While constantly looking for interesting and unique bands, today we have [STÖMB] and their very interesting mixture of Post-Metal, Post-Rock, groove Metal, and some trip-hop influences. Featuring ten tracks of mostly instrumental music, “The Grey” is a very ambitious release that showcases the band’s originality and solid musicianship.
Opening with the trippy “The Complex”, the release weaves back and forth between Post-Metal and Groove Metal, with some atmospheric elements thrown into the mix. This is the band’s modus operandi as tracks like “Rise from Nothing”, “Corrosion Juncture”, and “Terminal City” standout with a similar approach. The band’s creativity is also their weakness as the album feels a bit random and just a collection of tracks with no real aim.
Constantly evolving over the years, Hanging Garden returns with a very atmospheric release titled “Blackout Whiteout”. Featuring nice tracks of pure melancholy, the band manages to combine elements from Theatre of Tragedy (“Aegis” era), Anathema (their transition period), Katatonia (their more recent stuff) and throw in some Cure/ShamRain elements just for kicks. This release still keeps the growls in the mix, allowing the album to be harsh and brutal when needed, but it is mostly very melancholic and mellow.
Opening with the enticing “Borrowed Eyes”, we are instantly swept by Toni Toivonen’s moody clean and harsh vocals. This track also pulls you in with its subtle bass guitar line and keyboards. The band is always in motion and the very Cure-like rocking anthem “Whiteout” further shows their evolution since the band’s harsh and bleak Death/Doom days from “Inherit the Eden”. However, the depressive atmosphere is still present in a very unique and refined way.
Featuring five out of seven members of one of our favorite bands of all time: Jess and the Ancient Ones, Svart records present The Exploding Eyes Orchestra and their enigmatic debut release “I”. Delivering seven brilliant tracks of moody Occult/Pscychedelic Rock/Metal, this new band has a similar energy behind them than JATAO, but with an extra exploratory and nature and a more relaxed and freely defined style.
Opening with the sultry “The Smoke”, the band makes a very quick impression with this trippy schedelic piece masterfully guided by Jess’s talented vocals. Things get jazzier and mellower with the emotional “Crazy Heart”. This track flows perfectly with very subtle guitars and a relaxing tempo. The fuzzy guitar leads are excellent and perfectly set you in a very hypnotic mood.
Marking the end of Les Discrets metal/rock musical era, today we have their “Live at Roadburn” release. Having been lucky enough to be at the show in person, I have to say that this magical occasion was very well captured for eternity in this live release. Featuring eight songs from the set the band delivered that day, the crystal clear audio from this release brings shivers to my spine just by listening to it.
Opening with “Linceul d'hiver” the atmosphere is instantly set with such a majestic piece. The band’s sound has always had a very unique aura around it and when I have seen them live its perfectly translated. With a lineup boosting Fursy Teyssier (on vocals/guitar) and Alcest musicians Neige (bass guitar), Zero (guitars / vocals) and Winterhalter (drums), unknowingly that was the last time that Les Discrets would sound like this. The tempo picks up with the lush “L'Échappée”, one of our favorite songs and most epic pieces of atmospheric music ever written.
Taking a peak into the more commercially friendly, today we have Secret Symmetry and their EP titled “Emerge”. Hailing from Portugal, this band mixes Progressive Rock/Metal elements with Modern Metal (AKA radio friendly stuff) and delivers five very catchy and engaging songs that command attention.
Opening with the extremely catchy chorus section of “Broken Shards of Glass”, the band comes out strong thanks to powerful guitar riffs and the charismatic vocals of Pedro Nunes. Moving into “Curtain Call”, the band changes the speed of things and starts a bit slower and in a more Progressive fashion. Thanks to the great production behind this EP, we can greatly appreciate the tight percussions and excellent bass guitar line in this solid song.
Better late than never, today we have Switzerland’s Almøst Human with their super catchy EP titled “Ø”. Featuring five tracks and around 25 minutes of music, this is a great business card from a band that has a highly refined sound and a the attitude to deliver Heavy songs with a certain modern flair that makes them comparable to bands like Stork, Amaranthe (minus the female vocals), and even some of the most recent Coal Chamber stuff.
Blasting things wide open with the blistering “Living Wreck”, which starts off a bit like a mixture of Linkin Park meets Devildriver. The vocals are quite engaging and very fitting for the musical style, allowing the track to go from heavy to brutal in seconds. The band settles in a bit after the killer opener with the melodic “Obey, Consume or Disappear”, which showcases a mellower and cleaner side of the band thanks to the solid vocals and guitar leads.
With the tons of so-called Modern Metal releases coming out these days, we can easily make a 10 ft tall pile of albums that sound alike. Lay Siege is here to defy this trend and unleash the punishing “Hopeisnowhere” upon the world’s population. Featuring 11 tracks of Post-Metal/Sludge/Groove brutality, the band goes beyond being heavy and catchy, and delivers one of the most engaging and clean sounding Modern Metal releases of 2015.
The groovy “Irebot” quickly sets a very harsh tone with its pummeling riffs and Meshuggah-esque vibe, and this intensity continues with the funky “Glass Veil”. The vocals and some of the tempo changes have a certain Deathcore-ish vibe, but the overall structure of the music is much more than that. The oppressive “Hollow Hands” has some tight drum patterns that when paired with the crystal clear production, sound like a million bucks.
Conceived as a side project from Secrets of the Moon’s sG and Markus Renzenbrink of Embedded, this band crafts very dark sounding Rock/Metal that is quite melancholic in nature. In “Gehenna”, the band presents four intense tracks that deliver tons of raw emotions and explore very interesting music ideas. If we had to put a label on this, we would say that they are a mixture of Katatonia, Bethlehem, Mystons, Grey Waters and Decoryah, but with its own twisted intricacies.
The album leads off with the atmospheric dreamy intro passage of “House of Gehenna”. In this track you immediately know that this release will be quite unique. Never being overzealous, the band slowly escalates the intensity and it is greatly led by the dramatic vocals of sG paired with melodic guitars. Melancholy overpowers this release with the catchy and grim “Your Skull-sized Kingdom”, full of great guitar leads and excellent vocal melodies.
The ever changing, busiest man of Atmospheric Black Metal, Vaarwel, delivers us another brilliant Frozen Ocean’s release under the title: “The Dyson Swarm”. With a higher emphasis on the atmospheric side of FO’s music, this release crafts a unique aural experience that is quite trippy and pleasant to the listener. Featuring just the right amount of vocals (two tracks), this album will surely transport you to distant galaxies with its futuristic vibe.
The journey begins with the lush “Syzgy”, a song that very nicely builds up to the trippy “CE-4”. This track has a weird trip-hop kind of vibe thanks to its beats, the guitars and vocals are what really make it standout and be unique. In “Sloan Great Wall”, we get a certain Germ feeling with its mix of futuristic atmospheric elements and somewhat shoegazy vibe. With a big Doom-sounding riff, “SHGb02+14a” is one tense track that will slowly hypnotize you.
Arriving today from LifeForce records, we have Germany’s Deadlock with an excellent compilation/rarities/best of + new songs double CD release. Featuring a wide variety of tracks, this release re-interprets/arranges some of their older classics and presents a few new songs that showcase the exciting evolution of the band’s rich sound. With the second CD being rarities and older tracks, we will focus or review on the first CD that has more interesting material.
The album opens with the Groovy “An Ocean’s Monument”, a new track that shows the band’s further evolution into Groove Metal territories. Sabine’s soaring vocals are great, and John Gahlert’s screams fit nicely with the atmospheric elements of this track. The next set of tracks are re-arrangements or re-recording of older songs: “Code of Honor” with guest vocals from Marcus Bischoff that sounds almost the same as the original version but with harsher vocals, an “Earthlings” version that features new arrangements and we assume vocals, and an improved version of “The Brave / Agony Applause”.