• 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.

  • Lychgate – Lychgate (2013)


    Delivering a very impressive debut self-titled album, Lychgate combines highly atmospheric music with brutal Black Metal in a very crushing and terrifying way. Featuring tracks form the band’s ‘dormant’ years, this release carves out perfectly songs that are both chilling and very harsh. With over 37 minutes of music, this release is by far one of the best we have reviewed this year when it comes to Atmospheric Black Metal.

    Hailing from the UK, the band warms up with “The Inception”, an dense and creepy mood setting intro. When the first track, “Resentment” arrives, the dramatic keyboards/organs create a very bleak and commanding atmosphere, but it is ultimately the riffing that completes the band’s awesome wall of sound. Having elements of bands like Way to End and Nidingr, the band’s sound is hellish and very well constructed.

  • Pryapisme – Hyperblast Super Collider (2013)


    Being ample connoisseurs of weird (and totally awesome) music, we are rarely surprised when it comes to the releases we get at Infernal Masquerade. However, today we are totally caught off-guard by Pryapisme and their grandiose “Hyperblast Super Collider”. Mixing 8-bit ‘nintendo’ music with an experimental blend of distorted guitars, jazzy interludes and extreme madness, the band manages to deliver one of the most unique albums of 2013.

    Immediately establishing their 8-bit worship with the totally odd cover art of a pixelated cat, the band starts very strong with the intense “Un druide est giboyeux losqu’ll se prend pour un neutrino”. Their combination of intricate drumming with crazy electronic effects works wonderfully to create an atmosphere of madness. With a Jazzy edge, “Boudin blanc et blanc boudin” keeps things very interesting with a chaotic pace.

  • Azure Emote – The Gravity of Impermanence (2013)


    As the brainchild of Mike Hrubovcak (Monstrosity, etc) today we have the totally wacked out second full-length release of Azure Emote titled “The Gravity of Impermanence”. Featuring 14 tracks and around 60 minutes of very chaotic and somewhat odd music, this release will have listeners at the end of their seats waiting to hear what is coming up next. Mixing all kinds of styles, both musically and vocally, this is one very complex album that takes a bit to sink in.

    Opening with the strange “Epoch of De-Evolution”, you immediately know that this is one of those albums that will keep you confused. Immediately we start to draw comparisons to bands like Sigh, Unexpect, etc, where you don’t really know where the album is going until you decide to give up and just enjoy the weirdness. “Carpe Diem” is quite a good example of this weirdness with haunting vocals and the excellent signature violin contribution of Pete Johansen.

  • Way to End – Various Shades of Black (2013)


    After Way to End’s impressive 2009 debut, “Desecrated Internal Journey”, we had huge expectations for this French outfit and with “Various Shades of Black” they have managed to surpass them and set a whole new standard for themselves. Clocking in at 50 minutes, this release is an excellent example of how a band with excellent technical skills can produce something that is both crushing and complex in nature.

    Nicely warming up with the mellow “Sous Les Rangs”, people that don’t know the band will surely be puzzled and not really prepared for what is to come in this excellent release. “L'apprenti” brings back the intricate guitars from the band’s debut but with a more twisted and refined sound. The incorporation of Vaerohn of Pensées Nocturnes on bass allows them to sound richer with equally complex guitar and bass guitar sections.

  • 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.

  • Todtgelichter – Apnoe (2013)


    After breaking the mold with their outstanding 2010 release “Angst”, today we have Todtgelichter back with an even more impressive release titled “Apnoe”. Continuing to push their Avant-garde Black Metal boundaries into more Post Rock/Black Metal territories, this German band manages to deliver 10 captivating songs that if you are a fan of their previous release, you will be in musical paradise for hours on end.

    Featuring a new bass guitarist and vocalist, the band opens very energetically with “Embers”. The band’s excellent songwriting skills are immediately present in how this track weaves back and forth from aggressive harsh vocals sections to more dreamy parts with female vocals. The band’s female singer, Marta, has that very natural voice that we love from singers like Agnete Madder Mortem and Marjan of Autumn. The very organic dreaminess of this song makes it quite magical indeed.


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