Panopticon – Kentucky (2017)

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Originally released back in 2012, Panopticon’s “Kentucky” is the band’s seminal release in which they mix both Black Metal and Folk/Americana/Bluegrass elements in a brilliant way. Just as when it was originally released, this release will certainly catch a new wave of people by surprise as the genres are not intuitively easily combined. Multi-instrumentalist Austin L. Lunn certainly pulled of one of the most unique releases of all times, and this is you latest chance to get a copy of it.

The album instantly raises eyebrows with the Folky/Americana-inspired “Bernheim Forest in Spring” as it leads into the explosive and very aggressive “Bodies Under the Falls”. With this transition we are back into more familiar territories with harsh vocals, punishing riffs and tight drums. This track masterfully weaves back and forth between heavy passages and lush banjo-led sections that work perfectly with the flow of the song.

Sollertia – Light (2017)

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Featuring the highly distinctive vocals of James Fogarty of Ewigkeit and In the Woods… fame, today we have Sollertia and their debut release “Light”. Playing a very unique mixture of Progressive Doom/Gothic Metal with Dark Metal elements, this release is pretty hard to pin down, but very effective in creating unique songs that are quite engaging. For fans of uniquely dark music, this album provides over 55 minutes of mysterious music that is very enjoyable and it is full of surprises.

After the warm-up intro, this trio sets a somber mood with the melancholic Gothic vibe of “Abstract Object Theory”. The music is quite mellow and very well paced, allowing James Fogarty’s talented vocals to shine. Providing contrasting harsh vocals on a few tracks, Vanja Obscure does a pretty solid job in shaking things up with her shrieks, changing the pace of songs like “Pascal’s Wager”, “The Devil’s Seethe” and “Positive Disintegration”.

Behold the Grave – The Path of the Blind (2017)

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Hailing from Chihuahua, Mexico, today we have Behold the Grave and their crafty mixture of Melodic Death Metal with Thrash/Hardcore elements. In their debut release, “The Path of the Blind”, the band delivers over 50 minutes of very engaging music that effortlessly combines tons of influences into 11 superbly catchy tracks. If you are a fan of old-school Melodic Death Metal to bands like Arch Enemy, Soilwork, etc., this will be one hell of a release for you.

The album wastes no time to impress the listener with the brilliant guitar work of “The Chair of Redemption”, a song that is very crafty and engaging. Not letting the momentum slowdown, the band quickly hits with “Full of Black Venom” and “The Meaning of Hate”, two very fast-paced tracks filled with killer guitar leads and tight drum patterns. Other songs like “Endless war Serpents”, while keeping things intense, add some funky guitar passages and playful vocal arrangements to keep things fresh and engaging.

Gravetemple – Impassable Fears (2017)

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Delivering one of the most decadent aural assaults of the year, today we have super group Gravetemple and their sophomore full-length release “Impassable Fears”. Featuring luminaries like Stephen O’Malley, Oren Ambarchi, Attila Csihar, and Matt Sanders, this super-band’s experimental Drone/Doom will leave your ears ringing and claiming for more. Filled with punishing riffs, trippy Drone elements and completely haunting vocals, this release will certainly catch you by surprise.

Opening with the track “A Szarka”, the band sets a very dissonant mood with funky percussions and heavily distorted guitars leading the way for Attila’s sickening vocals. Thing continue on a downward spiral as the superbly creepy “Elavúlt Földbolygó” arrives with its Event Horizon-like vocals and a very unsettling pace. Brilliantly crafting at atmosphere of anxiety and discomfort, in two tracks, Gravetemple has full control of the listener’s psyche.

Amiensus – All Paths Lead to Death (2017)

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Hailing surprisingly from the USA, today we have Amiensus and their latest EP “All Paths Lead to Death”. We are surprised they are from the USA because their Progressive Black Metal sound is quite European-like, delivering nearly 30 minutes of quality music that should not be missed by any fan of the genre. Perfectly mixing aggression with technical proficiency, this release has a certain Agalloch, Aenaon, and even Borknagar-ish vibe, making it quite impressive.

Opening with the brutal “Gehenna”, the release starts up with a very intense pace and crafty vocal arrangements going from harsh to clean. This opening track provides a peek into the band’s creative range and musical creativity. The onslaught continues with the pummeling drumming of “Moth of the Abyss” and its intricate guitar work. We particularly like how tight this release sounds thanks to the crystal clear production behind it.

Sunken – Departure (2017)

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Hailing from Denmark, today we have Sunken and their killer debut release “Departure”. Delivering over 50 minutes of heavily atmospheric Black Metal, this band creates a very powerful and melancholic atmosphere that will enshroud you with its misery. Focusing on crafting smarter tracks, this release feels and sounds a lot different than your run-of-the-mill Atmospheric BM outfit.

After the warm-up instrumental opening, the band opens this release with the full-blast onslaught of the first few minutes of “Void”. This song slowly mellows out and leads way to brilliant atmospheric passages with a prominent bass guitar line and catchy percussions. The album title track comes at us with another brilliant mixture of melancholy with devilish intensity with harsh vocals, furiously paced sections, and jazzy atmospheric passages.

Alestorm – No Grave but the Sea (2017)

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Everybody’s favorite pirates are finally back with yet another release filled with tales of their wanderings at sea. With “No Grave but the Sea” the band’s party atmosphere is untouched and they continue exactly where they left off. With over 45 minutes of music, the band showcases their maturity with tracks that go directly to the point while keeping intact all the elements that make people love them.

Opening with the album title track, Christopher Bowes signature pirate singing leads the way into this very cheerful song. Filled with funky keyboards and a lively pace, this track is the perfect onboarding piece for this Alestorm journey. The album’s first single comes under the name of “Mexico”, a track detailing the band’s debaucherous efforts in this country. As you can expect this track features soaring vocal arrangements and a killer chorus section that will be stuck in your head for days.

Argus Megere – VEII (2017)

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Featuring current and past members of bands like Negură Bunget, Din Bard, and Dordeduh, Argus Megere delivers a very interesting full-length release titled “VEII”. With some clear Negură Bunget/Dordeduh influences, the band’s atmospheric Black Metal is top notch and for over 40 minutes transports the listeners into unique soundscapes.

Opening with “Carul cerului” the mood is slowly being set with distorted guitars and a very ritualistic atmospheric progression. This progression slowly leads to harsh BM-style vocals and very lively guitar work that crafts a unique and distinctive style for the band. Keeping the atmosphere going, we have a very chilling opening to “Tronul celui ce stă de strajă” which suddenly leads to harsh Black Metal passages and very magical keyboard arrangements. The clean vocal sections are quite well introduced and nicely boost the level of epicness of the song.

Hexer – Cosmic Doom Ritual (2017)

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With countless bands playing Doom and its variants these days, it is hard to find bands that managed to deliver something different. Today we have Hexer and their Oriental infused Doom onslaughts that managed to grab our attention and a permanent spot on our Doom albums of 2017 rotation. Delivering three songs and around 36 minutes of music, the band presents a well-known sound with a set of tweaks that make it worthy of your attention.

The album starts with the mysterious “Merkaba”, a 12 minute piece that slowly builds up in a very ritualistic manner. This track is presents us with a unique journey that is far from linear and has more than enough surprises for the listener with multiple influences thrown into the mix. The band’s atmospheric journey continues with the punishing riffing of “Pearl Snake”, which borders in Sludge/Doom territories. The oriental elements take this track to a whole new level by adding depth and intrigue.

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