• Reserve de Marche – The Last Twenty Years (2012)


    Making its way from Russia (literarily), today we have Reserve de Marche and their excellent combination of Progressive Rock with Post-Rock/Metal elements. With their releases titled “The Last Twenty Years”, the band delivers a very cinematic musical experience that covers many genres and will spawn many different images and landscaped in the listeners head.

    With the opener “Calorie” the mood is set very mellow and ethereal. The band chooses to deliver a calmer Post-Rock/Metal track that features excellent percussions and very well defined guitar lines. The atmosphere is very playful and with some superb progressive elements. “Le Garage” rips through with some crunchy Sludgy guitars, giving the music a completely different look than on the first track. This ‘aggression’ is nicely alternated by some progressive percussions and interesting tempo changes. So far, the band has shown great ability for combining genres, and has kept the momentum going with two very different, but equally exciting tracks.

  • Memories of a Dead Man - V.I.T.R.I.O.L (2012)


    Arriving from France, today we have Memories of a Dead Man and their latest full-length release “V.I.T.R.I.O.L”. Featuring a mixture of Post-Metal with some Hardcore influences, this band fits perfectly with bands like The Ocean, Year of No Light, Rosetta and Cult of Luna. Delivering 11 soul pounding tracks, this release is as heavy as it is complex, and we completely love it.

    With soaring guitars and brilliant Post-Metal sections, “Tomorrow, at Dawn…” sets the bar for this release pretty high. The pummeling guitars are nicely offset by some female vocal sections that give a very nice melodic edge to this track, without losing any of the gritty heaviness in it.

  • Vertigo Steps – Surface / Light (2012)


    Thanks to the Internet and the current advances in technology, releases like “Surface / Light” from Vertigo Steps are now possible with collaborating parts from two different countries. This two man project from Portugal and Finland deliver what is probably one the best Atmospheric Rock / Post-Rock releases of 2012. Combining elements of bands like Katatonia, Anathema (newer stuff), Porcupine Tree with some more ‘mainstream’ Post-Rock/Atmospheric Rock influences, Vertigo Steps manages to create a lush and ethereal sounding tracks unlike any other band we’ve heard recently.

    Opening with the atmospheric “Vertigo Dawn”, you can really feel the overall peacefulness and calmness that the album’s atmosphere is going to bring to your hectic day. With very firm guitar work and a nice Rock-ish vibe, “The Hollow” delivers the first introduction into the band’s combination of mainstream rock elements with brilliant atmospheres. The clean vocals of Niko Mankinen are outstanding and very soothing. There are some very nice female backing vocals in this track that nicely add to the atmosphere of this song. The guitar work is quite catchy and keeps things running smooth and heavy without overpowering the atmospheric content of the track.

  • Vowels - Hooves, Leaves & the Death/As December Nightingales (2012)


    Dark, cavernous and emotionally intense are the first few words that come to mind when describing the first full-length release of Italy’s Vowels titled “Hooves, Leaves & the Death/As December Nightingales”. In this six track release the band expand on their Avant-Garde Black Metal sound with some experimentation with Post-Black Metal and Ambient elements and in turn deliver one of the darkest and most depressing releases we have heard in quite a while.

    Opening with “Wolves Eating the Sun”, the band combines the uniqueness of Arcturus with the crushing Doom elements of bands like Ufomammut. After the Post-Rock-ish opening, the wall of distorted guitars makes it was and combines harsh screams with some well-placed clean vocals. The riffing is your traditional BM style, but with a muffled distortion that makes it more crushing. This is truly the first time we hear all of these elements nicely combined into one devastating track.

  • Alcest – Les Voyages de l'Âme (2012)


    Flying high on the success of their classic “Écailles de Lune”, Alcest has managed to tour the world and still found time to record “Les Voyages de l'Âme”. In this new release, the band efficiently re-hashed “Écailles de Lune”, toned down the Black Metal aspect of things, and still delivers 8 brilliantly atmospheric tracks. However, the ‘originality’ or ‘something different’ factor is lacking a bit with this release.

    Opening with “Autre Temps”, Alcest makes it very clear that their sound is untouched and delivers a very ethereal track. The vocal harmonies are as heavenly as possible and they beautifully contrast the powerful guitars. The bass guitar and drums are also very well incorporated and perfectly mixed to be in the background of the atmospheric elements.

  • Dies Irae – Secret Veils of Passion (2012)


    As one of the first band’s that got me into more ‘melodic’ and ‘different’ sounding music back in 1998 with their excellent album “Etherial”, Dies Irae returns after a 10 year hiatus with “Secret Veils of Passion”. In this very interesting release the band goes all over the place with so many musical influences that seem a bit disconnected at times, but that in fact create a very solid release with a wide palette of textures and very high-creativity.

    While many band’s in Mexico are clones from European ones, Dies Irae crafted two of the most interesting releases of Mexican metal in the late 90’s and the disappeared. With a hint of an European sound, “Etherial” was a landmark release with its hefty Jazz/Fusion influences that puzzled many. With “Secret Veils of Passion” they continue through their exploratory musical journey and have produces 10 unique tracks that have some memorable moments.

  • Lantlôs – Agape (2011)


    After releasing the impressive “.Neon” last year, Lantlôs returns with an even better release with “Agape”. In this album, Herbst basically takes apart Post-Black Metal and infuses brilliant instrumental passages and a nihilistic raw energy that creates an even more crushing and beautiful sound than ever before. While at first glance “Agape” might catch you off guard, this release is truly worth your attention to detail and how all elements weave together in a big bleak dark atmospheric could unlike anything heard before from Lantlôs.

    The opener “Intrauterin” quickly exposes some Drone-like elements with some Doom influences in its first few minutes. Very similar to Funeral Doom, this makes a very harsh and quick statement about the intensity and rawness of some of the songs to follow. The guitars are heavy and crushing, but they very effectively switch when the instrumental passage kicks in. Having some minor Post-Black metal hints to it, it feels like being pulled out of the water after almost drowning. Just before you think that the song will end quietly, there is another onslaught of harsh vocals and pummeling guitars, very nicely arranged.

  • An Autumn for Crippled Children – Everything (2011)


    One of the most mysterious bands coming from the Dutch scene has to be An Autumn for Crippled Childern. After their monumental 2010 debut album “Lost”, they return with an even more impressive and lush release with “Everything”. If you though that their first album was pushing the limits of creativity and delivering in almost every single aspect, wait until you get your hands on this excellent release.

    Being released on ATMF records, “Everything” opens with powerful Shoegaze influenced guitars in “Forever Never Fails”. Drawing similarities to Alcest, Lantlos and similar Post-Black Metal/Shoegaze bands, the band is greatly refining their sound from their first release. The distorted desperate screams of pain that are featured in this track (and throughout the release) greatly contrast the beauty of the music, but in a very effective and devastating manner.

  • Falloch – Where Distant Spirits Remain (2011)


    As one of the most beautifully crafted releases of 2011, today we have Falloch’s debut album “Where Distant Spirits Remain”. Featuring 7 tracks of emotional atmospheric post rock/Metal with shoegaze and Black Metal, this release is set to take the scene by surprise due to its intricate design and flawless execution. If you are a fan of bands like Les Discrets, Alcest, Wolve in the Throne Room, Lantlos, etc, you will be blown away by the quality of this album.

    Formed by Andy Marshall and Scott McLean in Glasgow, Scotland, this very young and promising band has managed to capture both emotional landscapes and beautiful imagery through highly atmospheric and nostalgic music. With an emotional layer of vocal styles paired with dreamy guitars and ethereal atmospheric elements, “Where Distant Spirits Remain” is one of those albums that you will not be able to put away after one listen.

  • So Hideous, My Love… - To Clasp a Fallen Wish with Broken Fingers (2011)


    As one of the most interesting albums we have received this summer, So Hideous, My Love’s debut EP “To Clasp a Fallen Wish with Broken Fingers” delivers one of the best Post-Black Metal releases we have ever heard from the USA. With four crushing sounds, this EP will surely get the band some attention and build momentum for their hopefully soon return with a full-length release.

    The second element that makes this band so interesting is the combination of classical music elements with Post-Black Metal. While this has been done in virtually all other genres of Metal, it sounds very well crafted and perfectly fitting for Post-Black Metal of this caliber. The instrumentation comes as the stronger element of the band’s sound and quickly allows the listener to shift their attention away from the sub par vocals.


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