Having released one of our favorite albums of 2010, Kruger finally returns with an even more impressive follow-up with “Adam and Steve”. With a very melodic and yet crushing sound, the band takes Post-Metal/Sludge to new heights in this eight track assault.
The insanity beings with the very intense opener “Bottoms Up” and never lets go. Vocalist Renaud Meichtry delivers a savage performance with his charismatic screams and greatly elevates the level of intensity presented by the music. The band’s ability to craft intricately layered songs like “Discotheque” and “Charger” is truly unique and its one of the factors that makes them stand out from the rest.
Arriving on Eisenwald Tonschmiede, today we have Australian duo Autumn’s Dawn and their debut full-length release “Gone”. Being no strangers to the scene, Sorrow and Anguish are musicians that play in at least 4 bands each, the most famous of them being Tim Yartas of Germ and Austere fame. Anyways, the band presents nine melancholic tracks of pure brilliance that eerily remind us a whole lot of Tim’s previous band Grey Waters.
Opening this release we have the very emotive “The Ashes of a Life”, a track that has a very Rock-ish structure and melancholic clean vocals from Tim Yartas. The very ethereal atmosphere is always present and it is allowed to shine (even more) in some instrumental passages. Don’t you think this release only features clean vocals, we get a treat of Tim’s harsh singing through this release, starting with the epic “Until My Heart Corrodes with Rust”.
After leaving a great impression on us with their self-titled debut full-length, Austria’s Harakiri For The Sky returns with an even more impressive release with Aokigahara. Delivering nine (plus one bonus track) onslaughts of perfectly crafted Black/Post-Black Metal anthems, the band calls upon a wide variety of guest vocalists to further expand their commanding (and very atmospheric) sound.
Setting a very depressing mood with the demoralizing “My Bones to the Sea”, the doomy riffs nicely dictate a very calm pace to this killer song. With M.S in charge of all the instruments and J.J delivering the punishing vocals, this duo produces very melancholic music in the vein of acts like Heretoir, Lantlos, etc., but with their own signature style. The intensity picks up with the emotive “Jhator”, a track that features Seuche (Fäulnis) on guest vocals, and nicely shapes the aural abuse in a different direction than the band’s usual antics.
The ability of Herbst to create some of the bleakest music in the world with Lantlôs is truly outstanding, and with “Melting Sun” he takes the band’s sound even further. Continuing their musical journey without the vocals of Neige (Alcest), this album further advances the band’s quest for perfection. Delivering six songs of great despair and atmospheric brilliance, this is hands down one of the best releases in 2014.
As the album opens with “Melting Sun I: Azure Chimes”, the first few notes transmit a certain urge of despair and emptiness unlike anything else we have heard before. Painting a very desolate landscape, the band fully explodes with punishing riffs and a very mellow vibe. Herbst’s clean vocals nicely add to the mix by boosting the band’s melancholic charge. Moving into the more Post-Rock/Post-Metal ish “Melting Sun II: Cherry Quartz” we get another round of thunderous guitars and well-crafted drum patterns. Perfectly playing with space and time, the band’s intermingling of slow passages and powerful walls of distortion is masterful.
Building up on their excellent discography comprised of “Over The Frozen Seas“ and “Aegean”, When Icarus Falls delivers another gem with the EP “Circles”. Featuring three new tracks and a remix of “Nyx”, the band keeps pushing the limits of Post-Metal with their own forward thinking sound in this release. Filled with lush atmospheres and savage riffs, this band deserves a place right next to Neurosis thanks to their music.
The mood is instantly set with the suspenseful “Erechtion”, a track that perfectly dances around the aggression of Post-Metal and the dreaminess of Post-Rock. The band perfectly crafts a very intriguing atmosphere and the harsh lashings nicely contrast it. Keeping on this tradition, “The Great North” exploits subtle keyboards to further the band’s atmospheric component and create very well paced songs. Jumping back and forth between harsh and clean vocals, this track is quite elaborate and a very unique one.
Fully coming out of their cocoon, today we have Alcest and “Shelter”. In this album we have Alcest dropping their last remaining Metal influences and swiftly delivering a Shoegaze/Post-Rock charged Dream pop release that will haunt you from beginning to end. Listing Birgir Jón Birgisson as a producer/mixer, from Sigur Rós fame, the band takes their dreamy sound to a whole new level of awesomeness.
With the band shedding their Black Metal feathers over the years, “Shelter” marks their biggest jump by not having any hard vocals or extremely heavy guitar parts. However, the atmospheric brilliance of the band is untouched and further explored within the eight tracks presented in this release. The journey begins with the atmospheric intro “Wings”, featuring some dreamy vocals that quickly build up the listener’s expectations. As this song blends into “Opale”, Niege leads the way with some awesomely crafted guitars and his signature clean vocals.
Dancing around the fine line between Alternative Rock / Post-Hardcore and the dreaded Metalcore, The Fall From Grace manages to deliver a multi-textured and well-crafted release with “The Colours of Change”. Hailing from Denmark, this three-piece crushes the competition with catchy and powerful tunes that will be stuck in your head for days to come.
The album really opens with the second track titled “Static Conclusion”. Immediately you get that guitar tunning that tons of Post-Hardcore and some Metalcore bands use, but the band stays away from the clichés and carves their own path with incisive riffs and very diverse vocals. The vocals are quite solid, providing a mix of screams and clean leads that are far from your average (and annoying) Metalcore blabber.
Always improving with each release, An Autumn for Crippled Children (AAAFCC) delivers one of the most sonically complex releases of 2013 with “Try Not to Destroy Everything You Love”. Not relying on technical virtuosity, but rather a perfect layering of intense elements, this album is further expands on the band’s melancholic Post-BM / Shoegaze sound with lush guitar arrangements and brilliant atmospheric elements.
Opening with the intense “Autumn Again”, we have immediately a wall of dramatic synths and a throbbing bass guitar line that is instantly complemented by the band’s shoegazing guitars. Inserting back and forth Black Metal riffs into the melting pot, AAAFCC quickly establishes the sonic power of this release. The harsh vocals are excellent as always, and the underlying melancholic passages of tracks like “The Woods are on Fire” and “Never Complete”, allow their thick sound to take many different shapes.
Delivering six crushing blows of brilliant Post-Metal, today we have Norway’s From Beneath Billows and their latest offering: “Monolith”. With a very well defined sound and excellent composition skills, this album is one hell of a ride for any fan of the genre. Think of Neurosis, The Ocean, Thränenkind, and When Icarus Falls and you will get the perfect picture of what to expect from this very promising Norwegian band.
Opening with the moody “One Death and the Kings”, this track greatly rewards patience with a very suspenseful progression. Once the guitars get more aggressive and the screams make their appearance, the listener is already fully immersed in the band’s expansive sound. Throwing in some melancholic clean vocals into the mix, From Beneath Billows really captures the vibe of Post-Metal in their own signature sound, as you can immediately find out on “Verity”.
If you ignore the weird side-step that was “ Vampyr”, “Tocsin” is the perfect continuation for the band’s previous masterpiece “Ausserwelt”. Year of No Light arrives from France with a pummeling dosage of Instrumental Doom/Sludge Metal that will make melt your faces. Crafting over 57 minutes of music, this six-piece outfit delivers one of the most intense and complex Doom/Sludge releases we have heard in quite a while.
The album title track kicks things off with a heavy atmospheric intro that slowly melts into a full-on Sludge riff-aton. We particularly love how the track around the 5th minute takes a turn to the Doom side of things with some think melancholic guitars. The band’s versatility is pushed further with the Post-Metal/Rock-ish anthem “Géhenne”. The guitars are pushed to the limit and so is the pulsating bass guitar line on this one. The band keeps the intensity going and instead of being the typical band that climaxes and then slowly drifts away, they keep pushing the intensity of their sound further and further.