Enisum – Seasons Of Desolation

Italian band Enisum has been creating music for several years yet it might still be a new name in the underground metal scene, nevertheless the newest effort “Seasons Of Desolation” is bound to raise interest among atmospheric black metal connoisseurs.

“Autumn Of Melancholy” immediately showcases post-black metal atmospheric nuances with hazy guitar melodies that evoke immense desolation bus soon evolve into a more aggressive guitar riffing & drumming combo reminiscent of old school Nordic black metal.

“…Of Desolation” continues to rely on utterly melancholic guitar melodies that, once again, function as introduction for desperate growls and faster primordial blackened riffing followed by a highly atmospheric shoegaze oriented breakdown.

“Snow Storm” instead unleashes blackened fury at the very beginning and, as expected, the monolithic guitar riffs are surrounded by softer distant melodies so the song’s structure does not really deviate from Enisum’s music formula.

“Dead Star” amplifies a profound melancholy focusing almost exclusively on elegant darkened guitar melodies and accessible mellow female vocals until an urgent crescendo of traditional black metal dynamics becomes suddenly the dominant theme.

“Lake Of Tears” is certainly dramatic with a steady cascade of minimalist gloomy guitar progressions that tend to acquire colder blackened tonalities to temporarily disrupt the introvert melodic flow.

Founder and songwriter Lys has assembled a solid line up that certainly contributed to achieve the confident sound of “Seasons Of Desolation” which might not shine for uniqueness but definitely stays true to its title portraying a heartfelt ensemble of bleak soundscapes.

 

Noumena – Myrrys

Finnish metallers Noumena return with their 5th full length album, “Myrrys” which is chock full of their distinctly Finnish brand of gloomy melo-death.

After a three year hiatus, “Myrrys” is accurately self described as “A celebration of 90’s melodic death and melancholic Finnish mollie tunes.” This is also the first record the band’s lyrics are supplied fully in their native Finnish, which certainly adds an air of mystique to the music. Throughout the record, rife with straight ahead meat and potatoes drumming, über catchy riffs, bear like death growls, and soothing femme vocals to balance things out, Noumena never cease at delivering the goods.

The production is quintessential melo-death supplied by the mighty Dan Swanö! This collaboration certainly couldn’t be a coincidence considering the gravitas the Swanö name brings to a melodic death metal recording. At times it feels like Noumena are channeling the lineage of some of Dan’s older projects mainly “Tonights Decision” era Katatonia, through a more metal lense.

While they certainly aren’t reinventing the wheel here, that’s not necessarily a detriment either. The other elements with the female vocals and traditional Finnish instrumentation certainly add a level of spice that similar bands of the genre seem to lack. Fans of catchy depressive rock metal In the vein of older Amorphis, Insomnium, Daylight Dies, and Older In Flames should certainly find something to enjoy here.

Rings Of Saturn – Ultu Ulla

2017 sees the return of Sci-Fi tech-death masterminds Rings of Saturn with their 4th album of otherworldly, futuristic brand of aliencore that could actually be from the year 2047, Ultu Ulla.

For a band that took the deathcore/tech-death blueprint and expanded on it exponentially, to absurd levels, this new record does the impossible: making brain meltingly complex music accessible to a wider metal audience. The additions of guitarist Miles Dimitri Baker and drummer Aaron Stechauner certainly must be a defining reason for this. The guitar and drum interplay are simply inhuman in terms of speed and complexity, making us wonder what alien technology was used to allow a human to play with such speed.

Most importantly, the songwriting this time around has improved significantly. The juxtaposition of harmony next to bowel rumbling breakdowns and peppered with ridiculous guitar shredding licks are done at their highest level in the bands discography thus far. Keyboards in the vein of Super Nintendo or PlayStation soundtracks have also been added further solidifying the futuristic/alien aesthetic.  The instrumental songs mixed in could arguably be the highlights of this record. Either the Spanish Guitar tinged “Unhallowed” or the melodic shred fest of “The Macrocosom” ROS is pushing their own creativity to the brink. Not only do these tracks break up the chaos but the variety and diversity these songs bring is such a breath of fresh air in the otherwise vacuum of deep space brutality ROS is otherwise known for.

Fourth albums are typically the testing ground for bands, either staying the course with similar material or attempting to expand in new directions. I’m happy to see that ROS has decided to go for the latter. Ultu Ulla is easily their best effort yet and hopefully a sign of even better things to come.

Kadavar – Rough Times

German rockers Kadavar return triumphantly with the fashionably loud album “Rough Times” which, as expected, will take the listeners through a wild fuzzy music journey with blazing retro rock vibes.

With crazy borderline chaotic crushing weight the title track ensures high impact with tremendously heavy fuzzy guitar riffs that carry glorious ‘70s tonalities but occasionally the instrumentation and the vocals acquires easier melodic textures.

“Into The Wormhole” feels dizzy and dazed as we are traveling back in time under the influence of hallucinogenic stoner rock jams with roaring guitar riffs bearing a hint of the heaviest doom available and crunchy thick bass lines while the vocal delivery in the chorus is absolutely catchy.

“Die Baby Die” is an unforgettable track that offers addictive guitar riffs & melodies with a solid up-tempo groove, as the mood grows darker a blistering psychedelic fuzzy guitar solo inevitably steals the spotlight.

“Vampires” could have been composed in the ‘70s as Kadavar are able to naturally channel pure vintage melodies that here express a moody sense of melancholia but never fail to build a charismatic rhythm enriched by an excellent retro rock infused guitar solo.

“Tribulation Nation” sounds like a spacey blurry trip as a true psychedelic galore with an intergalactic essence surrounds the guitar driven grooves resulting in a memorable glistening catchy song.

“A L’Ombre Du Temps” takes you to an alternate reality as it deviates from the heavy stoner rock structure to deliver trippy dreamlike ambient vibes spiced up by ethereal distortions and bohemienne French whispered recitation.

“Rough Times” can easily hypnotize the audience with an impulsive psychedelic rock whirlwind and monumental spacey grooves confirming that Kadavar have become a mature prolific band with a remarkable creative force.

Eluveitie – Evocation II – Pantheon

After major lineup changes beloved Swiss folk metallers Eluveitie is ready to release the new acoustic effort “Evocation II – Pantheon” which is the sequel to the acclaimed album “Evocation I – The Arcane Dominion”. Fans will certainly rejoice as this new album features a grandiose folk music journey inspired by Celtic mythology and carefully crafted with a wide array of traditional folk instruments.

It might be the use of the ancient extinct language Gallic instead of plain English but “Epona” really takes you back in time, preferably in the middle of a forgotten forest where magical instruments such as mandola, hurdy gurdy and bagpipe create radiant melodies surrounded by positive energy.

With “Nantosvelta” you are still stuck in the forest and a bit of melancholia takes over the whistles melodies but soon the rhythm gains more energetic dynamics with a solid series of strings passages and groovy drumming.

“Lvgvs” features darker enigmatic atmospheric vibes enhanced by Fabienne Erni’s spellbinding vocal delivery and the whole instrumentation bears a mystical power even when soft whistles & strings create memorable charming melodies.

Created as an invocation of the Helvetic battle god “Catvrix” is probably the darkest track on this album starting with borderline ominous chants and a majestic rhythm in contrast with Fabienne’s passionate luminous vocals.

On “Artio” Fabienne’s ethereal voice becomes the center of attention evoking an arcane chant style surrounded by graceful acoustic atmospheres.

Similarly “Esvs” feels particularly peaceful favoring soft arrangements elegantly crafted by gentle acoustic melodies but also holds a mysterious aura enhanced by soulful choirs.

“Tarans” picks up speed with entertaining multi-instrumental grooves in proper folk fashion and towards the end fiery chants add extra ancient folklore vibes.

Some listeners might not appreciate the lack of metal on “Evocation II – Pantheon” nevertheless Eluveitie delivers an excellent performance on this acoustic collection of songs that truly portrays the profound mystical nature of folk music.

Satyricon – Deep Calleth Upon Deep

Norwegian masters Satyricon are ready to begin a new chapter as our favorite duo, Satyr and Frost, has crafted the new diabolic opus “Deep Calleth Upon Deep” with a charismatic creative force that seems to rise directly from the darkest hidden depths of human soul. During a long and intense music history Satyricon has always challenged black metal traditional boundaries embracing a cathartic sonic evolution that ultimately leads to the confident honest songwriting of “Deep Calleth Upon Deep”.

“Midnight Serpent” features the recognizable blackened energetic dynamics of Satyricon’s signature style. Fervent guitars are capable of crafting the darkest melodies as well as an irresistible groovy rhythmic assault that marches through an absolutely sinister sonic realm inevitably enhanced by enigmatic spiritual atmospheres.

The title track takes you to the cold Nordic wilderness with solemn atmospheric vibes, enticing dark melodic guitars and mesmerizing classical backing vocals that work together harmoniously to create profound mystical melodies.

“The Ghost Of Rome” can be mysterious with a shroud of perennial gloom and gothic nuances surrounding the whole instrumentation yet fierce guitars create a complex crescendo of captivating melodies and intensely blackened riffs while Satyr’s renowned vicious vocal delivery flawlessly matches the majestic dismal mood.

“Dissonant” will definitely impress the listeners with a quite experimental approach that offers eclectic tempo variations and the addition of flamboyant jazzy saxophone to the powerful blackened grooves steadily built by charismatic melodic progressions entwined with harsh guitar tonalities.

“Black Wings And Withering Gloom” drastically amplifies an overwhelming cold darkness with ardent faster guitar riffs and plummeting technical drums that channel a memorable traditional black metal flavor. Without hesitation, Satyricon also delivers more accessible tormented guitar melodies elegantly embellished by classical violins that evoke vivid poetic depth.

Once again, with “Deep Calleth Upon Deep” Satyricon fearlessly reinvents the band’s style exploring music territories beyond the standard black metal category and continues to diverge from the typical rules of such subgenre delivering a passionately refined dark work of music.

 

Barb Wire Dolls – Rub My Mind

As the story goes legendary Lemmy Kilmister discovered Barb Wire Dolls and signed them to Motörhead Music. Now Barb Wire Dolls continue their explosive career with the newest release “Rub My Mind” recorded at the legendary studio Rancho De Luna in California.

“Back In The USSA” relies on catchy rhythms and raw punk rock energy with simple but entertaining guitar riffs and savage vocals.

“If I Fall” bears the same fiery raw exciting guitar dynamics but offers also additional music textures with extra groovy bass lines and consistently rebellious vocals.

On “Desert Song” you can perceive the Joshua Tree desert influence as graceful guitar melodies acquire hazy tones while Isis Queen delivers a particularly flamboyant vocal performance with emotive intensity.

“Fade Away” slows down but doesn’t feel like your standard rock ballad as the languid bluesy melodic guitars and the melancholic vibes create a wistful dreamlike state.

Isis Queen embodies the uncompromising punk rocker spirit with edgy vocal delivery and “Contract” feels electrifying with a super catchy grungy chorus carrying the typical punk attitude that requires total artistic freedom, therefore Barb Wire Dolls don’t refrain from creating untamed groovy & dirty guitar driven riffs.

“Fire To Burn” lowers the tone putting aside the punk savagery to deliver a sincere emotional rock ballad featuring the traditional round of acoustic arpeggios and lovely melodies.

Overall, “Rub My Mind” is a fun album that can be absolutely wild like a punk rock revival with strong feminist attitude and Barb Wire Dolls showcase music variety exploring also softer retro rock nuances.

Loviatar – Loviatar

Hailing from Canada Loviatar proudly releases the first self titled full length effort crafting an interesting blend of gloomy doom/post-metal nuances surrounded by a remarkable mythological aura.

“Nascent (Stygian Wyrm Part I)” opens the album with charismatic guitar melodies that often showcase the dark magnificence of doom metal while the overall mood features some arcane folk accents. In contrast “Discordant (Stygian Wyrm Part II)” offers a highly energetic guitar driven rhythm supported by super thick bass lines and turbulent drumming.

“Ascendant (Stygian Wyrm Part III)” instead shifts the focus to more melancholy infused memorable guitar melodies and desolate atmospheres.

“Blind Goddess of the Nine Plagues” is a monolithic lengthy music piece that cannot be ignored as it includes all the major elements that characterize Loviatar’s music pathway. Thick atmospheric layers enhance a super heavy tormented ensemble of doom oriented guitar riffs and mournful melodies. The band builds a monumental bass & drums backbone with occasional balanced powerful faster blasts while solemn moody guitar melodies provide profound darkened textures and acquire multidimensional hypnotic quality during the slower mystical moments.

In terms of composition and conceptual creativity Loviatar confidently delivers a cohesive album that will certainly trigger interest in the current metal scene.

Epica – The Solace System

Symphonic metal masters Epica are known to be quite prolific and an unstoppable creative force in the current metal scene. While working on the widely acclaimed full length “The Holographic Principle” some songs didn’t exactly fit the flow of the record therefore Epica has decided to release this extra material as six new tracks on the EP “The Solace System”.

The title track displays all the lavish elements that have contributed to Epica’s worldwide success. Grandiose symphonic arrangements constantly create theatrical layers entwined with harsher guitar driven grooves but the main music core here revolves around luminous guitar melodies that reach a natural acme with the highly catchy chorus enhanced by Simone’s flawless & passionate vocal performance.

“Architect Of Life” starts with somber majestic orchestrations and solemn operatic choirs as expected from Epica’s flourishing music formula. Polished guitar leads and crunchy guitar riffs work harmoniously to keep a compelling melodic fluidity.

“Wheel Of Destiny” features charismatic faster guitar riffs and more aggressive metal twists while dazzling catchy melodies are surrounded by enticing haunting atmospheric arrangements.

On “Decoded Poetry” you will find a poetic guitar approach that delivers loads of soothing melodies embellished by dramatic operatic choirs and Simone’s smooth uplifting vocal delivery but, as expected, Epica doesn’t forget to add some rough borderline furious guitar riffing amplified by Mark’s venomous growls.

Overall, the tracks included on “The Solace System” are impeccably executed and showcase a palpable affinity with the album “The Holographic Principle” which renders them easy to love for all Epica’s devotees.

With The Dead – Love From With The Dead

Iconic former Cathedral singer Lee Dorrian and ex-Electric Wizard/Ramesses bassisit/guitarist Tim Bagshaw have joined forces again in the band With The Dead to deliver the new album “Love From With The Dead”, an authentic doom metal opus that could become the perfect soundtrack for our dysfunctional world.

As the album opener “Isolation” begins with monolithic guitar riffs and desperate laments, it becomes clear that With The Dead have no intention of writing easy mellow hooks to satisfy a wide audience. Instead the main focus is the creation of a spontaneous work of heavy doom where guitars are characterized by a gritty depressing tone that sets a perennial dark mood even when psychedelic distorted and somehow more accessible melodies emerge from a claustrophobic hopeless abyss.

On “Egyptian Tomb” monumental bass lines and fuzzy guitars craft an arcane desolate atmosphere but there are some lovely melodic concoctions and borderline groovy guitar solos that still maintain a sheer adoration for absolute darkness but definitely balance the merciless negativity.

As a dismal march through a dark world of ruins “Cocaine Phantoms” revolves around astonishingly heavy guitar riffs supported by a massive rhythmic backbone while Lee Dorrian’s steady mournful voice and hypnotic guitar melodies generate a nightmarish aura.

The lengthy asphyxiating “CV1” closes the album like a powerful reminder that everything is lost forever as guitars acquire psychedelic/acidic textures mixed to lugubrious doom heaviness while the dissonant addition of experimental electro/drone elements simply enhances the extreme dreadful destiny of mankind.

Shaping a realm of hopelessness and despair as all that could go wrong just happened irreparably With The Dead deliver one of the heaviest collection of songs ever composed and “Love From With The Dead” is what uncompromised doom metal should sound like.