Unleashing nearly 20 minutes of catchy old-school Heavy Metal, today we have Sweden’s Neptune and their EP “The Rebirth”. After releasing some demos in the 80’s, this outfit came back in 2017 and you can instantly tell they have a certain vintage to their sound, making them pretty retro (but in a cool way). If you are a fan of the more direct and straightforward Heavy Metal from the past minus the glam and flamboyance, this release should interest you.
One of our favorite genres at Infernal Masquerade has to be any variant of Death/Doom Metal, particularly during winter, Funeral Doom Metal releases are just the best for a stroll in the cold weather. Today we have Finland’s latest export named Arche and their full-length debut “Transitions”. Featuring three songs and over 36 minutes of music, this release shows a worthy competitor to Finnish greats like Thergothon, Shape of Despair and Skepticism.
Hailing from Norway, Kjetil Nernes and Karin Park are the duo known as Årabrot, a very eclectic and quite interesting Noise-Rock band. Usually a bit far from our regular cup of tea, we didn’t really get into the band until their intense set at L'Homme Sauvage 2022 in France earlier this year. The show’s intensity was palpable and both Kjetil and Karin are so charismatic that their music really clicked when seeing them deliver it live, luckily we also were able to capture it on our camera lens in this gallery.
In “Heart” the band delivers four very unique and atmospheric covers of well known tracks but with the band’s unique spin and vibrance added to the mix. After a funky intro, the cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “Lightning Girl” comes around and the band immediately does their own thing perfectly blending funky arrangements, distorted guitars and Karin’s talented vocals. Our favorite cover has to be the band’s version of Miklós Rózsa suite for Green Fire, as the original is an instrumental piece, but here we get some hypnotic vocals and a creepy Sabbath Assembly like vibe from it.
Unleashing a whole musical experience on its own, Project 34 is set to release their eponymous third release in December of 2022. Led by Chris & Renee Lahoud from Australia, this project combines over 30 musicians from over 13 countries, creating one of the most distributed collaborations we have heard in the dark corners of Metal music. Clocking in at 64 minutes, this album is composed of three different chapters divided in 19 songs that cover many genres of Metal and non-Metal styles.
Instead of reviewing track by track, we will focus more on each of the three chapters, the first one is comprised of tracks 1 to 5 and it kicks off with Middle-Eastern instrumentation and it quickly leads into heavy distorted guitars and a certain Ihshan-esque proggy vibe as the saxophone comes into play. The guitar leads are quite intoxicating and perfectly blended between moments of aggression and great melody, particularly in the third song of this chapter which sounds a bit like if Opeth would play both their old stuff with some of their groovier newer elements.
Hailing from Sweden (mainly), Soen is a Progressive Metal band formed by Martín López (ex-Opeth, ex-Amon Amarth) on drums and Joel Ekelöf on vocals. Having Steve Di Giorgio on bass at some point, this band has been labeled as a super group and they quite live up to their branding with five excellent full-length releases under their belts. With “Atlantis” the band’s strips down their sound (a bit) and delivers a very unique semi-acoustic experience with extra vocals and string arrangements.
As part of a live DVD release and special occasions live set, “Atlantis” delivers the band’s greatest hits in a more intimate and elegant way. We have tracks like “Antagonist” and “Trails” with additional arrangements giving them an extra heartfelt vibe and nicely highlighting Joel’s charismatic lead vocals. Other songs like “Jinn” have been enhanced with some lush Middle-eastern inspired string arrangements alongside the band’s commanding distorted guitars.
Delivering to solemn and very well crafted Folk/Neofolk tracks, today we have Sweden’s Grift and their latest 7-inch “Vilsna andars utmark”. While fans of Black Metal and DSBM will not find what they are looking for here, this is still a very eclectic and moody release that quite fits Erik Gärdefors style of calmer and yet dark and sinister music.
Just when you think a band that you really like will be heading downhill after replacing their vocalist, the band comes back with one epic release easing all concerns. Luckily for us, this is the case for In the Woods… and their latest opus “Diversum”. Blowing people's minds back in the mid to late 90’s with the evolution of their Black Metal roots to Avant-garde Metal territories, the band came back to life in 2014 with three of the band’s original members and a new vocalist which was quickly replaced by the super talented James Fogarty of Ewigkeit/Old Forest fame.
The band’s clean vocals have always been one of their staple elements and luckily on the band’s return ‘Mr Fog’ was able to hold his own and added to the band’s sound with his own unique style. Replacing him was a tall order however, with Bernt Fjellestad the band’s sound is even more epic than before. From the opener “The Coward’s Way” to the majestic “Moment”, we are quickly impressed with the soaring clean vocals and their transition to harsh screams. The music greatly adds to the overall feeling of elation thanks to its crafty proggy and yet heavy nature, with some piercing Black Metal-ish riffs that weirdly fit perfectly.
With the amount of promos we get, sometimes we miss some truly unique gems like “Drown in Ash” by Eternal Helcaraxe. Luckily, we have a system to check out nearly every single album we receive and review some of the most impressive ones. Hailing from Ireland, this outfit delivers a highly melancholic and melodic blend of Atmospheric elements and fierce Black Metal. From start to finish this release will keep you to the edge of your seat and will leave you wanting more.
The onslaught begins with the somber “Withered Strands Of Existence” and its lush dreamy opening that suddenly turns hectic with waves of crafty guitars, pummeling drums and harsh vocals. There is a certain melancholic magic on the clean vocal arrangements that flank the intensity of the music, making the song quite effectives. With an Austere meets Saor vibe, tracks like the album title song, “Where Dead Things Roam Free” and “None Of It Mattered” fiercely explore the bands multiple facets from relentless aggression to minimalistic acoustic interludes.
Releasing an album nearly every two years, today we have Karg and their release “Resignation”. Masterminded by J.J. of Harakiri for the Sky fame and featuring PF of labelmate’s Ellende, this release delivers over 46 minutes of highly melancholic and very well arranged Post-Black Metal. The band’s sound reminds us of a mixture of Heretoir with Harakiri for the Sky with a dreamier edge, so any fan of those (or similar) bands will certainly love this release.
Opening with the 11-minute “Was bleibt”, the track starts very traditionally and it soon blends in dreamier and lush atmospheric elements, like the dramatic string and wind instruments near the 9-minute mark that perfectly pair with solemn clean vocals. This is exactly what makes “Resignation” a very interesting release as it manages to stray away from just the typical all post-Black Metal bands are doing these days. However, the album still has plenty of heaviness and catchiness as “EBBE//FLUT” shows the listener.
Set to be released on Prophecy Production’s sub-label Auerbach Tonträger, today we have Håvard Jørgensen and his Neofolk release “Haavard”. Labeled by promotional materials to the closest thing to Ulver’s masterpiece “Kveldssanger", this album delivers 13 tracks of very melancholic and somber music. Yes, the music style is similar to Ulver’s second album that shocked many, but it is also on the lines of records released by outfits like Empyrium (“Weiland”) and Tenhi to name a few.
Opening with the lush “Printemps” and “Heartwood”, we quickly got chills as it has plenty of Empyrium’s purely Neofolk phase thanks to its solemn acoustic guitars and very unsettling and somber mood thanks to additional string instruments. The folky nature of the music is further appreciated in the lively “Oberon” and the transition piece “The Chase”, just before the minimalist and mysterious “Snhetta”.