Polishing their live shows over the years, Amorphis now a well oiled machine that can deliver a killer show to a packed arena, but also face-melt the crowd on more intimate club shows. For those that haven’t been able to catch the band live, their latest release: “Queen of Time - Live at Tavastia”, perfectly captures their intensity and precise delivery of their crafty music. Recorded during COVID-19 times, this live album is a testament to the bands tenacity and brilliant live showmanship.
Delivering a guest-appearances filled full-length release, today we have Canadian ONI and their return “The Silver Line”. As a brainchild of Jake Oni, the music created is an interesting mixture of Progressive/Djent Metal with some Metalcore elements. Featuring nine tracks and 30 minutes of music, this release has quite enjoyable and epic songs that are quite dynamic and engaging.
Opening with “Silhouette”, we get a nice contrast between powerful distorted guitars, clean soaring vocal harmonies, and crafty atmospheric synths. The songs are well written and all have catchy hooks, what makes the release even more enjoyable is the assortment of guests used like Sueco on “Spark”, “Underneath my Skin” featuring Kellin Quinn, and “Aura” with Jost Gilbert and Howard Jones. They all bring a different edge to each track, keeping things fresh.
Highly melancholic and expertly crafted, “In Finitude” was the bands excellent 2021 debut and with “Impending Waves” they show this was no fluke. Composed of musicians from Chile, but residing elsewhere, the band’s music has a certain Mar de Grises edge but with their own shroud of melancholy and despair. If you are looking for a truly engaging and melodic dose of bleakness, this release is right up your alley.
Opening quickly with the lush “Dreamside Death”, the band quickly sets a very mellow and yet expertly crafted mood with lush layered guitars and highly emotional vocals. The mixture of proggy and doomy riffs and tempo changes makes for very unique and engaging pieces like “Tearing Seas”, “The Dreamer” and the more dynamic “Skies”. The way the band layers their guitars alongside dreamy atmospherics is excellent, creating a very intoxicating style and sound.
There are few albums that span almost every possible genre of Metal, in a cohesive and creative way. Today, Vintersea manages to achieve the near-impossible with their latest opus “Woven Into Ashes”. Further expanding their Progressive Death/Black Metal core, the band throws in some Doom/Djent/Goth elements to the nearly 50 minutes of music split in eight tracks. If you liked the band’s previous effort, “Illuminated”, you will certainly love this one.
Opening with crafty guitars and very lively tempo changes, “Unveiling Light” gives us that Into Eternity vibe from their “Buried In Oblivion/The Scattering of Ashes” days. Things get quite heavy, in a very Death Metal way on “Devil’s Churn”, with quite brutal and intense opening that suddenly waves back and forth melodic clean-vocal sections. Avienne Low is a very talented vocalist that perfectly transitions between hypnotic clean vocals and powerful harsh screams as the blistering “At the Gloaming Void” and “Lonesome Tide”.
It has been a while since we heard from Australia’s Ne Obliviscaris and their highly polished and expertly crafted Progressive Extreme Metal. Luckily, 2023 marks the return of the band with a crushing full-length release titled “Exul”. Featuring six tracks and nearly one hour of high-octane and brilliantly crafted music, this release sets a whole new standard for a band with extremely high quality releases. If you like outfits like Persefone, Ihsahn, Be'lakor, Cynic, and older Opeth, you will love this release.
The album kicks off with the brilliant “Equus”, a masterful piece filled with crafty drumming, an insane bass guitar line, all alongside dramatic violin arrangements and punishing vocals. For 12 minutes, the opener lays down the foundation of highly polished aggression mixed in with lush instrumentation and a very dark and somber mood. Now that the band is warmed up, they rip through the two part “Misericorde” masterpiece, with the first piece, “As the Flesh Falls”, nicely creating a playful Obscura-esque foundation of guitar wizardry and dramatic clean vocals. The second part, “Anatomy of Quiescence”, is even more dramatic with even more lush and jazzy violin arrangements thrown into the mix.
Keeping up with his 2020 tradition of releasing focused EP’s, today we have Ihsahn and his latest opus “Fascination Street Sessions”. As a three song EP, this release nicely showcases his music in a more direct and less cluttered way, allowing the listener to enjoy each track to its fullest, being able to digest all the magical details that Ihsahn puts into his music. We are starting to like this approach to releasing new music, but are running out of space in our shelves thanks to all the different versions you can acquire.
In terms of the actual music, the release opens with “The Observer”, a very engaging and traditional Ihshan sounding music, perfectly blending complexly layered guitars and lush arrangements. Balancing both Extreme Metal and its crafty progressive elements, this opening track is quite engaging and dynamic. With a similar approach, “Contorted Monuments” nicely adds atmospheric elements to simple and yet super catchy guitars, with some excellent leads thrown into the mix.
Always surprising their listeners, Enslaved returns with yet another brilliant exercise in crafty Progressive Black/Viking Metal with “Heimdal”. Skillfully refining their sound over time, this release unleashes seven tracks and nearly 50 minutes of complex and yet digestible music that perfectly carries the band’s signature style with a few new surprises. Any fan of the band of the genre will be satisfied with this highly dynamic and engaging release.
Opening with “Behind The Mirror”, the band sets an atmospheric tone with the first minute before unleashing some superbly catchy riffs that slowly transform into sweeping melodic guitars to adorn the band’s signature clean vocal arrangements. The band’s sound is quite cinematic and crafty, with excellent layered guitars and a good dose of aggressive sections and growls, as we can hear in “Congelia”,”Forest Dweller” and the proggy/psychedelic catchiness of “Kingdom”.
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