Slow – V – Oceans (2018)

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Originally released on 2017, “V – Oceans” is too much of an album to not have on vinyl, so Code666 is handling this task. Slow is a one-man project which hails from Belgium and it crafts some of the most devastating and bleak Atmospheric/Funeral Doom Metal we have ever heard. Featuring five songs, this is definitely a release you need to take in with full attention and on a dark and gloomy day.

The album starts with a very slow and mournful progression in “Aurore”. The riffing is slow and painful, allowing for the atmospheric elements to shine and lead way to the crushing growls. The band’s mastermind, Déhà, has tons of musical experience and by participating in outfits like Clouds. In Slow, he takes things even further, unleashing songs that are over 10 minutes long and perfectly paced for bleakness, just like the dreamy “Ténèbres”.

Ofdrykkja – Irrfärd (2017)

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Unleashing one of the most harrowing and despair-filled releases of 2017, today we have Sweden’s Ofdrykkja and their sophomore full-length release “Irrfärd”. Featuring a highly oppressive and atmospheric sound, this band unleashes seven ravaging tracks of crushing music that is quite dense and engaging. If you are a fan of bands like Lifelover, Dodsferd and similar outfits, you will definitely enjoy this one.

The album title track starts the release with a very moody and bleak acoustic intro, just the perfect warm-up for the emotional beating to come. As “En vandrares börda” warms up, we are treated to incisive riffs that are nicely paired with clean acoustic guitars. As the mournful vocals make their entrance, the track’s sound and atmosphere tours sour, creating a very demoralizing song.

I I / Lihhamon – Miasmal Coronation (2017)

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Closing off 2017 with one truly punishing and demoralizing release, today we have Ván Records unleashing “Miasmal Coronation”. In this split release, we are introduced to the pungent and piercing sound of German Black/Death Metal bands: II and Lihhamon. With each band unleashing around 15 minutes of ravaging music, you will be begging for mercy before the release is done.

The release kicks off with I I’s mysterious atmospheric opening in “Indoctrination of Deaths Command”, however, this atmospheric start is quickly replaced by pummeling riffs and crushing vocals. The band’s intensity is quite palpable, and their ravaging Black/Death Metal sound is instant evidence of this. The band continues their onslaught with brutal tracks like “Weltenfresser” and the incisive “Miasmal Execration”. With a buzz saw-like guitar sound, we particularly enjoy how massive their sound is. I I leaves on a more melodic tone with the superbly catchy “Vidargängr”.

Halphas – Dawn of a Crimson Empire (2017)

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Featuring the rawness and brutality of bands like Horna, Baptism, and Entartung, today we have Germany’s Halphas and their devastating debut release “Dawn of a Crimson Empire”. Unleashing eight hymns of pure devastation, this band has a timeless sound and a level of intensity that is uncanny.

Immediately after the warm-up intro, the band beings building momentum with the diabolica-sounding mid-tempo opening of “Call from the Depths”. As the song progresses, its intensity increases, creating a very punishing and demoralizing piece with crushing vocals. The traditional BM riffing of “Through the Forest” kicks things up a notch with pummeling drums and incisive tempo changes. We particularly enjoy the expert guitar layering the band does, allowing their music to be quite expansive and raw.

Nyctophilia – Dwelling in the Fullmoon Light (2017)

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Unleashing a truly intense musical outburst, today we have one-man Nyctophilia and their full-length release “Dwelling in the Fullmoon Light”. Seeing the light of day on CD format via Mara Productions, this eight tracks sonically abusive release is ready to deliver its brutal and frosty message to a wider audience. Perfectly balancing atmosphere with ravaging intensity, this release is intended for any BM fan that is also into creepy and overpowering atmospherics.

After the warm-up intro, the release fully kicks in with the punishing drumming and riffing of “As Nothing Remains Here”. The track is quite intense and very well developed, bringing back memories from bands like Anorexia Nervosa, thanks to its crushing production and intense demeanor. The brutal onslaught continues with the pummeling “Dark December Forest” and the more mysterious and dense album title track. Both of which go from Immortal-esque moments into darker and more somber vibes.

Ubiquity – Forever/Denied (2017)

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Unleashing a very punishing and raw release, today we have Italy’s Ubiquity and their release “Forever/Denied”. Out on Third I Rex, this band delivers five pummeling tracks filled with hateful Post-Hardcore music mixed more modern Post-Black Metal onslaughts to keep things interesting and refreshing. If you don’t like many of the Post-BM bands because their music sometimes is too mellow, you will love the raw brutality behind this release.

The album opens in a sort of deceiving way with the angelic choir arrangements that suddenly lead to a blistering onslaught of crushing riffs and ravaging shrieks. The album title track delivers a very powerful opening with merciless power and intensity. Invoking their inner Neurosis/AmenRa, the band unleashed the powerful riffage of “Hopes”, perfectly complemented by intense drumming and harrowing vocals.

The Howling Void – The Darkness at the Edge of Dawn (2017)

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Brilliantly mixing all kinds of Doom Metal subgenres together with outside elements from Black Metal and even Pagan Metal, today we have one-man outfit The Howling Void and their sixth full-length release “The Darkness at the Edge of Dawn”. Feeling part like an homage to bands like My Dying Bride, Katatonia, Shape of Despair, Tenhi, etc., this band crafts a very cohesive and melancholic style that is perfect for any fan of the genre, and produce five enchanting tracks in this release.

Opening with the mysterious “Distant Shores”, we get a very cool interplay between clean and distorted guitars and the atmospheric synths. The clean vocal passages remind us a bit Empyrium, however the track is more on the heavier Doom Metal side of things with even some riffs bordering in BM-territories. The mood picks up a bit with the more intense “A Seed on Stone”, a track that features very powerful drumming and it even feels at some points like Pagan Metal.

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pacifisticuffs (2017)

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Finally returning after a five-year stint without new releases, today we have Sweden’s Diablo Swing Orchestra and their truly kooky and extremely diverse Avant-garde Metal music. With “Pacifisticuffs” we are instantly transported into the band’s unique world with thirteen brilliant tracks filled with lush instrumentation, superbly catchy melodies and chaotic creativity.

Opening with the superbly catchy “Knucklehugs (Arm Yourself with Love)”, the band makes a very quick impression with this chaotic piece that mixes everything from Punk-ish elements with Country-Western influences to Jazzy and Bluesy elements, creating a very unique song. Setting a very dark opening mood with string instruments, “The Age of Vulture Culture” leads up to some Mariachi-like passages led by the charismatic Kristin Evegård, the band’s new female vocalist. This track in particular reminds us of bands like Russkaja.

Jess and the Ancient Ones – The Horse and Other Weird Tales (2017)

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Unleashing one of the most groovy and psychedelic releases of 2017, today we have Finland’s Jess and the Ancient Ones and their third full-length release “The Horse and Other Weird Tales”. Featuring nine songs and over 30 minutes of deeply intoxicating music, this release will transport you back in time with its funky vibe and excellent instrumentation.

Opening with the killer old-school Psych Rock vibes of “Death is the Doors”, we are instantly transported into the band’s own world. While the whole Psych Rock fad has gotten mainstream in the last few years, JATO’s leading lady is one of the main elements that sets them apart from the rest. Her sultry voice is a perfect fit for such trippy and mysterious music, and if you are lucky enough to see them live, her stage presence is truly mesmerizing.

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