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.
With a very traditional Death/Doom Metal sound, today we have Italy’s Tethra and their debut full-length release “Drown Into the Sea of Life”. Featuring nine tracks of engaging tracks that bring back memories of the genre’s heyday we have some serious My Dying Bride worship on our hands with this one.
After the intro track, “Sense of The Night” brings forth the goods with some solid clean vocals as the track transforms with some Doom riffs and tight drumming. The song structure is quite typical, and while not revolutionary is quite sufficient. The band’s melancholic presence is felt in the trio of songs “Drifting Islands”, “Vortex Of Void” and “Drown Into the Sea of Life”, featuring a wide variety of catchy riffs, memorable guitar leads, and a very well structured core.
Originally started as a Death/Doom outfit, Hanging Garden has been slowly drifting apart from this category into more Melodic Death/Doom territories like their fellow countrymen Swallow the Sun and Insomnium. After the release of “At Every Door” earlier this year, the band gives us a little taste of what is to come in the future with their EP “I Was a Soldier”. Featuring three tracks (with the digital bonus song), this release continues were their previous full-length left off with a good dose of crushing melancholic music.
Starting on a high note, “Winter to Summer Adverse” delivers punishing riffs, demoralizing vocals and a very cool atmospheric keyboard highlights. While this track sounds a lot like Swallow the Sun, the band does a great job in keeping their style evolving and creating a bleak atmosphere. The clean vocals certainly add an extra layer of awesomeness to this track. The EP’s title track continues the flow with more atmospheric passages and engaging vocals.
Just when you think you have almost heard everything under the sun, it comes a truly moving release like Acacia’s debut full-length “Tills döden skiljer oss åt”. Melancholic and depressive are adjectives that barely start to describe the mood and atmosphere of this soul (and spirit) crushing album. Formed originally under the name of Livsnekad, this Swedish outfit manages to deliver 61 minutes of truly moving music that we will do our best to try to do justice while describing.
The solemn piano opening of “Död mans mask” really builds anticipation and once the clean vocals come on, the mood suddenly gets even darker. As “Förnimmelsens lund af längtan” opens, the riffs remind us a bit of bands like Draconian and Desire with a certain atmospheric touch of My Dying Bride. Being huge fans of Death/Doom Metal, the growls are up to par to any of the heavy hitters of the scene, a very important element to contrast the atmosphere of the music. The Black Metal influences kick in and elevate the music to a whole new level, featuring extremely contrasting brutality with a highly atmospheric content. As the song winds down, we get some nice Post-Rock/Depressive Rock final minutes that serve as a relaxing culmination to this excellent track.