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.
Arriving from Russia, today we have a very solid split release between Gmork, Astarium and In Tenebriz. All of the bands here are Russian, and they play different variations of Atmospheric Black Metal. With almost four songs each on this release, we get a very good glimpse about each band’s style and their unique features. If you are a person looking for new bands to like, this is the perfect release to get an impression of three talented groups.
Gmork opens up the release with four Russian titled tracks so we avoid the embarrassment of writing their names here, and will just refer to the by number. The first song opens with some cool spoken (in Russian) section and it slowly moves into atmospheric territory with some cool synths and very simple and effective guitars. Howling winds open the second track as it starts revealing its very regal and medieval-esque atmospheric elements. The harsh vocals make their appearance and provide a decent combination of growls and more BM-esque screams. Our favorite track from this band is their last song on the split, allowing them to show a very unified and diverse style. Combining melancholic guitars with tight drums and very enjoyable atmospheric elements, the band left a very good impression on us.
Delivering a very impressive debut self-titled album, Lychgate combines highly atmospheric music with brutal Black Metal in a very crushing and terrifying way. Featuring tracks form the band’s ‘dormant’ years, this release carves out perfectly songs that are both chilling and very harsh. With over 37 minutes of music, this release is by far one of the best we have reviewed this year when it comes to Atmospheric Black Metal.
Hailing from the UK, the band warms up with “The Inception”, an dense and creepy mood setting intro. When the first track, “Resentment” arrives, the dramatic keyboards/organs create a very bleak and commanding atmosphere, but it is ultimately the riffing that completes the band’s awesome wall of sound. Having elements of bands like Way to End and Nidingr, the band’s sound is hellish and very well constructed.
Making its way from Finland, today we have Riverland and their self-titled debut release. Featuring a very soothing and relaxing combination of Progressive / Alternative Rock with some Folk elements, this duo delivers seven excellent tracks. Heavily focusing in creating lush atmospheres, Riverland manages to craft a very unique and well balanced debut.
Immediately creating a ‘feel good’ mood with the lush opener “Hope in The Air”, we can hear the band’s pop to folk influences in the span of the first minute. Miko Heino’s vocals are quite well suited for the music’s relaxing nature. “Help!” starts more in a folk-ish fashion with some cool beats and a very atmospheric vibe. On “Sounds” we can easily hear how they can perfectly fit the scene of a coffee house on a rainy afternoon. The band’s sound is quite direct and simple, perfectly fitting atmospheric concept of the album.
Finally, after seven years of waiting, Summoning returns with their seventh full-length record “Old Mornings Dawn”. This legendary two-person operation has been a major inspiration for tons of one or two-man projects that crate Epic/Atmospheric Black Metal music. Being huge fans of the band, we had been waiting for this release for quite a while, but we are a bit disappointed since the band’s sound now feels very outdated by current musical standards.
Since the opener “Evernight”, the band delivers their signature atmospheric brilliance and trademark harsh screams. However, the music feels like it was made using a computer from 10 years ago. Today’s standards have bands using software that can produce high-quality orchestrations in a matter of a few clicks and Summoning still sounds like a MIDI band. This is quite disappointing for us since their creativity is excellent, but seems like technology has surpassed their music making skills.
Finally unleashing their debut full-length, today we have Italian duo Progenie Terrestre Pura’s “U.M.A”. Standing for Uomini, Macchine, Anime (Men, Machines, Souls), this band delivers purely atmospheric Black Metal with a very cool sci-fi theme. Focusing in creating lush and ethereal atmospheres, the band creates 50 minutes of magical music that will take you on an out of body interstellar journey.
Opening with “Progenie Terrestre Pura”, the band immediately establishes a trippy and futuristic atmosphere that is quite unique and dreamy. Slowly making their way in to the ‘heavy sections’ the band does a great job not rushing things and letting their music set the mood. The unsettling “Sovrarobotizzazione” features quite powerful BM riffs that are masked behind their lush atmospheric elements and some excellent Post-Rock/Post-BM soundscapes.
Going over tons of releases every month, we rarely get to enjoy unexpected masterpieces like Apocynthion’s “Sidereus Nuncius”. Having received the promo directly from the band, we got immediately hooked into their music after the first song and we have been constantly listening to it non-stop since then. Delivering seven tracks of majestic Post-Rock/Post Black Metal with Shoegaze and some Doom elements, the band’s sound is quite moving and powerful.
Opening in a very dreamy note with a sample from “2001: A Space Odyssey” on top of atmospheric arrangements, the band commands attention with this hypnotic opening. “Redshift” continues with a Post-Rock vibe, similar to Godspeed Your Black Emperor and God is an Astronaut, filled with cool percussions and dreamy clean vocals. This ten-minute track slowly morphs into Post-Black Metal territories with powerful and dreamy guitars accompanied by shrieks of desperation. The band reminded us of Heretoir, Lantlos and similar outfits, but they always keep their own musical identity.
Being huge fans of Atmospheric Death/Doom Metal, we have been following this collaboration for a while and finally we have “Origin”, Enshine’s debut full length release that is as majestic everybody expected. Featuring Jari Lindholm and Sébastien Pierre, this band delivers nine tracks of brilliant atmospheric Doom passages with powerful growls and a very melancholic vibe. Recorded in a span of two years, “Origin” is one release that will keep you entertained for quite a while.
Opening with the lush atmospheric elements of “Stream of Light”, the band sets the tone for a very impressive release since the initial stages of this album. With a vibe similar to bands like October Tide and Forest of Shadows, Enshine focuses their energy in delivering powerful atmospheres surrounded by excellent guitar work. Not being 100% predictable, tracks like “Refraction” blend some synth-pop elements into the bands melancholic sound.