Delivering the first truly pummeling Black Metal sonic abuse of 2019, today we have Barshasketh and their self-titled fourth full-length release. Featuring over 53 minutes of blistering BM, this band is set to conquer the scene with the relentless music filled with oppression and destruction. Out on World Terror Committee, this band’s release has the seal of approval of a label that always releases high quality BM albums.
Instantly abusing the listener with their incisive riffs, “Vacillation” sets a very intense mood to start the album. The band’s sinister music is crafted to perfection, playing around with slower tempos to create a very cavernous atmosphere, like on the crushing “Resolve”. In the two parts of the track “Consciousness”, the band nicely crafts a very powerful atmosphere with intricate riffing and a pulsating bass guitar line that will make your speakers rumble.
Ever since ‘bumping’ into their set at ProgPower USA in 2018, we have been quite taken by Soen and their mixture of Progressive Rock/Metal music. With “Lotus”, the band opens up 2019 with a captivating release filled with crafty melodies and soaring vocal arrangements. If you like proggy/dreamy music, this is definitely the band for you.
Opening the release, “Opponent” sets a very playful and yet somber tone. Intricate guitar melodies perfectly intertwined with a pulsating bass guitar line and tight drumming. As “Lascivious” and “Martyrs” roll, we are intoxicated with the versatile vocals of Joel Ekelöf and how they are perfectly complemented by crafty percussions and very subtle keyboards. The band’s ability to craft unique songs with a proggy foundation and a very dramatic mood is exactly what makes them stand out from the rest.
Going completely ‘off the reservation’, today we have Svoid and their very strange and yet interestingly addictive EP “Spiral Dance”. Not showing any of their Black Metal influences, this release is a very weird experimental EP that explores the band’s more theatrical side with a few Post-Punk sprinkles thrown into the mix. Certainly this release is a very true to form album from Sun & Moon Records.
The weirdness begins with the bizarre indie-anthem “Stand in Awe”, an interesting track that has some Post-Punk elements, but in general feels more like an NPR kind of song. Considering this release a complete outside the box release, we can certainly enjoy catchy tracks like the epic “The Very Hours” and its melancholic vibe. It even has a quasi-Depeche Mode vibe that caught our attention and we found ourselves playing this song quite a few times.
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.
Any self-respecting Doom/Death Metal fan is definitely aware of the legacy left behind by Forest of Shadows with their releases in the 2000’s. Coming 100% as a surprise to us, Inverse records is now releasing the band’s latest opus: “Among the Dormant Watchers”. Niclas Frohagen is the man behind this one-man band that makes a come back with its signature sound of slow and melancholic songs that will hurt your soul and demoralize you from start to end.
Picking up exactly where the band left off, “Self Inflicted Torment” unleashed the signature style of lush keyboards, moody bass guitar line and crushing growls. This track brings back memories of the band’s earlier works and the cloudy rainy days we listened to those albums for hours. The mood gets bleaker with the beautiful opening to “Drowned by Guilt”, which slowly descends into misery and devastation. While bands like Clouds, Shape of Despair and Skepticism take misery and despair in music to new levels, there is something about the rawness of Forest of Shadows that keeps drawing us to their music.
Unleashing one of the most harrowing Atmospheric/Experimental Black Metal releases of 2018, today we have Adaestuo and their debut full-length “Krew Za Krew” . Created by VJS of Nightbringer fame, P.E. Packain ex-Horna, ex-Sargeist, and with Hekte Zaren handling all vocals, this outfit presents a very unique aural abuse that is quite intoxicating and engaging. For over 50 minutes the listener descends into the band’s suffocating madness, making it a very excruciatingly amazing experience.
Wasting no time to make an impression, “Red Moon” creates a very tense and dominant atmosphere with hellish vocals and chilling atmospherics. The tension continues with the Ambient/Noise piece “Transcendental”, which provides some sort of an interlude to their next punishing onslaught: “Monument”. Clocking in at 10 minutes, the hypnotic riffing sets a very dire tone, but it’s the whirlwind raw Black Metal elements that brings the listener into the early days of bands like Emperor and Enslaved.
This year has been a great one in terms of killer Black Metal releases, but before we all go making our top albums of the year lists, Sweden’s Valkyrja states their case with their latest full-lenght “Throne Ablaze”. Featuring over 46 minutes of Dissection-style Black Metal, this album instantly grabs the listener’s attention with a mixture of gritty and yet melodic elements in a very refined and expertly crafted package. For those that like Black Metal to be punishing and yet inspiring, this is a release you can’t miss.
After a mood setting intro track, the band instantly wages war with “Crowned Serpent”. Providing a certain old-school Black/Death Metal vibe, this song is filled with riveting guitar leads and crunchy tempo changes. As “Opposer of Light” comes on, the mood shifts into Black-n-Roll’ish elements with piercing riffs and a sinister tone. The band’s ability to transmit aggression through their music is quite evident on crushing songs like “Tombs Into Flesh”, a track filled with hate and well introduced melodic passages, creating a very unique and intense musical experience.
We usually don’t review re-releases but Ellende’s debut EP “Rückzug in die Innerlichkeit” is one of our favorite releases and we are psyched that Art of Propaganda is making it available to a wider audience. One-man Ellende is one of the top Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-Black Metal outfits to come out in the last few years and this album is a landmark release that deserves more attention.
The EP starts with a dreamy introduction that reminds us of the middle releases of Alcest, with moody tempo changes into very aggressive and demoralizing passages filled with harrowing vocals and punishing drumming. The atmosphere is quite oppressive and masterfully contrasted with acoustic elements. The dramatic string instruments of “Pfad der Endlichkeit” create a very solemn mood that slowly descends into some of the bleakest aural passages ever crafted. This is one of our all time favorite songs due to its dramatic atmosphere and the very raw and primitive emotions transferred by the music.
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.
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.