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.
Continuing with their surprising evolution into a more Gothic Rock-inspired sound, today we have Hanging Garden and their latest release “At Every Door”. On their debut release “Inherit the Eden” the band jumped into the scene with a very melodic Death/Doom Metal and was praised by fans all around. With their second effort “TEOTWAWKI” the band started to mix more Gothic and different elements to make their music more accessible to a broader audience, something that they gracefully continue to do with this release.
Opening with the trippy “Ten Thousand Cranes”, the band delivers electronic elements with clean vocals making them sound like current Paradise Lost and Tiamat. Not all is lost since their original sound is present underneath everything with powerful riffs and excellent growls. Thankfully the new vocalist can do the growls as deep and powerful as their original one. “Ash and Dust” starts a bit more powerful than the first track, and the atmospheric details added by the keyboards work very well with the song.
Delivering their best album to date, today we have France’s Destinity and their 8th studio album “Resolve in Crimson”. Having evolved from Black Metal to Thrash Metal to Melodic Death Metal as of recently, this band turns in nine riff-tastic tracks that will draw them comparisons to bands like Dark Tranquility, Night In Gales, and Nightrage just to name a few.
Opening with the melodic anthem “Black Sun Rising”, the band’s riffing skills make this song shine since the first few seconds. This track delivers a healthy dosage of solid riffs and very well crafted clean vocal sections that make this song very catchy. Not losing track of their heavier side, “Reap my Scars” comes off a bit more aggressive but with equal melodic catchiness, making it another very solid momentum building track.
Making quite an impact since the first song, today we have Poland’s Devilish Impressions latest release titled “Simulacra”. Being properly released through Lifeforce records this July, this is one of those albums that combines so many different elements in a very cohesive and successful way, making it super diverse and extremely exciting.
“Icaros” opens with release with a mixture of Vintersorg meets Dimmu Borgir atmosphere, thanks to the hefty use of synths and the awesome clean vocals. Setting the bar this high, the band also delivers pretty solid melodic Black/Death-ish music that is very direct and well crafted. The atmospheric side of things keeps making this album very appealing in “Legion of Chaos”, but it is the massive drumming and heavy riffing that ultimately makes this song super catchy and effective.
The man with the 20 (or so) different bands Christian Älvestam, delivers yet another excellent release in the Death Metal category. Mixing elements of Technical Death Metal, Melodic Death Metal, and the rawness of pure Death Metal, “Tragedy Has Spoken” is a very brutal release that has many different facets to it, making it quite an enjoyable release to dissect over a few dozen spins (or more).
Ripping through the opener “Stepping Stone Agenda”, we immediately know we are in for a devastating release since the guitars deliver waves of aggressive riffs and the vocals are extremely brutal. Christian’s vocal talents are undeniable, and when it comes to do extreme screaming, there are only a handful of people that can be as aggressive and versatile as he is. The drumming is also pretty well crafted and hyper fast, truly crushing indeed.