The superbly consistent October Tide return with their latest effort “Winged Waltz”, and they will surely please all their Melodic Death/Doom Metal fans with this one. Featuring eight tracks and over 50 minutes of music, this release only increases the band’s legendary status in the genre and proves they can release very similarly sounding albums that are still engaging and very entertaining.
Since returning in 2009, Fredrik Norrman and company has managed to record an album every three years. Perfectly continuing the early Katatonia sound into the trademark October Tide style, the band’s musical strengths lie in their uncanny abilities to deliver perfectly paced melodic songs filled with emotions. After opening with the powerful “Swarm”, the band really steps it up with the very melancholic “Sleepless Sun” and its superbly crafted guitar work.
Perfectly in time for a very gloomy October, Draconian is set to unleash “Sovran”. Four years in the making and after the departure of Lisa Johansson, the band returns with a superbly strong and very melancholic release that will become another Draconian classic. The band’s melancholic sound is greatly complemented by their new singer Heike Langhans, making this release a perfect step in the band’s musical trajectory.
Opening with bleak first minutes of “Heavy Lies the Crown” we have some crushing Doom riffs and a very oppressive atmosphere that is beautifully craved out of piano sections and solemn female vocals. As the band settles more into their classic sound, “The Wretched Tide” is filled with great vocal duels between Andres superb harsh vocals and Heike’s emotionally charged voice that nicely contrast the harshness of the music.
After taking everybody by surprise with their excellent debut “Origin”, Enshine returns with a more mature and refined release titled “Singularity”. Comprised of only two members, Jari Lindholm and Sebastien Pierre, this international band manages to craft a very melodic and engaging release that clocks in at 53 minutes of music. If you are a fan of October Tide, Insomnium and Swallow the Sun, this is an album that you don’t want to miss.
The band opens with the Sci-Fi-ish “Dual Existence” as the barrage of melodic riffs is made present by Jari. The pace is quite mellow, but the harshness and brutality of the music is felt, particularly when Sebastien’s growls come into the picture. With majestically crafted songs like “Adrift” and “Resurgence”, the band sets a very melodic mood with subtle atmospheric keyboards. The band’s resemblance to Swallow the Sun in terms of pace and mood is uncanny, but they make the sound their own by adding more Melodic Death metal elements here and there.
Hailing from Malta, today we have a very pleasant surprise with Weeping Silence’s latest release, “Opus IV Oblivion”. Oozing with old-school Gothic Death/Doom melancholy, this release instantly brought us back to the old days of Silentium, Trail of Tears, Even Song with some Dreams of Sanity sprinkled into the mix. If you like the whole beauty and the beast vocal approach, this is right up your alley.
Opening with some disarmingly powerful riffs, “Oblivion – Darkness in My Heart Anno XV” sets a very temperamental mood. The use of classical string instruments in this track gives it a certain early Lacrimas Profundere vibe, making the track even more powerful and punishing. With Diane Camenzuli and Dario Pace Taliana alternating between sweet female vocals and heavy growls, the band’s vocal duo does a great job in keeping songs fluid and engaging.
With plenty of high profile releases in 2015, Dead to a Dying World’s sophomore release “Litany” almost past by us unnoticed. Luckily, we gave it a few spins and were instantly blown away by the level of melancholy and musicianship found in this little gem. Featuring six tracks and over 70 minutes of Atmospheric Death-Doom/Black Metal /Post-Rock, this is one heck of a release from beginning to end.
Hailing from Texas and featuring guest appearances by members of Pallbearer and Sabbath Assembly, this release kicks off with the 16-minute “The Hunt Eternal”. Opening with some somber strings and rapidly progressing into Black Metal territory, this track suddenly changes into all-out melancholic Doom riffing and lush clean vocals. The band perfectly captures the catharsis of such an intense opening with brilliantly painful mellow soundscapes and female vocals. This sounds like Ash Borer-meets-Elend-meets-My Dying Bride and we love it.
Pioneering Funeral Doom Metal band Skepticism finally returns with their fifth full-length release “Ordeal”. Hailing from Finland, this band alongside Thergothon are tipped to be the founders of the genre and they have releases some monumental albums over the years to keep their legend intact. With “Ordeal”, the band continues to mercilessly punish people with their melancholic sound filled with long drawn out riffs, piercing atmospheric elements, and crushing growls, for nearly 80 minutes of music.
The album immediately gets under your skin with the demoralizing “You” and its subtle atmospheric keyboards. Never wasting a moment to create the perfect atmosphere, “Momentary” has a retro Funeral Doom vibe from the late 90’s when the genre was in full swing. In terms of dramatic, “The Departure” features some of the most haunting keyboards we have heard in quite a while as they are perfectly flanked by Matti Tilaeus soul crushing growls.
Being huge fans of Death/Doom/Gothic Metal release, we instantly jumped on Rain Without End Records release “So Many Years of Longing”. This one-man outfit hails from Italy and it delivers some pretty solid barebones music that while it gets a bit repetitive and tiring, has some glimmers of hope.
Building up into “Coldness Gods” via the intro “So Many Years”, all the elements of releases in this genre are pretty well executed, such as the strong riffs, highly atmospheric passages and hearty grunts. Things remind us a bit of Forest of Shadows and Rapture for the most part, with sprinkles of Draconian and such when the female vocals appear on songs like “It Devours my Faith”.
Today we have one man band Sick’s Agony from Italy, and ‘their’ debut full-length release “Towards My Places”. Playing a very mournful flavor of Death/Doom Metal, this outfit delivers nearly one hour of highly melancholic music that draws similarities to bands like Forest of Shadows and Inborn Suffering.
Opening with the slowly demoralizing “Obsessive Paranoia”, we are treated to very traditional slowly paced Doom riffs with sparse growls, just like the doctor ordered. Not moving away much from the initial tempo of this album, the 15-minute piece “The End of Dreams” continues down a path of despair with excellent guitar arrangements and the addition of clean vocals into the mix. This first ‘half’ of the release shows in two songs that Sick’s Agony pays tribute to old-school Death/Doom bands while managing to add their own brand into the mix.
Instantly showing that their debut “To Sail Black Waters” was no fluke, Bay Area’s outfit Secrets of the Sky delivers an even more mature and expertly crafted sophomore release with “Pathway”. Finding their home in Metal Blade Records, the band fully explores their musical capabilities with the 13 tracks presented in this very unique and different sounding release.
Opening with the relaxing sound of waves on the ‘instrumental’ “I”, this swiftly transforms into the band first real onslaught titled “Three Swords”. Expertly manipulating the atmosphere of their music, this opener sets a very mellow mood that fully explodes as the band rips through some thunderous Doom riffs between peaceful interludes. Placing nice tempo-shifting interludes between the tracks, Secrets of the Sky perfectly manipulates and guides the listener’s experience.
With every year having less and less Death/Gothic Doom Metal releases coming out, we cherish the ones we get. Hailing from Finland, Red Moon Architect deliver an astonishing album fill with the sorrow and melancholy that we always look in our music. Originally a one man project, Saku Moilanen has put together a five-piece lineup and has unleashed “Fall” to the world. Featuring eight tracks of soul crushing music, this is one album that you do not want to miss in 2015.
Opening with the slowly building atmospheric piece “A Wish for a Tear”, we have Anni Viljanen returning with her enchanting female vocals. The newcomer growler Juuso Turkki does a great job in delivering the harsh male vocal counterparts, at some points the band sounds like October Tide thanks to his singing style and the riffs on this first song. The band is not afraid of changing up little things that transform the direction of songs like “The Other Side”, where they have pretty interesting tempo changes and play with how they mix the female and male growls, making their songs less linear than the genre standard.