Avant Garde

  • Ofdrykkja – Irrfärd (2017)

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    Unleashing one of the most harrowing and despair-filled releases of 2017, today we have Sweden’s Ofdrykkja and their sophomore full-length release “Irrfärd”. Featuring a highly oppressive and atmospheric sound, this band unleashes seven ravaging tracks of crushing music that is quite dense and engaging. If you are a fan of bands like Lifelover, Dodsferd and similar outfits, you will definitely enjoy this one.

    The album title track starts the release with a very moody and bleak acoustic intro, just the perfect warm-up for the emotional beating to come. As “En vandrares börda” warms up, we are treated to incisive riffs that are nicely paired with clean acoustic guitars. As the mournful vocals make their entrance, the track’s sound and atmosphere tours sour, creating a very demoralizing song.

  • The Howling Void – The Darkness at the Edge of Dawn (2017)

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    Brilliantly mixing all kinds of Doom Metal subgenres together with outside elements from Black Metal and even Pagan Metal, today we have one-man outfit The Howling Void and their sixth full-length release “The Darkness at the Edge of Dawn”. Feeling part like an homage to bands like My Dying Bride, Katatonia, Shape of Despair, Tenhi, etc., this band crafts a very cohesive and melancholic style that is perfect for any fan of the genre, and produce five enchanting tracks in this release.

    Opening with the mysterious “Distant Shores”, we get a very cool interplay between clean and distorted guitars and the atmospheric synths. The clean vocal passages remind us a bit Empyrium, however the track is more on the heavier Doom Metal side of things with even some riffs bordering in BM-territories. The mood picks up a bit with the more intense “A Seed on Stone”, a track that features very powerful drumming and it even feels at some points like Pagan Metal.

  • Circle of Salt – Suffer the Cold (2017)

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    Originally released in 2015, today we have Circle of Salt’s savagely primitive and raw debut full-length release: “Suffer the Cold”. Featuring two tracks and nearly 40 minutes of levelling Atmospheric Black Metal, this one-man battalion delivers one hell of a crushing sound that will strike fear into the uninitiated.

    The release opens with the 19-minute album title track, as it creates a very martial and dense atmosphere with commanding riffs and precise percussions. The band’s sound is quite oppressive and yet simple and raw, there is a certain beauty to be able to craft such a devastating atmosphere with barbaric proportions with only a handful of instruments. Maikan’s harsh vocals perfectly adorn the desolate landscape crafted by the intensity and craftiness of this track.

  • Dark Sanctuary – Dark Sanctuary (2017)

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    Arriving unexpectedly to our inbox this month we have a new release from France’s Dark Sanctuary. Having been on hiatus since 2009 or so, this band was recognized in the Darkwave/Gothic/Atmospheric scene back in the day. In 2017, they surprise us with six ‘Metal’ renditions of older material, crafting a very melancholic and powerful Gothic/Doom vibe. For those of use that yearn for the late 2000’s Gothic/Doom Metal releases, this album will certainly fill that void.

    Opening with the lively “Laissez-moi mourir”, we get a very Lacrima Profundere vibe with catchy guitars, subtle keyboards and a very upbeat tempo surrounded by a generally Gothic/Dark vibe. As expected, Dame Pandora’s vocals instantly shine in this very engaging track that reminds us a bit of Edge of Sanity meets Therion. The dark atmosphere created by the heavy riffs and atmospheric keyboards of “Cristal”, make for quite a memorable experience, setting a very enjoyable mood.

  • Progenie Terrestre Pura – oltreLuna (2017)

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    Continuing their magical sidereal journey, today we have Italy’s Progenie Terrestre Pura and their sophomore full-length release “oltreLuna”. Delivering over 55 minutes of highly atmospheric Black Metal with some Industrial Black Metal elements, the band manages to craft five intricate tracks that show great musicianship and ideas. If you like highly experimental/futuristic sounding Black Metal like Shade Empire or similar outfits, you will definitely enjoy this release.

    Opening with the crushing riffs of “[.Pianeta.Zero.]”, we get a very Industrial BM vibe mixed with heavy atmospheric elements, making a very unique combination. As always with this band, the track takes a turn into more standard and melodic territories, showcasing the band’s versatility. Continuing the onslaught we have “[.subLuce.]” and its intense drumming, making it one of the most brutal pieces in this release. A nice touch is the dreamy female vocals thrown into the mix to create a deeper atmosphere.

  • Manetheren – The End (2017)

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    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.

  • Earth and Pillars – Pillars I (2016)

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    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.

  • Aureole – Alunar (2015)

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    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.

  • Cold Cell – Lowlife (2015)

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    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.

  • Selvans – Clangores Plenilunio (2015)

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    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.

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