Originally released back in 2012, Panopticon’s “Kentucky” is the band’s seminal release in which they mix both Black Metal and Folk/Americana/Bluegrass elements in a brilliant way. Just as when it was originally released, this release will certainly catch a new wave of people by surprise as the genres are not intuitively easily combined. Multi-instrumentalist Austin L. Lunn certainly pulled of one of the most unique releases of all times, and this is you latest chance to get a copy of it.
The album instantly raises eyebrows with the Folky/Americana-inspired “Bernheim Forest in Spring” as it leads into the explosive and very aggressive “Bodies Under the Falls”. With this transition we are back into more familiar territories with harsh vocals, punishing riffs and tight drums. This track masterfully weaves back and forth between heavy passages and lush banjo-led sections that work perfectly with the flow of the song.
Featuring the highly distinctive vocals of James Fogarty of Ewigkeit and In the Woods… fame, today we have Sollertia and their debut release “Light”. Playing a very unique mixture of Progressive Doom/Gothic Metal with Dark Metal elements, this release is pretty hard to pin down, but very effective in creating unique songs that are quite engaging. For fans of uniquely dark music, this album provides over 55 minutes of mysterious music that is very enjoyable and it is full of surprises.
After the warm-up intro, this trio sets a somber mood with the melancholic Gothic vibe of “Abstract Object Theory”. The music is quite mellow and very well paced, allowing James Fogarty’s talented vocals to shine. Providing contrasting harsh vocals on a few tracks, Vanja Obscure does a pretty solid job in shaking things up with her shrieks, changing the pace of songs like “Pascal’s Wager”, “The Devil’s Seethe” and “Positive Disintegration”.
Delivering one of the most decadent aural assaults of the year, today we have super group Gravetemple and their sophomore full-length release “Impassable Fears”. Featuring luminaries like Stephen O’Malley, Oren Ambarchi, Attila Csihar, and Matt Sanders, this super-band’s experimental Drone/Doom will leave your ears ringing and claiming for more. Filled with punishing riffs, trippy Drone elements and completely haunting vocals, this release will certainly catch you by surprise.
Opening with the track “A Szarka”, the band sets a very dissonant mood with funky percussions and heavily distorted guitars leading the way for Attila’s sickening vocals. Thing continue on a downward spiral as the superbly creepy “Elavúlt Földbolygó” arrives with its Event Horizon-like vocals and a very unsettling pace. Brilliantly crafting at atmosphere of anxiety and discomfort, in two tracks, Gravetemple has full control of the listener’s psyche.
Hailing surprisingly from the USA, today we have Amiensus and their latest EP “All Paths Lead to Death”. We are surprised they are from the USA because their Progressive Black Metal sound is quite European-like, delivering nearly 30 minutes of quality music that should not be missed by any fan of the genre. Perfectly mixing aggression with technical proficiency, this release has a certain Agalloch, Aenaon, and even Borknagar-ish vibe, making it quite impressive.
Opening with the brutal “Gehenna”, the release starts up with a very intense pace and crafty vocal arrangements going from harsh to clean. This opening track provides a peek into the band’s creative range and musical creativity. The onslaught continues with the pummeling drumming of “Moth of the Abyss” and its intricate guitar work. We particularly like how tight this release sounds thanks to the crystal clear production behind it.
Hailing from Denmark, today we have Sunken and their killer debut release “Departure”. Delivering over 50 minutes of heavily atmospheric Black Metal, this band creates a very powerful and melancholic atmosphere that will enshroud you with its misery. Focusing on crafting smarter tracks, this release feels and sounds a lot different than your run-of-the-mill Atmospheric BM outfit.
After the warm-up instrumental opening, the band opens this release with the full-blast onslaught of the first few minutes of “Void”. This song slowly mellows out and leads way to brilliant atmospheric passages with a prominent bass guitar line and catchy percussions. The album title track comes at us with another brilliant mixture of melancholy with devilish intensity with harsh vocals, furiously paced sections, and jazzy atmospheric passages.
Featuring current and past members of bands like Negură Bunget, Din Bard, and Dordeduh, Argus Megere delivers a very interesting full-length release titled “VEII”. With some clear Negură Bunget/Dordeduh influences, the band’s atmospheric Black Metal is top notch and for over 40 minutes transports the listeners into unique soundscapes.
Opening with “Carul cerului” the mood is slowly being set with distorted guitars and a very ritualistic atmospheric progression. This progression slowly leads to harsh BM-style vocals and very lively guitar work that crafts a unique and distinctive style for the band. Keeping the atmosphere going, we have a very chilling opening to “Tronul celui ce stă de strajă” which suddenly leads to harsh Black Metal passages and very magical keyboard arrangements. The clean vocal sections are quite well introduced and nicely boost the level of epicness of the song.
With countless bands playing Doom and its variants these days, it is hard to find bands that managed to deliver something different. Today we have Hexer and their Oriental infused Doom onslaughts that managed to grab our attention and a permanent spot on our Doom albums of 2017 rotation. Delivering three songs and around 36 minutes of music, the band presents a well-known sound with a set of tweaks that make it worthy of your attention.
The album starts with the mysterious “Merkaba”, a 12 minute piece that slowly builds up in a very ritualistic manner. This track is presents us with a unique journey that is far from linear and has more than enough surprises for the listener with multiple influences thrown into the mix. The band’s atmospheric journey continues with the punishing riffing of “Pearl Snake”, which borders in Sludge/Doom territories. The oriental elements take this track to a whole new level by adding depth and intrigue.
Being huge fans of Atmospheric/Post Black Metal releases, we are quite puzzled how this little gem managed to sit on our virtual review queue for this long. Labeled as an international band, Grieving Mirth unleashes their debut EP titled “Calamitosvs Omine”, featuring five brilliant pieces of highly melancholic extreme music. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Heretoir, Anomalie, Harakiri for the Sky, Austere, this release is quite an interesting find.
The album opens with the ravaging “Malaugurio”, a song that sets the tone for this release with heavily melancholic riffs and powerful drumming. All of this is perfectly rounded up with firm harsh vocals that differ from your traditionally used BM shrieks. The band’s intensity level is quite impressive making the songs be both very melancholic and brutal at the same time, “Indelectavs” is a clear example of this.
Hailing from the UK, today we have Telepathy and their crushing release “Tempest”. Mixing elements of Post-Rock/Metal with Sludge and a few other influences, the band manages to release a triumphant album that will put them on the spotlight right next to outfits like Cult of Luna, The Ocean, and Tides from Nebula.
Setting the mood with “First Light”, the band really showcases its riffing capabilities with the tense “Smoke from Distant Fires”. In this track we have a slow progression that weaves back and forth between Post-Metal and Post-Rock soundscapes. The drumming even reaches some Black Metal-esque passages that are actually quite fitting with the music’s direction.
Hailing from France, today we have Symphonic/Progressive Black Metal outfit Akroma and their fourth full-length release titled “Apocalypse (Requiem)”. Delivering over 40 minutes of intricate music and catchy melodic passages, the band spends most of the release trying to overcome their terrible singer. Luckily for the band, their music and other vocal arrangements are good enough to not fully bring down such an interesting release.
Opening with “Kyrie” we get that old-school Symphonic Black Metal vibe from the late 90’s and all things seem to be on track for a great album. However, the mixture of shrieks/Heavy Metal-styled vocals come on and they are downright horrendous and painful to listen to. Imagine a mixture of King Diamond and Dani Filth having a very bad vocal day and magnify it by 10x. While the growls and female vocals are pretty good and well fitting, sometimes is pretty hard to zone out the bad ones as you can hear on the awesomely proggy “Offertorium”.