After their brilliant and lively debut “This is the Sound” back in 2017, Cellar Darling quickly established themselves as one of the most promising up-and-coming Folk Metal/Rock bands in the scene. With “The Spell”, the band builds up on their earlier sound and turns into more Progressive territories with 13 superbly crafted tracks. Featuring a wide variety of folk elements , the super talents of Anna Murphy on vocals, and proven song-writing capabilities, the band delivers one of the best releases of their genre in 2019.
Opening with “Pain”, we notice and instant shift into darker and more progressive territories. The band continues to deliver their signature lush vocal arrangements, but in a more conservative and yet engaging manner. As “Death” and “Love” roll in, the band’s sound feels like a combination of Kari Rueslåtten’s folkier works with Anneke van Giersbergen’s charisma and sense of melody. This is quite a killer combination we have to say, however, of course Cellar Darling imprints their own ideas and style in the mix.
It is rare for us to find a release that is just so catchy that we drop everything else we have to review and focus 100% on it. Luckily for us, The Moor’s latest album “Jupiter’s Immigrants” falls in this very elusive category. Delivering nine brilliant and super melodic tracks, this Italian band managed to capture our undivided attention for hours on end. Mixing Progressive Metal and Rock elements, this album will captivate you since the first few seconds until the last note.
Opening with the highly melodic riffing of “Lead the Difference”, the band’s vocal melodies are what hooks you right in. Reminding us a bit of Edu Falaschi’s Almah, this band does a super job in oozing melody and catchines as we can hear in the album’s titled track. Packed with hefty dose of heavy riffs, subtle atmospheric keyboards and the guest appearance of Mikael Stanne, this title track is hands down one of the best songs of 2018.
Unleashing a very lively proggy release with “Aeon Chaser”, Norway’s Oberon self-labels their music a Gnostic Rock and they are not very far from the truth. Exploring a wide palette of sounds in their 11 songs, the band perfectly pairs acoustic passages with tons of atmospheric elements alongside a Progressive/Folk Rock core. In a similar vein than bands like Anathema, this release contains very well crafted songs that have a high replay value.
Opening with the dreamy “Omega”, we are instantly taken on a very trippy journey with songs that remind us of outfits like Yes and Marillion. The band’s progressive core allows them to craft intricate songs like “Walk in Twilight”, “The Secret Fire” and “Surrender” filled with memorable guitar melodies and soaring vocal arrangements. For those that like dreamier songs, “To Live to Die” crafts a very delicate atmosphere that nicely progresses as layers of additional elements like subtle piano arrangements are introduced.
As one of the most unique and diverse releases we received in the last few months, today we have Project Nightscape and their 13-track opus “To Sin against our Mercies”. In a similar fashion than Ayreon and Beto Vazquez Infinity, this album is a concept release and features a very wide variety of musicians allowing for very diverse styles to be played. Mostly varying between Progressive Rock/Metal, this release has very memorable tracks that are quite catchy and expertly crafted.
With the lyrical/story concept crafted by David W. Edwards and the guitar work crafted by other than Tony Gaglio, this release opens with the hard rocking “(Living in) Sacred Time” and the Heavy Metal anthem “Only Reason”. Continuing the album’s story after an interlude, we have proggy Rush-like “Now Silence!” and the ballad-esque “Inmortuorum Memorias”. As you could tell, the music varies from track to track but the songs are very well aligned to match the album’s lyrical progression.
As THE most awaited release of 2016 for us, today we have the pleasure of reviewing the return of In The Woods… with “Pure”. Having influenced hundreds of bands over the years with their visionary music and style, this band finally reformed back in 2014 - after 14 years of hiatus. Featuring over 67 minutes of music, this release perfectly delivers the traditional In The Woods… experience but not without a more refined an evolved sound that puts them right back in the map, picking up exactly where they left off.
Opening with the soaring vocal arrangements of “Pure” alongside a very moody and engaging instrumentation, the band will instantly transport you to their unique world. With British singer James Fogarty at the helm, instant comparisons to Jan Transeth can be made, but Mr. Fog has a more dynamic range and brings his own style into the mix. For those of us that enjoyed the experimental nature of the band, they quickly deliver the atmospheric and dreamy “Blue Oceans Rise” and “Devil’s at the Door” to hook the listener further in.
Delivering one of the most expected releases of 2016, today we have Pysch/Prog Rockers Purson and their sophomore album “Desire’s Magic Theatre”. Since creating quite a commotion with their creepy debut release “The Circle and the Blue Door”, the band has been gaining fans left and right in all parts of the world. Featuring a richer and warmer sound, this release delivers ten brilliant tracks that perfectly highlight all the awesomeness behind this promising band.
Led by the lovely and equally intimidating Rosalie Cunningham, this UK outfit opens with the fuzziness of the album title track. This piece sets retro Rock vibe with its groovy guitars and hypnotic percussions. The full-on explosion into melodic psychedelic/proggy interludes makes this track quite a solid opener. Moving on into more ‘traditional’ Jimi Hendrix-esque territories, the band delivers the trippy “Electric Landlady”, one of the most playful and engaging songs in this release.
Fittingly bearing what it looks like a psychoactive toad on its cover, today we have Tusmörke and their trippiest release to date “Fort Bak Lyset”. Combining psychedelic and folk elements ina a very proggy way, the band crafts seven unique pieces that are beyond original and totally weird. If you are looking for weird psychedelic music, this is probably as weird as you are going to get in 2016.
Opening with the Jethro Tull-esque “Ekebergkongen”, the band sets a very odd stage with tons of psychedelic atmospheric elements and very proggy music. Entirely sung in Norwegian, the music in this album explores all kinds of weird folk corners as we can hear on “Et Djevelsk Mareritt” and “De Reiser Fra Oss”. While one can quickly picture a bunch of geeky larpers frolicking around with their foam swords to this music, we have to say that even this is too weird and out of the ordinary (in a good way!) for said sinister purposes.
As one of the most anticipated releases of 2015, Jess and the Ancient Ones return with their sophomore release “Second Psychedelic Coming: The Aquarius Tapes”. Moving away from their Doom influences and fully embracing the psychedelic/progressive side of their sound, the band delivers nine enigmatic tracks that will intoxicate all fans of the band and the genre. Greatly improving over their first effort, this is one release that nobody will want to miss.
Opening with the creepy playfulness of “Samhain”, the band set a very enigmatic mood with funky samples and a truly psychedelic vibe. There are some parallels to bands like Purson, but with the signature JATO style. Jess’s mesmerizing vocals do a great job in setting a very mellow and dark mood on tracks like trippy “The Flying Man” and super catchy psychedelic anthem “In Levitating Secret Dreams”. The band truly travels in time with a very organic and natural sounding recording, allowing all the sounds captured to be truly authentic sounding.
Arriving today from the USA we have Shaumaun and their progressively oriented mash up of musical styles. In their self-titled debut release, the band presents twelve very melodic tracks that are a bit contrasting from each other, but full of promise, excellent ideas and solid execution.
The album opens with the proggy “A New Revolution”, which is a very entertaining piece that ultimately is just a warm-up for what is to come next. “Miracles of Yesterday” and “You and I Will Change the World” have a more radio-friendly and mainstream vibe, with loud rhythm guitars and solid leads. Being very catchy, this last song has some cool passages, but it also tries to incorporate too many elements, making things a bit awkward when they should have stayed simple as the track’s hook is pretty solid.
Arriving from France, today we have a very interesting and different release titled “Altra” from a band called Naïve. Mixing Progressive Rock/Metal influences with some trip-hop, shoegaze, and tons of electronic elements, they manage to create a very unique and dramatic cinematic experience in this album. Being more of the commercial-friendly spectrum of things, this release is quite mellow and perfectly enjoyable on a rainy day.
Opening with the playful “Elevate/Levitate”, we are instantly treated to a very well put together track that nicely navigates through multiple moods and different soundscapes. With every track featuring soaring vocals and powerful guitars, this French trio has developed a very unique and solid formula to deliver high-quality songs like “Yshbel” and the excellent “Mother Russia” to name a few.