post punk / new wave / goth rock
Heading from Bristol, Naut decided to ignore all current trends and to look back to the dark eighties. Now, this five-piece comes with a baffling debut EP, containing five pitch black goth rock tunes. Influences from bands like Sisters Of Mercy and Killing Joke run rampant and come with the overwhelming energy of post punk acts like The Jesus and Mary Chain. Song like opener 'Disintegration' and 'I'm Here' are destined to fill dark dancefloors everywhere. My personal favorite here is closer 'XVI'. It makes me curious and hungry for more, but for now I'm sure that this EP will be an excellent addition to every post punk / goth rock collection.
doom / sludge
Sheffield doom mongers Kurokuma return with a two track EP, based on the Dope Rider strip from High Times in the 70s. The artwork comes from Paul Kirchner, the creator of the strip. The music is another slab of severe psychotic sludge doom, five and eight minutes long. Part 1 also showcases something industrial, reflected by repetitive, almost methodical drums. Part 2 simply continues to slow but brutal pummeling. Fans of bands like Conan, Dopethrone and Yob can easily trust Kurokuma to deliver the monolithic riffs and fierce vocals they crave so much. So if you want your sludge metal as destructive as a wrecking ball, this EP should do.
post-metal / doom / alternative rock
Several months after the release of 'Serrated', Dutch heavy rockers An Evening With Knives unleash three songs that did not make the album because of the limited space on the vinyl. Yet, these songs were to important for the band to be ignored. Opener and title track 'Fade Out' deals with the death of Marco’s father due to Alzheimer disease. It's a long, heavy and cathartic lamentation, showcasing the darkest side of this band. The other two songs follow that example, be it a bit shorter. They all walk a similar path as the songs on 'Serrated', and thus would also fit perfectly into every sludge, doom and grunge collection. These guys are growing steadily, that's for sure.
electronic / ambient / experimental
An alienating two track EP that will leave you confused and entangled, that is what Soho Rezanejad delivers. Subtle electronics, minimalist drones, gloomy soundscapes and her vocals come together in two lengthy modern day folk songs. I can't help but think about a mix between Zola Jesus and Diamanda Galas, be it a bit less creepy than the latter. Yet, there is emotion, there is fear, mourning, wonder and hope in these two tracks. There is a mystifying atmosphere, one that borrows elements from dark ambient. Yet, above all perhaps, this is a unique piece of work, reminding me of an act like Dark Ensemble. Recommended only for eternally wandering souls.
post rock / post metal / stoner / sludge
In today's post rock scene, new bands pop up like mushrooms. Würzburg residents The Man Within are one of those newcomers. Mostly, that first effort comes with a low production and a careful introduction in what the band really is capable of. Yet, here that results in a full-blown post metal album with seven outstanding tracks. Most of them, including 'Mount Santo', my favorite 'Institution' (that rolling bass is hot!!!) and the massive 'Limitless' can easily entertain audiences far and wide. Although firmly rooted in the post-scene, elements from sludge metal, psychedelic rock and stoner rock are never far away. A great introduction, now let's hope they can confirm this in the near future.
The new brainchild of Nachtzeit, the man behind ambient dark metal project Lustre, comes up with an interesting dark ambient album. Although playful at time, this album takes us back to the mysterious and dark age of the Norse gods. Early in 'Drömmarna' acts like Mortiis (on Cold Meat Industry) and Wongraven come to mind. Synths, soundscapes and dreamy melodies guide the listening on a musical tour of medieval Europe, so it seems, highlighting in 'Löftet' and 'Tårarn'. Strangely, the title track 'Hädanfärden' has an X-Files OST feeling about it, which isn't bad, on the contrary. Fans of old school medieval dark ambient can easily appreciate this album.
alternative rock / hard rock / grunge
Belgian hard rock duo Breakfast At Midnight proves that two is enough to create heaps of noise. On this debut EP they blast seven tracks through our speakers, beginning with the heavy rocking 'Kidi Coke'. From then on, the rock doesn't seem to stop. Inspired by anything between Tool, Queens Of The Stone Age and Stone Temple Pilots, these two feed an everlasting fire. Most tracks drive on sheer energy but in 'What I'm To Say' and in '1813', the band delves deeply into the Pearl Jam version of grunge rock. Here, the vocals are excellent and clean while the other tunes contain heaps of aggressive screams. Not that I mind, this is pure rock 'n roll: raw, rough and heavy.
black metal / death metal
Grab onto something now because Ukrainian trio Goatsperm is about to unload a hellish, chaotic and vulgar EP, loaded with orthodox black/death metal. 'Voice In The Womb' contains three tracks, each one being a pummeling piece of extreme metal, as dark as Satan's butthole but with an ambient breather here and there. Somehow, this trio manages to combine atmospheric passages with sheer metallic terror, something that might indeed make a lot of banging heads turn their way in the near future. Besides, 'Into The Deep Waters Of Catacombs' is one of the fiercest black metal tunes I've heard this year. If you're a self-respecting extremist, you need this.
krautrock / shoegaze / punk
What would have happened if Ramones used My Bloody Valentine's guitar effects? What would a punk rock cover album of Neu! songs sound like? Well, Finnish six piece Teksti-TV 666 might have a decent answer for you. 'Aidattu Tulevaisuus' delivers six high-octane krautrock tunes with the raw energy of punk and the immersive nature of shoegaze. I admit, it is something different from the usual slabs of rock 'n roll that appear here but 'Turbo-Mondeo' and 'Aidattu tulevaisuus' can easily get your behind shaking. My favorite here is the somewhat slower 'Rauhankone', which might be described as a down-to-earth space rock track. Recommended? Hell yeah!
ambient / electronic / experimental
Hailing from Porto, Vitor Joaquim is a sound sculptor and visual artist, active around the strange borders between soothing ambient and otherworldly noise. This new album, 'Impermanence' contains seven tracks, revolving around repetitive soundscapes, almost subconscious loops and immersive musical textures. Here and there vocals samples have been added to increase the narrative nature of the music. That, along with the minimal soundscapes, makes the title track my favorite here but I'm sure that every fan of decent ambient music can appreciate these sounds. Obviously, this comes highly recommended.
ambient / drone / experimental / noise
An even more noisy and experimental variation on ambient sounds comes from Han, a project by Vitor Joaquim and Emidio Buchinho. This album revolves around live improvisation and real time processing, which results in something severely unusual and highly experimental. Yet, behind the gritty freestyle on the guitar, beautiful ambient loops lurk. These seven tracks are weird, immersive in one way, yet restrained and peculiar. Somehow this album feels like the early days of drone experimentation, when artists were exploring the other possibilities of their instruments. In all, this is an interesting release to dive into, but only for experienced avant gardists...
dark jazz / post rock / doom
I don't really know how to start this review. I want to write about the short appearance of A-Sun Amissa in my book, 'Cecilia's World' (---->) but I also want to write about that breathtaking concert at Trix that inspired that particular passage. I want to write about how I immediately became a huge A-Sun Amissa fan and about how they expanded the entire dark jazz scene.
But I think the safest way to do this is to dig deep into this brand new album and see how this project by Richard Knox (Shield Patterns, Glissando, founder of Gizeh Records) has evolved in the past few years.
'Ceremony in the Stillness', to be released September 14th, contains six tracks, all slow and compelling. On this follow-up to the highly acclaimed 'The Gatherer' A-Sun Amissa seems to dig deeper that ever before. The jazz elements faded to the background, making place for post rock and doom metal. On several of these tracks, including the immersive opener 'The Black Path', Knox twists the distortion knob a bit more.
Now, I can say a lot of things about this album, but there is one thing in my mind throughout the entire duration: a front seat at the forest stage of Dunk! festival. Now more than ever I see this band being a massive highlight on this Flemish post rock event, and all other related festivals around the world. With emotional rollercoasters like 'To The Ashes' or closer 'Remembrancer' , A-Sun Amissa will undoubtedly enchant audiences far and wide.
I guess it's not a surprise that bands like Mono, Stars Of The Lid and A Swarm Of The Sun come to mind more often than the Bohren or Dale Coopers of this world, which was the case on 'The Gatherer'. Lingering guitars and steady drum rhythms now make up most of the music, but the gloomy, intrinsic atmosphere remains a constant. Just listen to the fascinating anthem 'The Skulk' which does beautiful things with ambient, noise and avant garde classical music, often with the help of Jo Quail and other guests.
'No Perception Of Light' makes me realize that this project didn't really chance. It just continued its evolution towards ever more intriguing slow and murky music. Back then, I thought 'The Gatherer' was a highlight in the so-called "slowism" scene but this new work surpassed that, even though the much beloved jazz elements are now backgrounded. 'Ceremony in the Stillness' is a perfectly balanced album, one I would like to recommend to all fans of slow and dark.
doom / black metal
Flammarion is an album released on July 20 by black/ doom metal act Khanus. With eight tracks – The Serpent's Harvest, A Timeless Sacred Art, Titan Souls, Ageless, The Uncreated, Secular Spiritual Existence, Surrupu and Magick And Numbers – this exceedingly interesting extreme metal work showcases to its audience a formidable mixture of doom and black metal, with poignantly effusive, dense and incisive guitar lines, whose main focus is the elaboration of a sordid and conspicuously sinister atmosphere, that surrounds the harmonies in a lugubrious emptiness, that seems to lurk for a rapturous epicenter of agony at the crest of an everlasting fall.
The creation of the atmosphere is increasingly effective, and the morbid insinuations that goes along its sinister harmonies are astoundingly intense. The pace of the songs are generally very slow, but the sound is not monotonous at all – there is a hallucinating device that keeps growing all the way through, as grows in your mind the impression that you are sinking through a voracious dark tunnel, towards the deepest corners of the earth. As darkness enters you, the overall consistency of the sound penetrates into your soul, and liberates your heterogeneous zone of fears.
The album is very intelligent and bright at the evaluation and creation of its degrading, sordid, ambiguous, fearful atmosphere. Since the rhythms of the songs in general have little to no variation, the uniformity of the sound keeps your mood low through the dark process of the glaciation of your conscience. Nevertheless, the group do maintain an elaborate sonorous diagram of pervasive paradigms, keeping a labyrinth of sound that leaves your conscience wondering alone in the everlasting darkness of a world faded to disappear.
While I wouldn’t consider this album a masterpiece, it is certainly effective and marvelously competent displaying the sovereignty of its disruptive intentions, as to know, the consolidation of a dark atmosphere of fear and demise. Undoubtedly, Flammarion will be more appreciated between devoted followers of the genre; nonetheless, the record has enough qualities to captivate slow dark metal enthusiasts everywhere.
With a direct, lurid, abrasive approach, and a very sinister and funereal sound, Cinereous Incarnate is best described as a stereotypical death/ doom metal album. With seven tracks – Nether, Cinereous, Ashen Reign, Wings Of Annihilation, Incarnate and Devouring Night – the songs are all generally ten minutes long, more or less, with the exception of two tracks, Cinereous and Incarnate, the second and fifth, respectively, that are just brief interludes, and combined, give the name of the album. A very methodic, but at the same time brutal and digressive album, there is nothing exceptional about this work, which can be described as purely conventional, although with some modest reservations. Nevertheless, there is a definitive display of competence that outstands itself in the work, that is finely executed, decently produced, and expresses a great deal of appreciation for the genre in a somber and expansive context, in a more general evaluation.
While you aren’t allowed to expect anything extraordinary about Cinereous Incarnate, definitely the album has valuable, interesting elements, that are properly combined and fused altogether; as the album evolves, it is possible to notice a decent degree of authenticity, that prevents the group from being labeled as just a generic act. Exposing a dense and sinister atmosphere, that revolves around the darkness of its own sonorous stigma, the patient harmonies – finely structured over cohesively tempered guitar lines – are elaborated over a vacuum of sincere melancholy, that slow down behind virulent melodies, that wonders over a lost universe of dramatic deterioration and deliberate despair.
While Abstracter is pretty effective and competent in conceiving and delivering the ordinances of insanely sinister and afflictive melodies, unfortunately, as competent as they seem to be, what the band showcases in Cinereous Incarnate is no better or different to the vast majority of bands in the genre. With a flagrant lack of audacity and innovation, there is not too much perceptions to highlight about this album. It’s a good record, but doesn’t go anywhere beyond a simple evaluation.
Recommended to the most ardent and passionate enthusiasts of the genre, this album does achieve a degree of satisfaction that a lot of other albums in the genre aren’t capable of. But as I wrote above, and I repeat, there is nothing on this album that you haven’t heard a hundred times before in similar records. With a modest result, Cinereous Incarnate is not a bad or precarious album, but on the other hand, doesn’t have enough qualities to outstands itself either.
ambient / post rock / black metal / doom
You might be thinking, "what a strange title for an atmospheric metal album". 'Apples' is indeed not an everyday title but it does cover the load quite well, especially if you know what lies behind it. It was an apple that made Isaac Newton discover his laws of gravity. That Isaac Newton, along with his fellow scientists Robert Hooke and Edmond Halley are being tributed here. Yes, this album is a tribute to science, but not your everyday Western science, the one that merely analizes. This album is dedicated to the spiritual aspect of science, where scholars investigate the natural world to come closer to a god, not to further distance themselves from one.
You can read all about that in the accompanying text on bandcamp. For now, let's dive into the music because that is as unusual as it is interesting. Nagaarum is an Hungarian one-man project, for this album aided by Betty V. on female vocals and Roland Szabó who does the narrations. The music is an eclectic mix of ambient, metal, post rock and noise. The latter makes up the majority of the opening track, 'Middle Ages', reminding me of acts like Gjöll or Genocide Organ. Nagaarum quite often descends into the power noise pit but for the most part he seems to be rooted in the metal scene.
'Isaac' comes up with the guitars, drums and everything else that nudges the sound towards the doom metal scene. The cold, harsh atmosphere of black metal is present as well, but mostly without the screeching vocals. Those first appear in 'Prism', a strange blackened noise rock tune that seems to be influenced by Vinterriket and The Melvins alike. 'Robert' might be one of the most black metal related tracks here, fast, relentless and driving on piercing riffs. This chaotic tune brings back memories of those old 'World Domination' compilation series by Osmose Records, but again in a headstrong and unusual manner.
Then there are the gloomy ambient passages, eerie field recordings and meandering soundscapes like 'Hermit'. These don't just function as intros or intermezzos. They complete the overall concept. 'Nullius in Verba' seamlessly follows with a deep drone and a funeral doom atmosphere before melodic doom metal once again takes over in 'Edmond'. Needless to say perhaps, but this album comes with heaps of variation. It also comes with enough atypical elements to drag this album into the avant-garde corners of the metal scene. Negură Bunget came to mind a few times, which I guess is not a bad reference.
In all, this surely is an interesting album. Fans of ambient black metal can easily trust this one to satisfy but I'm not sure who else to recommend this to. I'm not sure if die-hard black metal fans, or even doomers, will be happy with the synth passages like the militaristic 'Revelations'. But perhaps those people should give this album a chance too. It's not a perfect extreme metal record but it definitely is a unique and compelling addition to your collection. So check it out, you'd be pleasantly surprised more than a few times.
Yesss, old school melodic doom metal, that's a perfect soundtrack for a Monday morning. It also brings a bleak and cold wind to this searing hot day, which is extremely welcome right now.
Hailing from Aarhus, Denmark, Woebegone Obscured delivers a massive atmospheric doom metal statement, one which should not be ignored by fans of the genre.
The band has been around for quite a while, since 1993 to be exact. Back then, the band formed by Danny Woe under the moniker Rimfrost, focused on black metal with doom elements.
Yet, as many bands, Woebegone Obscured started to evolve. The changed their name, released some demos, EPs and full-lengths. Now, with their third full-length under their arms, they plan to make a huge mark on the doom metal world. The evolution still seems to be going strong as the melodic doom gains elements from modern day post-scene, amongst others. That results in an overwhelming piece of work with plenty of variation and heaps of atmosphere.
'The Forestroamer' contains five tracks, including three massive anthems. 'The Memory And The Thought' immediately comes up with the goods. Monolithic riffs, melodic "anthemism" and deep growls drag the listener in from the very beginning. Soon other types of vocals start to appear, including blackened screams. Bands like Novembers Doom, Saturnus and Swallow The Sun come to mind. Yet, as the breathtaking 'Drommefald' proves, these guys mostly showcase decades of experience and expertise.
'Drommefald' is definitely a highlight, not only on this album but also in today's doom metal scene. Mostly driving on funeral doom tempos, this track brings everything people like about this style. It also throws in a fierce blast-beats driven passage into the mix, which only adds to the variation and the epicness of the whole thing. After a short breather, 'Crimson Echoes', the huge title track brings more of the same in the same mind boggling way. Eventually, 'Dormant In The Black Woods' brilliantly finishes off this epic record. Somehow even A Swarm of the Sun comes to mind with this one.
In all, 'The Forestroamer' is an incredible album, destined to be on the shelves of every self-respecting doom adept. So I urge you to pre-order the hell out of this thing and join me in hoping for a European tour very soon.
Right, back to traditional riffs worshiping, courtesy of Slovenian doom metal band Mist. Grab your war jacket, lace your boots and untie your ponytail because it is time to slowly bang our heads to this traditional female fronted blend of occult heavy and doom metal.
On 'Free Me Of The Sun' you can find ten tracks, each one balancing around the five minutes mark. I know, some doom freaks might want the songs to last a bit longer but somehow Mist managed to make them potent enough to remain enjoyable for a few consecutive listens.
When people talk about female fronted metal, the expectation is quite often one of angelic and dreamy vocals. However, Nina Spruk does things differently. With a potent, far-reaching voice she perfectly suits the equally potent music of her colleagues. With those elements, Mist places themselves amongst bands like Jex Thoth, Jess And The Ancient Ones, Windhand and so on. That would make this band an awesome addition to stoner and doom festivals, one that the audience will definitely appreciate.
Of course, musically you can expect to have bands like Saint Vitus and Black Sabbath coming to mind. The whole thing drives, or better thrives, on these monolithic riffs. Songs like opener 'The Ghoul' or 'December' are heavily immersive pieces of work and on 'Altar Of You' the guitars remind me a bit of My Dying Bride, another doom giant. Ok, perhaps the riffs in 'Disembody Me' are a bit too similar to Black Sabbath's 'War Pigs' but Mist easily turns it into one of their own.
I don't think that there is much more to say about this album. Obviously, this comes highly recommended for fans of traditional doom metal. It's difficult to find a favorite song, mainly because there is not that much variation to be found here, just a beautiful amalgamation of old school riffs, methodic drums and the magical witchcraft of Spruk. I know that many doomers will be sold immediately when they here these tunes. Although not the best album in its genre, I can see great things for Mist in the near future. This can become something huge.
dark metal / doom / black metal / progressive
Coined as the scene's most highly anticipated new band, Khôrada quickly set high expectations for themselves. Founded by former members of legendary American bands Agalloch and Giant Squid, this new entity debuts with unusual artwork (by painter & sculptor Cedric Wentworth) and an unusual sound. Khôrada is not only a brand new start after the demise of their previous bands, it's also a way to further explore their creative capabilities. The result is quite fascinating, practically impossible to categorize and certainly a fresh sound in an already loaded alternative music scene. I can call it "dark metal" but there's more than darkness and more than metal to be found.
The album opens with 'Edeste', which is no way functions as an intro. The song immediately drags you into the vast, expansive world of Khôrada. Doom metal seems to be the main element, judging from the massive riffs and the mostly slow tempo. On the other hand, this song also shows a few black metal elements, which most headbangers will easily appreciate. Moonspell comes to mind but that reference just as easily disappears again. Traditional dark metal bands are more radio-friendly and easy digestible as this one. This one never shuns the experiment, not musically, not in the vocal efforts, never.
'Seasons Of Salt' further digs into the obscure underground, combining doom riffs with black metal riffs. For me, this track is an early highlight. Somehow the vocals here bring Serj Tankian to mind. Not that this music resembles System Of A Down, although both bands share an often unpredictable nature. 'Water Rights' is another unique piece of progressive doom rock. In some passages Fields Of The Nephilim as well as other, more obscure, goth rock bands comes to mind while other blast intense sludge doom through my speakers . Strange but definitely interesting, that's for sure.
I haven't mentioned post rock yet, a genre that is not to be ignored these days. And yes, here too some vast instrumental and atmospheric passages appear, mostly evolving in sluggish doom after a while. In that aspect, 'Glacial Cold' is another one of my favorites, thriving on elementary but infections doom riffs. At the end you can find two more epic anthems which will easily gain the attention of every fan of progressive and atmospheric music. 'Ossify' is a perfect closer, powerful yet melodic, experimental yet immersive.
'Salt' is a remarkable album, somewhat political at times since it was written under the pressure and uncertainty of the beginning of the Trump-era. Back then there was doubt, frustration, chaos and fear, elements which certainly reflect on the overall sound of this album. Yet, most of all, this is an intensely emotional piece of work, one that might just as well become a prelude of great things to come for Khôrada.
progressive / doom / sludge
A Crypt in the Stars is an album released on July 6th, by British progressive doom metal trio Lowen. A relatively concise album – only about thirty five minutes long – the record has five more or less extensive tracks: Ashurbanipal's Request, Krenko's Command, The Fortress of Blood, A Crypt in the Stars and In Perpetual Bloom.
An interesting record, indeed, a very beautiful one, whose musical echoes dance over a fearless and genuine style, a little experimental, for sure, the proverbial, intense and calm melodic reverberations present on the harmonies are ostensibly captivating, and the serene, but at the same time exceedingly consistent and heavy pace of their mainly slow rhythmic lines, is also a major stylish feature.
Possibly, the serenity present in their music is their most outstanding quality. But they are very skilled in the dilapidation of more peripheral areas of their music as well, like their conscious abilities to display the honest beauty of their dramatic sensibilities. The female vocals proves to be a formidable and very splendid virtue, and their lengthy appeal gives a sense of solitary displacement to the heart, that seems to be the perfect place of exile for the soul. The deliberate lethargy engraves a tranquility into the sonorous atmosphere, that functions like a major sedative for the senses, propitiating a peaceful quietness that seems to take over the universe by assault.
Since A Crypt in the Stars isn’t a heavy album – on the contrary, it is quite melodic, simple and completely destitute of empty ambitions –, it has a more “easy listening” vibe, that certainly can attract and appeal to a wider audience. The musical competence of the group is beyond any question, and the length of the album is also a major intelligent intuitive artistic fact check. Given the nature of their style, exceptionally frozen, atmospheric and slow, it certainly would have been monotonous and tedious, if they had made it considerably longer.
Certainly one of the most beautiful, moderate and dense that I had the pleasure of listening in the style, I highlight A Crypt in the Stars, by Lowen, as an excellent work, of the highest quality. The sound is astonishing, the atmosphere is profound and consecrating, and the honest nature of their style clearly exhibits their exponential, latent and natural talent, throughout a very organic, expansive, direct and plausible sound.
Federico Dal Pozzo - Untitled_VNZ
ambient / experimental / noise
Deadsmoke - Forest Of The Damned
doom / sludge metal
Antoine Panaché - Pleasures
experimental / avant garde
Misantronics - Zührpruym
drone / electronic / ambient
Woes - The Coldest Place Is Within Myself
hardcore / crust / black metal
Brass Owl - Brass Owl
psychedelic rock / stoner rock
Dead Man's Eyes - Words of Prey
indie / alternative rock / psychedelic rock
Jübl - Thinking Sweet
dream pop / trip hop
Autger - Eucharistia, Praedestinatio Gemina
dark ambient / neoclassical / dark jazz
Dr Space - Dr Space's Alien Planet Trip Vol 1
krautrock / psychedelic rock
A Scar For The Wicked - The Unholy
death metal / deathcore
Stelios Ventas - Faded Flower
Feelament - Hate Delivery