Cranking up the level of melancholy to 11, today we have Bay Area’s Mountaineer and their debut full-length release “Sirens & Slumber”. After blowing us away with their two song EP back in 2016, this band formed by ex-Secrets of the Sky’s guitarist Clayton Bartholomew, continues to further develop their highly atmospheric sound by moving into Katatonia-esque territories. Delivering nine brilliant tracks, this is definitely one of the releases to get in 2017 if you are a fan of deeply melancholic music.
Opening with the dreaminess of “Foam”, the band sets a very ethereal mood with such a lush opener. Taken from the band’s first 2-song 7” release, “Coma Fever” leads with ripping Doom riffs and the contrasting vocals of Miguel Meza. The album continues with this lively pace on tracks like “Measured Breaths” and “Womb”, the band excels a wrapping a ton of atmosphere around heavy Doomy riffs.
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.
Hailing from Germany today we have Fjoergyn and their latest very impressive foray into the realm of Avant-garde Black Metal with “Lucifer Es”. Joining the elite list of bands like Anomalie, Agrypnie, and Nocte Obducta, which are re-defining the genre, this band delivers 61 minutes of action packed music that commands your attention from start to end. Perfectly crafted for fans of the bizarre and complex, this release is one hell of a ride.
After opening with the somber “MMXVII”, the band perfectly blends punishing riffs with intricate atmospheric arrangements as we hear in “Leviathan”. The mixture of vocal styles is something that instantly sticks out from such a unique mixture of elements, giving the band that extra level of creepiness. With tracks like “Viva La Inquisition” exploiting the band’s heavier side, Fjoergyn delivers a very expansive and relentless sound that very few bands can pull off.
Blurring the lines between Doom, Post-Metal and Shoegaze, today we have Glare of the Sun and their monumental debut release “Soil”. Featuring eight tracks of quite diverse and engaging music, this Austrian/German outfit delivers thunderous riffs crafted to perfection for very moody songs. This band manages to craft a unique musical vision out of more traditional influences, delivering a powerful initial statement.
After opening with the dreamy instrumental “Awoken”, the band fully immerses the listener into their perfect mixture of atmospheric guitars with heavy Doom-esque riffs in “One Step Nothing”. Alternating vocal styles between harsh screams and eerie clean vocals, the bad creates a very enveloping atmosphere that instantly grabs the listener with its surreal soundscapes. In the first few songs Glare of the Sun manages to craft very intricate and engaging songs that are hard to peg down to a single genre or influence.
Elevating the definition of musical violence to the nth power, today we have Teethgrinder from the Netherlands and their crushing Grindcore/Brutal Death Metal music. Delivering nine pummeling tracks, this release rivals Anaal Nathrakh’s “The Whole of the Law” for the most mercilessly brutal release of 2016.
The band preps the listener with the dissonant sounds of the deranged intro track “Sommambulant”, a piece that somewhat describes the madness that is about to take place in this release. Shit gets instantly real with the violent screams of “The Soil has a Thirst for Blood”, a track that is both intense and punishing thanks to the killer drums and ravaging riffs. We particularly enjoy the sporadic audio clips inserted on tracks like “Isolation” and “Pale Flowers”, which remind us a bit of the song intros Macabre uses.
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 Spain, today we have Post-Metal newcomers The Holeum and their debut release “Negative Abyss”. Drawing influences from the likes of Neurosis, Amenra and Cult of Luna, this band pushes the boundaries on the genre with unique ideas and very engaging songs. Delivering 8 tracks of skilled aural abuse, this band is ready to take the scene by surprise.
The cosmic journey starts with the intense bass guitar line of “Chemical Ghosts”. This track is probably the most straightforward one as it follows your typical Post-Metal song aside from a few interesting tempo changes. Our favorite track in this release has to be the Doomy “Philosopher’s Stone” and its very atmospheric nature. During one of its melodic passages they perfectly add a saxophone section that magically elevates this unique song.
Arriving from Germany, today we have one of the most disarming releases in the last few years with Thränenkind‘s “King Apathy”. Filled with emotional bleakness, this release features 46 minutes of brilliant music that will evoke an emotional response from the toughest Metalhead out there. Completely intense and gratifying from start to finish, this is one of the best albums of 2016.
Setting the mood with the crushing opener “Desperation”, we are instantly immersed in the band’s unique mixture of Post-Metal/Black Metal thanks to the incisive riffs and mournful vocals. Expertly contrasting brutality with melody, the band delivers an intense performance filled with raw passion. As the album slowly progresses, the songs keep getting darker and darker as “King Apathy” and “Ghosts” storm the listener.
Fresh off their latest run of shows through North America, Omnium Gatherum returns to deliver their most amazing release to date with “Grey Heavens”. Featuring ten tracks of majestic Melodic Death Metal, this band has graduated in the top of their class and should get a Melodic DM doctoral degree for their efforts in this release. Having refined their sound over the years, their seventh release shows uncanny maturity and expert knowledge of the genre.
Opening with the headbanging anthem “The Pit”, the band’s melodic signature sound instantly takes center stage with their impressive parallel guitar onslaughts and furious pace. Not letting the listeners settle in too quick, “Skyline” paints a lush melodic anthem with very inspired atmospheric keyboards to go with a superbly catchy tempo. This track alone perfectly blends their style with the epicness of older Children of Bodom and the melancholy of Insomnium.
Hailing from Italy, today we have Deathcore battalion Despite Exile and their latest EP titled “Disperse”. Usually not a fan of the genre, when a band commands of attention it means that the have unique elements to make them stand out from the rest. Delivering five tracks and two interludes, the band crushes the competition with a perfect balance of melody and aggression that only a handful of bands can master. While not as crushing as The Black Dahlia Murder, this band does not lag behind with excellent moshing passages and solid melodic head banging moments.
Leading the charge with the melodic “Act I – Gaze of Leviathan”, we instantly got a certain Soilwork vibe from the first few minutes of the track. This playful and very melodic piece brilliantly weaves back and forth from all out brutality to excellent momentum-building sections. Seamleasly bleeding into “Act II – Panoptic Servant”, the band changes the pace to crushing a more typical Deathcore with funky tempo changes thanks to some killer drum patterns.