Enigmatic Finish Dark Rockers Mystons return this 2014 with another onslaught of catchy tunes in their latest release “Black Matter”. Featuring ten tracks of their unique mixture of Gothic/Stoner Rock with Sludge elements, we have been praising this band since the beginning and we continue to do so, thanks to their excellent evolution. If you like a new twist on the overplayed Gothic Rock genre, you will love Mystons.
The band’s catchiness and heaviness is immediately felt with their opener “Coal Soul Woman”. As the main staple sound of the band, M Myston’s vocals are deep and engaging, the kind of vocals that get a hold of you and never let go. The Doomy and Sludgy riffing on songs like “People of the Dark” and “Let the Darkness Rest in Peace” is perfectly balanced with the bands craving for catchy vocal melodies and the overall melancholic vibe of the music.
Bordering on the limits of what we review here at Infernal Masquerade, today we have Alternative/Prog Rock outfit Reacta from Mexico. In their 2014 release “Refraction”, the band delivers 10 dreamy tracks of expertly crafted music that will grab the attention from fans of 30 Seconds to Mars all the way to God Speed Your Black Emperor.
Hailing from the city of Aguascalientes, Reacta kicks off the release with the perky “Lost”, a very mainstream track that has a super catchy vibe. This track instantly brings memories of bands likes Kings of Leon and similar outfits that have charismatic lead vocals and an eye for detailed guitar melodies. The Post-Rock/Atmospheric “Back Home” is another catchy piece with lush guitars and memorable vocals that sometimes have a certain ring to heavy weights U2.
Fully coming out of their cocoon, today we have Alcest and “Shelter”. In this album we have Alcest dropping their last remaining Metal influences and swiftly delivering a Shoegaze/Post-Rock charged Dream pop release that will haunt you from beginning to end. Listing Birgir Jón Birgisson as a producer/mixer, from Sigur Rós fame, the band takes their dreamy sound to a whole new level of awesomeness.
With the band shedding their Black Metal feathers over the years, “Shelter” marks their biggest jump by not having any hard vocals or extremely heavy guitar parts. However, the atmospheric brilliance of the band is untouched and further explored within the eight tracks presented in this release. The journey begins with the atmospheric intro “Wings”, featuring some dreamy vocals that quickly build up the listener’s expectations. As this song blends into “Opale”, Niege leads the way with some awesomely crafted guitars and his signature clean vocals.
Groovy, spacey, psychedelic are a few words that come to mind when listening to Sons of Hippies and their latest full-length release titled “Griffons at the Gates of Heaven”. Mixing Psychedelic/Space Rock influences with Post Shoegaze and a very catchy Alternative Rock foundation, this three piece band delivers 12 superb tracks that take the listener through a trippy journey. With authentic retro instruments like a mellotron and moog paired with a sitar and some weird audio oscillations, the band has a wide spectrum of appeal for fans of any of the previously mentioned genres.
Setting a very unique mood in the trippy opening “Forward”, we are immediately intoxicated by the catchy guitars and Katherine Kelly’s signature vocals. The band’s auditive exploration continues with the hypnotic “Mirrorball”, one of our favorite tracks of this release. The atmosphere of this track is magical thanks to the ethereal backing vocals and shoegaze-ish vibe. The guitar driven “Dark Daisies” shows more of the band’s versatile songwriting skills, in a very unique and oddly constructed song.
The killer releases of summer of 2013 keep piling up with Autumnblaze delivering the long awaited “Every Sun is Fragile”. With an ever changing musical style, the German outfit delivers a very heartfelt Depressive/Post-Rock album that is filled with amazingly catchy songs and very melancholic atmospheres. Pushing their sound even further than on “Perdition Diaries”, fans of Green Carnation to Gothic Rock outfits will love this release instantly.
Markus Baltes has really pushed the band’s sound over the years but with the opener “New Ghosts in Town”, the listener will immediately know how far they have gone now. There are almost no harsh vocals, and the music is mostly on the Rock side of things, however, there are still some Metal influences present. This track is quite dramatic and thanks to the imposing clean vocals the overall atmosphere is quite dramatic. As heard on “Invisible Fields”, the band guitars are still quite catchy making the music perfect for some heavy duty headbanging.
Making its way from Finland, today we have Riverland and their self-titled debut release. Featuring a very soothing and relaxing combination of Progressive / Alternative Rock with some Folk elements, this duo delivers seven excellent tracks. Heavily focusing in creating lush atmospheres, Riverland manages to craft a very unique and well balanced debut.
Immediately creating a ‘feel good’ mood with the lush opener “Hope in The Air”, we can hear the band’s pop to folk influences in the span of the first minute. Miko Heino’s vocals are quite well suited for the music’s relaxing nature. “Help!” starts more in a folk-ish fashion with some cool beats and a very atmospheric vibe. On “Sounds” we can easily hear how they can perfectly fit the scene of a coffee house on a rainy afternoon. The band’s sound is quite direct and simple, perfectly fitting atmospheric concept of the album.
As the perfect break from listening to countless hours of Metal every day, today we have Amiral!’s debut full-length release “Persona Non Grata”. With very few Metal influences this ambient/instrumental rock release delivers 11 tracks of eerie atmospheres and beautifully crafted melodic passages. Being a one-man project, this release is extremely well produced and perfectly executed, showcasing the superb musical abilities of the mystery man behind Amiral!.
Opening with some audio from George Romero’s “Diary of the Dead”, “Chi Kung” sets the mood for an ethereal musical experience. “Petites frappes en enfer” creates a very eerie atmosphere with dreamy guitar work and a hypnotic pace. Things get a bit weirder with the Trip-hop infused “Timisoara”. This track reminds us of Ulver and their current experimental phase, but with some sweet guitar leads.
Today we have “Disclosure”, the long-awaited full-length release of the legendary Dutch band The Gathering. Keeping on their element of experimentation, this release contains eight tracks of beautifully crafted music that expands on the band’s melancholic Atmospheric Rock soundscape with hauntingly beautiful melodies and ethereal guitar work.
After wowing the non-believers with Silje’s vocals on “The West Pole”, the band’s ‘new’ singer seems more in her element and sounds even more comfortable on the tracks of “Disclosure”. Opening with the catchy “Paper Waves”, the band quickly establishes their trademark dreamy mood via melancholic vocals and delicate guitar work. The bass guitar line in this track nicely accompanies the serenity of the music and marks its way into your subconscious very easily.
With the current boom of Psychedelic Occult Rock/Metal bands like Ghost, Year of the Goat and The Devil’s Blood, it is not surprising that the next excellent band we listen to in this genre has to be from Finland. Jess and the Ancient Ones are finally delivering their debut full-length self-titled release this May and it features seven tracks spanning around 53 minutes of pure musical greatness.
Jess and the Ancient Ones sound is timeless and it evokes countless greats like Merciful Fate, Black Sabbath, Yes, and the more contemporary Jex Thoth and Sabbath Assembly. Opening with the extra catchy “Prayer for Death and Fire”, this release is off to a great start thanks to the band’s playfulness and excellent abilities to craft old-school sounding music but not sounding like a re-hash of any other band.
Thanks to the Internet and the current advances in technology, releases like “Surface / Light” from Vertigo Steps are now possible with collaborating parts from two different countries. This two man project from Portugal and Finland deliver what is probably one the best Atmospheric Rock / Post-Rock releases of 2012. Combining elements of bands like Katatonia, Anathema (newer stuff), Porcupine Tree with some more ‘mainstream’ Post-Rock/Atmospheric Rock influences, Vertigo Steps manages to create a lush and ethereal sounding tracks unlike any other band we’ve heard recently.
Opening with the atmospheric “Vertigo Dawn”, you can really feel the overall peacefulness and calmness that the album’s atmosphere is going to bring to your hectic day. With very firm guitar work and a nice Rock-ish vibe, “The Hollow” delivers the first introduction into the band’s combination of mainstream rock elements with brilliant atmospheres. The clean vocals of Niko Mankinen are outstanding and very soothing. There are some very nice female backing vocals in this track that nicely add to the atmosphere of this song. The guitar work is quite catchy and keeps things running smooth and heavy without overpowering the atmospheric content of the track.