Luckily for those of us unfortunate to Waste of Space Orchestra at Roadburn, Svart Records releases a perfect quality recording of this event with “Syntheosis”. For the uninitiated, this project is a collaboration between Oranssi Pazuzu and Dark Buddha Rising, two of the most exciting genre-bending bands to ever come out of Finland. Clocking in at 65 minutes, this a unique musical exploration that transports the listeners to a bizarre plane of existence.
Slowly building up, “Void Monolith” starts the performance with an introduction to craft psychedelic extravagance thanks to the warm and fuzzy distorted guitars and trippy synths. The madness truly begins with the chaotic “The Shamanic Vision” and its crushing drumming. The deranged vocals make this song even more terrifying thanks to their unique range and style. The underlying melodies of songs like “Seeker’s Reflection” and “Journey to the Center of Mass” are quite intoxicating with a certain jazzy vibe, and perfectly crafted around trippy tempo changes.
There are good releases and then there are those albums that crawl under your skin and make you crave for more. NONE has continuously delivered some of the most punishing and bleak Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal releases since its inception and “Damp Chill of Life” is yet another brilliant addition to their discography. Filled with haunting atmospheric elements and just the right amount of heaviness, this release is one of the best in the genre for 2019, so don’t miss out.
After the atmospheric opener, the album title track kicks off the release properly with an enigmatic pace and punishing distorted guitars. Additional atmospheric elements create a very vast and desolate soundscape that will immerse you in misery and sorrow. If the previous song was not punishment enough, the minimalist opening to “Cease” sets a very grievous mood with sparse piano notes to warm up. The song’s climax comes with heavy distorted guitars, crushing vocals and a killer slow pace.
This re-issue of the Black Metal classic “The Final War Approaches”, showcases Armagedda and their raw sound that inspired legions of BM bands to this day. Originally released in 2002, this release has aged very well as we still get 20-30 albums a year that try to capture the grittiness of such old-school albums. Armagedda has long split-up, but this debut release is a testament to their contributions to the early days of Black Metal.
Opening with the intense “Deathminded”, we instantly get that old-school European Black Metal rawness with its intense riffing and hellish vocals. The signature punk-ish drumming on tracks like “Sign of Evil” and “Skogens mörka djup” keeps the songs tight and engaging. The songs in this release perfectly combine speed and all-out destruction with more moderate melodic passages, similar to bands like Satyricon and Enslaved (early days). Vintage songs like “Unholy Sacrifice” are the types of tracks that got us into BM back in the day, and are still effective in delivering the genre’s aggressive message.
Getting over 50 promos a week, sometimes we miss excellent releases like Helevon’s “Aamamata”. Hailing from Spain, this Gothic/Doom Metal outfit took around 5 years to unleash their latest effort, but it was definitely worth the wait. With nearly an hour of music, this release further evolves their sound into more atmospheric and epic territories. If you are a fan of bands like My Dying Bride, The Foreshadowing and similar outfits, this release should be in your collection.
The release opens with the lively riffs of “A Sail to Sanity”, in this opener, the band has their older more direct Death/Doom Metal style, delivered with a catchy bass guitar line and solid tempo changes. The band steps up their efforts with the gut-wrenching “Goodbye Hope”, perfectly blending clean and harsh vocals with subtle piano elements and clean guitars. Josep Brunet signature vocals brilliantly infuse songs like “Blackened Waves” with raw emotions.
Béla Lugosi and Pestifer are back with this short but sweet 7” Siculicidium EP titled “A halál és az iránytű”. Always crafting a truly unique and foul sound, this Romanian outfit unleashes two powerful tracks that will generate expectations of what is to come in the future.
Opening with the clean intro of “A halál”, this tracks slowly builds up to a cool Black’n’Roll-ish guitar section that gives a certain twangy vibe to the song. Béla Lugosi’s deep vocals perfectly fit the funky tempo of this track, mostly marked by the Punk-ish drum patterns.
Unleashing a dense and punishing Funeral Doom/Death Metal release, today we have Ataraxie and their latest effort “Résignés”. Featuring four tracks and over 80 minutes of music, the listener is in for monumental 20 minute tracks that slowly unravel to unleash heaviness and brutality. Blending old-school Death Metal elements into their Funeral Doom composition, the band creates a very unique and ravaging aural assault.
The album leads with the pummeling “People Swarming, Evil Ruling”, as heavy crunchy riffs lead the way to traditional growls and an overall feeling of helplessness. We particularly enjoy the dreamy interlude that breaks the song in two, just before more brutality is around the corner. Our version of the release continues with the album title track, a song that combines the rawness of Thergothon with the weeping guitars of Mournful Congregation in a crushing package.
Truly experimental experimental releases that are cohesive and engaging are hard to find. Luckily, today we have Bergraven and their masterfully chaotic release “Det framlidna minnet”. Completely pushing the sonic boundaries of Folk and Black Metal, this album delivers eight tracks and over 54 minutes of maddening jazzy music that is not for the faint of heart. Similar to band’s like Furze, Virus, Code and DHG, this outfit delivers truly mesmerizing music.
Opening with a trippy psychedelic intro, the band slowly eases the listener into their decadent world with “Allt”. This track unleashes harsh screams paired with proggy riffs and chaotic tempo changes, in a very jazzy and moody atmosphere. We are sucker for jazzy songs and “Den följsamma plågan” is an absolutely brilliant one, filled with lush string and wind instrumental arrangements, which are perfectly offset by funky guitars and harsh screams.
As one of the most anticipated Atmospheric Black Metal releases of 2019, today we have Austria’s Ellende with “Lebensnehmer”. Slowly gaining underground notoriety with their first two releases, this one-man band is ready for the spotlight with their lush atmospheric sound that perfectly combined melody with sheer aggression. For over 50 minutes and eight tracks, this release continues to polish the band’s sound and delivers ravaging soundscapes that should not be missed by anyone.
After a moody intro, “Augenblick” delivers waves of punishing riffs, blasting drums and melodic passages, perfectly combined in one hell of an emotional rollercoaster of a song. Handling all instruments (except drums) and all songwriting duties, Lukas Gosch is an expert in creating raw melancholic tracks, like “Die Wege”, which are full of charisma and a massive wall of sound. Never getting dull or repetitive, Ellende’s strength lies on timing and flawless execution, introducing plenty of tempo changes that completely change the shape of songs.
Unleashing a very unique an dreamy EP, today we have UK’s Parting Gift with “Ensom”. Featuring five tracks and around 18 minutes of music, this release blends Post-Rock/Shoegazey elements with moody vocal arrangements and lush atmospheric elements. If you are into Post-Rock, Dream Pop, Shoegaze and have a sweet spot for Alternative rock, this is certainly a release that will appeal to your senses.
The album kicks off with the dreamy intensity of “Pale”, a track that instantly showcases the band’s moody vocals and excellent guitar work. This track feels a bit heavier than it sounds, as the guitars could pass on for Melodic DM, but the vocals and overall atmosphere change the vibe to a mellower one. With “3:07 (Moonlight)” the band opens the song in an Alcest-like manner with a very subtle atmosphere, as the vocals nicely elevate the song and complete the moody atmosphere.
Unleashing one of the most demoralizing and punishing Post-Black Metal releases of 2019, today we have Chrome Waves and their debut full-length release “A Grief Observed”. Formed by members and ex members of USBM bands like Twilight, Abigail Williams, Wolvhammer, this outfit crafts some truly harrowing songs filled with emotions and contrasted by savage Black Metal undertones. Presenting brilliantly atmospheric and moody songs, Chrome Waves makes a huge splash in the Post-Black Metal/Blackgaze scene with this release.
Opening with “Burdened”, we instantly get the vibe of bands like Old Silver Key, Grey Waters, thanks to the mixture of dreamy clean vocals and harsh screams. The instrumentation in this opener is quite dramatic with solemn atmospheric passages that perfectly change the tempo of the track. Keeping things heavy and melodic, “Past the Lights” delivers catchy riffs and tight drumming, creating a very powerful and yet melancholic vibe. Again, there is some magic to the way the clean vocal arrangements contrast the pace and intensity of this track, creating a very trippy dreamy depressing vibe.