Only getting better and better with time, today we have UK’s Atmospheric Black Metal masters Fen and their latest musical opus titled “Winter”. Delivering over 75 minutes of music, the band further cements their status as one of the scene’s best, thanks to the outstanding level of quality and creativity their music showcases. Greatly improving on what bands like Agalloch, Drudkh, and Negură Bunget have done in the past, this release is a definitely must have for fans of atmospheric Black Metal.
Opening with the 17-minute behemoth “I (Pathway)”, the band has enough time to build up with atmospheric elements and majestically transition between hypnotic melodic passages and very aggressive sections. After such an intense and moody opening, the band brilliantly transitions into calmer territories with the dreamy opening of “II (Penance)”. In this track we get to enjoy the playful interplay between the guitars and the intricate bass guitar line, while keeping things heavy and mellow thanks to the aggressive vocals and tight drums.
Bringing back the days when Black Metal was intended to be unsettling and highly creepy, today we have one-man project Coldborn and its debut full-length release “Lingering Voidwards”. Masterminded by Norgaath of Grimfaug and Nightbringer fame, this release delivers over 47 minutes of bone-chilling raw Black Metal with enough atmospheric elements to make you sleep with the light on at night for the rest of your life.
Perfectly balancing eerie atmospheres with ravaging lo-fi Black Metal, the album opens with the 12 minute behemoth “The Call of Death’s Clarion”. This track nicely blends some Doom-ish elements into the music, creating a very engaging and disturbing atmosphere. Coldborn continues its onslaught with the blistering opening of “In the Absence of Light, Death Gazes”. As the track progresses, we are reminded of older Satyricon, Tartaros and even Limbonic Art, thanks to the combination of slower paced sections with very prominent keyboards.
Arriving from this Bay Area trio, today we have Worm Ouroboros and their third full-length release “What Graceless Dawn”. Continuing where “Come the Thaw” left off, this release sees the band crafting hauntingly beautiful tunes that are filled with atmospheric and instrumental brilliance. Clocking at over 60 minutes of music, the listener is in for a very unique aural journey through the band’s unique world.
Opening with the mellow “Day”, we have a very ethereal buildup developed by a very slow tempo and the enchanting vocals of both Lorraine Rath and Jessica Way. The opener perfectly bleeds into the martial first few minutes “Broken Movements”. Once the song slowly progresses, the solemn combination of heartfelt guitar riffs and minimalist bass guitar notes start to get more intense as the song reaches its climax.
From Harakiri for the Sky’s vocalist, today we have Karg, a one-man battalion delivering highly atmospheric Black Metal/Post-Black Metal. Featuring eight tracks and over 70 minutes of dreamy music, “Weltenasche” is a very soothing and yet demoralizing release that will certainly appeal to all fans of Depressive Black Metal to Post-Black Metal.
Opening with the incisive “Crevasse”, we are treated to a very moody and diverse track filled with tempo changes and heavy atmospheric elements. The album continues to perfectly juxtapose aggressiveness and melody as we can hear in the progression of “Alles wird in Flammen stehen”, which some parts remind us a bit of Dornenreich. The band’s raw emotions are instantly felt in songs like “Le couloir des ombres” which has a certain Alcet-like vibe, but with the Karg imprint dominating.
Perfectly arriving for Halloween 2016 via Ván Records, today we have Urfaust and their fourth full-length release “Empty Space Mediation”. After a considerable number of single and split releases since the last full-length, this Atmospheric Black Metal duo returns with one of the most disturbing and yet captivating releases the year.
The opener sets a very hypnotic atmosphere with very minimal elements and throat singing passages which send chills through the listener’s spine. The album continues with the incisive “Meditatum II” and its brilliant atmospheric keyboards. This track quickly changes the pace of things with a perfect balance of majestic clean vocals and harsh vocals. The music is perfectly delivered in a wide variety of tempos which showcase melodic riffs and blistering drums.
Completely catching us by surprise, today we have a very interesting collaboration between Sweden’s Cult of Luna and USA’s Julie Christmas. If you ever wondered how Cult of Luna would sound with a layer of female vocals on top, this is the perfect time to discover such a combination. Featuring five tracks filled with the band’s traditional atmospheric oppression, this release is a force to be reckoned with.
Opening with the momentum building piece “A Greater Call”, the band wastes no time to introduce the listener to the dreamy combination of Julie’s sweet vocals and the harsh screams, both flanked by an intricate atmospheric backdrop. Leaving the listener no time to really adjust, the band pummels through “Chevron”, sparkling some pop-like influences along the way.
Hailing from France today we have a very interesting release from the enigmatic Amiral!, titled “Les Territoires interdits”. Mixing ambient and trip-hop influences, this release moves the band further into the cinematic realm with very futuristic and tense pieces that elevate the listener’s state of consciousness.
Opening with the very ethereal and magical “Barry”, this one-man outfit sets a very unique and promising mood. Other tracks perfectly complement each other in terms of buildup like “Nu, dépouillé” and the very upbeat “Jericho II”. We prefer more dreamy songs like “Papa maman”, the mysterious “survivre en mer” and the very peaceful “réserve indienne”. Amiral!’s strength lies on the ability to create very piercing songs that while minimalist in nature, engage the listener in multiple ways.
Gloomy February approaches with yet another solid Portuguese release through Signal Rex. Atmospheric Doomsters Löbo are re-releasing their 2010 EP “Älma” on cassette and vinyl. Perfectly packing their piercing riffs, the band delivers a truly unique and transformative aural experience in over 35 minutes of music.
Setting the mood with the mysterious opener “Aqui em baixo a alma mede-se com mãos cheias de pedras”, the band creates a very well balanced atmosphere that is both chilling and intriguing. The track also has a very well-crafted tempo that allows things to slowly progress and surround the listener. The mood turns a bit more direct and poignant on the magical “Por fim só. Livre” thanks to the trippy synths and arrangements.
Hailing from Italy, today we have one-man dream machine Neutra and its latest hypnotic opus “Music for an Exhibition”. Delivering five tracks of superb ethereal music, this is one of the most engaging and transforming Ambient releases we have heard in a while. Evoking the delicate precision and ambiance created by Robert Rich, this Italian band manages to captivate for the complete duration of this release.
The album kicks off with the angelic “After The Flood” and its very dramatic piano sections. Having very subtle mood changes, this opener tracks sets a very enigmatic and dreamy stage. Continuing with the playful “Paranthenogenesis”, the mood shifts to a more space-like cinematic vibe. Our personal favorite is the somber “Point of View” and its dramatic progression.
Arriving from Apathia Records, today we have a very weird Ambient / Trip-hop / Electronic release titled “Sidermesis”. Hailing from Paris, France, Erdh is a pretty unique outfit with a good ear for crafting intoxicating atmospheres and very diverse soundscapes. If you like their weird side of The 3rd and the Mortal, Ulver, and even Depeche Mode, this is right up your alley.
Opening with the slowly building atmospheric title track, we get a moody piece that nicely introduces the listener to the band’s world. The vocals provided by Emmanuel Lévy fit the music nicely giving it a certain ethereal and gothic vibe. Nicolas Pingnelain’s music is pretty intense and creates a certain sense of urgency as we can hear from the very solid “Backup 1011”.