Mos Generator – Shadowlands

Washington based heavy rock trio Mos Generator returns with a powerful sonic trip filled with  authentic ‘70s rock nuances on the latest effort “Shadowlands”.

The title track immediately channels the golden days of classic rock as the band jams wildly offering super tight guitar driven grooves and featuring some stoner metal oriented riffing galore but certainly doesn’t sacrifice a more somber melodic essence well expressed also by the passionate vocal delivery and the compelling melodic leads.

The acidic distortion of “The Destroyer” leads to a massive series of groovy guitar riffs and addictive leads within a quite frenetic rhythmic section while vocals acquire a dismal raucous delivery that perfectly matches the darker mood.

“Drowning In Your Loving Cup” still focuses on the creation of steady & catchy retro rock grooves as guitar riffs feel absolutely dominant and will lead to a bittersweet melodic chorus but the lead guitar work still pushes the fuzz pedal in proper stoner rock fashion.

“Gamma / Hydra” maintains a crunchy rhythm with undeniably powerful riffing but a profound sense of melancholy will ultimately take over influencing the rich lead guitar work which focuses on melodic phrases and interesting spacey progressions.

With dreamy tonalities and the expected generous dosage of trippy guitar work “The Wild & Gentle Dogs” will take on a wild ride where nostalgia and melancholy linger through the multifaceted instrumental passages as guitars confidently craft an overdose of heavy riffs but don’t refrain from delivering loads of kaleidoscopic melodies and warm vintage flavors shifting effortlessly from minimalist arpeggios to groovy flamboyant solos.

Overall, on the seventh full length “Shadowlands” Mos Generator successfully entertain lovers of vintage rock flavors staying true to a beloved classic formula full of catchy dynamics and loads of uptempo hooks.

Shadowlands

Lychgate – The Contagion In Nine Steps

Following a multifaceted music pathway Lychgate has earned a solid status in the UK extreme metal scene and the latest effort “The Contagion in Nine Steps” aims to deliver an avant-garde  collection of songs conceptually based on complex philosophical and psychological themes.

With an intoxicating atmospheric ensemble of extremely dark nuances and enigmatic melodies “Republic” opens the album and marks the beginning of a grandiose music journey as Lychgate meticulously craft a blend of ominous orchestrations, unconventional rhythmic variations and somber guitar phrases leading to doom tinged soundscapes and infinite desolation accompanied by theatrical clean vocals and diabolical growls.  

“Unity Of Opposites” continues to evoke surreal soundscapes using dissonant tonalities in the impressive melodic & rhythmic guitar work and consequently putting aside any hint of catchiness as the band deliberately focuses on the creation of intricate instrumental passages naturally surrounded by the arcane grandeur of subtle atmospheric layers.

The somber piano melodies of “Hither Comes The Swarm” effortlessly embrace the overwhelming gloom of hypnotizing melodies maintaining a darkly doom pace enhanced by utterly dramatic vocals & menacing growls while guitars will always hold a primary role delivering additional avant-garde momentum as well as thicker riffing that will eventually lead to a faster blackened rhythm.

With intense epic vibes and triumphant moments “The Contagion” still feels exceptionally gloomy borrowing the ominous splendor of traditional doom metal to craft oppressively and often painfully slow heavy rhythmic dynamics but adds a generous dosage of fancy melodic guitars that inevitably channel a profound darkness in the midst of extremely dramatic atmospheres and theatrical vocals.

As Lychgate focus accurately on mature musicianship and elaborate sonic textures “The Contagion In Nine Steps” is a hymn to darkness that will constantly surprise the listeners with its unique and often uneasy flavors.  

The Contagion In Nine Steps

Octopus – Supernatural Alliance

Could something really cool emerge from the spectral swamps of Detroit? Yes, it’s the psychedelic turbo rock band Octopus who will surprise you with the trippy verve of the debut album “Supernatural Alliance”.

“The Center” certainly showcases strong ‘70s rock influences but doesn’t necessarily scream retro as guitars constantly craft good times grooves with acidic riffs mixed with essential organ melodic trippy galore resulting in one of those lovable dizziness inducing tune and in general the whole instrumentation sounds super tight shaping loads of refreshing catchy rhythmic dynamics.

The title track has a delicious fuzzy feeling mixed with enigmatic melodic textures, a surreal combination that aims to hypnotize the listeners, as guitars effortlessly shift from dramatic tonalities to full blown heavy & psychedelic riffing generating the right spacey mood with a slightly melancholic aura also enhanced by talented vocalist Masha’s intriguing soulful delivery.

“Slave And Master” pushes on that fuzz pedal and puts the classic organ passages in the spotlight while guitars & drums are very busy spacing out like in the middle of the desert and keeping an authentic rock groove with exquisite vintage vibes and vibrant riffs accompanied by spellbinding vocals.

The altered state of “The Unknown” particularly stands out for the darkened atmospheres and a slower enigmatic approach that favors a more generous dosage of psychedelia infused groovy dynamics skillfully embedded in every guitar riff and delicate melodic concoctions that suddenly emerge through steady rhythmic crunchiness carrying an overload of hallucinogenic experimental elements.

“Black Dynamite” can hit hard with the proper massive distorted rock guitar riffs and consequent raw energy but also offers tons of trippy rhythmic variations with spacey background organ layers and a slow burning approach especially enriched by the enthralling darkly psychedelic melodic licks of the guitar solo and the absolutely fierce & catchy rocker style vocal delivery.

You must take the time to discover the dazed & entertaining sonic realm of “Supernatural Alliance” as Octopus successfully deliver a highly energetic collection of songs that shine for the spontaneous psychedelic rock jam attitude.

Rivers Of Nihil – Where Owls Know My Name

This might be the strongest effort from this band. You can hear how much their composition has matured. This album is packed with dynamics and versatility, which gives it replay value. It’s definitely one of those albums that you can keep coming back to. I consider this to be a modern progressive death metal masterpiece, for that very reason.

“The Silent Life” opens with a nice chunky verse that leads into some cool “techy” riffing. There’s a lot of atmosphere in the background adding a nice ambient effect to the riffs. They even venture into some Pink Floyd territory in the bridge. I love the guitar solo on this track. Excellent phrasing.

“A Home” really pushes the point that this band is expanding their sound towards a more progressive direction, as opposed to letting themselves get trapped into the whole “tech death” label. This far in, you can already hear their growth. The vocals fit very well into the overall mix. There’s a nice clean interlude with some nice clean vocals that adds a nice new dynamic.

“Old Nothing” starts out as a heavy hitter. This one slaps you right in the face. The verse is quite badass to put it lightly. Riff after riff. It’s a little more reminiscent of their previous album.

“Subtle Change (Including The Forest Of Transition And Dissatisfaction Dance)” really showcases all kinds of dynamics. Clean vocals everywhere. Some more traditional prog elements floating around in this song. This track takes you on a journey, no question. It has excellent use of note choices and chords. I really love how much they utilize the Sax on this album. They enter into, dare I say, Dream Theater territory, as far as that traditional prog metal sound goes. They do it very tastefully I might add. This is one of the highlights for me personally. And the ending of the song… Well, just listen.

“Hollow” kind of brings things back a bit. This track has a bit more of a grounded feel. Super solid, and packed with punchy riffs. The solo is another great one. It’s really melodic, but flashy enough to get the point across.

“Death Is Real” has a pretty cool sounding intro that leads into a crushing riff. The chorus is so mean and powerful. It’s actually one of my favorite moments. It just has a nice erie feel. The interlude is pretty cool and creates a cool groove with interesting atmosphere. You get a second interlude later that’s equally as atmospheric, but more melodic.

Give this album a spin. I won’t give away the rest.

Where Owls Know My Name

Wolvhammer – The Monuments Of Ash & Bone

With a revamped lineup and renewed creative energy Wolvhammer emerge from the darkest depths of underground metal to deliver an overdose of undiluted blackened decay on the new opus “The Monuments Of Ash & Bone”.

“Eternal Rotting Misery” clearly stays true to the title and opens the gates of darkness as a profound sense of misery is constantly evoked by the multiple ominous rhythmic patterns fiercely unleashed by steady blackened guitar riffs & menacing drums consequently enhanced by hellish growls.

The impenetrable shroud of darkness of “Bathed In Moonblood And Wolflight” spontaneously leads to a cohesive round of tight blackened guitar riffs which feels impossibly obscure yet catchy in a way that will generate an instant moshpit nevertheless there are inner subdued melodic textures shimmering through the ferocious grooves.

On “The Failure King” guitars become utterly rambunctious following the faster borderline brutal pace dictated by steady thunderous drumming yet this is not an uncontrolled chaos as the band accurately follows the primordial black metal roots but also adds inspired atmospheric & melodic moments featuring a slower darkly contemplative essence.

With a slower rhythm and impossibly gloomy textures “Solace Eclipsed” feels like an atmospheric hymn to darkness with dramatic vocals & arrangements but will eventually offer scattered blackened guitar driven grooves without sacrificing the hazy desolation and melodic melancholy.

Overall, Wolvhammer worked hard to achieve the recurring raw blackened grooves and immense desolation of “The Monuments Of Ash & Bone” which will certainly delight lovers of obscure black metal nuances.

The Monuments of Ash & Bone

Bruce Lamont – Broken Limbs Excite No Pity

Multi-instrumentalist Bruce Lamont is best known for his work with Yakuza, Corrections House and Brain Tentacles but now is releasing the second solo album “Broken Limbs Excite No Pity” which is the result of his rich music experience and a strong experimental approach.

On “Excite No Pity” an harmonious saxophone floats through electro layers which constantly build suspense and generate enigmatic nuances that will acquire noisy elements while vocals often feel like arcane chants contributing the the general darkened mood and the cinematic nature of the song.

“Maclean” immediately offers more accessible tonalities with a generous round of gentle acoustic passages that craft magical melodies in the midst of solemn atmospheric layers and distant archaic chanting.

With somber spoken words “Goodbye Electric Sunday” dwells in a distorted noisy realm with crackling background sounds and subtle dissonance that clearly hold an experimental edge yet the surf rock style guitars channel hints of catchy positive energy.

“Moonlight And The Sea” holds a profound emotional quality as vocals feel particularly gloomy perfectly matching the sheer melancholy depicted by graceful acoustic guitars while creepy distorted sounds lurk in the background and smooth saxophone melodies add compelling jazzy vibes.

Defying standard music categories on “Broken Limbs Excite No Pity” Bruce Lamont focuses on the creation of an avant-garde nuances and drone/atmospheric ensemble that will ensure a unique listening experience.

Amorphis – Queen Of Time

A new album by Finnish masters Amorphis is bound to generate curiosity and high expectations as during a successful thirty years career they conquered a seminal status in the metal scene and never really disappointed the fans therefore it is a pleasure to finally listen to the latest work of music “Queen Of Time” which feels even more cinematic and inventive featuring also an orchestra & choir.

Creating a massive sonic impact “The Bee” manages to evoke a profoundly archaic essence while being absolutely relevant in the modern metal scene skillfully mixing darkened extreme roots featuring intense guitar riffs & insanely powerful growls and a majestic catchy melodic ensemble effortlessly enhanced by the elegant creativity of Santeri’s keyboards arrangements shifting from ethereal atmospheres to complex layers that deserve your full attention.  

On “Message In The Amber” the sheer beauty of the solemn choir contributes to create huge epic vibes amplifying the Finnish folklore elements that are, as always, a crucial element of the band’s signature style and here become extremely dominant in the rich melodic guitar work and the charismatic keyboards layers but you will also find harsher monumental rhythmic sections.

“Daughter Of Hate” will immediately stand out for the darkly melancholic nuances amplified by the graceful melodic guitar work as the rhythmic patterns temporarily slow down to focus on authentic emotions before fully embracing heavier guitar driven grooves accompanied by hellish growls while the saxophone piece is a deliciously unexpected addition and the ancient folk spirit will become more palpable when lyricist Kainulainen delivers a soulful narrative piece.

“Heart Of The Giant” begins with charming gloomy guitar phrases soon joined by the impeccable grandiose sound of the whole instrumentation to deliver sumptuous melodies and a shimmering rhythmic crescendo that will lead to the choir’s dramatic nuances and a spellbinding series of keyboards & guitar acrobatics.

“Amongst Stars” takes you to an ancient forest with magical folk flavors crafted by stunning uplifting melodic guitars, flute harmonies and dazzling keyboards but certainly the enchanting  voice and the genuine passion of Anneke van Giersbergen will often steal the spotlight.

While keeping similar majestic tonalities “Pyres On The Coast” acquires a renewed sense of darkness as Tomi’s impeccably diabolical growls seem to emerge from a forgotten abyss and guitar melodies deliberately evoke gloomy feelings while the vibrant splendor of guitar & keyboards soloing cannot be missed.

Being a prolific band Amorphis has always delivered compelling albums and as a result of a natural evolution, forward thinking  and meticulous attention for details “Queen Of Time” feels particularly mature keeping alive the quintessential Nordic nature of the band mixed with a sublime intricacy and an ex novo creative force that at this point truly feels unstoppable.

Queen Of Time

Ihsahn – Ámr

Legendary Emperor frontman Ihsahn has built a strong reputation as a solo artist and the new long awaited effort “Ámr” will solidify even more his status of avant-metal composer surprising and challenging the listeners with monumental, often unconventional, multifaceted textures and rare creativity.

With surreal soundscapes built by an enigmatic loop of synths & guitars “Lend Me the Eyes of Millenia” feels immediately charismatic creating suspenseful moments with subtly symphonic layers meticulously mixed with abrasive rhythmic patterns which follow a clever progressive fluidity and will often acquire a faster borderline ominous pace while Ihsahn’s relentless intense screams certainly still draw inspiration from his renowned black metal roots.

The eclectic & frenetic rhythms of “Arcana Imperii” are significantly influenced by prog rock/metal and successfully create stylish diversity offering a fair dosage of crunchy guitars and precise drumming but also an inspired melodic essence enhanced by luminous atmospheric layers and the excellent lead guitar work featuring a fancy solo performed by Opeth’s guitarist Fredrik Åkesson.

On  “Sàmr” synths hold a dominant role creating ethereal & melancholic arrangements with electro accents that embellish the primary melodic tapestries shaped by a compelling guitar work which follows a slower contemplative pace favoring a clean passionate vocal delivery.

“Marble Soul” is exquisitely captivating with a fierce round of addictive guitar riffs and desperate growls that definitely bring back a heavier blackened rhythmic ensemble yet such profound darkness will eventually embrace brighter emotionally charged melodic nuances and poignant clean vocals.

The opening inflamed combo of menacing guitar riffs and blackened drum blasts on “Wake” feels darkly majestic but the eclectic nature of this track will emerge triumphantly later with electro elements, kaleidoscopic atmospheric synths and a remarkably elegant melodic guitar solo.

Nobody could ever doubt the incredible & unique creative force behind all Ihsahn’s music as like a true alchemist he constantly re-invents and manipulates styles and songwriting therefore “Ámr” is the natural consequence of a sophisticated evolution and an immersive listening experience that you cannot miss.

Amr

Spiders – Killer Machine

Swedish rockers Spiders are on a mission to keep rock ‘n’ roll alive with the latest effort “Killer Machine” so get ready for a wild ride.

Packed with gritty guitar riffs and a catchy chorus “Shock And Awe” channels the energetic mood that will dominate the entire album and the consequent overdose of vintage dazed rhythms is constantly enhanced by Ann-Sofie Hoyles charismatic & wild vocal performance.

With undiluted rock energy “Dead Or Alive” is a fun track full of groovy upbeats built by the deliciously authentic rock sound of guitars and again there are many melodic hooks culminating with the memorable rebel spirit of the chorus.

“Burning For You” picks up speed as guitars become unrestrained focusing on the creation of wild classic rock riffs & leads while Ann-Sofie’s vocals diligently follow such rebellious instrumental ensemble and add hints of nostalgia.

The title track continues to pay homage to the golden days of rock channeling ‘60s flavors and keeping the focus on a widely accessible combo of melodic moments and acidic guitar riffing to maintain a good vibes attitude and nostalgic echoes are still present.

On “Swan Song” the rebel punk attitude contaminates the primary guitar driven grooves obviously executed in proper classic rock fashion but the rhythm acquires a frenetic mode that will lead to the inflamed guitar solo.

Don’t expect “Heartbreak” to sound like a love song because the rhythm is certainly slower and slightly somber but still packs a punch with steady rocking guitars delivering edgy riffs and warm bluesy melodic solos that scream retro rock while Ann-Sofie delivers another delightful vocal performance.

In the midst of an unstoppable retro rock revival from Europe undoubtedly “Killer Machine” preserves the polychromatic nuances of classic rock through loads of melodic hooks that call for good times & party as Spiders express a genuine passion for such timeless music genre.

Crematory – Oblivion

With a twenty seven years career German gothic metal band Crematory has rightfully earned a solid status in the metal scene and the new album “Oblivion”, which also happens to be the fourteenth release in the prolific band’s discography, comes with loads of melodic hooks and cohesive creative force.

Starting with triumphant symphonic layers “Salvation” swiftly embraces a catchy darkened groove as tight guitar riffs and Felix’s signature deep growls take the lead and while the primary core maintains a gothic mood the chorus of clean soothing vocals and easy melodic guitars provide widely accessible tonalities.

On “Until The Dawn” sumptuous keyboards arrangements ensure a solemn beginning that will lead to another round of darkly entertaining grooves as guitars continue to shift from classic metal riffage to bright melodic moments enhanced by emotionally charged vocal harmonies.

A dark melancholy immediately sets the mood on “Wrong Side” with lovely keyboards melodies that will recur throughout the song’s guitar driven subdued grooves to amplify such goth infused vibes while inspired somber vocals are mixed to a fair dosage of powerful growls.  

“For All Of Us” aims to become as accessible as possible favoring a symphonic approach where keyboards dominate the song’s structure providing polychromatic layers to surround & support the catchy and certainly radio friendly chorus that again focuses on a particularly emotive vocal delivery nevertheless you still get to hear Felix’s enraged growls marching fiercely through the melodic guitars and occasional inflamed riffs.

“Immortal” favors electro arrangements with a futuristic danceable attitude that embellish the main catchy rock elements and inevitably generates positive energy while Felix’s growls continue to channel the darkest elements of Crematory’s classic songwriting style.

The title track showcases a mellower melancholic side but still delivers successfully a gothic tinged rock groove diligently built by crunchy guitar riffs and menacing growls further embellished by a wide array of modern electro accents before a crispy clean chorus steals the spotlight channeling darkened emotions with a pleasantly poignant vocal performance followed by polished guitar melodies.

“Demon Inside” is definitely one of the heaviest tracks on this album confidently drawing inspiration from old school gothic metal with Felix taking the spotlight to deliver massive diabolical growls over steady darkened guitar riffs but a graceful melodic essence will gain the spotlight with luminous orchestrations.

In all these years we got used to marvelous songs by Crematory and despite the various line up changes “Oblivion” conserves the band’s quintessential gothic style and is another strong effort that deserves to be listened loud on repeat to simply delight the band’s loyal fans but also conquer the heart of new acolytes.

Oblivion