Featuring members and ex-members of outfits like Krieg, Vital Remains, Chaos Moon, and countless other bands, today we have Esoterica and their monumental release “Aseity”. Featuring a thick and devastating atmospheric component, this Ambient/Black Metal release will enshroud your sonic landscape with crushing riffs, demoralizing vocals, and very thick layers sound aural dissonance.
Wasting no time, Esorterica blows things wide open with a pummeling onslaught on the opening track “Lessons in Forbidden Alchemy”. The band’s three members deliver one hell of a powerful sound with a merciless guitar distortion and perfectly crafted drums complementing the harsh vocals. This punishing musical approach nicely continues on tracks like “A Slave’s Ablution” and “Fever”, both of which never let go of the listener’s throat with their crushing atmospheric elements.
Arriving from Gavin Turner (ex- A Forest of Stars), today we have one-man Courtsleet and ‘their’ two-track debut EP: “Hope’s Apparition”. In this intense release we get a perfect combination of atmospheric Casacadian-like Black Metal with some Shoegazing thrown into the mix. For all fans of Austere, Wolves in the Throne Room, etc., this EP will blow you away.
Opening with the 10-minute monolithic “What Was I When Your Journey Began?”, Courtsleet slowly builds up momentum with creepy atmospherics and very precise songwriting. The band’s sound is both raw and melodic, allowing the melodic elements to seep in through the savage Black Metal riffs, picture Wolves in the Throne Room meets An Autumn for Crippled Children.
Always improving with each release, An Autumn for Crippled Children (AAAFCC) delivers one of the most sonically complex releases of 2013 with “Try Not to Destroy Everything You Love”. Not relying on technical virtuosity, but rather a perfect layering of intense elements, this album is further expands on the band’s melancholic Post-BM / Shoegaze sound with lush guitar arrangements and brilliant atmospheric elements.
Opening with the intense “Autumn Again”, we have immediately a wall of dramatic synths and a throbbing bass guitar line that is instantly complemented by the band’s shoegazing guitars. Inserting back and forth Black Metal riffs into the melting pot, AAAFCC quickly establishes the sonic power of this release. The harsh vocals are excellent as always, and the underlying melancholic passages of tracks like “The Woods are on Fire” and “Never Complete”, allow their thick sound to take many different shapes.
Filed under the category of unsettling and weird, today we have Kajkyt and his latest release titled “II”. Featuring eight tracks of very unique and different compositions, Kajkyt dwells in the lands of Dark-Ambient / Drone with a very mellow mood and some trippy elements. Clearly not for everybody, this release is better enjoyed on a dark room in a cold night to fully get the very minimalistic effect being transmitted in these eight tracks.
Delivering a powerful opener track titled “I”, Kajkyt delivers distorted bass with simplistic electronics alongside some drones. Once the sorrowful clean vocals start leading the song, we are instantly hooked on the premise of the album, and eagerly awaiting for what is next to come. “II” is the longest song of the album and the whole atmosphere slows down considerably for some Noise elements to shine with a very ritualistic and minimalistic backdrop.
Being used to receive very weird and unique releases, we can’t say that we ever expected to come across an album as unique and puzzling as Albatwitch’s “Only Dead Birds Sing Over the Graves of Fallen Kings”. Mixing Folk with Americana, Drone, Sludge, d-beat, crust, Black Metal and a slew of other influences, this is one hell of a rollercoaster ride that is better left to fully unravel rather than try to understand it.
The album opens with a Folk track that brings back memories of the banjos in the movie “Deliverance”, but it quickly transforms into punishing Noise with hellish vocals. And this is just in the first 3 minutes of music. Sludgy Black Metal quickly follows in “Beneath The Flood”, just before we jump into Burzum-esque territory (his instrumental stuff) and then back into more lush Neo-Folk/Folk with very melancholic vocals and the album’s title track.
Getting tons of submissions online every week, it is quite unusual to find unique releases that command our attention like Insect Ark’s “Long Arms” EP. This one-woman entity delivers three tracks that have Ambient, Electro, and some Drone-ish elements meshed together in one very cohesive sound. A bit out of our comfort zone, we found ourselves enjoying this release more than we expected.
Opening with the hypnotic “Long Arms”, the release starts in a very ritualistic fashion. There are plenty of trippy elements to make anybody’s drug induced hallucinations 100 times more vivid. Dana Schechter does a great job in putting together interesting percussions, dissonant bass guitar lines, and interesting electronic sounds. “Lift Off” continues in a hypnotic fashion, letting the listener know that this is one album he will not forget thanks to its dramatic and pseudo-psychedelic elements.
With Alrealon releases being so few in between all the stuff we get, we were quite excited to receive [ówt krì]’s “The New Seed”. As a one member outfit, this ‘band’ delivers chilling Ambient music with a very unique sense of space and time. If you like trippy music that slowly unravels before your ears in a very passive and expansive manner, this is one of those releases that will keep you at the edge of your seat.
The first two tracks “Deep South” and “The New Seed” nicely set the stage in a very ethereal and direct way. Both songs remind us of the music they play on documentaries of stargazing and the deep ends of the universe. The piano at the end of the second song is quite magical and one of the highlight of this release. In a darker mood, “On Hostile Ground” and “Abandoned Path” deliver a harsher experience. The vocals are quite penetrating and the guitars are very dissonant, creating a very unique sense of urgency.
Arriving from Italy, today we have one-man project Nerij and his full-length release “Lophophora Williamsii And Monochromatic Perceptions”. In the vein of Dark Ambient greats Raison d'être, Frozen Ocean, etc., this band delivers 3 tracks that clocking in around 60 minutes of chilling cavernous passages of darkness and madness. If you think that Event Horizon needs a sequel, I believe we have found the soundtrack for it.
This self-released album starts with the ‘short’ (8-minutes long) “Mental Odyssey I: The Shaman Meets The Psychonaut”. This track provides a nice introduction to the darkest parts of Nerij’s inner workings and gives us an early taste of what is to come. With the first 20+ minute behemoth track being “Mental Odyssey II: Mescaline And The Antithesis Of Ethereal Visions”, we have a front row seat into a trippy sidereal journey. Feeling like an endless voyage through space in a very creepy vessel, this track provides excellent build-up fully immersing the listener.
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.