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.
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.
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”.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
As one of the most fitting soundtracks for weird times, today we have Asofy’s latest release “Amusia”, which takes the listener into a highly experimental and chaotic journey. For nearly an hour, the listener gets transported into this one-man outfit’s world, filled with abstract textures and a highly melancholic atmosphere. If you like weird, this is one of the weirdest (and yet good) of 2020.
Opening with the moody “Agnosia”, we get some Jazzy glimpses with crafty percussions, subtle guitars and trippy vocals. The song feels very free flowing as it progresses between different moods. Continuing with the captivating “Palinodia”, we get a darker and more moody side of the band with minimalist arrangements and very eerie atmospherics. For those looking into heavier and creepier sounds, the album title track has a good kick as it eases into the harrowing madness of “Residuo”.
Embracing the contrast between dreaminess and aggression, today we have Azerbaijan’s one-man battalion Violet Cold and his latest full-length release “kOsmik”. Perfectly blending elements from Shoegaze, Post-Black Metal, Post-Metal, with very interesting more mainstream elements, the band’s releases are always very interesting to dissect since you will spend days trying to peel all the layers to be found. Clocking in at 36 minutes, this album will fly by very quickly, but it just means you get to start it again.
Creating a very soothing and uplifting mood with the opener “Contact”, this vibe transforms with the heaviness of “Black Sun”. The Shoegazey guitars are nicely contrasted with harsh vocals as this track travels between atmospheric passages, somber female vocals and an overall more aggressive and hectic pace. Creating a very Alcest-like heavenly mood, “Mamihlapinatapai” is definitely one of the most magical and engaging songs in this release thanks to its vocal arrangements and overall pace.
After a busy 2018 with live appearances, Saor return with yet another brilliant Atmospheric/Folky Black Metal release with “Forgotten Paths”. Filled with magical and lush melodic passages, this album delivers over 38 minutes of intense and mystical music. With a very busy touring schedule in 2019, this is the perfect album to conquer hordes of new fans and followers.
Opening with intensity, the album title track leads way for a musical experience filled with crafty guitar melodies and very dreamy atmospherics. There are even moments that Saor dwells in more Alcest-like passages in this lush and quite intense piece. The buildup on songs like “Monadh” is just brilliant, showing the listener just little peeks of what is to come as the track comes unraveled through its moody tempo changes and expert instrumentation.