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.
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.
Hailing from Iran, today we have Progressive Metal outfit Heterochrome and their debut release “Melancholia”. Filled with intricate soundscapes and angelic female vocals, this release is quite engaging and entertaining as it reminds us a bit of outfits like Alas and Echoes of Eternity. Delivering over 30 minutes of music divided in six tracks, this release showcases the many talents of the band and will surely put them in your radar for the future.
Opening with the playful percussions of “Cage”, the band sets a very moody and ethereal opening that hooks the listener but does not reveal the band’s surprises yet. As “Hang” starts we get some brilliant proggy guitars paired with tight drumming as Mida’s vocals effortlessly take center stage. Her vocal range is quite unique and fits perfectly the tempo changes of this song.
Only a few bands manage to write a follow-up to a legendary album and succeed at it. Today we have Vintersorg blowing people away with their follow-up of the seminal “Till fjälls”. In this double release, the band unleashes over 75 minutes of classic Vintersorg music that will never leave your record player for the remainder of the year (possibly a few years). Going back to the basics, this is one release you can’t miss.
The album sets the tone with the intense opener “Jökelväktaren”, filled with soaring vocal arrangements and uber catchy guitar work, this perfectly sets the mood for what is to come. For any fan of Vintersorg, the brilliant combination of epic clean vocals and harsh vocals is one of the best features of their releases, particularly in epic tracks like “En väldig isvidds karga dräkt” and the crushing “Fjällets mäktiga mur”.
Hailing from Germany, today we have one of the most original and downright weird releases of 2017. On “Smaragd”, this dynamic duo delivers 53-minutes of a mixture of Progressive Black Metal with tons of Jazzy and Folky influences, creating a very engaging sound unlike anything you have heard before. If you are into highly experimental music that defies the boundaries of genres, this is definitely the release for you.
Opening with the moody “Into Depression”, the band slowly leads the listener down to their magical universe. This track starts off very Jazzy as it weaves back and forth between heavy passages and emotional acoustic interludes with killer guitar leads. Just when you think you have figured the out, the band delivers the raw onslaught of “My Terrifying Mirror”, with a furiously crushing opening that slowly morphs into madness. The band’s ability to change course mid-song and between songs, it is quite impressive creating magical contrasts and keeping the listener on their toes (eg. transitioning into the Proggy/Occult Rock elements of “In My Shadow”).
Featuring the highly distinctive vocals of James Fogarty of Ewigkeit and In the Woods… fame, today we have Sollertia and their debut release “Light”. Playing a very unique mixture of Progressive Doom/Gothic Metal with Dark Metal elements, this release is pretty hard to pin down, but very effective in creating unique songs that are quite engaging. For fans of uniquely dark music, this album provides over 55 minutes of mysterious music that is very enjoyable and it is full of surprises.
After the warm-up intro, this trio sets a somber mood with the melancholic Gothic vibe of “Abstract Object Theory”. The music is quite mellow and very well paced, allowing James Fogarty’s talented vocals to shine. Providing contrasting harsh vocals on a few tracks, Vanja Obscure does a pretty solid job in shaking things up with her shrieks, changing the pace of songs like “Pascal’s Wager”, “The Devil’s Seethe” and “Positive Disintegration”.
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.
As one of the most unique and diverse releases we received in the last few months, today we have Project Nightscape and their 13-track opus “To Sin against our Mercies”. In a similar fashion than Ayreon and Beto Vazquez Infinity, this album is a concept release and features a very wide variety of musicians allowing for very diverse styles to be played. Mostly varying between Progressive Rock/Metal, this release has very memorable tracks that are quite catchy and expertly crafted.
With the lyrical/story concept crafted by David W. Edwards and the guitar work crafted by other than Tony Gaglio, this release opens with the hard rocking “(Living in) Sacred Time” and the Heavy Metal anthem “Only Reason”. Continuing the album’s story after an interlude, we have proggy Rush-like “Now Silence!” and the ballad-esque “Inmortuorum Memorias”. As you could tell, the music varies from track to track but the songs are very well aligned to match the album’s lyrical progression.
Finally ready to take the scene by storm, today we have Greece’s Aenaon and their latest full-length release “Hypnosophy”. Having refined their music over the year years of their existence, the band is ready to take the spotlight with this very mature and musically brilliant release. Perfectly blending experimental elements into a highly efficient Progressive Black Metal foundation, the band delivers 55 minutes of intense music.
The album opens with the magnificent, “Oneirodynia”, a track that combines influences of Emperor, Ihsahn, and Arcturus in a very tight and perfectly executed nearly 8 minutes piece. The band has added a permanent saxophone player, which adds a good deal of depth and originality to their music. Not disappointing the band’s fans of heavier pieces, tracks like “Fire Walk With Me” deliver relentless high octane experiences.
As one of the biggest surprises of 2016, today we have the return of Madder Mortem and their whacky Progressive Metal with “Red in Tooth and Claw”. Always hard to peg down and describe, this Norwegian band has consistently released very unique album and with this one they sound as crazy as ever. Delivering over 50 minutes of music, this release was definitely worth the 6 year wait.
Opening with the funky “Blood on the Sand” we are instantly transported to the band’s unique musical world. Agnete’s signature vocals perfectly lead this very engaging track that features tons of odd tempo changes and has a certain circus vibe to it. The madness continues in very different shapes as “If I could” and “Fallow Season” deliver funkadelic rhythms and very playful combinations of intricate bass guitar lines and heavy riffs.