Nachtzeit’s one man project Lustre returns with another killer MCD featuring one 19 minute track title “A Spark of Times of Old”. For all fans of Atmospheric Black Metal, Lustre has been delivering very engaging releases since 2008, and with this EP the project continues to push forward their raw and uncompromising Black Metal filled with lush atmospheric elements and a certain feeling of bleakness that works great with this kind of music.
Opening in a very dramatic fashion, “A Spark of Times of Old” delivers a chilling introduction for what it’s set to be another epic Lustre release. The minimalistic atmospheric keyboards greatly setup a backdrop of ambiance for the crushing riffing and demoralizing vocals of Nachtzeit. We particularly enjoy how well Lustre manages to combine simple elements into a web of depressing and bleak soundscapes that very few bands can achieve, let alone in the first three minutes of a song. As the song progresses the atmosphere has slight changes thanks to the excellent keyboards, varying a bit from the basic structure but staying in tune with the overall nature of the track.
Originally recorded in 2009, today we have Frozen Ocean and ‘their’ release “Vestigial Existence”. This highly active one-man outfit keeps cranking out releases like they are pancakes, but impressively enough they are all pretty good. Whether they are Dark Ambient/Drone or Atmospheric Black Metal, the releases by this band are very well crafted and deliver the right amount of melody, atmosphere, and aggression. Luckily for us, this release is more on the Metal side, and we can enjoy some cool atmospheric elements thrown in with punishing riffs.
Immediately after the ambient intro “In Derelict”, the guitars start pounding on “Winter – Aelean Being”. In this track, a very melancholic vibe is present thanks to the solemn riffs and powerful vocals. The song structure is quite engaging and you can hear that is some of Frozen Ocean’s earlier work since their style is not as refined and sounds rawer. The catchiness is always present with “Mute Walls” and some cool sort-of-electronic elements that make this song very appealing for fans of Industrial Black Metal.
The multi-talented Tim Yatras returns with another crazy release from his latest project: Germ. In “Grief” we get 69 more minutes of the deranged world that Germ creates with their truly unique and very extreme musical style. Arriving just in time for Halloween (in North America), this is one hell of a release that if you liked the band’s previous albums, it will push you to further limits thanks to a bigger assortment of diverse influences.
After a space-ish intro, the album really starts with the very catchy and unsettling “Butterfly”. Featuring Audrey Sylvain (Peste Noire) on this track, we definitely got an instant Amesoeurs vibe from the track until Tim laid his chaotic screams. Besides the catchy song structure, the piano section is quite cool and unique sounding in this track. In true Germ fashion, “The Stain of Past Regrets” immediately blows in your face with powerful screams. The catchy mixture of electronic elements is a staple of the band and it elevates this track to further levels of awesomeness when paired with the clean vocals.
Extremely productive one-man project Frozen Ocean delivers their one of their four full-length releases of 2011 with the transcendental “Oneiric In Geocentrism”. Featuring over 65 minutes of nightmare-inducing Dark Ambient/Drone music, this release feels like a journey through space. While we are bigger fans of Frozen Ocean’s Atmospheric Black Metal, this album delivers a similar vibe that will send chills down your spine.
Setting off with “The Striding Watchtower”, the mood is very mystic and ethereal allowing the listener to fully immerse into Frozen Ocean’s world. Our sidereal journey continues with the tense “A Chink in Coelosphere” and “Levitation”, two tracks that clock in around 24 minutes of intense atmospheric brilliance. On a lighter note, “Quiver in the Voidrift” releases some of the tension initially, but keeps the album’s flow going very steady.
Limited to a short run of 62 CD-R copies, Frozen Ocean presents us with their 2009 EP titled: “Steamworks: Hibernation”. With a behemoth 30+ minutes song, this release is a good stepping stone into understanding the band’s evolution and how Vaarwel’s skills have been changing over time. With a constant stream of releases Frozen Ocean is one of the most active bands we have heard of, so it is nice to hear a bit more from their musical origins.
Immediately starting with some droning percussions, the album has that unsettling vibe with a martial touch to it. The atmosphere is quite heavy and tense as it slowly builds up. The ritualistic percussions are quite interesting and give it a different vibe to what we have heard in the past from Frozen Ocean. As the song mellows out around the 20th minute, some of the tension gets released and we can finally move over from the edge of our seat.
Having released over 10 releases in the last two and a half years, the creativity keeps flowing for Russian’s one-man band Frozen Ocean. In this split with Petrychor, another excellent one-man project from the States, we get three powerful tracks of highly Atmospheric Black Metal that will surely make you want to find more material from each band and start enjoying their excellently crafted music.
Opening with Petrychor’s “Tomorrow It Will Rain Over Bouville”, Tad Piecka treats us to a 133-minute piece of brilliant crafting that is both highly emotional and very powerful. Starting with a lush and slow intro section, the song quickly builds up to very melodic and straightforward Black Metal with a very dreamy atmospheric backdrop. The sharp vocals are excellent and provide an excellent contrast to the very mellow and melancholic feeling of the music. This track is anything but predictable and some of the acoustic/post-rockish passages are perfectly blended into the harsher and more brutal sections.
Featuring two very interesting and intense one-man Atmospheric Black Metal bands, today we have the split release between Spectral Lore (Greece) and Mare Cognitum (USA) titled “Sol”. Out on I, Voidhanger Records, this powerful release features one very long track from each band, and a rather peculiar dual-composition song that mixes both of their atmospheric strengths in a very hypnotic song.
Mare Cognitum does the honor of opening with a 29-minute epic titled “Sol Ouroboros”. This track nicely flows from the atmospheric intro into some very fast-paced and intense Black Metal sections. With all instruments, vocals, etc., handled by Jacob Buczarski, this band delivers quite an intricate dosage of moody BM that weaves back and forth between blistering speeds and atmospheric magic. There are some odd drone/noise-like sections here and there, only adding to the overall listening experience of this fine piece.
Rounding up Astarium’s promo package, today we have “Wyrm of Melancholy”, the band’s 2012 full-length release originally self-released and then released by Metallic Media, which is the version we are reviewing. In this 55-minute epic, we get to hear SiN fully develop a full-length release that is quite cohesive and very effective. Having only reviewed short EP’s from the band, it is quite clear now that Astarium has more than enough depth to keep somebody engaged for almost an hour with this release.
Instead of taking the traditional instrumental intro, “Unrelieved Solitude” opens up with some very creepy whispers and screams accompanied by distorted guitars. The atmospheric synths are again overpowering and very nicely set a creepy vibe. Having more ‘time limit’ freedom, the songs in this release are slower to develop, but always having very interesting and melancholic passages, like on “Kingdom of White Madness” and the minimalistic instrumental “Voices from the Night Sky”.
The highly atmospheric Astarium strikes again with their 2011 EP titled “Ostracism of Anachoret”. In this bone chilling release this one-man band continues with their highly creepy and theatrical music and delivers 4 very solid tracks filled with eerie atmospheres and sorrowful shrieks. Having been released and re-released multiple times since 2011, we are writing this review based on the Hexenreich Records highly limited edition that we got in the mail.
Opening with the lush “Birth of the Flame”, the band sets a very creepy Dracula-esque mood with excellent orchestrations and a tense development. The guitars finally appear on “Recantation by Death”, a track that keeps the same atmosphere but delivers some very solid riffs and shrieks. The drums are clearly programmed, but they don’t sound as fake as many one-man releases, and they nicely set the pace for the track.