Showing their excellent 2019 release, “Sateet palata saavat”, was no fluke, Finland’s Vorna returns with an even more expansive and bombastic release with “Aamunkoi”. The band’s sound is as unique as before, perfectly mixing Folk/Pagan/Black Metal with a hefty dose of atmospheric elements. Featuring over 44 minutes of lush vocal arrangements alongside crafty instrumentation and a solid level of heaviness, this release is quite rich and highly enjoyable.
Opening with “Hiljaisuus ei kestä” a very lush and folky mood is established thanks to a mixture of clean and harsh vocals alongside solid riffing and tight drumming. The band’s melancholic nature starts oozing more profusely as “Harva päättää hyvästeistään”, “Aika pakenee”, and “Valo” come around with their dramatic atmospherics and crafty tempo changes, we even got some Amorphis-esque vibes here and there.
Showcasing a very different side of their music, today we have Germany’s Décembre Noir with their latest EP “Pale Serenades”. Featuring a re-interpreted version of an individual track of each of the band’s previous releases: "The Renaissance Of Hope", "Autumn Kings", "Forsaken Earth" and "A Discouraged Believer", the listener is treated to a more naked and direct approach from the band, creating a very unique and powerful experience.
The release opens with “A Swan Lake Full of Tears”, a very solemn and melancholic track which also features Nick Moss on guest vocals, adding that extra punch to make the song even more special. Next up, we have the fragile “Barricades” with lush and dramatic piano arrangements alongside Aaron Stainthorpe’s mournful guest vocals. This is certainly our favorite track of the release.
Keeping themselves busy during the last couple of years, Finland’s Hanging Garden is set to unleash their latest EP titled “Neither Moth nor Rust”. After their very impressive 2021 release, this EP delivers around 25 minutes of highly dynamic and engaging music, with a well balanced mixture of Gothic and Doom Metal influences, this album reminds us of late Theater of Tragedy, To/Die/For/ and Beseech releases.
Creating a very somber and yet lively atmosphere, the album title track delivers a well balanced mix of growls and clean male and female vocals, alongside engaging and catchy music. This playful vibe continues on tracks like the dreamy “The Last Dance”, and the atmospheric “And Leave All Love Behind”, showcasing the band’s versatility and craftiness to write highly emotional and yet diverse songs.
After making a huge splash with their 2020 release titled “Bloodletting”, Mountaineer achieves the impossible and unleashes an even more melancholic and more polished release with “Giving Up The Ghost”. For fans of Post-Rock/Doom/Shoegaze, this release delivers over 32 minutes of highly emotional and disharming music, creating a fully immersive atmosphere and a truly magical listening experience.
Opening with a mood setting instrumental, the band gets down to business with the dreamy “Blot Out the Sun”, filled with soaring vocal melodies (both harsh and clean) and very dynamic guitars, perfectly capturing the ‘Mountaineer vibe’ but further extending it with even more melancholy and sublime arrangements like we can hear in “Bed of Flower” or the The Ocean-esque “Touch the Glass”.
Unleashing one of the most heavy-hitting releases of 2021, today we have A Secret Revealed with “When The Day Yearns For Light”. Hailing from Germany, this quintet takes a page from bands like The Ocean and King Apathy and create their own blend of Post-Metal/Post-Hardcore music filled with raw emotions and crushing arrangements. Nearly clocking in at 40 minutes, this album is intense from the first few seconds and never lets go.
After a short melancholic opening, “As I Watch You Perish” quickly delivers waves of crushing guitars and the intense screams of Michael. The band’s style borders on many genres, perfectly mixing raw aggression, crafty tempo changes, and relentless drumming, as we can hear in songs like “No Shelter. No Hope.”, the moody “With Blind Apathy”, and the vicious onslaughts of “In Shoals”.
Returning with an even more bombastic and yet misery inducing release, today we have Finland’s Hanging Garden and their latest effort “Skeleton Lake”. Moving a bit away from their traditional old-school Death/Doom Metal, the band steps in territories pioneered by bands like Tristania, Theatre of Tragedy, etc. with the addition of more Gothic/Pop-ish elements in the 46 minutes of music. If you like well crafted melodic, catchy and engaging music with diverse influences, this release will bring the band close to the previously mentioned bands.
Opening with the lush and bombastic “Kuura”, new female vocalist Riikka Hatakka shines as her sweet voice is the perfect contrast to heavy distorted guitars and energetic growls. While the atmospheric component of the band’s sound is still present and the mournful melodic riffs are there, tracks like “Faith”, “Nowhere Haven”, and “Winter’s Kiss” add extra Gothic-like elements alongside additional catchiness. The use of clean male vocals also gives the band a certain To/Die/For edge, making their sound more dynamic than before.
Hailing from Germany, today we have Melodic Death/Doom Metal outfit Décembre Noir with their harrowing fourth full-length release “The Renaissance of Hope”. Featuring nearly 50 minutes of firm and yet highly emotional music, the band delivers six brutal tracks that brilliantly balance fragility, aggression and melody. For fans of bands like Swallow the Sun, My Dying Bride, and similar outfits, this release will certainly bring some fuzzy warmness during the winter months.
Opening with the pummeling “A Swan Lake Full of Tears”, the band quickly establishes a hefty balance between incisive guitar riffs and gruff growls. Setting a high bar, this track is quite hectic and powerful even as it progresses into more melodic and solemn minimalist interludes with clean vocals. Those looking for heavier pieces, “Hope/Renaissance” and “Wings of Eschaton” are both quite pummeling thanks to crafty drum patterns and very heavy dueling guitar work. While many bands tend to become overly melodic, Décembre Noir’s sound is quite firm and ravaging.
Delivering a fresh and quite engaging take on Post-Metal, today we have Finland’s Atlases and their sophomore release “Woe Portrait”. While many bands are staying within the confines of the genre, this band expands its boundaries with a very melancholic and melodic approach, filled with lush vocal arrangements, and additional atmospheric elements to create a very cohesive and expansive sound. As always, releases from LifeForce records continue to amaze us by their creativity and uniqueness, and this one is no exception to the rule.
The release opens with the punishing riffs and growls of “Dreadlight”, a very typical and powerful opening that gradually transforms into a completely pummeling riffing contest, setting a very hectic mood. “Halos” and “Eternia” change the pace a bit with a more hypnotic approach with lush clean vocals that suddenly merge with very aggressive onslaughts. These tracks have more of a Post Rock vibe with very interesting and powerful contrasting elements thrown in the mix, keep things heavy and dreamy at the same time.
Always delivering extremely interesting releases, today we have Germany’s Ancst and their latest effort “Summits of Despondency”. Intricately layering many styles into a very pummeling and yet melancholic sound, this album features nearly 45 minutes of viciously delivered intense music. While genre purists will not enjoy the medley of styles in this release, we are huge fans of the amount of creativity and well crafted intermingling of everything from hardcore to Post-Black Metal.
Opening with the crushing “Kill Your Inner Cop”, the band instantly oozes an Hypocrisy vibe with menacing guitars and relentless intensity. The vocals are quite hectic and probably the singular identifying characteristic of the band’s diverse musical explorations, as this track bleeds into the more melodic “Inferno” and “Final Hour”. Due to the intensity of the band’s musical approach, songs quickly blend into each other, and before you can tell , you have heard 4-5 songs without even noticing.
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.