From mastermind Naas Alcameth (Nightbringer, Akhlys), today we have a very interesting Black Metal/Dark Ambient release titled “Gods Without Name”. Under the moniker of Aoratos, this outfit unleashes nine highly atmospheric pieces to comprise their debut release. Full of ideas perfectly executed, this release is in the vein of experimental BM bands like Blut Aus Nord as well as Mysticum and with some hits of Diabolos Rising thrown in the mix.
After setting a very hellish ambiance with “Parallax I”, the band slowly drifts into heavier territories with the ravaging “Holy Mother of Terror”. The band unleashes a commanding aural onslaught filled with dissonant riffs and blistering drumming. Paired with hellish vocals, the attack continues as “Of Harvest, Scythe and Sickle Moon” unravels. The band’s sound is both raw and punishing without the need to sound like it was recorded on a shed, allowing the listener to experience it at full blast and not damage their speakers.
As the second full-length release from Unreqvited this 2018, this is certainly the most ambitious one. Mostly diverging away from the more traditional Post-Black Metal elements of their first two albums, “Mosaic I: l'amour et l'ardeur” is a lush introduction into a more atmospheric and dream-like world that is quite magical to experience. This one-man outfit does a great job in creating magical soundscapes with dreamy guitars and solemn piano elements, so be prepared to be fully immersed into Unreqvited’s musical journey.
The album sets a magical mood with the majestic “Sunrise”, a piece that is quite ethereal in nature and perfectly crafted to give that warm fuzzy sense of awe. “Dreamscape” has a distinct Blackgaze vibe, nicely created by the active guitars and a backdrop of harrowing harsh shrieks, perfectly contrasting the brightness created by the instruments. We are suckers for playful piano songs and “Radiant” delivers on this. Perfectly named, this track feels quite radiant as it shines thanks to its dramatic arrangements and masterful distorted guitars as contrast.
Two years have passed since their crushing release “Weltenasche”, and now Karg returns with a more refined and poignant release with “Dornenvögel”. As a one-man project from V. Wahntraum of Harakiri for the Sly fame, the band’s sound is quite melancholic with plenty of Post-Black Metal elements thrown into the mix. Clocking in at 76 minutes, this album has a lot of intricacies to be discovered before it fully unravels to the listener, making it a very rich listening experience.
Exploring the darker sides of Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-Black Metal, “Drangsal” starts off the release with melancholic weeping guitars and a very desolate vibe. This track nicely weaves back and forth between bleak soundscape and heavier sections filled with aggression and desperation. The dreamy and Post-Rock-ish passage in “La tristesse durera toujours” is definitely one of the best and most emotionally charged sections we have heard in a while.
Unleashing one of the Doomiest and most intoxicating release of 2018, today we have Italy’s Messa and their sophomore full-length release “Feast for Water”. Featuring around 50 minutes of highly mysterious and intricately crafted music, the band perfectly combines Doom and Sludgy undertones with enchanting female vocals and oppressive atmospheric elements. If you are a fan of Jex Thoth, Jess and the Ancient Ones, Bohren Und Der Club Of Gore, and similar bands with very apocalyptic vibes, this is certainly an album for you.
After opening with the mood setting Ambient/Drone-ish “Naunet”, the band instantly makes a splash with “Snakeskin Drape” and its incisive riffs. Sara’s sultry voice instantly captures the listener’s attention thanks to its commanding presence and how it shines through the very moody music. Her unique vocals can be said to be a certain mixture of Jex Thoth, Jess from Jess and the Ancient Ones and Farida Lemouchi from The Devil’s Blood, creating a fierce presence that magically brings songs to life like jazzy “Leah” and the funky “The Seer”.
Crafting a very disturbing and eerie dark cloud of sound, today we have Sum of R and their full-length release “Orga”. Hailing from Switzerland, this two-man outfit unleashes a very unique aural exploration that is quite minimalist and ritualistic in nature, with plenty of creepy elements. Recommended for fans of Void ov Voices, Raison D'Etre, Sunn O))), etc., this release will induce nightmares if played in the dark.
The album sets a very martial and disturbing tone with the first few tracks, “Please Ring the Bells”, “Overgrown” and “We Have to Mark This Entrance”, allowing the listener to get into a very eerie and spacey frame of mind. We were particularly disturbed (in a good way) by the funky samples at the end of the third track. The unnerving aural dissonance of pieces like “Cobalt Power” make this release quite a treat to listen to, while others like “Hypnotic State” bring back some more familiar Lustre-influenced elements.
Arriving all the way from Lebanon, today we have one-man project Moonaadem and their self-titled debut release. Featuring seven tracks of very well crafted Atmospheric Black Metal, this release is filled with raw misery and solemn music that will crush your spirits and soul. Staying away from the clichés of the genre, and avoiding sounding like everybody else, this outfit keeps things very dark and melancholic for over 25 minutes.
Starting with “Multivers”, the album sets a very sinister mood with a mid-paced Black Metal piece that is quite engaging. Blending atmospheric elements with traditional riffs allows this track to have that certain BM-vibe, while further expanding its effect with an eerie atmosphere. The punishing “Pleine Lune”, is one of the best tracks in this release with its very melodic approach and furious intensity. This is masterfully contrasted by dreamy atmospherics and violent BM shrieks, leading to trippy passages.
Originally released back in 2012, Panopticon’s “Kentucky” is the band’s seminal release in which they mix both Black Metal and Folk/Americana/Bluegrass elements in a brilliant way. Just as when it was originally released, this release will certainly catch a new wave of people by surprise as the genres are not intuitively easily combined. Multi-instrumentalist Austin L. Lunn certainly pulled of one of the most unique releases of all times, and this is you latest chance to get a copy of it.
The album instantly raises eyebrows with the Folky/Americana-inspired “Bernheim Forest in Spring” as it leads into the explosive and very aggressive “Bodies Under the Falls”. With this transition we are back into more familiar territories with harsh vocals, punishing riffs and tight drums. This track masterfully weaves back and forth between heavy passages and lush banjo-led sections that work perfectly with the flow of the song.
Hailing from Denmark, today we have Sunken and their killer debut release “Departure”. Delivering over 50 minutes of heavily atmospheric Black Metal, this band creates a very powerful and melancholic atmosphere that will enshroud you with its misery. Focusing on crafting smarter tracks, this release feels and sounds a lot different than your run-of-the-mill Atmospheric BM outfit.
After the warm-up instrumental opening, the band opens this release with the full-blast onslaught of the first few minutes of “Void”. This song slowly mellows out and leads way to brilliant atmospheric passages with a prominent bass guitar line and catchy percussions. The album title track comes at us with another brilliant mixture of melancholy with devilish intensity with harsh vocals, furiously paced sections, and jazzy atmospheric passages.
Being huge fans of Atmospheric/Post Black Metal releases, we are quite puzzled how this little gem managed to sit on our virtual review queue for this long. Labeled as an international band, Grieving Mirth unleashes their debut EP titled “Calamitosvs Omine”, featuring five brilliant pieces of highly melancholic extreme music. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Heretoir, Anomalie, Harakiri for the Sky, Austere, this release is quite an interesting find.
The album opens with the ravaging “Malaugurio”, a song that sets the tone for this release with heavily melancholic riffs and powerful drumming. All of this is perfectly rounded up with firm harsh vocals that differ from your traditionally used BM shrieks. The band’s intensity level is quite impressive making the songs be both very melancholic and brutal at the same time, “Indelectavs” is a clear example of this.
Cranking up the level of melancholy to 11, today we have Bay Area’s Mountaineer and their debut full-length release “Sirens & Slumber”. After blowing us away with their two song EP back in 2016, this band formed by ex-Secrets of the Sky’s guitarist Clayton Bartholomew, continues to further develop their highly atmospheric sound by moving into Katatonia-esque territories. Delivering nine brilliant tracks, this is definitely one of the releases to get in 2017 if you are a fan of deeply melancholic music.
Opening with the dreaminess of “Foam”, the band sets a very ethereal mood with such a lush opener. Taken from the band’s first 2-song 7” release, “Coma Fever” leads with ripping Doom riffs and the contrasting vocals of Miguel Meza. The album continues with this lively pace on tracks like “Measured Breaths” and “Womb”, the band excels a wrapping a ton of atmosphere around heavy Doomy riffs.