Formed by Aðalbjörn Addi Tryggvason (Sólstafir) and Ragnar Zolberg (Sign/x-Pain of Salvation), Isafjørd is a new project that delivers a very unique and bleak form of Post-Rock, filled with desolation and despair. Perfect for the winter, this release clocks around 52 minutes of expertly crafted music divided in eight tracks filled with melancholy and atmosphere. If you like Post-Rock, but of the more depressive kind, this is an album you can't miss.
Opening with the trance-inducing “Falin Skemmd”, the band really sets a low-energy desolate mood with weeping guitars and crafty percussions. Aðalbjörn Tryggvason’s vocals perfectly fit the level of melancholy created by the group and when sung in Icelanding add that extra layer of uniqueness as they transmit emotions without necessarily understanding the lyrics, as “Mín Svarta Hlið” and “Hjartastjaki” perfectly capture.
Unleashing nearly 20 minutes of catchy old-school Heavy Metal, today we have Sweden’s Neptune and their EP “The Rebirth”. After releasing some demos in the 80’s, this outfit came back in 2017 and you can instantly tell they have a certain vintage to their sound, making them pretty retro (but in a cool way). If you are a fan of the more direct and straightforward Heavy Metal from the past minus the glam and flamboyance, this release should interest you.
Unleashing a monolithic piece of highly engaging and melancholy oozing music, today we have Elegeion, with their first full-length release in 17 years, and “Plights of the Heretic”. Hailing from Australia, Elegeion was one of those bands that we got introduced to via the Modern Invasion Music label, the other band was a personal favorite: Chalice. Continuing exactly where they left off, but with a mostly new line-up, we are treated to 49 minutes of heart-wrenching melancholic music.
The release starts with the album title track featuring some engaging and mysterious momentum building percussion. Around the second and third minute of this song, the Elegeion signature melodic riffs and guitar leads come in alongside Kindabah’s solemn and excellent vocals. The band’s sound is quite unique to them, and its creator Anthony Kwan, but for the uninitiated, it's highly melancholic and yet straightforward. The somber melancholy perfectly bleeds into the excellent “Dust” and its lush string arrangements paired with harsh vocals and a very Doomy tempo.
Hailing from Washington D.C., today we have DragonForce-esque outfit Quantum Twilight and their self-released debut album “Hypersonic Demolition”. Originally a solo project from multi-instrumentalist Greg Russell, this outfit has some great potential and killer execution, however, it needs to find its own sound as it still sounds too much like other bands. However, not all is bad as the album features nearly 50 minutes of solid tunes.
Opening with the intense “Never Surrender”, we immediately get that DragonForce vibe with the intricate video game-esque guitar leads and overall playful pace. Newcomer vocalist Jarrad Biron Green is pretty talented and sounds well in the songs, particularly when there are backing tracks like on “Champions”, or he tries to use different ranges like on “Intergalactic Onslaught”.
With more and more Melodic Death Metal bands incorporating more modern elements and tons of keyboards to their sound, it is quite refreshing to listen to Decaptacon and their purely-guitar drive old-school Melodic Death Metal release “For Those Who Died”. For fans of old Gardenian, At The Gates, all the way to Centinex and Entombed, this is one crafty release that will bring back some nostalgic moments.
Opening with the sweeping “Buried Alive”, the band very quickly sets a high-octane mode with crafty riffs, superb drumming and dramatic melodic guitar leads. Showing this was not a fluke, “A New Lease of Life”, “Until We Drown”, and “Inner Captivity”keep things rolling with a hearty dose of harsh vocals mixed in some pretty epic headbanging moments and intricate guitar leads.
As one of the many variants of Metal, ‘Pop Metal’ has gained popularity over the last few years with bands like Amaranthe, Battle Beast, etc. Today we have Finnish newcomers Memoremains and their very uninspired titled release “Pop Metal”. Luckily for us, the name is the only uninspired part of this release as the nine tracks presented here are quite catchy and enjoyable.
Opening with “We are One”, the band has a dejavu Amaranthe opening with the first couple of seconds of the track, but then it transitions into their own making with some modern Dark Tranquility-esque keyboards and riffs. The first thing to have to be successful in this genre has to be a charismatic and distinguishable singer, and Johanna Ahonen does a very good job in making tracks like “Sympathy”, “Back Off”, and “Paralyze” her own.
Constantly evolving, American outfit Our Dying World returns with their latest release “Hymns Of Blinding Darkness”, with an engaging Symphonic/Gothic Metal sound. While not extremely polished and still a bit rough around the edges, this outfit delivers nearly 40 minutes of exciting music showcasing good skill and promising songwriting abilities.
After setting the mood with the opener “Ars Moriendi”, the band unleashes “Everything We Know Is Gone”, a track that has a Dark Lunacy vibe, with additional Power/Symphonic Metal elements in the relentless guitar work and keyboards. This style works very well for the band as they deliver engaging songs like “Under The Hunter's Blade”, “Survivor”, and “Path Of The Nomad”.
Creating a very unique mixture of Black/Death/Gothic Metal, today we have Russia’s Saphath and their debut full-length release “Ascension of the Dark Prophet”. Delivering over 44 minutes of music, the ten tracks in this release nicely blend elements from bands like Behemoth, Moonspell, Epica, Dark Tranquillity, and creates a very bombastic and engaging listening experience with tons of hidden details to discover.
Opening with the lush “Children of the Night”, the band delivers vibrant guitars alongside a mixture of aggressive vocals and crafty tempo changes. The music is heavy, but with enough room to incorporate melodic passages and fierce guitar solos. This more melodic and bombastic nature comes front and center in pieces like “Outcast of Eden”, the gothic “Darkness Unleashed”, and the Moonspell-esque “Broken Mirror”. All tracks blend their influences quite well, and still manage to deliver a certain modern Metal edge as shown in “The Daughter of Ice Pains”.
Consistently pushing the boundaries of creating misery-inducing music, Clouds is one of those bands that with each release only keeps getting better and more refined. With “Despărțire” the band sets a new bar for Atmospheric Death/Doom Metal releases with nearly 60 minutes of emotive music that will rip your heart out of its cavity in minutes. Featuring some excellent guest appearances and some additional elements to the band’s already all-encompassing sound, this release is as brilliant as any of the band’s previous efforts.
Opening with the imposing “Deepen This Wound”, we get a very solemn vibe thanks to weeping violins and piercing riffs, perfectly paired with Daneil’s rumbling growls. The use of clean vocals provides a nice contrast and allows the music to flow into more emotional dimensions. In the piercing “This Heart, A Coffin”, the band enlisted none other than Mick Moss to provide additional vocals in this total banger of a song. We particularly enjoy the juxtaposition of the violins, tempo, and clean vocals in this very dynamic piece.
We are always suckers for good Melodic Death Metal releases and luckily for us, Sky Crypt unleashes nearly 40 minutes of catchy and old-school sounding music. In “Incipit Anarchia: Eternity”, this Russian duo manages to carve a personal sound from mixing elements from old Dark Tranquillity, In Flames and At the Gates. If you are a fan of older sounding Melo-Death, this release will keep you busy.
Opening with your traditional atmospheric intro, the release really warms up with “The Dawn of Tyranny” and its catchy riffs paired with crafty tempo changes. The band’s style is quite linear and traditional, and while not bad, it feels a bit uninspired at times with songs like “The Higher Walls”, “The Awe”, and “The Solemn Rite”, all blending together.