For those like us that like trippy experimental music, today we have the brilliant sophomore release of Lethe titled “The First Corpse on the Moon”. This project of Tor-Helge Skei (ex-Manes) and Anna Murphy (ex-Eluveitie) delivers in many different levels, from weird and trippy, to brilliantly catchy and hypnotic. If you liked the band’s debut release and bands like The 3rd and the Mortal (on their later years) and Closed Room, this is one release you don’t want to miss.
The album opens with the intoxicating “Night”, a track that perfectly sets a very jazzy moody vibe. This track slowly introduces the uninitiated to the band’s very unique musical landscape. Very quickly, things get more Trip-Hop oriented with “Inexorbitant Future” and return to ‘heavier’ more Metal-influenced territories with one of our favorites “Down into the Sun” and its catchy vocal arrangements.
Celebrating their East Coast tour, Experimental Swedish duo Necromonkey unleash upon the world their latest EP titled “The Shadows of the Blind Man”. Featuring three tracks that push the sonic boundaries of sanity, this outfit manage to deliver very unique music that will puzzle and amaze you at the same time.
Opening with the crazy titled “Kinky Panda”, the band crafts a very unique sort of improvisational experimental piece with odd percussions and quite disturbing vocals to kick off this short release. As the funkadelic string instruments lead the charge, the odd tempos and atmospheric elements make this track as weird as you can expect from Necromonkey.
Constantly scouring the planet for the best Metal, it is very exciting for us to find hidden gems like Moldavian Progressive/Avant-garde Black Metal outfit Chordewa and their debut full-length release “Recast Gear for the Mindcraft Course”. Featuring a very futuristic theme and sound, the band delivers 36 minutes of brilliant music that reminds us of acts like Arcturus and Vulture Industries.
The album starts with the funky tempo changes of “Psyche in the Shell”, a great intro to the band’s deranged musical brains filled with lush keyboards and intricate drum patterns. The Artcurus worshiping “Mindcraft Course” brilliantly shows even a more aggressive and faster side of the band as this track merges from familiar to fully represent the weirdness of Chordewa’s sound with its Proggy undertones. The playful “The Spiral” is one of our favorite songs thanks to its ritualistic percussions section and how the band swings the direction of the song’s mood very drastically.
As one of the wackiest releases of 2015, today we have Vhöl and their sophomore release “Deeper than Sky”. Featuring members of Agalloch, Hammers of Misfortune and YOB, this is one super group with enough musical chops to make even the weirdest sound great. IF we had to categorize their music, we would say that they play Avant-garde Heavy/Thrash Metal, due to the mixture of genres surfacing thought this release.
Opening with the Deathklok-esque “The Desolate Damned”, the band delivers an intense music with some brilliant guitar wizardry, which interestingly enough have Mike Scheidt handling vocal duties while John Cobbett handles the guitars. After an unconventional opening, “3AM” feels a bit more like a traditional Heavy Metal song with some funky drumming, courtesy of Aesop Dekker. Mike’s vocals are very versatile, as anybody that listens to YOB can attest, and they perfectly fit each track’s unique level of madness.
The French Metal musical renaissance continues with yet another uncompromising release that pushes the boundaries of Black Metal with “Rebellion” from one-man battalion Decline of the I. As a side project from A.K. from Vorkreist and Merrimack, this is one of the most sickening (in a good way) releases of 2015 so far. Filled with craziness and odd elements mixed together, we are treated to more than 45 minutes of intense music.
Quickly establishing this will not be your typical release with the chaotic opener “Lower degree of God’s might”, the band is off to a great start with seemingly random elements perfectly stitched together. The riffing barrage continues with the demoralizing “Hexenface” dissonance adorned with mournful vocals. “Le rouge, le vide et le tordu” delivers some interesting tempo changes that feature some cool French audio samples during its melodic interludes.
Hailing from the UK, today we have one of the most interesting bands we heard in 2013 return with their EP titled “Access Code”. The Deconstructing Sequence this time around delivers 16 minutes of music in two superbly written tracks that will only make you crave a full release from the band even more. The band’s progressive sound paired with their futuristic atmospheric elements makes them standout immediately.
Opening with “A Habitable World is Found”, DS makes you believe things will be going a more ‘traditional’ way with the Death Metal-ish opening as they deliver growls, crushing riffs and powerful drums. This nicely changes as time goes by into their trippy atmospheric passages with multiple vocal styles and very proggy sounding synths. The track nicely culminates with spoken vocal sections and the nicely cascading musical elements as a backdrop.
Usually, there are weird releases that completely push the envelope and then you have Manes weird. “Be All End All” delivers nine tracks that mash genres together and crates a truly bizarre, and yet awesome, experience. Having passed seven years since the band’s last full-length release, this album will surely please and puzzle all fans of Tor-Helge Skei (aka Cernunus) and his uniquely odd musical vision.
Opening with the jazzy/trip-hopish “A Deathpact Most Imminent” clearly states that this is going to be one unique musical experience. Asgeir Hatlen’s vocals are one of the band’s signature elements and greatly enhance the experience with his unique pipes having influences of Kjetil Nordhus and Kristoffer Rygg. Experimentation is the main theme behind this release, and by the odd vocals mixed in with the mellow tempo and atmospheric jazziness of “A Safe Place In The Unsafe” you clearly notice how everything comes together in a very bizarre way.
Experimental/Avant-garde outfit Nucleus Torn returns in 2014 with their mesmerizing “Street Lights Fail”. Hailing from Switzerland, this outfit led by Fredu Schnyder delivers nearly 40 minutes of thought provoking music that pushes the boundaries of anything that could be defined. Mixing heavy distorted guitars with countless other instruments and a very mellow vibe, this is one album that you should listen to if you like bands like Lethe and Manes, you are in for a treat.
Opening with the warm-up desolate piece “-“, we are introduced to a very bleak atmosphere with lush pianos and haunting female vocals. This track suddenly morphs into a jazzy/lounge piece that is quite intoxicating and engaging. As the song bleeds into “Worms”, the distorted guitars quickly set the mood a bit livelier and greatly enhance the jazzy atmosphere that is mixed in between. Anna Murphy’s and Maria D’Alessandro’s vocals are amazing in this release and they sound like the post-Kari years of The Third and the Mortal. This 19 minute piece is pure magic and features just the right amount of experimental and complexity to fully captivate its audience.
Arriving today from Finland, we have Katakombi and their very weird, but equally crushing self-titled EP. Featuring three tracks and 26 minutes of music, this release will give you nightmares thanks to the very disturbing atmospheric elements that are used to create ambiance. If you are tired of ‘traditional’ Death/Doom/Sludge releases, this is one EP that will expand your mind thanks to its highly original approach.
The EP features on side the monumental “Väärä Kuu”, a 13-minute crushing piece of music that nicely builds up starting from creepy atmospheric/drone-like elements into some ghoulish spoken sections before finally delivering some harsh vocals and chilling riffs. The bands musical progression in this track is quite unique and very well crafted, nicely culminating in a powerful aural assault with a very mellow pace.
Out on Supreme Chaos Records, we have one of the most unique releases of 2013 that for some reason got lost in our review queue and we finally gave it the attention it commands. Featuring a unique blend of Melodic/Symphonic Black Metal with a heavy dosage of Atmospheric synths and Avant-Garde elements, “The Initial Frontier Pt. 1” is a release that will demand your undivided attention since the first minute.
After a short intro, the space journey begins with the intergalactic epic “The Initial Frontier”. Delivering 9 minutes of lush atmospheric elements and imposing guitars, this track created a unique atmosphere that will disconnect you from reality. The Black Metal onslaughts remind us of bands like Shade Empire and early Dimmu Borgir, allowing the band to be quite versatile and engaging.