• Tenhi - Valkama (2023)


    After all the new releases and surprise returns from many of our favorite bands, Tenhi was the one we least expected. Marking their first release in nearly 12 years, after the excellent “Saivo”, the band returns with “Valkama”. Featuring 12 tracks and 70 minutes of solemn and enigmatic music, it is like the band never left as the melancholy and mysterious beauty of this release oozes through your speakers. Needing no introduction, if you are into Dark Folk/Neo-folk music, and never heard of Tenhi, you are missing out.

    The release kicks off with the gentle and immersive “Saattue”, the band always crafts dark and powerful atmospheres with very minimal instrumentation and this track is a clear example of this. Fully enveloping the listener in the band’s world, “Valkama”, “Kesävihanta”, and “Rannankukka”, are tracks that mix lush acoustic guitars with hypnotic Finnish-only vocal arrangements and very subtle atmospheric arrangements.

  • Autumn Tears - Guardian of the Pale (2023)


    It’s been a while since we reviewed an album from this studio project and with “Guardian of the Pale” we found ourselves going back to see what earlier releases we missed. Autumn Tears is a studio project of Ted Tringo, owner of Dark Symphonies, a label we loved in the late 90’s and early 2000’s that was producing/releasing some awesome ambient/gothic/atmospheric releases. In this double album, we get lush arrangements and magical compositions that bring back those early days when Neoclassical music was not as widely distributed in the ‘Metal world’.

    Featuring guest appearances of artists like Francesca Nicoli (Ataraxia), Agnete Mangnes Kirkevaag (Madder Mortem) and Ann-Mari Edvardsen Alexis (The Third and The Mortal), the first part of this release is full of excellent atmospherics and delicate instrumentation. While each track is magical and delivers a unique cinematic context, we particularly love the dramatic choral arrangements of “Of Wind, Water and Sand”, the minimalist somberness of “Daydreaming in Ash Fields” and the fragility of “Lavender Mist”.

  • Les Chants du Hasard - Livre Troisième (2021)


    It has been a while that we have received an interesting neoclassical release like “Livre Troisième” from Les Chants du Hasard. Channeling a mixture of the turmoil of Elend’s music and the sinister side of the orchestrations and vocal arrangements of Devil Doll, this release unleashes nearly 45 minutes of a very cinematic and harrowing aural experience. Filled with dramatic and moody arrangements, this album is quite interesting and lush.

    Opening with the dramatic and quite regal “Le Moine”, a very epic and somber backdrop is set. Followed by “Les Prismes”, a piece that establishes a cinematic experience with its tempo changes and very dramatic vocal arrangements. “Le Reflet” has to be one of our favorite tracks thanks to its over-the-top operatic vocals dueling with creepy harsh screams and a very tense orchestral backdrop, raising our heart rate as the track reaches its climax.

  • Empyrium - Über den Sternen (2021)


    Empyrium has a way of making fans way for long periods of time for new music, but yet when they release something, all is forgotten as the band’s sonic magic appeases even the most disgruntled fan. Just making us wait seven years, instead of twelve as in the last time, Schwadorf and Thomas Helm return with over 52 minutes of music that manages to merge the band’s original ingenuity and ferocity, with their more refined and Folky sound of their later releases.

    The release opens with the solemn acoustic guitars of “The Three Flames Sapphire”, a track that slowly moves into more complex territories with the lush clean vocals of Thoman Helm and layers of additional classical elements. However, one of the most interesting parts is the introduction of distorted guitars and harsh vocals, turning the track’s mood in a completely new dimension and bringing back “A Wintersunset...” vibes, and this is just the first song.

  • Goatcraft – Yersinia Pestis (2016)


    Hailing from Texas, today we have Goatcraft and its very unique and dark ‘Necro-classical’ brand of Neoclassical music. Focusing on having a very sinister atmosphere, this release delivers 10 tracks of Instrumental keyboard/piano music that will haunt your dreams. A bit more somber than Charmand Grimloch’s work, this release offers a nice change of pace from our traditional Metal musical exploits.

    Opening with the lush “Beyond Nothingness”, this one-man outfit creates a very dark and mysterious mood. With compositions like “The Rape of Europa II” and “Plague” we are feel like we are in the middle of the score of a horror movie and we can’t get out (in a good way). Perfectly blending lush atmospheric synths with the dramatic pianos, “The Great Morality” is one of our favorite pieces.

  • Empyrium – The Turn of the Tides (2014)


    Having waited for more than 10 years for a new Empyrium release, the arrival of this release was the highlight of our month. With “The Turn of the Tides”, Ulf Theodor Schwadorf and Thomas Helm return with a release that combines all elements from Empyrium’s past in a very fresh and masterful way. Featuring seven tracks of majestic atmospheric music, the band surpasses all the expectations and once again, sets the bar higher.

    The release opens with the ray of light called “Saviour”. In this track the somber piano opening perfectly sets the mood for this majestic release. As the atmospheric elements keep unveiling parallel to Helm’s vocals, the full Empyrium experience begins. The release continues with the already unveiled “Dead Winter Ways”, a majestic track that is both bleak and dramatic. Featuring distorted guitars, this is a first in a few releases for Empyrium.

  • 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 ( 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”.

  • Nebelung – Palingenesis (2014)


    Arriving from Germany, today we have Neo-folk trio Nebelung and their latest full-length release titled “Palingenesis”. Featuring six tracks of hauntingly dark compositions, this outfit delivers a similar vibe to genre greats Empyrium and Tenhi. Filled with lush soundscapes and very elegantly crafted melodies, this is one Neo-folk release you don’t want to miss in 2014.

    The album opens with the mellow “Mittwinter”, a song that nicely builds momentum and showcases lush acoustic guitar arrangements. As we move into the somber “Nachtgewalt” we get that instant Empyrium “Weiland” vibe with the imposing cello leading the way. The band’s ability to keep the tension escalating without giving anything away is one of their top skills in this release.

  • Gris – À l'Âme Enflammée, l'Äme Constellée... (2013)


    As one of the most surprising releases of 2013, today we have Canada’s two-man project Gris and their sophomore release “À l'Âme Enflammée, l'Äme Constellée...”. This double CD album is filled with lush Neoclassical elements perfectly incorporated into moody Black Metal. Charged with emotive sections and a very dark atmosphere, this release will sneak up on you and catch you completely off-guard.

    The opening track “L’Aube”, greatly reminded us of Elend and their very dramatic instrumentation and chilling screams of desperation. “Les Forges” provides the first taste of the band’s excellent combination of classical string instruments with harsh Black Metal elements. In this 15-minute track the band goes back and forth between aggressive sections and lush instrumentation that makes the song very magical and totally unexpected.

  • Pensées Nocturnes - Nom d'une Pipe! (2013)


    The moment you think you have heard it all, you get an album like “Nom d'une Pipe!”. Breaking the boundaries of Avant-garde Black Metal by infusing some neo-classical and jazz influences, Pensées Nocturnes manages to deliver one of the most diabolically excellent releases we have heard in the last few years. Taking were Arcturus and their “La Masquerade Infernale” left off, this release has a exquisite circus feeling mixed into the whole Avant-garde BM theme.

    Opening with the dark “Il a mangé le soleil” the band initially sets a very chaotic and aggressive mood that is very typical of Avant-garde BM release. The band’s musical elegance really kicks in when the enthralling “Le Marionnettiste” brings its jazzy and extremely psychotic sound. Reminding us a bit of bands like Angizia and Elend, but with a darker and heavier vibe, the wind and string classical instruments are just excellent and allow the atmosphere to drastically transform.


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