Taking the scene by surprise by changing lead singers, Sirenia manages to come out on top with the brilliant “Dim Days of Dolor”. Delivering over 55 minutes of signature Sirenia Symphonic/Gothic Metal, the band shows no signs of slowing down while unleashing their best release to date. If you are concerned on how Emmanuelle Zoldan fits with the band’s style, you are in for a treat as her vocals perfectly blend with the bombastic nature of the music.
Opening with the explosive “Goddess of the Sea”, the band instantly shows that their sound is still as bombastic as ever and that Emmanuelle’s seductive vocals seamlessly integrate with it. One of the things we love more about Sirenia is the lush and vibrant choir arrangements and this track instantly satisfied our cravings. The catchiest song on this release, and probably the band’s history, comes under the album title and delivers a brilliant chorus section and very digestible and engaging riffs. Once you hear this track, you will not be able to get it out of your head.
Hailing from Finland, today we have Heidi Parviainen’s Dark Sarah and their sophomore full-length release titled “The Puzzle”. Delivering ten bombastic songs of very dramatic and theatrical Symphonic/Gothic Metal, Heidi continues to come out the shadows of her ex band Amberian Dawn and establish her-self (and the new band) as one of the most dynamic and engaging bands in the genre. If you like bands like Nightwish, Epica, Cornoatus, etc. this is one release you don’t want to miss.
After the opening intro, “Island in the Mist” opens up with heavy riffs and magical keyboards. With this approach the track feels quite engaging and very bombastic as Hedi’s vocals appear adding to the magic. With Erkka Korhonen (Northern Kings) and Sami Salonen handling the guitar duties, tracks like “Little Men” and “Ash Grove” are both heavy and playful, changing tempos perfectly and allowing the music to be as dynamic and explosive as possible.
Completely worth the wait, today we have Shatraug’s Mortualia’s latest album, “Wild, Wild Misery”, after a wait of six years. Delivering eight completely punishing Depressive Black Metal anthems, this is one of those releases that makes you feel completely powerless and yet totally addicted to it.
Opening with blast beats of “Withdrawn”, this release kicks off in style as it sets into a very dissonant and oppressive atmospheric masterpiece. The riffs make up a very melodic component of Mortualia’s music, as we can hear in the superbly catchy opening of “Return to Silence”. Helming bands like Horna and Sargeist, Shatraug bleeds some of those influences on songs like “Out” and “Stolid”, but with the added Doom influences, making the music slow and very excruciating… in the best of ways.
Hailing from Italy, Derdian is one of the most underrated Power Metal bands in the world. With a very explosive and dynamic sound, the band has delivered five excellent releases before the “Evolution Era”. In this release the band has re-recorded tracks from their first three albums making them more epic and amazing by adding a plethora of vocal guest appearances. If you are looking for explosive Power Metal that will keep you at the edge of your seat, this is the album you have been waiting for.
Not wasting any time, the band opens with the epic “Overture” with Apollo Papathanasio on guest vocals. Wasting no time, Henning Basse helps out on the epic “Burn”. In this track we hear the band’s Power Metal chops with brilliant guitar leads and very melodic passages that capture the listener’s attention. Our first favorite tracks are the bombastic “Beyond the Gate” and the playful epic “Battleplan”, both tracks have intense guitar sections, lush keyboards and a very hefty pace that keeps the listener engaged and fully invested in the music.
France continues to surprise use by producing some of the most interesting Metal bands in the last 10 years. Dysylum continues this tradition by leveling our speakers with their dissonant Progressive mixture of Death and Black Metal with some Sludge elements in “Chaos Primordial”. Featuring 28 minutes of crushing music, this release creates a very thick atmospheric atmosphere that is perfect for a dark and gloomy day.
After the opening intro, the album title track delivers some mid-tempo oppressive Black Metal-ish riffs that suddenly morph back and forth into heavy Sludgy Death riffs. The vocals are quite harsh and perfectly fitting for such an oppressive sound. Things pick up with the ravaging onslaughts of “Œuf Cosmique”, filled with eerie growls and screams. The drumming intensifies for some parts, changing the pace and levels of brutality of this song accordingly.
Wasting no time and keeping up their momentum going, today we have Downfall of Gaia and their latest full-length opus “Atrophy”. Delivering over 40 minutes of brutally crafted Post-Black Metal with some Sludge and Crust influences, the band continues their musical journey with one of the most intelligent and yet extremely brutal releases of 2016.
Opening with the brutal “Brood”, the band quickly builds up a massive wall of sound with distorted guitars, a ponding bass guitar, and blistering drums. The vocals are as punishing as you can possibly imagine, adding to the overall demoralizing atmosphere of the track. In a bit more melodic tone, the opening riffing of “Woe” starts quite brutal and it slowly progresses into more Sludgy territories.
There is a certain magical rawness to South American Black Metal release that is missing from bands from other parts of the world. In this vein, today we have Peru’s Sign of the Evil and their crushing full-length debut “Black Throne of Blood”. Delivering over 30 minutes of blistering and ravaging Black Metal, this album perfectly balances rawness with a small dose of melody to keep things interesting and engaging.
After the atmospheric intro, the band delivers their first blow with the pummeling “Black Throne of Blood”. This track reminds us of bands like Avzhia and their primitive Black Metal rawness. The onslaughts continue with the brutality of “Demoniac War” and “Christian Blood for Satan”, both filled with tremolo picking guitar passages and hellish subhuman vocals.
Celebrating their East Coast tour, Experimental Swedish duo Necromonkey unleash upon the world their latest EP titled “The Shadows of the Blind Man”. Featuring three tracks that push the sonic boundaries of sanity, this outfit manage to deliver very unique music that will puzzle and amaze you at the same time.
Opening with the crazy titled “Kinky Panda”, the band crafts a very unique sort of improvisational experimental piece with odd percussions and quite disturbing vocals to kick off this short release. As the funkadelic string instruments lead the charge, the odd tempos and atmospheric elements make this track as weird as you can expect from Necromonkey.
Hailing from France, today we have Melodic Black Metal outfit Bahrrecht and their sophomore full-length release “L'aube glacée”. Originally started by Fëanor and Winterhalter (Alcest, Glaciation), this band unleashed their debut album back in 2011 and finally returns after a few line-up changes (Winterhalter has departed) with a very solid and engaging old-school sounding Melodic Black Metal opus. Filled with over 45 minutes of music, this album is both punishing and atmospheric enough to sound different and entertaining.
After the folky/atmospheric opener “Hommage à une foi perdue”, the band delivers their first blow with the crushing “Un orage éternel”. In this track the band often changes tempos while delivering waves of powerful Black Metal riffs and melodic solos. This level of intensity nicely continues in the playful “Le géant des neiges”, which reminds us of “Nemesis Divina”-era Satyricon, thanks to its atmospheric elements and overall pace.
Hands down the most emotionally draining album of 2016 has to be Trees of Eternity’s debut full-length release “Hour of the Nightingale”. Filled with lush Atmospheric/Gothic Doom songs, this release is nearly as emotional as its back story. After a few years in limbo and a bit too late for some, released under Svart records, this release will definitely crawl up under your skin and fill you with melancholy.
Opening with Swallow the Sun-esque heavy riffs, “My Requiem” sets the listener into an emotional journey for over 62 minutes of unparalleled melancholy. As the band’s singer Aleah Stanbridge first showcases her vocal talents, the music quickly becomes even darker and more emotive. Unluckily for the world, Aleah’s talents will no longer be present as she passed before the release of this album. However, her presence in this release at least shines light of her talents and dedication to the band.