Ne Obliviscaris – Urn

Among modern metal bands, Australian Ne Obliviscaris have proven to be seriously devoted to the creation of complex fascinating music and the latest full length “Urn” showcases a versatile and visionary songwriting that meticulously blends compelling classical passages, ominous blackened accents and technical prog prowess.

“Libera (Part I) – Saturnine Spheres” opens the album with soft classical nuances that naturally evolve into a diverse ensemble of powerful prog tempo variations carefully built by fast precise drumming and intense eclectic guitar work. Ne Obliviscaris bravely explores an incredible range of music styles resulting in a rather unique composition where guitars deliver both crunchy extreme metal influenced riffing and elegantly polished melodies. The violin will always have a significant role throughout the album and here enhances the melodic aesthetics while the mixture of bright clean vocals and enraged growls amplifies the band’s music duality.

It would be simply impossible to resist the classical enchanting beauty of the evocative violin instrumental piece “Libera (Part II) – Ascent Of Burning Moths”. This short yet highly charismatic track complements the previous part I and delivers a tranquil multitude of ethereal decadent tones.

The brilliant theatrical composition of “Intra Venus” showcases again the band’s passionate music approach and undeniable talent. This is another quite complex track featuring multiple changes of scenario as guitars fervently accelerate the rhythm channeling the extreme depth of black metal but also shine for the excellent technical progressions and melodies matched by impeccable wild violin solos.

On “Eyrie” with magnificent classical beauty graceful violin and acoustic phrases evoke a luminous dreamlike atmosphere accompanied by calm soulful vocals. Such peaceful moment is followed by remarkable obscure growls marching through a heavy guitar driven crescendo that create the expected  dramatic contrast and the song’s variegated textures continue to unfold with an overdose of tight technical prog riffs and somber magical violin melodies.

The heavier enigmatic moments always enhanced by flawless venomous growls continue to have a large presence on “Urn” but it will be very easy to fall desperately in love with the sophisticated classical violin that constantly adds captivating intensity to each song.

Eshtadur – Mother Gray

Hailing from Colombia Eshtadur is ready to release into the world a genuinely powerful blend of melodic death metal with the latest effort “Mother Gray”.

“Belong To Nowhere” immediately showcases a massive death metal approach with the right dosage of ferocious guitar riffs and brutal guttural growls yet the highlights are to be found in the elegantly somber orchestral layers that evoke epic vibes.

“Cornered At The Earth” starts with intense fury as the rhythmic backbone unleashes fast guitar riffs & drums while melodic guitars channel a darkened atmosphere and symphonic arrangements add a triumphant classical touch.

“Desolation” feels absolutely gloomy with thick bleak atmospheric darkness and melancholic piano melodies that introduce a sharp array of mournful guitar melodies and relentless desperate screams.

With a slower tempo “March Of The Fallen” evokes an overwhelming desolate scenario as sinister atmospheric arrangements set the mood followed by dramatic vocals and funeral doom oriented guitar melodies.

Overall, on “Mother Gray” Eshtadur diligently crafts a high impact guitar driven assault containing all the beloved elements of melodic death metal and renders everything more interesting with the addition of grandiose symphonic details.

Taake – Kong Vinter

Acclaimed Norwegian band Taake is proud to unleash the coldest music creation of the year aptly entitled “Kong Vinter” on which mastermind Hoest does a truly impressive job playing all instruments himself. With confidence and mature songwriting fluidity, Taake embarks on a cryptic music journey daring to explore the primordial depths of black metal and add devilish groovy rock twists to the renowned formula.

“Sverdets Vei” is certainly fueled by the readily identifiable obscure black metal roots as guitar riffs run savage accompanied by fierce growls yet the gritty rock spirit tends to become more dominant with quite accessible spacey grooves.

“Huset i Havet” channels nightmarish atmospheres as the guitar driven rhythm relentlessly bends standard music & tempo structures mixing harmonious Nordic nuances and irresistible fuzzy rock ’n’ roll passages.

“Havet i Huset” might speed up tempo for a while with breathless riffing crescendo in proper black metal fashion and additional cold guitars obsessively build a diabolical rock groove.

“Fra Bjoergegrend mot Glemselen” is a particularly complex moody track with a tasteful ensemble of diverse music styles starting with introvert mournful glacial riffs that inevitably gain speed and fury followed by elegantly slower wintry melodies and surprisingly charismatic vintage rock moments.

A perfect soundtrack for the upcoming freezing winter nights when solitude and sadness become instantly palpable and overwhelming “Kong Vinter” evokes the icy natural beauty of Scandinavia with cathartic melodies as well as the extreme darkness of traditional black metal.

Five The Hierophant – Over Phlegethon

Instrumental trio Five The Hierophant is ready to debut in the music scene with the avant-garde obscure music opus “Over Phlegethon” which showcases a haunting blend of post metal and psychedelic rock.

Precise instrumental passages on “Queen Over Phlegethon” continuously evoke hazy soundscapes but nothing is random here as the band pushes ordinary music boundaries skillfully crafting a hypnotic overdose of bleak intricate atmospheres and guitars juxtaposed with vibrant saxophone passages.

On “Vampire” guitars acquire a sludge acidic rock mood while the stunning saxophone melodies cut through a thick psychedelic mist and the whole instrumentation focuses on the creation of multifaceted unique melodies.

“Der Geist Der Stets Vernein” features a series of elaborate sonic textures, including ambient and drone elements, which bear a carnivalesque mood.  The jazz oriented saxophone melodies are actually listenable and fancy but the whole instrumentation often delivers complicated atypical themes and dissonant tonalities while guitars acquire a more traditional gritty metal sound.

The enigmatic nature of “Over Phlegethon” might appeal exclusively to a select audience but Five The Hierophant truly impress the listeners with an understated and highly heterogeneous music style supported by a combination of unusual instruments such as djembe and rag-dung.


Atrox – Monocle

Norwegian band Atrox has been around since 1990 and, after exploring diverse music styles, has embraced an intriguing sonic evolution leading to the current groovy blackened industrial sound that characterizes the latest full length “Monocle”.

“Mass” certainly feels dark and dramatic with minimalist melodies enriched by well-structured electro arrangements. When guitars begin to craft a crunchy rhythmic backbone aided by confident rocking vocals the atmospheric layers continue to evoke a mysterious futuristic industrial style sonic realm with sophisticated modern tonalities.

“Vacuum” features intriguing progressive rhythmic passages that at times gain extra speed and strength while the overall atmosphere keeps on channeling a gloomy mood enhanced by loads of eccentric eerie synths and smooth melodic guitars.

“Suicide Days” is a particularly interesting track with a diversified structure that effortlessly mixes the cold nature of dark guitar riffs & melodies with the acidic groovy vibes of industrial metal while fervent vocals contribute to create an absolutely memorable chorus .

“For We Are Many” revolves around elegant darkened melodies that soon acquire an avant-garde inner strength due to an intricate series of atmospheric arrangements that eventually give way to unexpected crispy polished guitar & keyboards progressions. Then the song literally goes through a metamorphosis centered on softer cinematic haunting melodies and clean emotive vocals.

“Target” offers a cyber-industrial approach with groovy electro vibes and super catchy chorus balanced by steady powerful vocals and a charismatic prog oriented guitar solo.

After nine years of silence, with “Monocle” Atrox demonstrates to own a renewed energetic music approach creating thrilling and absolutely catchy songs which ultimately celebrates an exciting new  music chapter for such longstanding band.


Voids – No Character : No Crown

In the growing chaotic metalcore scene, Maryland based quartet Voids is ready to stand out with the debut album “No Character : No Crown” focusing on an entertaining heavy music formula.

“Dolores” dwells in a realm of obscure guitar tones supported by extremely crunchy and harsh riffing that easily builds a no frills breathless rhythm.

On “Idols” guitars continue to craft steady heavy rhythmic sections but also provide some wild technical twists and tempo variations that introduce more melodic polished patterns amplified by crispy clean vocals.

The beginning of “Tyrant” surprises with soulful guitar phrases soon followed by the main aggressive metalcore approach but that particular melodic theme keeps on returning to add subtle atmospheric quality.

“New Beginnings” keeps a moshpit friendly distorted groove fueled by endless energy and extremely harsh growls in contrast with the combo of easier melodic moments and emotive vocals flowing through solemn atmospheres.

“Déjà vu” is filled with impactful guitar driven grooves that often showcase intense speed and diverse technical accents while vocals deliver the expected metalcore brutality but Voids doesn’t forget to deliver the right amount of soothing melodies with bright atmospheric layers.

On “No Character : No Crown”  Voids is capable of delivering a massive dosage of sheer brutality mixed to a series of more accessible melodic patterns skillfully utilizing popular metalcore elements and keeping a cohesive sonic flow.

River Black – River Black

River Black is a new name in the metal/grindcore scene but in reality the band’s line up features former members of Burnt By The Sun and Revocation, therefore the self titled debut album is the product of experienced musicians & songwriters.

As expected “Jaws” is fast and brutal focusing on raw rhythmic energy built by thick guitar riffs but a couple of slower almost introspective breakdowns give you a chance to breath.

With a palpable darker mood “Low” blends fierce thrash style rhythmic grooves and less menacing guitar melodies.

The short string instrumental interlude “River Black” deviates completely from the band’s music formula but serves as a compelling introduction to the massive heavy sonic assault of “South x South” which features additional classical string melodies.

“#Victim” easily triggers headbanging with tight relentless riffing and remarkably punishing drums as the whole instrumentation offers obsessively thrash oriented heavy grooves.

“Haunt” is sincerely darkened with monolithic guitar riffs and surprises with emotional clean vocals and pleasantly softer haunting guitar melodies.

“Everywhere” offers catchy syncopated tempo variations but doesn’t refrain from delivering a reasonable dose of harsh thunderous guitar riffs and offering music diversity with a series of intense post-apocalyptic guitar melodies.

Considering the band’s members past endeavors River Black demonstrates to be capable of crafting fury driven tunes yet some elements, such as vocals, at times might feel monotonous throughout this album which would really appeal to a devotees of extreme metal subgenres.

Mountains Crave – As We Were When We Were Not

British band Mountains Crave has released the debut full length poetically entitled “As We Were When We Were Not” which definitely dwells in the mysterious sonic realm of traditional black metal but also features trendy elements of Cascadian black metal.

“Ynisvitrin” is a lengthy track that shines for the cold nuances of the atmospheric layers which take you to a world of silent desolation. There is a fair dosage of the expected black metal obscure guitar riffing and desperate screams but what renders this track far more interesting is the lavish emotional quality of the detailed melodic tapestry which features all kinds of delicate distant harmonies.

“Clear Light Of The Void” starts with light atmospheres but soon gains a blast of untamed rage with fast tight guitar riffs and ominous enraged growls channeling an extreme darkness nevertheless there is space for ethereal peaceful arpeggios.

“Arise O Magnificent Sun” evokes a cold winter day in the middle of the forest or sitting by a lake as introspective elegant guitar melodies feel simply sad and gloomy with post metal atmospheric elements but Mountains Crave again provides also a classic blackened rhythmic core.

The instrumental title track feels particularly melancholic focusing on poetic evocative melodies that flow gracefully through a solitary realm of distant dreams accompanied by subtle atmospheric layers.

Shifting from purely melancholic melodies to venomous black metal fury “As We Were When We Were Not” is a cohesive album that feels like a promising beginning for Mountains Crave.


Urarv – Aurum

Black metal connoisseurs are certainly familiar with the work of Björn Aldrahn Dencker in DHG, The Deathtrip and Thorns. With the new visionary project Urarv, Aldrahn is eager to explore diverse often avant-garde music territories to create the debut effort “Aurum”.

“Forvitringstid” starts with melancholy infused arpeggios that bear the cold nature of Nordic quiet landscapes but soon viciously abrasive blackened tonalities and gritty rhythms become extremely dominant entwined with scattered spacey melodic guitars while vocals can be wildly moody or desperately introvert.

“Ancient DNA” is filled with a recognizable black metal urgency as guitar riffs acquire speed and blackened groovy tonalities emerging straight from a black hole but this track also features a profound arcane essence.

On “Broken Wand” unconventional vocals and cascading guitar riffs can become quite savage with intense experimental freedom that leads to dissonant elements channeling a dramatic almost hostile sonic chaos.

“Red Circle” chooses a more accessible monolithic guitar driven groove enriched by haunting atmospheres that create hypnotic vibes while vocals range from fierce blackened growls to cries of despair through a thick breathless rhythm that in the last couple of minutes naturally fades into a dreamy serenade.

Psychotic and borderline dissonant yet absolutely spontaneous “Aurum” might be a strange album, uneasy for some unprepared listeners, but its strength will be found in the limitless unrestrained passion for music.

Ewigkeit – Cosmic Man

In the underground metal scene multitalented artist James Fogarty is known for several music endeavors and now is ready to resurrect his solo project Ewigkeit delivering the new enigmatic album “Cosmic Man”.

The hazy instrumental opener “Quantum Eraser” clarifies that “Cosmic Man” was never meant to become music for the masses. Then the variegated “Cold Souls” surprises with particularly heavy guitar riffing and venomous vocals but soon acquires a sludge temperament and classic metal guitar melodies lead the scene surrounded by spacey atmospheric layers.

“Death Is The Portal” amplifies the vintage vibes with stunning psychedelic organ galore while the main music core revolves around a consistent series of easy classic metal melodies.

“Neon Ghoul Ride” is definitely an awesome song title that absolutely matches the retro psychedelic infused mood as the charismatic guitar & organ combo holds a fuzzy cosmic essence.

“Time Travelling Medicine Man” features a darker mood and the dominant groovy guitar riffs deliver steady distorted energy through a thick inter-galactic haze.

Channeling multifaceted music influences such as ‘70s psychedelic rock and NWOBHM Ewigkeit pushes boundaries crafting a complex album that might require multiple listening sessions to be fully appreciated and comprehended.