Marking the final release of Aleah Starbridge musical legacy, this double album delivers over 85 minutes of her enchanting vocals and captivating music. Having passed away too soon, her musical legacy has been recently honored with the Trees of Eternity’s “Hour of The Nightingale” release, and with this release featuring nine acoustic tracks and six additional songs that highlight her range and wide musical interests and influences.
The release starts with the somber “Vapour”, and it slowly eases into the magic of “Sacrifice”, both songs showcase Aleah’s soothing vocals and a very dark and eerily sad mood. Many of these songs are taken from her demo, but here they sound amazing and create a very somber atmosphere as “My Will” and “Breathe” sound completely different and bleaker in the acoustic version. Thanks to the simple musical core, these songs allow the vocals to be in full attention and drive the listener’s mood with every single word.
Unleashing one of the most cathartic albums of 2020, today we have October Falls and their latest opus “A Fall of an Epoch”. Seven years since their last release, the band returns with their blend of Atmospheric/Folky Black Metal that perfectly combines elements from bands like Ensiferum with the more vicious onslaughts of outfits like Behexen and Horna. With a hefty dosage of brutality and crafty introspective passages, this release will command your full attention for nearly 55 minutes.
The album kicks off with the bleak acoustic guitars of the title track, this solemn peace suddenly transforms in all-out- brutality with crushing riffs, blistering drums, and punishing screams. Within the all-out pummeling onslaught, there is a very nice melodic delineation that has that Folk/Pagan Metal vibe as it contrasts with melodic passages. On a slower tone, “The Endtimes Rising” delivers a nice blend of incisive guitar riffs and harsh screams, perfectly framed on a more melodic drum track.
It is crazy to realize that we have been enchanted by Kari’s voice since the 3rd And the Mortal’s debut EP “Sorrow”, all the way back to 1993. While those days are long gone, it has been quite a journey to hear Kari jump to a solo-artist career and shake things up with a wide range of styles. “Sørgekåpe” marks her first all-Norwegian release since her solo debut in 1997. We all know that her music currently is far from Metal, but it is still a very lively Folk/Alternative Rock powered by her mesmerizing voice.
The album starts with the title track and sets a nice Folky mood with lush acoustic guitars and a somber pace. Shifting the mood, “Svever” nicely delivers a very catchy and lively Alternative Rock tune with excellent vocal melodies and overall playful music. We particularly enjoy more the mellow tracks like “Månen lyser ned”, which have a very powerful mixture of Kari’s vocals and a deep bass guitar line. This is probably because they bring us memories from her earlier work, but nonetheless, they resonate better with us.
Unleashing a superbly crafted and somber Dark/Psych/Blues/Doom release, today we have Finland’s Hexvessel with “Kindred”. Finally settling into a sound that incorporates the eerie atmospherics and instrumentation of their earlier works and the warm and fuzzy psych/blues elements of their later material, the band delivers nearly 40 minutes of mystical music. Be prepared for a uniquely relaxing and enchanting aural journey with this one.
The release opens with the enigmatic “Billion Year Old Being”, treating the listener to fuzzy Psych guitars and very hypnotic vocal harmonies. The retro vibe in the opener is nicely followed by the bluesy “Demian”, a very intoxicating track with subtle instrumental arrangements, trippy guitar leads, and perfectly voiced by Mat McNerney. For those looking to lose themselves in the band's folky atmospheric side, “Fire of the Mind” and “Bog Bodies” are two chilling campfire songs that swiftly change the mood of the release.
As the perfect companion for those gloomy days ahead, today we have Nergal’s Me and that Man band delivering “New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol.1” a masterful apocalyptic/dark folk/rock release. Featuring eleven tracks filled with guest appearances this release unleashes an emotionally charged atmosphere filled will bluesy and folky vibes. If you are into Hexvessel, Grave Pleasures and King Dude, this release will hit close to home.
The release opens with the imposing “Run With The Devil”, which Jørgen Munkeby on vocals and sax, giving the song a very lively mood thanks to its catchiness and simplicity. Darkness descends upon listeners with the bluesy “Coming Home” and the eerie folky “Burning Churches” with Mat McNerney handling vocals alongside creepy chorus arrangements and lush acoustic guitars.
Unleashing a truly unique release, today we have Austria’s Vinsta and their full-length release “Drei Deita”. Perfectly blending Folk elements into and engaging Progressive/Melodic Death Metal core, this band delivers a very interesting and harmonious sound. With nearly 50 minutes of music, we are treated to brilliant melodic passages, catchy riffs, and dreamy parts. Imagine a mixture of Insomnium with Opeth and the Folky edge of early Kauan.
After the traditional instrumental intro, “Weisse Deckn” creates a very lively and ethereal atmosphere with the contrast of dreamy vocals and powerful guitars. This track also introduces the band’s folkier side with lush violins in a very dramatic melodic passage. Weaving back and forth between their two main styles, tracks like “Oafocha Loda” nicely build up the atmosphere and reach its crescendo with crushing guitars and harsh vocals.
We find ourselves again reviewing a magical 7” EP that came our way through Nordvis Produktion. Prag 83 is a German entity that delivers enigmatic Folk music in the vein of Hexvessel, King Dude, Antimatter, etc. with some mid-career Katatonia influences.
The EP starts with “Circle”, a very somber song that reminds us of Antimatter with a lounge feeling. The guitars are quite enigmatic and the overall mood quite mellow and a bit creepy, in a good way. This is the type of dark Folk music we truly enjoy, particularly when it is nicely executed and simple, this is, there are not too many over the top elements added just for the sake of being more ‘authentic’.
Unleashing one of the most lively and engaging Folk Metal releases of 2019, today we have the legendary Eluveitie with “Ategnatos”. With the ‘new’ band members settled, this release delivers a more cohesive and in a certain way exploratory sound that further improves the band’s catchiness with more upbeat and exciting elements. Featuring over 60 minutes of music, this is a release that all fans of the band will love and enjoy.
Leading with the album title track, the band quickly starts telling their story and sets a very ‘medieval’ mood with their lush instrumentation, rich vocal arrangements and powerful distorted guitars. The band’s uncanny abilities to perfectly mix their Melodic Metal side with intricate arrangements of folk instruments is top not as we can hear in the multi-faceted “Deathwalker”. For those looking for the folkier side of things, this release does not disappoint with excellent tracks like “Black Water Dawn”, “The Silvern Glow” and “Trinoxtion”.
After their brilliant and lively debut “This is the Sound” back in 2017, Cellar Darling quickly established themselves as one of the most promising up-and-coming Folk Metal/Rock bands in the scene. With “The Spell”, the band builds up on their earlier sound and turns into more Progressive territories with 13 superbly crafted tracks. Featuring a wide variety of folk elements , the super talents of Anna Murphy on vocals, and proven song-writing capabilities, the band delivers one of the best releases of their genre in 2019.
Opening with “Pain”, we notice and instant shift into darker and more progressive territories. The band continues to deliver their signature lush vocal arrangements, but in a more conservative and yet engaging manner. As “Death” and “Love” roll in, the band’s sound feels like a combination of Kari Rueslåtten’s folkier works with Anneke van Giersbergen’s charisma and sense of melody. This is quite a killer combination we have to say, however, of course Cellar Darling imprints their own ideas and style in the mix.
Unleashing a very lively proggy release with “Aeon Chaser”, Norway’s Oberon self-labels their music a Gnostic Rock and they are not very far from the truth. Exploring a wide palette of sounds in their 11 songs, the band perfectly pairs acoustic passages with tons of atmospheric elements alongside a Progressive/Folk Rock core. In a similar vein than bands like Anathema, this release contains very well crafted songs that have a high replay value.
Opening with the dreamy “Omega”, we are instantly taken on a very trippy journey with songs that remind us of outfits like Yes and Marillion. The band’s progressive core allows them to craft intricate songs like “Walk in Twilight”, “The Secret Fire” and “Surrender” filled with memorable guitar melodies and soaring vocal arrangements. For those that like dreamier songs, “To Live to Die” crafts a very delicate atmosphere that nicely progresses as layers of additional elements like subtle piano arrangements are introduced.