Hailing from the Netherlands, today we have extremely promising Progressive Metal outfit Armed Cloud and their debut release “Obsidian Desert”. Featuring over 57 of music, this release is both engaging a very technically proficient, showcasing the band’s songwriting skills and instrument abilities. Recommended for fans of bands like Circus Maximus, Ayreon, and Pain of Salvation, this release will keep you entertained for a while.
Opening with the playful title-track, the band instantly sets a very mellow mood filled with intricate details. This song showcases Daan Dekker’s excellent vocals and the tight percussions of Rico Noijen. Getting a good vocalist is vital for Prog bands and Daan does a great job in pieces like “Wound Healer” and the dramatic “In your Mind”.
Six years after their brilliant sophomore release “Falling Mist”, today we have Heaven Grey’s latest opus “Manuscriptum”. As one of the hidden Baltic gems of Gothic/Doom Metal bands (Frailty is another one), the band delivers nine excellent tracks of melancholic music which show the band’s musical evolution over the years.
Opening with the dramatic atmospheric intro of “Insomnia”, the band nicely settles with some melancholic riffs and very well crafted tempo changes. This track perfectly sets a very mellow and depressive mood that is nicely enhanced by the excellent clean vocals of the band’s new singer Artūrs Fishers. Mixing clean and harsh vocal styles, tracks like “Drown in My Shade” and “Sirds Balss” showcase a perfect balance and great complementarity between the styles.
Arriving from the UK, today we have Abandoned Stars and their brilliant debut full-length release “Fragments”. Featuring over 64 minutes of bombastic and acrobatic Progressive/Power Metal, this band makes a strong impression with great musicianship and even better song writing skills. For fans of bands like Blind Guardian, Rhapsody, and Stratovarius, “Fragments” is one hell of a musical ride that should be in everybody’s album collection.
Not wasting much time after the traditional atmospheric intro, “The Sleepless Man’s Conscious Dream” instantly sets a very lively tempo with solid guitar leads and intricate tempo changes. Olivier Hadder’s vocals are quite distinct and range from power/heavy metal notes to darker and more somber deeper tones, giving them great range and diversity, as we can hear in the excellent “Neverwhere” and the rest of the release.
Hailing from Finland, today we have Atmospheric Black Metal one-man battalion Antimateria and their debut full-length “Valo aikojen taka”. With all tracks in Finish and a knack for heavy rudimentary atmospheric elements, this release will crawl under your skin thanks to the subtle rawness of the band’s sound.
Immediately opening with an oppressive shriek paired with raw guitars and dreamy atmospherics, “Sieltä mistä valokaan ei milloinkaan karaka” instantly sets a very eerie mood. The atmospheric elements have a certain resemblance to Perivuan flutes, giving this track a fresh and original angle. Delivering raw riffs which sound a bit muffled (probably by the production quality), tracks like “Tieni kohti lopullista tuhoa” and “Roihuten läpi yötaivaan” have a certain old-school Pagan Metal vibe from the days of Falkenbach, but without the fluffiness.
Arriving via Godz ov War Productions, today we have France’s Autokrator and their devastating and brutal mix of Death/Doom elements with heavy Drone influences. Easily as one of the most oppressive and aurally disturbing releases of 2016, the band delivers 36 minutes of pure madness that will take you to the edge of sanity.
Delivering the first punch with “Chapter I’, the band opens with a disturbing audio clip that is closely followed by hellish growls and their crushing drumming. This duo does a great job in crafting a massive wall of sound that is only disturbed by the deep growls. The sheer brutality continues with the intricate “Chapter II” and the demolishing “Chapter IV”. In both tracks we noticed the mixture of influences from outfits like Autor & Punisher and the all mighty Anaal Nathrakh, but taken to the extreme.
Arriving via Pellagic Records, today we have Sweden’s pg.lost and their latest opus “Versus”. Featuring seven track of intoxicating Instrumental Post-Rock, this release takes the listener into a sidereal journey thanks to the band’s ample musical creativity. Highly recommended for fans of bands like God is an Astronaut, EF and Tides from Nebula.
Opening with the mysterious “Ikaros”, the band starts their journey with a trippy and spacey vibe in this track. Brilliantly changing the tempo of the release, “Off the Beaten Path” picks up the pace and delivers a punchy bass guitar line that is nicely enveloped by catchy percussions and heavy atmospherics. The band does a great job in delivering tracks that slowly build up and peak nicely with crushing moments of heaviness like both “Monolith” and “Versus”.
Hailing from the USA, today we have a very unique band under the moniker Wolfpack 44. Formed by members of Electric Helfire Club and Kult ov Azazel , the band plays a very unique blend of Industrial Black Metal with some experimental elements. Featuring over 45 minutes of music, this release will appeal to fans of bands like Mysticum, Aborym and Diabolos Rising.
After the disturbing atmospheric intro, the band unleashes its full power with the pummeling riffs and oppressive atmosphere of “The Black March”. Perfectly mixing incisive guitars, tight drums and superbly harsh vocals, this track sets a very brutal tone. Following with the completely deranged “Rituale Romanum” featuring Dana Duffey on guest vocals, the band makes it clear that this release will be a true roller coaster ride.
Hailing from Spain, today we have Unbegotten and their savagely demoralizing Black Metal. Unleashing their debut release “Proem of the Unborn”, via Forever Plagued Records and on tape, this album delivers 21 minutes of soul crushing old-school Black Metal. Featuring four tracks and an intro, this is one of those tapes that will bring you to your early days of listening BM.
The only break the listener gets in this release is the mood setting intro, once “Into the Entrails of my Deliverance” kicks in, the band crafts a dissonant wall of sound that enshrouds the listener. The band’s sound is raw and basic, but with melodic moments and quality songwriting. Tracks like “Porphyric Curse” deliver solid drumming and catchy riffs that perfectly complement the demonic vocals.
Never ceasing to amaze us, today we have another killer release from Sun & Moon Records: Svoid – Storming Voices of Inner Devotion. Hailing from Hungary, this band nicely blends Post-Punk, Post-Rock, and Black Metal in a very unique way, kind of sounds like a mixture of Amesoeurs and Watain. Delivering 11 tracks of truly unique and catchy music, the band delivers one of the most unique and chaotic releases of 2016.
Opening with the devilish riffs of “Through the Horizon”, this track has a very unique tempo that completely contrasts the Black Metal elements, similar to what Ihsahn achieves in his latest releases. This contrast is actually what makes this release quite engaging an intoxicating, as you feel that something is a bit off, but in the best of ways. Creating a unique balance between the Post-Punk/Post-Rock and the rawness of their Black Metal foundations, tracks like “Crown of Doom”, “Death, Holy End” and “Never to Redeem” are truly magical and super interesting.
Perfectly marketed as a no-bull Epic Doom Metal outfit, today we have Sweden’s Void Moon and their sophomore full-length release titled “Deathwatch”. Presenting the listeners with nine brilliant tracks full of melancholy, this band focuses on epic soaring vocals and sorrowful riffs. Drawing comparisons with bands like the epic Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus, this album will surely keep any fan of the genre at the edge of the seat.
Leading with the mournful riffs of “Rivers of the Moon”, the album instantly showcases the brilliant vocals of Jonas Gustavsson. The overall tempo of this track is brilliant, allowing the punishing riffs to brilliantly offset the clean vocals. By featuring such a clean and professional production, tracks like “Where the Sleeper Lies Awake” and the Pentagram-esque “Assassin of an Age”, the band allows to have a timeless sound while being quite clean and direct.