Just a few months after unleashing the melancholic masterpiece “Anno 1696”, Insomnium returns with a three song EP titled “Songs of the Dusk”. Featuring over 20 minutes of music, the band exploits their moody and doomier side in the release. As expected, filled with melancholy and gloom, this Finnish band continues to surprise listeners with high quality music and brilliant execution.
Polishing their live shows over the years, Amorphis now a well oiled machine that can deliver a killer show to a packed arena, but also face-melt the crowd on more intimate club shows. For those that haven’t been able to catch the band live, their latest release: “Queen of Time - Live at Tavastia”, perfectly captures their intensity and precise delivery of their crafty music. Recorded during COVID-19 times, this live album is a testament to the bands tenacity and brilliant live showmanship.
Continuing their path of cosmic catchiness, today we have Uada and their latest opus “Crepuscule Natura”. Featuring five tracks and over 41 minutes of music, the band unleashes their riff-driven Black Metal continuing with the intensity and magic that “Djinn” left off. Full of highly memorable moments and plenty of headbanging/moshing opportunities, this album is a testament to the band’s search for perfection and polish of their sound and message.
Opening with the “The Abyss Gazing Back”, the riffing onslaught is quickly present with incisive guitars and masterfully crafted drumming. The tempo changes allow for some nice transitions between aggressive passages and more mellow melodic interludes. Without needing many additions or experimentation, the band’s sound is crips and direct as pummeling tracks like “Crepuscule Natura” and “The Dark (Winter)” unleash a plethora of crafty guitar elements alongside moody vibes.
Highly melancholic and expertly crafted, “In Finitude” was the bands excellent 2021 debut and with “Impending Waves” they show this was no fluke. Composed of musicians from Chile, but residing elsewhere, the band’s music has a certain Mar de Grises edge but with their own shroud of melancholy and despair. If you are looking for a truly engaging and melodic dose of bleakness, this release is right up your alley.
Opening quickly with the lush “Dreamside Death”, the band quickly sets a very mellow and yet expertly crafted mood with lush layered guitars and highly emotional vocals. The mixture of proggy and doomy riffs and tempo changes makes for very unique and engaging pieces like “Tearing Seas”, “The Dreamer” and the more dynamic “Skies”. The way the band layers their guitars alongside dreamy atmospherics is excellent, creating a very intoxicating style and sound.
The highly underrated Graveworm is finally back after eight years since their last release and with “Killing Innocence” they are making up for lost time. With a very unique mixture of Melodic Death/Black/Gothic Metal, this band has released some pretty epic albums over the years and they now unravel ten tracks and around 50 minutes of highly engaging music. Hailing from Italy, this band has a very unique sound and a knack for highly melodic songs, as this release is a testament to.
Opening with “Escorting the Soul”, we get a sinister and engaging atmospheric introduction that slowly transforms into pummeling drumming and crafty riffing. Having a certain Hypocrisy-esque vibe from their “The Fourth Dimension” period, “We are the Resistance” is an excellent track with excellent guitars and tempo, creating a very mysterious and yet highly melodic piece. The band’s sound has a retro-sounding component to it, drawing older listeners like ourselves into their style.
Just one year after releasing their first full-length release in 16 years, Germany’s Mystic Circle is back again with another crushing release: “Erzdämon”. Filled with the same energy and retro-ish vibe from their last release, this album unleashes 47 minutes of superbly crafty and catchy Melodic Black Metal with the signature Mystic Circle style. If you loved the band’s triumphant return, this release is along the same lines of brilliance.
Opening with the high-octane album title track, Graf von Beelzebub and Aaarrrgon deliver crafty atmospheric elements, epic melodic guitar riffs, and tight drumming. This track immediately makes the listener want to headbang with its engaging mixture of melody and aggression. With that retro Horror Metal edge that the band blends into their sound, tracks like “From Hell”, “The Unholy Trinity”, and “Scarecrow” keeps things lively with their catchiness.
Delivering waves of melancholic guitar leads and demoralizing Doom riffs. Today we have Greece’s Oceans of Grief with the excellent “Pale Existence”. Clocking in at 47 minutes, this release feels like a genetically engineered mixture of Insomnium with Hanging Garden, creating seven crushing songs. If you are a fan of the genre, this band perfectly balances melody, melancholy, and musicianship in one extremely polished package.
Opening with “Poetry For The Dead”, the band sets a very somber mood with atmospheric keyboards and crafty melodic passages. As the band warms up, “Dale of Haunted Shades” and “Unspoken Actions” perfectly deliver that blend of Melodic Death Metal with Death/Doom tempos, creating very cinematic and lush aural experiences. The third track even features Jari Lindholm of Enshine unleashing some excellent weeping guitar leads.
Mostly stable line-ups and consistency have been the fundamental pillars behind Insomnium and their music. For “Anno 1696” the band continues to deliver their highly melancholic Melodic Death Metal but with a few additional elements that nicely revamp their signature style and keeps it fresh. The majority of die-hard fans for the band will find what they want here, but it also provides that little extra that for some of us that were looking for something a bit different.
Opening with “1696” we get mood setting clean guitars and atmospherics that quickly transform into Melodic Death Metal bliss with the signature Insomnium riffing. However, the band chooses to go faster rather than safe and typical, creating a bit of a different pace before settling into their traditional superbly melodic leads and headbanging passages. Having a couple of guests like Sakis Tolis (Rotting Christ) and Johanna Kurkela on “White Christ” and “Godforsaken” respectively, gives the band a different edge while still oozing melancholy.
Dramatic openings of songs like “Your Stories I’ll Remember” and “Paradise” perfectly showcase the band’s versatility and cinematic nature, making their sound one of the best in the scene. While many bands in the genre have opted to add more Pop-ish elements into their music, Xandria keeps things strictly Symphonic Metal with a good dose of intensity and additional instrumentation, as “The Maiden and the Child” and “Astèria” showcase.
After an acoustic opener, “State of Slow Decay” quickly delivers some chuggy guitars that suddenly transform into your quintessential Swedish old-school Melodic Death Metal riffs. This immediately caught us by surprise as the song continues to be quite effective, and even impressive with the killer twin guitar leads. Before quickly agreeing that the hype is real, there are still some of the more modern Core-ish elements that will scare purists away as one notices on “Meet Your Maker” and “Bleeding Out”.
Hailing from the USA, today we have one-man outfit Dreams of Gray presenting us with their debut EP “The World After”. Featuring three songs of catchy and engaging Melodic Metal that incorporates elements from Thrash, Doom, Heavy Metal, this release is quite a solid, but short, introduction to the band.