Frequency Drift – Letters To Maro

With delightful artistic concepts in mind and a desire to create innovative tonalities German progressive band Frequency Drift embarks on a new emotionally charged music journey with the latest full length “Letters To Maro”.

With soft magical atmospheres “Dear Maro” opens the album focusing on ambiance accents and refined melodies that certainly put the spotlight on the elegant performance of the band’s new vocalist Irini Alexia but also create several soothing rhythmic crescendos with lavish orchestrations.

“Underground” is made of polychromatic nuances skillfully created by gracefully melancholic keyboards melodies and poetic vocal delivery as the band continues to explore a whirlwind of emotions further enhanced by unexpected electronic harp harmonies.

As if the ghosts from the past are back to haunt us “Neon” has a slightly darker mood amplified by futuristic electro accents that spice up the charming atmospheric arrangements yet intricate luminous keyboards melodies often evoke a sense of hopefulness.

“Izanami” can feel ethereal like a breeze by the sea as loads of atmospheric layers whisper in our ears stories of loss leading to several pensive moments accompanied by minimalist acoustic passages but there some cathartic energetic rhythmic segments embellished by Irini’s theatrical vocals.

“Sleep Paralysis” depicts a quite unique sonic palette with evident progressive inspiration leading to unusual tempo variations while vocals again hold a crucial role with a stylish emotive delivery that always matches the moody instrumental work.

“Who’s Master” is probably the most complex song on the album and showcases a borderline sinister mood effortlessly expressed by crestfallen atmospheres but waves of surreal melodic splendor will eventually evolve into flamboyant progressive segments followed by Irini’s intense ‘stream of consciousness’ vocal style.

On “Letters To Maro” sophisticated arrangements and melancholia infused images lead to a healing process fueled by the impeccable cinematic rock soundscapes confidently crafted by Frequency Drift.
Letters to Maro

Cor Scorpii – Ruin

It’s been a decade since the debut album of Norwegian sognametal band Cor Scorpii which started as an offshoot of the iconic act Windir. Now Cor Scorpii are ready to return and impress the metal scene with the genuinely passionate work of music of the sophomore release “Ruin”.

The poetic atmospheres of “Svart Blod (Hovmod står for fall)” introduce a gloomy series of sharp guitar riffs which effortlessly follow a rather blackened rhythmic core obviously amplified by desperate growls and the whole song is influenced by wintry emotions that become even more palpable during the slower dreamy moments featuring the angelic vocal delivery of classical singer Annika Beinnes and the kaleidoscopic nuances of refined keyboards arrangements.

The folk/pagan metal flavors of “Skuggevandrar” will immediately stand out as a fiery rhythmic ensemble gallops confidently faster with strong guitar riffing and heartfelt somber melodies as always accompanied by intricate keyboards textures which provide extra solemn depth and infinite sadness through heavier rhythmic segments.

“Ri Di Mare” offers sublime classical arrangements before entering a darker sonic realm where guitars acquire full blackened energy supported by thunderous drums yet the song’s melodic ensemble will always hold an essential role as wistful guitar passages and fascinating keyboards effortlessly craft sophisticated tapestries.

On “Ærelaus” folk and pagan metal vibes become more dominant influencing the bouncy rhythmic dynamics and the vibrant multifaceted melodic guitar work yet when drums dictate a faster grim tempo black metal elements surface with fierce strength.

Like a Norwegian metal anthem “Siste Dans” begins with particularly sorrowful tones that will recur throughout the song shaping the thoughtful melodic intensity of compelling guitar phrases while a subtle gothic mood can be perceived in the keyboards atmospheric splendor and Annika’s graceful vocals.

At the core of “Ruin” the beloved Nordic melancholy infused soundscapes hold a crucial role as Cor Scorpii showcases an intense songwriting style that effortlessly blend the dark energy of extreme metal and ethereal melodic beauty to create a truly alluring collection of songs.
Ruin

Unprocessed – Covenant

German progressive metal band Unprocessed aims to impress the audience with the eclectic tonalities and the crushing rhythms of the new concept album “Covenant” which lyrically explores the inner universe of a human being.

Constantly surrounded by surreal atmospheric arrangements “Haven” is definitely an intriguing track that immediately showcases meticulous attention for details and complexity as guitars are ready to surprise the listeners blending multiple melodic textures and heavy riffage following several tempo changes that with a palpable prog inspiration will lead to a wild solo.

“Ghilan” becomes darker channeling a futuristic chaos fueled by punishing riffing & drumming yet the melodic essence of this song still has a primary role as guitars sinuously craft enticing passages with an edgy technical approach and vocals effortlessly shift from primordial guttural screams to somber clean delivery.

With a passionately softer approach “The Mirror” shines for the contemplative momentum expressed by the melancholic piano melodies and heartfelt clean vocals while guitars will later add extra rich melodic flavors and technical twists.

“Meridian” clearly focuses on high impact rhythmic dynamics with slick technical segments featuring a powerful bass & guitars combo that are in constant evolution often favoring a fierce heavier approach while ambiance atmospheres evoke a distant sense of serenity.

“Exhale” features the heaviest and darkest moments on the album with extreme metal nuances embedded in the massive crunchy guitar riffing and thunderous drumming that simply create an impenetrable wall of sound leaving minimal space for hints of melodies and ethereal electronic vibes.

Certainly the strength of “Covenant” can be found in the often unexpected tempo & style variations as Unprocessed fearlessly march beyond standard song structures to create intense contrasts and excellent instrumental work.
Covenant

Khôrada – Salt

Featuring former Agalloch members Don Anderson on guitar, Jason Walton on bass and Aesop Dekker on drums alongside former Giant Squid guitarist / vocalist Aaron John Gregory the new band Khôrada is ready to rise with the intricate debut album “Salt” and the spontaneous desire to explore diverse music styles.

“Edeste” can often favor delicate shades of melancholy with comforting darkened instrumental passages and mystical atmospheric arrangements but there is a heavier enigmatic spirit that will inevitably demand attention with gritty riffing galore and scratchy vocals.

“Seasons Of Salt” might borrow the dismal strength of doom metal but doesn’t necessarily follow any particular composition rules and rather puts together refreshing yet extremely dark melodies with underlying mysterious vibes fueled by a shimmering dominant guitar work.

“Water Rights” can easily reach an atmospheric gloomy acme enhanced by dramatic vocals evoking obscure feelings that easily match the darkened melodic guitar progressions as well as the recurring more aggressive rhythmic intensity.

“Ossify” feels particularly ambitious with a taste for decadent atmospheres and surreal soundscapes but this time guitars focus greatly on an intriguing series of elegant kaleidoscopic melodic moments that seamlessly embrace theatrical tonalities or even restless faster rhythmic crescendos and become the indisputable highlight of this lengthy track.

Among new names to check out in the current underground metal scene this year Khôrada will certainly stand out with the challenging often uneasy sonic vision behind “Salt”, an album that will require multiple thorough listening sessions to embrace its inner adventurous soul and dramatic energy.

Khorada Salt

Night Club – Scary World

For the sophomore album “Scary World” Los Angeles based electronic duo Night Club has created an exciting sonic realm where dancey grooves feel like a crazy sugar rush and dolls & bunnies become nightmarish figures hidden in the darkness flowing through this captivating dysfunctional collection of songs.

The title track has a multifaceted soul featuring contrasting scratchy electro layers and harmonious children choirs to evoke in fact the scary aspects of life as well as underlying hints of sweet hopefulness.

“Schizophrenic” is one of the most addictive tunes as Mark assembles loads of dreamy & playful beats that immediately call for a dance party and despite the super catchy chorus the electro ensemble hides a world of profound darkness.

“Blood On Your Blade” is full of crunchy dancey beats that will not go unnoticed and Emily’s sultry vocal delivery enhances the songs darkly charming mood.

“Candy Coated Suicide” is the album’s lead single and perfectly represents the bittersweet magic and psychotic wonderland that Night Club effortlessly create with a lovely overdose of addictive rhythms and wicked catchy synths.

“Imaginary Friend” is another sweet tune enriched by nostalgic ‘80s vibes flowing naturally through lovable groovy synths layers that will lead to a super shimmering yet sinister chorus.

It seems obvious that “Vampires” relies on a darker melancholy that calls for a softer rhythm yet doesn’t sacrifice the intensity of the danceable grooves.

“Survive” closes the album with bursts of frenetic borderline anxious electro waves carefully mixed with laid back yet exquisitely darkened piano melodies and Emily’s softest melancholic vocal delivery ultimately channels dramatic emotions .

Undoubtedly Night Club wants to get you moving on the dance floor without forgetting that smiling is overrated and causes wrinkles consequently “Scary World” is deliciously fun but at the same time its own outpouring energy is constantly fueled by that creepy feeling that something is eternally wrong, a mood definitely matched by the cute anti heart symbol on the album cover.
Scary World [Explicit]

Acârash – In Chaos Becrowned

Norwegian occult rock band Acârash is ready to conquer the underground scene with the esoteric poetry and blackened nuances of the long awaited debut album “In Chaos Becrowned”.

“Cadaver Dei” invites you to join Acârash through a hazy sonic maze where desolate atmospheric layers introduce a blackened realm of gelid darkness made of gritty guitar riffs and low devilish vocals leading to moody melodic textures and wilder rock grooves.

Keeping all things dark as main inspiration “Shadows Roam” owes its obscure strength to the atmospheric blackened abyss where guitars shift from an archaic black metal riffing galore to the impenetrable gloom of slower paced melodies that in the song’s final moments channel a classic rock nostalgic vibe.

The title track begins with a feverish round of groovy guitar riffs and a delicious blackened aura continues to dominate every instrumental passage naturally enhanced by highly somber raucous vocals before giving way to bouncy occult rock guitar melodies and majestic faster bursts of gloomy rhythmic progressions.

Nightmares can become real and “Ashes Of The Mortal Mind” could not sound darker as deeply mournful vibes surround the lovable melodic guitar licks that often evoke a doom inspired mood and gothic splendor enhanced by the extremely grim vocal delivery and the perilous blackened grooves.

Darkness continues to descend triumphantly on “Cenotaph In Flesh” which certainly offers a fair dosage of wild hard rock dynamics but here it’s pitchblack and through melodic contemplative segments guitars inevitably gallop faster with massive gloomy vibes while growls embrace an arcane rhythmic urgency.

For a new band it’s not easy to attract a wide audience with a debut album but the spellbinding   hymns to darkness that Acârash has meticulously conjured on “In Chaos Becrowned” simply cannot be missed.
In Chaos Becrowned

Tusmørke – Fjernsyn i Farver

Norwegian prog/folk band Tusmørke is ready to impress and surprise the listeners once again with the unique macabre romanticism and the unusual melodic textures of the new album “Fjernsyn i Farver” based on philosophical concepts regarding light, time and reality.

“Fjernsyn i Farver (Colour Television)” opens the album with psychedelic fervor leading to the recurring trance inducing flute, futuristic electro beats and the expected generous dosage of classic folk dynamics that will interrupt the surreal rhythmic structure delivering solemn melodies.

On “Kniven i kurven (The Knife in the Basket)” a poetic flute introduces cathartic folk nuances inviting the listeners to join the chants in the middle of the enchanted forest but the song’s complexity will often lead to multifaceted rhythms and melodic progressions.

The vintage organ and the groovy percussions on “Death Czar” successfully build catchy grooves and the whole instrumentation & vocals certainly match the retro vibes and uplifting emotional quality that characterize the song’s intricate melodies.

The epic final track “Tøyens hemmelighet (The Secret of Tøyen)” definitely draws inspiration from traditional folk music as gentle & uplifting flute harmonies take the lead creating magical moments followed and enhanced by the positive energy of the whole instrumentation featuring a series of often unusual rhythmic variations with remarkable prog rock elements and complex melodic tapestries.

Truly not many bands can skillfully offer the mind bending soundscapes that Tusmørke continue to effortlessly deliver and while “Fjernsyn i Farver” might not reach a wide audience it is an album that will be remembered for the wild avant-garde essence.
Fjernsyn I Farver

The Night Flight Orchestra – Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough

After the sensational 2017 album “Amber Galactic” Swedish classic/progressive rock supergroup The Night Flight Orchestra, featuring Soilwork’s Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid and David Andersson, is back for more outer space adventures and ready to deliver the latest effort “Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough” directly from an extraterrestrial orbit.

Introduced by a mysterious aura “This Time” will promptly delight you with an overdose of crunchy guitar riffs that follow a flamboyant party mood and when keyboards start to dominate the song’s structure with all kinds of shimmering arrangements and entertaining bluesy piano it’s time to open a bottle of champagne.

Contrary to the title “Paralyzed” will get you moving with irresistible funky & sexy rhythms with smooth polished guitar work and tons of positive energy while Bjorn’s vocals are simply on fire with a glamorous passionate delivery, so once again it’s party time!

The title track relies heavily on easy pop rhythms particularly emphasized by keyboards artistry with strong ‘80s flavors definitely matched by the hard rock tonalities of crispy melodic guitar work that will inevitably reach the acme with the flamboyant solos.

“Lovers In The Rain” has a ballad style approach as a melancholic mood deeply influences the whole instrumentation significantly slowing down the rhythm to embrace softer romantic melodies and atmospheric keyboards while Bjorn vocals channel nostalgic vibes.

“Can’t Be That Bad” is filled with classic rock guitar driven grooves but the polychromatic good vibes of the keyboards arrangements certainly shift the focus on widely accessible melodies and danceable moments.

Just like the rest of the album “Winged And Serpentine” could have been composed decades ago featuring a super catchy round of guitar riffs which are executed in perfect classic rock fashion with authentic ‘80s tonalities leading to an euphoric memorable chorus.

The longest track “The Last Of The Independent Romantics” is a nostalgic trip that begins with an overdose of extra mellow keyboards melodies and spacey atmospheres but soon guitars will gain refreshing energy delivering gritty rocking riffs followed by the raw energy of Bjorn’s intense vocals and the sparkling licks of the blissful lead guitar work.

With “Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough” you can tell that The Night Flight Orchestra is on a serious mission to keep ‘80s classic rock alive spiced up by cosmic themes and fueled by an obviously strong passion for such unforgettable music genre.
Sometimes the World Aint Enough

Follow The Cipher – Follow The Cipher

Started by Sabaton’s longtime collaborator Ken Kängström, Swedish power metallers Follow The Cipher are eager to reach a wide audience with the debut self titled album which focuses on a renowned & beloved music formula in the metal scene with additional modern twists.

“Enter The Cipher” invites the listeners to join this young band in this bombastic music endeavor opening the album with solemn atmospheric arrangements that create a suspenseful momentum that will lead to a super catchy combo of keyboards and guitars. There are hints of classic symphonic metal in the background with a strong inner melodic essence structured to enhance the charismatic performance of vocalist Linda Toni Grahn.

“Valkyria” focuses more on the electro elements of the band’s style ensuring a modern approach yet the traditional power metal influence remains quite important in the songwriting with the right dosage of triumphant keyboards & guitars melodies within the harsher rhythmic dynamics.

Even if the electro arrangements of “My Soldier” still hold a crucial role the overall atmosphere becomes utterly melancholic with the occasional heartfelt piano melodies and Linda’s emotionally charged vocals which contribute to enhance the song’s melodic power metal ballad aspects.

With a polished wall of sound “The Rising” mixes futuristic vibes and classic power metal riffs to ensure maximum groovy force with a slightly dramatic mood while lead guitars always craft melodic passages amplified in the fancy solo.

“A Mind’s Escape” features loads of soothing melodies which shift from the mellow & catchy vibes of the chorus to a deeper melancholy expressed by soft synths layers and passionate vocals but there are also some epic symphonic moments that will create darker atmospheres.

“Starlight” is meant to be played loud featuring another solid ensemble of powerful guitar riffs, entertaining solo acrobatics and flamboyant keyboards but the whole instrumental formula is certainly spiced up by the fierce growls and a heavier rhythmic section.

This is just the beginning of an exciting journey but Follow The Cipher already have a clear sonic manifesto that will appeal to power metal acolytes as the album mainly relies on melodic hooks and crunchy riffage.
Follow the Cipher

With The End In Mind – Unraveling; Arising

Based in Olympia, Washington black metallers With The End In Mind are finally ready to release the debut full length “Unraveling; Arising” which promises a modern mixture of ferocious blackened blasts and gloomy atmospheres.

There is no escape from the nihilist realm of “Sings The Sky” as the apparent peace evoked by the initial shoegaze inspired combo of hazy atmospheric arrangements and graceful melodic guitars is wiped away by a thunderous blackened force that will eventually conquer the spotlight with unstoppable hectic dynamics.

“From The True Source” almost feels brighter as emotionally charged crystalline guitar melodies and fragile atmospheres become the main focus until the unrestrained blackened energy re-emerges through fierce rhythmic segments, reverb galore and distant ferocious growls.

With growing intensity darkness descends on “Wheeling, Endlessly Wheeling” followed by profoundly melancholic guitar melodies that depict fragile & dreamy soundscapes enhanced by gentle female vocals generating a sense of tranquility that will be abruptly interrupted by blackened fury.

With The End In MInd have just started their music journey and seem to be fully committed to the cascadian atmospheric black metal approach that creates a realm of infinite sadness and asphyxiating rhythms on “Unraveling; Arising”.
Unraveling; Arising