As one of the most pummeling underground Black Metal acts to ever come from Norway, One Tail, One Head delivers Black Metal in its rawest and most foul form. Ending their existence with “Worlds Open, Worlds Collide”, the band unleashes ten tracks that comprise their full-length ‘debut’ and final testament to their unrivaled talent and crafty driving force.
When the atmospheric opener, “Certainly Not”, closes, the band quickly unravels the raw and decadent “Arrival Yet Again”, a piece that crafts a chilling atmosphere filled with catchy tempo changes and wild vocal onslaughts. Luctus, the band’s vocalist has a imposing style that is quite firm and filled with hate, making songs like the album title track and “Stellar Storms” come to life. Not being your average band, the mixture of mysterious minimalist interludes and atmospheric passages create a very creepy vibe that is unique to “One Tail, One Head”.
Serving as an intermission between full-length releases, today we have Stratovarius with “Enigma: Intermission II”. Not settling for a typical EP, the band features three brand new songs, four orchestral tracks, and nine bonus tracks that have either been unreleased in Europe or are considered rare. If you are a fan of the band, this is definitely one unique opportunity to have all these rare tracks and new material in one single package.
The new tracks are spread out through this release and we will talk about them first. With “Enigma” the band picks up when they left with their last album, “Eternal”, and deliver a very engaging and dynamic piece filled with their signature soaring vocals and intricate guitar melodies. On “Burning Ground” we get lively tempo changes and a superbly catchy chorus section that is as typical Stratovarious as you can get. The futuristic “Oblivion” nicely movies into atmospheric territories with lush keyboards and a pulsating bass guitar line. This track is on the Power Metal-ballad side of things, allowing the listener to fully embrace the band’s musicality and creativity.
Led by the charismatic and highly talented Heidi Parviainen, today we have Dark Sarah’s third full-length release “The Golden Moth”. Completing “The Chronicles” trilogy, this cinematic/symphonic Metal album is full of bombastic arrangements and very dramatic instrumentation creating a magical atmosphere. Going bigger than in the past, the band instantly immerses the listeners into their lyrical context and provides a truly engaging experience.
Opening with “Desert Rose”, there is a certain mysterious mood that frames the beginning of this story very well and creates great expectation on the listener. New permanent member, JP Leppäluoto, delivers a solid vocal performance as Dragon, complementing Heidi’s angelic chants. With the band’ further setting the mood with songs like “Trespasser” and “Wheel”, the immersion feels deeper and deeper. The Jurassic Park-esque atmospheric elements of “My Beautiful Enemy”, make for a very grandiose and ear catching tracks that is quite hard to get out of your head.
Delivering over 23 minutes of classical Scandinavian Death Metal, today we have Finland’s Abhorrence and their latest EP “Megalohydrothalassophobic”. All the fans of old-school Death Metal will be salivating for this release and with good reason as it is a force to be reckoned with. Showcasing a timeless musical style with modern production values makes this EP be one hell of a headbanging item to add to your collection.
Opening with the traditional intro, “Anthem for the Anthropocene” delivers a superbly catchy wave of riffs that bring back memories of the early days of Death Metal. The band’s nostalgic sound is nicely enhanced by a crystal clear recording which allows every detail to be fully appreciated, as we can hear from the punishing “The Four Billion Year Dream”. With all musicians being experts at their craft, the songs are nicely structured to inflict the maximum amount of damage.
The Canadian Black Metal scene is now flourishing with intense Black Metal bands that easily rival their counterparts from any part of the world. Today we have Quebec’s Délétère and their sophomore release “De Horae Leprae”, and it is quite a strong showing for this young and promising outfit. Delivering over 60 minutes of intense riffing, bestial drumming and an overall impressive sense of destruction, this release is geared for those of us that love relentless BM with a sense of melody and brutality.
Quickly steamrolling through the listener with the opener: “Teredinis Lepra” the band sets a fierce pace while adding some enticing atmospheric elements that keep things fresh and quite crafty. The band’s brutality is unquestionable after the brilliant “Sagina Caedendis”, where the sinister guitar layering works wonderfully well with the harsh and punishing vocals. With member Thorleïf handling the vocals, we are treated to an intricate mixture of traditional BM screams and deeper somber passages that perfectly contrast and create very unique haunting atmospheres as found in “Ichthus Os Tremoris”.
Making justice to such a bleak title, today we have NONE’s sophomore release. Featuring over 50 minutes of the most demoralizing and gut wrenching music you will ever hear, “Life Has Gone On Long Enough” is a brutally emotional Atmospheric Black Metal release that any fan of Austere, Lifelover, Mortualia, etc. cannot miss.
After a moody opener, “A World, Dead and Gray” kicks off with crushingly dissonant guitars and punishing vocals. The atmosphere is quickly set to total bleakness by the pace songs’ pace and knack for very minimalist and yet effective keyboards. Bleeding into “Bed the Cold Earth”, NONE’s ability to continue its atmospheric endeavors is brilliant as the transitions are seamless and keep the listener fully immersed into the vibe of the release.
Hailing from France, today we have dark post-punk/rock outfit Varsovie and their latest full-length release “Coups et Blessures”. Filled with moody songs and superbly catchy and somber arrangements, this release is definitely one of the ‘non-metal’ highlights we have heard in 2018. Recommended for fans of bands like Spiritual Front and similar outfits, Varsovie does a great job delivering a hard rocking release that is captivating and engaging.
Opening with the bluntness of “Coups et Blessures”, the band sets a very lively tone with catchy percussions and interesting guitar leads. The mood is quite somber and yet very raw, allowing emotions to easily flow through brilliant tracks like “Revers de l’aube” and our favorite “Va dire à Sparte”. While not even close to Metal music, these last two tracks feature some very powerful and engaging riffs that make them quite memorable and perfectly fitting for the band’s overall attitude.
Featuring remastered versions of their demo tape, “Veritas filia temporis” and two other splits, “Secular Compendium” showcases Selbst’s early days and how they have evolved to become one of the most savage Black Metal artists to ever come out of South America. Clocking in at 53 minutes, this limited release will rock your socks off and provide more insight into the band’s musical journey, not to be missed by any BM fans.
Opening with the dense riffing of “Veritas Filia Temporis I”, this album kicks off a demoralizing Black Metal journey with razor sharp guitars and an oppressive atmosphere. While staying true to their punishing nature, the band also showcases excellent melodic passages that remind us of bands like Dissection and many 90’s European BM outfits. “Veritas Filia Temporis II” continues the onslaught with hellish vocals and a somber and yet piercing atmosphere.
We are not big on reviewing split releases, but when we saw Black Mare and Offret put into one release, we got quite curious. Unleashing two very hypnotic and highly atmospheric tracks, this 7 inch vinyl and digital release transports the listeners into very carefully crafted worlds. For fans of experimental and highly atmospheric music, this is one release you don’t want to miss.
Opening with Black Mare’s “Woman the Throne”, Sera Timms crafts a very somber and Doomy atmosphere with minimalistic riffs and enthralling vocal arrangements. This track nicely flows, slowly intoxicating the listener with the incisive guitar work and ritualistic drumming. Creating a very dark and dense atmosphere, the six minute duration of this track will feel like a lot longer – in a good way.
Perfectly crafted for lovers of melancholic Doom Metal, today we have international Funeral / Death/Doom outfit Towards Atlantis Lights, and their soul crushing debut release “Dust of Aeons”. Formed by Ivan Zara and having the likes of Kostas Panagiotou in their ranks, this band delivers a truly monumental debut release, unleashing almost 60 minutes of music in four tracks.
Wasting no time, the band slowly builds up their massive sound with the 30-minute “The Bunker of Life”, filled with demoralizing riffs and haunting clean vocals, this track is deep and crushing. The subtle keyboards brilliantly layer on top of the oppressive atmosphere crafted by the guitar work and the deep growls. Between lush atmospheric passages and barrages of pummeling riffs, the time quickly passes by with this track and you won’t even realize you are 25 minutes into it, just brilliant.