Led by Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun), Kuolemanlaakso, a Finnish outfit, delivers killer Death/Doom Metal with some Gothic elements. With “Kuusumu” the band further expands it sound and incorporates some more modern elements alongside their highly emotional and soul crushing antics. The band’s Finnish only lyrics add an extra layer of uniqueness to their piercing sound.
Opening with the dazzling atmospherics of “Pimeys laski”, a very somber and yet lush mood is set. The combination of clean and harsh vocals alongside female vocals and harsh shrieks gives the music a very theatrical versatility, like on the Therion-esque “Katkeruuden malja”, or the punishing “Surusta meri suolainen”. Far from linear and traditional, the band’s Doom influences provide a nice contrast to faster and heavier elements thrown into the mix as “Kuohuista tulisten koskien” showcases.
Keeping themselves busy during the last couple of years, Finland’s Hanging Garden is set to unleash their latest EP titled “Neither Moth nor Rust”. After their very impressive 2021 release, this EP delivers around 25 minutes of highly dynamic and engaging music, with a well balanced mixture of Gothic and Doom Metal influences, this album reminds us of late Theater of Tragedy, To/Die/For/ and Beseech releases.
Creating a very somber and yet lively atmosphere, the album title track delivers a well balanced mix of growls and clean male and female vocals, alongside engaging and catchy music. This playful vibe continues on tracks like the dreamy “The Last Dance”, and the atmospheric “And Leave All Love Behind”, showcasing the band’s versatility and craftiness to write highly emotional and yet diverse songs.
Consistently pushing the boundaries of creating misery-inducing music, Clouds is one of those bands that with each release only keeps getting better and more refined. With “Despărțire” the band sets a new bar for Atmospheric Death/Doom Metal releases with nearly 60 minutes of emotive music that will rip your heart out of its cavity in minutes. Featuring some excellent guest appearances and some additional elements to the band’s already all-encompassing sound, this release is as brilliant as any of the band’s previous efforts.
Opening with the imposing “Deepen This Wound”, we get a very solemn vibe thanks to weeping violins and piercing riffs, perfectly paired with Daneil’s rumbling growls. The use of clean vocals provides a nice contrast and allows the music to flow into more emotional dimensions. In the piercing “This Heart, A Coffin”, the band enlisted none other than Mick Moss to provide additional vocals in this total banger of a song. We particularly enjoy the juxtaposition of the violins, tempo, and clean vocals in this very dynamic piece.
Perfectly blending melancholy and melody, today we have the latest EP of international duo Enshine, titled “Transcending Fire”. Highly recommended for fans of In Mourning, Insomnium and similar outfits, this release delivers 20 minutes of highly refined melancholic music. Slowly evolving since their 2013 debut release, the band seamlessly blends different influences in a highly appealing and atmospheric package.
Opening with the title track, we are treated to a slow and melodic intro with lush guitar arrangements and highly melancholic atmosphere. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals works in perfect harmony as the track weaves back and forth between heavy passages to more exploratory melody interludes. One of the band’s greatest strengths is the ability to create highly enjoyable songs that are conducive of both fearless headbanging and hypnotic contemplation, as we can hear in “Awake in Void” and the dreamy “Ascend”.
Always surprising us with high quality and engaging releases, Rain Without End records is ready to unleash the third full-length release of Seeming Emptiness, titled “Bliss Entombed”. For the uninitiated, this band features members/ex-members of In Mourning and October Tide while creating a very unique blend of Melodic Death Metal, Doom, with some Post-Rock elements. With over 50 minutes of highly melancholic music, this release will please any fan of the previously mentioned bands and genres.
Opening with the Katatonia-esque “An Impious End”, we get a very moody track with crafty drums, incisive guitars and a well balanced mix of growls and clean vocals. Showing a more dynamic and yet melancholic side, tracks like “What Spirits Forebode” and “Infernal Charade” perfectly mix all of the band’s influences and are complemented with soaring clean vocals and engaging tempo changes.
Returning with an even more bombastic and yet misery inducing release, today we have Finland’s Hanging Garden and their latest effort “Skeleton Lake”. Moving a bit away from their traditional old-school Death/Doom Metal, the band steps in territories pioneered by bands like Tristania, Theatre of Tragedy, etc. with the addition of more Gothic/Pop-ish elements in the 46 minutes of music. If you like well crafted melodic, catchy and engaging music with diverse influences, this release will bring the band close to the previously mentioned bands.
Opening with the lush and bombastic “Kuura”, new female vocalist Riikka Hatakka shines as her sweet voice is the perfect contrast to heavy distorted guitars and energetic growls. While the atmospheric component of the band’s sound is still present and the mournful melodic riffs are there, tracks like “Faith”, “Nowhere Haven”, and “Winter’s Kiss” add extra Gothic-like elements alongside additional catchiness. The use of clean male vocals also gives the band a certain To/Die/For edge, making their sound more dynamic than before.
Unleashing crushing melancholy and gloom, today we have Finland’s Marianas Rest and their third full-length release “Fata Morgana”. For being huge fans of Melodic Death/Doom Metal we are quite shocked that we never heard of this band before, but we are glad that this has since been corrected. Featuring Aapo Koivisto of Omnium Gatherum fame, this band delivers some of the most impressive and demoralizing melancholic music we have ever heard.
Creating an unsettling mysterious atmosphere in “Sacrificial”, the band starts building up the pummeling momentum of this release with solid atmospherics, diverse guitar styles and subtle piano passages. Jaakko Mäntymaa vocals perfectly fit the overall mood of the band’s sound, as their versatility (shrieks to growls to clean) allows the band to not sound like any of their other Finnish counterparts. “Glow from the Edge” keeps the misery rolling with bleak guitars, and haunting female vocals courtesy of guest Lindsay Schoolcraft, further elevating the band’s atmospheric brilliance.
Highly prolific Daniel Neagoe (Clouds) is back with another soul-crushing Funeral Doom Metal release with his new band Mourners. In “Act I: Tragedies”, the band explores the depths of misery with a very powerful and direct release. For over 50 minutes the listener is immersed in a solemn and bleak experience, making this one of the best releases of the genre in 2021.
The typical atmospheric piece, “Apparitions” sets a desolate mood while delivering a warm-up onslaught of crushing brutality. “The Way of Darkness” slowly builds up to crushing combinations of massive growls and punishingly slow riffs. Daniel’s signature vocals perfectly layer with the minimalist instrumentation and ripping guitars in tracks like “Souls Breathing Nothingness” and “Ansu Enthroned” further creating a cavernous hollowness that only bands like Thergothon, Evoken or Mournful Congregation create.
Hailing from Tunisia, today we have a very unique and aurally abusive outfit: Omination. Dropping their third full-length release, “NRG”, this band delivers one hell of an expansive sound that incorporates elements of traditional Funeral Death/Doom Metal with some more cinematic and experimental endeavors.
Unleashing an eerie and ritualistic aural assault with “Crossing the Burned Wasteland”, the band sets a very punishing and intriguing atmosphere. This oppressive atmosphere is further explored with the monolithic onslaughts of “Apocalyptic Ignis Fatuus”, a very powerful track featuring hellish atmospheric elements and potent distorted guitars. The band’s drums, which seem to be programmed, at times give the music a certain industrial edge that classes at times with their atmospheric context, but at the same time creates a very unique and aurally confusing experience, like on “Last Trisagion”.
Dramatically balancing brutality with sheer beauty, today we have Exitium Sui and their debut release “Ad Personam”. Mixing elements of Black/Death Metal with lush atmospherics and excellent vocal arrangements, this release delivers over 35 minutes of excellently crafted music. One-man projects usually allow musicians to craft exactly the music they want, with no compromises, and this release shows a very personal and crushing aural experience.
The release kicks off with the punishing “Eviscerate My Withered Soul”, which has a more traditional Death/Black sound but with a calmer pace and an intriguing and very subtle atmospheric undertone. The vibe continues to get bleaker in songs like “The Long Return To Nothing” and “Into The Conflagration”, while delivering a hefty dose of harsh growls and crushing guitars. It is quite interesting how the release slowly builds up its atmospheric components and turns darker as the minutes pass.