• Melencolia Estatica – Hel (2012)


    Making their entrance to the totally weird and completely random category today we have Melencolia Estatica and ‘their’ latest release “Hel”. This one-woman band from Italy has a very unique sound that while at times is extremely chaotic and totally random sounding; it is actually quite intoxicating and interesting to listen to.

    Often feeling like a nightmare, “Hel” provides a unique ride through waves of brutal Black Metal, crushing growls, and crazy orchestrations that flow very chaotically, but in a way they are quite enthralling. Opening with the deranged “Hel I”, this release quickly unleashes a wave of brutal sections complemented with very melodic and enigmatic passages full of layers of vocals. We have to say that the band’s sound is very unique, and after you get over the initial shock of how much is being thrown at you, Melencolia Estatica will quickly grow on you.

  • A Forest of Stars – A Shadowplay for Yesterdays (2012)


    The always riveting A Forest of Stars returns with yet another brilliant album that defies the limits of conventional music and mixes a very diverse spectrum of sounds and genres. In “A Shadowplay for Yesterdays”, the band features ten excellent tracks that will surely expand your horizons with a truly rich musical experience unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.

    Described as a concept album, this new release features the typical mixture of genres by the band, but it also sounds very cohesive and dark. The atmospheric elements are one of the biggest staples of the band and they delivers excellent sections that set the mood just right, like on the opener “Directionless Resurrectionist”. The spoken passages give that deranged vibe that we love about the band’s music. Not breaking character, the tempo of “Prey Tell of the Church Fate” is quite slow and nicely builds up to the faster Black Metal-ish sections. The drums are very good, but the atmospheric elements are the ones that shine the most.

  • So Much for Nothing – Livsgnist (2012)


    As an early candidate of Black Metal release of the year, today we have So Much for Nothing’s debut full-length “Livsgnist”. This two-man outfit does an excellent job in taking Suicidal Black Metal into a whole new level, and will surely take years for any band to rival with Erik Unsgaard and Uruz have achieved with this album. Featuring seven tracks and around 50 minutes of gut-wrenching depressive music, this is the kind of release that will leave a deep impact on your psyche and will not easily be forgotten.

    Having people like Niklas Kvarforth and Peter Huss of Shining, Julianne Kostøl of Pantheon I, Trondr Nefas of Urgehal, and Seidemann of 1349, among many others as guest musicians, So Much for Nothing is the equivalent of Ayreon and Avantasia in the realm of Black Metal. With a excellent foundation provided by Unsgaard and Uruz, this release takes things to a completely different plane of existence and almost achieves musical perfection.

  • Sigh – In Somniphobia (2012)


    As one of the most cracked-out albums of 2012, today we have Sigh’s Black/Avant-garde masterpiece “In Somniphonia”. Hailing from Japan, Sigh never ceases to amaze people with their extreme combination of Black Metal with almost everything else under the sun. The band’s sound is as complex as it is entertaining, mixing it up with all kinds of samples and a saxophone.

    Packing 11 tracks for around 64 minutes of pure madness, “In Somniphonia” is one of those albums that you will either love it and embrace it, or hate it and discard it immediately. Since the opening track “Purgatorium”, the band delivers very rich drums paired with melodic guitars and all kinds of ‘strange’ sounds surrounding Mirai Kawashima’s harsh vocals. The classical elements in this track make it very contrasting and interesting to hear.

  • Aenaon – Cendres et Sang (2011)


    After delivering two impressive EP’s: Phenomenon and A Parallel Zoetrope, Aenaon finally signed with Code666 to release their debut full-length “Cendres et Sang”. In this very impressive freshman release, the band makes use of their superior ability in crafting interesting and unique sounding Black Metal songs and deliver 10 tracks of majestic music that many veteran bands wish they would have in them.

    Since the Jazzy opener “Kafkaesque”, you know you are in for a treat and a very unique album. This intro nicely blends with the second track “Suncord” and when the riffing starts we are immediately reminded of bands like Farsot and similar creative-Black Metal acts. The melodic aspect of the band’s sound is what makes them so special, particularly in the intricate passages crafted in the middle of this track that feature a hefty Jazz influence.

  • Abbey ov Thelema – A Fragment ov the Great Work (2011)


    Making its way from Slovakia, today we have a very interesting release in the realm of Avant-garde/experimental Black Metal. “A Fragment ov the Great Work” marks the debut of Abbey ov Thelema a two person project that leaves no stone unturned and delivers a very promising album. Taking from the greats Arcturus and Blut as Nord, the band pummels through eight tracks of pure madness and aural aggression.

    Opening with organs on the intro “Left Hand Path”, the band quickly escalates things on “The One Who Walks the Left-Hand Path”. Mixing perfectly balanced atmospheric passages with aggressive Black Metal shrieks and commanding riffs, Abbey ov Thelema makes a strong impression immediately. The psychedelic synths are pretty deranged but great sounding and make the band’s songs be very appealing. There are plenty of melodic passages and crazy atmospheric interludes, like on “Unearthly Theophagia ov a Nonexistent Deity”, “Black Absinth Drunk While Analyzing the Writings ov Nietzsche” and “The Hidden Wisdom & Clandestine Legacy ov the Black Arts”, enough to satisfy the most demanding listeners.

  • Öxxö Xööx – Rëvëürt (2011)


    With a very interesting and even their own language, today we have one of France’s most interesting and experimental bands: Öxxö Xööx and their latest release “Rëvëürt”. With almost 80 minutes of genre-bending music, this album delivers nine tracks of excellently crafted Avant-garde Music with Doom metal influences incorporating grand organs, harpsichords and string ensembles.

    For people that believe they’ve heard it all, “Rëvëürt” will surely surprise you and will take you into a journey through the unknown. With the opener “Ägörth” the band delivers a monumental track featuring Doom-like structures with eerie passages and a very theatrical edge, similar to what Elend used to do but with a heavier edge.

  • Nucleus Torn – Golden Age (2011)


    Just one year after their excellent release “Andromeda Awaiting”, Nucleus Torn returns with another brilliant excursion into Avant-garde Folk Metal but now with a Progressive twist. Making homage to 70’s Progressive Rock/Metal bands, “Golden Age” is a lush release that will intoxicate you since the first minute with its very intricate and yet exquisite songs.

    Being considerably more diverse and exciting than any previous Nucleus Torn release, “Golden Age” delivers six beautifully crafted tracks that showcase the band’s ability in combining stunning musical passages with harmonious vocals. With Fredy Schnyder handling most of the instrumentation and the production work, “Golden Age” sounds as good as you can ever imagine Nucleus Torn sounding.

  • Mord'A'Stigmata – Antimatter (2011)


    Hailing from Poland, today we have Mord’A’Stigmata and their monumental Avant-garde Black Metal release “Antimatter”. In this album the band delivers 52 minutes of pure chaotic Black Metal that will blow you away and make you scratch your head at the same time. We are huge fans of Avant-garde BM and “Antimatter” is one of the finest examples we have heard this 2011.

    Opening with a weird intro, the album fully kicks in with “Kinetic Dogma” and “De Magnum Opus Solis”, two very hellish and powerful straight-up Black Metal tracks that feature some interesting elements here and there, but mostly devastating vocals, dissonant guitars and a powerful and tornado-like atmosphere. The devastation continues with “Antimatter”, but here is where things start turning somewhat melodic leading up to the ‘weirder’ things in this release.

  • The Konsortium – The Konsortium (2011)


    With all the craptastic Black Metal releases coming from Norway (and around the world) these days, it is very hard to find quality albums such as The Konsortium’s self-titled debut release. In this album, the band relies on catchy Thrash-infused Black Metal riffing overlaid with different styles of vocals in order to create a very effective almost Avant-garde Black Metal sound.

    Only knowing the identity of one of the band’s mysterious members, we can be assured that the riffing quality is top notch since Teloch handles the guitar duties. The opening number “Gasmask Prince” has a very hectic pace and multi-layered guitars that quickly set this band apart from the rest. The ‘Black Metal vocals’ are pretty standard for the genre, but the combination of whispers and clean sections make them very effective and diverse enough to keep the listener engaged.


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