Ambient

  • Spectral Lore – Sentinel (2012)

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    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)

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    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)

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    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)

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    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)

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    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)

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    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.

  • FluiD / John 3:16 – The Pursuit of Salvation (2012)

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    Arriving from Alrealon Musique, today we have a very interesting double release that while not entirely our main cup of tea, we actually enjoyed a lot. FluiD is an experimental electronic hip-hop musician that mixes elements from Ambient and Drone with some beats delivering a pretty interesting experience similar to Ulver’s trip-hop phase. We have previously reviewed John 3:16’s music and we were quite impressed with his interesting combination of Darkwave with a dose of Drone and some guitar driven sections.

    Opening this release we have the first three tracks belonging to FluiD. In “Angels Pt. II”, the song opens with a cavernous feeling and some nice minimalist touches that create an interesting atmosphere, some interesting Drone elements are thrown into the mix to create a very weird but intoxicating vibe. The organs in “Plague” give an extra creepy sound to the track and nicely culminate the build-up from the opening sections of the song. Driven by interesting beats, “Forewarning” nicely closes down the FluiD section of our promo leaving a very puzzling, but equally satisfying experience from this very interesting artist.

  • Silent Carrion – Andras (2012)

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    Usually one-man bands are a big hit or miss, they can either be awesome because the person behind them is a musical virtuoso and can’t stand playing around with other retards, or they are just terrible because they are the public inner ramblings of a child that could not play music. Silent Carrion falls somewhat in the middle of these two categories. “Andras” delivers eight tracks of weird Ambient / Drone / Noise music that is interestingly creative and disturbing, but very often poorly executed (in our opinion).

    The opener “Mountain (An Invocation)” creates a very eerie and weird atmosphere that if it wasn’t for the bad sounding programmed drums, it would be an excellent song. With “Mist” things get a bit more intense and the creepy factor is still in play with some more ‘intense’ drums. We often wonder how can somebody thing this programmed drums sound good when they are not well polished. Take for example the legendary Diabolos Rising, their programmed drums sounded amazing.

  • John 3:16 – Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (2011)

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    Hailing from Switzerland, today we have the experimental one-man music making machine John 3:16. Fusing ambient sounds with some electronic/drone sections and a dosage of Post-Rock, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” is one of those EP’s that will captivate you from start to finish with its hypnotic sound and perfectly crafted songs.

    The intro track “Earthly Father” wills enshroud you with mystery due to the drone elements an hints of ethereal atmospheric influences, but this track does not really give away anything that is to come. In “In the Name of the Lord”, the music continues to be dark with its droning elements and it suddenly moves into the Post-Rock area with some excellent guitar work. The drums get a bit annoying in the background, but I guess they are used to contrast for the first 2 minutes of so. Then this piece turns completely ethereal with some nice atmospheric elements and very dreamy guitars. This song reminded us a bit to God Is An Astronaut and similar bands due to the dark atmosphere around it.

  • Blut Aus Nord – 777 – The Desanctification (2011)

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    As the second stop in their chilling and somewhat perplexing 777 trilogy, today we have Blut Aus Nord and “The Desanctification”. In this release, the band continues their journey with “Epitomes VII to XII”, featuring very interesting compositions that take their unique and very imaginative sound to new heights. If you are expecting a crushing Black Metal release, we strongly advice you skip this one (and the previous one), but if you have an open mind and you are ready to be transported, you should keep reading.

    The band has always been pushing the boundaries of Black Metal, and Metal itself, but with this 777 trilogy we find them even further down the spiral into an abyss of solid music but with sometimes doubtful directions. The riffing and the overall songwriting are very typical of the band, but some of the industrial/electronic elements felt a bit weird on the first few times we played this album. However, as with any Blut Aus Nord release, there is always something lurking in the songs that will surprise the listener and keep it engaged.

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