For those looking for the Black Metal version of Secrets of the Moon, you can move along as there is nothing to see here. However, for those with an open mind, “Black House” continues the band’s evolution into Alternative/Gothic Rock/Metal territories with nine brilliantly catchy songs. While not entirely surprising to all, the band’s sonic evolution is quite interesting and this release shows their skills on a completely different playing field.
The album opens in a Katatonia-esque tone with the sultry “Sanctum” and its ridiculously catchy chorus section. This track oozes melancholy and darkness, while keeping things engaging and dynamic. On “Don’t Look Now” we have interesting vocal arrangements and very dreamy atmospheric keyboards creating a very playful back and forth between different moods. In just the first few songs, the band has set a completely different style for themselves and it works perfectly as tracks like “Veronica’s Room” and “He is Here” deliver very well crafted melodies that are perfectly flanked by unique vocal arrangements and engaging songwriting.
It is crazy to realize that we have been enchanted by Kari’s voice since the 3rd And the Mortal’s debut EP “Sorrow”, all the way back to 1993. While those days are long gone, it has been quite a journey to hear Kari jump to a solo-artist career and shake things up with a wide range of styles. “Sørgekåpe” marks her first all-Norwegian release since her solo debut in 1997. We all know that her music currently is far from Metal, but it is still a very lively Folk/Alternative Rock powered by her mesmerizing voice.
The album starts with the title track and sets a nice Folky mood with lush acoustic guitars and a somber pace. Shifting the mood, “Svever” nicely delivers a very catchy and lively Alternative Rock tune with excellent vocal melodies and overall playful music. We particularly enjoy more the mellow tracks like “Månen lyser ned”, which have a very powerful mixture of Kari’s vocals and a deep bass guitar line. This is probably because they bring us memories from her earlier work, but nonetheless, they resonate better with us.
The legendary Paradise Lost returns with their recently found back-to-the-root sound with “Obsidian”. Featuring nearly one hour of superbly catchy music, we have to say that we are enjoying how the band has come full circle and incorporated some of their earlier elements (growls, heavy riffs) into their mid-career Gothic Rock/Metal foundations. If you have enjoyed the band’s previous two releases, this is more along those lines, so it should be quite a ride.
Opening with “Darker Thoughts”, we get that vibe of “Draconian Times” meets “Gothic”, with some more modern Gothic rock elements. Being huge fans of Theatre of Tragedy during their “Aegis” era, and of Lacrimas Profundere during their “Burning: A Wish” times, the band’s sound in this release is very similar to those with the addition of some growls, as “Fall from Grace” and “Ghosts” are a perfect example of.
After taking a brief hiatus a few years ago, Katatonia has returned with their signature melancholic Progressive/Alternative Rock and Metal mix with “City Burials”. As one of their most accessible and darker releases in recent years, this album delivers eleven tracks and nearly 50 minutes of highly emotional music with the band’s signature sound. If you are into the mellower side of things, this release is the perfect backdrop for a quiet evening of quarantine.
The release opens with the moody vibes of “Heart Set to Divide” and “Behind the Blood”, both tracks nicely frame Jonas Renkse emotive vocals with nice atmospherics and heavy guitars. More experimental elements are used on songs like “Lacque” and “Vanishers”, which show an interesting electronic undertone, similar to what Anathema tried on their last release. Other tracks just deliver the oozing melancholy achieved by lush vocal melodies and weeping guitars like “Rein”.
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.
Unleashing a superbly crafted and somber Dark/Psych/Blues/Doom release, today we have Finland’s Hexvessel with “Kindred”. Finally settling into a sound that incorporates the eerie atmospherics and instrumentation of their earlier works and the warm and fuzzy psych/blues elements of their later material, the band delivers nearly 40 minutes of mystical music. Be prepared for a uniquely relaxing and enchanting aural journey with this one.
The release opens with the enigmatic “Billion Year Old Being”, treating the listener to fuzzy Psych guitars and very hypnotic vocal harmonies. The retro vibe in the opener is nicely followed by the bluesy “Demian”, a very intoxicating track with subtle instrumental arrangements, trippy guitar leads, and perfectly voiced by Mat McNerney. For those looking to lose themselves in the band's folky atmospheric side, “Fire of the Mind” and “Bog Bodies” are two chilling campfire songs that swiftly change the mood of the release.
Enigmatic dutch outfit DOOL is ready to unleash their latest full length release with “Summerland”. Led by charismatic front-woman Ryanne van Dorst, this outfit delivers the perfect mixture of Dark Rock, Gothic Pop and Psychedelic Metal spread out in nine elaborate tracks. Featuring members of bands like Gold, The Devil’s Blood among others, the band’s sound is quite intoxicating, so be prepared for a dark and sinister ride.
The album opens with the masterful “Sulphur & Starlight”, a very somber and yet catchy track that slowly builds up on enigmatic guitars and crafty drumming. The soothing raspy vocals of Ryanne perfectly blend with the playful bass guitar line as the mood changes throughout the song. The hard rocking attitude of the band is truly evident in the epic “Wolf Moon” and the dreamy “God Particle”. The band’s musical influences are vast and varied, as you can even hear some Cult of Luna-esque elements in the later of the previously mentioned tracks.
As the perfect companion for those gloomy days ahead, today we have Nergal’s Me and that Man band delivering “New Man, New Songs, Same Shit, Vol.1” a masterful apocalyptic/dark folk/rock release. Featuring eleven tracks filled with guest appearances this release unleashes an emotionally charged atmosphere filled will bluesy and folky vibes. If you are into Hexvessel, Grave Pleasures and King Dude, this release will hit close to home.
The release opens with the imposing “Run With The Devil”, which Jørgen Munkeby on vocals and sax, giving the song a very lively mood thanks to its catchiness and simplicity. Darkness descends upon listeners with the bluesy “Coming Home” and the eerie folky “Burning Churches” with Mat McNerney handling vocals alongside creepy chorus arrangements and lush acoustic guitars.
As one of the most intense and authentic (modern) Psychedelic Rock bands we have ever seen, Kadavar continues to propel themselves to the top with killer releases. “For the Dead Travel Fast” is yet another highlight in their storied career, filled with over 45 minutes of fantastic and engaging music. If you like riff-driven releases Rock releases, this album will satisfy your quota… for a few years. With this highly creative and moody release, the band reaches new heights.
Starting off with the chilling-eerie intro “The End”, the band sets a very moody vibe that fully unravels with “The Devil's Master”. This last track perfectly combines fuzzy guitars, funky vocal arrangements and a very martial pace that slowly builds up. The Psychedelic brilliance of “Evil Forces” makes it one of the band’s most engaging and retro sounding tracks, thanks to a very natural and authentic old-school vibe. We are fans of more mysterious tracks, like the dramatic “Children of the Night” and it's very atmospheric vibe mixed with killer guitar leads and a pulsating bass guitar line.
From the minds of Mariangela Demurtas (Tristania) and Kris Laurent, Ardours is a very unique band mixing Gothic Rock, New Wave and 80’s influences in a very mellow and engaging style that will certainly appeal to all fans of bands like The Gathering, Tristania, Theater of Tragedy, etc. Delivering ten tracks and over 40 minutes of superbly catchy music, “Last Place on Earth” is a killer debut release from this very promising outfit.
The album leads with the lush 80’s/New Wave synths of “What Else is There”, and as the guitar come on, the listener is fully drawn into the band’s unique musical world. Building up on the opener’s momentum, Mariangela’s vocals are a perfect fit for the overall gothic vibe built in songs like “Catabolic” and the extremely catchy album title track. Just imagine a band like Lacrimas Profundere with a bit of Depeche Mode and Solar Flake mixed in.