As the brainchild of the Tipton brothers of Zero Hour and Cynthesis fame, today we have Abnormal Thought Patterns and their extremely intricate release “Altered States of Consciousness”. Having proved themselves as very proficient musicians in the past, the Tipton brothers (and other band members) take their sound even further and delivering seven brilliant tracks that cover over 42 minutes of awe-inspiring guitar and bass guitar work tied together in a very nice and cohesive package.
The album opens with the shred-tastic “Distortions of Perception”, a slowly progressing piece that sets a very high bar for the rest of the album. Things move into more progressive/Djent-sounding territories with “Nocturnal Haven”, a track that features Tommy Rogers (Between the Buried and Me) on vocals and the (in)famous Jeff Loomis (ex-Nevermore). The band’s ability to make each song sound very different is quickly evident with one of our personal favorites, “Blindsight”, a track that reminds us of Ihsahn and his very technically proficient musical compositions.
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.
After a killer 2014 in terms of excellent Metal releases, we open 2015 with By The Patient’s third full-length release “Gehenna”. Featuring nine tracks of expertly crafted Death Metal with high emphasis on melodic and groovy passages, this Danish band perfectly showcases their polished sound that is hard to peg but difficult to ignore.
The album kicks off with the powerful “Ruled By The Death”, a track that features crushing riffs and very tight drumming. The band has some older Scandinavian Metal influences, but with their own twist and a very modern and refined production. As the band pummels through tracks like “Deceiver”, “Gehenna”, and “Web of Beliefs”, we instantly notice their knack for melodic/groovy sections that make their music very addictive. The harsh vocals nicely fit the music as they set the band apart from the traditional growls of the genre.
Hailing from Switzerland, today we have Last Leaf Down and their dreamy Post-Rock/Shoegaze. Sounding like a combination of Katatonia, Tides from Nebula, and some sprinkles of Slowdive and Alcest, this band delivers a very unique and ethereal sounding release with “Fake Lights”. Clocking in at 51 minutes, buckle up for a very dreamy and ethereal ride with this one.
As the intro bleeds into “In Dreams”, the dreamy shoegazing galore starts. The band’s sound is very atmospheric and melancholic. Benjamin Schenk vocals are quite hypnotic and they perfectly fit to the album’s overall pace. The Katatonia influences, while on their experimental ‘alternative’ phase, are very clear in tracks like “In These Waters” and “Giant”, we particularly love this last one and its weeping depressive guitars.
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”.
With a French scene recently growing in numbers and strength, Doyle Airence is another excellent band that is finally getting some attention in the international scene. “Monolith” marks the band’s sophomore release and mixes elements of Post-Hardcore with Ambient. Rock, and Metal. The band’s very unique sound will surely grab you attention and divide opinions since they are far from your typical run-of-the-mill ‘up and coming’ band.
Kicking off with a mood setting atmospheric track, “03.11.11”, it is not until “Painting with Lights” were we first hear the band’s punishing guitars. In this track we have a very typical Pos-Hardcore approach to thins, with devastating screamed vocals and pummeling drums. It is not until “Friendly Fire” that we get some of the band’s more experimental side with a modern sounding Metalcore-ish vibe and some very solid Post-Rock/Post-Metal passages thrown in between. While we are not huge fans of the Metalcore-ish clean vocals, they still fit the melodic aspect of the song very well.
Originally started as a Death/Doom outfit, Hanging Garden has been slowly drifting apart from this category into more Melodic Death/Doom territories like their fellow countrymen Swallow the Sun and Insomnium. After the release of “At Every Door” earlier this year, the band gives us a little taste of what is to come in the future with their EP “I Was a Soldier”. Featuring three tracks (with the digital bonus song), this release continues were their previous full-length left off with a good dose of crushing melancholic music.
Starting on a high note, “Winter to Summer Adverse” delivers punishing riffs, demoralizing vocals and a very cool atmospheric keyboard highlights. While this track sounds a lot like Swallow the Sun, the band does a great job in keeping their style evolving and creating a bleak atmosphere. The clean vocals certainly add an extra layer of awesomeness to this track. The EP’s title track continues the flow with more atmospheric passages and engaging vocals.
From the highly creative mind of Nathanael, of Bonjour Tristesse and Agrypnie fame, today we have Thränenkind’s debut full-length “The Elk”. Being released through LifeForce Records, this powerful exercise in desolate and depressive music combines Post-Black Metal elements with Depressive Rock and a huge knack for bleak musical passages. With influences from bands like Heretoir and Austere (among others) to more Post-Rock outfits like God Is an Astronaut and Godspeed Your Black Emperor, this is one emotional rollercoaster ride that you do not want to miss.
Brilliantly setting the mood with the desolate “Monument”, we don’t have to wait much to get fully immerse in the band’s melancholic music. The first heavy hitting song is the ethereal “Just Another Way of Expressing Defeat”. Featuring dreamy guitars and a very mellow pace, this is one song that is very well constructed, transporting the listener back and forth from ethereal dream states.
Hailing from the USA, today we have the debut full-length release Lifeforms, an up-and-coming Progressive Extreme Metal band that mixes influences from band like Meshuggah to Deathcore bands like The Black Dahlia Murder. With an emphasis of excellent technical skills and brutality, this band has constructed 10 excellent tracks that while a bit repetitive, are actually quite enjoyable.
Opening with the expectation builder “Descent into Madness”, the band starts warming up the riffing machine in this short intro. “Multidimensional” fully explodes with excellent Meshuggah styled guitar work and potent drumming. We love the technical aspect of things but they still sound a lot like Gojira and similar bands with that Progressive/Groove sound. The band’s extra similarities to bands like BDM and such Deathcore acts makes them sound more brutal than your average bands, gaining them extra points in our opinion.
When one thinks that a band can’t get any better, we got completely surprised by how Omnium Gatherum managed to improve over their previous epic release “New World Shadows”. In “Beyond”, the band takes their highly refined Melodic Death Metal sound and brings it up another notch to near perfection in the 10 tracks presented in this majestic release.
Slowly building up with the intro track, “The New Dynamic” explodes with the band’s signature intense riffs and powerful growls. As the track progresses, the epic lead guitar work enhances the mood and the acrobatic solos immediately start. The clean vocals greatly add to the overall awesomeness of the song when paired with the precise bass guitar line. This is nicely continued by the super catchiness of “In The Rim” and its killer vocal arrangements during the songs more melodic sections.