Originally released back in 2012, Panopticon’s “Kentucky” is the band’s seminal release in which they mix both Black Metal and Folk/Americana/Bluegrass elements in a brilliant way. Just as when it was originally released, this release will certainly catch a new wave of people by surprise as the genres are not intuitively easily combined. Multi-instrumentalist Austin L. Lunn certainly pulled of one of the most unique releases of all times, and this is you latest chance to get a copy of it.
The album instantly raises eyebrows with the Folky/Americana-inspired “Bernheim Forest in Spring” as it leads into the explosive and very aggressive “Bodies Under the Falls”. With this transition we are back into more familiar territories with harsh vocals, punishing riffs and tight drums. This track masterfully weaves back and forth between heavy passages and lush banjo-led sections that work perfectly with the flow of the song.
Hailing surprisingly from the USA, today we have Amiensus and their latest EP “All Paths Lead to Death”. We are surprised they are from the USA because their Progressive Black Metal sound is quite European-like, delivering nearly 30 minutes of quality music that should not be missed by any fan of the genre. Perfectly mixing aggression with technical proficiency, this release has a certain Agalloch, Aenaon, and even Borknagar-ish vibe, making it quite impressive.
Opening with the brutal “Gehenna”, the release starts up with a very intense pace and crafty vocal arrangements going from harsh to clean. This opening track provides a peek into the band’s creative range and musical creativity. The onslaught continues with the pummeling drumming of “Moth of the Abyss” and its intricate guitar work. We particularly like how tight this release sounds thanks to the crystal clear production behind it.
Hailing from Denmark, today we have Sunken and their killer debut release “Departure”. Delivering over 50 minutes of heavily atmospheric Black Metal, this band creates a very powerful and melancholic atmosphere that will enshroud you with its misery. Focusing on crafting smarter tracks, this release feels and sounds a lot different than your run-of-the-mill Atmospheric BM outfit.
After the warm-up instrumental opening, the band opens this release with the full-blast onslaught of the first few minutes of “Void”. This song slowly mellows out and leads way to brilliant atmospheric passages with a prominent bass guitar line and catchy percussions. The album title track comes at us with another brilliant mixture of melancholy with devilish intensity with harsh vocals, furiously paced sections, and jazzy atmospheric passages.
Featuring current and past members of bands like Negură Bunget, Din Bard, and Dordeduh, Argus Megere delivers a very interesting full-length release titled “VEII”. With some clear Negură Bunget/Dordeduh influences, the band’s atmospheric Black Metal is top notch and for over 40 minutes transports the listeners into unique soundscapes.
Opening with “Carul cerului” the mood is slowly being set with distorted guitars and a very ritualistic atmospheric progression. This progression slowly leads to harsh BM-style vocals and very lively guitar work that crafts a unique and distinctive style for the band. Keeping the atmosphere going, we have a very chilling opening to “Tronul celui ce stă de strajă” which suddenly leads to harsh Black Metal passages and very magical keyboard arrangements. The clean vocal sections are quite well introduced and nicely boost the level of epicness of the song.
Being huge fans of Atmospheric/Post Black Metal releases, we are quite puzzled how this little gem managed to sit on our virtual review queue for this long. Labeled as an international band, Grieving Mirth unleashes their debut EP titled “Calamitosvs Omine”, featuring five brilliant pieces of highly melancholic extreme music. Highly recommended for fans of bands like Heretoir, Anomalie, Harakiri for the Sky, Austere, this release is quite an interesting find.
The album opens with the ravaging “Malaugurio”, a song that sets the tone for this release with heavily melancholic riffs and powerful drumming. All of this is perfectly rounded up with firm harsh vocals that differ from your traditionally used BM shrieks. The band’s intensity level is quite impressive making the songs be both very melancholic and brutal at the same time, “Indelectavs” is a clear example of this.
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.