As one of the most devastating albums of 2017, today we have “No Stars Upon the Bridge” by Hallatar. Formed by Juha Raivio (Swallow the Sun) to pay homage to Aleah Starbridge, this band can be seen as a continuation of Trees of Eternity with a more raw and emotional edge. Joined by Tomi Joutsen (Amorphis), and Gas Lipstick (ex-HIM), with the guest appearance of Heike Langhans (Draconian), this release is full of despair and loss, transmitted in very emotional songs that will rock your senses.
Opening with the punishing riffs of “Mirrors”, the album starts with a very powerful and commanding tone. In this track we get to listen to Tomi’s vocals in a raw and uncomposed way, perfectly transmitting the state of a grief-stricken madman, this is indeed a truly haunting experience. “Raven’s Song” is a very nice and short poem that switches the mood of the release as it mellows a bit with the highly melancholic “Melt”. In this song, the clean vocals are full of emotion and perfectly kick of a moody track that features interesting tempo changes and powerful atmospheric elements.
Delivering a Death Metal blast from the past, today we have Chile’s Oraculum and their latest EP titled “Always Higher”. Having a certain Asphyx/Morgoth/Sinister vibe, this short but sweet EP captures a timeless sound and delivers is with crystal clear production values to the masses. This is the perfect EP for any fan yearning the good old days of Death Metal.
Setting the mood with the imposing atmospheric intro, “Exeunt”, the band gets rolling with the punishing riffs and leads of “Lex Talionis”. Oraculum’s vocalist Scourge of God, does a great job in delivering those raspy old-school DM vocals that we all love, and pairs them perfectly with intricate drum patters and a very hectic pace.
Making its way to our office from Canada, today we have Finland’s one-man demolition squad Kval and its self-titled debut release. Originally releasing music under the moniker Khaossos, Kval’s sole member crafts some of the most misanthropically punishing Atmospheric Black Metal we have heard in a while. Evoking the raw elements of old-school Burzum and the bleakness of Mortualia, this is one heavy release.
After setting the mood with the chilling “Usva”, the punishing distorted guitars first make an appearance on “Sokeus”. Instantly creating a wall of dissonance, the guitars perfectly blend with a trance-inducing bass guitar line and their demoralizing harsh vocals. These elements are very nicely contrasted with somber instrumental passages. The transition between songs is quite subtle and before you know it, this release is already on its third track, “Harhainen”.
Unleashing one of the most monumental Funeral/Epic Doom Metal releases of the last few years, today we have Ukraine’s Vin de Mia Trix and the double LP “Palimpsests”. Featuring over 90 minutes of highly melancholic music, this release is a fourth part aural exploration that traverses through many different styles and influences. Highly recommended for fans of bands ranging from Skepticism, My Dying Bride, to the likes of Candlemass and Ahab.
Opening with the 27-minute beast of a song “Matarisvan”, the band slowly builds up a punishing atmosphere that is perfectly elevated as soon as the My Dying Bride-esque weeping guitars make their mark. The vocals vary from harsh growls to some very solid clean singing that reminds us a bit of Epic Doom Metal outfits, and provides enough diversity to keep things fresh and interesting.
Originally started as a Celtic Frost cover band, today we have Spain’s Totengott and their debut full-length release “Doppelgänger”. With a very old-school and raw style, this band combines Doom and Thrash Metal elements into a very decadent sound that is quite engaging and sickening. Just imagine a Doom version of Celtic Cross and you will be closer to what the band actually sounds like.
Starting the release with the 8-minute “Delusion of Negation”, the band creates a very thick atmosphere with punishing riffs and atmospheric arrangements. The drums/tempo have that old-school Black/Thrash vibe with a Punkier edge. Being the shortest track in this release, the band sets a very unforgiving atmosphere for this release.
Continuing our exploration of Godz ov War productions goodie package we received a few days ago, today we have Kingdom’s third full-length release “Sepulchral Psalms from the Abyss of Torment”. Featuring over 34 min of crushing Death Metal, this band perfectly balances old-school Swedish and Florida Death Metal influences with their own brand of depravity to create a truly oppressive sound.
Kicking off with “Sepulchral Psalms”, the band sets a very sinister mood that is greatly magnified by the sheer brutality of “Monolith of Death”. The band’s music is quite intense, as this trio delivers pummeling riffs, bestial drumming and hellish vocals. However, the meaty hooks and melodic aspect of songs like “Forsaken Tribe” is what makes their sound quite unique and less linear than your average DM band.
Hailing from Spain, today we have Atmospheric Death/Doom quintet Evadne and their latest release “A Mother Named Death”. With the band being on our radar since their debut release “The 13th Condition”, we are quite excited to hear that they have blossomed into a very dynamic and engaging outfit. Delivering over 60 minutes of music, this band aims to take the throne of the most melancholic Spanish band from Helevorn, with this killer release.
Opening with the mellow “Adobe of Distress”, we are treated to a very traditional Death/Doom song filled with pummeling guitars and killer vocal arrangements. We particularly enjoy when a band can mix both clean and harsh vocals in a very organic and complementary way. Invoking their internal Swallow the Sun, “Scars that Bleed Again” delivers a perfect balance of sheer aggression and atmospheric magic, allowing the band to showcase their contrasting versatility.
Keeping things Heavy and Sludgy with their debut full-length release, today we have UK’s Wren unleashing “Auburn Rule”. Delivering six tracks of highly atmospheric Doom/Sludge, this band sounds like a combination of Neurosis and AmenRa, while maintaining their own signature style of aural terror.
The release opens with the hypnotic riffing of “In Great Yield”, this Neurosis-esque piece slowly builds up around razor sharp guitars and fuzzy distortion that create a very thick and powerful atmosphere. The vocals are your typical raspy screams, fitting very well with the underlying musical structure. Continuing the onslaught, “Scour the Grassland” keeps the intensity rolling with a piercing bass guitar line working in parallel with intricate percussions and the incisive guitars.
Hailing from the USA, today we have Black Metal battalion One Master and their fourth full-length release “Lycanthropic Burrowing”. Delivering one of the most intense USBM performances of the year, this release clocks in at 35 minutes of pure Armageddon. Always raw and uncompromising, the six tracks in this release will rattle your speakers and pierce your soul with their punishing nature.
The release fires up two very brutal tracks to instantly pull the listener into the band’s world. With “The Claws of Dionysus” and “Will of the Shadow”, we are treated to ravaging guitars perfectly paired with pummeling drums and very firm harsh vocals. The band’s musical core, while simple, it is just too powerful to be tamed and oozes out of your speakers with great violence.
Every few months we get a mysterious package from Poland wrapped around very creatively with saran wrap and newspaper. Arriving from Godz ov War productions, we get a pretty good variety of Death and Black Metal underground bands, one of the standouts this month has to be Loathfinder. Unleashing four tracks and over 28 minutes on their debut EP “The Great Tired Ones”, this Polish one-man battalion focuses on mixing elements of Black/Death Metal with Doom/Sludge guitar work.
Opening with the catchy “Genetic Gloom”, a layer of thick riffing and harsh growls sets the mood for this release. While featuring heavy riffs and a dense atmosphere, the song has a certain Sludgy edge to it that keeps it interesting and different from other bands. The album’s most engaging song has to be “Feast on My Entrails”, where we have ripping melodic riffs and devilish harsh vocals. This track features solid headbanging passages thanks to its extreme catchiness.