Quickly returning after the highly emotional 2021 release “Escape of the Phoenix”, Evergrey continues the same path of melancholy with the excellent “A Heartless Portrait: The Orphean Testament”. Featuring over 50 minutes of mellow Progressive/Power Metal, with Tom Englund’s signature vocals, this album just further refines the band’s polished and effective style and delivers exactly what the fans are expecting.
The album opens with the soaring guitars and vocal arrangements of “Save Us”, a very powerful and mood-setting track filled with crafty atmospherics and a hefty dose of catchiness. The band’s mixture of explosiveness with melancholy oozes from pieces like “Midwinter Calls” and “Ominous”, one of our favorite tracks in this release thanks to the amazing vocal arrangements and killer guitar leads. For those preferring the band’s Power ‘ballads’, “Call out the Dark” is a fine addition.
Showcasing a different side of Lars Are Nedland, today we have his latest project Black Void, a sort of polar opposite release from his 2021, White Void “Anti”, release. Perfectly combining Punk and Black Metal with a mild dose of his soaring clean vocals, Lars delivers around 40 minutes of intense, hellish, and masterfully crafted music featuring a few guest appearances and a stellar supporting cast.
Opening with the sleazy “Void”, a statement piece that while it starts with typical Black’n’roll fare plus some hefty Punk-ish influences, the listener is still treated to majestic clean vocal arrangements and plenty of melody. Creating chaos and confusion, “Reject Everything” and “Death to Morality” pounce at the listener with ravaging guitars, courtesy of Jostein Thomassen (Borknagar), and a good dose of harsh vocals thrown into the mix.
Constantly evolving, American outfit Our Dying World returns with their latest release “Hymns Of Blinding Darkness”, with an engaging Symphonic/Gothic Metal sound. While not extremely polished and still a bit rough around the edges, this outfit delivers nearly 40 minutes of exciting music showcasing good skill and promising songwriting abilities.
After setting the mood with the opener “Ars Moriendi”, the band unleashes “Everything We Know Is Gone”, a track that has a Dark Lunacy vibe, with additional Power/Symphonic Metal elements in the relentless guitar work and keyboards. This style works very well for the band as they deliver engaging songs like “Under The Hunter's Blade”, “Survivor”, and “Path Of The Nomad”.
With every release, Watain manages to further refine their craft to be more incisive, sinister, and piercing, and “The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain” perfectly reflects this. Featuring nearly 50 minutes of bone-chilling music, this release blends aggression with atmosphere and musicality, to create some of the foulest and most oppressive Black Metal anthems to date.
Opening with the vicious “Ecstasies in Night Infinite”, the listener is quickly blasted with the band’s ravaging guitar work alongside Erik Danielsson’s evil snarl. This opener has a certain retro Dissection-like vibe that sets the tone for the release. We particularly love how elegant melody is infused into the band’s music on tracks like “The Howling”, “Black Cunt”, and “Serimosa”, that still have that razor sharp BM edge, but sound different than most bands.
Latin America is full of quality Black Metal bands and over the last few years Sun & Moon Records have uncovered hidden gems like Selbst, and now HiddenT. Hailing from Chile, this outfit perfectly adds unrivaled melodies and harmonies to an aggressive core, making them sound like early Borknagar and “Cainan Chronicle”-era Ancient.
The release starts with the mystical atmospheric “Last Winter Ritual” and it quickly escalates with the punishing album title track. There is a certain magical balance between the fierce riffing onslaughts and the eerie clean vocals that grace melodic passages. This nicely bleeds into songs that have some Post-Black Metal vibes like “Delirium Tremens” and our favorite, the headbanging anthem “Under a Shadow Reflection”.
Unleashing one of the most haunting releases of 2022, today we have Darkher and her truly eerie brand of Doom Metal. In “The Buried Storm”, Jayn Maiven continues to create highly atmospheric pieces perfectly blending just the right amount of distortion and tempo to create a very suffocating and yet liberating experience.
The album slowly builds its momentum with the sparse “Sirens Nocturne” and its tense atmospherics combined with lush vocal arrangements. Next up, “Lowly Weep” increases the tension with eerie cellos and the gradual introduction of distorted guitars alongside cathartic vocal arrangements. For those into folkier flavored Atmospherics, “Unbound” is a track to enjoy.