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.
What better early X-mas gift can anybody ask for than the latest Ashes You Leave album titled “The Cure For Happiness”. Dropping this November 29th, 2012 through Rock’n’Growl, this eagerly awaited release is set to fill that void left in 2012 of an excellent Gothic Doom Metal release. Delivering nine tracks of pure melancholy and powerful emotions, this album is sure to keep the band’s legacy intact of excellent album that are only release when the band really feels they are done right.
Newly fronted by Giada “Jade” Etro, the band returns in full strength as they have managed to find another excellent vocalist that can lead their melancholic music. Wasting no time, she delivers a commanding performance in “Devil In Disguise”. In this amazing track the band nicely sets a melodic mood with their traditional violins and well-crafted keyboards. Jade’s vocals immediately gave us chills when listening to the song since it is very eerie how well they mix with the band’s sound and greatly enhance the atmosphere.
Arriving from Canada’s Hypnotic Dirge Records, today we have a pretty solid Death/Doom Metal band named Subterranean Disposition. Unleashing their self-titled debut album, this one man band features Australian scene veteran Terry Vainoras delivering five tracks of crushing Death/Doom in the vein of bands like Mournful Congregation, Mourning Beloveth, but with a faster pace and a few surprises.
Opening with the 9-minute epic “Between Apes and Angles” the band has all the hallmarks of a traditional release in the genre and some cool atmospheric elements. The riffs are slow and powerful, and the growls are pretty solid, nothing out of the ordinary if you ask us. However, things start getting interesting with “Prolong this Agony” and some experimental elements here and there. The pop/jazzy female vocals work quite well when introduced in a melodic passage, effectively changing the pace of the track and puzzling the listener for a bit.