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  • Abisso – WRNSS (2016)

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    Hailing from Italy, today we have two-man outfit Abisso and their debut release “WRNSS” out on Third-I-Rex. Featuring around 40 minutes of soul crushing Black Metal, this release creates a crushing atmosphere that is oppressive and nature and never lets go. Highly consistent, Abisso’s oppressive sound is nicely contrasted by a few experimental elements that the band introduces occasionally. If you like powerful Black Metal which focuses more on atmosphere than speed, this is the album for you.

    Opening with the dissonant “I”, the band slowly builds up their atmospheric vibe with incisive riffs and tight drumming. The deeper vocals fit the atmosphere perfectly as they command more attention than your traditional BM shriek. Continuing their atmospheric onslaught, “II” provides the perfect progression in the band’s aural abuse. Avoiding being too linear, the band experiments with intricate bass guitar lines and some interesting guitar leads that change the direction of the track momentarily.

  • The Unknown – In Search of the Unknown (2016)

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    As one of the few bands we get to listen to from Iran, The Unknown is a very promising Atmospheric Doom /Post-Rock outfit that has managed to craft a very impressive 40-minute debut release titled: “In Search of the Unknown”. Featuring a guest appearance by Thomas Helm, this release is filled with surprises and a very unique progression. If you like highly atmospheric and very melancholic music, you will find yourself lost with this release.

    As the album single track opens, the music is framed by dramatic orchestrations and heavy riffs. This suddenly changes into a brilliant spoken word passage with a very eerie vibe. This part reminded us of Anathema in their “Eternity” days. Luckily for us it lasts for quite a while and creates a very unique tension. Moving closer to the last minutes, the release turns into a lush Post-Rock piece with very lively guitars and lush piano sections. The transitions between sections are quite well crafted and create a very unique musical journey.

  • Countless Skies – New Dawn (2016)

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    When a band is named after one of the songs of one of your favorite bands, you can’t help it to be quite skeptical about their quality (or lack of thereof). Luckily, Be’lakor’s song “Countless Skies” is also well represented by the killer Melodic Death Metal that the band of the same name plays. Delivering eight tracks of pure melodic brilliance, “New Dawn” is the perfect debut release from this UK outfit.

    As soon as “Aubade” gets heavy, we instantly thought we had put an Insomnium/Omnium Gatherum album instead. The band’s guitar wizardry is this good, with James Pratt and Ross King delivering some brilliant melodic guitar passages from start to finish. Fully exploding into melodic brilliance, “Heroes” continues the onslaught with tons of killer leads and very expressive melancholic passages. The growls and drumming style are both quite familiar to the typical Finnish Melo-Death scene, but it is how all things come together that truly showcases the power behind this very proficient.

  • Vex – Sky Exile (2016)

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    Hailing from the USA, today we have the superbly unique Vex and their 3rd full-length release “Sky Exile”. Seamlessly blending influences of Death/Thrash/Progressive Metal with melodic undertones, this band’s sound is quite refreshing and unique. Reminding us of bands like Cenotaph, Buried Dreams and The Chasm, this band has a very unique and polished sound that is very diverse and engaging.

    Slowly building up from the intro, the album really kicks off with the intense “To Anacreon (Strangling the Muse)”, a very diverse track that showcases heavy riffs, crushing growls and very proggy Enslaved-like rhythmical sections. Perfectly continuing the uniqueness of this release, “Empyrean” provides an interlude before the melodic brilliance of “Antithetical Age”. In this track we have again that gritty Death/Thrash Metal influences paired with more melodic influences, and even some clean vocals to fully round up the song.

  • Subterranean Disposition - Contagiuum and the Landscapes of Failure (2016)

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    Arriving from Australia, today we have one-man battalion Subterranean Disposition’s second full-length released titled “Contagiuum and the Landscapes of Failure”. Delivering over 60 minutes of crushing Death/Doom, the band keeps things fresh by adding extra atmospheric elements that blend very well together. Perfectly crafted for fans of slow and painful Doom music, this release is filled with unique ideas and interesting songs.

    Opening with the crushing riffs of “Hungry Ghosts on Rotten Soil”, the album sets a very dominant tone. This mood continues with the melancholic opening of “Wooden Kimono Fixative” and its disarming pairing of moody guitars and sultry saxophone. This opener nicely transitions into more familiar Death/Doom territories with gusto and crushing tempo changes. Remaining us of bands like Avrigus, “Embittered Final” turns darker and more atmospheric. The haunting female vocals give an extra level of eeriness to this already emotional track.

  • Vuolla – Blood. Stone. Sun. Down. (2016)

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    Hailing from Finland, today we have the promising debut release “Blood. Stone. Sun. Down.” of melancholic outfit Vuolla. Perfectly blending elements of Gothic/Death Doom with melancholic Depressive Rock, this band manages to deliver over 60 minutes of truly emotive music. Focusing on crafting lush melancholic songs, the band will surely appeal to all fans of bands like Katatonia, Draconian, and everything in between.

    Opening with the super bleak intro to “Death Incredible”, the band instantly reminded us of Svarti Loghin. This song nicely transitions into a more straightforward Gothic Doom piece perfectly blending Kati Hämäläinen’s vocals and keyboards with powerful Doom riffs. In a more traditional Gothic Doom fashion, the disarming “Emperor” is one hell of a rollercoaster ride which features a brilliant atmospheric passage around the 4 minute mark that will instantly get you hooked into the band’s sound.

  • Vindland – Hanter Savet (2016)

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    Delivering over 55 minutes of superbly catchy Black/Pagan/Viking Metal, today we have France’s Vindland and their debut full-length release “Hanter Savet”. With the current influx of brilliant French bands to the Metal scene, it is not surprising that this band is a good as they are. Perfectly capturing the essence of bands like Kampfar, Windir, Thyrfing, this band has managed to craft nine excellent songs that will have you headbanging from start to end.

    Opening with some great intensity, “Orin Kozh” immediately sets the pace for quite a hectic and yet melodic release. The band perfectly weaves back and forth between full-on Metal sections and more subtle Folk-ish influences. The incisive riffing is exactly what makes this release quite melodic and enjoyable, similar to what one would expect from the genre. Tracks like “Treuzwelus”, “Serr-Noz” and “Pedenn Koll” really showcase how the band excels in writing cunning songs that are quite enjoyable and satisfying.

  • Gone in April – Threads of Existence (2016)

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    Featuring a very diverse and international cast of characters, today we have Gone in April and their sophomore release “Threads of Existence”. Led by the beautiful vocals of Julie Belanger Roy, this band combines everything from Gothic to Death to Symphonic to Folk Metal, creating a very rich and unique listening experience for the 43 minutes of music crafted in this release.

    Opening with the theatrical intro “Dawn of Time”, it is not until “The Curtain will Rise” that the band showcases their rich sound. In this track we have some very catchy melodies paired perfectly with super tight drumming, courtesy of Yanic Bercier, and Haggard-esque male growls. Perfectly blending intensity with melody the band delivers superb tracks like the “Our Future Line”, which also showcase the Bass guitar wizardry of the highly experienced Steve DiGiorgio.

  • True Black Dawn – Come the Colorless Dawn (2016)

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    Featuring members of several high profile Finish bands, today we have the True Black Dawn and their debut release (as TBD) titled “Come the Colorless Dawn”. Delivering 11 bestial tracks of ravaging Black Metal, this album is quite intense from start to end. Having been around since the early 90’s under two different names, this band crafts very nihilistic and tight BM soundscapes that rival any other famous band in this genre.

    After warming the listener up with an intro, the album’s title track opens the proceedings with great force and brutality. The dual growls/shrieks vocal onslaught perfectly fit the music’s moody and tempo changing nature. The band’s vocalist, Wrath, is of Enochian Crescent fame, and having personally seen them live, he is one hell of a showman and an intense vocalist. The evidence is on the level of brutality shown on tracks like “The Light Goes Out” and the sinister “Cinereous”.

  • Sun Worship – Pale Dawn (2016)

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    Hailing from Germany, today we have promising Black Metal trio Sun Worship and their sophomore release “Pale Dawn”. Having influences from ranging from Cascadian Black Metal to old-school Norwegian Black Metal, this band has constantly delivered killer EP and split releases which showcase their raw potential. Hitting the listener like a bag of bricks, this is one of the most intense releases of 2016.

    Opening with the ravaging “Pale Dawn”, the wall of sound is instantly lifted with punishing riffs and hyper fast drumming. The band’s raw power is uncanny thanks to their piercing riffing and crushing tempo changes. While the first track has a certain USBM/Cascadian BM vibe, “Lichtenberg Features” quickly changes this with brilliant Immortal-esque riffs and melodic undertones, making it one of our favorite tracks in this release.

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