The first time we came across The Ruins of Beverast was with their 2009 release “Foulest Semen of a Sheltered Elite”… and we totally hated that album. Fast-forward eight years and two releases, we have learned to appreciate the complexity and uniqueness of the band’s sound. On “Exuvia”, sole member Alexander von Meilenwald takes things to a completely new level in terms of gripping atmosphere and brilliant mixture of diverse elements.
Opening with the hypnotic title track, this song starts with some Native American leading to a few eerie guitar notes that open up the traditional wall of sound that the band delivers. Featuring bone chilling female vocals, this track perfectly blends the band’s dissonant aggression with more mysterious elements and it progresses into very dramatic passages led by majestic clean vocal arrangements.
Our never-ending quest to find the most unique and bizarre Metal bands has lead us this month to Poland’s White Ward and their debut full-length release “Futility Report”. This very unique band delivers a strange mixture of Black Metal with Jazzy and a few Electronic elements structured in a very unusual way. For over 40 minutes you are led to a very different and exciting musical journey that will haunt your dreams from start to finish.
The album opens with the first few minutes of “Deviant Shapes” sounding like you are in for another Melodic/Post-Black Metal release. However, as soon as the 2:30 minutes mark hits the album takes a turn for the unexpected with a solemn saxophone making its entry and switching the entire direction of the band’s sound. Creating a very unique and relaxing vibe, this element while not atypical in Metal releases is unique combined by this band to craft a contrasting and yet brilliant juxtaposition of sounds.
Pushing the boundaries of sanity, today we have Italina duo Asofy and their latest release “Nessun Luogo”. As one of the most soothing and unique releases of 2017, this album creates brilliant songs filled with tension and mystery that will send chills down your spine. Featuring over 60 minutes of music, this album will creep on you with its bleak soundscape and minimalist approach.
The album kicks off with the cavernous riffs of “Lontano da me”, a very mysterious piece that slowly builds up into a very powerful and disturbing opening statement. As the album evolves with tracks like “Nemeton”, “Infine”, and the heavier “Fosca”, we continue to enjoy the band’s very deconstructive vision of both Black and Doom Metal. You can piece out some distinctive genre-specific riffs placed in unique contexts, allowing Asofy to really break boundaries and deliver a very unique release.
Hailing from Germany, today we have one-man Black Metal battalion Nargaroth delivering one of the best BM releases in the last few years with “Era of Threnody”. Featuring over 60 minutes of demoralizing music, Ash perfectly captures the dark and mystical essence of the genre and delivers ten incisive and punishing songs. With a unique energy and a high level of creativity, this release will haunt you from start to end.
Opening with a haunting combination of acoustic guitar and spoken sections, “Dawn of Epiphany” slowly morphs into a ravaging piece filled with sinister riffs and gut-wrenching vocals. This first track perfectly sets the mood for the melodic devastation of “Whither Goest Thou” and its moody atmospheric passages. As “Conjunction Underneath the Alpha” comes around, Nargaroth showcases an uncanny ability to perfectly blend emotion into their very aggressive BM core, making each track quite unique and demoralizing.
As one of the most revered USBM bands, Abazagorath delivers their latest offering in the shape of a live cassette titled “Disciples of Sacrilege”. Perfectly capturing the band’s raw energy and sound evolution, this tape features the band playing songs from all studio releases. Clocking in around 50 minutes and being highly limited (150 copies); this is an item that cannot be missing in any USBM collection.
Opening with a savage rendition of the 1997’s “Rites of the Black Herald”, we are shown that the band’s three piece line-up means business. While there are small stylistic differences between the songs as the band evolved, tracks like “Ancient Steel” and “Beyond the Veils of Obscurity” are very well updated to the band’s current sound but still retain the quirks that made them brilliant during their heyday.
Continuing with their impressive momentum after the release of “Moonlover”, Ghost Bath returns on a bigger label and with a more expansive sound in “Starmourner”. Delivering over 70 minutes of soul crushing music, the band continues to evolve with a richer and more diverse sound. Equally pleasing for older and new fans, this release is a perfect continuation of the band’s path.
After the mood setting intro track, the band gets down to business with the incisive lead guitars of “Seraphic” a highly emotional and ravaging track. The onslaught continues with the sheer brutality of the opening of “Ambrosial”. Here we have the traditional shrieks being outlined by pummeling drums, and before you know it the song turns highly melodic and hypnotic with some truly outstanding passages.
Unleashing their most mature work to date, today we have Iceland’s Dynfari and their fourth full-length release “The Four Doors of the Mind”. Delivering over 48 minutes of majestic music, the band finds itself transitioning into more atmospheric and dreamy music than before while retraining some of their aggressive roots.
Opening with the dreamy album title track, the mood is set with a very martial pace and very interesting spoken vocals. The album continues its build-up as “1st Door: Sleep” slowly picks up the pace and the clean guitars give way for heavier distorted riffs, harsh vocals and pummeling drums. Keeping up the intensity, “Sorgarefni segi eg þér” delivers seven-minutes of killer tempo changes and lush melodic passages.
Finally immortalizing one of their iconic full-orchestra and choir shows, today we have Dimmu Borgir and the monumental “Forces of the Northern Night”. Featuring around 90 minutes of live material both in video (DVD or Blu-ray) and audio CD’s, this is one of the most epic live releases we have seen in a while. Not needing any introduction, this band will blow you away with the intensity they bring to the live shows.
We are only reviewing their Wacken Open air show in 2012, where the band was accompanied on stage with the Czech National Symphonic Orchestra and the Schola Cantorum choir. In this already legendary concert, the band played the full “Abrahadabra” album first, and then a pretty solid selection of their greatest hits. The first part of the concert hits the listener hard with epic renditions of crushing songs like “Born Treacherous” and “Gateways” featuring a guest appearance by Agnete Kjølsrud.
As a true testament of intensity and brutality, today we Obitus’s latest full-length “Slaves of the Vast Machine”. Comprised of one 45-minute behemoth of a track, this release showcases a master class in crafting intricate Black Metal music that is both engaging and ravaging. While most people would expect this piece to be filled with interludes and atmospheric passages, we are treated to quite the opposite as it is intense and violent from start to finish.
The sole track waits no time to deliver is blistering message with a barrage of punishing riffs and crushing drums. This opening level of intensity is quite brutal and it showcases that Obitus is here and it means business. The band’s vocalist, Johan Huldtgren, does a great job unleashing aggressive BM shrieks that perfectly fit the intensity and rawness of the music. Multi-instrumentalist, Anders Ahlbäck, brings down the hammer with superbly crafted drum patterns and intricate tremolo picking sections which bring this release to life.
One-man outfit Netra returns after five years to unleash the very unique “Ingrats”. Mixing Industrial/Trip-hop/jazzy elements with Black Metal, this release delivers nearly 40 minutes of exciting Avant-garde music. As with the previous Netra releases, this one will keep you at the edge of your seat always wondering what kind of surprises the songs have in store for the listener.
Opening with the mysteriously jazzy “Gimme a Break”, the band brilliantly eases the listener into being quite shocked with the savage intensity of the following track. On “Everything’s Fine”, we get the same trippy elements, but they are paired with punishing harsh vocals and intense riffing. The track again flips on the listener before finishing as it slowly eases into the trip-hoppish atmospheric interlude of “Underneath My Words, The Ruins of Yours”.