Delivering a truly unique aural experience, today we have Manetheren and their latest opus “The End”. Formed by USA based Azlum and members of Blut aus Nord on drums among others, this band unleashes a very unique mixture of Atmospheric Black Metal with influences of DSBM and Post-Black Metal. Featuring over 60 minutes of music, this album takes the listener through the journey of a human traveling across a dying world.
The album opens with the gut-wrenching “The Sun that Bled”, an 11-minute piece that sets a bleak mood with some mid-paced Black Metal. The band reminded us a bit of Ancient on their “The Cainian Chronicle” days, as the music is quite melodic and yet harsh and punishing. Things pick up a bit with the more intense passages of “An then Came the Pestilence”, which are perfectly outlined with very atmospheric sections that allow for dramatic contrast.
Recently released on Avantgarde Music, today we have Italy’s two man battalion Earth and Pillars with their sophomore release “Pillars I”. Delivering four tracks with over 60 minutes of relentless Atmospheric Black Metal, this band stands out from the competition with their Dark Ambient and Noise-ish influences. While everybody is trying to sound like Alcest, Deafheaven or Ghost Bath, this band marks their own path with their ravaging sound.
The opener, “Pillars” slowly builds up to a chaotic mixture of blistering riffs, hyper fast drums, harsh screams and very prominent keyboard atmospheric elements. This mixture works very well in creating an oppressive and wall of sound that at times has some certain Noise-ish influences that bands like Ash Borer combine with their Black Metal, as we can hear in the multi-faceted “Myth”. This track has a very moody and cinematic vibe to it, making it an exhilarating listening experience.
One man American outfit Aureole is finally releasing their demo on CD and Avantgarde Music has taken to the task to do so. With a very bleak and hypnotic sound, “Alunar” delivers five songs and around 40 minutes of Atmospheric Black Metal that nicely entertains and relaxes the listeners.
Stating with “Citadel Alunar”, M.S. creates a very bleak atmosphere that is suddenly ravaged by low-fi distorted riffs and hellish vocals. The tension is perfectly introduced and developed in the first track and some tension is relieved on the faster harsher parts. “The voice of Nebular Flame” provides a very bleak backdrop with minimalistic atmospheric elements solid riffs, very contrasting to the mostly atmospheric “The Serenity of the Hourglass”. Luckily, the raw Black Metal harshness is back with the 12-minute behemoth “Crusade of NGC 5128”, a very trippy and engaging track.
With a certain familiarity to old-school Bethlehem, today we have Swiss outfit Cold Cell and their powerful sophomore release “Lowlife”. Featuring a very dark and sinister sound that mixes Black Metal elements with more restrained melodic passages and some sprinkles of ambient elements, this release is quite obscure and enjoyable. Clocking in at 53 minutes, this is one release that breaks the mold and nicely sets itself apart from your cookie-cutter BM albums.
Opening with a atmospheric intro, the band’s sinister sound first creeps on you with the Black’n’roll-ish opening of “Lifestyle Lunacy”. In this very moody track we get to hear the band’s full aural spectrum with a very rich and diverse piece. Other tracks feature brilliant melodic/atmospheric passages like “Scum Eradication” and “Dogma”. With the individual named S providing the vocals, we are reminded of the deranged style of Rainer Landfermann in Bethlehem’s “Dictius Te Necare”, but with enough restraint and focus to not draw all the attention to them.
Seemingly coming out of nowhere, today we have one of the most exciting Black Metal bands we have heard in quite a while: Selvans. Hailing from Italy, the band presents us with their crushing and refreshing EP “Clangores Plenilunio” which features around 30 minute of pure atmospheric destruction. The band’s combination of influences into their own unique Black Metal sound will definitely turns some heads and command full attention from listeners.
As the opener “Lupercale” weaves from atmospheric passages to blistering blast beats and haunting screams, the band perfectly blends killer guitar leads with catchy rhythmical sections. This track showcases the band’s range to their full extent with some many influences present here, but yet their sound is quite distinctive and unique. Things turn Folky with the EP title track, allowing Selvans Haruspex to showcase his multiple talents handling all the Folk elements in this release.
Delivering a very unique and melancholic release, today we have Avantgarde Music’s latest signing Laburinthos and their debut release “Augoeides”. Featuring five very unique sounding tracks, this band crafts a blend of Gothic Rock with some excellent Dark Wave influences that they eloquently call Labyrinthine BlueWave. With very emotive vocals and a depressive aura, this band reminds us to the likes of The 3rd and the Mortal, Yearning and those types of band’s from the late 90’s.
Opening with the very dramatic “The Great Brothel of Mankind”, the mood is set quite well with such a rich and complex piece. The lush keyboards greatly adorn the well-paced bass guitar and the guitar work. The vocals are very theatrical and fit the music quite well. With even more powerful keyboards, “Crucified Among My Loves” delivers a very interesting tempo changing track. This song reminded us of the initial use of keyboards in Death/Doom Metal from the early 90’s by the Dutch bands, like The Gathering, Etherial Winds, etc.
Outputting a combination of hateful and weird Black Metal similar to Deathspell Omega and Xasthur with some hints of older Blut Aus Nord, Situs Magus delivers their first chapter with the name of “Le Grande Oeuvre”. Intended as a one piece release, this album is split into five movements that showcase the band’s ability to create wicked atmospheres and delivers gut-wrenching screams accompanied by twisted riffing.
Hailing from France, this new band has a very well consolidated sound for being the new kids on the block. Immediately after the intro, the band’s power is felt by the very dense “Oeuvre au Noir”. Crafting a very depraved and thick atmosphere the band delivers a very grim Black Metal feeling underneath all the atmospheric events. The riffing is quite traditional and the singing is as good as you can expect it, but the pacing of the track is what makes Situs Magus quite interesting.
Featuring the original members of Manes, today we have Manii and their crushing ‘slow’ Black Metal that brings us back to the early days of Scandinavian Black Metal but will a depressive/suicidal edge that makes the songs slow and punishing at the same time. Manes is one of those clear examples that shows that too much experimentation and weird shit going on in one release takes things a bit too far and alienates people. With Manii this two man band goes back to the basics with raw screams, piercing riffs and well-crafted drumming.
Thankfully for the older fans of Manes, there is still some hints remaining here and there, but the new band’s focus is more on the atmospheric side of thing. Crafting thick and memorable atmospheres is a craft that seems to escape many of the newer bands but on “Kollaps” this is never the issue. Opening with the martial “Skoddeheim”, the band really sets a very slow and painful tempo, reminding us in times to Shining (Sweden) and Bethlehem. The atmospheric elements are bone-chilling and the overall pace of the track makes the vocals sound even more depraved and powerful.
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.
As they mention in their myspace page, this is sick music for sick individuals, and I can’t agree more. This is something that every true black metal fan should listen and have in their regular playlists.
This band has truly captured the old feeling of black metal and has managed to improve on it by their use of synthesizers along some their songs, reminding me of Alghazanth’s The polarity axiom and Osiris - Typhon Unmasked.