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  • Wren - Auburn Rule (2017)

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    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.

  • One Master – Lycanthropic Burrowing (2017)

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    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.

  • Loathfinder – The Great Tired Ones (2017)

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    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.

  • Lunacy – Act One. Youth Manifesto (2017)

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    Hailing from Belorussia, today we have Lunacy, formed by Morena and Stone of Closed Room fame. In this full-length release, “Act One. Youth Manifesto”, we are treated to eight tracks of brilliant atmospheric Rock / Post-Metal in the vein of The Gathering, Amesoeurs, and Closed Room. If you like uniquely odd and very emotional female led dreamy music, this is definitely a release worth checking out.

    Opening with the melancholic “The Ballad of Youth”, we are instantly graced with Morena’s sultry vocals surrounded by dreamy guitars and a very moody tempo. Interestingly enough this track takes a turn, and delivers a very aggressive closing. Delivering a more intense musical experience with lush guitar leads and a vibrant pace, “The First and the Last” is a very upbeat track that nicely sets the mood for this dynamic release.

  • Selbst – Selbst (2017)

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    After completely blowing us away with their 2015 EP “An Ominous Landscape”, Selbst returns with a vengeance with their demoralizing full-length debut release. Featuring over 45 minutes of expertly crafted Black Metal, this release is a strong candidate for BM album of the year. With a similar ravaging style to bands like Nightbringer and Watain, this Venezuelan/Chilean duo will ravage your speakers for months to come.

    Opening with the bleak atmospheric riffing of “…Of Solitary Ramblings”, the mood is instantly set. Changing vocalists did not slow down this band, as Nicholas Onfray delivers some of the most powerful BM vocals we have heard in a while. The songwriting is quite diverse and while sometimes focuses in building up the atmosphere, some other times like on “Visions of mankind withering” it just focuses on pummeling the listener into submission with piercing aggression.

  • Rimruna – Der Hatz entronnen (2017)

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    Hailing from Germany, today we have Black Metal duo Rimruna and their devastating sophomore release “Der Hatz entronnen”. Featuring over 55 minutes of soul crushing BM, this release is full of traditional elements perfectly executed to crate superbly evil and oppressing atmosphere. For fans of old Satyricon, Marduk, Immortal, this is one hell of a straight up traditional BM release.

    After the traditional acoustic intro track, the band goes on full on war mode with the blast beats and incisive riffing of “Tor der Zeit”. The level of rawness and brutality is quite astounding as this track needs nothing else than the traditional instrument core to be icy and demoralizing. Having that certain old-school Black’n’Roll-ish vibe, “Wirren” continues the onslaught with more intense riffing and the demonic vocals, both courtesy of Wintergrimm. This track also features some fine slower and darker passages.

  • Into the Arcane – Het Verlangen Der Geest (2017)

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    Featuring a very old-school Death/Doom vibe, today we have Into the Arcane and their debut EP titled “Het Verlangen Der Geest”. Delivering four tracks that will appeal to fans of Winter, Etherial Winds, and Phlebotomized, this music is for the old-school lovers of Doomy Death Metal bands with atmospheric elements.

    The album opens with the crafty “The Glass King” and its very melodic guitar work. This very catchy song is very rudimentary, but gets the job done as it brings back that old-school vibe that the scene has been missing since the late 90’s early 00’s. “The Innocent Hunter” brings a more atmospheric side to the mix with some very interesting piano sections and brilliant tempo changes. The band further explores their Doomy side and creates a very emotional track filled with masterful guitar leads.

  • Simulacro - Echi dall'abisso (2016)

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    Hailing from Italy, today we have Blackened Death Metal outfit Simulacro and their second full-length release "Echi dall'abisso". Packed with 45 minutes of punishing tracks, this release created a very thick and demoralizing atmosphere that will destroy your psyche and bend you into submission. Led by Xul and Anamnesi of Absentia Lunae and Progenie Terrestre Pura fame, this release is not for the weak of mind.

    The album opens with the incisive riffing of “ECO I”, in this song a think atmosphere is set with harsh vocals and pummeling drums flanking ethereally eerie female vocals. As the album progresses, the band gets crafty with some Post-Metal-ish moments in songs like “ECO II” and “ECO III”, remind us of the early sound of The Ocean. Usually in many releases the Bass guitar drowns in the mix, but here Ombra delivers the goods with a heavily emphasized bass guitar line in pieces like “ECO IV” and “ECO V”.

  • Sinister – Gods of the Abyss (2017)

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    Originally intended to be the demo of the band formed by Aad Kloosterwaard and Alex Paul when Sinister split up back in 2003, “Gods of the Abyss” sees the light of day via Vic Records. This four song demo marked the move of Aad to vocals, and also the new era of Sinister with a renewed Nuclear Blast record band in the day. The tracks presented here formed part of the “Afterburner” album in 2006.

    Leading with the piercing riffage of “The Grey Massacre”, we instantly get Sinister’s traditional intensity and viciousness with pretty solid vocals. One has to remember that before the band broke up in 2003, they had a terrible vocalist that single-handedly made “Savage or Grace” and “Creative Killings” two of the worst albums of the time. Anyways, the move of Aad to handle vocal duties was a pretty good one.

  • Klabautamann – Smaragd (2017)

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    Hailing from Germany, today we have one of the most original and downright weird releases of 2017. On “Smaragd”, this dynamic duo delivers 53-minutes of a mixture of Progressive Black Metal with tons of Jazzy and Folky influences, creating a very engaging sound unlike anything you have heard before. If you are into highly experimental music that defies the boundaries of genres, this is definitely the release for you.

    Opening with the moody “Into Depression”, the band slowly leads the listener down to their magical universe. This track starts off very Jazzy as it weaves back and forth between heavy passages and emotional acoustic interludes with killer guitar leads. Just when you think you have figured the out, the band delivers the raw onslaught of “My Terrifying Mirror”, with a furiously crushing opening that slowly morphs into madness. The band’s ability to change course mid-song and between songs, it is quite impressive creating magical contrasts and keeping the listener on their toes (eg. transitioning into the Proggy/Occult Rock elements of “In My Shadow”).

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