After a killer debut EP with “Waves” Owler returned in 2016 to unleash “Soil”, a highly melancholic collection of five songs that showcase more maturity and creativity from these Finns. Clocking in at around 30 minutes, this release takes all the elements of their first release and further refines them and integrates them into the band’s own signature style. This music is still highly recommended for fans of bands like Insomnium to The Man Eating Three.
Opening with the soaring vocals of “Storm”, the release kicks off with a very theatrical piece that fully takes advantage of “Juha Simola’s melancholic clean vocals. Things turn a bit darker and doomier with the heavy atmospheric and crushing riffs of “Amend”. We really enjoy how the subtle atmospheric keyboards set the mood for the harsh vocals and slower tempo.
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.
Perfectly delivering just the right amount of distortion to burst your speakers, today we have Kalloused and their debut release “Damn You Believer”. Featuring over 25 minutes of an intense mixture of Sludge, Doom and Post-Metal, this band delivers a good dosage of pummeling riffs that will make your ears ring for a few days. If you like bands like Neurosis and Amenra, this should be right around your alley.
Opening with the mysterious momentum builder “Pt. 1”, we are slowly introduced into the band’s world of ripping guitar riffs and punishing bass guitar lines as the track progresses. Settling more into their own sound, “Pt. 2” showcases a powerful band that perfectly times their vocal assaults around their imposing wall of sound. Not breaking much out of character, “Pt. 3” continues the onslaught with some cool opening drum patterns and a very chaotic vibe to start off one of their most aggressive and diverse pieces.
Showcasing two of the most interesting Dutch Black Metal bands, today we have Ván Records Kjeld and Wederganger split release. Unluckily released at the end of 2016, this split release deserves your attention as it delivers five Black Metal tracks that range for raw and atmospheric to catchy and creepy. As a highly recommended release for BM fans, this is the perfect introduction to two bands killer sound.
Kjeld opens the release with the pummeling “Banier van Frisia”, this opening track sets a very intense mood with crushing riffs and superb drumming. Remind us at times of bands like Algazanth, “Wanskepsel” perfectly blends atmospheric elements with melodic riffs, a perfect blend for headbanging passages. The last Kjeld track is the blistering “Keningsein”, a furiously paced piece that again features that cold and dissonant Scandinavian Black Metal vibe.
Hailing from Italy, today we have five-piece Gaerea and their punishing self-titled debut EP. Featuring over 27 minutes of blistering Black Metal music, this debut showcases a very promising band with a highly atmospheric oppressive BM sound. Filled with cathartic moments, this release sets the bar quite high for any future activities by this young outfit.
Opening with the atmospheric “Santificato”, building up on punishing drumming and imposing vocals, this opener sets a very dark and gloomy mood for the release. “Final Call” continues the onslaught with dissonant riffs and pummeling tempo that quickly escalates the level of aggression. As one of their best skills, Gaerea effortlessly changes tempos while trampling the listener with crushing passages and dissonant contrasts.
Video games and Metal are the two things we love the most over at Infernal Masquerade and when combined, life can’t get any better. Vomitron’s triumphal return delivers over 60 minutes of superb instrumental music which brings to life several video game themes that will make you dust off your NES console and relive your childhood. With “NESessary Evil” this one-man band positions itself as the finest Video Game Metal outfit in the world.
Opening with the music of Rare’s classic “Wizards & Warriors”, the album instantly transports the listener to simpler days of spending your evening doing homework as quick as possible to start playing video games until bed time. Next up we have a part one of a great rendition of the music from “Metroid” filled with dramatic guitar leads and funky keyboards that closely resemble the original 8-bit, but take it to a whole new level of detail and creativity.
Closing 2016 and very appropriately set for release on Christmas day, today we have Black Metal outfit Paria and their devastating EP titled “Knochenkamp”. Delivering 28 minutes of punishing Black Metal, the band combines incisive riffs with hellish vocals to create a very foul and demoralizing atmosphere that submits the listener from beginning to end.
After a drone-ish eerie intro, the band lashes at the listener with the piercing rifing of “Pergamentikkch Nemesis”. A very interesting thing in this track is the funky bass guitar line that instantly gets under your skin and allows the music to be psychedelic and weirder in nature. The mixture of screams reminds us at times of early Bethlehem. The band’s sound is raw and uncompromising as you can hear in the all-out war anthem “So Far From the Hidden God”, a track that will haunt your dreams.
As yet another side project from the man behind Lustre, today we have Nachtzeit and his ‘solo’ project under the same unleashing its EP “Sagor I Natten”. Focusing more on intensity, this release will remind you a bit of Lustre, but with a more destructive and raw edge. If you are a fan of one-man battalions, we can assure you that this release is a worthy addition to your collection.
Wasting no time to pummel the listener into submission, “Ett fjärran mine” is full of ferocity in the shape of blistering riffs and devilish harsh vocals. The track sets a nice groove in terms of tempo that is nicely continued by the relentless “De färdas genom natten”. Nachtzeit’s vocals are the perfect match for the wall of sound created by the hectic riffing. The drumming on the other side sounds bit plain, when you compare the rest of the music, but it gets the job done.
After more than 10 years since their last full-length release, we finally have Crimson Moon back with their latest opus “Oneiroaut”. Delivering six crafty Black Metal hymns, this release is rare gem in a world filled with BM albums that all sound the same. Mixing creepy atmospheric elements with a retro-sounding Black Metal foundation, Scorpios Androctonus and company deliver one of the creepiest and most effective albums in 2016.
Opening with the blistering “Gossamer of Arachne”, the band sets a high standard in terms of viciousness and intensity. The riffing is quite punishing and the drumming is pretty hectic, but the best part is the eerie atmospheric sections filled with creepy vocals and a very ritualistic vibe. The same raw viciousness is greatly present in killer tracks like “Molding of a Spell” and the brutal “Seeker of the 7th Gate”. Both songs remind us of ‘old-school’ Black Metal like Absu, Lord Belial, and earlier Enthroned.