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  • Admire the Grim - Rogue Five (2023)

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    Making our first review of a 2023 album, today we have Finland’s Admire the Grim and their debut EP “Rogue Five”. Featuring a crafty Melodic Death Metal sound, this new outfit delivers five tracks and around 16 minutes of superbly catchy and engaging music. If you are a fan of Finnish MeloDeath bands, this outfit is right up your alley as they have the skills to carve themselves a path in the genre.

  • Mournument - Smouldering Into Dust (2022)

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    Unleashing unrivaled melancholy and atmospheric bleakness, today we have newcomers Mournument and their debut release “Smouldering Into Dust”. Reminding us of bands like Agalloch and Empyrium with a Doomier edge, this release delivers six tracks and 46 minutes of brilliant music. Perfect for a gloomy fall/winter day, this album is one of the best and most complete releases we have heard in 2022.

    Opening with “On Rain and Thunder”, we get lush acoustic guitars and violins setting a bleak and desolate soundscape. As the clean vocals make their way, the Tenhi/Empyrium vibe slowly transitions into heavier territories with Agalloch-esque mournful distorted guitars. “Chasm of Abandoned Souls” continues the onslaught with more traditional Doom elements and an eerie mixture of deep clean vocals and harsh screams.

  • Scars of the Flesh - In Darkness Alone (2022)

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    Hailing from San Antonio, Texas, today we have Scars of the Flesh and their third full-length release “In Darkness Alone”. Unleashing five original tracks and four very well crafted cover songs, the band showcases their own brand of Death Metal with some Melodic/Progressive influences for over 50 minutes of engaging music. For fans of bands like Cenotaph, The Chasm, and similar outfits, this band packs a big punch and nicely combines it with a good dose of melody.

    Opening with the punishing “Only I”, a dark and sinister mood is quickly set thanks to the incisive guitars and Kobey Lange’s growls. While there are plenty of classic Death Metal riffs used, tracks like “The Hooded One” and “In Darkness Alone” add extra layers of melody alongside technical craftiness and even some additional atmospheric elements. Our favorite track has to be the mournful “Memory Unknown”, a track that has some killer Doomy undertones and excellent guitar leads and headbanging moments.

  • Orphique - Consécration Cadavérique (2022)

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    Canada continues to amaze us with their Black Metal talent, with bands like Délétère, Monarque, and Forteresse leading the way, there are plenty of additional bands with unique and explosive styles such as Orphique. As a one-man project of David Potter, “Consécration Cadavérique” perfectly blends multiple styles with sheer brutality and intensity to create a very powerful and punishing release.

    Opening with the moody “Onirique”, the band unleashes a crushing opening that slowly transitions into more melodic and sinister territories. We love how the track transitions into heavy atmospherics and a slower pace and then it jumps back at the listener with sheer brutality. If the first highly impressive track did not hook the listener, “Vampirique” and “Chromatique” combine lush atmospherics, crafty acoustic guitars and a mixture of high-octane onslaughts and dreamy interludes.

  • Arche - Transitions (2022)

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    One of our favorite genres at Infernal Masquerade has to be any variant of Death/Doom Metal, particularly during winter, Funeral Doom Metal releases are just the best for a stroll in the cold weather. Today we have Finland’s latest export named Arche and their full-length debut “Transitions”. Featuring three songs and over 36 minutes of music, this release shows a worthy competitor to Finnish greats like Thergothon, Shape of Despair and Skepticism.

  • Project 34 - Project 34 (2022)

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    Unleashing a whole musical experience on its own, Project 34 is set to release their eponymous third release in December of 2022. Led by Chris & Renee Lahoud from Australia, this project combines over 30 musicians from over 13 countries, creating one of the most distributed collaborations we have heard in the dark corners of Metal music. Clocking in at 64 minutes, this album is composed of three different chapters divided in 19 songs that cover many genres of Metal and non-Metal styles.

    Instead of reviewing track by track, we will focus more on each of the three chapters, the first one is comprised of tracks 1 to 5 and it kicks off with Middle-Eastern instrumentation and it quickly leads into heavy distorted guitars and a certain Ihshan-esque proggy vibe as the saxophone comes into play. The guitar leads are quite intoxicating and perfectly blended between moments of aggression and great melody, particularly in the third song of this chapter which sounds a bit like if Opeth would play both their old stuff with some of their groovier newer elements.

  • Soen - Atlantis (2022)

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    Hailing from Sweden (mainly), Soen is a Progressive Metal band formed by Martín López (ex-Opeth, ex-Amon Amarth) on drums and Joel Ekelöf on vocals. Having Steve Di Giorgio on bass at some point, this band has been labeled as a super group and they quite live up to their branding with five excellent full-length releases under their belts. With “Atlantis” the band’s strips down their sound (a bit) and delivers a very unique semi-acoustic experience with extra vocals and string arrangements.

    As part of a live DVD release and special occasions live set, “Atlantis” delivers the band’s greatest hits in a more intimate and elegant way. We have tracks like “Antagonist” and “Trails” with additional arrangements giving them an extra heartfelt vibe and nicely highlighting Joel’s charismatic lead vocals. Other songs like “Jinn” have been enhanced with some lush Middle-eastern inspired string arrangements alongside the band’s commanding distorted guitars.

  • Grift - Vilsna andars utmark (2022)

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    Delivering to solemn and very well crafted Folk/Neofolk tracks, today we have Sweden’s Grift and their latest 7-inch “Vilsna andars utmark”. While fans of Black Metal and DSBM will not find what they are looking for here, this is still a very eclectic and moody release that quite fits Erik Gärdefors style of calmer and yet dark and sinister music.

  • In The Woods… - Diversum (2022)

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    Just when you think a band that you really like will be heading downhill after replacing their vocalist, the band comes back with one epic release easing all concerns. Luckily for us, this is the case for In the Woods… and their latest opus “Diversum”. Blowing people's minds back in the mid to late 90’s with the evolution of their Black Metal roots to Avant-garde Metal territories, the band came back to life in 2014 with three of the band’s original members and a new vocalist which was quickly replaced by the super talented James Fogarty of Ewigkeit/Old Forest fame.

    The band’s clean vocals have always been one of their staple elements and luckily on the band’s return ‘Mr Fog’ was able to hold his own and added to the band’s sound with his own unique style. Replacing him was a tall order however, with Bernt Fjellestad the band’s sound is even more epic than before. From the opener “The Coward’s Way” to the majestic “Moment”, we are quickly impressed with the soaring clean vocals and their transition to harsh screams. The music greatly adds to the overall feeling of elation thanks to its crafty proggy and yet heavy nature, with some piercing Black Metal-ish riffs that weirdly fit perfectly.

  • Eternal Helcaraxe - Drown in Ash (2022)

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    With the amount of promos we get, sometimes we miss some truly unique gems like “Drown in Ash” by Eternal Helcaraxe. Luckily, we have a system to check out nearly every single album we receive and review some of the most impressive ones. Hailing from Ireland, this outfit delivers a highly melancholic and melodic blend of Atmospheric elements and fierce Black Metal. From start to finish this release will keep you to the edge of your seat and will leave you wanting more.

    The onslaught begins with the somber “Withered Strands Of Existence” and its lush dreamy opening that suddenly turns hectic with waves of crafty guitars, pummeling drums and harsh vocals. There is a certain melancholic magic on the clean vocal arrangements that flank the intensity of the music, making the song quite effectives. With an Austere meets Saor vibe, tracks like the album title song, “Where Dead Things Roam Free” and “None Of It Mattered” fiercely explore the bands multiple facets from relentless aggression to minimalistic acoustic interludes.

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