Just when you think a band that you really like will be heading downhill after replacing their vocalist, the band comes back with one epic release easing all concerns. Luckily for us, this is the case for In the Woods… and their latest opus “Diversum”. Blowing people's minds back in the mid to late 90’s with the evolution of their Black Metal roots to Avant-garde Metal territories, the band came back to life in 2014 with three of the band’s original members and a new vocalist which was quickly replaced by the super talented James Fogarty of Ewigkeit/Old Forest fame.
The band’s clean vocals have always been one of their staple elements and luckily on the band’s return ‘Mr Fog’ was able to hold his own and added to the band’s sound with his own unique style. Replacing him was a tall order however, with Bernt Fjellestad the band’s sound is even more epic than before. From the opener “The Coward’s Way” to the majestic “Moment”, we are quickly impressed with the soaring clean vocals and their transition to harsh screams. The music greatly adds to the overall feeling of elation thanks to its crafty proggy and yet heavy nature, with some piercing Black Metal-ish riffs that weirdly fit perfectly.
Delivering a hefty dose of high-octane Progressive Death Metal, today we have Lamentations and their sophomore release “Passion of Depression”. We particularly enjoy proggy/technical releases that actually have well structured and enjoyable songs and are not just a self-wanking fest of technical proficiency. Luckily for the listeners the band unleashes seven excellent songs filled with crafty tempo changes, moody arrangements and excellent musicality.
From the lush opener “Prodigal”, we get a very engaging Cynic-meets-Persefone vibe, perfectly balancing proggy interludes with some heavier and more complex sections. All band members this time around are basically the same guys behind Monotheist, and it shows that the music is quite cohesive and well integrated, with each instrument shining at different stages but never overpowering the general flow of tracks like “Anew” and “Shiver”. These tracks deliver excellent melodic passages, dreamy vocals and a pulsating bass guitar line.
Unleashing a very unique release that has a certain retro Death Metal vibe paired with some crafty proggy and dreamy passages, Disillusion delivers their 4th full length release with “Ayam”. Originally founded back in the 90’s, this band has slowly evolved into more avant-garde territories, but still manages to keep some of that old-school vibe in their highly elaborate music. For fans of early 90’s Melodic/Doom Metal to fans of Opeth, Anathema, and Devin Townsend, this release has something for nearly everybody.
Opening strong with “Am Abgrund”, we get a very unique old-school Benediction meets Ihshan vibe thanks to the contrast of growls, clean vocals, proggy guitars and crafty trumpets. The band brilliantly balances their more experimental and proggy edge in tracks like “Tormento”, “Driftwood”, with this last track dazzling users with soaring vocal melodies and waves of melancholy, giving those Anathema vibes
It has been a while since we got an album that we have to drop everything we are doing in order to pay full attention. Luckily for us, An Abstract Illusion’s sophomore release “Woe” is one of those rare gems. Unleashing nearly one hour of highly melancholic Atmospheric/Melodic Death/Progressive Metal, this band will turn heads with their excellent songwriting skills and brilliant delivery. Just think of Cynic meets Bel’akor meets Countless Skies, as this release is both explosive and bombastic.
Opening with the crafty “The Behemoth That Lies Asleep”, the band sets a magical and dreamy mood with dramatic guitar leads and ethereal atmospherics. Reminding us a bit of Andora’s Persefone, “Slaves” perfectly balances agression with lush instrumental passages and crafty arrangements. Clocking in at 11 minutes, “Tear Down This Holy Mountain” is one blistering piece that expertly builds momentum with dramatic tempo changes, including some magical jazzy passages.
Quickly returning after the highly emotional 2021 release “Escape of the Phoenix”, Evergrey continues the same path of melancholy with the excellent “A Heartless Portrait: The Orphean Testament”. Featuring over 50 minutes of mellow Progressive/Power Metal, with Tom Englund’s signature vocals, this album just further refines the band’s polished and effective style and delivers exactly what the fans are expecting.
The album opens with the soaring guitars and vocal arrangements of “Save Us”, a very powerful and mood-setting track filled with crafty atmospherics and a hefty dose of catchiness. The band’s mixture of explosiveness with melancholy oozes from pieces like “Midwinter Calls” and “Ominous”, one of our favorite tracks in this release thanks to the amazing vocal arrangements and killer guitar leads. For those preferring the band’s Power ‘ballads’, “Call out the Dark” is a fine addition.
Releasing four years after the death of Negru, “Zău” is the last piece of the Negură Bunget aural saga. With the original drum track recorded by Negru years back, and all the original musical direction and ideas in place, some of the last members of the band Tibor Kati, Adrian "OQ" Neagoe, and Petrică Ionuţescu, have managed to put this mystical release together, true to its original creation. Mixing both the dreamy/atmospheric and the heavier side of the band’s sound over the years, this release is a fitting conclusion to such a unique musical outfit.
The release sets a very dreamy and ethereal mood with the opener “Brad”, a 15-minute piece featuring angelic female vocals of Manuela Marchiș, and the band’s signature tempo changes into more aggressive territories. “Iarba Fiarelor” explores richer instrumentation and longer heavier sections, with aggressive growls alongside uplifting atmospherics. The band’s signature style is present in all aspects of this release, giving it a very nostalgic edge.
With almost every Finnish musician playing on an average of 3 bands, we get tons of high-quality outfits like Solacide. This band features an intense Melodic Black Metal sound filled with excellent musicianship and solid songwriting capabilities. In “Fall from Eternity”, the band unravels nearly 40 minutes and seven tracks of music reminiscent of bands like Old Man’s Child, Dimmu Borgir, and Naglfar.
Opening with the album title track, the band quickly makes a statement with commanding guitars, blistering drumming and subtle atmospherics. Being far from linear, playful pieces like “Forsaken Gods” perfectly blend the band’s Symphonic BM core sound with some progressive elements thrown in the mix, alongside some killer vocal lines. Changing the pace with the instrumental “Oblivion”, the band returns with the lush, more elaborate, and slightly slower tempo “Far Beyond Reality”.
When a band usually says that their latest album is the heaviest to date, they are usually just playing the marketing game. However, once in a blue moon, this is actually true, and “Wallflowers” from Jinjer is one of those rare exceptions. Featuring an even more explosive and expansive sound than before, this release will certainly propel the band’s status thanks to its incisive and crafty songs.
The band opens with the in-your-face track “Call Me A Symbol” and never looks back, from Tatiana’s mountrous harsh vocals to the throbbing bass guitar and crafty drumming, this track sets a very intense pace. Songs like “Colossus”, “Vortex”, and “Disclosure!” perfectly showcase the band’s versatility and explosivity, going from playful clean vocal passages to crushing guitars and diverse tempo changes.
Creating a magical and transcendental aural experience, today we have Romania’s Dordeduh and their latest effort “Har”. It has been nine years since the band’s debut release and the wait was well worth it, thanks to the maturity and polish put into these 61 minutes of music. Mixing the early Negură Bunget folk mysticism with the modern proggy Black Metal elements of Enslaved, this release is filled with interesting passages and extremely intoxicating melodies.
The album starts with the ritualistic intro of “Timpul întâilor”, as the song evolves we get that nice playful Enslaved-esque mixture of distorted guitars, crafty tempo changes, and mystical atmospherics. This opener clocks in at 12 minutes, giving the listener a great taste of what is to come, we particularly love the very melodic and dramatic vocal arrangements in this track. The sweeping guitars and keyboards of “În vieliștea uitării”, create a very imposing mood, perfectly contrasted by sinister harsh vocals, and more playful clean vocal arrangements.
Mixing up Technical Death Metal with Progressive and ‘Video Game’ Metal elements, today we have a very intense and exciting band from the USA called The Beast of Nod. With comparisons to bands like Dethklok, Powerglove, and similar outfits, “Multiversal” delivers over 50 minutes of playful high-octane music that is extremely technically proficient, fun, and greatly engaging.
Opening with the magical “Flight of the Quetzalcoatlus”, we instantly get that Proggy/Techy vibe with intricate guitars, crafty drumming and playful tempo changes. The vocal styles vary between growls and shrieks, allowing for the music to change moods and intensity quite nicely, as the jazzy “Contemporary Calamity” showcases.