Witchsorrow – Hexenhammer

Hampshire doom metal trio Witchsorrow is ready to unleash a solid collection of uncompromising hymns to darkness on the latest full length “Hexenhammer”.

The title track belongs to the darkest depths of doom metal fiercely and confidently packed with an overdose of super heavy guitar riffs, evidently inspired by timeless doom masters such as Candlemass and Cathedral, which later embark on a downward spiral while maintaining cohesive grooves but also delivering occasional funereal melodic progressions.

“The Devil’s Throne” continues to offer massive guitar driven grooves that bear the hellish doom mark as extremely thick riffs gallop wildly following a faster often more aggressive rhythmic ensemble.

The unholy textures of “Demons Of The Mind” create an intensely darkened sonic realm where obscurity increases as heavy guitar riffs take the center stage accompanied by ominous howling vocals that at times become even more desperate and scorned to match the infinite gloom of dramatically slower hypnotic doom dynamics.

There is no light or hope within the lengthy epic final track “Like Sisyphus” as a series of detailed doom crescendos bearing monumental nightmarish tonalities create passionately tenebrous grooves but guitars will eventually follow painfully slow rhythmic variations confidently dictated by thick bass lines through a hazy darkened realm.

Arising from the void “Hexenhammer” doesn’t require any special effect to fully express its inner demons and darkened tonalities as Witchsorrow are clearly devoted to authentic traditional doom metal.

Orange Goblin – The Wolf Bites Back

For over twenty years British icons Orange Goblin have been truly devoted to the noble art of heavy metal and their irresistible blend of doom & stoner continues to influence and inspire the metal scene as well as the fans. With the latest effort “The Wolf Bites Back” the band returns in excellent shape ready to fearlessly & proudly unleash a collection of powerful songs with nihilist lyrical themes.

The chunky guitar riffs of the witchery themed album opener “Sons Of Salem” inevitably lead to blazing stoner grooves and everything becomes rather hectic as guitars seem just unstoppable until the solo brings extra fuzzy melodic hooks.

The title track begins with somber arpeggios yet this is not a simple melancholic tune as bursts of anger will emerge through the untamed heavy guitar riffs that must be played loud and the raucous vocal delivery certainly enhances the steady gritty rhythmic dynamics.

The super thick bass lines of “Swords Of Fire” conjure impending doom & consequent desolation and are soon joined by the right dosage of darkly monumental guitar riffs before giving way to the abrasive energy of a faster rhythmic crescendo.

Guitars become all bluesy and laid back on “The Stranger” which features a slower mellow pace to smoothly focus on opulent melodic guitar work and the organ’s vintage rock tonalities yet this is a moody track that will eventually embrace a proper stoner groove picking up speed & intensity.

While “Burn The Ships” displays right away a familiar infectious stoner groove a spacey introspective momentum will take over when guitars naturally shift from a wild riffing galore to a rich darkened melodic ensemble accompanied by soulful narratives.

“Zeitgeist” emphasizes a genuine emotional whirlwind and sorrowful feelings as vocals aptly acquire a grim delivery and guitars concentrate mainly on lavish multifaceted melodic nuances leading to the absolutely sparkling vibes of flamboyant solos.

So the world is a disaster and Orange Goblin scream louder to express their total frustration through the raw addictive energy of “The Wolf Bites Back” which will definitely reconfirm their essential status in the metal scene.
The Wolf Bites Back

Voices – Frightened

The fact that British band Voices features members of Akercocke should already trigger your curiosity and the new full length “Frightened” is bound to generate interest with precise musicianship and an uncompromising desire to explore several music styles in order to achieve a unique sonic identity.

“Unknown” immediately showcases otherworldly textures & atmospheres that hold a darkened soul that will often emerge with the chaotic strength expressed by a punishing riffing & drumming combo and hellish screams through the prog influenced tempo variations and consequent intricate instrumental segments that tend to catch you off guard.

While in the beginning “Rabbits Curse” offers soothing melodic flavors and an exquisite darkly baroque atmosphere featuring baritone theatrics accompanied by piano & arpeggios soon an insanity crescendo will lead to several style and tempo variations that certainly bear the mark of prog metal, especially emphasized by the guitar and drum work, yet the band goes beyond any standard music category.

It’s love at the very first listening when “IWSYA” starts with the sheer beauty of acoustic guitars and strings surrounded by precious ethereal atmospheres that instantly favor a poetic intensely melancholic mood that will eventually allow a more obscure rampage fueled by nightmarish screams and blackened guitar driven rhythms.

The complex drumming at the core of  “Dead Feelings” will inevitably contribute to the creation of several intricate progressive and often dissonant moments with the addition of particularly tormented vocals nevertheless this track also showcases elegant melodic textures with a distinct gothic inspiration.

The primary rhythmic section of “Funeral Day” might feel harsher due to the super thick guitar riffs but as the band continues to explore variegated sonic territories the monumental heavier tonalities effortlessly blend with somber guitar melodies and gothic tinged atmospheric arrangements.  

Channeling an irresistible melancholic darkness “Footsteps” features sumptuous orchestrations and gentle melodic progressions elegantly emphasized by mournful classical violins and an intense gloomy vocal delivery that work harmoniously to create a perennial gothic splendor.

“Frightened” is an album that will always keep you guessing due to its inner eclectic nature as Voices deliberately and effortlessly craft multiple unexpected contrasting sonic textures with a highly diverse songwriting approach.
Frightened

Winterfylleth – The Hallowing Of Heirdom

This time British band Winterfylleth has decided to explore traditional English folk music to the fullest extent paying homage to Ancient Britain and the result is the poetic acoustic album “The Hallowing Of Heirdom”.  

“The Shepherd” sets the mood with archaic atmospheric chants that certainly scream folk at the very first listening and this mood is further amplified by a serene melancholic series of minimalist arpeggios joined by the pure melodic beauty of strings.

“Æcerbot” continues to channel peaceful yet strong emotions as smooth acoustic phrases, exquisitely elegant cello & violin melodies and solemn chants truly channel magical folk nuances.

“Elder Mother” could not sound more melancholic with stripped down acoustic tonalities embellished by graceful violin leads that create another surreal atmospheric experience.

The calm tonalities of “Embers” feel extremely somber favoring again enchanting acoustic guitars floating through sober atmospheric layers.

“Latch To A Grave” is made of pure melancholy with subtle otherworldly darkened strings arrangements and lavish acoustic passages resulting in a highly cinematic music piece with enticing spiritual vibes.

Surrounded by luminous atmospheres “The Nymph” is filled with theatrical flavors with soft spoken words, inspired choral harmonies and the vibrant instrumental passages featuring violins and acoustic guitars.

The title track feels particularly mournful with hazy atmospheres and super slow acoustic guitars constantly enriched by the classical splendor of violin & cello and a solemn choral crescendo.

“The Hallowing Of Heirdom” will definitely stand out for the exceptionally delicate melodies that always evoke melancholic yet opulent soundscapes as Winterfylleth draws inspiration from ancient folklore and pastoral poetry to create a heartfelt collection of songs.

The Hallowing Of Heirdom

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

Black Moth -Anatomical Venus

With renewed creative energy and higher confidence British rockers Black Moth aim to deliver a raw collection of wild rock tunes drenched in darkness on the third full length “Anatomical Venus”.

Starting with understated melodic elegance “Istra” gradually gains verve when guitar riffs acquire steady retro flavors and a pretty raw sound to craft solid grooves yet subtle melodies continue to emerge throughout the song with subdued contemplative vibes. Of course the band is always flirting audaciously with the hypnotizing realm of psychedelic stoner rock in order to deliver compelling vintage grooves and Harriet Hyde’s sultry vocals clearly match such moody textures.

“Moonbow” goes straight to raw rock dynamics building a nice flow of guitar driven grooves spiced up by Harriet’s charming vocals shifting from soothing delivery to seasoned rocker attitude through layers of fiery fuzzy distortion and a rocking guitar solo.

On “Sisters Of The Stone” the doom heritage is greatly amplified as guitar riffs become heavier yet maintain a retro rock urgency naturally leading to powerful groovy blasts and additional stoner rhythmic variations while Harriet’s voice provide extra witchy vibes

On “Severed Grace” the ‘70s doom/rock nuances are again quite prominent in the midst of rumbling guitar riffs holding subtle sinister vibes which will lead to a particularly addictive chorus relying on memorable chords & seductive vocals followed by a slower almost mystical breakdown that builds suspense to introduce a wilder essence with an entertaining gritty guitar solo.

“A Lovers Hate” picks up speed with sweaty rocking guitars that enthusiastically mix easy melodies and fuzzy loving riffs as the whole instrumentation works together to ensure impactful grooves channeling classic stoner textures and hyper energetic garage rock spontaneity.

“Tourmaline” feels more hypnotizing and surreal focusing on dreamy fluid melodies and softer vocals to create a bewitching soundscape that will eventually offer spacey lead guitar variations and vibrant rhythms without sacrificing the intriguing hazy rock mood.

As “Anatomical Venus” showcases a fair dosage of darkened energy Black Moth are definitely following the right pathway to conquer more acolytes and to establish a charismatic musical identity.

Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pacifisticuffs

Those familiar with the avant-garde Swedish ensemble Diablo Swing Orchestra will have an idea of what to expect on the newest insanely eclectic work of music “Pacifisticuffs”. Diablo Swing Orchestra fearlessly puts together a collection of highly entertaining songs that draw inspiration from all kinds of music styles and never fails to surprise the audience.

“Knucklehugs (Arm Yourself With Love)” opens the flamboyant show with a super catchy rhythm featuring many lovely instruments such as cello and trumpets to ensure maximum uniqueness (don’t forget the cute bluegrass moment!) and everything is always embellished by eclectic vocals often engaged in the creation of fancy musical style big choruses.

The artsy music piece “The Age Of Vulture Culture” starts with elegant classical strings delivering pure melancholy but with surprising savoir faire the orchestra shifts to a more carnivalesque concoction with aptly dazzling swing flavors and this track becomes just incredibly delightful with an impressive mix of triumphant trumpets, trombone and smooth strings.

On “Lady Clandestine Chainbreaker” lead vocalist Kristin Evegård leads the scene showcasing her vocal prowess and wide-ranging delivery as the song’s shapeshifting structure favors a catchy melodic chorus as well as cinematic soundscapes where trumpets again hold a rather fascinating role and guitars acquire darker crunchy tonalities.

“Interruption” acquires modern atmospheric flavors and holds loads of surprising variations of pace & style but mainly revolves around Kistin’s multifaceted vocal performance as her voice can be exquisitely dramatic or quite malicious while it seamlessly flows through a stylish intricate instrumentation that towards the end becomes extraordinarily majestic with symphonic vibes.

The brilliant retro swing galore of “Karma Bonfire” cannot be missed as the orchestra crafts an irresistible rhythm full of bombastic trumpets and refined strings that will inevitably force you dance & stomp all night long while the vocal duet successfully matches the song’s exuberant essence.

“Climbing The Eyewall” evokes poetic soundscapes as the strings ensemble provides magnificent layers of dreamy classical melodies spiced up by Kristin’s edgy vocal performance and a catchy rhythmic crescendo that once again holds a witty swing mood but also a contrasting growing darkness embodied by the heavy rock guitar driven core.

It would be hard to find another band that manages to incorporate so many music styles in one album and to execute each song with such exceptional musicianship therefore you should keep an open mind listening to “Pacifisticuffs” and simply join Diablo Swing Orchestra on this wild sonic rollercoaster.