Krane – Pleonexia (2017)

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Unleashing a very interesting sophomore release, today we have Switzerland’s Krane with “Pleonexia”. Crafting a very unique sound that blends Post-Metal with Post-Rock passages, this band sounds like the perfect child of Neurosis and From Nebula with some influences of Cult of Lune and Russian Circles sprinkled in. With over 35 minutes of music, this is one of those mostly instrumental releases that keep you wanting to play it over and over again.

Setting the mood with the mysterious “Deception”, the band slowly lures the listener into their world as “Strategic Level” kicks in with intense percussions. In this track the band comes out of its shell and delivers a somewhat ritualistic build-up into Neurosis-esque heavy riffs. With a certain futuristic edge provided by either a Theremin or some funky electronic synths. Delivering a bit of a shift in pace, “Destabilization” sooths out the listener before the next onslaught.

Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper (2017)

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Unleashing their latest opus, today we have Seattle’s Bell Witch with “Mirror Reaper”. Clocking in at a massive 83 minutes, this one-track release is going for the record of longest Funeral Doom Metal song. After the untimely death of founding member Adrian Guerra, we wondered about the future of Bell Witch, luckily for all the fans the new release has arrived and it is a monumental one.

Slowly building up momentum with sparse punishing riffs and killer growls, this track is in no hurry to reveal its secrets. As things get settled for a bit, we have weeping guitars and very dramatic atmospheric elements that perfectly blend with the melancholy of the clean vocals. We particularly enjoy that when listening to this behemoth of a song, we get lost in the musical progression and before we know it we are more than 40 minutes into the track.

Antiversum – Cosmos Comedenti (2017)

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Hailing from Swtizerland, today we have Antiversum and their ear popping, soul crushing mixture of Black/Death/Doom metal in their debut full-length release “Cosmos Comedenti”. Featuring over 37 minutes of hellish music, the band mixes Black/Death Metal influences with Doom and Sludge to create a very think and visceral listening experience. With influences from bands like Neurosis, Amenra, to Centinex, this is one release you don’t want to miss.

Opening the album, we have the harrowing “Antinova”, a piece that slowly builds up a sound wall filled with pummeling riffs and crushing growls. There are some Black Metal influences thrown into the mix that create a more dissonant and imposing atmosphere, as the song progresses in a very Sludgy/Post-Metal-ish way. Continuing the aural assault, we have “Chao E Orta Est”, a slow progressing track that is quite dissonant and aggressive.

Lascar – Saudade (2017)

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For those of us that still collect physical CD’s, today we have the non-digital version of Lascar’s sophomore release “Saudade” through the A Sad Sadness Song imprint. Featuring over 42 minutes of music divided into four tracks, this release shows a more mature and defined Lascar. The songs are raw and powerful, but at the same time filled with melancholy and sorrow. If you are a fan of Post-Black Metal, this is definitely a release you don’t want to miss.

Opening with the sweeping “Tender Glow”, we are immediately thrown into Lascar’s world. The song’s raw power and melancholic guitars create a very unique and engaging contrast. The song nicely blends into the faster paced “Thin Air”, a track filled with very intense drumming and furious riffing. This one-man band has a unique ability to create contrasting passages within each track, showcasing versatility and skill.

Orphaned Land + Pain + Voodoo KungFu - 9/20/2017 - Oakland Metro, Oakland, CA

As most tours hitting either San Francisco or Oakland, we were quite excited when we saw that Orphaned Land was coming through town as part of their short tour after their ProgPower USA appearance. The tour package was rounded up by Sweden’s Pain and their excellent Industrial/Electronic Metal/Rock music, and the mysterious Voodoo KungFu with their very unique and rare sound. After braving the craptastic Bay Area traffic, we managed to make it to the venue in less than an hour and just in time for Voodoo KungFu to take the stage.

Satyricon – Deep Calleth Upon Deep (2017)

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As one of the most anticipated releases of 2017, today we have legendary Satyricon and their latest opus “Deep Calleth Upon Deep”. Featuring eight tracks and over 43 minutes of music, this release showcases Satyr’s and Frost superbly evil and sinister sound while incorporating a few new tricks to their repertoire. Continuing the exploration of the limits of Black Metal, the band provides their next evolutionary step with another unique and engaging release.

Opening with the piercing riffing of “Midnight Serpent”, the band kicks off a very melodic and yet aggressive release. There is just something merciless about the band’s riffing that oozes evil and darkness. Once warmed up, the band mixes subtle aggression with playful rhythms and intricate songwriting as we hear in “Blood Crack Open the Ground” and the hypnotic “To Your Brethren in the Dark”.

Cradle of Filth – Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay (2017)

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After blowing everybody’s expectations with their amazing 2015 release “Hammer of the Witches”, Dani Filth and company are back with an even more refined and incisive release with “Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay”. Having returned to their best sound since “Nymphetamine”, they band continues rolling with another 10 brilliant tracks that while reminding us of their earlier days, keep pushing forward with their bombastic and aggressive sound.

Kicking off with the mood setting intro “Exquisite Torments Await”, CoF instantly transports you into the band’s twisted world thanks to sinister riffs and dramatic arrangements. This is only the beginning as things get even more intense with the blistering drumming of “Heartbreak and Séance” and its Omen-esque chorus sections. With even more dramatic arrangements and superbly catchy passages, “Achingly Beautiful” is definitely one of our favorite tracks in this release.

Beyond the Gates – 8/24-27/2017 – USF Verftet / Garage, Bergen, Norway

What better way to close this summer filled with festival for Infernal Masquerade than to make our way back to Bergen, Norway and attend this relatively ‘young’ festival. Boasting an impressive line-up with bands like Cult of Fire, Mgla, Vemod and The Ruins of Beverast among others, and headliners like Master’s Hammer, The True Mayhem and Enslaved, and a venue as impressive as USF Verftet, this small festival promised to deliver and action-packed weekend.

Heterochrome – Melancholia (2017)

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Hailing from Iran, today we have Progressive Metal outfit Heterochrome and their debut release “Melancholia”. Filled with intricate soundscapes and angelic female vocals, this release is quite engaging and entertaining as it reminds us a bit of outfits like Alas and Echoes of Eternity. Delivering over 30 minutes of music divided in six tracks, this release showcases the many talents of the band and will surely put them in your radar for the future.

Opening with the playful percussions of “Cage”, the band sets a very moody and ethereal opening that hooks the listener but does not reveal the band’s surprises yet. As “Hang” starts we get some brilliant proggy guitars paired with tight drumming as Mida’s vocals effortlessly take center stage. Her vocal range is quite unique and fits perfectly the tempo changes of this song.

Hallatar – No Stars Upon the Bridge (2017)

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As one of the most devastating albums of 2017, today we have “No Stars Upon the Bridge” by Hallatar. Formed by Juha Raivio (Swallow the Sun) to pay homage to Aleah Starbridge, this band can be seen as a continuation of Trees of Eternity with a more raw and emotional edge. Joined by Tomi Joutsen (Amorphis), and Gas Lipstick (ex-HIM), with the guest appearance of Heike Langhans (Draconian), this release is full of despair and loss, transmitted in very emotional songs that will rock your senses.

Opening with the punishing riffs of “Mirrors”, the album starts with a very powerful and commanding tone. In this track we get to listen to Tomi’s vocals in a raw and uncomposed way, perfectly transmitting the state of a grief-stricken madman, this is indeed a truly haunting experience. “Raven’s Song” is a very nice and short poem that switches the mood of the release as it mellows a bit with the highly melancholic “Melt”. In this song, the clean vocals are full of emotion and perfectly kick of a moody track that features interesting tempo changes and powerful atmospheric elements.

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