As an interesting hybrid of Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Before The Dawn, and Amorphis, today we have Finland’s Star Insight and their two-song single “My Time is Out”. With a heavy emphasis on atmospheric elements, Star Insight gives us a very promising look into their upcoming debut full-length release.
Opening with “My Time is Out”, the band has a very similar sound to Before the Dawn on their “Soundscape of Silence” era thanks to the type of growls and the riffing used. Throwing some atmospheric elements into the mix, and now we have them sounding a bit like Eternal Tears of Sorrow. Don’t get us wrong, Star Insight has their own sound, but their influences are heavily marked in this song. As a song, “My Time is Out” is actually quite entertaining and diverse, showing their bombastic music and knack for multiple singing styles.
Continuing with their surprising evolution into a more Gothic Rock-inspired sound, today we have Hanging Garden and their latest release “At Every Door”. On their debut release “Inherit the Eden” the band jumped into the scene with a very melodic Death/Doom Metal and was praised by fans all around. With their second effort “TEOTWAWKI” the band started to mix more Gothic and different elements to make their music more accessible to a broader audience, something that they gracefully continue to do with this release.
Opening with the trippy “Ten Thousand Cranes”, the band delivers electronic elements with clean vocals making them sound like current Paradise Lost and Tiamat. Not all is lost since their original sound is present underneath everything with powerful riffs and excellent growls. Thankfully the new vocalist can do the growls as deep and powerful as their original one. “Ash and Dust” starts a bit more powerful than the first track, and the atmospheric details added by the keyboards work very well with the song.
With a very melancholic sound, today we have Finland’s 2 Wolves and their sophomore release “Men of Honour”. In this nine-track album, the band greatly reminds us of a mixtures between Eternal Tears of Sorrow, On Thorns I Lay, and Poema Arcanus. 2 Wolves sound is very unique in the sense that they use lush keyboards, heavy riffing, and a mixture of growls and clean vocals to perfection in this very exciting release.
The opener “Bygones” has the signatures Eternal Tears of Sorrow mixture of growls, powerful riffs and very proficient keyboards mixed with a super catchy clean chorus section. This track greatly sets the mood for an excellent release, and the atmosphere of “Unreal Conversations” immediately enhances it. The lush melodic sections contrasted by the crushing riffs and harsh vocals work wonders in this very engaging track.
Dropping on November 23rd we have Kuolemanlaakso’s debut full-length “Uljas uusi maailma” on Svart Rcords. This Finish band with members of Swallow The Sun (on vocals), Chaosweaver (on guitar), delivers a very interesting mix of Doom Metal elements with dark and dirty atmospheres that sound very imposing. Written and delivered all in Finish, this eight tracks are very well shrouded in a gloomy atmosphere, unlike anything the band members have ever done before.
Opening with the moody “Minä elän”, the band set the stage for a solid riffing onslaught that is quite heavy and engaging. Mikko Kotamäki’s vocals are his typical growl/shrieks from STS with some heavier sections like on Algazanth, nothing new here, but it does bring a certain level of familiarity to the music for fans of his bands. The sick atmospheric keyboards that the cake in this song since they are used very sporadically and to great effect. “Kuun Lapset” follows a similar pattern but with more keyboards and a very dominating bass guitar line.
Finally!! after six years since their last release, Saturnus returns with their latest masterpiece of Melancholic Death/Doom Metal titled “Saturn In Ascension”. Featuring eight tracks, this release will only help the band elevate their legendary status as the best band of their genre. With a mixture of the elements that have made this band’s musical trajectory impeccable, the songs in this release deliver high doses of raw emotions transmitted by truly melancholic music.
Opening with the crushing “Litany of Rain”, the band reminded us of their “Paradise Belongs To You” era with a straightforward growl fest filled with emotional riffing. The characteristic vocals of Thomas Akim Grønbæk Jensen really set the band apart from the rest and his mixture of growls and clean sections work wonders in this nearly 10-minute epic.
Mysterious Swedish outfit Flagellated Seraph delivers us their debut full-length release titled “Beyond Salvation”. With six tracks of fast-paced Melodic Black Metal, this band will surely surprise you with the quality of their music. Coming from Hellthrashers Productions, we expected something totally different from this release, and we are very glad it turned out this ways since some of the songs in this album are just killer.
Opening with a warm-up track “Reminiscence of The Serpent”, the band fully unleashes its riffing power as “He Who Bears the Mark”. While at first this might seem like your average run of the mill BM band, the song suddenly shifts into excellent melodic territories. Reminding us of older Dark Funeral, Marduk, and the likes, Flagellated Seraph has the skills to deliver extreme intensity tracks that are very well crafted. The massive drumming is one example of the band’s mystery musician’s abilities.
With the same power and intensity of bands like Primordial, today we have Winterfylleth and their highly anticipated third release “The Threnody of Triumph”. After re-releasing their debut masterpiece earlier this year, “The Ghost of Heritage”, through their current label Candlelight Records, the band is ready to return with yet another excellent release. Everybody that claims to play Black Metal with atmospheric elements should take a page of the Winterfylleth book since they manage to create very furious songs that suddenly change 180 degrees and blow you away with some brilliant atmospheric stuff, the best example is the opener track “A Thousand Winters”.
Furiously blasting through tracks like “The Swart Raven”, “A Memorial”, and “The Glorious Plain”, the band will decimate your ears with their uniquely crafted wall of sound created by the distorted guitars and greatly complemented by the majestic drumming. This sound is greatly enhanced by the occasional keyboard hints here and there and it gets elevated through the excellent clean vocals the band throws around.
Like a fine aging wine, today we have the North American promotional cycle for Swallow The Sun’s latest opus “Emerald Forest and the Blackbird”. And while we already had this release in awesome green vinyl for quite a while (available here) , we are finally writing a review for this masterpiece. With four full-length releases already under their belts, the band does an excellent job in pushing their sound into a more melancholic and even more depressing vibe that is rarely equaled by any other band these days.
Founder Juha Raivio has managed to keep the band’s sound evolving little by little, and by keeping most of the band together since 2001 (the drummer left in 2009), they have grown very well as a unit and this album demonstrates it clearly. Opening with the very mellow “Emerald Forest and the Blackbird”, the band immediately sets a very somber and dense mood that is the exact trademark of Swallow the Sun. The riffs are very powerful and the tempo changes are perfectly introduced to keep the listener engaged in this nearly ten-minute long opener.
Making quite an impact since the first song, today we have Poland’s Devilish Impressions latest release titled “Simulacra”. Being properly released through Lifeforce records this July, this is one of those albums that combines so many different elements in a very cohesive and successful way, making it super diverse and extremely exciting.
“Icaros” opens with release with a mixture of Vintersorg meets Dimmu Borgir atmosphere, thanks to the hefty use of synths and the awesome clean vocals. Setting the bar this high, the band also delivers pretty solid melodic Black/Death-ish music that is very direct and well crafted. The atmospheric side of things keeps making this album very appealing in “Legion of Chaos”, but it is the massive drumming and heavy riffing that ultimately makes this song super catchy and effective.
Canada’s answer to Arkona comes with the name of Valfreya, and their debut full-length release titled “Path to Eternity” showcases the band’s talents. Fronted by Crook, the band’s charismatic female vocalist, Valfreya delivers a good 50 minutes of an intense mixture of Melodic Black Metal with Folk Metal elements, perfectly balanced to create epic moments similar to the ones created by bands like Wintersun, Equilibrium and Turisas.
With the intro track bleeding into “Deity's Grace”, the band quickly establishes a very regal sound with a crystal clear production. Gradually increasing its intensity, “Path to Eternity” is a very well-crafted album that showcases a promising band with a very rich sound. Alternating between angelic clean vocals and demonic harsh screams, Crook does an excellent job in carrying the band through the 10 tracks presented in this release.