audience. One-man Ellende is one of the top Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-Black Metal outfits to come out in the last few years and this album is a landmark release that deserves more attention.
The EP starts with a dreamy introduction that reminds us of the middle releases of Alcest, with moody tempo changes into very aggressive and demoralizing passages filled with harrowing vocals and punishing drumming. The atmosphere is quite oppressive and masterfully contrasted with acoustic elements. The dramatic string instruments of “Pfad der Endlichkeit” create a very solemn mood that slowly descends into some of the bleakest aural passages ever crafted. This is one of our all time favorite songs due to its dramatic atmosphere and the very raw and primitive emotions transferred by the music.
Two years have passed since their crushing release “Weltenasche”, and now Karg returns with a more refined and poignant release with “Dornenvögel”. As a one-man project from V. Wahntraum of Harakiri for the Sly fame, the band’s sound is quite melancholic with plenty of Post-Black Metal elements thrown into the mix. Clocking in at 76 minutes, this album has a lot of intricacies to be discovered before it fully unravels to the listener, making it a very rich listening experience.
Exploring the darker sides of Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-Black Metal, “Drangsal” starts off the release with melancholic weeping guitars and a very desolate vibe. This track nicely weaves back and forth between bleak soundscape and heavier sections filled with aggression and desperation. The dreamy and Post-Rock-ish passage in “La tristesse durera toujours” is definitely one of the best and most emotionally charged sections we have heard in a while.
After unleashing one of the most intricate en exciting releases of 2017 with “Visions”, Anomalie returns with a brilliant four song EP titled “Integra”. Led by Chris Marrok, Anomalie is a force to be reckoned crafting very powerful music which explores the depths of both brutality and atmosphere to perfection. Delivering nearly 30 minutes of music, this EP is the perfect continuation of the band’s unique musical trajectory.
Opening with the ritualistic and atmospheric intro to “Rebirth”, the band sets a decadent mood that expertly layers harsh riffing and intense drumming delivered on a masterful pace. This track features eerie vocal arrangements that help further the songs atmospheric prowess. “Aurora” rolls in with a vicious Black Metal onslaughts that nicely change the dynamics of the EP as it changes the pace back and forth.
Packed with tons of great releases, this 2018 fall also gives us a brand new Sylvaine album. Filled with her characteristic charisma and angelic vocals, “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone” is another brilliant step in her career which features a more consolidated sound and plenty of memorable songs. The combination of fragility, craftsmanship and occasional burst of aggression make this release one of the best albums of 2018.
Opening with the album title track, Sylvaine slowly builds up with an intense bass guitar line that leads into dreamy vocal arrangements a very melancholic pace. The track continues with some brilliant instrumental passages that feel exploratory in nature, but very well fitting to the overall mood of the song. The Shoegazey/Post-Rock-y vibe arrives in full force with “Mørklagt” a very lush track that explores the more ethereal side of Sylvaine’s music, but not without some heavier sections thrown into the mix.
After unleashing one of the most gargantuan releases of 2013 with “Pelagial”, The Ocean comes back at us with part one (out of two) of the “Phanerozoic” releases. Intended to be in the middle of their “Precambrian” and “Heliocentric” / “Anthropocentric” releases, both conceptually and musically, this album showcases the band crafting their signature enigmatic atmospheres surrounded by heavy crushing riffs and melancholic vocal melodies.
Slowly building up in the opener “The Cambrian Explosion”, we are treated to an atmospheric opening with playful synths that creates tension and expectation. Things blow wide open on “Cambrian II: Eternal Recurrence” as we are greeted with powerful guitar riffs and intricate drumming. This lush track perfectly layers the aggressive wall of sound with a combination of harsh growls and fragile clean vocal arrangements. Full of surprises, the band’s music is very carefully crafted to feature playful elements that are slowly discovered the more times you listen to each track.
Like a bag of bricks to the face, today we have Switzerland's Promethee unleashing their latest opus “Convalescence”. Featuring nine tracks and over 35 minutes of music, this release is both very direct and yet crafty enough to showcase some cool Melodic/Progressive passages that sets them apart from the rest. Aggressive and yet well refined releases are hard to come by, and with this one, the band continues their musical journey with a more refined and very in-your-face style.
The heavy riffing of the album-titled opener allows the mood to instantly escalate to very hectic and punishing. However, the craftiness of the song structure makes it quite intriguing and melodic at times, in the same vein as the follow up track “While you Stood Still”. One of our favorite tracks is the funky “Endless”, which features a light mood crafted by trippy drumming and playful guitar melodies. It is quite pleasing to hear how the band’s Hardcore/Post-Metal influences brilliantly align with the unique song structures.
Always bringing to the listeners the most unique underground Metal bands, today we have LifeForce Records one-man project Bonjour Tristesse and their sophomore release “Your Urban Nightmare”. Perfectly blending elements of Post-Black Metal with influences from bands like Heretoir, Alcest, Austere, etc., this release unleashes over 44 minutes of intense and highly emotional music.
Opening with the album title track, we start with a very intense barrage of hectic riffs and solid harsh vocals that slowly blend into more melodic territories. The band’s musical approach while similar to other bands in the genre, explore more melodic and atmospheric passages, crafting a very unique and disharming sound.
After catching everybody by surprise with their dreamy 2017 debut, “Sirens & Slumber”, Bay Area’s Mountaineer returns with a more mature and equally aurally pleasing release titled “Passages”. Divided into two four-track sections, this album further expands the band’s dreamy Post-Metal/Post-Rock/Shoegaze sound.
The first movement, “Hymnal”, opens with the very moody and dreamy “Passage I”. The band sets a very light and emotional opening that quickly escalates into Post-Metal territories with lush guitar riffs and the visceral raspy screams of vocalist Miguel Meza. The battle between dreamy and crushing passages reaches its climax as “Passage III” intertwines both styles very skillfully and “Passage IV” slowly winds down a very emotionally intense first part of this release.