Unleashing one of the most brutal and misanthropic Melodic Black Metal releases of 2021, today we have Seth and their latest opus “La morsure du Christ”. Perfectly blending uncompromising aggression, oldschool elements, and dramatic atmospheric arrangements, this release unleashes 50 plus minutes of majestic music. Having achieved cult status with only a handful of releases before its hiatus, this French outfit focuses on delivering quality over quantity with highly polished and extremely detailed releases like this one.
Opening with the album title track, the band delivers swift riffs alongside vicious harsh vocals, and a very persistent sense of melody in between brutal onslaughts. The band’s attention to detail and extremely high production values allow this, and all other songs to sound amazing and have high replay value, always discovering new things. After the first blow, the Seth sets a very melancholic and yet aggressive mood with the ravaging “Métal Noir” and its intoxicating atmospheric arrangements.
Returning with an even more bombastic and yet misery inducing release, today we have Finland’s Hanging Garden and their latest effort “Skeleton Lake”. Moving a bit away from their traditional old-school Death/Doom Metal, the band steps in territories pioneered by bands like Tristania, Theatre of Tragedy, etc. with the addition of more Gothic/Pop-ish elements in the 46 minutes of music. If you like well crafted melodic, catchy and engaging music with diverse influences, this release will bring the band close to the previously mentioned bands.
Opening with the lush and bombastic “Kuura”, new female vocalist Riikka Hatakka shines as her sweet voice is the perfect contrast to heavy distorted guitars and energetic growls. While the atmospheric component of the band’s sound is still present and the mournful melodic riffs are there, tracks like “Faith”, “Nowhere Haven”, and “Winter’s Kiss” add extra Gothic-like elements alongside additional catchiness. The use of clean male vocals also gives the band a certain To/Die/For edge, making their sound more dynamic than before.
With the COVID-19 pandemic canceling all touring plans for all bands, some special projects and solo albums have come out of this down time. Luckily for us, Esa Holopainen from Amorphis was already itching to come out with his own solo project: Silver Lake by Esa Holopainen. Featuring over 37 minutes of superbly catchy and moody music, Esa manages to capture some of his signature Amorphis sound while further exploring personal influences to create nine very unique and engaging songs.
Featuring that warm heart-felth wonder of his Amorphis music, the opener “Silver Lake'' creates a mystical mood for this release. With each other song featuring guest vocalists, “Sentiment” delivers a very moody and a bit folky vibe with Jonas Renkse of Katatonia on vocals. The album’s first single comes under the name of “Storm”, with the talented Håkan Hemlin on vocals. This track has that certain epicness vibe that Esa is very proficient, while delivering uplifting atmospherics and crafty drums.
Unleashing crushing melancholy and gloom, today we have Finland’s Marianas Rest and their third full-length release “Fata Morgana”. For being huge fans of Melodic Death/Doom Metal we are quite shocked that we never heard of this band before, but we are glad that this has since been corrected. Featuring Aapo Koivisto of Omnium Gatherum fame, this band delivers some of the most impressive and demoralizing melancholic music we have ever heard.
Creating an unsettling mysterious atmosphere in “Sacrificial”, the band starts building up the pummeling momentum of this release with solid atmospherics, diverse guitar styles and subtle piano passages. Jaakko Mäntymaa vocals perfectly fit the overall mood of the band’s sound, as their versatility (shrieks to growls to clean) allows the band to not sound like any of their other Finnish counterparts. “Glow from the Edge” keeps the misery rolling with bleak guitars, and haunting female vocals courtesy of guest Lindsay Schoolcraft, further elevating the band’s atmospheric brilliance.
Riding high from their 2019 release, “Verkligheten”, Soilwork delivers a killer EP with nearly 37 minutes of music. Continuing their evolution into Melodic/Grove Metal territories, the band unleashes five killer songs filled with signature Soilwork moments that fans of the band will certainly love. If you have been keen on the band’s last two releases, this EP will satisfy your cravings for more.
Opening with the 17-minute title track, the band sets a very lively and upbeat mood in the first few minutes, with the song gradually exploring some groovy/proggy passages perfectly led by Björn’s clean/harsh growls and some funky keyboard arrangements by Sven Karlsson. The instrumentation is as rich as always with crafty drums and engaging guitar riffs. This track bleeds a bit into “Feverish”, a faster paced song with pummeling drums and a hectic vibe.
The catchiest band in Metal returns in the middle of the pandemic with one of those bombastic releases that will have you entertained from start to finish. With “Manifest”, Amaranthe continues their path of delivering superbly entertaining and epic sounding songs filled with lush vocal arrangements and a good amount of heaviness. With a “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” attitude, the band continues their lively musical path.
Kicking off with the explosive “Fearless”, we instantly get Amaranthe at the top of their game with an over-the-top lush track filled with soaring chorus sections, the juxtaposition of harsh vocals and the lovely siren chants of Elize Ryd, and futuristic synths. This momentum is carried forward with the heavier “Make it Better”, and the playful “Scream My Name”, an expertly crafted piece that unleashes probably some of the catchiest passages in the history of the band.
Unleashing what is most likely the most explosive and melodic Black Metal release of 2020, today we have Uada and their third full-length release “Djinn”. Slowly refining their craft over time and gathering wide acclaim over the last few years, this North American outfit delivers almost 60 minutes of non-stop high-octane music that will have people headbanging from start to finish. If you like bands like Mgła, Pilorian, Inquisition, etc. you will love this exciting release.
Opening the release with the album title track, the band sets a relentless pace with superbly catchy riffs and a very engaging and energetic vibe. The dual guitar attack of James Sloan and Jake Superchi, works magically as their intensity and craftiness is quickly evident, creating a very powerful mood and the perfect environment for furious headbanging, as shown in the opener and the blistering “The Great Mirage”. Other tracks like “No Place Here”, show a mellower and yet still incisive side to the band’s superbly melodic musical approach.
Featuring a truly captivating and engaging Melodic/Symphonic Black Metal sound, today we have Sweden’s Ages and their sophomore release “Uncrown”. In the intense 42 minutes of music of this release, the band gives us a bit of a nod to the past of the genre, while crafting nine extremely catchy and effective songs. If you like bands of the caliber of Dissection, Naglfar, Keep of Kalessin, etc., you will love this band.
Opening with the hectic “Burn Them”, the band instantly creates a very high-paced tempo that gives us a bit of a certain Vreid/Windir vibe as the crafty guitars and harsh vocals are introduced. The band continues their high-octane approach with the devilish “Illicit State” and its dramatic atmospherics. We are particularly loving the head banging fest incited by the superbly melodic passages of “Herolds of Enslavement”.
Returning in full form after their previous acoustic release, today we have Winterfylleth and the ferocious “The Reckoning Dawn”. Unleashing over 50 minutes of their signature Melodic/Epic Black Metal, the band continues to wow listeners with their perfectly balanced ravaging sound. With tons of bands trying to sound like this UK outfit, it is quite clear that Winterfylleth is leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
Opening with the lush “Misdeeds of Faith”, we get the band’s signature vocal melodies and punishing guitar onslaught. The band’s expansive sound is perfectly layered to deliver a striking balance between brutality and melody, as we can hear on “A Hostile Fate”, one of the most intense and powerful tracks of this release. For those wanting more of the acoustic guitars of their previous release, “Absolved in Fire” nicely warms up to this tone before exploding into crushing riffs and a very intense tempo.
Unleashing one of the catchiest Melodic/Gothic Metal/Rock releases of 2020, today we have Finland’s Nicumo and their latest release “Inertia”. With a sound very reminiscent of bands like To/Die/For, H.I.M and even The Man Eating Tree, this band brings back a sound that has slowly been dying and delivers nine superb tracks for the nostalgia fans of emotional and catchy music of the mid 2000’s.
The album kicks off with the soaring vocals of “Three Pyres”, a very subtle track that showcases the band’s influences from both the Metal and Rock scenes. The mixture of vocal styles and excellent guitars make for a very catchy and engaging opening song. With a very well defined formula, the band delivers superbly catchy songs like “Dark Rivers”, “Witch Hunt” and its epic chorus section, and the moody “Tree of Life”. For those looking for more mellow and introspective pieces, “Same Blood” has that ballad-esque edge, similar to bands like (late) Lacrimas Profundere.