Hailing from Switzerland, today we have Last Leaf Down and their dreamy Post-Rock/Shoegaze. Sounding like a combination of Katatonia, Tides from Nebula, and some sprinkles of Slowdive and Alcest, this band delivers a very unique and ethereal sounding release with “Fake Lights”. Clocking in at 51 minutes, buckle up for a very dreamy and ethereal ride with this one.
As the intro bleeds into “In Dreams”, the dreamy shoegazing galore starts. The band’s sound is very atmospheric and melancholic. Benjamin Schenk vocals are quite hypnotic and they perfectly fit to the album’s overall pace. The Katatonia influences, while on their experimental ‘alternative’ phase, are very clear in tracks like “In These Waters” and “Giant”, we particularly love this last one and its weeping depressive guitars.
Heavy, creepy and atmospheric are words that we usually like when talking about a release, in “The Kingdom Field” Darkher perfectly crafts her sound around those three words. Hailing from the UK, this female-fronted outfit delivers four brilliant tracks that combine elements from old-school bands like The 3rd and the Mortal, to newer acts like Hexvessel and Jex Thoth.
We are slowly initiated to Darkher’s captivating sound with the atmospheric intro to “Ghost Tears”. The dark and somber vocals work amazingly well with the minimalistic percussions and guitars in this track. We are reminded of a mixture of Jamie Myers (Sabbath Assembly), Jex Thoth, and Kari Rueslåtten (ex The 3rd and the Mortal), as it goes from somber and deep to sweet and innocent in tracks like “Hung”, these changes make this release very versatile and intoxicating.
As one of the least conventional bands in Metal Blade, Downfall of Gaia delivers a punishing 60 minute musical experience with their third full-length release “Aeon Unveils the Thrones of Decay”. Perfectly crafting an apocalyptic sound that fuses Black Metal, Post-Metal, and Sludge elements, this band will mercilessly make your speakers pop and have you begging for more.
Getting down to business with the bestial opener “Darkness Inflames These Sapphire Eyes”, the band spews their message with a brutality and firmness. The Black Metal sections are perfectly craved into the heavy riffing of this track, and the different vocal styles further extend the songs brutality. Just when you things are getting calm, blistering passages change the mood and direction of the songs, like in the epic “Carved into Shadows”. The underlying Doom/Post-Metal elements of tracks like this one and “Ascending the Throne”, make the band’s sound even richer and very diverse, making it harder to pin them down.
Ever since their debut full-length “The Malediction Fields” Fen has always had a very clear and unique sound that has nicely transformed over the years. With “Carrion Skies”, the further elevate their musical magic in six brilliantly composed tracks. Perfectly blending atmosphere with aggression and desolate instrumental passages, this UK trio continues to blow everybody out of the water in terms of Atmospheric Black Metal.
Opening with the tour-de-force tow-part track “Our Names Written in Embers”, the band delivers 18 minutes of their signature atmospheric music paired with a few Post-Rock/Jazzy passages that nicely complement the aggressive vocals and furious riffing onslaughts. On part two, the band nicely crafts playful guitar melodies that are perfect for some melodic headbanging.
Hailing from Finland, today we have an Atmospheric Black Metal duo that comes under the moniker of Atrum Tempestas. Delivering 30 minutes of bleakness and aggression mashed together in three tracks, this release goes further than Atmospheric BM and touches the reals of Doom/ Post-Rock creating a very unique and satisfying blend music.
Opening with the melancholic “Quitter ceux qui étaient déjà partis”, the band sets a very mellow mood with very accessible atmospheric/melodic passages. The vocals range from BM screams, growls, and some spoken sections that nicely blend with the underlying Post-Rock foundation of this song. Coming in at 14 minutes, this track nicely adds some Doom-ish passages to keep things interesting and engaging.
The ever changing, busiest man of Atmospheric Black Metal, Vaarwel, delivers us another brilliant Frozen Ocean’s release under the title: “The Dyson Swarm”. With a higher emphasis on the atmospheric side of FO’s music, this release crafts a unique aural experience that is quite trippy and pleasant to the listener. Featuring just the right amount of vocals (two tracks), this album will surely transport you to distant galaxies with its futuristic vibe.
The journey begins with the lush “Syzgy”, a song that very nicely builds up to the trippy “CE-4”. This track has a weird trip-hop kind of vibe thanks to its beats, the guitars and vocals are what really make it standout and be unique. In “Sloan Great Wall”, we get a certain Germ feeling with its mix of futuristic atmospheric elements and somewhat shoegazy vibe. With a big Doom-sounding riff, “SHGb02+14a” is one tense track that will slowly hypnotize you.
At Infernal Masquerade, we live for receiving those truly unique releases that transport the listener to other places, and Necromonkey does just that with their trippy “A Glimpse of Possible Endings”. In this 37 minute release the band delivers fixe hypnotic tracks that feature very emotive atmospheric elements and tons of cool instruments thrown into the mix. This Swedish duo will surely captivate your attention with their very original fusion of elements.
Having a super kvlt name as Necromonkey, we thought this band was going to be an Experimental Black Metal outfit, but we were gladly surprised that this release has a lot more depth than that. Opening with a very playful “There Seem to be Knifestains in your Blood”, the band immediately sets a very unique tempo sort of Trip-hop is with string instruments and eerie Theremin sections. It is quite cool that the band listed the instruments used per track in the liner notes of this slipcase release.
Having waited for more than 10 years for a new Empyrium release, the arrival of this release was the highlight of our month. With “The Turn of the Tides”, Ulf Theodor Schwadorf and Thomas Helm return with a release that combines all elements from Empyrium’s past in a very fresh and masterful way. Featuring seven tracks of majestic atmospheric music, the band surpasses all the expectations and once again, sets the bar higher.
The release opens with the ray of light called “Saviour”. In this track the somber piano opening perfectly sets the mood for this majestic release. As the atmospheric elements keep unveiling parallel to Helm’s vocals, the full Empyrium experience begins. The release continues with the already unveiled “Dead Winter Ways”, a majestic track that is both bleak and dramatic. Featuring distorted guitars, this is a first in a few releases for Empyrium.
Coming out of a short hiatus, Wolves In The Throne Room return with a fresh and unique release in “Celestite”. Being a fully instrumental release that is touted to be a companion for their previous album “Celestial Lineage”, this 46-minute beast unleashes the band’s ‘softer’ side filled with hypnotic atmospheric and instrumental passages that will make you see them in a whole new light. Ranging from sounding like Raison d'être to horror movie soundtracks, this aural experience brings you into the band’s complex world in a grandiose way.
The release leads off with the trippy soundscapes of “Turning Ever Towards the Sun”, a song that weaves back and forth with futuristic atmospheric synths and a captivating slow pace. Things get tenser with the intoxicating “Initiation at Neudeg Aim” thanks to more chilling synths and dissonant riffs. Building up the momentum, “Bridge of Leaves” goes back into a more chilling and guitar-less state, with lush arrangements and a certain darkness that reminds us of bands like Elend.
Arriving from Italy, today we have a very odd and beautifully disturbing release titled “The Dross Play Vol.1” by Culls. In this five-song release, we get a very interesting mixture of ambient and noise with a few hints of drone elements. While most releases of this genre drag songs along for 10-20 minutes, Culls delivers short and concise assaults that will elevate your conscious levels to new heights.
Opening with the incisive “Scott 1912”, the dissonant noise elements perfectly blend with the trippy atmospherics and the spoken word samples to create a very tense and chaotic feeling. With a very apt title, “Spiral Staircase” delivers a very hypnotic droning dirge that feels like walking on an endless staircase. Quite interesting indeed how Culls, manipulates their elements to create very unique and engaging soundscapes.