• From Beneath Billows – Monolith (2013)


    Delivering six crushing blows of brilliant Post-Metal, today we have Norway’s From Beneath Billows and their latest offering: “Monolith”. With a very well defined sound and excellent composition skills, this album is one hell of a ride for any fan of the genre. Think of Neurosis, The Ocean, Thränenkind, and When Icarus Falls and you will get the perfect picture of what to expect from this very promising Norwegian band.

    Opening with the moody “One Death and the Kings”, this track greatly rewards patience with a very suspenseful progression. Once the guitars get more aggressive and the screams make their appearance, the listener is already fully immersed in the band’s expansive sound. Throwing in some melancholic clean vocals into the mix, From Beneath Billows really captures the vibe of Post-Metal in their own signature sound, as you can immediately find out on “Verity”.

  • Insect Ark – Long Arms (2013)


    Getting tons of submissions online every week, it is quite unusual to find unique releases that command our attention like Insect Ark’s “Long Arms” EP. This one-woman entity delivers three tracks that have Ambient, Electro, and some Drone-ish elements meshed together in one very cohesive sound. A bit out of our comfort zone, we found ourselves enjoying this release more than we expected.

    Opening with the hypnotic “Long Arms”, the release starts in a very ritualistic fashion. There are plenty of trippy elements to make anybody’s drug induced hallucinations 100 times more vivid. Dana Schechter does a great job in putting together interesting percussions, dissonant bass guitar lines, and interesting electronic sounds. “Lift Off” continues in a hypnotic fashion, letting the listener know that this is one album he will not forget thanks to its dramatic and pseudo-psychedelic elements.

  • Natan – Às (2013)


    Going in the stack of ‘why the hell is this band not signed yet’ promos, today we have Belgiums Natan and their sophomore release “Às”. With over 45 minutes of a very unique blend of Pagan Metal, Black Metal, and tons of Avant-garde influences, this release is one of the few that immediately caught our attention and we have been listening to it non-stop. Having a bit of everything for everybody, this band has a truly unique style that is impressively well-crafted.

    Opening with a bang, “Asch” immediately reminds us of Greece’s Aenaon and their very crafty music. The riffing is quite funky and the vocals very harsh, giving a very unique and somewhat progressive vibe to the music. The addition of the clean vocals really gives the band an extra dimension that your average band usually lacks. The intense “Ride Out!” gives us very cool tempo changes and powerful riffs constructed in a very unique and progressive way, reminding us of Enslaved at points.

  • Yith – Demo 3 (2013)


    Bringing back the days of tape trading and home-made demos, today we have Yith and ‘their’ “Demo 3” on a Maxell tape. This American one-man battalion delivers six tracks of punishing Black Metal with Doom Metal influences. As we dusted off our tape player, this demo is quite well produced and will send shivers down your spine with its devastating riffs and demoralizing atmospheric passages.

    Opening with “Beneath the White Mountains”, the Yith immediately punishes the listener with savage Black Metal riffs and vocals. The moment of awesomeness comes when the track mellows out a bit and atmospheric keyboards and a Doomy passages breaks through the cloud of BM onslaughts. “The Woman in Black” is a more ‘mellow’ track where the Black/Doom vibe is very well crafted and creates a very bleak landscape.

  • Malignant Monster – Yours in Murder (2013)


    Featuring a solid ensemble of musicians from bands like The Amenta and Mhorgl, today we have Malignant Monster and their Aussie Black/Death/Thrash Metal attack. In “Yours in Murder” the band delivers over 40 minutes of crushing music combining traditional Death and Thrash Metal elements with a BM edge and a very modern and refined sound.

    Making their presence felt, Malignant Monster delivers crushing riffs since the first song. This track has a vibe similar to The Amenta, but this suddenly changes with the band’s piercing tempo changes and devastating drumming. Certain melodic moments of songs like “Until It Withers” and “Nothing Left” nicely give a different edge to the band’s already polished sound.

  • Mr. Vu – Dark Tales (2013)


    The hardest job here at Infernal Masquerade is giving a bad review to very well intentioned releases. Mr. Vu sadly falls in this category, since while their enthusiasm is amazing, the lack is musical skills gets the better out of “Dark Tales”. We understand this is just a demo version of the tracks, but there are some glaring issues with them. Trying to be as minimally mean as we can, we will continue to go over this album.

    Opening with “Only the hard ones”, we can instantly hear the production deficiencies in this album, but since they are demo versions of songs we will let this go. The style is quite decent, reminding us of retro-80’s music at points; however, the vocals are just awful. We have heard tons of bad singing before, but sadly Mr. Vu is probably one of the worst. Components of the music are quite solid, like on “King of Vitiation”, where we have solid guitar/bass guitar lines, but the vocals and some of the arrangements are very odd.

  • Nerij - Lophophora Williamsii And Monochromatic Perceptions (2013)


    Arriving from Italy, today we have one-man project Nerij and his full-length release “Lophophora Williamsii And Monochromatic Perceptions”. In the vein of Dark Ambient greats Raison d'être, Frozen Ocean, etc., this band delivers 3 tracks that clocking in around 60 minutes of chilling cavernous passages of darkness and madness. If you think that Event Horizon needs a sequel, I believe we have found the soundtrack for it.

    This self-released album starts with the ‘short’ (8-minutes long) “Mental Odyssey I: The Shaman Meets The Psychonaut”. This track provides a nice introduction to the darkest parts of Nerij’s inner workings and gives us an early taste of what is to come. With the first 20+ minute behemoth track being “Mental Odyssey II: Mescaline And The Antithesis Of Ethereal Visions”, we have a front row seat into a trippy sidereal journey. Feeling like an endless voyage through space in a very creepy vessel, this track provides excellent build-up fully immersing the listener.

  • Bandemonic – Chains (2012)


    Arriving today from Greece, we have Bandemonic and their EP “Chains”. Playing a very traditional and well-crafted Heavy Metal, this band delivers that great old-school vibe with a certain modern context and a whole lot of attitude. At first glance, the cover of this release looks like a mixture of some Dethklok scene and the band’s logo on Iced Earth typography, however, the music is far from cheesy since it is actually pretty solid.

    The EP opens with powerful distorted guitars that nicely resonate in the background as George Manthos delivers his powerful vocal lines. The song structure is quite typical of the genre, but the nice combination of catchy riffs, tight drumming, and charismatic vocals immediately command attention. The magic continues with the EP title track, providing interesting tempo changes and George showing his true Heavy Metal range in this one.

  • Fun at the Morgue – Massoula (2013)


    Today we have Fun at the Morgue, a Swiss band delivering their debut EP titled “Massoula”. Featuring 11 tracks, this makes it the EP with the most number of tracks we have every received. Filled with neck breaking Death Metal, this release provides a nice insight into the band’s crazy little world and showcases their musical abilities. While the majority of the release has pretty straightforward Death Metal tracks, there are a few songs here and there that make the experience a whole lot more interesting.

    Opening with the commanding “Funeral Overture”, the band quickly establishes their power with their crushing riffing. This bleeds into “Faceripper” and “Heretic”, two short but sweet tracks filled with punishing guitars and thunderous drumming. The vocals are quite standard and very firm, as they should be in any DM release. “Dark Prophecy” is the longest song in this release clocking in at 4 minutes, and it has that Six Feet Under / Cannibal Corpse vibe thanks to the solid songwriting and attention to catchiness.

  • Moonbow – The End of Time (2013)


    With a huge Southern influence, today we have Moonbow and their extremely catchy release “The End of Time”. Featuring seven tracks of whiskey infused Hard Rock/Metal, this odd group of characters manage to craft one of the most complete and engaging releases of 2013. With a Survivor participant on vocals and members of Hank 3’s and Hermano, this odd mismatch works wonderfully when it comes to producing excellent melodies.

    The album opens with a very Southern vibe on “End of Time”, all down to the riffs we get that awesome feeling to immediately start drinking. The gracious vocals of Matt Bischoff are a true perfect fit to the band’s sound, perfectly complementing the Stoner Metal infused guitars. David McElfresh does a great job in handling the guitar duties to create a very lively and authentic atmosphere. While “Journey Of Their Iron Horse” is a superb and catchy tune, we found that the distorted vocals sounded a bit odd, taking some of the magic away.


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