• Sigh – Graveward (2015)


    We love it when bands push the limits of music and Sigh is a fine example of how to continue finding odd ways to further expand your sound in the most bizarre and exciting ways. With “Graveyard” the band continues down their path of madness and delivers one of the most exciting releases of 2015. Featuring a plethora of guest appearances and a central theme around Italian zombie flicks and Fabio Frizzi’s compositions, this is one of the must have releases of 2015.

    Leading with guest Kelly Simonz’s guitar leads on “Kaedit Nos Pestis” and the dramatic atmospheric/psychedelic elements of “Graveward”, the band sets a very atmospheric and chaotic mood right from the start. Mirai Kawashima and Dr. Mikannibal have an amazing chemistry and their insane vocal incursions are just one of many things that make Sigh quite unique. The madness reaches new level with the very cinematic “The Tombfiller” and its killer symphonic arrangements, brilliant guitar solos (courtesy of Kelly S again) and crazy effects.

  • Winterfylleth – The Divination of Antiquity (2014)


    As a solid contender for Black Metal album of 2014, today we have Winterfylleth and their ravaging latest release: “The Divination of Antiquity”. Showing that Black Metal does not need to be static to deliver raw brutality, the band has been slowly morphing over time while maintaining their devastating BM roots. In this release the band’s sound is as crisp as ever delivering eight brilliant onslaughts of sheer devastation that any fan of the genre will surrender to.

    Opening with dissonant title track, we can hear fierce drumming and a melodic undertone in the band’s blistering first few minutes. This level of intensity only lets go when the band is delivery melancholic passages that further enhance the destructive powers of their music. The band’s superb ability to construct playful riffs that shift the mood of the song in an instant, are clearly outlined in songs like “Whisper of the Elements”. We particularly love the disarming melancholic passage in this song that bleeds into more merciless brutality.

  • The Wounded Kings – Consolamentum (2014)


    With “the power of the riff” being in its highest moment, bands like Electric Wizard and Bongripper are killing it in festivals like Roadburn and Hammer of Doom. Under these circumstances comes The Wounded Kings, a UK outfit that delivers uncompromising Doom Metal with crunchy distortion and a very natural vibe. With “Consolamentum”, the band fourth full-length release, they are looking to consolidate themselves as one of the premiere bands of the genre.

    Wasting no time, the release opens with the 13-minute monolithic “Gnosis” to give the listener a good idea of what the band is all about. With a hearty distortion and excellent pace, the band rips through endless punishing riffs nicely adorned by Sharie Neyland’s captivating vocals. Just imagine a more traditional Jex Thoth and you can picture what The Wounded Kings sound like, as they evidently display on the pummeling “Lost Bride”.

  • Ihsahn – Das Seelenbrechen (2013)


    Being huge fans of Ihsahn, we finally made the pilgrimage this year to watch him play live at the Afterburner in the legendary Roadburn Festival. Having surrounded himself with the extremely talented musicians of Leprous as his ‘backing band’, he delivered quite an impressive performance by nailing almost all the songs with brilliant technical perfection. Anyways, on his latest release, “Das Seelenbrechen”, he pushes the envelope even further with a lot of experimentation and a few of his signature elements. If you are expecting another “After” or “Eremita”, you might find yourself scratching your head a bit with this one.

    Enlisting Leprous drummer-extraordinaire Tobias Ørnes Andersen for this release, Ihsahn as always handled everything else. Things seem to open in a very traditional way with the beginning of “Hilber”, a seemingly straightforward track that starts getting crazy as the odd keyboards come up. While this track is quite engaging, the weirdness is still manageable for all fans of Ihsahn. “Regen” takes a turn for the dramatic with clean vocals and a very dark vibe. The ballad-esque opening nicely builds up to some very epic moments as the song progresses. This track is one of our favorite ones thanks to the brilliant mood progression and dramatic climax.

  • Sadgiqacea - False Prism (2013)


    With everybody and their mothers playing Doom/Sludge Metal it is getting quite annoying to weed out the bad releases from the good ones without investing too much time in it. Luckily for us, Sadgiqacea made it very easy since the first song of their debut release “False Prism” is pretty epic and quite unique from your average band in the genre. Hailing from the USA, this two-piece delivers four crushing tracks of powerful Doom/Sludge that will greatly appeal to fans of bands like Black Cobra all the way to Neurosis.

    Opening with “False Segments”, the band pummels away with some very cool (and heavy) guitars that are above your average repetitive Doom/Sludge guitar work. The band’s knack for creative rhythms and excellent musical skills allows them to sound different while retaining the griminess of the genre. As the track nears its end, there are some very cool details that made us enjoy it even more.

  • Anaal Nathrakh - Vanitas (2012)


    Total aural destruction is probably the best way to describe Anaal Nathrakh’s latest ear-piercing sonic abuse of a release titled “Vanitas”. As one of the band’s that constantly keeps improving their abilities to abuse the listener through their extreme music, Anaal Nathrakh has done it again with this release and delivers ten punishing tracks that will make your head fall off after headbanging for almost 40 minutes.

    Blasting this release wide open with “The Blood Dimmed Tide”, the band opens with some Industrial-ish passage before heading to full-blown chaos. The vocals are as crushing as always, and the drumming is as intense as ever. The traditional deranged screams nicely make this piece very memorable indeed. Blasting into “Forging Towards the Sunset”, we are barely given any time to mellow out when the abuse returns. This track has some cool clean vocals that add a bit of an epic feeling to the song in the same way that Emperor did back in “In the Nightside Eclipse”.

  • Winterfylleth – The Threnody of Triumph (2012)


    With the same power and intensity of bands like Primordial, today we have Winterfylleth and their highly anticipated third release “The Threnody of Triumph”. After re-releasing their debut masterpiece earlier this year, “The Ghost of Heritage”, through their current label Candlelight Records, the band is ready to return with yet another excellent release. Everybody that claims to play Black Metal with atmospheric elements should take a page of the Winterfylleth book since they manage to create very furious songs that suddenly change 180 degrees and blow you away with some brilliant atmospheric stuff, the best example is the opener track “A Thousand Winters”.

    Furiously blasting through tracks like “The Swart Raven”, “A Memorial”, and “The Glorious Plain”, the band will decimate your ears with their uniquely crafted wall of sound created by the distorted guitars and greatly complemented by the majestic drumming. This sound is greatly enhanced by the occasional keyboard hints here and there and it gets elevated through the excellent clean vocals the band throws around.

  • Daylight Dies – A Frail Becoming (2012)


    Keeping up the genre started back in the day by bands like Paradise Lost, Opeth, Anathema, and Katatonia, today we have Daylight Dies and their latest exploits into the Melodic Death/Doom Metal areas. Since all of the previously mentioned band have moved on and play completely different music now compared to when they started, it is good to hear that Daylight Dies has not given into the ‘pressure’ of being more commercially friendly or ‘evolve’ as the other bands have eloquently called it.

    If you never go to hear the legendary bands start this old ‘trend’, more recently we have Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum, end others doing a killer job in keeping the flame alive and adding an extra level of technicality to the music. “A Frail Becoming” takes us back to the times when bands didn’t needed extreme acrobatic guitar sections or (too many) keyboards to create depressing atmospheres. Daylight Dies relies on solid and repetitive guitar work with the proper tuning and a heavy sense of melody, and of course the occasional intricate guitar solo here and there. The music also relies on a certain pace and excellent growls more recently mixed with a good dose of clean vocals, something that the band excels at.

  • Ihsahn – Eremita (2012)


    After the astonishing “After”, Ihsahn returns with the even more impressive “Eremita”. With an impressive list of achievements behind him, Ihsahn delivers an album where he builds up on the sound he crafted for “After” and delivers nine brilliant tracks of Extreme Progressive Metal in his trademark style and a nice dosage of sexy saxophone, just what the doctor ordered (at least for us).

    Being backed by his ‘live band’ the super talented guys from Leprous, Ihsahn actually had the band’s drummer Tobias Ornes Andersen handle these duties for the recording of this release. Featuring the characteristic Ihsahn approach to things, he again pushes the boundaries of his musical explorations and delivers a very rich experience that has so many layers it takes more than a few spins for “Eremita” fully sink in, and be completely enjoyed.

    With the powerful opener “Arrival”, the funky psychedelic keyboard nicely sets the tone for the excellent guitar layers. The traditional harsh Ihsahn vocals open this release in a very direct manner, nicely shifting into the more harmonious clean sections. The atmosphere is very similar to “After”, but it has that extra funky psychedelic edge to it that makes this song very intoxicatingly appealing. “The Paranoid” keeps things rolling with a very aggressive opening and whacky guitar sections, this track nicely jumps up and down in terms of tempo, and the horn-like sounds near the end are just outstanding.

    The more mellow “Introspection” features a nice combination of psychedelic keyboards with a hefty dosage of powerful guitar riffs, all packaged in a very moody track that reminded us a bit of old Ulver, Borknagar, and Arcturus in some points. This release by far has been more aggressive than the previous one, and we are only on the third song. The brilliant sax of Jorgen Munkeby makes “The Eagle and the Snake” a very sexy piece that feels very deranged in nature with some awesome melodic and Doom-like passages, making this song one of our favorites of this release. In “Catharsis” the mood is toned down a bit, and feels like a very exploratory track that features very interesting drum patterns and melancholic vocal sections.

    As many of Emperor’s and the more Black Metal fans of Ihsahn are expecting, “Something Out There” starts very aggressive and Emperor-like, but it nicely switches back and forth between the old style and the more refined Ihsahn signature style, a very interesting and well-constructed song we have to add. After the very theatrical “Grief”, “The Grave” bleeds out of it, and with a nice layer of saxophone it delivers a very dark and mysterious atmosphere. This song is quite caothic and a bit disturbing since it is more of an atmospheric piece than a full-on riffing assault track, making it a bit hard to process at first, but quite an exciting piece once it sinks in.

    Closing with “Departure”, this atmospheric piece features a very interesting drum track, kind of free flowing and loose at first, before moving into more razor sharp sections. The progressive elements in this track are very solid, and the experimental stuff featured is quite intoxicating and weird at the same time. The pace is quite weird and very convoluted, creating an excellent song that goes in many different directions, but it is nicely held back by the heavy atmosphere it creates.

    Overall, Ihsahn has done it once more; he manages to push the boundaries of his sound to even further and more complex spaces. This release features nine tracks of brilliant progressive music that is both extreme and melodic in nature. The guitar layers are just magical, and we can only imagine him bringing them into the live setting. If you are hesitating on buying this release, give yourself a slap in the face and get it, it is better than any of his previous albums by a metric ton of brilliance.

  • Winterfylleth - The Ghost of Heritage (2012) reissue


    While we wait for some more new music from Winterfylleth, Candlelight is re-releasing their debut full-length release “The Ghost of Heritage”. With a complete overhaul in the packaging and a remastered sound, this excellent album sounds even more impressive and clear than before, showcasing Winterfylleth’s destructive nature.

    The wall of distorted guitars is immediately set with the devastating opening track “Mam Tor (The Shivering Mountain)”. In this track the band shows their polished BM sound similar to Wolves In The Throne Room and those kinds of bands. The riffing is punishing, but the harsh screams are just magical in this context. There are some clean choir-like vocals that add creepiness to the song and nicely contrast the excellent guitar work. Things turn a bit into the unknown with the atmospheric acoustic guitar driven track “The March to Maldon”, a very nice and momentum building song. This track was just the buildup before the explosive “Brithnoth: The Battle of Maldon”.


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