Hexvessel – All Tree

Formed in 2009 by talented songwriter/musician Mat “Kvohst” McNerney, also known as frontman of Grave Pleasures, Hexvessel is deeply inspired by mythology and ancient folk traditions which naturally lead to the spiritual journey symbolized by the new album “All Tree”.

Listening to “Son Of The Sky” you’ll find yourself in the middle of the woods pondering about life as the folk elements and contemplative vibes shine bright through the peaceful acoustic phrases, the compelling violin melodies and the haunting tonalities of the lead guitar work.

The storytelling approach of “Old Tree” creates a serene yet extremely melancholic mood as violin and acoustic guitar carefully craft minimalist melodies that celebrate the beauty of nature and emphasize the pastoral folk soundscape.

“Changeling” also evokes a profound sense of melancholia with the calm vocal delivery and the shimmering acoustic melodies surrounded by graceful atmospheres enhanced by the delicate flute harmonies.

Like an old fable “Ancient Astronaut” brings the listeners to an arcane realm of ancient gods and enigmatic tales maintaining a wistful folk approach through reflective acoustic passages and somber lead guitars.

“Wilderness Spirit” has a more joyous upbeat rhythm carefully built by dynamic variations with loads of dazzling violin phrases but its lush melodic core still relies on a series of gentle folk acoustic melodies.

The instrumental track “Journey To Carnac” is filled with warm acoustic melodies that naturally convey an overwhelming nostalgia and glow through the subtle atmospheric layers.

“Closing Circles” feels more dramatic and significantly darker with an increasing spiritual intensity that influences the elegant classical nuances of violin and piano as well as the introspective vocal delivery.

It’s not surprising that the themes of “All Tree” revolve around a strong connection between myth and nature as Hexvessel meticulously weave bewitching melodies celebrating Karelian and Nordic folklore with a profound mystical aura.

Hecate Enthroned – Embrace Of The Godless Aeon

Hecate Enthroned are certainly one of the UK underground’s longest-running bands that, despite several line-up changes through the years, have always followed a blackened gothic sonic formula that once again comes to life on the new release “Embrace Of The Godless Aeon”.

The vampyric mood of “Revelations In Autumn Flame” is palpable through the super fast waves of blackened majesty courtesy of an infectious series of tight guitar riffs and hellish vocals constantly surrounded by refined gloomy keyboards arrangements that become essential within such nightmarish sonic vision.

“Temples That Breathe” feels like an arcane ritual as tormented atmospheres enrich the blackened fury of the guitars and drums while the crepuscular melodies are further enhanced by the lush symphonic gothic arrangements.

“Goddess Of Dark Misfits” begins with the profound melancholy of piano melodies that naturally accompany the darkly elegant vocals performed by guest vocalist Sarah Jezebel Deva and the consequent seductive gothic splendor becomes the highlight of the track.

Following a slower dramatic rhythm “Whispers Of The Mountain Ossuary” tends to focus on tenebrous atmospheres and graceful melodic textures with a fashionable gothic style until harsh guitar riffs confidently unleash cold blackened tonalities.

The epic lengthy final track “Erebus And Terror” begins like a funeral march that soon evolves into an opulent ode to darkness focusing mainly on gothic elements such as the immense gloom fully expressed by melodic guitars, dreamy piano, solemn symphonic orchestrations and Sarah’s fascinating operatic vocal harmonies.

The composition of “Embrace Of The Godless Aeon” might not be considered incredibly innovative nevertheless we can all agree that on this album Hecate Enthroned successfully deliver a delightful overdose of sultry gothic nuances that feel like a decadent soundtrack for cold winter nights.

Pulchra Morte – Divina Autem Et Aniles

Featuring seasoned musicians, death/doom metallers Pulchra Morte proudly unleash the debut full-length “Divina Autem Et Aniles” which guides the listeners through an intensely dark and heavy sonic maze.

The doom roots of “Give No More” are immediately evident with the raw energy of guitar riffs and the sorrowful melodies that inevitably evoke a sense of despair and the consequent rhythmic progressions maintain a monolithic groove without the need for breakneck speed.

“Soulstench” continues to showcase a mighty doom sound that dictates the mournful heaviness of the rhythmic section amplified by the ferocious growls while the melodic framework tends to stand out with elegant gothic tinged guitar phrases and eerie atmospheres.  

On “Fire And Storm” guitars channel sheer gothic splendor with an extra generous dosage of melancholic melodies enhanced by somber soloing and delicate classical strings while the main rhythmic core still dwells within a crestfallen doom realm.

The fierce rhythmic dynamics and the diabolical growls on “Thrown To The Wolves” ensure a sense of impending doom and a subtle aggressive momentum as the mood is absolutely dark even if there are plenty of slower grave melodic guitar passages.

Following similar darkened themes “Shadows From The Cross” features another round of gelid guitar melodies performed in classic doom fashion while the heavier segments and the enraged growls clearly channel ominous extreme metal roots.

The instrumental track “IX” focuses mainly on the dismal doom tonalities of the guitar work which holds a dominant role here crafting several cold melodies as well as wicked riffs resulting in a balanced blend of bold grooves and haunting feelings.

“Divina Autem Et Aniles” has all the necessary darkened force to grab your attention as it’s an album that only true doom/death metal acolytes could create and will definitely put Pulchra Morte on your radar.

Within Temptation – Resist

During their long successful career Within Temptation have achieved a fundamental role in the symphonic metal realm yet in recent years they gradually felt the need to explore new and different music styles, a necessary process to avoid stagnation and lack of inspiration. The return of Within Temptation is inevitably surrounded by high expectations and the new release “Resist” is in fact one of the most anticipated albums of 2019 symbolizing a new musical era and spreading empowering messages because it’s time to break free and fight for freedom.

Featuring guest vocalist Jacoby Shaddix of rockers Papa Roach, the wake up call of “The Reckoning” feels incredibly strong with triumphant accents and somber tones as the enticing instrumental passages fluently unfold through vivid futuristic synths and bouncy guitars while a shimmering melodic aura is always enhanced by the sheer elegance of Sharon’s eclectic vocal delivery.

Undoubtedly “Endless War” is full of vibrant melodic hooks emphasized by a profound melancholia embedded within the mixture of subtle symphonic orchestrations and contrasting modern electro layers that surround Sharon’s spellbinding vocal harmonies.

Guest vocalist Anders Fridén of In Flames provides some bold screams on “Raise Your Banner” and guitars acquire a more prominent role delivering heavier riffs and a crispy melodic solo while understated atmospheric textures constantly channel a darkened mood that will be further intensified by majestic symphonic orchestrations and Sharon’s impeccable operatic vocals glowing through the melodic crescendos.

“Supernova” returns to a futuristic sonic realm with loads of throbbing electronic arrangements that amplify the song’s modern pop approach and the catchy melodies of the memorable chorus while the brief yet intense symphonic style choirs convey solemn vibes.

“In Vain” relies on a profound nostalgia that dictates the lovable mellow rhythm while Sharon’s poignant vocals certainly are destined to steal the spotlight naturally embellishing every melodic progression and emphasizing the song’s inner passionate feelings.

Even if the polished melodic grandeur of “Trophy Hunter” is always evident leading to compelling catchy moments and a lavish chorus, the crunchy tonalities of the guitar riffage ensure a heavy rhythmic core surrounded by dramatic atmospheric layers and scattered majestic symphonic undertones.

It’s evident that Within Temptation went through a major sonic evolution, maybe there are only hints of the style that contributed to their success on the beloved “Mother Earth”, but it must be noted that this has been a rather smooth transition that reaches a natural acme with “Resist”. “Resist” is characterized by modern nuances and even a wide range of techno/pop elements and such accessible melodic approach is the result of a renewed creative force that definitely marks an important milestone for Within Temptation.

The Sabbathian – Latum Alterum

Formed by multi-instrumentalist Chad Davis and vocalist Anette Uvaas Guldbrandsen, The Sabbathian is ready to embark on the darkest music journey to deliver the arcane nuances of the debut full length “Latum Alterum”.

The darkened aesthetics of “The Brightest Light” hold a fundamental role within the brooding sonic realm fueled by the dismal doom tonalities of the monochromatic heavy guitar progressions while Anette’s enchanting vocals create surreal harmonies flowing through mysterious melodic waves.

The Nordic folk atmospheres of “Liti Kjersti” emphasize the profoundly melancholic melodies generated by the hazy guitar tones and the spellbinding classical vocal delivery while the rhythmic core of the song showcases a primordial creative force often inspired by traditional black metal.

On “Head Of A Traitor” vocals become exquisitely alluring with a lavish operatic delivery featuring the iconic Liv Kristine Espenæs as guest vocalist while the instrumental progressions revolve around steady obscure doom oriented guitar riffs embellished by elegant gothic atmospheres and melodic accents.

On “One Night Of Cruelty” guitars focus on a monumental heavy riffage channeling impending doom and occult rock vibes while spellbinding vocals enhance the pure darkened melancholy of the dreamy melodic phrases.

The enigmatic tonalities and the mystical aura of “Latum Alterum” will definitely attract lovers of dark melodies and doom metal as with evident songwriting skills The Sabbathian craft an hypnotizing music opus that demands your utmost attention.

Autumn Tears – Colors Hidden Within The Gray

Gothic/neoclassical collective Autumn Tears is ready to celebrate a fashionable return from slumber with the first full length album in eleven years entitled “Colors Hidden Within The Gray”, a grandiose opus focused on a detailed composition featuring thirty talented artists.

An elegant classical piano piece introduces the triumphant symphonic spirit of “The Day Of Wrath” as majestic operatic vocals naturally flow through enchanting melodic tapestries emphasizing the theatrical aspects of the kaleidoscopic composition.

“Rainlight Ascension” begins with the exquisite beauty of classical piano melodies accompanied by gentle vocals while the multi instrumental approach ensures variety with loads of dramatic strings and dreamy progressions.  

Ethereal neoclassical textures render “The Impressionist” particularly emotional skillfully blending rich symphonic orchestrations and soothing vocals but at the same time this track evokes darkened nuances.

“In Remembrance” feels darkly romantic with serene strings phrases and understated atmospheric layers yet it also features solemn symphonic crescendos embellished by lovely impeccable vocals.

With understated strength the title track offers monumental baroque orchestrations that allow the organ and violin to truly shine and often acquire gothic, even vampyric, tonalities in contrast with the minimalist piano and soft vocals.

“What We Have Become” features gorgeous violins that effortlessly create a dreamy classical realm full of gloomy emotions and adorned by the theatrical splendor crafted by the meticulous symphonic orchestrations and the luminous vocal delivery.

The neoclassical opulent music vision of Autumn Tears might be dedicated to a niche audience as “Colors Hidden Within The Gray” is a quite unique album that often feels like a night at the opera focusing on charming multi layered arrangements and sumptuous vocal performances.