Delivering a truly unique aural experience, today we have Manetheren and their latest opus “The End”. Formed by USA based Azlum and members of Blut aus Nord on drums among others, this band unleashes a very unique mixture of Atmospheric Black Metal with influences of DSBM and Post-Black Metal. Featuring over 60 minutes of music, this album takes the listener through the journey of a human traveling across a dying world.
The album opens with the gut-wrenching “The Sun that Bled”, an 11-minute piece that sets a bleak mood with some mid-paced Black Metal. The band reminded us a bit of Ancient on their “The Cainian Chronicle” days, as the music is quite melodic and yet harsh and punishing. Things pick up a bit with the more intense passages of “An then Came the Pestilence”, which are perfectly outlined with very atmospheric sections that allow for dramatic contrast.
Hailing from Belgium today we have the punishing release “Sacrosanct”. This debut release is filled with soul crushing Death/Black Metal tracks that put many other band’s to shame and showcase Epoch’s powerful talents. Clocking in at 36 minutes, this album will certainly keep you entertained and make your neck hurt from all the headbanging and moshing it incites.
The album starts with the brutal “To Datechon, ho Katechon”, a track that instantly delivers the ‘in your face’ attitude of the band’s music. The riffing perfectly mixes distinctive 90’s Death Metal influences with some more recent Death/Black Metal elements of bands like Arkhon Infaustus. Epoch’s pummeling attitude continues as they unleash the sheer brutality of songs like “Vision Absolute”, “Altered States” and “Nine”.
Continuing with their mission of pushing musical boundaries to deliver some of the most disarming songs ever written, today we have Anomalie’s third full-length release titled “Visions”. Slowly refining the band’s music over the years, the band’s mastermind, Marrok, manages to deliver seven visionary tracks that ooze of melancholy and brutality. If you are a fan of modern Post-Black Metal, this is definitely one of the albums you don’t want to miss in 2017.
Instantly setting a very somber and melancholic mood with “Vision I: Towards the Sun”, the band warms up with acoustic guitars and eerie vocal arrangements, slowly building up to crushing riffs and mournful vocals. Wasting to time, the band delivers one of their best songs ever with the brilliant “Vision II: The Wanderer”. Perfectly combining aggressive drumming and weeping guitar leads, this track has a very interesting Doomy vibe that perfectly blends with the super catchy riffs and tempo changes.
With a very unique mixture of Sludge/Post-Metal and even some Post-Rock elements, today we have the debut release of Allochiria, titled “Throes”. Featuring six tracks of perfectly balanced aggression with dreamy guitars, this Greek band will appeal to fans of outfits like Amenra and Neurosis but with a Sludgier edge.
Opening with the punishing “Thrusts”, we have genre-typical pounding riffs/bass guitar paired with hearty screams, however, the guitar leads and the overall pace change instantly make the band’s sound different and engaging. This is clearly carried over through this release as tracks like “Little Defeats, Tiny Victories” feel more experimental than straightforward. Cult of Luna influences can be heard in this album as the drumming is quite crafty and perfectly directs the guitar work.
Only getting better and better with time, today we have UK’s Atmospheric Black Metal masters Fen and their latest musical opus titled “Winter”. Delivering over 75 minutes of music, the band further cements their status as one of the scene’s best, thanks to the outstanding level of quality and creativity their music showcases. Greatly improving on what bands like Agalloch, Drudkh, and Negură Bunget have done in the past, this release is a definitely must have for fans of atmospheric Black Metal.
Opening with the 17-minute behemoth “I (Pathway)”, the band has enough time to build up with atmospheric elements and majestically transition between hypnotic melodic passages and very aggressive sections. After such an intense and moody opening, the band brilliantly transitions into calmer territories with the dreamy opening of “II (Penance)”. In this track we get to enjoy the playful interplay between the guitars and the intricate bass guitar line, while keeping things heavy and mellow thanks to the aggressive vocals and tight drums.
For those like us that like trippy experimental music, today we have the brilliant sophomore release of Lethe titled “The First Corpse on the Moon”. This project of Tor-Helge Skei (ex-Manes) and Anna Murphy (ex-Eluveitie) delivers in many different levels, from weird and trippy, to brilliantly catchy and hypnotic. If you liked the band’s debut release and bands like The 3rd and the Mortal (on their later years) and Closed Room, this is one release you don’t want to miss.
The album opens with the intoxicating “Night”, a track that perfectly sets a very jazzy moody vibe. This track slowly introduces the uninitiated to the band’s very unique musical landscape. Very quickly, things get more Trip-Hop oriented with “Inexorbitant Future” and return to ‘heavier’ more Metal-influenced territories with one of our favorites “Down into the Sun” and its catchy vocal arrangements.
Delivering a pulverizing mixture of Crust/Sludge and Black Metal, today we have Italy’s Rest and their self-titled debut release. Featuring five tracks of expertly crafted incisive riffs and a throbbing bass guitar onslaught, this release is one of those short but sweet albums that leaves you begging for more.
The album opens with the Crusty onslaughts of tracks I and II. The band quickly creates a punishing atmosphere of catchy and powerful riffs that revolve around engaging drums and very fitting screams. The intensity of the bass guitar and drums allows the band to be quite heavy and very fast-paced. Things move more into Black Metal territories with the savage track “III”, which perfectly showcases the band’s versatility and unique take on the genre.
Bringing back the days when Black Metal was intended to be unsettling and highly creepy, today we have one-man project Coldborn and its debut full-length release “Lingering Voidwards”. Masterminded by Norgaath of Grimfaug and Nightbringer fame, this release delivers over 47 minutes of bone-chilling raw Black Metal with enough atmospheric elements to make you sleep with the light on at night for the rest of your life.
Perfectly balancing eerie atmospheres with ravaging lo-fi Black Metal, the album opens with the 12 minute behemoth “The Call of Death’s Clarion”. This track nicely blends some Doom-ish elements into the music, creating a very engaging and disturbing atmosphere. Coldborn continues its onslaught with the blistering opening of “In the Absence of Light, Death Gazes”. As the track progresses, we are reminded of older Satyricon, Tartaros and even Limbonic Art, thanks to the combination of slower paced sections with very prominent keyboards.
Hailing from Germany today we have Fjoergyn and their latest very impressive foray into the realm of Avant-garde Black Metal with “Lucifer Es”. Joining the elite list of bands like Anomalie, Agrypnie, and Nocte Obducta, which are re-defining the genre, this band delivers 61 minutes of action packed music that commands your attention from start to end. Perfectly crafted for fans of the bizarre and complex, this release is one hell of a ride.
After opening with the somber “MMXVII”, the band perfectly blends punishing riffs with intricate atmospheric arrangements as we hear in “Leviathan”. The mixture of vocal styles is something that instantly sticks out from such a unique mixture of elements, giving the band that extra level of creepiness. With tracks like “Viva La Inquisition” exploiting the band’s heavier side, Fjoergyn delivers a very expansive and relentless sound that very few bands can pull off.
Everybody’s favorite Roman-inspired band is finally back with another killer onslaught of dramatic symphonic elements and a catchy guitar riffs. “The Immortal Wars” marks Ex Deo’s return with nearly 40 minutes of superbly entertaining music, their first foray since the brilliant “Caligvla” back in 2012. If you like music that has a certain epic feeling to it, similar to bands like Sabaton and Fleshgod Apocalypse, you will love this one.
Opening with the pummeling “The Rise of Hannibal”, the band wastes no time in showing off the big guns with dramatic orchestrations and a solid (and heavy) musical core filled with catchy riffs. Playful tracks like “Hispania” perfectly showcase the band’s skills in balancing heavy sections with hyper fast drumming with more melodic and atmospheric rhythmical sections for headbanging. The opening of “Crossing of the Alps” will greatly send chills down your spine, but it is the punishing Death Metal elements of this track that will make you love it.