Owler – Waves (2015)

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Hailing from Finland, today we have a band that perfectly combines elements from Post-Rock/Post-Metal with traditional Finish Melodic Death Metal. Delivering over 25 minutes of melancholic music, this band could be described as a mixture of The Man Eating Three with Before the Dawn.

The EP starts with the lush “Throes”, a track filled with melancholic clean vocals and dreamy guitars. At first glance, the guitars seem a bit heavier than usual for this type of music, but they do an effective job at preparing the listener for what is to come. As “Distance” kicks off we are instantly reminded of Before the Dawn during their “Soundscape of Silence” years. The mixture of growls and clean vocals is very effective and they perfectly contrast the ethereal keyboards and weeping guitars.

Dimmu Borgir - Forces of the Northern Night (2017)

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Finally immortalizing one of their iconic full-orchestra and choir shows, today we have Dimmu Borgir and the monumental “Forces of the Northern Night”. Featuring around 90 minutes of live material both in video (DVD or Blu-ray) and audio CD’s, this is one of the most epic live releases we have seen in a while. Not needing any introduction, this band will blow you away with the intensity they bring to the live shows.

We are only reviewing their Wacken Open air show in 2012, where the band was accompanied on stage with the Czech National Symphonic Orchestra and the Schola Cantorum choir. In this already legendary concert, the band played the full “Abrahadabra” album first, and then a pretty solid selection of their greatest hits. The first part of the concert hits the listener hard with epic renditions of crushing songs like “Born Treacherous” and “Gateways” featuring a guest appearance by Agnete Kjølsrud.

Obitus – Slaves of the Vast Machine (2017)

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As a true testament of intensity and brutality, today we Obitus’s latest full-length “Slaves of the Vast Machine”. Comprised of one 45-minute behemoth of a track, this release showcases a master class in crafting intricate Black Metal music that is both engaging and ravaging. While most people would expect this piece to be filled with interludes and atmospheric passages, we are treated to quite the opposite as it is intense and violent from start to finish.

The sole track waits no time to deliver is blistering message with a barrage of punishing riffs and crushing drums. This opening level of intensity is quite brutal and it showcases that Obitus is here and it means business. The band’s vocalist, Johan Huldtgren, does a great job unleashing aggressive BM shrieks that perfectly fit the intensity and rawness of the music. Multi-instrumentalist, Anders Ahlbäck, brings down the hammer with superbly crafted drum patterns and intricate tremolo picking sections which bring this release to life.

Netra – Ingrats (2017)

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One-man outfit Netra returns after five years to unleash the very unique “Ingrats”. Mixing Industrial/Trip-hop/jazzy elements with Black Metal, this release delivers nearly 40 minutes of exciting Avant-garde music. As with the previous Netra releases, this one will keep you at the edge of your seat always wondering what kind of surprises the songs have in store for the listener.

Opening with the mysteriously jazzy “Gimme a Break”, the band brilliantly eases the listener into being quite shocked with the savage intensity of the following track. On “Everything’s Fine”, we get the same trippy elements, but they are paired with punishing harsh vocals and intense riffing. The track again flips on the listener before finishing as it slowly eases into the trip-hoppish atmospheric interlude of “Underneath My Words, The Ruins of Yours”.

Slagmaur – Thill Smitts Terror (2017)

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After eight years in the making, we finally get the return of Norway’s Slagmaur and their unique take on Black Metal. With “Thill Smitts Terror” the band delivers over 45 minutes of truly bizarre and disturbing music that will fully immerse the listener into the band’s own deranged world. If you like bands like Diabolos Rising and Mysticum, but want an extra touch of madness, this band has you covered.

With “Innferd” setting up a very dark and somber mood, “Drummer of Tedworth” is the first creepy Industrial-influence piece that truly showcases Slagmaur’s weirdness. Perfectly juxtaposing sinister riffs and Industrial percussions, they create a very sickening and truly immersive atmospheric experience. The band’s oppressive atmosphere is nicely continued in the punishing track “Werewolf”, one of the heaviest and busiest tracks in this release.

None – None (2017)

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Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, today we have None and their bone chilling self-titled debut release. Set to be released on Hypnotic Dirge Records, this Canadian label has managed to uncover one of the most atmospherically rich Black Metal outfits to ever come out of the USA. Featuring around 30 minutes of music, this release concocts long song filled with brutality and beauty. With similar influences to Cascadian BM bands, this one band you want to keep an eye out for.

Opening with the devastating “Cold”, the band instantly sets a very immersive mood filled with powerful riffs, hypnotic keyboard arrangements, and gut-wrenching vocals. Reminding us of outfits like Wolves in the Throne Room, this track creates a dense atmosphere that immerses the listener into the band’s punishing melancholic world.

Lucifer’s Fall – II: Cursed & Damned (2016)

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Hailing from Australia, today we have Doom/Heavy Metal battalion Lucifer’s Fall presenting their sophomore full-length release “II: Cursed & Damned”. Crafting over 55 minutes of music, the band delivers a very catchy mixture of heavy Doom riffs with lively traditional Heavy Metal and NWOBHM influences. Filled with epic vocals are solid melodic passages this release is highly recommendable for people that like Doomy bands that are quite engaging and lively.

The album opens with the superbly catchy “Mother Superior”, a song that starts with killer riffs and instantly showcases the vocal versatility of Philip Howlett aka Deceiver. The band continues to deliver crushing riffs on tracks like “Damnation”, “The Mountains of Madness” and “Cursed Priestess”, all while creating very thick atmospheres to surround the soaring vocal arrangements and punishing bass guitar lines.

Kratornas – Devoured by Damnation (2016)

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Punishing the listener with 35 minutes of devastating Death/Black/Grindcore music, Kratornas unleashes “Devoured by Damnation” upon the masses. Originally from the Philippines, this band has that certain signature sound of Grindcore outfits like Deiphago. Keeping things always brutal and quite hectic, this is one of those albums that you won’t want to turn off.

Opening with the pummeling “Spit on God” and followed by “Dead Burning Christ” and “Archangels of Destruction”, this release cranks up the intensity to 11 while perfectly mixing Black Metal shrieks, crushing riffs and demoralizing drums. This two-piece outfit produces some of the fiercest music you can find, but also keeps things interesting by crafting unique riffs and heavy duty tempos.

Somnium Nox – Terra Inanis (2017)

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Arriving from Australia via India’s Transcending Obscurity records, today we have Somnium Nox and their crushing debut release “Terra Inanis”. Unleashing a powerful mixture of devastating Black Metal with tons of atmospheric elements, the band delivers nearly 30 minutes of powerful music that should not be ignored.

Perfectly setting the mood with the first few minutes of the opener “Soliloquy of Lament” being atmospheric, the band fully unleashes their fury with some killer ravaging Black Metal onslaughts. Sounding like a mixture of Wolves in the Throne Room and Wiegedood, the band’s level of brutality is unquestionable.

Medico Peste – Herzogian Darkness (2017)

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Hailing from Poland, today we have Medico Peste and their gut-wrenching EP “Herzogian Darkness”. Taking advantage of the spotlight on Polish Black Metal bands like Behemoth, Mgla, Blaze of Perdition, this four person outfit delivers some savage music that will turn heads in the scene. Featuring over 25 minutes of music split in four tracks, the band creates very powerful atmospheric songs that are quite imposing and sickening.

The album leads with the incisive title track, which features over 9 minutes of agonizing vocals and a creepy tempo that sets a very decadent mood for this release. Pummeling drums and blistering riffs paired with some catchy melodic passages make “Hallucinating Warmth and Bliss” a very unique musical experience from this band. This is by far one of the catchiest and most engaging songs we have heard in a while.

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