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.
We are constantly impressed on how Sun & Moon records always manages to find very interesting underground bands like Selbst, Blaze of Sorrow, etc. The label has done it again with the incisive Catacombes and their crafty and engaging Black Metal on their sophomore release “Des glaires et des briques”. The band’s music is raw and direct, with a certain Peste Noire meets Monarque approach that will lead to plenty of weird headbanging sessions.
After a mood setting opener, “Cathédrale” creates a very decadent and moody atmosphere with fierce guitar riffs and hellish vocals. The pace is not always intense, allowing the atmosphere and tempo to accommodate more experimental and even Doomy passages. However, not all tracks are the same as pieces like the album title track and “Face à Godasses” are commanding and pummeling from start to end. The band can easily switch gears and they are not afraid of showing it.
Completely blowing us away, today we have Ellende’s latest opus “Ellenbogengesellschaft”. As one of the most anticipated releases of 2022 for us, this album delivers nearly 50 minutes of highly melancholic atmospheric Post-Black Metal unlike anything you’ve heard before. L.G manages to improve the band’s sound by introducing additional elements while keeping its raw core untouched.
The elegant intro “Ich bin” nicely sets a solemn mood that is quickly elevated with “Unsterblich”. In this relentless track we get our first dose of the band’s signature blistering aggression nicely adorned with subtle atmospherics and dramatic tempo changes into lush melodic passages. The mood of the track completely changes when it transitions to weeping guitar leads and dreamy choral arrangements.
Unleashing one blistering barrage of punishing Melodic Black Metal riffs, today we have Wyrms and their fourth full-length release “Sarkhral Lumænor - La lueur contre les fléaux”. Other than having one of the longest album titles in 2022, this album perfectly blends unparalleled intensity with sinister BM foundations, creating a very Windir/Vreid meest Atmospheric/Suicidal BM atmosphere.
Immediately setting a hellish pace, “La messe de l épée” slowly transitions from dreamy atmospherics into all-out Black Metal onslaughts filled with intense guitar work and ravaging drumming. This level of intensity is perfectly on display on pieces like “Fort blanc et bêtes noires” and “Entre gueux et rats”, where the melodic aspect of the band's sound nicely creates a very effective and direct mixture that will have listeners furiously headbanging.
Seemingly frozen in time, today we have, after 17 years, Epoch of Unlight's latest opus “At War With the Multiverse”. We were huge fans of the band back in the early 2000’s and their fresh thrashy Melodic Death Metal music, which was echoed by bands like Estuary of Calamity and Sacramentum to some extent. In this new release, the band unleashes around 42 minutes of catchy and well-crafted music that has a certain nostalgic retro sound, but will please anybody that is a fan of Death/Black Metal with melodic tendencies.
The opening riffs of “The Anthropocene”, bring us back to the early days of North American Death Metal, namely Suffocation, Incantation, and similar outfits. However, the special Epoch of Unlight sauce lies in the melodic passages in songs like “The Numbing Stillness”, “Wrath of the Cryomancer”, and “An Amaranthine Line”, which perfectly switch between neck-snapping chugging sections, to clean and blistering guitar leads and solos.
Hailing from Sweden, today we have the mysterious duo Mortuss and their sickening Black Metal. Filled with eerie atmospherics, tense melodic passages, and a hefty dose of murkiness, “Diablerie” unleashes 44 minutes of crafty music in four ravaging tracks. Not all BM is the same, and this outfit takes creating dark and dissonant atmospheres to a whole new level with dense and macabre compositions.
Opening with some recorded spoken sections behind a wall of crushing guitar riffs, “Threefold Harrowing of Hell”, immediately sets a very suffocating atmosphere. The subtle use of keyboards alongside J. Kvarnbrink’ deep snarls create a very eerie vibe. With the album title track, the band continues their onslaughts with piercing drumming and firm and aggressive vocals.
The highly productive Tuomas Saukkonen is back with one more new release in 2022, now with his main band Wolfheart and “King of the North”. Featuring around 50 minutes of engaging and highly addictive music, this release continues his Melodic Metal explorations with plenty of melancholy and a few surprises here and there. Always keeping things interesting and very high quality, this release will surely please all of his fans.
Setting a very regal mood with “Skyforger”, the keyboards give way to signature melodic riffs and very well crafted headbanging-inducing tempo changes. Shaking things up a bit, “Ancestor” is a faster track with guest vocals from Jesse Leach of KSE fame, giving the song a different edge (no, not metalcore), thanks to the clean vocal arrangements and melodic passages. While “Knell” has more of a Gothic vibe due to its imposing atmospheric keyboards and slower paced sections.
Consistently releasing well-crafted and engaging albums, Stratovarius is finally back, after 7 years, with the brilliant “Survive”. Featuring a more bombastic and more dynamic Power Metal style, this release delivers nearly one hour of high-octane signature Stratovarius music with tons of epic vocal arrangements and killer guitar leads paired with intense melodic passages. Well worth the wait, this release will certainly be enjoyed by fans of the band and will gain them some new ones as well.
Opening with the album title track, we are quickly treated to blazing guitars and lush atmospheric arrangements. The band sounds quite fresh and dynamic, around their traditional Power Metal core led by Timo Kotipelto’s gifted vocals. As “Demand”, “Broken”, and “Firefly” roll around, we continue to hear the band’s enveloping sound perfectly balancing virtuosity, in both keyboards and guitars, with catchiness, as these songs are quite epic and engaging.
Presenting a very uniquely Atmospheric Raw Black Metal, Ecuador’s Wampyric Rites returns with their ravaging sophomore full-length release “The Wolves Howl to the Moon”. With over 35 minutes of piercing and creepy music, this South American duo creates a very unique and disturbing atmosphere that is quite direct, and yet manages to surprise you with extra elements.
Setting a dark and somber mood with the opening synths, “The Ancient Tyrant Returns from the Deep Grave” quickly escalates into an all-out crushing mixture of punishing riffs and hellish screams. Not only is the band’s style fast and vicious, there is an underlying melody that can be heard in most songs, particularly the crafty “Rites Under the Fullmoon” and its headbanging inducing melodic passages.
Unleashing one of the most punishing Black Metal releases of 2022, today we have Chile’s Ad Finem Omnia and their debut full-length release “No Peace - No Dawn”. Featuring founding members from Sol Sistere Pablo Vera and Ricardo Araya, this release focuses on direct, raw, and pummeling Black Metal, reminding us of outfits like Horna, Délétère, and similar outfits. Highly recommended release for genre purists that are looking for waves of crushing riffs and relentless intensity.
Opening with “Vultures”, the band wastes no time in punishing the listener with piercing guitars, savage screams, and crafty drumming. The band’s intensity is on par with any European counterpart, but the subtle melodic elements that tracks like “The Abyss”, “Solve: Route To Extinction”, and “Coagula: Promethean Fire” feature, perfectly create intense moments of furious headbanging alongside a very immersive and well-rounded sound.