Ulcerate – Stare Into Death And Be Still

New Zealand-based death metal trio Ulcerate returns with the monumental sixth full length “Stare Into Death And Be Still” which aims to captivate the listeners with a meticulous harsh composition and overwhelming grim emotions. 

Since the very beginning “The Lifeless Advance” reveals the dark soul of the whole album as the bleak atmosphere puts the spotlight on the melodic twists of the guitar work before entering a chaotic sonic realm fueled by the precise drum blasts, the dissonant riffs and the ominous energy of the imposing growls. 

“Exhale The Ash” stands out for the charismatic grooves which offer a balanced mix of disharmonic progressions and gelid melodic nuances but still emphasizes the presence of brutal death metal dynamics as well as the cerebral songwriting approach.  

The strength of the title track comes from the impressive guitar work that constantly unravels unpredictable rhythmic patterns generating some massive spiteful grooves in contrast with the contemplative momentum carefully built by the recurring haunting melodic motifs.  

The harrowing tonalities of “Inversion” foreshadow a darkly enigmatic essence that fully comes to life through an obscure rhythmic maze featuring venomous guitar riffs and hostile drumming yet you can definitely perceive the refined melodic flair within the complex progressions. 

The tempo slows down as “Dissolved Orders” highlights the dramatic depth with gorgeous undulating melodies flowing through an increasingly desolate atmosphere that once again intensifies the majestic guitars which can effortlessly craft opulent melancholia infused phrases and inflamed technical riffage. 

Undoubtedly listening to “Stare Into Death And Be Still” you will immediately notice how Ulcerate showcase a truly skillful musicianship and while the aggressive death metal roots are often quite evident they manage to keep everything more intriguing with a cathartic darkened melodic blend that ultimately manifests their unique sonic identity. 

Aara – En Ergô Einai

Swiss atmospheric black metal trio Aara is ready to unleash the sophomore release “En Ergô Einai”, a tormented sonic journey conceptually inspired by the Age of Enlightenment in eighteenth century Europe. 

“Arkanum” opens the album with an ethereal atmospheric intro featuring soulful arpeggios courtesy of Vindsval of Blut aus Nord & Yeruselem but the misanthropic blackened essence will take over with the increasingly darker rhythmic rampage built by vicious guitar riffs and punishing drums while the scattered moody harmonies express extremely somber feelings and even epic vibes. 

While the rhythm section of “Entelechie” doesn’t feel constantly frantic it still holds a massive blackened force due to the soaring guitar riffs but the enthralling melodic progressions become the highlight of the song showcasing a mystical flair and grim emotions. 

“Telôs” is an ambitious track that emphasizes a solemn grandeur with celestial atmospheric arrangements & choirs that surround the ominous frenetic rhythmic section and ultimately lead to the spiritual essence embodied by the elegant melodic guitars. 

“En Ergô Einai” reminds you of the finite nature of man and his creations so the whole album is inevitably drenched in darkness and with an elaborate songwriting Aara successfully creates a darkened philosophical opus. 

Lychgate – Also sprach Futura

UK-based progressive black/doom metal band Lychgate pushes boundaries on the latest release “Also sprach Futura” which dwells within a dystopian realm where spiritual vibes and darkened aesthetics are destined to thrive. 

The dense atmosphere of “Incarnate” constantly spreads darkness with dissonant nuances and the mix of baritone vocals and ominous growls matches the intense gloom expressed by the blackened rhythmic blasts and the opulent guitar melodies. 

The baroque flair of the organ continues to craft eerie atmospheres on “Progeny Of The Singularity” and guitars engage in relentless riffage spiced up by flawless intriguing technical variations while later theatrical vocals emphasize the calmer decadent melodic grandeur before returning to a darker & faster chaotic rhythmic ensemble.  

“Simulacrum” tends to favor an exquisite dramatic depth with melancholic atmospheres and grave guitar harmonies but at some point such brooding ensemble will evolve into frantic rhythmic patterns fueled by the inflamed blackened guitar tones. 

“Vanity Ablaze” focuses on the technical approach of the excellent guitar work which effortlessly crafts hypnotic melodic phrases leading to a contemplative momentum enriched by the trascendental organ tonalities while the full blown heavy blackened riffs amplify the increasing obscurity. 

While “Also sprach Futura” is a short offering all four tracks have the ability to impress the listeners as Lychgate confidently explore philosophical themes and elaborate soundscapes ultimately reminding you that the future is rather dark. 

Blut Aus Nord – Hallucinogen

French veterans Blut Aus Nord are renowned for their visionary atmospheric blackened aesthetics that fully come to life with a palpable spiritual essence and an avant-garde approach on the latest full length “Hallucinogen”. 

“Nomus Nebuleam” already depicts an apocalyptic wasteland through the elaborate atmospheric tapestries that surround the somber guitar work which still bears the mark of introvert black metal yet focuses on the creation of bleak melodies and also acquires psychedelic tinged tones.

“Sybelius” is filled with darkened emotions as melancholic & trippy guitar melodies naturally flow through the hazy atmospheric arrangements while the rhythmic section will eventually channel an enigmatic blackened allure with galloping guitar riffs that will later evolve into a groovy psychedelic rock entity demonstrating the eclectic nature of the whole album. 

On “Anthosmos” exquisite dreamy atmospheres introduce an increasingly darker & heavier instrumental ensemble channeling the primordial fury of traditional black metal with fast drumming and ominous guitar riffs while the glowing melodic phrases will emerge with a profound sense of nostalgia. 

“Mahagma” also showcases a distinct blackened force through the grim tonalities of the guitar work delivering intense riffage as well as comforting darkened melodies that can express so many mesmerizing emotions while the choirs lingering in the background add understated arcane vibes mixed with the hypnotic nuances of the atmospheric layers. 

“Hallucinogen” is the result of a cathartic sonic evolution as Blut Aus Nord are driven by a unique cosmic force that inevitably generates darkly bewitching soundscapes blending hostile blackened dynamics and lavish harmonious textures. 

White Ward – Love Exchange Failure

Ukraine-based post-black metal band White Ward is destined to garner attention within the underground scene as the fervent creative force behind the sophomore full length “Love Exchange Failure” is fueled by eclectic composition and introspective depth. 

The title track is an enigmatic opus starting with minimalist melancholic piano melodies and warm jazz oriented saxophone that will evolve into a crushing blackened ensemble featuring an enraged rhythmic section filled with hostile guitar riffs surrounded by desperate screams and haunting atmospheric layers. 

“Poisonous Flowers Of Violence” depicts a dreamy sonic realm with luminous guitar phrases but such tranquillity won’t last long as the frantic blackened dynamics take over with intense rhythmic bursts often enriched by sorrowful melodic crescendos and detailed atmospheric arrangements that highlight the song’s contemplative nature. 

An irresistible sense of nostalgia lingers throughout “No Cure For Pain” as the saxophone naturally crafts comforting harmonies until a massive darkness prevails leading to aggressive rhythmic segments with precise drumming and galloping guitar riffs but gorgeous melodic elements will eventually emerge evoking somber emotions. 

The complex and meticulous songwriting behind “Uncanny Delusions” is evident as you get lost within the dramatic melodic textures and bleak soundscapes that still embrace a quasi chaotic black metal inspiration while the enticing combo of guitars and saxophone will amplify the overwhelming decadent melancholy with refined darkened melodies. 

White Ward have a unique way to express poignant feelings telling stories about humanity’s existential struggle through the captivating soundscapes that on “Love Exchange Failure” will often surprise the listeners with exceptional diverse dynamics and interesting style variations.

Crimson Moon – Mors Vincit Omnia

Black metal collective Crimson Moon have been around for many years but the fourth full-length “Mors Vincit Omnia” raises the bar unleashing major occult hymns that will spread absolute darkness from beginning to end. 

The atmospheric depth of “Vanitas” leads to a diabolical soundscape certainly emphasized by the ritualistic choirs and embellished by the mournful melodic guitars while the tormented growls and the menacing fast rhythmic bursts channel the essential fury of classic black metal. 

Like a hymn to the Angel of Death “Altars Of Azrael” is drenched in darkness as the choral incantations amplify the arcane force of the atmospheric layers surrounding a hypnotizing blend of melodic gloom and fierce blackened dynamics. 

The esoteric essence of “Parcae – Trinity Of Fates” is immediately palpable with the overdose of ominous atmospheric arrangements and the recurring theatrical chants flowing through the desolate melodic grandeur featuring plenty of bewitching guitar harmonies and dramatic rhythmic patterns that can spontaneously evolve into a violent blackened entity. 

The title track lets the darkness prevail and this time the black metal elements feel even stronger with the galloping devilish guitar riffs, the aggressive drumming and the creepy growls rising from hellish depths yet guitars can provide moments of intense melodic despair. 

The mood of “Funeral Begotten” is aptly macabre & morbid as bleak synths and eerie organ constantly deliver hypnotic nuances accompanied by the solemn vibes of the mysterious choirs while guitars seem to favor a grave melodic approach filled with blurry forlorn tonalities following a slower rhythmic section. 

Since the very first listening “Mors Vincit Omnia” drags you into an obscure sonic realm where all hope is lost as Crimson Moon confidently concoct the darkest hymns that will become your new favorite winter soundtrack. 

TheNightTimeProject – Pale Season

Fredrik and Mattias Norrman are really prolific musicians, after spending fifteen years in Katatonia they are currently active in October Tide, and this time their unstoppable creative force is embodied by the band TheNightTimeProject, also featuring guitarist/vocalist Alexander Backlund and drummer Jonas Sköld of Letters From The Colony, and the brand new album “Pale Season” aims to conquer your heart with an exquisite melancholic progressive rock ensemble.

Since the beginning of “Hound” you will notice how the melancholic themes are a crucial component of the whole album as gorgeous fragile guitar melodies and understated atmospheric layers create an enchanting sonic realm emphasized by the poignant soft vocals.

“Rotting Eden” maintains a profound melancholia through enticing melodic waves accompanied by a comforting heartfelt vocal delivery but picks up a vibrant energy fully expressed by the catchy guitar riffs and the occasional tormented growls.

“Final Light” features so many fascinating melodies and compelling darkened tonalities skillfully crafted by guitars and vocals following a contemplative mood that often demands a mellow tempo yet acquires extra charisma with some heavier rhythmic progressions.

The title track continues to spellbind the listeners with the sorrowful nature of the lavish melodies emphasized by another moving vocal performance and in general the shimmering guitar work naturally conveys the Scandinavian dark melancholy that we all love.

For “Signals In The Sky” the band wisely chooses Heike Langhans of Draconian as guest vocalist and her mesmerizing voice perfectly expresses profound emotions flowing gently through the gloomy doom tinged melodic phrases which here feel particularly heartbreaking surrounded by darkly elegant atmospheric arrangements.

As expected the experience and the songwriting skills of TheNightTimeProject are evident throughout “Pale Season” which also easily stands out for the cathartic emotions always generated by the ravishing melodic tapestries.

Latitudes – Part Island

UK-based post-metal outfit Latitudes invites you to join an immersive music journey within the gorgeous melancholia infused melodic grandeur of the new full length “Part Island” which for the first time in the band’s career features captivating vocals on every track.

In the beginning “Underlie” will conquer your heart with the poetic themes, the understated piano melodies and the delicate arpeggios accompanied by exquisite emotive vocals while later the whole instrumentation takes over to generate a darker rhythmic momentum.

On “Moorland Is The Sea” the dreamy nature of post-metal always feels prominent through charming atmospheric arrangements and sophisticated guitar melodies that often evolve into significantly heavier doom tinged rhythmic patterns yet never overlook the irresistible nostalgic vibes.

Like the rest of the album “Dovestone” can trigger an emotional tumult as distorted guitars use familiar blackened dynamics to craft a cohesive rhythmic structure with the right dosage of darkened grooves firmly supporting the intricate melodic & atmospheric tapestries adorned by heartfelt vocals.

The title track takes you to a majestic yet desolate sonic realm offering a multitude of mesmerizing melodic textures, fragile harmonies and a lovely introspective vocal delivery that will continue to evoke a profound sense of melancholy through the fascinating tranquil guitar phrases as well as the dramatic & heavier rhythmic crescendos.

What Latitudes have created with “Part Island” is an absolutely enchanting collection of songs that have the power to move the listeners and showcases an impressive mature songwriting approach that benefits also from the expression of sincere emotions through music and words.

Yerûšelem – The Sublime

Blut Aus Nord mastermind Vindsval and long time partner W.D. Feld joined forces to create the new ambitious project Yerûšelem which blends cold wave and electronica nuances with a fiery industrial core on the debut release “The Sublime”.

The title track can sound absolutely mysterious with a generous dose of dreamlike electronic tapestries and distant chants yet there is a gentle melodic streak as crispy guitars leads generate contemplative vibes.

The desire to freely experiment with multifaceted music styles on “Autoimmunity” leads to electronic textures that convey darkened aesthetics dramatically enhanced by nightmarish rhythmic crescendos and gritty guitar riffs.

The electronic atmospheres of “Joyless” will make you space out while guitars probably deliver the heaviest riffs on the album as well as a steady series of gelid polished melodies with a palpable gothic metal inspiration.

Everything sounds extra dark on “Triiiunity” and the post apocalyptic spirit is fueled by cold industrial grooves with monochromatic guitar riffage, modern electronic pulses and suspenseful atmospheric arrangements,

“Reverso” aims to hypnotize the audience as spacey vocals simply float through trippy waves of danceable electro beats and somber melodic guitars that could go on forever stuck in a dreamy loop.

“The Sublime” dwells within a subterranean realm where the lines between reality and dream become blurry as Yerûšelem explores diverse music territories to create unique, often utterly surreal, soundscapes.

In The Woods… – Cease The Day

Norwegian band In The Woods… has always created intriguing music following an elegant avant-garde approach that still feels prominent in the composition of the latest release “Cease The Day”.

“Empty Streets” is a majestic album opener that begins with dreamy folk melodies making you feel in the middle of a forest and such wintry emotions will be further enhanced by the outpouring melancholia evoked by grim melodic guitars and soulful clean vocals. This lengthy track packs other style variations such as the fiery blackened rhythmic blasts amplified by a faster tempo and raspy growls yet the whole instrumentation always returns to the main melodic gloom.

“Substance Vortex” follows a similar sonic formula putting in the spotlight graceful nostalgia infused guitar melodies in the midst of refined atmospheric arrangements that will inevitably convey darkly ethereal emotions while the rhythmic segments can often acquire harsh tonalities with wicked guitar riffing.

“Respect My Solitude” holds a subtle blackened force but tends to focus mainly on extremely wistful as guitars meticulously craft profoundly emotive melodies and dreamy acoustic passages resulting in a series of lavish introspective soundscapes emphasized by elegant atmospheric textures.

There are moments of sheer melodic beauty on “Cloud Seeder” as solemn vocals, stylish atmospheric layers and minimalist piano melodies generate utterly dramatic textures until darkened guitar progressions become dominant within the song’s structure crafting loads of compelling melodies and a fair dosage of accessible heavier grooves.

On “Strike Up With The Dawn” melancholic harmonies still feel absolutely meaningful in the creation of lavish guitar melodies and the gorgeous charismatic orchestrations add a poetic mood that will ultimately become quite obscure during the primal blackened segments.

Probably what renders “Cease The Day” particularly appealing is the multifaceted songwriting approach chosen by In The Woods…, which you learn to appreciate even more after multiple listening sessions, and while there is still a strong connection with their past music endeavors they are moving forward to explore variegated music territories.