In these pandemic times we have had tons of extra time to hunker down and enjoy music. One of the absolute highlights of this time has to be Mountaineer’s third full-length release “Bloodletting” and its oozing melancholy. Perfectly refining their mixture of Sludge/Doom/Post-Metal over the last few years, the band has hit its prime with this majestic 53-minute musical journey. The band’s uniquely crushing sound creates a very powerful and yet mellow atmosphere unlike anything else you have heard before.
Opening with “Blood of the Book” the band slowly builds up to harsh vocals and cascading guitar riffs. This track nicely sets a moody opening as it transforms into gargantuan walls of distortion and highly emotive clean vocals. Just getting warmed up, the band unleashes the superb catchiness of “The Weeds I Have Tended” and its crafty tempo changes. This track is one of our favorites, as it is both engaging and punishing while delivering the full spectrum of the band’s intricate sound.
We are quite psyched that Greek Death/Doom legends On Thorns I Lay have remained active and releasing albums since they reformed back in 2015. With “Threnos”, the band continues their musical journey with yet another powerful and melancholic release. Featuring over 45 minutes of music, this album delivers on the band’s signature style while adding a few surprises to keep the listener’s engaged and entertained.
The opener, “The Song of Sirens”, has that signature OTIL sound of their 90’s releases, with the firm growls, crafty riffs and subtle atmospheric keyboards, perfectly contrasted by weeping lead guitars and a hyper melancholic atmosphere. We particularly love the band’s timeless mixture of heavy foundations, like crushing riffs and tight drumming, with dramatic atmospherics delivered by the keyboards, clean vocals, and string arrangements on tracks like “Ouranio Deos” and the superbly catchy “Cosmic Silence”.
Continuing the band’s brilliant rise as one of the best Melodic/Atmospheric Doom/Gothic Metal outfits, Hanging Garden delivers their latest opus titled “Into That Good Night”. Featuring eight tracks and nearly 46 minutes of highly addictive music, the band perfectly blends elements from their heavier earlier days and their more dynamic and Gothic Metal influences of later days. Full of melancholy and expert songwriting abilities, this release is yet another highlight on their already storied career.
Opening with the playful riffs of “Of Love and Curses”, we got a certain Lacrima Profundere vibe as the more enigmatic atmospheric interludes nicely contrast the heavier parts of the song. The more traditional Melodic Doom Metal roots of the band can be found on the dreamy “Fear, Longing, Hope and the Night” which has a certain Insomnium vibe. We particularly enjoy the crafty guitar melodies and the combination of growls and clean vocal arrangements, making it a superbly catchy song.
Always surprising us with their excellent taste in music, LifeForce Records is prepared to unleash “Sateet palata saavat”, Finland’s Vorna’s latest effort. Magically combining elements of Folk/Pagan/Black Metal in a very atmospheric palette of sounds, this release delivers over 50 minutes of superbly melodic music. The closest band to Vorna’s sound that comes to mind has to be Eternal Tears of Sorrow and their highly diverse sound. This should let you know you are in for a treat with this album.
After the traditional mood setting intro, “Toinen” delivers the first onslaught of atmospheric brilliance. Creating a very moody and mystical atmosphere, the band pummels the listener with superb drumming, heavy riffs, and harsh vocals. The swings between lush melodic keyboard arrangements, harsh/clean vocals, and intense riffing, are just magical, creating a very immersive and engaging experience as heard on both “Toinen” and “Syvyydet”.
The album sets a very somber and yet optimistic mood with the moody opener “Far from Home”. We particularly love how cinematic and otherworldly the atmosphere is crafted as songs like “The Way the World Was” and “In Exchange for a Memory” roll in. The band’s ability to slowly build into cathartic moments is just brilliant, with a crescendo of weeping guitars and crafty percussions.
The band sets the stage with a very dramatic choral intro as it settles into heavy and punishing Doomy riffs on “II”. This first track at a glance seems a straightforward Doom affair, if it wasn’t for the interesting tempo changes Sludgier undertones and Post-Metal passages. Things get a bit bizarre and yet quite interesting with the weirdness of “III”. While the music seems to follow a typical direction, the vocals sound a bit odd at first. Might be some weird artifact of the mix, but they don’t quite blend with the rest of the music. Unfortunately this is the case for other tracks in the album, so we find it a bit odd.
Unleashing a truly unique amalgamation of Doom Metal with Progressive/Post-Metal influences, today we have Oceanwake and their latest opus “Lights Flashing in Mute Scenery”. For 45 minutes this outfit delivers seven tracks filled with traditional elements unconventionally arranged. Particularly appealing for those of us that like to be challenged by music, this release has a high replay value as you will always discover something new with each listen.
The album starts with the dreamy intro to “Radiant Nightbreak”, which transforms into a moody clash between clean and harsh vocals. With crushing riffs and a very depressive atmosphere, the album continues with “The Occult”, a piece that starts heavier and then it turns into a lush atmospheric Post-Rock-ish composition, only to close strong with a crushing Post-Metal/Hardcore onslaught.
Unleashing their most mature and crushing release to date, today we have Germany’s King Apathy with “Wounds”. Perfectly blending melancholy and melody with aggression, the band’s sound is quite unique and captivating. Distributing over 45 minutes of music in 9 heavy hitting tracks, the band guides the listeners through a devastating and quite punishing aural journey. If you like dreamy music that is both oppressive and raw, this is certainly the album for you.
The album kicks off with the mysterious “Civilization Kills”, a track that sets a very desolate mood thanks to its crushing bass guitar line, perfectly paired with incisive riffs. The explosiveness of “The Scars of the Land” fits perfectly with the harsh vocals and the crafty drumming patterns. This track also features a very dreamy Post-Rock/Shoegazey passage that nicely changes the pace of the song. Slowly building up with a certain Doomy vibe, “Cleansing” is one of our favorite tracks, thanks to the soaring guitar leads and very intense tempo changes.
Unleashing one of the most disarming releases of 2019, today we have Germany’s A Secret Revealed and their devastating blend of Post-Metal. As the band’s sophomore release, “Sacrifices” is one hell of an emotional rollercoaster with eight complex compositions that will transport you to some very bleak and desolate soundscapes. LifeForce records has great taste in music, and this band is no exception to their expertly curated roster of artists.
The onslaught begins with the tense and mysterious “Grieved”, a track that starts very dreamy in a certain Post-Rock/Shoegazey way and transforms into a crushing piece filled with piercing vocals and monstrous riffs. With a Black Metal-esque edge to it, “The Isolation” reminds us of German bands like Sun Worship and Der Weg einer Freiheit, thanks to its ferocity and tempo. One of our favorite tracks is the very dynamic “Ashes”, which slowly builds up momentum is a very commanding way.
Arriving just in time for those long and dark Autumn/Winter days, today we have Décembre Noir and their monumental third full-length release “Autumn Kings”. Oozing with melancholy, this German band delivers eight soul crushing tracks that clock in at around 70 minutes of music. Perfectly crafted for fans of old Insomnium, Forest of Shadows, Rapture, etc., this release is gearing up to be the best one of its genre in 2018.
The album kicks off with the atmospheric build-up of “In the Pouring Rain” as it suddenly erupts in mournful riffs and firm growls. Perfectly immersing the listener into their melancholic sound, the band slowly progresses into heavier and more sinister territories with some crushing passages. The album title track continues the gloomy vibe with more incisive riffs and brilliantly crafted tempo changes, which allow the song be engaging and never get dull.
Like a bag of bricks to the face, today we have Switzerland's Promethee unleashing their latest opus “Convalescence”. Featuring nine tracks and over 35 minutes of music, this release is both very direct and yet crafty enough to showcase some cool Melodic/Progressive passages that sets them apart from the rest. Aggressive and yet well refined releases are hard to come by, and with this one, the band continues their musical journey with a more refined and very in-your-face style.
The heavy riffing of the album-titled opener allows the mood to instantly escalate to very hectic and punishing. However, the craftiness of the song structure makes it quite intriguing and melodic at times, in the same vein as the follow up track “While you Stood Still”. One of our favorite tracks is the funky “Endless”, which features a light mood crafted by trippy drumming and playful guitar melodies. It is quite pleasing to hear how the band’s Hardcore/Post-Metal influences brilliantly align with the unique song structures.