• Ishtar – From The Gates (2013)


    Delivering a very unique EP, today we have Ishtar and their debut release “From The Gates”. Hailing from France, this six-piece band merges Black/Death Metal with a hefty dosage of atmospheric elements and passages to create a very unique sounding release. With the French Metal scene gaining more and more exposure over the years, Ishtar is one of those bands that deserve to be talked about.

    After the typical intro track, “Invading Empire” delivers a very unique mixture of Black and Death Metal elements, similar to bands like Kataklysm and older acts like Your Shapeless Beauty (minus the Avant-garde elements). In this track, the band explodes into a very melodic section (around the middle of the song) that has a nice experimental vibe to it and explored their atmospheric power.

  • Sarvas – Sarvas (2014)


    Completely redefining what we know about Sludge Metal, today we have Sarvas and their self-titled debut release. Fusing elements of Death/Doom Metal with some Groove and a base of Slude, this Finnish band manages to craft a very unique sound that is far from the traditional (and sometimes dull) Sludge Metal genre. Delivering 6 punishing tracks, this release will surely have something that everybody will love.

    Opening with “Kindle”, we get a traditional beginning to this song that slowly that sets up the stage for the forthcoming onslaughts. The album quickly evolves into catchy, groovy, atmospheric brilliance, as we get to listen from the emotional “Dead Pilot”. Don’t you even think for a minute that the Sludgy riffing is lacking in this release, since “Pit” makes it quite clear that you will feel the power of Sarvas’s Doomy riffage.

  • Black Desert – The Beginning (2013)


    Hailing from Spain, today we have Gothic Metal newcomers Black Dessert and their Middle Eastern influenced debut release “The Beginning”. Originally comprised of two members (Isabel Bermejo y Ángel Agüera), this band has now grown to have a full line-up and touring dates. In a world filled with Symphonic/Gothic Metal bands, it is quite refreshing to hear one that sticks to the basics and delivers an engaging performance.

    Opening with the lush “Death Orchestra”, we are treated to cool atmospheric elements filled with powerful riffs and solid drums. A thing to note is that we are not quite sure who (if anybody) played the drums in this release, but they sound quite solid and if they are programmed drums, they did a great job making them sound natural. Anyways, the band’s main characteristic is the subtle Middle Eastern influences and Isabel’s commanding voice.

  • When Icarus Falls – Circles (2014)


    Building up on their excellent discography comprised of “Over The Frozen Seas“ and “Aegean”, When Icarus Falls delivers another gem with the EP “Circles”. Featuring three new tracks and a remix of “Nyx”, the band keeps pushing the limits of Post-Metal with their own forward thinking sound in this release. Filled with lush atmospheres and savage riffs, this band deserves a place right next to Neurosis thanks to their music.

    The mood is instantly set with the suspenseful “Erechtion”, a track that perfectly dances around the aggression of Post-Metal and the dreaminess of Post-Rock. The band perfectly crafts a very intriguing atmosphere and the harsh lashings nicely contrast it. Keeping on this tradition, “The Great North” exploits subtle keyboards to further the band’s atmospheric component and create very well paced songs. Jumping back and forth between harsh and clean vocals, this track is quite elaborate and a very unique one.

  • The Bleeding – Rites of Putrefaction (2013)


    With a hefty dose of blistering riffs and gripping growls, today we have Italy’s The Bleeding and their self-released EP “Rites of Putrefaction”. With over 24 minutes of neck breaking Death Metal, this Italian band does a great job of capturing a mix of Florida and Swedish Death Metal, resulting in a very solid self-released first effort.

    Things get kicked off with the catchy “The Hunt”, a track that is quite enjoyable and has a solid amount of powerful riffs and hateful growls. The band’s style is quite traditional, but very enjoyable for fans of the genre. “Rites of Putrefaction” features a faster pace and tight drums, showcasing the band’s excellent execution of all their instruments.

  • SynoP – 77 Bombers (2014)


    Making its way from The Netherlands, one man Ambient/Neo-classical project SynoP brings us their fourth release titled “77 Bombers”. Inspired by some paintings of crashed 77 bombers, this release is a cinematic experience that is better enjoyed when watching the video the artist crated of the paintings found here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbI5dsnhZz4). For 13 tracks we get a very healthy mix of Ambient with Minimalist touches, spoken word sections, and some very moving Neo-classical passages.

    The album instantly opens with the title track, a song that features some airplane sounds before it creates some cavernous atmospheric passages. As the release progresses, we are left with plenty of scattered pieces here and there in tracks like “Rumble in the sky”, “Endless view”, “Dark clouds over Europe”, all of the helping to create a very hypnotic vibe and furthering the mistery behind “77 Bombers”.

  • Anathème – Kodama San (2012)


    Arriving today from France we have Anathème and their Japanese themed “Kodama San” release. Featuring five brilliant Post-Rock tracks, this release gets the band comparisons to Godspeed Your Black Emperor, Mogwai, Tides of Nebula, and Poland’s Lebowski. Adorned by excellent cover art, the listener gets a fully immersive experience with this album and the band’s expansive yet melancholic music.

    Opening with the eloquently titled “Gizmo vs 21st Passenger”, the band uses some cool spoken vocal/samples in Japanese to set the mood as their dreamy guitars lead the way. The vocal arrangements in this track are quite hypnotic and enjoying thanks to some catchy riffs. Further developing their sound with the cascading guitars/drums in “Le Russe Blanc”, we are immediately captivated by the band’s focus on atmosphere and how skilled they are at crafting moving songs.

  • Veonity – Live Forever (2013)


    Arriving from Sweden in a lush digipack format, today we have newcomers Veonity and their three-song EP titled “Live Forever”. Perfectly capturing the atmosphere of 90’s Power Metal, this very young band makes an impressive debut with this release. If you are a fan of older Stratovarius, Helloween, and Gamma Ray, you will not be disappointed by the energy and intensity behind this short but sweet EP.

    Opening with the EP title track, the band instantly delivers blistering guitar leads and a very balanced sound. The epic vocal melodies drive this song to the top of the pile when it comes to new Power Metal bands. With excellent lead guitars and tight drumming, we proceed to the next epic track “Slaves In A Holly War”, a track that presents us with more guitar wizardry and extreme catchiness.

  • Shrapnel Storm – We Come in Peace… (2013)


    Steamrolling their way from Finland, today we have Shrapnel Storm and their monstrous two song demo titled “We Come in Peace…”. With the Death Metal scene being invaded by tons of posers and pseudo-Death Metal, it is quite refreshing to hear a release that goes back to the basics of imposing riffs, brutal vocals, and a very polished traditional sound.

    The release immediately sets a brutal tone with the commanding old-school inspired riffing of “Detracked”. In this track the band quickly sets a very traditional Death Metal mood with crunchy riffs and imposing guitars. The production is quite clear and allows every detail of the song to show.

  • Il Rumore Bianco - Mediocrazia (2013)


    Packaged in a very well designed Digipack, today we have Italy’s Il Rumore Bianco and their excellent EP titled “Mediocrazia”. In this four sound release, the band seamlessly combines elements of bands like Yes, Elfonia and Dream Theater with some more experimental Jazz and Fusion elements. Led by the charismatic vocals of Eddy Fiorio, this is one extremely refined band that delivers lush atmospheric and melancholic tracks.

    The release opens with the playful “Tutto un Sogno” part one that delivers a very Yes-like Proggy Atmosphere. The instruments are very well layered and the psychedelic synths work wonders with the overall pace of the song. The band’s experimental side of things comes out with the intoxicating “Il Vestito Buono, a song filled with excellent vocal leads and quirky tempo changes.


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