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.
Going out of our way to review something we didn’t get as an official promo is something that seldomly happens these days, and we are glad that we took the time to listen to Omit’s masterpiece “Medusa Truth, Pt. 1”. Recommended by one of our fellow Metal writers, this is one hell of an Atmospheric Gothic Doom Metal that will drive you to clinical depression. Masterfully crafted, three songs clock in at almost 49 minutes of depressive brilliance.
Opening with “Distrust”, we are treated to a lush orchestral opening that is not overly pretentious or exaggerated. Cecilie Langlie’s vocals are just the right amount of sad to solemnly adorn the already very bleak music. There are some clear old-school The 3rd and the Mortal influences and we love them. Perfectly balancing the classical instruments with piercing riffs, the band creates a unique 16 minute masterpiece. The short but sweet (6:37 minutes), “Denial” is one hell of a ride with jazzy passages that are very pleasing.
Being huge fans of any variants of Death/Doom Metal, when we received Kvity Znedolenykh Berehiv - (Kvity - for short) demo release “Za Nebokray Mriy” (aka “Beyond the Horizon of Dreams”) we instantly put it on our stereo system. Featuring two songs of monumental atmospheric Death/Doom Metal, this release will intoxicate you with sadness and melancholy for the 20 minutes it runs for. Both songs deliver elements from the genre greats like Saturnus, (old) Anathema, My Dying Bride, Lethian Dreams. Morgion, etc., making them quite awesome.
Opening with “У обіймах (Тихі води)”, the release sets a very dramatic and engaging tone. Merciless weeping guitars surrounded by heavy growls and bleak atmospheric elements. This one-man band provides an excellent rendition of melancholy through music thanks to its lush keyboards/piano arrangements. Clocking in at nine and a half minutes, this track reminds us of Draconian minus the female vocals with some Forest of Shadows influences.
Arriving today from Finland, we have Katakombi and their very weird, but equally crushing self-titled EP. Featuring three tracks and 26 minutes of music, this release will give you nightmares thanks to the very disturbing atmospheric elements that are used to create ambiance. If you are tired of ‘traditional’ Death/Doom/Sludge releases, this is one EP that will expand your mind thanks to its highly original approach.
The EP features on side the monumental “Väärä Kuu”, a 13-minute crushing piece of music that nicely builds up starting from creepy atmospheric/drone-like elements into some ghoulish spoken sections before finally delivering some harsh vocals and chilling riffs. The bands musical progression in this track is quite unique and very well crafted, nicely culminating in a powerful aural assault with a very mellow pace.
Hailing from the USA, today we have Atmospheric Death/Doom Metal outfit Cold Colours and their three songs EP “MMXIV”. With a distinctive European sound, this band reminds us of a slower and gloomier version of Swallow The Sun, My Dying Bride, and Frailty mixed in with some Thorns of The Carrion and (older) Eternal Tears of Sorrow influences. If the name-dropping was not enough for you to pick a copy of this, we will surely convince you by the end of this review.
Opening with the bleak “Heathen”, the band instantly paints a very desolate melodic atmosphere with great pace and weeping guitars. This opening is indeed quite doomy and yet unconventional for what we usually get from Doom bands. The singing is a mixture of growls and screams that works quite well with the pace of the music. After warming you up with a solid opener, the band goes full Doom on the crushing “From This Pain”. Again, the riffing is brilliant and nicely outlined by very solid drumming. The tempo changes are brilliant and deliver a truly intense rollercoaster-like experience.