Arriving early 2013, we have Fen’s eagerly awaited third full-length release “Dustwalker”. This UK band has been pushing forward with their Post-Rock infused Atmospheric Black Metal for several years now, and with this release they manage to go fully over the Post-Rock side of things lined with some killer Black Metal elements. In this excellent release, the band delivers seven brilliant atmospheric tracks that will surely enchant you since the first one.
Opening with the most brutal track in this release “Consequence”, the band goes on a killer opening with furious Black Metal riffing and crippling harsh vocals. This very intense opener nicely mixes some excellent clean vocals and the overall atmosphere feels very soothing once the song climaxes and closes. The Post-Rock side of things starts with the very ethereal “Hands of Dust”, a melancholic 11-minute song that is quite enjoyable and very easy flowing. Don’t get us wrong, there are intense BM moments here and there, but the overall structure of the track is quite melodic.
Today we have one-man band Lord Agheros and its latest atmospheric opus titled “Demiurgo”. Hailing from Italy, this band suffers from the one person doing too many things syndrome, and while delivering excellent bone chilling atmospheric elements, the totally craptastic programmed drums bring down the release quality in a very drastic manner. For over 17 tracks, we are treated to some creepy passages and amazing symphonic elements, making this 60 minute release quite a journey.
Warming up with “Chapter I: Prologue”, our expectations grew immensely since the atmosphere is very intoxicating. This nicely bleeds into “Eris”, a song where even the drumming is very tolerable in this song (very slow paced sections). What makes this track special is the spare acoustic guitars and string instruments that create a very desolate and eerie atmosphere when combined with the synths. With things speed up on “Styx”, is when Lord Agheros drops the ball and the horrible drumming begins. We understand that is hard to find talented drummers and that not all one-man bands call graciously pull off ALL instruments, but when the drumming sounds this fake, it makes us wonder if the person writing the music is actually listening to it.
With a very melancholic sound, today we have Finland’s 2 Wolves and their sophomore release “Men of Honour”. In this nine-track album, the band greatly reminds us of a mixtures between Eternal Tears of Sorrow, On Thorns I Lay, and Poema Arcanus. 2 Wolves sound is very unique in the sense that they use lush keyboards, heavy riffing, and a mixture of growls and clean vocals to perfection in this very exciting release.
The opener “Bygones” has the signatures Eternal Tears of Sorrow mixture of growls, powerful riffs and very proficient keyboards mixed with a super catchy clean chorus section. This track greatly sets the mood for an excellent release, and the atmosphere of “Unreal Conversations” immediately enhances it. The lush melodic sections contrasted by the crushing riffs and harsh vocals work wonders in this very engaging track.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.