After all the new releases and surprise returns from many of our favorite bands, Tenhi was the one we least expected. Marking their first release in nearly 12 years, after the excellent “Saivo”, the band returns with “Valkama”. Featuring 12 tracks and 70 minutes of solemn and enigmatic music, it is like the band never left as the melancholy and mysterious beauty of this release oozes through your speakers. Needing no introduction, if you are into Dark Folk/Neo-folk music, and never heard of Tenhi, you are missing out.
The release kicks off with the gentle and immersive “Saattue”, the band always crafts dark and powerful atmospheres with very minimal instrumentation and this track is a clear example of this. Fully enveloping the listener in the band’s world, “Valkama”, “Kesävihanta”, and “Rannankukka”, are tracks that mix lush acoustic guitars with hypnotic Finnish-only vocal arrangements and very subtle atmospheric arrangements.
Just when you think a band and their music can’t get any better, ISON comes at us with the majestic “Stars & Embers”. Daniel Änghede brings back Lisa Cuthbert to achieve total dreaminess in the eight tracks presented in this release. Perfectly blending Ambient with Darkwave and some additional ‘Doomgaze’ elements, this release is both haunting and captivating. While it might require a specific mood for full enjoyment, this release has been a great backdrop to some long days at work.
The release opens with the lush and sidereal “Luminescent Reverie”, a piece that instantly transports the listener to have an astral projection experience as the music blends with the hypnotic vocals and masterful pacing. ISON always has this experience on us, as their music is quite lush in the atmosphere and vocals department. Lisa’s range is amazing, allowing her voice to shift across songs this release progresses, additionally, Mikael Stanne lends his signature clean vocals in a duet on the shoegazey “Peregrination”.
After blowing us away with their 2020 debut “Hierophant Violent”, Forlesen is back for more with a poignant sophomore release titled “Black Terrain”. Clocking in at nearly 60 minutes of crushing and yet experimental music, this album perfectly blends elements of Ambient music and Doom/Black Metal to create a massive slab of enigmatic atmospheric brilliance. Better digested after more than a dozen spins, this release is a killer follow-up to their antics.
The release opens with the 19-minute behemoth “Strega” and its slow burning approach, flanking distorted guitars with crafty vocal arrangements and additional subtle instrumentation. The solemn combination of male and female vocals alongside a super slow tempo creates a very unique and devastating aura as more colorful guitar leads are introduced. The song reaches an excellent climax and we will definitely not ruin it for listeners here.
Unleashing one of the dreamiest and most ethereal releases of 2022, today we have Remina and their debut album “Strata”. Formed as a project of vocalist Heike Langhans (ex-Draconian, Light Field Reverie) and Mike Lamb (Sojourner, Light Field Reverie), this release delivers over 40 minutes of highly atmospheric and truly cinematic music. Mixing elements from ISON and Light Field Reverie, this band creates truly emotive music that will take the listener on a magical journey.
The release starts building momentum with the solemn opener “Aeon Rains”, which slowly progresses with Heike’s enchanting vocals and a slew of distant guitars, crafty electronics and melancholic atmospherics. The Doominess first comes under the name of “Obsidian” and its slow and mournful riffs, perfectly enshrouding the layered vocals. By the time “Dying Sun” comes around, the listener is already fully immersed in a trance, perfectly crafted by the band’s powerful atmosphere and melancholic powers.
Hailing from Sweden, Maulén is a music collective with a very unique and engaging sound. We like weird and atmospheric stuff and this EP perfectly fits into both categories. With three tracks and nearly 20 minutes of music, Carlos Ibarra (Age of Woe) and company take listeners through desolate soundscapes that are both exotic and quite melancholic. Not for the close minded, this release has a certain magic that will find you listening to it over and over without even noticing.
Opening with the dreamy “Rostro” and its droney core, nicely adorned by minimalistic guitars and haunting vocal arrangements. This track immediately drew our attention and hooked us on this musical journey. On “Sirjatan” we have Lea Alazam unleashing her hypnotic vocals, reminding us a bit of bands like Wolvennest and Jex Thoth, this track nicely sets a very somber tone that slowly gains momentum until reaching its climax.
Unleashing a gargantuan slab of Black Metal with tons of atmospherics, today we have UK’s Terra and their sophomore release “Für dich existiert das alles nicht”. In the vein of Ash Borer, Fell Voices, and the like, this release punishes the listener with ravaging onslaughts of Black Metal aural abuse thanks to its unsettling atmosphere. With four tracks clocking in at over 60 minutes, this release is as brutal as it is brilliant.
Opening with “The Beginning”, the band slowly envelops the listener with raw distortion, massive drums and piercing vocals. The band’s style is definitely an acquired taste as it relies heavily on its punishing atmosphere but once it settles, it is demoralizing and extremely powerful. The riffs on tracks like “Verisimilitude” are as heavy as they can get and nicely weave back and forth from the drone-ish/ambient-like atmospherics. This particular style is quite effective and immediately transports the listener to a dark and foggy world where sound transcends consciousness.
The mastermind of Brutal Death Metal outfit, Nile, Karl Sanders, is ready to come back with its third solo full-length release “Saurian Apocalypse”. It has been 13 years since his last solo release, and here the listener is treated to ten mostly instrumental pieces that have some of the Middle-eastern vibe of Nile, but in a more exploratory and atmospheric way, and of course without the growls.
Far from the thunderous riffs and intensity of his main band, Karl Sanders shows a very mellow and enjoyable atmospheric side to his craft with pieces like “The Sun Has Set on the Age of Man”, “The Disembodied Yet Slither Among Us”, and “The Evil Inherent in us All”, while still keeping that somber and ritualistic edge of his other band. There is a very relaxing and experimental feeling to the music in this release, showing more range and a variety of moods.
Perfectly tailored to fans of music that pushes boundaries and that incorporates many disparate elements, today we have Lord Agheros and their latest opus “Koinè”. Mixing Ambient, Atmospheric and Avantgarde elements with a Black Metal core, this one man outfit continues to deliver unique and engaging releases that are varied and evocative from start to finish.
Opening with “The Prophecy”, we are treated to an Elend-esque momentum builder filled with dreamy atmospherics and crafty guitars. The musical exploration continues with the Industrial-elements of “The Walls of Nowhere”, paired with lush vocal arrangements and the doomier onslaughts of “Hold the Line”. As you can read, as the album hits the middle track, “Sow”, there are plenty of engaging elements from different genres, nicely arranged to create an immersive experience.
Hailing from Norway, today we have an interesting mixture of Ambient Black Metal with some Death Metal influences, creating a very disturbing and different release. Featuring four tracks and nearly 20 minutes of run time, this EP is the brainchild of Gjøran Sæther. For those that like cavernous atmospheres and sprinkles of old-school BM influences, this release makes for an interesting listen.
The release starts with the atmospheric “Nakne Føt På Råtten Lyng”, a track that starts quite conventionally and then it just gets weird. Odd tempo changes make this track trippy, but not in the best of ways. Experimentation is definitely one the central ideas of this one-man project, and as the slow and eerie atmosphere leads us to “Berget Må Åpna Seg”, a more somber and straightforward piece that could be benefitted by actual drums or better drum production at least.
Unleashing waves of old-school Black Metal with tons of Dark Ambient elements, Germany’s Lebensnatch took us by surprise with “The Realm Beyond”. Released via Naturmacht Productions, this album has that naivety and minimalist approach of early 90’s BM that newer and more polished bands have lost. If you like overly dramatic and yet simple atmospherics alongside raw and basic BM, this release should be at the top of your list.
Opening with the dreamy “Fallen Soul Under A Pale Star”, we get a very nice retro vibe surrounded by dramatic atmospheric keyboards/synths. The band’s sound is raw and retro, making their music quite direct and not overly adorned. With a certain (old) Burzum-esque vibe “Moon And Stars”, this is our favorite track due to its simplicity and very effective harshness.