Sinistro – Semente

With the release of “Semente” Portuguese band Sinistro tries to leave a mark in the chaotic and crowded music scene by delivering a collection of darkened songs that elegantly embrace multiple music styles such as doom and shoegaze.

The opening track “Partida” portrays some fundamental elements of Sinistro’s music vision. It is immediately noticeable that Patricia Andrade’s obscurely seductive voice and alluring lamentations are the star of the show. While the main guitar riffs display the somber heaviness of traditional doom the keyboard arrangements offer atmospheric layers that often recall trip hop style and maintain an everlasting feeling of painful melancholy.

“Corpo Presente” has the vibe of a smoky tiny room with an ominous moody thick fabric filled with eclectic almost dissonant jazzy style keyboards surrounded by melodic gloomy guitars. Andrade’s vocals always add a dreamy sorrowfulness that never loses its inner sensual intensity.

The title track has a gloomy slower tempo that allows Andrade’s lustful voice to hypnotize and lure the audience into a highly atmospheric electronic maze crafted in Portishead style.

“Reliquia” evokes a shoegaze style dreamland where calm soothing melodies build an ethereal feeling of longing. Through the emotionally cinematic ensemble of bleak crunchy guitars, luminous arpeggios in crescendo and harmonious keyboard layers, Andrade’s graceful vocals hold a wistful power that effortlessly dominates the entire song.

Sinistro is showing a great potential to conquer a unique niche in the current scene and the understated sensually savage beauty of “Semente”, a loveable soundtrack for lonely rainy nights, will certainly attract a wide audience.

Grand Magus – Sword Songs

Swedish act Grand Magus comes back with a full blown Viking metal album entitled “Sword Songs” that definitely stays true to such title. If you’re in love with triumphant traditional epic metal full of powerful riffs and folk/pagan themes you will certainly be entertained by “Sword Songs”.

“Freja’s Choice” is on the heavier side with a delectable array of groovy guitar riffs surrounding a quite melodic core. The vocals hold a steady power metal vibe, especially on the super catchy chorus, and the majestically harmonious guitar solo is meant to steal the scene.

“Forged In Iron – Crowned In Steel” starts with a soft arpeggio that introduces a rampage of crunchy guitar riffs and faster drumming. While the breakdown displays some somber doom accent the whole song celebrates Viking metal, swords and steel in typical power metal fashion.

“Born For Battle (Black Dog Of Brocéliande)” is definitely a heavy metal warrior anthem filled with crispy dirty guitar riffing and raspy vocals but the melodic core is still quite dominant in the classic lead guitar work and monumental catchy chorus that recalls Manowar’s style.

“Every Day There’s A Battle To Fight” is another true warrior’s anthem, this time with a touch of melancholy, and is all about that classic metal charisma and inner strength naturally instilled by a collection of genuine guitar riffs. This song features a solid mid paced rhythm and victorious melodies that culminate in a proud memorable chorus.

In the end, “Sword Songs” might suffer from certain repetitive cliché that result in a lack of clever creativity but it remains an enjoyable collection of songs suitable for the average metal audience.

Fleshgod Apocalypse – King

With the latest release entitled “King” Fleshgod Apocalypse delivers another ambitious concept album on which the band follows no rules and no restrains in order to achieve a personal intricate music style.

The opening intro “Marche Royale” sets a triumphant sense of high expectations that certainly attracts even the occasional listeners by instilling a genuine curiosity for what will happen next.

Without any abrupt interruption “In Aeternum” continues to deliver that same majestic mood that smoothly mixes a sumptuous operatic style with a heavy death metal core. While the guitar solo has a technical approach, it also brings a generous melodious vibe that perfectly fits the elegant classically inspire orchestration.

“Healing Through War” features an overload of crunchy tight guitar riffing that will please those who seek the cold embrace of death metal. Yet, the classic atmospheric orchestration, the melodic guitar solo and the overall eerie mood are the most entertaining elements on this track.

“The Fool” feels like a mischievous masquerade and is a rather enjoyable tune since the very beginning where neoclassical harpsichord and dissonant chords end up entwined in a frantic death metal rhythm. The clean passionate chorus and the polished technical guitar solo add a melodic vibe to the triumphant orchestration.

“Cold As Perfection” has a more dramatic atmosphere where the operatic style composition is further amplified by fierce choirs and sentimental female vocals. While the guitar riffs and drumming maintain a dynamic death metal approach the breakdown featuring spoken words and melodic piano smoothly prepares the scenery for a proper epic operetta featuring alluring soprano vocals.

“And The Vulture Beholds” is another grandiose symphonic track where operatic orchestration constantly embellish the crude and wild rhythmic ensemble. Once the frenetic tempo slows down melodic lead guitars take the center stage to deliver a whimsical sense of cold melancholy while the chorus adds a taste of disarming despair.

“Syphilis” has a tragically ominous atmosphere with doomish elements that repeatedly evoke an asphyxiating sense of perennial suffering or loss of sanity through an overdose of stylish melodies. Once again, the operatic and classical elements acquire a fundamental role in the complex orchestration and songwriting culminating with a marvelous soprano performance in perfect theatrical drama style.

“King” is an extremely cohesive album that flows easily with a brilliantly successful concoction of classical music and rough death metal that absolutely demands the listeners’ attention and genuine appreciation.

Fallujah – Dreamless

Fallujah has acquired a lot of appreciation for the signature progressive death metal style and the new album “Dreamless” certainly follows primarily and ambitiously this artistic direction.

“Face Of Death” feels like a triumphant march with borderline dissonant tempo changes but the main guitar melody flows as smooth as possible. The fierce growls might not match the inner atmosphere that holds a dreamlike sonic nature and even when the drums blast faster the melodic theme revolves around polished prog style guitars.

“Abandon” shines for the jazz oriented tempo changes and melodious clean guitar phrases perfectly executed in charming prog fashion. This track has an inspiring atmospheric theme rendered more interesting by the rich embroidery of sonic contrasts featuring angelic female vocals versus raging growls.

“Scar Queen” has a straight technical approach with a cohesive death metal rhythm yet the brutal primitive roots don’t always prevail as the remarkable guitar work brings a taste of dreamy melodies.

The title track represents a strong music declaration with a remarkable attention for details that transpires immediately in the atmospheric and melodic arrangement. The guitar work relies on a sparkly clean sound full of prog style twists and pirouettes easy to love. Yet it’s not all about being relentlessly technical and the daydream mood is quite palpable with the aid of gentle female vocals and surreal keyboards.

“The Prodigal Son” features a harsher rhythm and full blown angry growls but the polished, yet powerful, lead guitar and the ethereal atmosphere smooth the rough death metal edges to create an uplifting vibe.

“Les Silences” showcases a mesmerizing and highly atmospheric soul filled with futuristic elements embedded in a skilled electro arrangement. The band momentarily leaves behind the death metal anger and delivers an ambiance track borderline lounge music style that invites the listeners to take a break and just chill.

Overall, “Dreamless” is a highly enjoyable full length that might lack an overdose of spectacular ideas but successfully portrays Fallujah’s passionate music approach and compelling musicianship.

The 69 Eyes – Universal Monsters

The most beloved Helsinki vampires The 69 Eyes are finally back with their 11th full length album entitled “Universal Monsters” full of irresistible catchy tunes that will not disappoint their fanbase.

It’s love at first bite with the opening track “Dolce Vita” which runs on a delectable ensemble of dirty coated guitar riffs. Jyrki channels his gothic heritage with deep decadent baritone vocals that carry an overload of dark energy on the super catchy chorus. The music theme here totally recalls the golden era of “Paris Kills” with all the elements smoothly set up in the right place at the right time including a lovely melodic guitar solo.

“Jet Fighter Plane” might sound less romantic with a rather dark pop mood but it still delivers loads of widely accessible catchy guitar riffs with a sticky chorus embellished by melodic keyboards.

On “Blackbird Pie” Jyrki’s performance mixing retro and gothic vibes take the center stage. Despite the groovy gospel style choirs this song might not become an instant hit, yet it pleasantly embraces multiple music styles interpreted with a remarkable vintage rock sound that holds a dirty energetic soul.

“Miss Pastis” has a guitar driven dancey groove full of proper punk raw edges surprisingly adorned by a charming retro organ. Overall, the smooth guitar solos, the trippy breakdown and Jyrki’s semi evil laughter will conquer the heart of every listener.

“Shallow Graves” stays true to the band’s musical legacy, so while the music style feels safe there is that graceful goth ‘n’ roll groove that still lures easily the listeners. Once again Jyrki successfully delivers that cold and gloomy gothic touch that scales down the positive pop style embedded in the riffs.

“Blue” is a slow paced goth ballad with an appropriate icy melancholy emphasized by borderline romantic vocals and surreal orchestration filled with an intrinsic atmospheric daydream mood that favors relaxation.

With “Universal Monsters” The 69 Eyes show that they’re still undeniably good at what they do with a transcendent passion for music and in the end it’s only goth ‘n’ roll but we like it.

Ghost Bath – Moonlover

With the newest album “Moonlover”, American act Ghost Bath fully embraces the black metal and shoegazing fusion that is becoming a buzzing trend either loved or simply hated. While we all deeply love Alcest, the French pioneers of this genre, it might get some time to get used to the newer bands that are bound to appear in the metal scene.

“Golden Number” is all about sharp guitar riffs that cannot hide an uplifting tone and the lead guitar is almost full of positive energy and hopes for a better tomorrow. The melodies, at times on the mellow side, flow smoothly and there is still an oppressive feeling that we cannot leave behind but the final classically elegant piano piece brings everything in place like it was always supposed to be.

“The Silver Flower Pt. 1” calls for a deep state of relaxation as it has a more decadent approach with a sentimental melancholy vibe graciously enhanced by dreamy arpeggios surrounded by peaceful sounds of nature.

“The Silver Flower Pt. 2” still holds that same mystical atmosphere and a faded sense of hopefulness but the additional distortion and relentless guitar riffing delivers a heavier style with some identifiable black metal roots.

“Ascension” has a more dramatic spirit that hides behind a fast black metal asphyxiating style rhythmic session but becomes more alluring and spontaneous when everything slows down to allow the crystalline luminous guitar work the right moment to shine.

“Moonlover” might be considered an interesting, at times captivating, anthem of the modern blackgaze trend and it will certainly bring Ghost Bath the desired dose of fame & glory.

Witchcraft – Nucleus

Swedish act Witchcraft comes back full force from the depth of the underground rock/metal realm with the newest effort entitled “Nucleus”. As on the previous albums, the band remains faithful to a gloomy concoction of old school doom roots and raw psychedelic elements.

“Malstroem” begins with soft arpeggios and magical flutes that lure the occasional listener into a magical nostalgic trip. It’s like being high in the middle of nowhere but the retro doom heavy guitar riffs carry a beacon of light that keeps the grove alive while spellbound vocals deliver a somber feeling.

“The Outcast” relies on a catchy ensemble of guitar riffs that celebrate a psych rock revival. The warm energetic guitar solos and the alluring fairytale style mood make this track a widely accessible tune.

The atmospheric sonic landscape of the title track is rather enjoyable with smooth vocals and simple riffs. Overall, while the slow dreamy moments complimented by a folk attitude sound quite interesting, the rhythm section doesn’t successfully deliver a catchy vibe that could keep the listeners’ attention throughout this lengthy track.

“The Obsessed” is another uptempo groovy guitar driven track with raw no-frills production and the expected retro musical theme. The classic rock bluesy guitar sound with some doomish rough edges and the melancholic mood are quite pleasant but too fragile to become a powerful hit.

“Helpless” has a dramatic down on earth music core filled with melancholic smooth arpeggios complimented by distinctively inspired vocals but the super fuzzy guitar solo is definitely the highlight of the song.

As the retro sounding trend aims to conquer the world one band at a time, “Nucleus” is another good collection of doom/rock songs because, even in modern times, we are all hopeless nostalgic.

My Dying Bride – Feel The Misery

My dying Bride has rightfully earned the title of legendary pioneers of gothic/doom metal and has never ceased to amaze the evergrowing faithful fanbase creating majestic soulful works of art. My Dying Bride’s newest release “Feel The Misery” is not just a must-have collection of obscure alluring songs but also an invitation to embark on a perilous journey through the an emotional twisted labyrinth of beauty and pain.

“And My Father Left Forever” is a cathartic complex opus with intense emotional depth. The elegant embroidery of doom melancholic guitar riffs which always pack a groovy beat and classically inspired decadent violin harmonies will inevitably drag the listeners into a spiritual turmoil. Aaron Stainthorpe takes the role of a tormented poet/storyteller and his clean vocals acquire a bleak funereal force that fully embraces the darkly oppressive musical theme.

“To Shiver In Empty Halls” channels My Dying Bride’s darkest primordial heart with heavily glacial haunting growls and impeccable anguished guitar riffs. Aaron’s clean vocals portray a magical wretched soundscape on a morbidly slower tapestry of sheer doom phrases that give way to a nightmarish lullaby.

The title track is another exquisite example of the band’s extraordinary songwriting skills. While Aaron’s vocals hold a mournful bitter strength the unbearable burden of misery becomes more palpable with the intensely tight rhythm section embellished by delicately soothing violin and keyboards.

“I Celebrate Your Skin” flows slow and heavy with gothic romance undertones and a mystical atmosphere that recalls the infamous masterpiece “The Crown Of Sympathy”. The heartbreaking soulful violin melodies and the asphyxiating despair of the escalating guitar riffs create an alluring contrast that culminates in Aaron’s poetic delivery.

“Within A Sleeping Forest” has a gloomy symphonic visionary depth effortlessly adorned by dreamlike shiny violin melodies that leave traces of a dim comforting light throughout the song. The constant perception of hopeless loss and eternal failure reaches a desperate acme with breathless riff patterns and eerie keyboards.

With “Feel The Misery” My Dying Bride delivers once again an eclectic work of music where creative passionate songwriting and dark sublime poetry become indissolubly entwined in a perennial danse macabre.

Monster Magnet – Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux)

Monster Magnet’s new work of re-imagination entitled “Cobras And Fire (The Mastermind Redux)”could easily turn a listening party into an extra sensorial experience. Besides the healthy burst of creativity behind this alternative version of the band’s previous release “Mastermind”, there is an overdose of intense psychedelic fuzz that makes everything highly enjoyable just like a good epic trip should be.

“Watch Me Fade” features a stellar retro attitude exquisitely portrayed with the help of an old school organ while the catchy psych guitar riffs add a certain paranoia driven joyride feeling.

“Mastermind” shines for Mr. Wyndorf’s witty and soulful performance strategically centered in the middle of fuzzy loveable guitar riffs and that adventurous stoner groove that feels so damn good even while it’s fading away.

If you dare to follow Mr. Wyndorf’s psych rant on “Hallucination Bomb”, you might get entangled in a slow burning daydream, or full blown hallucination, where a smooth trippy guitar driven rhythm favors spiritual relaxation.

The cover version of The Temptations 1969 classic “Ball Of Confusion” holds the dirtiest garage band rock vibe skillfully mixed with a generous dose of psychedelic enchantment which makes everything super groovy and everybody gets ready to jump or dance uncontrollably.
The highly enjoyable guitar work leading the way on “Time Machine” brings the listener into a psychedelic tunnel where fairies might become real and men might learn to fly or what not. This instrumental mind trip tastes sweet and sour, a bit like The Doors, with everybody dancing in the desert surrounded by cacti and magical fluffy clouds.

You will not need to resurrect the original “Mastermind” to refresh your memory or over analyzes and rationalize the differences between the two albums because the re-imagined songs on “Cobras And Fire” own a brand new spiritual essence that will leave you dizzy and bewildered.

Rotting Christ – Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy

After an attentive listening of Rotting Christ’s latest release “Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy” nobody will ever doubt the intense talent of this prolific Greek band. The astonishingly creative songwriting and the evidently flawless musicianship showcased on this album makes each and every song a memorable spiritual visionary journey. The palpable connection to various ancient myths and folklore renders the lyrics and the music style even more interesting.

“In Yumen-Xibalba” will blow you away with its darkly majestic energy and the gloomiest chanting delivered in true pagan fashion. It seems impossible to find adequate adjectives to fully describe the creepy wall of sound created by the irresistible guitar work or the intense galloping rhythm that leaves you feverish and breathless. In terms of music style, this feels like a tribute to Celtic Frost with the addition of an overdose modern black metal. This main musical core is consistently followed throughout the album, yet it is interpreted and enhanced in multiple manners.

You might not be able to remember the title “P’unchaw Kachun – Tuta Kachun” but you will not forget the enchanting mix of dynamic breathtaking drumming and melodic lead guitar riffs. Obviously, the omnipresent chants enhance the gloomy atmosphere and add a cruel epic battle vibe.

“Grandis Spiritus Diavolos” has a surprisingly catchy blackened rock style filled with layers of ravenous guitar riffs built around an operatic choir. The Gregorian style chant crafts a mystical atmosphere that effectively flows into a highly melodic guitar solo.

The same mystical atmosphere becomes dramatic and acquires a blasphemous feeling on “Kataton Demona Eaftou”. The main musical core involves an accurate fusion of arduous black metal and catchy rock enriched by furious raspy vocals and an energizing melodic guitar solo. The ex novo touch of creativity is provided by an epic style layer of bagpipes.

“Cine Iubeste Si Lasa” is an intoxicating magnum opus that proposes a hallucinating interpretation of a Romanian folk classic. I could listen to this track all day long and still crave for it as under a spell. Classical dramatic piano harmonics embrace the majestic lyrical female chant reminiscent of arcane pagan hymns. The minimalist, yet powerful, vocal duet is tragically addictive and the operatic choir emphasizes the gothic aspect of the song.

“Iwa Woodoo” is an incendiary guitar driven straight forward track with loads of catchy riffs and powerful growls. There is a very effective slower melodic breakdown that shines for a brilliant captivating guitar solo and the return of the ominous Gregorian chanting.

“666” is the darkest lullaby bringer of visionary nightmarish slumbers. The first part of the song revolves around a cathartic atmosphere with obsessive riffs stripped of drumming and fury. The vocals deliver a highly dramatic chant full of grief and despair that naturally evolves into a grandiose spiritual hymn surrounded by a blast of frenetic blackened rock with super tight magnificent guitar riffing.

With “Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy” Rotting Christ delivers a serious masterpiece filled of grim emotions and outstanding musical qualities. Regardless of personal musical taste, anyone interested in good music will inevitably fall in love with such perfect album.