Avant-garde Metal

  • Hail Spirit Noir - Eden in Reverse (2020)

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    For some reason a band like Opeth and their newest Progressive/Psychedelic antics, while great sounding, they usually put us to sleep. Contrastingly, Greece’s Hail Spirit Noir and their latest newfound Psychedelic/Progressive endeavors incite a great level of curiosity and engagements from us. Unleashing “Eden in Reverse”, the band delivers a mixture of their weird avant-gardeness of their earlier days and trippy Proggy/Psych brilliance, perfectly delivered in seven tracks and nearly 45 minutes of captivating music.

    The album opens up with the more traditional old-school Prog/Space rock of bands like Hawkwind and Magnum on pieces like “Darwining Beasts” and “Incense Swirls”. While catchy, we didn’t really get turned fully into the release until “Alien Lip Reading” comes in with a certain weird Solefald sounding angle, creating captivating guitar melodies and hypnotic vocal arrangements. This track nicely turns the release into a very interesting and completely trippy experience as it sounds like your old prog/space rock, but with a fresher and more dynamic edge.

  • Forlesen - Hierophant Violent (2020)

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    One of the very few advantages of the COVID-19 pandemic is that we can now work from home and listen to music non-stop. As one of the more interesting releases to creep into our inbox, today we have Forlesen and their two song, 36 minute release “Hierophant Violent”. Featuring members of Lotus Thief, Kayo Dot, Botanist, Maudlin of the Well this band creates a transcendental musical experience with a very powerful and carefully crafted sound.

    Kicking off the release with the hypnotizing atmospherics of “Following Light”, the band creates a very dreamy mood as the song progresses into magical ethereal interludes and very cathartic moments. The guitars and drums are perfectly leveled with the atmospheric elements, allowing a very unique interplay between these elements and the haunting male and female vocals.

  • Manes - Young Skeleton (2020)

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    With the volume of promos we get every day, we rarely look into the ones that contain singles. That being said, when the name Manes popped into our inbox, we had to drop everything else and pay undivided attention. As one of our favorite genre-bending bands, this Norwegian outfit continues to push the boundaries of music with their creative exploits and “Young Skeleton” is no different. If you like a mixture of Rock/Metal and tons of atmospheric elements, then Manes is definitely a band to explore.

    Opening with the title track, we get a somber track that slowly builds up with very subtle elements until Tom Engelsøy guest vocals perfectly lead this piece. The song has a very nice progression as the lush atmospherics slowly complement the minimalist percussion. Delivering a more complex and layered approach, “Mouth of the Volcano” unleashes the full Manes sound with brilliant guest vocals from Anna Murphy (Cellar Darling) and Ana Carolina Skaret (Mourning Sun) paired with regular vocalist, and alongside eerie atmospherics. Creating a chaotic and yet lush experience, this track gives us a bit of a mix between Manes and Lethe.

  • Oranssi Pazuzu - Mestarin Kynsi (2020)

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    Unleashing a highly mysterious and depraved orgasmic aural assault, today we have Finnish outfit Oranssi Pazuzu and their highly expected fifth full-length release “Mestarin Kynsi”. Having sonically abused all their fans for the last decade, the band continues their musical exploration with 51 minutes of music spread in six captivating tracks. If you think the band was weird and trippy in the past, wait until you listen to this release.

    Opening with the trance-inducing “Ilmestys”, the band slowly builds up and introduces their funky mixture of effects, sickening vocals and crushing guitar work. If the first track didn’t create enough anxiety in the listener, “Tyhjyyden sakramentti” continues the aural exploration with chaotic ravaging passages filled with weird distortions and an overall sense of urgency that creates a very demoralizing and brutal atmosphere.

  • Igorrr - Spirituality and Distortion (2020)

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    As a very fitting soundtrack to the current global chaos, Gautier Serre’s Igorrr unleashes their most chaotic and yet brilliantly crafted release to date: “Spirituality and Distortion”. Featuring an amalgamation of completely disparate elements like Baroque and Classical Music, Metal and Electronic Music, this release delivers nearly one hour of crazily addictive music. For those that have not been initiated into Igorrr’s madness, this album will definitely blow you away, if you have an open mind.

    The album opens on a very mystical note, as it slowly transitions into heavy riffs and the angelic vocals of Laure Le Prunenec. The male vocals are nicely handled by Laurent Lunoir, who turns into a very unique beast-like performer on their live shows, and perfectly adds dynamism to the bands music. Listeners do not have to wait longer to hear Igorrr at its finest with the mesmerizing “Nervous Waltz”, a track that blends lush vocal arrangements, dramatic instrumentation, and electronic madness to perfection.

  • Lychgate - Also sprach Futura (2020)

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    Unleashing a truly unique level of aural abuse, today we have UK’s Lychgate and their new label debut EP “Also sprach Futura”. If you think you have heard weird stuff before, this release will re-define the concept for you. Featuring four tracks of pure madness, this band combines elements from Doom/Jazz/Progressive/Brutal Death Metal, and pretty much everything else into an amalgamation of sonic abusive tracks.

    The release opens with the cirquesque “Incarnate”, incorporating brutal guitar riffs with chaotic tempo changes and funky organ/mellotron atmospherics. Taking this track over the top are the throat singing moments that just add more confusion and madness between the Black Metal-ish harshness and funky atmospherics. Things settle down a bit on the interesting “Progeny of the Singularity”, where the band starts with brutal onslaughts and slowly evolves into an eerie sickening atmospheric passage , just as the brutality returns to close this magically weird piece.

  • Lotus Thief - Oresteia (2020)

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    Hailing from San Francisco, Lotus Thief has slowly been evolving into one unique and captivating musical outfit over the years. On their latest effort, “Oresteia”, the band takes their sound a step further by unleashing eight tracks of enigmatic Avantgarde Metal with tons of Doom and ambient influences. Highly recommended for people that like somber, exploratory and at the same type captivating music, this album will elevate your state of awareness with its uniqueness.

    The release opens up with haunting vocal arrangements in “Agamemnon”, a very mystical track that slowly crafts an enigmatic atmosphere. Things get heavier as the melodic guitar leads give way to creepy piano laden passages. Being the first track, this song truly captures the uniqueness and intensity of what is to come. Allowing the listener to fully digest the first onslaught, “Banishment” is a trippy atmospheric piece that sets up the progression into the captivating “Libation Bearers”. The crescendos in this track are quite magical as the band perfectly creates magical soundscapes filled with harsh vocals and delirious laughs.

  • Botanist - Ecosystem (2019)

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    After nearly getting hives and having to puncture my eardrums to make the sound stop with Botanist “I: The Suicide Tree / II: A Rose From The Dead” release back in 2011, I have seen the band from afar evolve their sound and actually saw them play live once. Arriving to our inbox, we have “Ecosystem”, the band’s latest offering through Aural Music. Hearing the band with a new perspective after 8 years, we have to say that their sound now seems more cohesive and engaging, completely changing our initial shock reaction to their music.

    Opening with “Biomass”, the hammered dulcimer creates a very unique and chaotic atmosphere, nicely exacerbated by the harsh screams. We are quite surprised by the contrast created by the angelic clean vocals in tracks like “Alluvial”, were they nicely change the mood of the track until the following hellish onslaught of harsh vocals and fast paced drums appear. Creating a very tense and dramatic atmosphere, the ravaging dulcimer makes “Harvestman” one of the best songs in this release.

  • Violet Cold - kOsmik (2019)

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    Embracing the contrast between dreaminess and aggression, today we have Azerbaijan’s one-man battalion Violet Cold and his latest full-length release “kOsmik”. Perfectly blending elements from Shoegaze, Post-Black Metal, Post-Metal, with very interesting more mainstream elements, the band’s releases are always very interesting to dissect since you will spend days trying to peel all the layers to be found. Clocking in at 36 minutes, this album will fly by very quickly, but it just means you get to start it again.

    Creating a very soothing and uplifting mood with the opener “Contact”, this vibe transforms with the heaviness of “Black Sun”. The Shoegazey guitars are nicely contrasted with harsh vocals as this track travels between atmospheric passages, somber female vocals and an overall more aggressive and hectic pace. Creating a very Alcest-like heavenly mood, “Mamihlapinatapai” is definitely one of the most magical and engaging songs in this release thanks to its vocal arrangements and overall pace.

  • Mord’A’Stigmata - Dreams of Quiet Places (2019)

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    Slowly building up, “Void Monolith” starts the performance with an introduction to craft psychedelic extravagance thanks to the warm and fuzzy distorted guitars and trippy synths. The madness truly begins with the chaotic “The Shamanic Vision” and its crushing drumming. The deranged vocals make this song even more terrifying thanks to their unique range and style. The underlying melodies of songs like “Seeker’s Reflection” and “Journey to the Center of Mass” are quite intoxicating with a certain jazzy vibe, and perfectly crafted around trippy tempo changes.

    Opening with the intricate atmospherics of “Between Walls of Glass”, the track sets a very hypnotic and ritualistic vibe that slowly builds up as the electric guitars come into play. Evoking the psychotic rhythmic powers of bands like Oranssi Pazuzu, the band sets a very unique vibe to this release. Keeping the weirdness going with its odd tempo changes, “Exiles” gives more of a Post-Metal vibe paired with hellish screams and pretty intense drumming.

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