• Opium Warlords – We Meditate Under The Pussy In The Sky (2012)


    Delivering one of those releases that makes you wonder why did you actually wasted time listening to it, today we have Opium Warlords and unbelievably their second release “We Meditate Under The Pussy In The Sky”. In this total shit-factory, we have Sami Albert Hynninen of Reverend Bizzare fame, taking a totally dump on music and concocting one of the worst releases ever since Botanist’s “I: The Suicide Tree / II: A Rose From The Dead”.

    After the super dull ‘minimalist’ intro “Sxi-Meru” we have the totally aimless “Slippy”. We know this ‘style’ of music is supposed to be this way, but it is just a random collection of thoughts and a few very nasty riffs put together. Sounding like a low quality rehearsal of something having a seizure while holding a pick to a guitar, “Lament For The Builders Of Khara Khoto” keeps the nonsense going.

  • Narrow House – A Key to Panngrieb (2012)


    Being huge fans of Doom Metal, we sometimes dabble in the realms of Funeral Doom Metal, its ugly and boring cousin. While we are not huge fans of the genre due to its mind-numbing repetition and ridiculously slow execution, some bands like Shape of Despair and Thergothon are still ok in our book. Hence today we have Narrow House and their less boring approach to the genre with “A Key to Panngrieb”. By introducing lush atmospheric elements that range from keyboards to cellos, this band really grabs ahold of the listener and keeps it engaged for the duration of the huge songs in this album.

    Opening with the crushing “Poslednee Pristanishe”, things start very well with the perfect mixture of slow and painful riffs, commanding growls, and brilliant atmosphere. The simplicity of the music is really well shrouded behind a well-crafted atmosphere thanks to the keyboards. The band does a great job in navigating through such a long song with well-placed tempo changes. The same can be said about the considerably shorter track “Psevdoriatunok”, but with a nice combination of growls and ethereal clean vocals, very reminiscent of Draconian and such bands.

  • John 3:16 – Visions of The Hereafter – Visions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory (2012)


    Delivering over 50 minutes of stylish music, today we have John 3:16 and his latest release “Visions of The Hereafter – Visions of Heaven, Hell and Purgatory”. Competing for the longest album name ever, this one-man outfit that morphs between every release continues with his traditional cinematic approach to music delivering nine tracks of brilliant sound layers that evoke emotions and transport the listener to different realms.

    Opening with the atmospheric “The Ninth Circle”, this album sets a very somber and martial mood very early. This track is quite enigmatic and keeps the listener on edge to what’s coming next. Immediately after, we have another momentum builder with some minor Drone influences that keeps the atmosphere evolving. “Throne of God / Angel of The Lord” also features some nice Post-Rock stokes that help paint this song.

  • Germ – Loss (2012)


    After Germ’s impressive debut “Wish”, released earlier in March 2012 by Eisenwald as well, we are totally blown away at how much a band’s sound can mature and such a short time and with “Loss”, this one-man project delivers 36-minutes of lush and deranged Black Metal with countless influences and a huge atmospheric component. Lead by the Aussie Tim Yatras, better known for his work in Austere, Grey Waters and Woods of Desolation, this new project brings forth an amazing musical proposal that countless bands have danced around, but never quite got it this perfect.

    Moving a bit away from the psycho-sexual electronics of “Wish”, “Loss” takes things to a whole new dimension and produces some of the best atmospheric passages we have ever heard, with some brilliantly introduced electronic splashes. Opening with the heartfelt “My Only Hope”, we get very solemn vocals and excellent mixture of piano with atmospheric elements that nicely culminates very dramatically, lush, and brutal.

  • Spectral Lore – Sentinel (2012)


    All the way from Greece, today we have the one-man beast Spectral Lore unleashing a relentless Black Metal release titled “Sentinel”. In this album, Ayloss, the man behind the band, delivers six crushing tracks with brutal Black Metal escapades filled with eerie ambient elements that create a very dense and cavernous feeling around the excellent music. Clocking in around 75 minutes of music, this album is a true gem since every second is perfectly used towards the band’s creative vision instead of wasted in mind-numbing repetition like most Ambient/Atmospheric Black Metals bands.

    Blasting things wide open with the brutal “All Devouring Earth”, the ‘band’ delivers pummeling riffs and intense drumming that will blow you away. As time progresses, the ambient/atmospheric side of things kicks in and allows the song to fully sink it while the inhuman vocals work their magic. Just around the corner “The Dejection of Arjuna” is waiting to slowly creep under your skin will more brutality and perfectly paced tremolo-picking magic.

  • Echoes of Yul – Cold Ground (2012)


    Falling into the dreaded ‘what the fuck is this’ category, today we have Poland’s Echoes of Yul and their sophomore release “Cold Ground”. In this release we have a duo creating ‘very disturbing’ and dissonant music, but not in the right direction since this release point-blank: SUCKS. While there are tons of people wishing to get distribution of their music, it baffles us when bands like this one have a reputable label such as Avantgarde Music.

    Starting with the dull atmospheric “Octagon”, this release has pretty much nothing really happening until you hit “Libra”, the ninth track out of thirteen. The band delivers short ramblings of incoherent sounds and some very sparse riffs with OK drumming (considering …. well, any other band). Making noise and stringing a few riffs together and having a creepy atmosphere does not really constitute making music in our book, but seems like this band has managed to make this even more annoying, kind of like having a monkey punching your balls every 10 seconds.

  • Assembly of Light – Assembly of Light (2012)


    Better known for collaborating on The Body’s “All The Waters Of The Earth Turn To Blood”, the 20+ piece choral ensemble named Assembly of Light is releasing their debut full-length release this August through At a Loss Recordings. For fans of eerie and ethereal music this debut release is filled with very dreamy moments that can only be delivered by a full-scale choir. However, if you are looking for any Metal or something unique as what The Body produces in their releases, this release is not really up your alley.

    Presenting six tracks, this self-titled release showcases the singing abilities of the choir and nicely uses all its vocal power to create truly memorable moments… for the right listener. Some of the musical arrangements like the opening of “Transition” are more up the alley of experimental Metal but they often seem to dilute very fast and you are just left with angelic voices. While this is not a bad thing if that’s your cup of tea, but expecting something completely different we are a bit disappointed.

  • Lustre – They Awoke The Scent Of Spring (2012)


    After the excellent full-length “A Glimpse of Glory”, Lustre returns to us with another killer full-length release titled “They Awoke The Scent Of Spring”. This one-man aural orgasm machine from Sweden has crafted four excellent tracks that have a very eerie atmospheric vibe that reminds us of Burzum’s “Filosofem” release. With 40 minutes of music, this release surely delivers enough bang for your money in the sense of creepy landscapes painted by the very minimalist music presented here.

    Opening with the nearly 13-minutes long monolithic “Part I”, the atmosphere is set with very fuzzy distorted guitars that only get denser by the minute. The sparse vocals are quite hellish and will creep on you when you least expect it. We particularly love how the song transitions when it seems to ‘brighten up’ between all the heavy dark clouds that are painted by the painful riffs. The minimal use of keyboards is also another thing that is very similar to how Burzum uses them.

  • Epitimia – Faces of Insanity (2012)


    Arriving all the way from Saint Petersburg, Russia via Hypnotic Dirge Records, today we have Epitimia and their latest full-length release titled “Faces of Insanity”. With a very melodic Ambient Black Metal sound, this excellent band pummels through nine highly melancholic tracks not apt for the faint of heart. With such a rich and atmospheric sound, this Russian 3-person outfit is by far one of best bands in the genre.

    After setting the mood with the excellent atmospheric track “Reminiscentia”, Epitimia delivers the hypnotic “Epikrisis I: Altered state of consciousness”. In this track, the band keeps building momentum with excellent shoegaze-ish guitars and the harsh vocals finally appear. With such a depressive mood and the subtle beauty of dreamy guitars complementing the distorted ones, this band is very near melancholic musical perfection.

  • O Graceful Musing’s Burden – Two (2012)


    Delivering and excellent cinematic experience, today we have O Graceful Musing’s Burden and their latest release “Two”. Hailing from Germany, this band combines elements from bands like Cult of Luna, Godspeed Your Black Emperor, Ulver, and many other, allowing them to create a very rich and colorful palette of sounds that come together very nicely.

    Opening with the monumental “Piece of Lament Mirth Thought Desperation Soul Fear Hope” (probably one of the longest song titles ever), the band outputs 23 minutes of sheer brilliance. With a very atmospheric opening filled with ambient elements and post-rock guitars, the band nicely creates momentum as the song progresses. The subtle progressive hints are quite effective and when the distorted guitars kick in, the song nicely climaxes before a long way down.