After unleashing one of the most intricate en exciting releases of 2017 with “Visions”, Anomalie returns with a brilliant four song EP titled “Integra”. Led by Chris Marrok, Anomalie is a force to be reckoned crafting very powerful music which explores the depths of both brutality and atmosphere to perfection. Delivering nearly 30 minutes of music, this EP is the perfect continuation of the band’s unique musical trajectory.
Opening with the ritualistic and atmospheric intro to “Rebirth”, the band sets a decadent mood that expertly layers harsh riffing and intense drumming delivered on a masterful pace. This track features eerie vocal arrangements that help further the songs atmospheric prowess. “Aurora” rolls in with a vicious Black Metal onslaughts that nicely change the dynamics of the EP as it changes the pace back and forth.
What better way to end a side project/temp band than with an epic release. Unfortunately, The Exploding Eyes Orchestra deliver their swan song with “II”. Featuring all the current members of Jess and the Ancient Ones, this band delivered unparalleled Psychedelic Rock experiences through their highly atmospheric and very emotional music. The seven tracks in this release perfectly craft a sultry and enigmatic atmosphere that is quite unique and intoxicating.
Leading the way with “Those of Us Left”, Jess enigmatic vocals hypnotize the listener as they waltz through moody melodies. This first track perfectly sets the ambiance for the more upbeat psychedelics of “Belladona”, a song that bring more of a J.A.T.A.O vibe to this release thanks to its playful keyboards and sultry pace. Providing an Opium-fueled experience, the lush “Harmain” is the perfect chill-out piece for those long nights at work.
With big name bands like Obscura and Beyond Creation unleashing Progressive/Technical Death Metal masterpieces this year, it is quite refreshing to hear more underground bands like The Odious Construct take inspiration from them and release a killer EP of their own. With “Shrine of the Obscene” this band from Sacramento, California delivers five expertly crafted tracks that are quite atmospheric and technically proficient. For a band formed in 2015, they are certainly firing on all cylinders in this brilliant release.
Opening with a dreamy passage on “Vortex of Self”, the band quickly sets up a hectic mood filled with subtle technical details and trippy atmospheric keyboards. As the album’s introduction to the band, this song could not be more awesome and expertly crafted. Going into “Descension”, the keyboards nicely frame the massive drumming and the cool tempo changes in this track. Keeping the intensity going thanks to crushing vocals and very well crafted guitar passages, this track certainly shows that the opener was no fluke.
Black Metal battalion Sargeist is finally back, with a new line-up and a new release titled “Unbound”. Featuring over 47 minutes of unholy and destructive music, this release is the band’s most refined album to date. With Shatraug on guitars and Profundus handling vocal duties, this release is quite raw and punishing, the perfect addition to any BM purist collection.
Opening the fold with “Psychosis Incarnate”, we are instantly immersed in the band’s harsh aural devastation path, filled with incisive riffing and pummeling drumming. With new member Gruft on drums, the band’s sound remains as intense as every as he pummels his way through hectic tracks like “To Wander the Night’s Eternal Path” and the ravaging “The Bosom of Wisdom and Madness”.
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.