As one of our favorite bands, Clouds delivers one of the most melancholic and depressive brands of Atmospheric Death/Doom Metal ever created. With “Durere”, the band’s mastermind, Daniel Neagoe, continues to explore the process of grief and loss in seven tracks and nearly one hour of soul crushing music. Never disappointing, the tracks in this release are filled with grief and despair perfectly translated into musical notes.
The album opens with solemn acoustic guitars and clean vocals in “Cold Guiding Light”, just before switching gears into ravaging growls and mournful violin arrangements. This track slowly erodes at the listener’s psyche with dramatic atmospherics. “Empty Hearts” continues the misery with distant weeping guitars and melancholic vocals. The band’s signature contrast between crushing riffs and growls with more mellow passages is very effectively delivered in this track.
We are quite psyched that Greek Death/Doom legends On Thorns I Lay have remained active and releasing albums since they reformed back in 2015. With “Threnos”, the band continues their musical journey with yet another powerful and melancholic release. Featuring over 45 minutes of music, this album delivers on the band’s signature style while adding a few surprises to keep the listener’s engaged and entertained.
The opener, “The Song of Sirens”, has that signature OTIL sound of their 90’s releases, with the firm growls, crafty riffs and subtle atmospheric keyboards, perfectly contrasted by weeping lead guitars and a hyper melancholic atmosphere. We particularly love the band’s timeless mixture of heavy foundations, like crushing riffs and tight drumming, with dramatic atmospherics delivered by the keyboards, clean vocals, and string arrangements on tracks like “Ouranio Deos” and the superbly catchy “Cosmic Silence”.
As the days get shorter and the dark nights get longer (in the Northern Hemisphere), Officium Triste arrives with perfect timing and their bleakness inducing full-length release “The Death of Gaia”. Unleashing over 55-minutes of devastating Death/Doom Metal, we are reminded that this Dutch outfit is by far one of the best at their craft.
Opening with the misery inducing dramatic arrangements of “The End is Nigh”, the band sets a very dark and funeral-esque vibe that features some slight glimmers of hope. The interplay of Pim Blankenstein crushing growls, the incisive guitar riffs and the melodramatic keyboards creates a superb atmosphere that sets the mood for a very somber release. With some crafty percussions and melancholic headbanging passages, “World In Flames” continues that oppressive atmosphere with a plethora of weeping guitar leads and crafty tempo changes.
Unleashing one of the most monolithic Atmospheric Death/Doom releases of 2019, today we have Portugal’s OAK with “Lone”. Featuring four tracks and around 50 minutes of soul crushing music, this release highly recommended for fans of bands like Mournful Congregation, Shape of Despair and Ahab. Piercing through the listener’s psyche, this album is heavy and punishing, unlike anything else you will hear this year.
Slowly building up momentum with the gargantuan opening track “Sculptures”, this duo craft a very punishing atmosphere thanks to massive slow riffs and crushing growls. With a very mellow pace, this track crafts a mysterious cavernous atmosphere as the guitars unleash minimalist notes of desperation. Expertly crafting desolate passages, “Mirror” continues the funeral procession with more crushing guitar riffs and crafty drum patterns. The tracks’ catharsis is well earned and after a while of atmospherics the listener is treated to some truly haunting growling passages.
The highly productive Déhà is back with his Atmospheric/Funeral Doom Metal project SLOW and their latest masterpiece of sorrow with “VI - Dantalion”. Crafting monolithic atmospheres around soul crushing riffs, this release unleashes nearly 80 minutes of powerful music. Just when you think the boundaries of the genre cannot be pushed further, an album like this comes along and shatters them completely.
Warming up the listener with the bleak soundscapes of “Descente”, the album slowly gets fired up as you come across the 17-minute behemoth of “Lueur”. The slow growls lead to monumental riffs and tense atmospherics, creating a very unsettling mood. The dramatic arrangements created by the synths perfectly complement the ravaging guitar structures. However, what really captures the listener is the dramatic tempo changes and mood swings within songs like the later and “Futilité”. Alternating a ‘shorter’ song between 10+ minute pieces, Slow explores darker territories with the harsher vocals and more sinister atmosphere of “Géhenne”.
Consistency is the name of the game for the Norrman’s brothers October Tide band. With “In Splendor Below”, the band continues to deliver classic Melodic Death/Doom Metal filled with superb guitar work, dark atmospheric passages and plenty of headbanging opportunities. Featuring over 43-minutes of music, this release continues the band’s legacy as one of the best in the genre.
The album opens with “I, the Polluter”, a song that features the band’s signature riffing and mid-tempo pace. There are some more direct Death Metal elements thrown into the mix, but the track always keeps that old-school Swedish Melodic Death Metal vibe going. The playful “We Died In October” shows a more funky and crafty atmosphere with intricate drum patterns and very engaging tempo changes.
Getting over 50 promos a week, sometimes we miss excellent releases like Helevon’s “Aamamata”. Hailing from Spain, this Gothic/Doom Metal outfit took around 5 years to unleash their latest effort, but it was definitely worth the wait. With nearly an hour of music, this release further evolves their sound into more atmospheric and epic territories. If you are a fan of bands like My Dying Bride, The Foreshadowing and similar outfits, this release should be in your collection.
The release opens with the lively riffs of “A Sail to Sanity”, in this opener, the band has their older more direct Death/Doom Metal style, delivered with a catchy bass guitar line and solid tempo changes. The band steps up their efforts with the gut-wrenching “Goodbye Hope”, perfectly blending clean and harsh vocals with subtle piano elements and clean guitars. Josep Brunet signature vocals brilliantly infuse songs like “Blackened Waves” with raw emotions.
It is not everyday that you receive a release from a band hailing from Iran. With our curiosity peaked, Eternal Candle’s debut full-length “The Carved Karma”, is one hell of a Progressive Death/Doom Metal release. Combining elements from old-school Death Metal, Doom Metal all perfectly paired with a Progressive edge, this release delivers almost one full hour of masterful music. For fans of old Opeth, Katatonia, My Dying Bride, this release will certainly resonate with you.
Immediately after the dreamy instrumental opener, the band gets down to business with the sheer power of “The Ripped Soul”. Reminding us of Amorphis on their “Privilege of Evil” days, this track is heavy and pummeling, thanks to its powerful riffs and old-school vibe. Things quickly move into more Progressive / Katatonia-esque territories with the intricate “Sick Romance”, and even further into old-school Death/Doom influences with “A Path to Infinity”.
Any self-respecting Doom/Death Metal fan is definitely aware of the legacy left behind by Forest of Shadows with their releases in the 2000’s. Coming 100% as a surprise to us, Inverse records is now releasing the band’s latest opus: “Among the Dormant Watchers”. Niclas Frohagen is the man behind this one-man band that makes a come back with its signature sound of slow and melancholic songs that will hurt your soul and demoralize you from start to end.
Picking up exactly where the band left off, “Self Inflicted Torment” unleashed the signature style of lush keyboards, moody bass guitar line and crushing growls. This track brings back memories of the band’s earlier works and the cloudy rainy days we listened to those albums for hours. The mood gets bleaker with the beautiful opening to “Drowned by Guilt”, which slowly descends into misery and devastation. While bands like Clouds, Shape of Despair and Skepticism take misery and despair in music to new levels, there is something about the rawness of Forest of Shadows that keeps drawing us to their music.
Arriving just in time for those long and dark Autumn/Winter days, today we have Décembre Noir and their monumental third full-length release “Autumn Kings”. Oozing with melancholy, this German band delivers eight soul crushing tracks that clock in at around 70 minutes of music. Perfectly crafted for fans of old Insomnium, Forest of Shadows, Rapture, etc., this release is gearing up to be the best one of its genre in 2018.
The album kicks off with the atmospheric build-up of “In the Pouring Rain” as it suddenly erupts in mournful riffs and firm growls. Perfectly immersing the listener into their melancholic sound, the band slowly progresses into heavier and more sinister territories with some crushing passages. The album title track continues the gloomy vibe with more incisive riffs and brilliantly crafted tempo changes, which allow the song be engaging and never get dull.