Avant-garde Metal

  • Am Himmel - As Eternal (2022)

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    Unleashing some creepy and aurally dominating release, today we have Dutch outfit Am Himmel and their opus “As Eternal”. With a ‘weirder’ approach to Post-Black Metal, this band creates roughly 37 minutes of captivating music with the magic of bands like An Autumn for Crippled Children and Lustre mixed in with a darker and drone-ish edge. Not recommended for close-minded people, this album is more of an aural exploration than your typical cookie-cutter BM.

    Opening with the piercing “Bleared By The Infinite Wings”, the listener instantly knows this is a completely different release. The fuzzy and yet dreamy atmospherics are nicely flanked by harsh screams, delivered in a very monotonic way, creating a unique and engaging atmosphere. Things get dreamier and a bit shoegazy on “The Patience and Silence of a Saint’s Death”, a piece that slowly builds up momentum and creates plenty of tension.

  • White Ward - False Light (2022)

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    Just when you think a band can’t get any better, you get a release like “False Light”, showcasing that White Ward’s sound and creativity are boundless. Digging deeper than in “Love Exchange Failure”, the band explores more sultry dark-jazz/avant-garde territories with the 66 minutes of music unleashed here. As one of the finest releases of 2022, this album needs to be enjoyed and carefully examined to get the fullest out of it.

    Starting this magical tour-de-force we have the powerful “Leviathan”, a track that nicely builds up to some harsh Black Metal passages and nicely transitions into sultry jazzy greatness. With a more somber and darker tone, “Salt Paradise” mixes the guest clean vocals from Jay Gambit (Crowhurst) and the band’s more enigmatic and atmospheric side. “Phoenix” and “Silent Circles” nicely balance the band’s heavy side with melancholy and crafty instrumentation.

  • Zeal and Ardor - Zeal and Ardor (2022)

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    When it comes to bending Metal into all kinds of weird directions, there is no other band like Zeal and Ardor. By fusing Blues, Gospel, and Soul music elements with harsher Black Metal and even some Progressive/Djent influences this outfit has delivered quite unique releases over the years. With their eponymous release the band further matures into their signature style by crafting 14 diverse and engaging tracks.

    After setting a very engaging vibe in the self-titled opener track, “Run” delivers the first dynamic piece with crafty guitars and a plethora of vocal styles. Perfectly growing in momentum and delivering some heavy passages along the way, “Death to the Holy” has some of the band’s earliest elements of Bluesy Black Metal, while “Emersion” has a more Dream Pop edge that transforms into a dreamy Deafheaven-esque aggression.

  • The Amenta - Solipschism (2021)

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    As if their 2021 full-length “Revelator” wasn’t enough, today we have Australia’s The Amenta back with an interesting 2-song EP titled “Solipschism”. Not that we are complaining, the band first makes us wait 8 years between releases and now we are treated to more madness in less than 6 months. Again, proceed with caution as this Aussie band kicks some serious ass while introducing some weird and creepy ideas.

    With a heavier focus on atmosphere and weirdness, the release kicks off with “Solipschism”, a highly atmospheric piece with very eerie arrangements and a solemn pace. This track is a fresh and creepy soundscape that sets a very dark mood. The second piece, “Labourinth” slowly builds from distorted guitars with an industrial vibe to a more expansive crushing piece with hellish vocals alongside crafty drums and a faster pace, and a particularly dissonant closing.

  • Thy Catafalque - Vadak (2021)

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    For those of us that like weird music that pushes the boundaries while keeping Metal elements in the mix, Thy Catafalque has been delivering highly innovative releases over the years. Tamás Kátai returns after one year since the band’s last release with “Vadak”, featuring over 62 minutes of captivating and yet difficult to digest music. If you like the band’s brand of weirdness, you know that this release will demand your full attention for more than a few dozen spins to be fully digested and appreciated.

    After setting a weird and futuristic sounding mood with the first few minutes of “Szarvas”, the jazzy weirdness instantly takes center stage as the track is quite intricate and yet delicate. As you can imagine, elements are mixed from all kinds of genres, and the resulting amalgamation mixes harsh BM screams with jazzy/proggy influences. Completely flipping the script, “Köszöntsd a hajnalt” has a nice Eluveitie folky vibe, while “Gömböc” mixes heavier Death Metal-esque elements with funky instrumental passages.

  • Void Paradigm - Ultime Pulsation | Demain Brûle (2020)

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    Perfectly crafted for those of us that like funky Black Metal with tons of unique and at times bonkers elements, Void Paradigm prepares to unleash: “Ultime Pulsation | Demain Brûle”. In this 38+ minute release, the band presents two songs that create very unique atmospheres and are full of intricate little details to discover. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Ved Buens Ende and Ephel Duath.

    The release kicks off with side A, “Ultime Pulsation”, a chilling song that slowly builds up to a very chaotic catharsis and a hefty dosage of creepy atmospherics and stern vocals. With incisive and punishing riffs flanking the hellish vocals of Jonathan Théry, the release instantly induces anxiety upon the unsuspecting listener. We particularly enjoy how the crafty tempo changes and funky drum patterns shape how the song unravels to the listener while creating some interesting and subtle instrumental passages.

  • Moonworshipper - 13 Fullmoon Nights of Loneliness (2020)

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    Always releasing superbly interesting stuff, Hypnotic Dirge Records unleashes Moonworshipper and their ‘EP’ “13 Fullmoon Nights of Loneliness”. Featuring a truly chaotic, experimental, and yet lush sound, this release pretty much takes elements from almost every genre of music and mixes them together in a very melancholic and tormentous release. If you are a fan of Manes, Lethe, Ulver, and similar outfit, this release is right up your alley.

    Starting with some cavernously Doomy guitar riffs, the single 24-minute track in this release hints at a very heavy and punishing journey. The crushing guitars and rhythmic drumming is perfectly offset by hellish vocals and crafty tempo changes. This is until the band switches things up with hauntingly eerie piano/atmospheric passages and the introduction of sultry female vocals. Note that at this stage the guitars and doomy vibe are still very present as the band continues to dabble in some Depressive/Suicidal BM influences mixed into jazzy and noir-esque female singing.

  • 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.

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