Winterfylleth – The Dark Hereafter (2016)

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Hailing from the UK, today we have Winterfylleth and their crushing fifth full-length release “The Dark Hereafter”. Crafting a very unique atmospheric brand of Black Metal, the band manages to deliver 40 minutes of relentless music. Improving upon their already refined style, the band perfectly captures oppressive atmospheres and blistering drumming into an all-encompassing well rounded package.

The album opens with the mesmerizing title track, filled with aggressive BM riffs and hyper-fast tight drums, creating a whirlwind-like atmosphere filled with brutality. With such an intense opening, the band manages to transition into a more melodic driven “Pariah’s Path”, which builds an intense atmospheric cloud around itself. This nine minute peace perfectly captures the band’s balance between melody, atmosphere and brutality in such a lush and yet devastating way.

Drakwald – Riven Earth (2016)

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Hailing from France, today we have Folk/Death Metal outfit Drakwald and their sophomore full-length release “Riven Earth”. Showing that France also has representatives on the Folk Metal scene, this release delivers 44 minutes of engaging music that will have you headbanging from start to end.

Not wasting much time to showcase their power, “Doomsday Argument” shows the band with full strength sounding like a mixture of Amon Amarth and Eluveitie. As tracks like “Erase by Fire”, “Primal Dawn” and “Rebrith” roll through, we can hear that the comparisons can be skewed more towards Eluveitie as the band’s bagpipes and flutes make them gravitate in to this territory.

Opeth – Sorceress (2016)

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The legendary Opeth returns with another exploration further down the rabbit hole or Progressive/Psychedelic rock with “Sorceress”. Constantly evolving and experimenting with their sound, the band offers 11 brilliant tracks that feature tons of unique ideas and excellent craftsmanship. If you have been a fan of the band’s last three releases, this album will certainly be one of the ‘must have’ releases of 2016.

Opening with the solemn acoustic guitars of “Persephone”, the band quickly ups the ante with the trippy and Proggy “Sorceress”. This track instantly showcases the album’s very fuzzy and warm sound, particularly on the guitars, giving it a certain vintage vibe that perfectly fits songs like “The Wilde Flowers”. The band nicely showcases their diverse musical repertoire in more direct songs like “Will O The Wisp” and its lush progressions.

Darkwell – Moloch (2016)

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As one of the most unexpected returns of 2016, today we have Gothic Metal band Darkwell with their third full-length release “Moloch”. With a separation of 12 years between releases, the band comes back to life with an exciting release in the vein of their debut “Suspiria”. Combining elements from Gothic Metal bands from the late 90’s like Dreams of Sanity and Trail of Tears, this release presents us with eleven tracks filled with heavy riffs and lush atmospheric elements.

Opening with the album title track, the band quickly sets the mood with catchy riffs and tight drums. Alexandra Pittracher returns on vocals and her signature style instantly brings back memories of the band’s debut release and our favorite track in that album “Realm of Darkness”. While the music structure has remained very similar, the keyboards, courtesy of Raphael Lepuschitz, feel more dynamic and edgier with some electronic elements to be found as you can notice on songs like “In Nomine Serpentis”, “Save My Sight” and “Yoshiwara”.

The Holeum – Negative Abyss (2016)

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Hailing from Spain, today we have Post-Metal newcomers The Holeum and their debut release “Negative Abyss”. Drawing influences from the likes of Neurosis, Amenra and Cult of Luna, this band pushes the boundaries on the genre with unique ideas and very engaging songs. Delivering 8 tracks of skilled aural abuse, this band is ready to take the scene by surprise.

The cosmic journey starts with the intense bass guitar line of “Chemical Ghosts”. This track is probably the most straightforward one as it follows your typical Post-Metal song aside from a few interesting tempo changes. Our favorite track in this release has to be the Doomy “Philosopher’s Stone” and its very atmospheric nature. During one of its melodic passages they perfectly add a saxophone section that magically elevates this unique song.

Abandoned Stars – Fragments (2015)

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Arriving from the UK, today we have Abandoned Stars and their brilliant debut full-length release “Fragments”. Featuring over 64 minutes of bombastic and acrobatic Progressive/Power Metal, this band makes a strong impression with great musicianship and even better song writing skills. For fans of bands like Blind Guardian, Rhapsody, and Stratovarius, “Fragments” is one hell of a musical ride that should be in everybody’s album collection.

Not wasting much time after the traditional atmospheric intro, “The Sleepless Man’s Conscious Dream” instantly sets a very lively tempo with solid guitar leads and intricate tempo changes. Olivier Hadder’s vocals are quite distinct and range from power/heavy metal notes to darker and more somber deeper tones, giving them great range and diversity, as we can hear in the excellent “Neverwhere” and the rest of the release.

Antimateria – Valo aikojen takaa (2016)

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Hailing from Finland, today we have Atmospheric Black Metal one-man battalion Antimateria and their debut full-length “Valo aikojen taka”. With all tracks in Finish and a knack for heavy rudimentary atmospheric elements, this release will crawl under your skin thanks to the subtle rawness of the band’s sound.

Immediately opening with an oppressive shriek paired with raw guitars and dreamy atmospherics, “Sieltä mistä valokaan ei milloinkaan karaka” instantly sets a very eerie mood. The atmospheric elements have a certain resemblance to Perivuan flutes, giving this track a fresh and original angle. Delivering raw riffs which sound a bit muffled (probably by the production quality), tracks like “Tieni kohti lopullista tuhoa” and “Roihuten läpi yötaivaan” have a certain old-school Pagan Metal vibe from the days of Falkenbach, but without the fluffiness.

Autokrator – The Obedience to Authority (2016)

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Arriving via Godz ov War Productions, today we have France’s Autokrator and their devastating and brutal mix of Death/Doom elements with heavy Drone influences. Easily as one of the most oppressive and aurally disturbing releases of 2016, the band delivers 36 minutes of pure madness that will take you to the edge of sanity.

Delivering the first punch with “Chapter I’, the band opens with a disturbing audio clip that is closely followed by hellish growls and their crushing drumming. This duo does a great job in crafting a massive wall of sound that is only disturbed by the deep growls. The sheer brutality continues with the intricate “Chapter II” and the demolishing “Chapter IV”. In both tracks we noticed the mixture of influences from outfits like Autor & Punisher and the all mighty Anaal Nathrakh, but taken to the extreme.

pg.lost – Versus (2016)

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Arriving via Pellagic Records, today we have Sweden’s pg.lost and their latest opus “Versus”. Featuring seven track of intoxicating Instrumental Post-Rock, this release takes the listener into a sidereal journey thanks to the band’s ample musical creativity. Highly recommended for fans of bands like God is an Astronaut, EF and Tides from Nebula.

Opening with the mysterious “Ikaros”, the band starts their journey with a trippy and spacey vibe in this track. Brilliantly changing the tempo of the release, “Off the Beaten Path” picks up the pace and delivers a punchy bass guitar line that is nicely enveloped by catchy percussions and heavy atmospherics. The band does a great job in delivering tracks that slowly build up and peak nicely with crushing moments of heaviness like both “Monolith” and “Versus”.

Allegaeon – Proponent for Sentience (2016)

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Hailing from the mountains of Colorado, today we have American Melodic Death Metal battalion Allegaeon and their latest opus “Proponent for Sentience”. Perfectly blending influences from the modern Technical Melodeath scene with old-school Melodic Death Metal and regular Death Metal elements, this band delivers seventy two brilliant minutes of hyper catchy and very crafty music. For fans of bands ranging from Death to The Black Dahlia Murder, this release will leave you exhausted from too much headbanging.

Wasting no time, the band completely blows the lid of this release with a trippy atmospheric intro that bleeds into a no holds barred riffing barrage on “Proponent for Scentience I – The Conception”. The band pummels through “All Hail Science” and “From Nothing” delivering waves of acrobatic technical passages that put many bands to shave. One of our personal favorites is the mixture of acoustic guitars and different percussions used on “Gray Matter Mechanics – Apassonata Ex Machinea”.

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