Shores Of Null – Black Drapes For Tomorrow

Italian band Shores Of Null returns with the latest effort “Black Drapes For Tomorrow”, a gothic/doom oriented wistful and sorrowful collection of songs that aims to leave a memorable mark in the chaotic music scene.

“Donau” combines an ensemble of strong guitar riffs and somber melodies bearing familiar gothic accents, the rhythmic section builds a nice catchy groove particularly enriched by solemn baritone vocals.

“Tide Against Us” features emotionally charged vocals lingering over highly melodic guitars and culminating in the addictive chorus but there is also space for heavier soaring blackened riffing even if it tends to stay too much in the background.

The title track amplifies a gloomy mood again perfectly expressed by the dramatic vocals supported by a well balanced mix of soothing dark melodies and powerful guitar riffs.

“Carry On, My Tiny Hope” stands out for the overdose of elegantly darkened guitar melodies that continue to follow contemplative themes enhanced by truly strong and passionate vocal delivery effortlessly shifting from clean to intense growls.

“The Kolyma Route” showcases impressive vocal diversity and has a more aggressive approach with a cohesive thunderous crescendo of guitar riffs but still holds a pure darkened melodic soul with poignant guitar melodies that evoke feelings of despair and desolation.

An immense sense of melancholy dominates the expected doom/death metal themes of “Black Drapes For Tomorrow” and Shores Of Null certainly put a lot of effort in the songwriting for this album demonstrating their genuine commitment and passion for music.

Return To Void – Return To Void

Finnish prog rockers Return To Void have worked hard to craft the self titled debut album which particularly shines for the talented musicianship and crispy bright sound.

“Throughout The Ages” features upbeat rhythms and energetic grooves following a classic hard rock recipe but the highlight can be found in the variegated prog oriented guitar & bass segments.

Additional fancy prog rock dynamics can be found in the excellent guitar work on “Vail Of Confusion” which also features catchy 90s vibes especially in the radio friendly chorus.

“Sight Of Immortal Sea” carries deep melancholy borderline ballad style with plenty of easy melodies, soothing choirs and retro rock elements.

“All The Darkness” mostly has a happy sound with consistent vibrato vocals and loads of well executed melodic guitar riffs and leads that draw inspiration from classic rock/metal bands.

The eponymous track “Return To Void” features epic vibes and atmospheric accents that bear a touch of melancholy, again lead guitars take a dominant role to deliver compelling melodic solos.

Overall, Return To Void will need more time to create a more unique sound but delivers a sincere cohesive debut effort suitable not only for prog rock lovers but also a wider audience.

Necrowretch – Satanic Slavery

French extreme metal band Necrowretch furiously unleashes the latest effort “Satanic Slavery” a blasphemous anthem that draws inspiration and strength mainly from old school death metal.

There is no sunshine in the realm of Necrowretch and “Sprawl Of Sin” revolves around putrid stench and brutal guitar driven rhythms that just seem unstoppable except for brief slower more listenable guitar leads.

The title track comes with immense fury to deliver traditional fast drumming and guitar riffing that built a simply asphyxiating soundscape while raw enraged vocals perfectly match the crucial blackened mood.

“Evil Names” continues to follow the ancestral madness but there are hints of healthy doom in the slow and heavy guitar passages and almost crispy and melodic guitar solo.

“Verses From The Depths” tries to be as fast as possible with crushing guitar riffs and matching malevolent growls that seem to emerge from the depths of hell but a “calmer” breakdown gives way to a nice guitar solo.

Even if Necrowretch manages to place some variations in the middle of breakneck speed rhythms “Satanic Slavery” is truly a dreadful beast that would appeal mostly to death metal faithful fans in need of a quick brutal fix.

Völur – Ancestors

Canadian trio Völur is ready to release the sophomore full length “Ancestors” which features strong doom roots as well as enchanting folk elements immersed in a darkened spiritual miasma. Bassist/vocalist Lucas Gadke of Blood Ceremony, violinist/vocalist Laura C. Bates of Fresh Snow and drummer James Payment of Do Make Say Think are certainly experienced musicians who have a clear conceptual vision and a genuine desire to carefully craft unique magnetic harmonies.

“Breaker Of Silence” is telling a story that focuses on darkly cinematic atmospheres as ethereal solace embrace vivid melodic textures. The organic slow and pensive instrumentation is adorned by otherworldly chants while simply irresistible and utterly mesmerizing violin melodies deliver grandiose beauty through darker rhythmic layers.

“Breaker Of Skulls” challenges the graceful darkness with intense growls that channel primordial and heavier blackened themes while bone chilling violin phrases earn again the deserved spotlight delivering majestic melodies as well as profound arcane vibes.

On “Breaker Of Oath” stunning dramatic classical violin evoke a transcendent scenario but this track also offers a particularly ominous side well supported by powerful bass dynamics. The melodic contemplative aspects of this song embodied by exceptionally captivating violin solos deserve to be listened thoroughly in order to fully and consciously embrace the depth of Völur’s enthralling music journey.

“Ancestors” is not your average metal album as Völur has created a magical work of music that sinuously dwells in the darkest artsy realms and draws cathartic strength from lavish hypnotizing melodies.


Fortis Amor – Fortis Amor

Guitarist/vocalist/composer/producer Ryan Duke is ready to proudly release the self titled debut album of his passionate melodic progressive metal project Fortis Amor.

Right from the start Fortis Amor showcases meticulous attention for details, a big sound and compelling songwriting variety.

“Particles” begins with elegantly melancholic acoustic guitars but soon gains intense depth with multichromatic complex guitar melodies and eclectic tempo variations in proper prog fashion.

“Holding On To Nothing” has a brief graceful acoustic intro but proceeds to combine heavier guitar riffing and luminous proggy guitar driven harmonies and solo, a duality expressed also in the contrasting vocal styles.

“Renewal” features a rather heavy sonic assault with super crunchy modern guitar riffing but the flamboyant versatility and creative force of the guitar solos will inevitably steal the spotlight and demand full attention.

“Bring This Petition To The Castle” favors prog influenced style and melodic themes as glossy guitars craft an overload of inspired harmonies while acoustic moments channel dreamlike emotional vibes.

“Outpouring” focuses on a catchy ensemble of crispy polished guitar melodies and radio friendly chorus, nevertheless the lead guitar work continues to concoct interesting and variegated passages.

Considering the amazingly multifaceted influences and intricate instrumentation is quite remarkable that, aside from few guest solos, Fortis Amor is a one man progressive project. Even if at times the modern metal approach seems too trendy and doesn’t necessarily match the fluidity of the overall musicianship this debut album will certainly impress the listeners.

Raging Dead – When The Night Falls

Emerging Italian horror punk quartet Raging Dead has released the first full length album entitled “When The Night Falls” which revolves around rebellious grooves with some horror show style elements that remind of the legendary Italian band Death SS.

“Streets Of Rage” stays true to the title as tight enraged guitar driven rhythms packs a series of aggressive riffs amplified by scratchy furious vocals with an overall cinematic 90s horror movie theme that will continue to be quite dominant throughout the album.

The title track showcases another killer round of simple yet high impact guitar riffs and heavy bass lines but there is also a good dose of creepy melodies culminating into a pleasantly catchy chorus.

“Army Of The Restless” increases the atmospheric dark mood with slower paced rhythms, classic melodic guitar solo and scattered vintage rock accents.

“Nightstalker” features fun nightmarish grooves that channel multiple influences including glam rock while a smooth metallic guitar solo bears the melodic signature style of classic heavy metal.

“Crimson Garden” puts aside the immediate fury of wild punk dynamics to focus on a well structured crescendo of accessible darkly melodic themes and less frenetic rhythmic sections.

“When The Night Falls” doesn’t necessarily offer otherworldly music innovations nevertheless it is an absolutely and genuinely entertaining album full of super catchy rocking grooves that will make you stomp until dawn.

Ides Of Gemini – Women

After few line-up changes Ides Of Gemini is ready for a reinvigorated comeback to the music scene with the new full length “Women”, a collection of songs dedicated to mythological or historical women.

“Mother Kiev” features gothic nuances and mystifying atmospheres that enhance the darkened guitar riffing and the alluring vocals.

“Raft Of Medusa” delivers emotive acoustic guitar passages swiftly followed by doomy heavier riffs and catchy rhythmic sections that bear a mysterious aura.

“Swan Diver” relies on a rather memorable guitar/bass combo with heavier attitude and loads of vintage vibes as Sera Timms’s vocals guide the listeners through hazy soundscapes.

On “She Has A Secret” guest vocalist Emma Ruth Rundle delivers a rather haunting performance that adds further dark depth to the retro gothic/doom themes.

Featuring Tara Connelly of Clay Rendering “Queen Of New Orleans” feels like a hypnotic chant in the midst of an inescapable heavily darkened atmosphere amplified by recurring goth oriented guitar melodies.

Ides Of Gemini is definitely capable of creating vintage enigmatic music and while “Women” feels like a strong cohesive album with darkly enchanted accents unfortunately it often lacks charisma due to monotone vocals and repetitive music themes.

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.