With Agalloch disbanding recently, it is time for a new band to take the throne to the best Atmospheric Black Metal outfit in the USA. With “Lethean Lament”, Mavradoxa makes their case to the throne. Unleashing over 60 minutes of highly engaging and intricate music, this release showcases the band’s creativity while unleashing very melodic and powerful songs.
Opening with the Empyrium-esque “Cicadan” acoustic guitar/violins intro, the band settles into their main sound with the crushing guitars of “The Phantom Visages”. With some very mellow and even ‘Doomy’ riffs, this song is quite engaging and sets a very melodic and sinister atmosphere. As a two-man operation, the band gets things quite heavy when needed with the harsh vocals and blistering riffs.
Unleashing one of the most disturbing and decadent releases of 2017, today we have legendary Blut Aus Nord with their latest opus “Deus Salutis Meae”. Featuring ten tracks filled with hate and punishing atmospheric onslaughts, this release combines all of the band’s previous musical endeavors into a ravaging mixture of elements that while hard to describe is quite intense and powerful. If you are looking for a traditional Black Metal album, you better look somewhere else as this release is a whole different beast.
The mood of this release is quickly set with the creepy “δημιουργός” opening piece that causes aural discomfort while it peaks our curiosity. Things instantly escalate with the dissonance and rawness of “Chorea Macchabeorum”, a punishing piece that showcases the band’s more Industrial edge mixed with some funky vocal arrangements. This chaotic feeling is continued with the pummeling riffing of “Impius” as it exacerbates the level of dissonance with more eerie vocal arrangements and BM-esque shrieks.
Unleashing over 55 minutes of brilliant Psychedelic/Progressive Metal, today we have Switzerland’s Echolot and their sophomore release “Volva”. Channeling their inner Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath influences, this three-piece outfit release for very intricate and engaging songs that will keep you engaged from start to end. With tons of bands flocking to these genres, it is quite refreshing to hear new ideas in this release.
The album opens with the groovy proggy guitars of “II”, a track that brilliantly introduces the band’s musical skills and vibe. The warm and fuzzy distortion is quite inviting and eases the listener into Echolot’s sonic world. Slowly building up, “III” continues the album’s progression with Doomy riffs and very moody vocals, greatly enhancing the atmosphere in this release and keeping it diverse and fresh sounding.
Delivering one of the most engaging and crushing Death/Doom/Sludge Metal releases of 2017, today we have Jupiterian and their sophomore release “Terraforming”. Unleashing a unique mix of atmospheric elements with traditional Doom/Sludge riffs, the band has crafted over 38 minutes of music that will keep you at the edge of your seat while clamoring for more.
The release immediately sets the tone with the slowly building atmosphere crafted in “Matriarch”. Crafting a powerful wall of sound, the guitars are quite punishing and quite relentless from the start. As “Unearthly Glow” rolls around, we get a more structured Death/Doom dynamic with powerful growls and weeping guitar leads, all tucked between crushing riffs and a very tight tempo.
Hailing from Cuba, today we have Black Metal one-man battalion, Narbeleth, and their fourth full-length release “Indomitvs”. Delivering over 35 minutes of savagely raw BM songs, this release showcases true raw power and determination to craft some of the most brutal and ravaging songs ever produced. If you are tired of overproduced and ‘pretty’ sounding Black Metal, this is the album you have been waiting for.
Wasting no time, the riffing onslaught opens with the first note of “The Distortion of Life”. In this track we get that certain 90’s Black Metal vibe with a very guitar and vocals driven approach to the genre. The intensity is relentless and the craftmanship is quite high, as the band continues its demolishing path with “When the Sun has Died”. Keeping things fresh and interesting, the eerie vocal arrangements in “The Lower Point of the Star” will certainly grab your attention and creep you out at the same time.
Unleashing a punishing and foul onslaught of Black/Death Metal madness, today we have New Zealand’s Vassafor and their sophomore full-length release “Malediction”. Blending elements from old-school Black and Death Metal into a killer wall of sound, this album delivers almost 50 minutes of some of the most decadent and punishing music ever recorded.
Starting with the pummeling “Devourer of a Thousand Worlds”, the slowly creep into the band’s mind with a barrage of demoralizing riffs and creepy vocals. Clocking in at 16-minutes, this track is the perfect opening into Vassafor’s madness. Filled with old-school vibes, “Emergence (of an Unconquerable One)” has a certain Grindcore edge to it due to its incisive guitar leads as well as a retro Death Metal side to it thanks to its meaty hooks.
Overflowing with creativity and musicianship, today we have Enslaved’s latest opus “E”. Delivering over 45 minutes superbly catchy Progressive Black/Viking Metal, the band continues to refine their explosive sound with a few new tweaks and a whole lot of energy. Just when you think the band can’t get any better, they manage to push the envelope and perfectly balance their old-school elements within the confines of their more modern endeavors.
The album opens with a very light and to a point Post-Rockish vibe on “Storm Son”. This slowly evolves into more Progressive and Enslaved-like territories with dual vocal arrangements, catchy riffs and tight drum patterns. This opener is quite effective as it nicely bridges the band’s last release “In Times”, with what is coming in “E”. The headbanging continues with the extreme catchiness of “The River’s Mouth”, a piece that is quite interesting as the clean vocals remind us a bit of Fear Factory and create a unique contrast.
Just in time for the gloomy October weather, today we have Amenra and their ravaging sixth full-length release “MassVI”. Unleashing over 41 minutes of music spread out in six tracks, the band continues their musical journey into darker and gloomier territories by making their sound even more massive and emotional. Perfectly engineered to be loud and punishing this release is one that you can’t miss.
Opening with the slow progression of “Children of the Eye”, the band brings back the punishing riffs and raw screams that have made them a household name in their genre. This track slowly introduces Doomier and more melodic and emotional passages that feature mournful clean vocals. After a short spoken-word track, the band comes back with a vengeance with the moody and hypnotic guitar work of “Plus Près de Toi”, which is part sludgy and part highly atmospheric.
Unleashing a very interesting sophomore release, today we have Switzerland’s Krane with “Pleonexia”. Crafting a very unique sound that blends Post-Metal with Post-Rock passages, this band sounds like the perfect child of Neurosis and From Nebula with some influences of Cult of Lune and Russian Circles sprinkled in. With over 35 minutes of music, this is one of those mostly instrumental releases that keep you wanting to play it over and over again.
Setting the mood with the mysterious “Deception”, the band slowly lures the listener into their world as “Strategic Level” kicks in with intense percussions. In this track the band comes out of its shell and delivers a somewhat ritualistic build-up into Neurosis-esque heavy riffs. With a certain futuristic edge provided by either a Theremin or some funky electronic synths. Delivering a bit of a shift in pace, “Destabilization” sooths out the listener before the next onslaught.
Unleashing their latest opus, today we have Seattle’s Bell Witch with “Mirror Reaper”. Clocking in at a massive 83 minutes, this one-track release is going for the record of longest Funeral Doom Metal song. After the untimely death of founding member Adrian Guerra, we wondered about the future of Bell Witch, luckily for all the fans the new release has arrived and it is a monumental one.
Slowly building up momentum with sparse punishing riffs and killer growls, this track is in no hurry to reveal its secrets. As things get settled for a bit, we have weeping guitars and very dramatic atmospheric elements that perfectly blend with the melancholy of the clean vocals. We particularly enjoy that when listening to this behemoth of a song, we get lost in the musical progression and before we know it we are more than 40 minutes into the track.