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.
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.