He Is Legend – Few

Following a very successful crowdfunding campaign, American rock band He Is Legend retreated to a remote cabin in isolation to find renewed energy and inspiration to craft the fifth full length album “Few”.

“Air Raid” would have sounded stronger without pushing the radio friendly effect, nevertheless He Is Legend skillfully balance groovy trends and heavier old school vibes with structured breakdowns and captivating melodic guitar solo.

“Sand” draws its heavier strength from 90s influences but also features clean modern sonic dynamics that always contribute to build a catchy chorus.

“Silent Gold” feels more mature and spontaneous in terms of songwriting. While rocker style vocals deliver catchy choruses the guitar work provides the right dosage of melancholic melodies as well as healthy heavier riffing.

“Jordan” has a sludgy darker soul with excellent fierce and harsh vocal delivery well supported by a series of particularly crunchy guitar riffs.

“Gold Dust” features a classic rock structure with well executed crispy clean guitar melodies and relaxed vibes but also plenty of guitar driven catchy energetic grooves.

“The Vampyre” stands out for the darkened mood and the guitar work offers more diversity with compelling melodies and powerful riffs.

“The Garden” greatly amplifies the previous darkened mood with the addition of occasional atmospheric accents and more creative solos as guitar riffs drastically slow down in proper vintage doom fashion.

“Few” mostly feels naturally cohesive and well structured, while aiming for a big modern sound and a big crowd He Is Legend seems to deliver some strong, yet not extraordinarily impressive, stylish ideas that follow a clear music pathway.

Farsot – Fail·lure

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German black metal band Farsot returns with the third full length “Fail·lure”, a work of music that showcases avant-garde attitude and is conceptually inspired by the critically acclaimed Peter Greenaway film “Drowning by Numbers”.

“Vitriolic” immediately channels gloomy atmospheric beauty with the elegant addition of deeply melancholic and cathartic guitar melodies, yet there is space for fast paced powerful blackened rhythmic sections surrounded by an impenetrable sinister mist.

“Undercurrents” features cold traditional black metal blasts with well executed guitar riffs that hold a sense of ancient fury while a deeper darkness is enhanced by stylish dismal guitar melodies that surprisingly gain psychedelic vibes.

A particularly dense mysterious aura and ominous ritualistic chants dominate “The Antagonist”, a track that features several tempo and theme variations to offer blackened primordial wrath as well as stylish melodic phrases.

“A Hundred to Nothing” is a rather pleasant instrumental song that steps away from the traditional black metal roots as it relies mainly on post-metal sophisticated guitar melodies and enigmatic dreamy atmospheres.

“Fail·lure” philosophically addresses artsy dilemmas in the midst of intensely darkened atmospheres fueled by ominous black metal roots and Farsot often deviates from the expected music style in order to explore a wider dark music realm.

Les Discrets – Prédateurs

French dark band Les Discrets is well known in the shoegaze scene, also because founder Fursy Teyssier has worked with Alcest and Amesoeurs, and the brand new album “Prédateurs” offers accessible gentle melodies adorned by subtle darkened atmospheres and electronic accents.

“Virée Nocturne” delivers introspective depth with particularly darkened mesmerizing atmospheric layers and minimalist sentimental guitar melodies.

“Les Amis De Minuit” follows similar themes as elegant atmospheres dominate the song’s structure while vibrant melodic guitars channel comforting upbeat hopefulness.

“Fleur Des Murailles” features soft emotive vocals and rich ambiance textures with trip-hop elements that build hazy surreal harmonies.

“Le Reproche” has plenty of enchanting guitar melodies but also a more confident darker metallic approach with the right dose of fragile distortion and exquisite bohemienne poetic atmospheres.

“Les Jours D’Or” continues to channel refined poetic vibes drenched in a dark melancholic realm where graceful guitar melodies and whispered vocals evoke a monochromatic nostalgia.

Immersed in a perennial dreamlike state “Prédateurs” might not be the most memorable release but successfully combines few beloved elements of post-rock/shoegaze with an elegant taste for experimentation and cinematic soundscapes.


Valborg – Endstrand

Hard to categorize, Valborg self describe their music style as German metal monster and the newest full length album “Endstrand” is packed with raw energetic grooves and apocalyptic themes.

“Blut Am Eisen” offers a loud powerful ensemble of high impact guitar riffing with groovy industrial elements and harsh vocals.

“Orbitalwaffe” feels more introspective and dark with gothic infused slower simple guitar phrases but features also more aggressive riffing dynamics with gritty industrial sections.

“Beerdigungsmachine” is raw and metallic with a dense rhythmic assault amplified by heavy galloping guitar riffs and balanced by slower doom melodic segments.

“Bunkerluft” is filled with dreamy melancholic guitar melodies and holds a charismatic darkened soul amplified by ominous vocals that channel the immense obscure sound of classic Celtic Frost.

“Geisterwürde” features gothic/doom atmospheric themes with pensive and moody arpeggios that gradually evolve into heavier fierce guitar driven grooves.

With an overload of darkened nuances “Plasmabrand” might be the most interesting track on this album. Sophisticated doom influenced guitar melodies and steady heavier riffs evoke distorted desolate atmospheres and enhance dystopian vibes.

“Endstrand” mainly revolves around crunchy aggressive guitar driven rhythms that call for savage stomping but Valborg also manages to deliver nightmarish soundscapes with occasional gothic and doom accents.

Dynfari – The Four Doors Of The Mind

Icelandic band Dynfari is known to skillfully create post-metal/post-rock atmospheric music and the latest release “The Four Doors Of The Mind” is based on a rather intriguing concept that explores fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss’ theory on the mind’s abilities to cope with pain combined with over 100 year old lamentations on human existence by early 20th century Icelandic existentialist poet Jóhann Sigurjónsson.

“1st Door: Sleep” starts with apparent melodic calm that recurs throughout the song with dominant shoegaze atmospheric elements but also introduces the listeners to a darker realm made of intense almost savage black metal guitar riffs and powerful growls.

The highly introspective nature of “Sorgarefni Segi Eg Bér” is well expressed in the intricate and often dramatic guitar work that elegantly shifts from sorrowful gothic style phrases to a more blackened metal core.

“Sorg” stands out for its captivating melancholy infused combo of acoustic guitar and flute melodies characterized by cold Nordic nuances.

“4th Door: Death” is a monumental track that showcases the main elements of Dynfari’s unique music style. Lavish and gloomy atmospheres enhance the emotional sonic palette as kaleidoscopic guitar melodies deliver exceptional melancholic depth. Darkened feelings might dominate the music themes but eventually the rhythmic section gains balanced brighter energetic dynamics.

Due to its contemplative complexity “The Four Doors Of The Mind” might never reach a wide audience nevertheless Dynfari are absolutely on the right path to become one of the most interesting bands in the underground metal scene.

Danzig – Black Laden Crown

After the covers album “Skeletons” triggered mixed feelings back in 2015, the inimitable Danzig returns with the long awaited new album of original songs “Black Laden Crown”. While the album often manages to celebrate Danzig’s blackest signature style the recurring uneven flawed production is totally unexpected.

The title track features slow burning guitar riffs infused with pitch black catchiness, a darkly melodic guitar solo and a steady gothic/doom crescendo that favors Danzig’s soulful blackened vocal performance.

“Devil On Hwy 9” is full of gritty and occasionally rather wild guitar work that ensures a consistent raw groove matched by Glenn’s harsh vocals.

“Last Ride” has an intensely darkened bluesy attitude enhanced by retro atmospheric vibes and Tommy Victor provides highly enjoyable melodic moody guitar solos.

“But A Nightmare” successfully channels an overload of darkened vibes with slow & heavy guitar riffs that build utterly catchy grooves while Glenn sounds in excellent shape with haunting vocals.

On “Pull The Sun” Glenn delivers a soothing gothic style performance channeling also Elvis Presley over slower nightmarish melodies while Tommy’s fervent guitar solos gain the spotlight.

It cannot be denied that “Black Laden Crown” carries the exquisite absolute darkness that became a crucial element of Danzig’s music style nevertheless we will never know what went wrong in the studio as the evident production and mix issues unfortunately tend to plague the entire album ultimately spoiling the listening experience.

Dawn Of Ashes – Daemonolatry Gnosis

American symphonic black metal veterans Dawn Of Ashes are back with the new full length “Daemonolatry Gnosis” which, as expected, delivers a cohesive collection of relentless extreme black metal anthems embellished by atmospheric melodic arrangements.

“Gods Of The Antinomian Path” features majestic symphonic orchestrations with sophisticated classical vibes that always create an arcane solemn mood fully embraced by traditional intense black metal guitar riffing and drumming.

“Guardians” stands out for the multifaceted haunting atmospheric textures that continue to add a vivid sense of grandeur ultimately enhancing the typical blackened guitar work and tormented growls.

“Augoeides” channels an overload of intoxicating darkness that demands to be embraced favoring moody gelid guitar melodies and nightmarish subtle backing orchestrations.

“Sermon From The Horned God” crafts a sinister intricate soundscape with dominant darkly stylish classical orchestrations and electro/industrial nuances that undoubtedly spice up the cold old school black metal core.

“Magick For The New Aeon” could easily become a hit with its inner gothic depth and otherworldly orchestrations while guest vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft delivers elegant vocals that add a catchy melancholy.

Dawn Of Ashes also re-interprets Mayhem’s song “Freezing Moon” in bitter traditional black metal fashion.

“Daemonolatry Gnosis” might not be remembered as the most innovative work of music as it heavily bears the influences of familiar and successful European bands such as Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth, nevertheless Dawn Of Ashes proves to be able to seamlessly blend primordial blackened fury and eerie symphonic harmonies.

Saule – Saule

Polish emerging band Saule aims to craft dreamy music with post-rock and post-metal themes that are certainly prominent in the self titled debut album.

“I” blends the natural beauty of minimalist guitar melodies and black metal oriented rhythms surrounded by delicate ambient soundscapes.

“III” is infused with surreal and utterly melancholic atmospheres perfectly expressed in the melodic guitars passages that continue to hold dreamlike nuances even while gaining rhythmic speed.

“V” shines for the fragile atmospheric arrangements and the heartfelt melodies that spontaneously gain rhythmic crescendo with fierce stylish distortions.

“VI” offers a visionary multifaceted music style with distant ambient echoes, solemn blackened guitar riffs and shimmering softer melodies.

Overall, Saule delivers an interesting, at times introvert in proper shoegaze fashion, debut album which might have scattered rough edges but showcases a genuine passion for music and artsy details.

Alchimia – Musa

Young musician Emanuele Tito has created the multifaceted project Alchimia and is ready to release the debut album “Musa” which aims to blend gothic metal elements and the warmth of Mediterranean music.

“Orizzonte” feels calm and relaxing focusing on graceful subtle melodies and nostalgic echoes that soon evolve into a somber darkened distorted piece amplified by tormented growls.

“Exsurge Et Vive (Alchemical Door)” explores darker metal roots with crunchy ominous guitar riffs bearing a ritualistic feel just like Rotting Christ’s recent work, so this track shines for intensity but not for originality.

“My Own Sea (Fading)” channels the sadness and melancholy of iconic bands such as Katatonia and Anathema. While the pensive acoustic guitar phrases are absolutely pleasant the music themes do not hold enough maturity and individual uniqueness.

With a poetic mood “Waltz Of The Sea” delivers immense melancholy with balanced melodic acoustic and electric passages that also showcase additional elegant folk accents.

“Memory (Assenza)” focuses on old school gothic metal guitar riffs and slow somber rhythms that always evoke gloomy atmospheres.

In terms of songwriting and music style “Musa” doesn’t really follow a specific pathway as it tends to fluctuate from random heavier doom influences to ultra melancholic atmospheres nevertheless with Alchimia Emanuele Tito demonstrates promising creative passion.

Troubled Horse – Revolution On Repeat

Among the several interesting Swedish bands Troubled Horse has a rather clear music pathway where classic heavy metal and retro rock ‘n’ roll are naturally mixed as you can tell immediately listening to the new album “Revolution On Repeat”

“Hurricane” relies on an energetic retro rock groove where loads of tight catchy guitar riffs and unrestrained raspy rocker style vocals take the lead but the memorable bold guitar solo also deserves attention.

“The Filthy Ones” features understated energetic grooves in the midst of a gloomy yet rebellious mood with vibrant psychedelic rock moments and captivating guitar solos.

“Peasants” has a well constructed steady rocking groove that feels like partying all night long and again owes its inner charismatic strength to the intense catchy guitar dynamics.

“The Haunted” is a monumental piece of music with a compelling series of moody old fashioned doom oriented guitar riffs, subtle psychedelic accents and melodies that naturally culminate in intricate melodic guitar solos.

“Desperation” holds a melancholic soul with a sad acoustic intro and a particularly passionate vocal delivery while guitars and keyboards successfully maintain a melodic sorrowful mood.

Lovers of the unstoppable retro rock scene will certainly embrace the warm 70’s vibes that characterize Troubled Horse’ music and “Revolution On Repeat” is definitely loaded with irresistible exquisite nostalgia.