Pelagos – Revolve

Finnish band Pelagos just started a multifaceted melancholic music journey that aims to enchant the listeners with the enigmatic nuances of the debut full length “Revolve”.

“Code” opens the album with eclectic arrangements that naturally shift from futuristic ambient style to ethereal harmonies fully embracing the soft vocal delivery yet guitars will eventually emerge through the calm atmospheres to create a smooth melodic crescendo.

The minimalist guitar melodies on “River (Proxima Centauri)” hold a primary role in the creation of serene soundscapes where luminous atmospheric arrangements and electro accents effortlessly evoke a moody emotive whirlwind.

Everything flows like in a daydream on “Aphrodite’s Shore” with the elegant rock tonalities of crispy guitars gently surrounded by intricate atmospheres that will often acquire a darker solemn energy.

The soothing atmospheres on “Sea Of Tranquillity” certainly match the song’s title as gentle guitar phrases with subtle prog rock vibes appear to be immersed in spacey electronic layers leading to cosmic relaxation.

“Muted Stars” offers delicate aesthetics as the band skillfully blends polychromatic arrangements, whispered narratives and polished guitar melodies that seem to float freely through hazy soundscapes.

Overall, far from being an average debut album “Revolve” shines for the surreal cinematic arrangements as all the music carefully composed by Pelagos seem to emerge spontaneously from a limbo between space and water.

 

Wilt – Ruin

Manitoba atmospheric black metal band Wilt spent three years working hard on the genesis of the new concept album “Ruin” inspired by Cormac McCarthy’s 2006, post-apocalyptic novel “The Road”.

On “Into The Unknown” everything is bleak and we are trapped in the longest winter as melodic guitars constantly showcase cold saddened tonalities that soon will inevitably embrace a harsher cascadian rhythm but never really leave behind the immense desolation.

“We Read The World Wrong” immediately delivers a solid round of undiluted blackened dynamics that certainly bear the influence of decades of familiar old school black metal while favoring the modern atmospheric approach with loads of impossibly gloomy guitar melodies.

“Veil Of Gold” feels utterly dramatic with a slower introspective melodic ensemble where guitars once again tend to shine concocting an extensive tormented melodic grandeur accompanied by absolutely desperate vocals.

Staying true to the darkest elements and overwhelming anguish of atmospheric black metal on “Ruin” Wilt crafts a cohesive blackened core with few melodic hints resulting in a rather deliberately depressing collection of lengthy songs.

Madder Mortem – Marrow

Even if the current metal scene feels rather crowded a unique band like Norway’s Madder Mortem will always stand out for the ambitious multifaceted songwriting approach and the genuine desire to challenge standard genre boundaries. The result of Madder Mortem zealous music exploration and dauntless creativity is the new opus “Marrow” which from beginning to end demands your utmost attention.

The initial intriguing bass lines of “Liberator” foreshadow an eclectic sonic realm as Madder Mortem embarks on a stylish music journey making their own rules and offering moments of profound melancholy mixed with a series of dense guitar driven grooves that ensure an energetic heavy rhythmic core while the extraordinary vocalist Agnete effortlessly shifts from bold delivery to smooth harmonies.

“Until You Return” feels quite romantic with the perfect dosage of dreamy melodic guitar progressions that naturally accompany Agnete’s haunting voice and once again she proves to be a brilliant vocalist as her talent truly renders this track particularly enchanting. In the midst of waves of of sheer melancholia intensely distorted guitars and strong bass phrases often increase the dark and heavier aspects of this song.   

“My Will Be Done” becomes immediately darker as sharp guitar riffs and a relentless rhythmic section borrow the bold patterns of extreme metal, an influence evidently enhanced also by the fiery growls, yet there is an underlying complexity that spontaneously blend diverse primordial and modern tones.

The title track begins with thrilling heavy guitar blasts but will morph into a more delicate, at times absolutely ethereal, ensemble where unusual melodic segments and Agnete’s poetic vocals will create a surreal sonic realm that will return throughout the song creating a perennial contrast with the darkened doom moments.

The fierce guitar riffs of “White Snow, Red Shadows” are simply irresistible leading to memorable grooves and wild syncopated rhythms yet despite the song’s intricacy fueled by the several remarkable tempo/style variations there is a main melodic momentum that, graciously embellished by Agnete’s vibrant vocals, will become addictive at the first listening.

“Waiting To Fall” is a particularly complex track that might not have an immediate impact as there is a lot going on. Starting with a generous dose of Nordic melancholia and refined melodies, that will recur with growing urgency, the song will often embrace an enigmatic darkness amplified by the grave doom metal tonalities of the harsh guitar riffs while the contemplative dramatic moments are always enriched by Agnete’s passionate vocals.

It’s a great pleasure to see Madder Mortem in excellent shape on the new dazzling effort “Marrow” which feels like another fascinating milestone in the band’s sonic evolution bringing refreshing creative dynamics & avant-garde tonalities to the naturally darkened essence that thrives in each song.

Skogen – Skuggorna Kallar

Swedish blackened folk metal band Skogen are ready to spread immense melancholy and Nordic atmospheres on the new release “Skuggorna Kallar”.

While channeling all kinds of dark nuances “Det Nordkisa Morkret” focuses mainly on melancholic soundscapes, lost in the middle of a forest on a gelid winter day, as guitars craft mellow melodies surrounded by cold heartbreaking atmospheres while blackened dynamics tend to linger in the background providing steady riffing.

“Nebula” showcases hints of hellish black metal with ominous growls but the instrumental passages tend to follow a calmer melodic approach and a sorrowful mood as graceful folk oriented acoustic phrases hold a primary role in the song’s structure.

“Frostland” feels more aggressive with a feverish guitar riffing keeping a rather obscure rhythmic backbone enhanced by the occasional fiery growls while lead guitars channel pure darkness with elegantly somber melodic progressions.

“The Suns Blood” emerges from a sonic realm of uncompromising darkness as guitar riffs acquire extra cold gritty tonalities and the solo is accompanied by an overwhelming sense of despair fully expressed also by the poetic clean chants and the contrasting ravenous growls nevertheless the final minimalist acoustic passages channel a distant serenity.

Like a hymn to endless darkness “The Funeral” is bound to feel more depressing and desolate as soft acoustic guitars lead the way to a sunless soundscape where lavish and desperate guitar melodies create monochromatic textures leading to introspective atmospheric moments carefully crafted by hazy keyboards.

Overall, Skogen’s fifth album “Skuggorna Kallar” is a cohesive effort that skillfully blends primordial black metal vibes and enchanting folk nuances ultimately evoking the wintry beauty of Nordic landscapes.

Epica – Epica vs. Attack On Titan

Undoubtedly Dutch symphonic metal masters Epica have been unstoppable conquering the hearts of so many fans worldwide and they have also proven to be workaholic musicians. This time they are ready to surprise the audience with an unusual work of music as Epica’s latest offering is a special covers EP entitled “Epica vs. Attack On Titan”, previously available only in Japan, which features four metal versions, available also as instrumentals, of the theme songs from the highly successful manga series turned worldwide aired anime “Attack On Titan”.

“Crimson Bow And Arrow” opens with the expected overdose of magnificent operatic choirs further enhanced by massive detailed orchestrations as keyboards become particularly crucial in the song’s structure offering impressive soloing moments while Simone delivers her signature passionate vocals that always delight the fans. The theatrical narratives accompanied by an intense combo of guitar riffing and keyboards layers also increase the epic nature of this track.

“Wings Of Freedom” begins with monumental chants followed by a winning series of melodic phrases yet the song will pick up speed with massive drumming and soaring guitar riffs accompanied by Mark’s venomous growls but will never sacrifice its inner theatrical grandeur with plenty of charming & eclectic orchestral arrangements.

“If Inside These Walls Was A House” is the most dramatic track focusing on gentle atmospheric arrangements and a softer ballad style approach yet symphonic textures will eventually take over.

“Dedicate Your Heart!” can deliver fierce rhythmic crescendos constantly embellished by Simone’s charismatic delivery and sumptuous choirs while the instrumental passages shine once again for the vibrant and diverse keyboards arrangements.

While waiting for the next full length Epica’s fans will enjoy the majestic arrangements, very much in the band’s beloved signature style, that render this collection of Japanese anime-songs quite unique.

Omnium Gatherum – The Burning Cold

Formed in 1996 Finnish melo-death metallers Omnium Gatherum have always been devoted to the Scandinavian blend of melancholy & brutality that will never fail to be relevant and appreciated worldwide, therefore it will be easy to fall in love with the strong emotions behind the new effort “The Burning Cold”.

“Gods Go First” doesn’t waste time and hits you right in the face with rhythmic blasts of traditional death metal yet the band is also ready to delight the fans with intense shredding moments and a series of smooth & dismal guitar melodies which will rightfully take the spotlight throughout the tight rhythmic segments.

On “Refining Fire” there is a demand for speed and bold grooves as the recurring darkened mood is always matched by ferocious growls and galloping guitar riffs but as expected a melodic soulful ensemble will bring hints of positive yet profoundly contemplative vibes.

“Rest In Your Heart” might sound like a ballad since tempo is significantly slowed down and the beloved cold melancholy is extremely emphasized with the addition of atmospheric textures and dominant somber melodies but there is still a fair dosage of crunchy guitar riffs throughout the song’s structure.

The gloominess of “Be The Sky” is immediately evident with soothing melodic splendor and will influence deeply all the nostalgic tonalities and gentle poetic guitar harmonies in the midst of enraged growls and precise rhythmic patterns.  

“Driven By Conflict” can sound rather vicious focusing on sharp guitar riffs and a simply crushing rhythmic section that thrive on accelerated tempo and heavy grooves without compromising the melodic spirit embodied by the lead guitar work.

The closing track “Cold” is full of triumphant melancholy that reminds us why we love melodic death metal so much. Starting with the immense gloom of atmospheric layers and sweet arpeggios the song unfolds seamlessly to reveal that irresistible darkness that inevitably dominates the vibrant melodious guitar progressions and the moody rhythmic dynamics.

Certainly on “The Burning Cold” Omnium Gatherum shows the ability to compose alluring melodies but besides the consequent inner sadness this album repeatedly builds a climatic aggressive momentum fully embracing the classic Nordic melo-death trademark.  
The Burning Cold

Thy Catafalque – Geometria

Led by multi-talented composer Tamás Kátai Thy Catafalque is already renowned in the underground metal scene as a profoundly eclectic studio project and the new album “Geometria” definitely continues an interesting exploration of multifaceted music territories.

The enigmatic nuances of “Hajnali csillag” lead to rich atmospheric arrangements and refined soothing violin melodies that certainly hold a deeply melancholic mood smoothly enhanced by enchanting guitar harmonies resulting in a highly cinematic work of music.

“Szamojéd freskó” marks a drastic change of scenario as guitars become rather dominant delivering a generous dosage of crunchy heavily distorted riffs that will later evolve into complex prog oriented dynamics.

Another significant change occurs on “Töltés” which seamlessly embraces modern electronic nuances with fragile melodies and ethereal ambiance accents that gently surround Martina Veronika Horváth’ melancholic vocals.

“Lágyrész” offers a darker sonic vision where guitars often deliberately borrow the ominous force of extreme metal with evident blackened accents while the melodic aspects of this song focus on particularly gloomy & surreal tonalities.

The avant-garde spirit of “Tenger, tenger” is immediately palpable as a violin solo evokes chaotic yet exquisitely elegant nuances that will be followed by uplifting guitar melodies and consequent mellow rhythmic crescendo with dreamy folk vibes.

On the intense final song “Ének a búzamezokrol” an obscure creative force returns fiercely with ominous guitar riffing leading the way to a cold sonic realm where dramatic guitar melodies are suddenly juxtaposed to charming folk chants and peaceful arpeggios.

On “Geometria” there is a lot going on as Thy Catafalque are constantly & effortlessly searching for a unique identity, pushing boundaries to blend diverse music styles in order to create contrasting sonic textures that will inevitably surprise the listeners.
Geometria (Ltd. Ed. digipak CD)

Shylmagoghnar – Transience

Dutch atmospheric black metal duo Shylmagoghnar has generated a lot of interest with the debut album “Emergence” back in 2014 and now they proudly return with the extensive intricacy of the sophomore effort “Transience”.

The title track begins with fascinating atmospheric arrangements creating the right suspense for the incoming blackened force of the tormented growls and the chaotic rhythmic section that will often acquire roaring tones and audacious speed yet there will be loads of enchanting melodic guitars ready to weave melancholy infused harmonies further embellished by a pensive piano piece.

Emerging from a forgotten darkened realm the fury of “As All Must Come To Pass” is introduced by grave bass phrases and subtle atmospheres. Soon multiple rounds of tight guitar riffs and mighty drums will channel primordial blackened dynamics accompanied by particularly ominous growls yet a symphonic splendor will contribute to a recurring crucial theatrical melodic ensemble .

Still drenched in agonizing darkness “No Child Of Man Could Follow” features strong contemplative atmospheres and instead of going immediately full blown black metal favors a steady triumphant rhythmic march and an increasingly cold melodic spirit constantly channeled by the melo-death inspired guitar work.  

With meditative vibes and moody harmonies “Journey Through The Fog” can feel rather hazy & gloomy before picking up fierce groovy dynamics yet the melodic core seems to be more dominant as the winning combo of guitars & keyboards confidently create diverse textures blending solemn tonalities and ethereal atmospheres.

The lengthy instrumental final track “Life” is a mini stand alone opus that smoothly assembles all the key elements of the band’s sonic vision. For over thirteen minutes the band manages to grab the listeners’ attention shaping magical melodies through the ardent guitar work that while showcasing a taste for modern atmospheric black metal effortlessly goes beyond the genre’s standard structure to explore refreshing feelings and tonalities. Certainly the skillful guitar work ranging from harsh riffage to lavish harmonies will often stand out while multiple dreamy moments and the final atmospheric vibes will add further emotional quality.

From beginning to end “Transience” focuses on a balanced mix of aggressive blackened force and eerie melodic soundscapes and Shylmagoghnar are clearly eager to conquer the underground metal scene demonstrating an intriguing creativity.
Transience

Age Of Taurus – The Colony Slain

The time has come for doom metal diehards Age Of Taurus to release the sophomore full length “The Colony Slain” which besides being packed with epic heavy metal grooves tells a story of fearless heroes battling in a fantasy world .

“Taken To The Tower” focuses mainly on untamed guitar driven grooves perfectly supported by the doom inspired weight of cohesive rhythmic dynamics yet vocals tend to follow a soothing melodic mood and consequent emotional quality.

“The Trial Of Blackwynn Chaise” immediately acquires a darker aura with smooth mournful melodic guitars and the rather mystical chanting breakdown that easily stand out in the groovy & crunchy rhythmic galore.

Besides the abundance of steady galloping guitar riffs “In Dreams We Die” features a highly dramatic mood with extremely somber vocals in the significantly slower section yet the final part of the song will gain extra raw energy and speed.

“Beyond The Westward Path” feels immediately melancholic focusing once again on lead guitars sober melodies and amplified doom nuances yet maintains profoundly epic vibes as we are still fighting some malevolent enemies with increasing rhythmic energy.  

“The Walls Have Ears” is packed with triumphant guitar riffs and bold drumming clearly inspired by classic metal and the powerful bass lines often introduce wild & variegated dynamics naturally shifting from high impact grooves to subtle melodic segments.

The title track tends to enhance a grave melodic ensemble guided by fervent lead guitar work and charismatic solos but the weight of the increasingly heavy rhythmic section repeatedly & confidently reclaims the spotlight with bursts of soaring riffage.

There is a genuine passion for metal behind the composition of “The Colony Slain” and Age Of Taurus diligently follows the chosen musical pathway to deliver solid rounds of energetic guitar riffing and melodic depth profoundly influenced by NWOBHM.
The Colony Slain

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