• Deconstructing Sequence – Access Code (2014)


    Hailing from the UK, today we have one of the most interesting bands we heard in 2013 return with their EP titled “Access Code”. The Deconstructing Sequence this time around delivers 16 minutes of music in two superbly written tracks that will only make you crave a full release from the band even more. The band’s progressive sound paired with their futuristic atmospheric elements makes them standout immediately.

    Opening with “A Habitable World is Found”, DS makes you believe things will be going a more ‘traditional’ way with the Death Metal-ish opening as they deliver growls, crushing riffs and powerful drums. This nicely changes as time goes by into their trippy atmospheric passages with multiple vocal styles and very proggy sounding synths. The track nicely culminates with spoken vocal sections and the nicely cascading musical elements as a backdrop.

  • Manes – Be All End All (2014)


    Usually, there are weird releases that completely push the envelope and then you have Manes weird. “Be All End All” delivers nine tracks that mash genres together and crates a truly bizarre, and yet awesome, experience. Having passed seven years since the band’s last full-length release, this album will surely please and puzzle all fans of Tor-Helge Skei (aka Cernunus) and his uniquely odd musical vision.

    Opening with the jazzy/trip-hopish “A Deathpact Most Imminent” clearly states that this is going to be one unique musical experience. Asgeir Hatlen’s vocals are one of the band’s signature elements and greatly enhance the experience with his unique pipes having influences of Kjetil Nordhus and Kristoffer Rygg. Experimentation is the main theme behind this release, and by the odd vocals mixed in with the mellow tempo and atmospheric jazziness of “A Safe Place In The Unsafe” you clearly notice how everything comes together in a very bizarre way.

  • Nucleus Torn – Street Lights Fail (2014)


    Experimental/Avant-garde outfit Nucleus Torn returns in 2014 with their mesmerizing “Street Lights Fail”. Hailing from Switzerland, this outfit led by Fredu Schnyder delivers nearly 40 minutes of thought provoking music that pushes the boundaries of anything that could be defined. Mixing heavy distorted guitars with countless other instruments and a very mellow vibe, this is one album that you should listen to if you like bands like Lethe and Manes, you are in for a treat.

    Opening with the warm-up desolate piece “-“, we are introduced to a very bleak atmosphere with lush pianos and haunting female vocals. This track suddenly morphs into a jazzy/lounge piece that is quite intoxicating and engaging. As the song bleeds into “Worms”, the distorted guitars quickly set the mood a bit livelier and greatly enhance the jazzy atmosphere that is mixed in between. Anna Murphy’s and Maria D’Alessandro’s vocals are amazing in this release and they sound like the post-Kari years of The Third and the Mortal. This 19 minute piece is pure magic and features just the right amount of experimental and complexity to fully captivate its audience.

  • Katakombi – Katakombi (2014)


    Arriving today from Finland, we have Katakombi and their very weird, but equally crushing self-titled EP. Featuring three tracks and 26 minutes of music, this release will give you nightmares thanks to the very disturbing atmospheric elements that are used to create ambiance. If you are tired of ‘traditional’ Death/Doom/Sludge releases, this is one EP that will expand your mind thanks to its highly original approach.

    The EP features on side the monumental “Väärä Kuu”, a 13-minute crushing piece of music that nicely builds up starting from creepy atmospheric/drone-like elements into some ghoulish spoken sections before finally delivering some harsh vocals and chilling riffs. The bands musical progression in this track is quite unique and very well crafted, nicely culminating in a powerful aural assault with a very mellow pace.

  • Vyre – The Initial Frontier Pt. 1 (2013)


    Out on Supreme Chaos Records, we have one of the most unique releases of 2013 that for some reason got lost in our review queue and we finally gave it the attention it commands. Featuring a unique blend of Melodic/Symphonic Black Metal with a heavy dosage of Atmospheric synths and Avant-Garde elements, “The Initial Frontier Pt. 1” is a release that will demand your undivided attention since the first minute.

    After a short intro, the space journey begins with the intergalactic epic “The Initial Frontier”. Delivering 9 minutes of lush atmospheric elements and imposing guitars, this track created a unique atmosphere that will disconnect you from reality. The Black Metal onslaughts remind us of bands like Shade Empire and early Dimmu Borgir, allowing the band to be quite versatile and engaging.

  • Hail Spirit Noir – Oi Magoi (2014)


    Featuring 60% of the members of Transcending Bizarre?, Hail Spirit Noir delivers their sophomore release with “Oi Magoi”. Featuring a very intriguing and elegant mixture of Psychedelic Rock, Progressive Black Metal, and some magical Avant-garde elements, this release blooms for over 45 minutes of truly unique sonic landscapes.

    The release blasts opens with the psychedelically charged “Blood Guru”, a track that is quite well layered and allows all the band’s influences to immediately shine through. The elegant finish to this song oozes melodic brilliance and posture. It is quite interesting to hear elements from bands like Jess and the Ancient Ones and Jex Thoth thrown into tracks like “Demon for a Day” and “Satan is Time”, allowing Hail Spirit Noir to be one of the few bands that mixes Psychedelic Rock elements to create Avant-garde Black Metal.

  • Aenaon – Extance (2014)


    Delivering their most high-octane release to date, Aenaon returns with the punishing “Extance”. Hailing from Greece, this band has managed to push the boundaries of Black Metal with their previous efforts and this one is no different. Mixing Avant-garde/Jazzy elements into a well-structured Progressive Black Metal core, this release sees the band further refining their craft into near perfection through the 11 songs presented here.

    The band’s incisive riffing and commanding vocals are immediately felt with the intro “The First Art” blending into “Deathtrip Chronicle”. Excelling in creating killer guitar melodies, Aenaon has managed to further refine their sound since “Cendres et Sang”. The tempo changes and vocal arrangements are other factors that make the band’s music instantly be recognized. The Avant-garde weirdness we love form the band starts to shine with the upbeat “Grau Diva” and its intricate arrangements.

  • Manes – Teeth, Toes and Other Trinkets (2014)


    Highly experimental and unconventional outfit Manes finally returns to the scene with a compilation release that will precede a new full-length release later this year (or so). In “Teeth, Toes and Other Trinkets” the band puts together a very eclectic assortment of tracks from their “Vilosophe" and "How The World Came To An End" eras. Any fan of the band will greatly appreciate the moodiness and uniqueness of the tracks presented in this release and will surely make them more excited for the band’s upcoming release.

    In case you are still expecting any Black Metal from Manes (just in case), this release is far from it and showcases the band’s later musical progression into dark jazzy/avant-garde territories. Just imagine (current) Tiamat meets Green Carnation and throw in some of mid-career Ulver into the mix and this is what you will get. For everybody else staying with the Manes program, “Blanket Of Ashes” delivers quite a powerful opener with excellent vocals and trippy percussions.

  • Code – Augur Nox (2013)


    Making a dominating comeback, today we have Code and their third full-length release “Augur Nox”. Pushing the sonic boundaries of Black Metal, this UK band delivers 12 uncompromising and very unique songs. Perfectly recuperating from the exit of long-term and unique vocalist Kvohst, Code delivers 51 minutes of very interesting and complex music on their own terms, allowing them to push their legacy to new levels.

    Opening with the contrived “Black Rumination”, the band’s unique musical signature is immediately present with intricate guitar work and catchy drum patterns. The mixture of clean and harsh vocals is as good as ever with Wacian doing a great job in capturing the band’s essence. Mixing Progressive/Avant-garde elements into their music, the band further evolves their signature style on tracks like “Becoming Host”, “Ecdysis”, and “Glimlight Tourist”.

  • Oranssi Pazuzu – Velonielu (2013)


    Cracked out Psychedelic Black Metaliers Oranssi Pazuzu, make a triumphant return with their latest release: “Velonielu”. Pushing the boundaries of Black Metal (and music in general) to new extremes, this album features six thought provoking tracks that will either make you hate the band completely or fall into a deep trance. For over three quarters of an hour, this Finnish band will make you have nightmares with their unique level of weirdness.

    Opening with the demoralizing “Vino Verso”, we are treated to very unconventional Black Metal guitars and funky atmospheric elements. The vocals are your traditional BM screams with some distortion added that greatly complements the pounding guitars. “Tyhjä Tempelli” changes things up with funky Psychedelic guitars and an excellent bass line. The riffing sounds Black Metal-esque, in a very weird and unique manner, reminding us a bit of bands like Furze. The atmospheric component of this track is quite disturbing, especially when contrasted by the harsh distorted vocals and the cool guitar feedback.


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