Avant Garde

  • Ulvik - Cascades (2021)

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    Hailing from Northern Canada, today we have Ulvik and their hypnotic Atmospheric Black Metal release “Cascades”. With elements from outfits like Wolves in the Throne Room, Saor, and similar bands, this release unleashes over 30 minutes of punishing BM filled with lush atmospheric elements and an eerie vibe. If you like meticulously constructed music that is both brutal and engages all your senses, this is the album for you.

    Opening with the expansive “Baaltis”, we are treated to an unsettling calm in the first few minutes that slowly escalates into blistering guitars, harsh screams, and very hypnotic drum patterns. As this track dramatically scales back and turns into a lush cinematic experience, “Nokhur” follows up with unapologetic rawness. We particularly enjoy how the ‘clam’ interlude allows for some respite just before more hellish vocals and dissonant guitars disrupt the flow of things.

  • ISON - Aurora (2021)

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    Unleashing one of the most dreamy and melancholic releases of 2021, today we have ISON with “Aurora”. After the departure of original vocalist Heike Langhans, many of us were concerned about what direction (If any) this project from Daniel Änghede would take. Instead of finding a new singer, ISON enlisted eight unique singers from different bands/projects around the world to bring additional life to its very ethereal music. The result is one hell of an album that any fan of the band will certainly love.

    The sidereal journey commences with the dreamy opening of “Jupiter”, as the track progresses distorted guitars lead the way alongside Vila’s dreamy vocals. Signaling things to come, this track sets a very hypnotic mood that is continued with the drony opening of “Waves” and the sultry vocals of Cammie Gilbert. Filled with emotive arrangements and a mellow pace, the album title track brilliantly combines Lisa Cuthbert’s vocals alongside Daniel’s in a very.

  • Mesarthim - Vacuum Solution (2021)

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    Hailing from Australia, Mesarthim creates one of the most mystifying and unique blends of Metal with electronic/atmospheric elements. Similar to bands like Germ, Violet Cold, and Progenie Terrestre Pura, the band’s sound is both bombastic and pretty aggressive, keeping things superbly catchy and still heavy enough for Metal fans to enjoy. With 5 tracks and nearly 30 minutes of music, “Vacuum Solution” is one hell of a unique and engaging release.

    The album title sets a very dramatic futuristic vibe with super catchy synths and beats, paired with powerful guitars and fiendish shrieks. This is the exact explosivity we loved from bands like Germ, but Mesarthim takes it to a whole new level with more electronic/dark electro elements. Track like “Matter and Energy” also have a certain Industrial-like vibe, reminding us of Italy’s Aborym but with a catchier edge.

  • Ancient Wisdom - A Celebration In Honor of Death (2021)

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    Completely unexpected after 17 years since their last release, Ancient Wisdom returns with ‘their’ mystical and enigmatic Atmospheric Black Metal. Being huge fans of the band’s earlier work, Marcus E. Norman keeps things simple and traditional while delivering 50 minutes of captivating music with an old-school vibe and tons of crafty ideas. If you like old-school Melodic/Symphonic Black Metal but with a more Atmospheric edge, you can’t miss out on “A Celebration In Honor of Death”.

    Opening with the dramatic “Haec est Mors Secunda” we get lush operatic choir arrangements, sinister riffs, and an almost Doomy pace to start this release. Of course the band’s Black Metal roots instantly shine with the riffs of “Breaking the Circle of Life”, a track that nicely blends some Middle Eastern undertones to its powerful melodic passages and harsh snarls. Always focusing on creating weird and quirky tracks, songs like “Architect of Death - Laudamus Te” and “The Coronation” craft very unique atmospheres alongside funky guitars and interesting tempo changes, making the band’s diverse sound quite engaging and exciting.

  • Olhava - Frozen Bloom (2021)

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    Delivering an relentless wave of atmospheric brilliance, today we have Russia’s Atmospheric/Post-Black Metal/Blackgaze duo Olhava and their mesmerizing release “Frozen Bloom”. Filled with intensity, ravaging brutality, and yet unparallelled beauty, this release unleashes nearly 60 minutes of crushing music. For fans of bands like Lustre, An Autumn for Crippled Children, Heretoir, Alcest, Deafheaven, etc. this release takes the genre to a whole new level of intensity and explosivity.

    Opening with the towering “The Queen Of Fields'' and it’s 20 minutes of sheer intensity, we are treated to lush shoegazey guitars, pummeling drums, frosty harsh screams and crafty tempo changes. The switch between furious onslaughts and more delicate atmospheric dreaminess is one of the band’s strengths and signature moves. The dreamy instrumental “Adrift” paints a more restrained picture with lush arrangements and very introspective moments.

  • Escumergamënt - ...ni degu fazentz escumergamënt e mesorga… (2021)

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    Mysterious entity “Escumergamënt” delivers one of the most punishing and dense Black Metal debut releases of all-time with the piercing “...ni degu fazentz escumergamënt e mesorga…”. Featuring over 44 minutes of high-octane Black Metal filled with gaudy old-school atmospherics, this album creates very interesting and demoralizing atmospheres as it barrelsdown your speakers.

    Featuring members of Stilla and Setherial, this release starts with eerie atmospherics in “Of Old Night And Winter”. This track slowly transforms into heavier territories with crafty drumming and completely crushing shrieks of pain. The band’s riffing is quite intense and perfectly fits that old-school vibe they are going for on songs like the opener, “To Envy The Corpses” with its catchy passages, and blistering onslaughts of “Antediluvium”.

  • Suicide Forest - Reluctantly (2021)

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    Hailing from the USA, today we have one-man entity Suicide Forest and its second full-length production “Reluctantly”. Unleashing over 43 minutes of harrowing Depressive/Atmospheric Black Metal, this band’s sound has that European vibe while introducing its own brand of creepiness to the mix. Recommended for fans of bands like Lifelover, Dodsferd, and similar outfits, be prepared to be crushed by this album.

    Opening with the title track, the band sets a very demoralizing pace with a mid-tempo excruciating exercise in oppression. Thanks to its piercing riffs, ravaging shrieks, and subtle atmospheric keyboards, this track sets a very dense atmosphere. The crunchy “As the Light Fades Part 1” has a livelier pace to start as it has that rawness of early 90’s BM with its crafty guitar leads and faster tempos, reminding us a bit of Ancient in their “Svartalvheim” days.

  • Light Field Reverie - Another World (2020)

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    With the state of affairs in 2020, music has been a great escape for many. With “Another World”, Light Field Reverie beautifully transport the listener on a highly ethereal journey with their captivating music. Featuring both members of Draconian and Sojourner, this release unleashes over 40 minutes of majestic music that incorporates tons of different elements outside of the normal Metal music scope.

    Opening with the dreamy “Ultraviolet”, we are greeted with the sultry vocals of Heike Langhans and very moody atmospheric elements ranging from electronic beats, to dreamy synths. Alongside the atmospherics, we also have a well defined Doom-ish structure of heavy guitar riffs and crafty drums, creating a very piercing and yet enigmatic sound, as tracks morph between highly emotional passages to heavier counterparts, like on “The Oldest house”.

  • Void Paradigm - Ultime Pulsation | Demain Brûle (2020)

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    Perfectly crafted for those of us that like funky Black Metal with tons of unique and at times bonkers elements, Void Paradigm prepares to unleash: “Ultime Pulsation | Demain Brûle”. In this 38+ minute release, the band presents two songs that create very unique atmospheres and are full of intricate little details to discover. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Ved Buens Ende and Ephel Duath.

    The release kicks off with side A, “Ultime Pulsation”, a chilling song that slowly builds up to a very chaotic catharsis and a hefty dosage of creepy atmospherics and stern vocals. With incisive and punishing riffs flanking the hellish vocals of Jonathan Théry, the release instantly induces anxiety upon the unsuspecting listener. We particularly enjoy how the crafty tempo changes and funky drum patterns shape how the song unravels to the listener while creating some interesting and subtle instrumental passages.

  • With The End In Mind - Tides of Fire (2020)

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    Delivering a very rich and emotional 48 minutes of soul crushing Post-Black Metal with a Cascadian vibe, today we have With The End In Mind and their sophomore release “Tides of Fire”. Perfectly contrasting fragility with crushing aggression, this release unleashes three masterful tracks that weave together tons of influences while creating a very powerful and complex sound. If you are a fan of bands like Agalloch, Wolves in the Throne Room and Vanum, this release will blow you away.

    The release leads with the dreamy opening of “Set the Cavernous Soul Alight”, which slowly turns into a very chaotic and savage onslaught of harsh screams, blistering drumming and a very firm and crushing pace. We particularly love how the band weaves pockets of intense brutality into mellow and lush soundscapes that are both hypnotic and eerie. Just as this track slowly built up, the ending soothes the listener with eerie clean vocals and a certain folky vibe.

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