Originally released as a demo in 2012, today we have Italy’s Into Darkness and their old-school Death Metal production “Into The Darkness”. Featuring four tracks of raw DM with some Swedish and Doom influences, this release is for all nostalgic lover of raw and fuzzy music from the 90’s. Combining elements from Incantation (earlier material), Grave and Asphyx, for over 25 minutes the band delivers the goods in a relentless and nihilistic manner.
Opening with the desolate “Into Darkness” the band resembles the almighty Winter and their slow and painful Doom sound from back in the day. After 8 minutes of glorious Death/Doom, things pick up with the crushing “Shadows” and its killer proto-Swedish DM sound. The band truly excels in creating a very dense and old school atmosphere, relying on the riffing of Doomed Warrior and Nor.
Recently resurrected (2009) October Tide delivers us their second release in four years with “Tunnel of No Light”. Featuring their traditional early Katatonia sound from the 90’s, this band keeps doing what they do best, and we totally dig them for that. Lead by Fredrik Norrman, the band recently changed bass guitarist and vocalist, but you can’t even tell the difference since October Tide is as melancholic and brutal as ever.
Opening with their signature layered guitars on “Of Wounds To Come”, we get the first impression of the band’s new growler Alexander Högbom, and we must say it is very impressive. The intricate melodic guitar work is the staple of the band and they do not disappoint in tracks like this one and “Our Constellation”. The first Doom epic comes under the name of “Emptiness Fulfilled” and its crushing weeping riffs. This song delivers both magical melodic passages and super powerful growls… exactly what Infernal Masquerade likes.
Legendary Irish Death/Doom Metal outfit returns after four years with a double CD dosage of slowly asphyxiating music with “Formless”. Delivering six blows of brilliantly crafted 14+ minute songs (and a short one), the band makes a statement that they are the kings of the genre with such an impressive release.
Opening with the heavy hitting “Theories of old bones”, the band delivers a monolithic 14 minute introduction to what is next to come in this release. The band’s signature style is immediately present in this track and through the release with very minor adjustments over their previous release. The combinations of growls and clean vocals are pretty effective since they perfectly fuse the growls of Death/Doom and the signature traditional doom clean singing.
Six years have passed since multi-instrumentalist Marius Strand released “From Below”, the debut full-length of his project solo-project The Fall of Every Season. Fast-forward to 2013 and we have him unleashing another masterpiece of extreme melancholic proportions with “Amends”. Featuring five tracks and 53 minutes of hope-crushing Atmospheric Death/Doom Metal, this is one of the best releases that we have ever heard in this genre.
Opening with the extremely painful “Sole Passenger”, this release features powerful Doom riffs surrounded by deep growls and superb clean vocals. The atmosphere in this track is amazing and is greatly enhanced by the depressive solos and top-notch vocal layering. “A Portrayal” delivers a solemn acoustic instrumental interlude that greatly enhances the mood and keeps things very mellow.
Four years have passed since the band delivered their opus “Into the Light”, and now we finally have them back with an even more melancholic and depressive release with “Salvation”. As the band has matured, their sound has greatly progressed and in this release the band focuses more on very emotive vocal melodies and killer atmospheric components that make this album a very bleak and emotional ride.
Matt Lawson’s vocals are one of our favorite elements of this release since they are right at the line between Epic Doom bands like Candlemass and While Heaven Wept and a very natural sound that is full of emotions and feelings, fitting the overall atmosphere of the music very well. Of course there are some growls here and there, but they are saved usually for the climax parts of the songs. The band’s move into more Progressive territories is another thing to note in the five songs presented in the album, making them sound a bit like Opeth during their transitional periods.
Arriving all the way from Montenegro, today we have Placid Art and their very cool debut full-length release “Rainbow Destruction Process”. In this nine-track release the band delivers highly Atmospheric Death/Doom Metal with operatic female vocals and a very eerie vibe. With a down to the basics musical approach, this release reminded us of a more atmospheric version of Shape Of Despair and similar bands.
The opener “The Beginning of The Final Chapter” delivers a very theatrical sound with excellent string elements and dominating operatic vocals from Sonja Milicevic, the ‘classical’ side of the band’s sound. The same chilling atmosphere is carried over to the beginning of “In Silence… Of The Dark Dawn”, reminding us of the creepy vibe that Elend creates. A minor drawback is the programmed drums that sound mechanical and a bit ‘fake’, but the band makes up for this in atmospheric brilliance.
With a very melancholic sound, today we have Finland’s 2 Wolves and their sophomore release “Men of Honour”. In this nine-track album, the band greatly reminds us of a mixtures between Eternal Tears of Sorrow, On Thorns I Lay, and Poema Arcanus. 2 Wolves sound is very unique in the sense that they use lush keyboards, heavy riffing, and a mixture of growls and clean vocals to perfection in this very exciting release.
The opener “Bygones” has the signatures Eternal Tears of Sorrow mixture of growls, powerful riffs and very proficient keyboards mixed with a super catchy clean chorus section. This track greatly sets the mood for an excellent release, and the atmosphere of “Unreal Conversations” immediately enhances it. The lush melodic sections contrasted by the crushing riffs and harsh vocals work wonders in this very engaging track.
Dropping on November 23rd we have Kuolemanlaakso’s debut full-length “Uljas uusi maailma” on Svart Rcords. This Finish band with members of Swallow The Sun (on vocals), Chaosweaver (on guitar), delivers a very interesting mix of Doom Metal elements with dark and dirty atmospheres that sound very imposing. Written and delivered all in Finish, this eight tracks are very well shrouded in a gloomy atmosphere, unlike anything the band members have ever done before.
Opening with the moody “Minä elän”, the band set the stage for a solid riffing onslaught that is quite heavy and engaging. Mikko Kotamäki’s vocals are his typical growl/shrieks from STS with some heavier sections like on Algazanth, nothing new here, but it does bring a certain level of familiarity to the music for fans of his bands. The sick atmospheric keyboards that the cake in this song since they are used very sporadically and to great effect. “Kuun Lapset” follows a similar pattern but with more keyboards and a very dominating bass guitar line.
Finally!! after six years since their last release, Saturnus returns with their latest masterpiece of Melancholic Death/Doom Metal titled “Saturn In Ascension”. Featuring eight tracks, this release will only help the band elevate their legendary status as the best band of their genre. With a mixture of the elements that have made this band’s musical trajectory impeccable, the songs in this release deliver high doses of raw emotions transmitted by truly melancholic music.
Opening with the crushing “Litany of Rain”, the band reminded us of their “Paradise Belongs To You” era with a straightforward growl fest filled with emotional riffing. The characteristic vocals of Thomas Akim Grønbæk Jensen really set the band apart from the rest and his mixture of growls and clean sections work wonders in this nearly 10-minute epic.
Being huge fans of Doom Metal, we sometimes dabble in the realms of Funeral Doom Metal, its ugly and boring cousin. While we are not huge fans of the genre due to its mind-numbing repetition and ridiculously slow execution, some bands like Shape of Despair and Thergothon are still ok in our book. Hence today we have Narrow House and their less boring approach to the genre with “A Key to Panngrieb”. By introducing lush atmospheric elements that range from keyboards to cellos, this band really grabs ahold of the listener and keeps it engaged for the duration of the huge songs in this album.
Opening with the crushing “Poslednee Pristanishe”, things start very well with the perfect mixture of slow and painful riffs, commanding growls, and brilliant atmosphere. The simplicity of the music is really well shrouded behind a well-crafted atmosphere thanks to the keyboards. The band does a great job in navigating through such a long song with well-placed tempo changes. The same can be said about the considerably shorter track “Psevdoriatunok”, but with a nice combination of growls and ethereal clean vocals, very reminiscent of Draconian and such bands.