Delivering one of the dreamiest releases of 2017, today we have Last Leaf Down and their latest release “Bright Wide Colder”. Brilliantly combining Shoegaze with Depresive/Atmospheric/Post Rock elements, the band manages to produce 13 mesmerizing tracks that will hypnotize you for the duration of this release. If you like bands like Katatonia, Slowdive, Alcest and Les Discrets, this is definitely an album you don’t want to miss.
Opening with “Purple Skies”, the band sets a very atmospheric mood with dreamy guitars and emotional clean vocals. This mellow mood is nicely continued by excellent tracks like “Ghost Trails”, “Blind Mind”, and the cathartic “Deaf Heart”. The band does a brilliant job in crafting unique songs filled with melancholy and superbly catchy moments.
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.
For fans of highly melancholic and atmospheric music, today we have Hanging Garden’s latest opus “Hereafter”. Perfectly continuing their musical journey into more Atmospheric Rock territories, this Finnish band has come a long way since their crushing Death/Doom Metal days. Featuring 21 minutes divided in five tracks, this release delivers highly melancholic music filled with great guest vocal appearances, perfect for any fans of the band or highly atmospheric music.
Opening with the heavy riffs of “Penumbra”, the band complements the clean vocals of Toni Toivonen with the crushing growls of guest singer Mikko Kotamäki (Swallow the Sun). This track is quite melodic and yet delivers some crushing riffs and heavy moments. Continuing with the heaviness, “Sirkle of Onan” keeps things heavy thanks to a firm pace and Victor Wegeborn’s Post-Metal styled vocals.
Hailing from Switzerland, today we have Instrumental Post-Metal/post-rock quartet Khaldera and their EP “Alteration”. Delivering three tracks of dreamy atmospheric music, this release showcases the band’s ability to craft captivating music which feels natural and organic. For fans of bands like Lebowski, Isis and God is an Astronaut, this release will transport the listener into ethereal worlds.
The album slowly builds up with the spacey “Impending Tempest” and its piercing riffs. This track reminds us of a less extreme version of The Ocean. As soon as this initial track is done, the sheer power of Khaldera is felt with the punishing guitar work of “The Inevitability of Transition”. The band perfectly balances dreamy and slow passages between pummeling riffs and tight drumming section. This track is definitely the heaviest and most complex of the release.
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.
Continuing her highly atmospheric and dreamy musical direction, today we have one-woman outfit Sylvaine and her sophomore release “Wistful”. With a style similar to a mellower Alcest and Les Discrets, we are completely intoxicated by the fragile nature of the songs presented in this release. Instantly enchanting the listener like the mythological chant of a siren, Sylvaine will captivate you with this release.
Opening with the 10-minute “Delusions”, the mood is perfectly set with the opening folky vocal section, reminding us of Kari Rueslåtten in her early days. The song quickly progresses into more familiar territories with dreamy guitars and intense atmospherics bringing memories of Alcest’s “Les Voyages de l'âme”. Showcasing some ethereal shoegaze and dream-pop influences, “Earthbound” provides an interesting contrast between angelic clean vocals and hash Black Metal screams, both performed by Sylvaine herself.
Always pushing the envelope, French bands have managed to craft some of the most interesting Metal albums of the past few years. Today is the turn for Necroblaspheme and their crushing Atmospheric mixture of Black/Death/Sludge Metal, on their third full-length release “Belleville”. Featuring members and ex-members of Glaciation, this outfit delivers a very unique sounding mixture of elements that will entertain all fans of any of the genres they combine.
Opening with the dissonant riffs of “Rempart”, the band crafts a very thick and sickening atmosphere that weaves back and forth between aggressive vocals and catchy guitar melodies. As “Le discours du bitumen” and the instrumental “How Did We Get There” roll in, we start to see the band’s true intentions with their highly aggressive wall of sound that brilliantly transforms over the duration of each track.
Being one of the finest Atmospheric Black Metal bands in the scene, Blaze of Sorrow returns with yet another excellent release with “El Eremita del Fuoco”. Filled with brilliant melodic passages, this album reminds us of the earlier Alcest stuff mixed with some older Agalloch as well. Clocking in at around 40 minutes, this is one of the best releases of the genre in 2015.
Opening with the ethereal “La Conquista del Cielo”, the band sets a very melancholic mood early in this release. Featuring very subtle atmospheric elements and bleak soundscapes, the track nicely explodes into BM riffs that are more melodic than aggressive. Continuing strong, “La Madre” is a bit more aggressive and playful with very well defined drum patterns and headbanging passages.
Constantly evolving over the years, Hanging Garden returns with a very atmospheric release titled “Blackout Whiteout”. Featuring nice tracks of pure melancholy, the band manages to combine elements from Theatre of Tragedy (“Aegis” era), Anathema (their transition period), Katatonia (their more recent stuff) and throw in some Cure/ShamRain elements just for kicks. This release still keeps the growls in the mix, allowing the album to be harsh and brutal when needed, but it is mostly very melancholic and mellow.
Opening with the enticing “Borrowed Eyes”, we are instantly swept by Toni Toivonen’s moody clean and harsh vocals. This track also pulls you in with its subtle bass guitar line and keyboards. The band is always in motion and the very Cure-like rocking anthem “Whiteout” further shows their evolution since the band’s harsh and bleak Death/Doom days from “Inherit the Eden”. However, the depressive atmosphere is still present in a very unique and refined way.
Having recently returned from a hiatus, Minsk delivers one of the early candidates for top 10 albums of 2015 with “The Crash & The Draw”. Following the same footsteps of bands like Neurosis, Year of No Light, and The Ocean, we get 11-tracks of brilliant Atmospheric Post-Metal/Sludge music that is both complex and crushing. Returning with a 75 minute opus is an ambitious task that Minsk manages to pull off flawlessly.
Instantly making their mark with the 12-minute opener “To The Initiate”, we have a very playful track that changes moods and delivers a good amount of intricate percussions and powerful riffs to keep you listening to it on repeat for at least a day. Slowly building with “Within and Without”, the band crafts a very tight short piece to hold the listener over until the unleash their four piece behemoth of “Onward Procession”. In part I and II the band invokes their inner Neurosis with heavy and dense tracks that nicely evolve into the trippy atmospherics of part III and IV. This four-piece track showcases the band’s ambitions and excellent execution of a multi-faceted song that nicely evolves and dances around all the genres the band has influences from.