Grave Pleasures – Motherblood

Dwelling in a darkly romantic limbo of post-punk and goth/death rock Finnish band Grave Pleasures has crafted the new macabre dance floor music ensemble “Motherblood” in an isolated studio surrounded by the bleak British countryside.

The enjoyable album opener “Infatuation Overkill” is filled with retro goth flavors as dirty guitar riffs relentlessly build a catchy rhythm amplified by an addictive rebellious chorus.

“Doomsday Rainbows” continues to channel a groovy vintage flare and vocals stand out with a wildly entertaining post-punk delivery while guitars never fail to deliver extremely catchy melodies.

“Be My Hiroshima” easily fits in the dark romance category as it evokes an exquisite goth mood spiced up by an exciting punkish chorus and guitars skillfully deliver an irresistible series of melodic hooks.

Stuck in a groovy loop “Joy Through Death” builds a thrilling post- apocalyptic rhythm suitable for a macabre dance party and the moody guitar melodies carry fascinating dark tones in proper goth fashion.

“Atomic Christ” becomes dramatic with intense gloomy atmospheres and theatrical narratives while guitar riffs & melodies smoothly flow through a darkened mist with understated cathartic strength.

Listening to “Motherblood” you can always perceive the profound dark tonalities of misery and Grave Pleasures also demonstrates the ability to create loads of hypnotic danceable grooves.

Kaipa – Children Of The Sounds

Formed in 1973 Swedish prog rockers Kaipa have been known for the eclectic music experimentation and on the newest release “Children Of The Sounds” mastermind Hans Lundin is joined by guitarist Per Nilsson, bassist Jonas Reingold, drummer Morgan Ågren, and vocalists Patrik Lundström and Aleena Gibson.

The title track is structured like an operetta where positive energy, ‘70s rock themes and rich atmospheric arrangements are constantly emphasized by luminous vocals while the intricate guitar leads add a more modern sophisticated prog approach.

“On The Edge Of New Horizons” again is filled with happiness and bright harmonies featuring sparkling choirs and retro keyboards arrangements. Crunchy guitar riffs and fancy melodies channel interesting music diversity while the overall mood evokes daydreaming in the middle of the forest on a sunny day.

“What’s Behind The Fields” begins with technical guitar leads bearing remarkable neoclassical inspiration while the majority of the song relies on peaceful acoustic harmonies and mellow yet charismatic crispy polished guitar melodies.

The strength of “Children Of The Sounds” certainly is particularly palpable in the polychromatic vocals, the complex detailed arrangements and the absolutely dazzling guitar work, impeccably performed by Per Nilsson, that prog acolytes will find highly enjoyable.

Implore – Subjugate

Blackened death metal grinders Implore aim to impress the extreme metal scene with the brutally intense sophomore release “Subjugate”.

“Birth Of An Era” stars with a somber atmosphere that introduces a blistering concoction of furious blackened guitar riffs marching through a breathless tight rhythm while fierce growls evoke a monumental wrath.

“Paradox” showcases some technical death metal guitar work that brings diverse tonalities and breaks the aggressive somehow monotone rhythmic structure.

“Disconnected From Ourselves” continues the extreme death metal oriented patterns with guitar riffs & solo full of uncompromised rage and speed while vicious vocals engage in a social revolt through music.

“Patterns To Follow” runs on sharp vicious guitar driven rhythms but there are a subtle sense of melody and technical elements in the guitar leads that evoke a grave mood.

“Desolated Winds” bears an overdose of anger and discontent with fast grindcore infused guitar progressions while the whole instrumentation marches with fierce brutality through a blackened sonic realm.

“Gazing Beyond” closes the album with massive fury embodied by relentless enraged growls and the usual tight guitar riffing that matches the dismal apocalyptic vibes.

Focusing almost exclusively on an inexorable concoction of brutally heavy tunes and anger against the grotesque society we are forced to endure, Implore doesn’t really deliver a necessary musical variety nevertheless “Subjugate” will absolutely satisfy your thirst for ferocious moshpit inducing metal tunes.

Tetrarch – Freak

You might have never heard about Tetrarch but that is about to change because this young band is ready to release the debut album “Freak” which might be categorized as modern melodic metal or nu metalcore but definitely showcases various major music influences.

With untamed fury the title track celebrates individuality and freedom as all of us should learn to embrace our inner ‘freak’. Bold heavy guitar riffs build a bombastic modern rhythmic galore that will make you jump and darker atmospheres support a catchy melodic core.

With massive anger “Spit” packs another round of super heavy guitar riffs and the mood gets gradually more obscure.

“Break The Trend” shines for the polished guitar leads that always hold a genuine melodic heart in contrast with the thunderous rhythmic sections and raging growls.

“Oddity” doesn’t give you a break with a vicious dosage of unruly riffing & drumming but Diamond Rowe on guitar surprises with a flamboyant melodic shredded solo.

“Torn Apart” slows down to a borderline traditional metal ballad as Tetrarch gets emotional with bittersweet and absolutely catchy melancholic guitar melodies as well as a heartfelt chorus.

Guitar shredder Diamond Rowe truly impresses the listeners with her charismatic performance and definitely renders “Freak” a more interesting and entertaining album.

Vuur – In This Moment We Are Free – Cities

Undoubtedly Anneke Van Giersbergen is one of the most beloved female vocalists and she finally returns to fully embrace a heavier progressive metal approach, joined by talented musicians, in the new music endeavor Vuur. The brand new debut album “In This Moment We Are Free – Cities” showcases a prog oriented complexity that inevitably becomes more unique due to Anneke’s passionate signature vocal delivery.

“My Champion – Berlin” opens the album with vibrant guitar melodies over strong layered modern prog metal riffing and eclectic tempo variations. The main music core is filled with crunchy heavy guitar riffs that offer a cohesive support for Anneke’s melancholic yet radiant vocal performance.

“Time – Rotterdam” offers monolithic guitar riffs amplifying the darker & heavier side of Vuur but the whole impeccable instrumentation is always ready to allow Anneke’s fascinating vocal prowess to become the center of attention. Towards the end of the song, Anneke’s vocals acquire a sincerely introspective depth within soft emotional arpeggios swiftly followed by an absolutely entertaining sharp guitar solo.

On “The Fire – San Francisco” guitars acquire warm tonalities delivering gentle sorrowful melodies always enhanced by Anneke’s voice that becomes rather haunting during the mellow moments and throughout the song effortlessly embodies different moods and styles.

“Days Go By – London” showcases mature & complex musicianship as guitars lead the way with remarkable shredded melodies often bearing darkened vibes even when engaged in frenetic acrobatic rhythms while Anneke delivers impressive multifaceted vocals that range from solemn high tonalities to softer dramatic delivery.

“Your Glorious Light Will Shine – Helsinki” is characterized by a colder melodic approach with loads of loveable gloomy guitar melodies that will reach a dazzling acme with an excellent guitar solo. Anneke’s ethereal voice passionately follows the darker instrumental intensity and the layered harmonizing backing vocals contribute to further embellish the rich atmospheric textures.

With a Middle Eastern style “Save Me – Istanbul” features pleasant melodic guitar progressions steadily entwined with heavier fiery guitar riffs. Through a maze of complex tempo changes Anneke flawlessly matches the exotic mood consistently harmonizing with powerful luminous vocals that, once again, display a striking vocal range.

Crafted as a majestic hymn to freedom “In This Moment We Are Free – Cities” hopefully marks the beginning of a long music journey since Anneke, just like in previous unforgettable projects, with ex novo enthusiasm and a genuine search for diverse creative outlets truly shines in her rightful role of band vocalist.

Ex Eye – Ex Eye

Led by experimental saxophonist Colin Stetson, instrumental supergroup Ex Eye has released a rather unique avant-garde debut album.

Blending extraordinary jazz elements and strong metal accents “Xenolith; The Anvil” reveals a transcending creative power as all the instruments follow harmoniously an ethereal sonic flow that can often acquire melodic strength but can also unfold an eclectic whirlwind of spacey progressions.

“Anaitis Hymnal; The Akrose Disc” could hypnotize the listeners with overwhelming dark atmospheres that acquire thick shoegaze vibes and the frantic instrumentation embraces a chaotic blackened crescendo skillfully guided by a steady saxophone tone to reach a calmer or safer melodic realm.

“Form Constant the Grid” features another round of unconventional often dramatic melodies as Ex Eye continues to showcase brilliant untamed musicianship creating rich atmospheric textures that naturally acquire post-black metal cold tonalities and extravagant progressive rock guitar galore.

Far from being an average band Ex Eye didn’t create this debut album to please the audience but to explore diverse music territories and bravely experiment with unusual complex tonalities that allow full expression of technical expertise and creative force.

Comeback Kid – Outsider

After signing a record deal with Nuclear Blast Canadian hardcore/punk outfit Comeback Kid returns to the metal scene with renewed energy and a promising brand new music venture, number six in the band’s extensive career, entitled “Outsider”.

The title track is all about high impact loud guitar riffs that never cease to build a groovy memorable rhythm with some ‘90s hardcore flavors that naturally shape the catchy inflamed chorus.

“Surrender Control” relies on chunky bass lines that contribute to the creation of a cohesive groovy rhythmic backbone and Comeback Kid adds a generous dosage of radio friendly melodies in the polished, inevitably less aggressive, chorus.

Featuring mastermind Devin Townsend “Absolute” could have been more impressive in terms of songwriting and style nevertheless confidently delivers a vicious hardcore/thrash guitar driven heavy core with extra darkened vibes.

“Somewhere, Somehow” blends easy rock choruses with a thunderous series of heavy faster hardcore guitar riffs that support both modern style screams and clean accessible vocals.

Featuring Chris Cresswell “Consumed The Vision” favors somber guitar melodies sacrificing a bit of wild hardcore spirit to produce a widely accessible track that again focuses on memorable big choruses.

Building pleasant gloomy & softer atmospheres “Moment In Time” features guest vocalist Northcote but also doesn’t refrain from delivering contrasting heavy guitar progressions that relentlessly speed up the tempo and amplify the usual hardcore scenario.

Comeback Kid carefully maintains a traditional hardcore impact focusing on energetic blasts that might become predictable at times nevertheless such soaring dynamics become signature elements of the songs structure on “Outsider” and definitely will not go unnoticed.

Enslaved – E

Against all redundant music rules and limited categorizations, Norway’s finest Enslaved is a band that has courageously embraced a gradual yet radical sonic evolution that reaches an intriguing high point with the darkly enigmatic progressive tonalities of “E”, the new full length which also introduces new keyboard master and clean vocalist Håkon Vinje.

Conceptually inspired by the duality of man and nature “Storm Son” is a grandiose album opener, almost an opus on its own, as it is infused with poetic melancholy carefully embedded in the epic instrumental progressions. Lavish minimalist guitar melodies, soothing clean vocals and solemn choirs evoke introspective feelings while impossibly venomous growls supported by crunchy syncopated guitar riffs provide a dark contrast. In the midst of fascinating, quite complex, music tapestries the prog oriented melodic guitars spontaneously flow into harsh rhythmic sections reminiscent of traditional black metal.

“The River’s Mouth” is a particularly intense track that will stand out immediately due to its inner blackened Nordic force obviously amplified by Grutle Kjellson’s inflamed vocal delivery. Even if the heavier guitar riffing crescendo maintains a dominant role, Enslaved provides additional music diversity with well structured progressive melodic passages that carry a poignant darkened soul.

“Sacred Horse” holds haunting mystical vibes beginning with brief acoustic echoes that introduce a rightfully savage guitar driven assault but the surprising highlight might be found in the psychedelic keyboards arrangements/melodies that channel fashionable vintage rock splendor. Towards the end, cathartic Norse style chants portray an ancient spiritual realm that naturally embraces a detailed round of guitar melodies.

“Feathers Of Eolh” goes full blown prog for a while with refined multifaceted guitar work but still offers darker evocative atmospheric nuances particularly enhanced by soulful clean vocals and nostalgia infused keyboards layers. Occasionally Enslaved shifts focus to unleash a fervent series of thick guitar riffs or to diversify the song’s structure with thrilling borderline experimental progressions.

Guitarist & songwriter Ivar Bjørnson once again leads Enslaved through a philosophical sonic catharsis as the eclectic blend of several intriguing influences, such as atmospheric shoegaze and heavier Viking metal, truly impress the listeners and nothing on this album sounds forced or out of place providing instead hypnotizing songwriting fluidity.

 

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.