As a side project of Blake Green of Wolvserpent, Aelter produces some of the most enigmatic and hypnotic music that we have heard in quite a while. Mixing some ambient elements with Americana, Darkwave, and other murky influences, this release is truly a very unique album with tons of chilling moments and a very somber vibe.
Slowly building into “Death Eternal” with a well-paced intro track, Aelter sets a very mysterious and ritualistic mood with sparse percussions and hypnotic guitars. The extremely bleak mood of the songs make for an excellent aural experience that features some nice atmospheric highlights and a chilling cinematic vibe, a clear example of this is one of our favorites “Love Eternal”.
One man American outfit Aureole is finally releasing their demo on CD and Avantgarde Music has taken to the task to do so. With a very bleak and hypnotic sound, “Alunar” delivers five songs and around 40 minutes of Atmospheric Black Metal that nicely entertains and relaxes the listeners.
Stating with “Citadel Alunar”, M.S. creates a very bleak atmosphere that is suddenly ravaged by low-fi distorted riffs and hellish vocals. The tension is perfectly introduced and developed in the first track and some tension is relieved on the faster harsher parts. “The voice of Nebular Flame” provides a very bleak backdrop with minimalistic atmospheric elements solid riffs, very contrasting to the mostly atmospheric “The Serenity of the Hourglass”. Luckily, the raw Black Metal harshness is back with the 12-minute behemoth “Crusade of NGC 5128”, a very trippy and engaging track.
Limited to 500 copies world-wide “Fulgida Reminiscenza” is a very emotional EP from one of the best bands of Sun & Moon Records: Blaze of Sorrow. In this five-track EP the band delivers more of a Neo-Folk/Neo-Classical release, but equally depressive and engaging as their 2012 breakout release “Echi”.
Opening with the sound of waves as a backdrop in “Fulgida Reminiscenza”, the mood is set quite hypnotically with a very slow tempo and intoxicating acoustic guitars. Keeping up the Empyrium-esque vibe, “Transcendenza” slowly progresses from lush piano sections into some BM riffs that create a very unique wall of sound. The band’s ability to craft songs that slowly transform and keep the mellow tempo even when the heavy riffing is being used is Blaze of Sorrow’s best asset.
One man battalion Kalmankantaja is running for the most productive band of 2014 by releasing four full-length releases in the same year. This time, this prolific Finish outfit presents us with the two-track 41-minute crushing release titled “Musta Lampi”. With a heavy emphasis on a bleak atmosphere, the band’s Black Metal sound is but punishing and demoralizing.
Opening with “Hiljaisessa Syvänteessä”, the band nicely builds up momentum with several minutes of ethereal instrumental passages before the first distorted guitars appear. The guitar sound is quite metallic and fuzzy, fitting very nicely the bleakness of the atmosphere. As the hellish screams appear, the music elevates to a new level since all elements are perfectly delivered to punish the listener.
Going out of our way to review something we didn’t get as an official promo is something that seldomly happens these days, and we are glad that we took the time to listen to Omit’s masterpiece “Medusa Truth, Pt. 1”. Recommended by one of our fellow Metal writers, this is one hell of an Atmospheric Gothic Doom Metal that will drive you to clinical depression. Masterfully crafted, three songs clock in at almost 49 minutes of depressive brilliance.
Opening with “Distrust”, we are treated to a lush orchestral opening that is not overly pretentious or exaggerated. Cecilie Langlie’s vocals are just the right amount of sad to solemnly adorn the already very bleak music. There are some clear old-school The 3rd and the Mortal influences and we love them. Perfectly balancing the classical instruments with piercing riffs, the band creates a unique 16 minute masterpiece. The short but sweet (6:37 minutes), “Denial” is one hell of a ride with jazzy passages that are very pleasing.
Hailing from Switzerland, today we have Last Leaf Down and their dreamy Post-Rock/Shoegaze. Sounding like a combination of Katatonia, Tides from Nebula, and some sprinkles of Slowdive and Alcest, this band delivers a very unique and ethereal sounding release with “Fake Lights”. Clocking in at 51 minutes, buckle up for a very dreamy and ethereal ride with this one.
As the intro bleeds into “In Dreams”, the dreamy shoegazing galore starts. The band’s sound is very atmospheric and melancholic. Benjamin Schenk vocals are quite hypnotic and they perfectly fit to the album’s overall pace. The Katatonia influences, while on their experimental ‘alternative’ phase, are very clear in tracks like “In These Waters” and “Giant”, we particularly love this last one and its weeping depressive guitars.
Heavy, creepy and atmospheric are words that we usually like when talking about a release, in “The Kingdom Field” Darkher perfectly crafts her sound around those three words. Hailing from the UK, this female-fronted outfit delivers four brilliant tracks that combine elements from old-school bands like The 3rd and the Mortal, to newer acts like Hexvessel and Jex Thoth.
We are slowly initiated to Darkher’s captivating sound with the atmospheric intro to “Ghost Tears”. The dark and somber vocals work amazingly well with the minimalistic percussions and guitars in this track. We are reminded of a mixture of Jamie Myers (Sabbath Assembly), Jex Thoth, and Kari Rueslåtten (ex The 3rd and the Mortal), as it goes from somber and deep to sweet and innocent in tracks like “Hung”, these changes make this release very versatile and intoxicating.
As one of the least conventional bands in Metal Blade, Downfall of Gaia delivers a punishing 60 minute musical experience with their third full-length release “Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay”. Perfectly crafting an apocalyptic sound that fuses Black Metal, Post-Metal, and Sludge elements, this band will mercilessly make your speakers pop and have you begging for more.
Getting down to business with the bestial opener “Darkness Inflames These Sapphire Eyes”, the band spews their message with a brutality and firmness. The Black Metal sections are perfectly craved into the heavy riffing of this track, and the different vocal styles further extend the songs brutality. Just when you things are getting calm, blistering passages change the mood and direction of the songs, like in the epic “Carved into Shadows”. The underlying Doom/Post-Metal elements of tracks like this one and “Ascending the Throne”, make the band’s sound even richer and very diverse, making it harder to pin them down.
Ever since their debut full-length “The Malediction Fields” Fen has always had a very clear and unique sound that has nicely transformed over the years. With “Carrion Skies”, the further elevate their musical magic in six brilliantly composed tracks. Perfectly blending atmosphere with aggression and desolate instrumental passages, this UK trio continues to blow everybody out of the water in terms of Atmospheric Black Metal.
Opening with the tour-de-force tow-part track “Our Names Written in Embers”, the band delivers 18 minutes of their signature atmospheric music paired with a few Post-Rock/Jazzy passages that nicely complement the aggressive vocals and furious riffing onslaughts. On part two, the band nicely crafts playful guitar melodies that are perfect for some melodic headbanging.
Hailing from Finland, today we have an Atmospheric Black Metal duo that comes under the moniker of Atrum Tempestas. Delivering 30 minutes of bleakness and aggression mashed together in three tracks, this release goes further than Atmospheric BM and touches the reals of Doom/ Post-Rock creating a very unique and satisfying blend music.
Opening with the melancholic “Quitter ceux qui étaient déjà partis”, the band sets a very mellow mood with very accessible atmospheric/melodic passages. The vocals range from BM screams, growls, and some spoken sections that nicely blend with the underlying Post-Rock foundation of this song. Coming in at 14 minutes, this track nicely adds some Doom-ish passages to keep things interesting and engaging.