Mastermind and apocalyptic storyteller Raymond Watts has a long history in the electro/industrial rock scene and on the new Pig’s full length “Risen” is joined by glamorous collaborators Tim Skold (Marilyn Manson, KMFDM, Motionless In White), Ben Christo (The Sisters Of Mercy, Diamond Black), Z.Marr (Combichrist), En Esch (KMFDM) and Oumi Kapila (Filter), to craft a collection of decadent hymns for the digital age.
“The Chosen Few” offers gothic tinged atmospheres with surreal post apocalyptic vibes embedded in the electro rhythms while guitars maintain a distorted groove to support the theatrical vocals which often become rather enraged.
“Morphine Machine” feels even darker with enhanced futuristic electro layers and an irreverent vocal delivery floating through chaotic gritty guitar work and futuristic rhythmic dynamics.
“Loud, Lawless & Lost” features a slightly different scenario full of funky beats that build a steady danceable groove amplified by a wide variety of electronic layers and spiced up by the raw energy of industrial style guitar riffs.
“Truth Is Sin” relies on enigmatic soundscapes with some darker moments focusing on subtle mystical atmospheric layers, dramatic narratives and softer guitar melodies.
On “Leather Pig” the atmosphere becomes increasingly darker with creepy vocals and the feverish gothic nuances crafted by melodic guitars in the midst of a heavier industrial rhythmic core while the chorus acquires a catchy rock delivery.
The Cult Of Chaos” effortlessly blends spooky electronic effects and soothing piano melodic textures while vocals preach about apocalypse and decay and guitars tend to stay in the background keeping a groovy backbone with evident industrial and alt-rock flavors.
The extremely dramatic mood of “Ecstasy & Exorcism” closes the album with esoteric tapestries that focus almost exclusively on elegant orchestrations and darkened electronic arrangements.
With an ex novo creative force and a poetic decadence “Risen” marks a sinful resurrection for Pig and certainly will see Raymond Watts eager to perform these new songs live in the near future.
There has been some drastic line up changes but Portland based doom stalwarts Witch Mountain return with the new singer Kayla Dixon and renewed obscure energy in the latest self titled full length.
“Midnight” is an instant heavy hitter that clearly draws inspiration from the darkest tonalities of doom with a traditionally monolithic rhythmic ensemble keeping a steady intense groove while the guitar solo offers raw classic rock variations and Kayla’s vocals add a lovely bluesy melodic touch but the inner fierce darkness often emerges with creepy screams.
A loop of fuzzy guitar riffs create suspense and an aptly sense of impending doom on “Mechanical World” which will eventually undergo a heavily trippy rhythmic crescendo mixing slower melodic guitars and enigmatic vibes enhanced by Kayla’s enchanting voice that effortlessly floats through the mysterious rhythmic maze.
“Nighthawk” is the most challenging song on the album running for about fourteen minutes with several mind bending moments. In the beginning guitars gain the spotlight with trippy melodic grandeur swiftly followed by slow & monumental doom riffs and an overdose of hazy bluesy harmonies that intentionally channel epic vibes as well as intensely enigmatic atmospheres while Kayla’s vocal performance offers decadently darkened nuances and esoteric charisma.
Certainly on this new album Witch Mountain successfully maintains a delightful darkened mood and pays homage to the band’s strong doom roots creating a bewitching sonic experience dedicated to lovers of such genre.
Emerging from the darkest depths of metal Nightmarer proudly releases the debut full length “Cacophony Of Terror” confidently exploring extreme metal territories to achieve a unique music identity.
As darkness descends “Stahlwald” evokes oppressive soundscapes through technical guitar work shifting from ominous relentless riffing to slower doom phrases while eclectic tempo variations generate borderline chaotic moments.
“Skinner” continues to revolve around a series of variegated instrumental passages where guitars skillfully craft highly somber progressions leading to punishing grooves perfectly supported by the sinister power of the precise rhythmic section.
On “Fetisch” a neverending darkness leads to asphyxiating faster progressions that will often sound rather ferocious as the band blends dissonant elements and doom tinged melodies within well balanced rhythmic segments.
“Tidal Waves Of Terror” immediately offers dissonant guitar work bearing a melodic doom core that will recur throughout the song amplifying a darkly contemplative mood but will eventually morph into a series of menacing super heavy rhythmic dynamics.
Introduced by nightmarish atmospheres “Death” is constantly surrounded by feelings of absolute despair as guitars will follow unusual tempo changes and favor dramatically slower melodic progression to fully evoke a sense of inescapable terror further enhanced by ravenous growls.
With a distinct sonic manifesto in mind Nightmarer is ready to conquer a solid status in the underground metal scene and “Cacophony Of Terror” is a pitchblack work of music dedicated to lovers of the blackened dissonant tonalities of modern extreme metal.
Cacophony of Terror
The blackened legacy of Swedish icons Marduk is renowned worldwide and its blasphemous essence continues to be crucial in the current metal scene therefore it’s not surprising that the newest release “Viktoria” maintains intact the band’s signature style.
“Werwolf” aims for a direct brutal impact as guitars fully embrace the feverish fast dynamics of what is unanimously considered traditional black metal and the delivery is precise and deliberately bold resulting in a perilous mixture of absolutely harsh tonalities, sirens announcing an imminent attack and venomous growls.
On “Tiger I” the rhythm section drastically slows down yet never sacrifices the primordial blackened core that emerges with bold energetic blasts while guitar riffs acquire an ominous melodic temper foreshadowing imminent catastrophe and maintain a steady sense of hopelessness.
“The Last Fallen” belongs to the hellish depths of black metal as extra dark guitars march triumphantly eventually gaining monstrous rhythmic dynamics accompanied by utterly ruthless growls.
There is no escape and no time to breath on the title track as the entire instrumentation deliberately embrace a savage blackened rhythm and the occasional borderline melodic guitars evoke sheer desolation.
Channeling arcane vibes “Silent Night” becomes even darker with enticing malevolent guitar melodies that could not feel heavier despite the quasi contemplative atmosphere and the dramatically slower rhythmic approach.
On “Viktoria” Marduk are not interested in special effects or astonishing innovations as the traditional black metal is the chosen pathway that continues to dictate the sinister tonalities and a no frills ferocious delivery.
It’s been almost nine years since Norwegian black metal icons Immortal have released an album and their faithful acolytes have been waiting anxiously to listen to what is now finally within our grasps, the new full length “Northern Chaos Gods” is here to hit you in the face with maximum cold darkness.
The title track shows no mercy as a massive shroud of frost permeates the whole atmosphere and instrumentation generating an unstoppable vicious groove dedicated to lovers of traditional black metal with anthemic super fast guitar riffs & drums amplified by hellish growls and adorned by a slick guitar solo.
As the title suggests there is no escape on “Into Battle Ride” as the band is in fact ready for battle unleashing the signature grim nuances with every cold guitar riffing or drum blasts while there is an intense triumphant mood influencing deeply the guitar work and guiding the listeners through a gloomy wintry soundscape.
“Gates To Blashyrkh” showcases a more melodic approach slowing down the previous hectic rhythm to favor highly dramatic vibes especially expressed by the contemplative darkness of the lavish arpeggio driven momentum.
“Where Mountains Rise” begins with the sheer melancholia of sober guitar melodies and while the expected ferocious speed is momentarily put aside this track is still full of blackened raw energy fueled by steady crushing guitar riffs that often become naturally entwined with soulful harmonies.
The theatrical epic grandeur of “Mighty Ravendark” arises from an impenetrable obscure realm with another darkened yet graceful round of guitar melodies that elegantly recur throughout the song with bitter splendor swiftly followed by classic uncompromising frozen guitar riffs and ravenous growls which will repeatedly embrace the familiar blackened abyssal force of the primary rhythmic core.
Immortal has clearly chosen to explore their infamous & uncompromising roots on “Northern Chaos Gods” and as the icebound gates open you will notice that it’s not a random coincidence that the album title refers to chaos since this ex novo journey through Blashyrkh is designed to fully evoke the abyssal darkness of old school black metal.
Northern Chaos Gods
Former Bay Area avant-garde band Ludicra vocalist Laurie Shanaman and guitar player/vocalist Christy Cather have started a new intriguing music journey with the new band Ails which is now ready to debut in the underground metal scene with the tormented nuances of “The Unraveling”.
“The Echoes Waned” is definitely drenched in darkness from beginning to end as an initial guitar driven melodic momentum enhanced by clean melancholic vocals will be swiftly followed by significantly heavier old school black metal dynamics that still leave plenty of space for melodic guitars and spontaneously lead to a brief contemplative round of somber acoustic phrases.
“Mare Weighs Down” can feel even more enraged following a solid blackened rhythmic core amplified by desperate raspy growls and fiery faster blasts but never really abandons the inner dramatic melodic intensity.
The oppressing tonalities of “Bitter Past” drag the listeners through a pitchblack sonic maze where feverish guitar riffs pay homage to decades of uncompromising traditional black metal with loads of gelid faster grooves occasionally interrupted by depressing atmospheric moments.
The lengthy songs included on “The Unraveling” share an evident avant-garde approach and an anguished soul as Ails plans to leave the past behind to embark on a refreshing music endeavor.
The second coming of rockers Lucifer starts when vocalist Johanna Sadonis finds Nicke Andersson as the perfect songwriting partner and the result of this new collaboration is the long awaited sophomore album “Lucifer II” which naturally conjures a dark sonic realm inspired by heavy rock of the late ‘60s and ‘70s.
“California Son” is not your standard rock revival song because Lucifer’s personal identity adds intriguing twists even if the vintage vibes are definitely influencing the wild guitar driven grooves. A subtle darkness flows through the crunchy guitar riffs which spontaneously lead to delightfully entertaining solos with the perfect dosage of gritty & melodic textures while Johanna proves to be a charismatic frontwoman.
As we are feeling a bit lost in the middle of nowhere, most likely an arid landscape or a cemetary, “Dreamer” emerges with sultry harmonies and Johanna’s aptly dreamy vocal delivery while the rhythm slows down significantly to enhance the darkened hues and sheer nostalgia of the melodic guitar work which often will still naturally acquire bursts of explosive energy through groovy crescendos and killer solos.
“Reaper On Your Heels” amplifies classic doom nuances and consequent moody melancholia leading to a lovable melodic ensemble spiced up by many groovy moments where guitars continues to channel glorified rock flavors but also add extra dark momentum.
With a winning groovy rhythmic core “Aton” features loads of catchy melodies reaching the acme with the memorable chorus and while the instrumental passages are utterly entertaining, especially when flamboyant guitar leads take the center stage, there is an underlying emotional turmoil.
The darkly decadent guitar riffs of “Faux Pharaoh” and Johanna’s enchanting vocals will inevitably put a spell on you as this track screams doom from beginning to end offering plenty of delicious gloomy grooves with psychedelic twists and bewitching melodic guitar licks surrounded by particularly sinister atmospheric arrangements.
It would be hard to resist the sultry magic of “Evening Wind” as a laid back and extremely nostalgic mood effortlessly enhance Johanna’s poignant vocal delivery while the soulful guitar melodies and the impressive vibrant leads rightfully hold a rather crucial role throughout the whole song.
The future of Lucifer looks bright as the advent of “Lucifer II” with its inner melodic splendor and gloomy grandeur will definitely attract a wide audience and fully reveal the band’s talent and genuine passion.
Sacramento based doom practitioners Chrch embark on a spiritual music journey on the new album “Light Will Consume Us All” creating hypnotic melodies stuck in the surreal space between light and darkness.
Anything can happen in about twenty minutes and since the very beginning “Infinite” offers a mysterious mood with a minimalist darkened guitar melody in loop surrounded by enigmatic atmospheres that create suspense before a heavy guitar driven storm takes over picking up speed and raw energy accompanied by supernatural ominous screams while a sense of gloomy peace will eventually return bringing feelings of desolation, distant ethereal chants and stripped down melodies.
“Portals” still feels uneasy and oppressive but goes straight to the point as mournful guitar riffs pay homage to all that is dark and most likely hopeless in proper funeral doom fashion, leading to harsher rhythmic momentum and painful screams yet there are also intricate melodic passages that gracefully emerge through the thick darkness and are further enhanced by the mystical vocal delivery.
“Aether” maintains the heavy doom guitar riffing at its primary core with ravenous bursts of blackened energy, consequently everything becomes impossibly gloomy and depressing even if there are occasional lighter atmospheric sections.
If the masses will certainly feel intimidated by the massive length of the songs included on “Light Will Consume Us All” the faithful acolytes of this genre will find much to love as undoubtedly Chrch has put together a truly monolithic doom metal opus.
Light Will Consume Us All
For over twenty five years Canadian melodic death metal veterans Kataklysm have worked hard to conquer the rightful strong status in the worldwide metal scene and consistently released compelling music leading to the latest monumental effort “Meditations”.
The initial epic mood of “Guillotine” introduces an impossibly heavy blast where the whole instrumentation channels a remarkable raw energy that just seems unstoppable yet among the precise crunchy guitar riffs and drum’s breakneck speed lead guitars arise to craft poignant melodic moments.
“Outsider” doesn’t give you a break ensuring immediate headbanging with insanely ravenous growls and a tight series of infectious guitar riffs impeccably supported by towering drums yet a sense of epic grandeur deeply influences the brief introspective melodies.
“Narcissist” becomes delightfully darker as ominous atmospheres seamlessly evolve into a majestic brutal entity fueled by a particularly punishing bass & drums ensemble while guitars effortlessly forge extra grim melodic textures.
With opulent atmospheric accents “And Then I Saw Blood” acquires a pensive melodic mood that definitely influences the whole instrumental structure and the emotive quality of vocals as tempo considerably slows down to amplify the refined dramatic nature of the guitar work yet there are still plenty of catchy rhythmic dynamics.
“What Doesn’t Break Doesn’t Heal” continues to amplify the melodic aspects of the album with enticing lead guitar harmonies naturally evoking a darkened aura that will be swiftly followed by a cohesive round of angered rhythmic dynamics and increasingly enraged growls.
On the final track “Achilles Heel” Kataklysm chooses to focus on inspired dramatic nuances as a sheer darkness is fully expressed by the alluring melancholic guitar melodies that will hold a steady fundamental role nevertheless the primary rhythmic core deliberately showcases the roaring aggressive quality of death metal.
While Kataklysm relentlessly ensures the renowned powerful extreme metal approach in the composition of “Meditations” at the same time doesn’t refrain from spreading lyrical wisdom and profound somber emotions through the melodic momentum that has a deserved essential role on the entire album.
Meditations (CD + DVD)
French post-metal pioneers Hypno5e return with the new album “Alba – Les Ombres Errantes” which is actually a particularly interesting release being the soundtrack of the first full length movie directed and filmed in Bolivia by singer and guitar player Emmanuel Jessua.
With such a beautiful poetic title “Who Wakes Up From This Dream Does Not Bear My Name” will trigger immediate curiosity. Here everything moves sinuously following an imaginary heartbeat through hazy darkened roads as the band certainly uses familiar elements of post-metal to evoke surreal cinematic soundscapes with fascinating intricate guitar melodies and heartfelt acoustic passages drenched in overwhelming melancholia accompanied by delightfully gentle vocals and solemn atmospheric arrangements.
Narratives and gentle acoustic phrases lead the way on “Cuarto del Alba” which is certainly full of ardent emotions naturally expressed by the passionate vocal delivery and the mixture of sober atmospheres and enchanting instrumental crescendos.
“Night on the Petrified Sea” offers abstract moments fueled by unusual acoustic passages that far from the standard mellow tonalities truly display an eclectic nature and prog inspiration leading to technical guitar work and dreamlike atmospheres.
Besides the poignant acoustic melodies “The Wandering Shadows” stands out for the sophisticated orchestrations that enhance the atmospheric grandeur and the poetic mood while percussions and additional melodic layers create ethereal yet groovy rhythmic segments.
“Light of Desert and the Shadows Inside” begins with dreamy atmospheric arrangements soon followed by exquisite sorrowful vocals & acoustic guitars that skillfully depict inspiring darkened soundscapes which will gradually become even more magical with the addition of refined orchestrations and will briefly embrace a more energetic proggy rhythmic momentum.
Leaving temporarily behind loud & heavy distortions Hypno5e focus on telling an emotional story blending images and acoustic melodies that render “Alba – Les Ombres Errantes” a unique cinematic emotionally charged experience.
Alba – Les ombres errantes