After the shock disbandment of Children of Bodom late in 2019, Bodom After Midnight was set to be the ‘continuation’ of the band with Alexi Laiho and Daniel Freyberg, alongside drummer Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost), bassist Mitja Toivonen (ex-Santa Cruz). Unfortunately, we all know that Alexi is no longer with us and this EP, “Pain the Sky with Blood” serves as a nice posthumous release showcasing what could have been with this band.
Blasting away with the EP title track, we are suddenly brought back into the past, to the first three CoB albums. Alexi and company deliver one of the most engaging and signature songs they have released in a few years, with fierce vocals and insanely good guitar leads. This nostalgia filled piece serves as a stark reminder of Alexi’s musical brilliance.
Melodic Death Metal
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.
Newcomers Blighted Eye are ready to take the North American scene by storm with their very crafty debut EP “Wretched”. Unleashing over 27 minutes of high-octane, progressive/melodic Death Metal with additional influences, the band delivers four very well crafted songs that nicely balance both technical proficiency and killer songwriting chops. If you are into bands like Sculptured, you cannot afford to miss this release.
Opening with the intense guitars of “Contempt”, this band sets a very energetic and firm pace. This track features crafty tempo changes, killer intense passages and overall excellent musicianship, showing a bit of a Tech Death Metal influence but with proggy ambitions. As “Respite” follows the intense opener, the band’s more proggy influences are heard, reminding us a bit of mid-period Opeth with some killer guitar leads added.
With hundreds of releases making into our inbox every day, we need to carefully pick which ones we listen to. Band releases that are ‘professionally’ submitted usually get our attention over non-major label releases. Lucky for us, today we have For Ruin and their killer self-released EP “Elapse”. Delivering nearly 20 minutes of blistering Melodic Death Metal, these types of musical discoveries are what makes our day at Infernal Masquerade.
Opening with the quick and pummeling “Elapse”, the band sets a very hectic and engaging energy from the get go. Reminding us a bit of bands like Kalmah and Mors Principium Est, this track nicely leads into the riffing acrobatics of “Fiel to the Fire”. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals is well balanced with the faster paced sections in this highly headbangable track.
Unleashing one of the most impressive releases of 2020, today we have Countless Skies and their sophomore full-length release “Glow”. In a time that there is so much uncertainty and shittiness in the world, one of the things that brings smiles to people is music, and this is one of those releases that will captivate and change the mood of the listener from the first minute. If you thought that Dark Tranquillity was going to take the best Melodic Death Metal release of 2020, you better wait until you check this one out.
Opening with an instrumental intro, “Tempest” sets a very magical and wondrous vibe thanks to its crafty use of atmospheric keyboards and the soaring guitars. The mixture of harsh vocals and soaring clean vocals alongside epic guitar leads gives the song a certain proggy edge that makes it even more impressive. The magic continues with the lush “Summit”, a slowly building piece that shines a very bright light by combining elements of bands like Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum, with the roughness of Bela’kor. This track takes epic vocal arrangements to a whole new level for the band, creating an epic complement to their already superb core.
Hailing from Germany, today we have Melodic Death/Doom Metal outfit Décembre Noir with their harrowing fourth full-length release “The Renaissance of Hope”. Featuring nearly 50 minutes of firm and yet highly emotional music, the band delivers six brutal tracks that brilliantly balance fragility, aggression and melody. For fans of bands like Swallow the Sun, My Dying Bride, and similar outfits, this release will certainly bring some fuzzy warmness during the winter months.
Opening with the pummeling “A Swan Lake Full of Tears”, the band quickly establishes a hefty balance between incisive guitar riffs and gruff growls. Setting a high bar, this track is quite hectic and powerful even as it progresses into more melodic and solemn minimalist interludes with clean vocals. Those looking for heavier pieces, “Hope/Renaissance” and “Wings of Eschaton” are both quite pummeling thanks to crafty drum patterns and very heavy dueling guitar work. While many bands tend to become overly melodic, Décembre Noir’s sound is quite firm and ravaging.
Unleashing one of the most expected releases of 2020, today we have Sweden’s Dark Tranquillity and their mesmerizing release “Moment”. Featuring over 50-minutes of superbly crafted Melodic Death Metal, the band continues to deliver their signature style music with a few additions courtesy of new guitarists Johan Reinholdz and Christopher Amott.
Opening the release with great style and energy, “Phantom Days” sets forth this aural journey with the futuristic keyboards of Martin Brändström alongside re-energized melodic guitar passages and exciting guitar leads. As both Amott and Reinholdz have integrated into the band, tracks like “Transient” and “Identical to None” change things up a bit and feel more energetic and engaging, with ripping solos and unparalleled guitar craftsmanship, to go alongside the band’s signature melody.
As a fine wine, Carcass has nicely matured over time while keeping true to their signature sound, the band continues to aggressively tour and give killer performances. As a preview for their upcoming full-length release, the band delivers “Despicable”, just in time for Halloween. Featuring four tracks and nearly 20 minutes of music that will not be part of their next release, this album delivers the signature melodic/catchy Death Metal/Death’n’Roll sound we all love.
The release kicks off with the signature Carcass guitars of “The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue”. In this track we get a nicely paced piece filled with chugging riffs and crafty tempo changes. Jeff Walker’s usual snarl is as powerful as always, and on “The Long And Winding Bier Road” it shows that clean vocals can also create very catchy and engaging chorus sections, alongside pretty epic guitar leads.
Lucky number “Seven” is the latest release by Finnish Melodic Death Metal outfit Mors Principium Est. Delivering their signature catchy, crafty, and blistering melodic music, the ‘band’ unleashes over 48 minutes of intense headbanging music. For the fans of Kalmah, Omnium Gatherum, and Finnish Melo DM in general, this release will keep you entertained and fully engaged.
Shifting from a band to a duo since a few years back, Mors Principium Est fully maintains their high-octane approach to the genre, while embedding subtle atmospheric synths and crafty technical details. The opener, “A Day For Redemption”, is a clear example of the band’s perfect balance of aggression, melody, and guitar acrobatics. Permanent guitarist, Andy Gillion, is one of the best in the biz and delivers some killer guitar leads on tracks like “Lost in a Starless Aeon”, which create a very melancholic vibe in this excellent song.
Crafting a very unique and yet recognizable sound, Finland’s Noumena delivers “Anima”, their latest full-length effort. Mixing a folkier edge to traditional Melodic Death Metal similar to bands like Wolfheart and early Amorphis, the band unleashes nearly one hour of expertly crafted music that will appeal genre nostalgics while introducing a few different elements into the mix.
After the folky opening with “Kaiku”, the band’s sound oozes emotions and melody in the superbly crafted “Saatto”. Alongside the weeping lead guitars and growls, we have lively clean female vocals and very solemn slower passages. In full-on Amorphis worship, “Murtuneet” and “Seula” made us instantly think that we had our playlist on shuffle, however, the band continues to infuse their uniqueness to the music with a jazzy bass guitar line and some killer guitar leads.