Bald Anders – Spiel

Bald Anders is the band that allows former Lunar Aurora musicians Benjamin and Constantin König absolute artistic freedom and the result of their ongoing music exploration is the sophomore album “Spiel”.

“Das Achte Haus” takes you to the middle of a forgotten dark forest where anything can happen as the instrumental passages spontaneously shift from peaceful melodies and subtle atmospheric layers to harsher guitar driven moments depicting the contrasting nuances that characterize the whole album.

“3 Wunsche” might sound more dramatic with solemn vocals leading the way to a world of passion and imagination relying on darkly atmospheric arrangements until the rhythmic section delivers bursts of blackened energy.

“Taugenichts” offers a faster pace with consequent stomping guitar riffs and fierce screams yet mystical organ melodies and calm atmospheres will hold a crucial role creating surreal soundscapes.

On “Verhext” the instrumental segments become darker fueled by wicked guitar riffs yet folk oriented violins will often bring profound melancholia and softer melodies.

The guitar riffing rampage and wild soloing on “Le Fuet” favors darkly feverish rhythms amplified by an underlying blackened force but the song will often morph into a peaceful melodic entity with enigmatic arrangements.

The sonic realm of “Spiel” is made of fairytales and nightmares adorned by folk themes and raw blackened elements as the music pathway chosen by Bald Anders seems full of surprises.

Eye Of Nix – Black Somnia

Avant-garde collective Eye Of Nix is ready to put a spell on you with the gloomy artistic vision of the album “Black Somnia” reissued by Prophecy Productions.

“Wound And Scar” would sound quite hostile to the average listener as the band focuses on an enigmatic ensemble of dark melodic echoes, tormented screams and aggressive guitar riffs marching fiercely in blackened fashion through surreal ominous atmospheric soundscapes.

On “Fear’s Ascent” extremely dramatic clean vocals flow through shapeshifting layers of anguished gothic style melodies, mournful atmospheres and steady menacing rhythmic segments featuring occasional faster drum pace.

“Lull” has calmer yet profoundly mysterious tonalities amplified by bewitching vocals yet will later acquire psychedelic vintage vibes through intriguing guitar progressions and consequent rhythmic crescendo.  

“A Hideous Visage” showcases hints of doom and heavier roots as guitars deliver cold energetic bursts through massive darkened atmospheric arrangements within a nightmarish soundscape that naturally conveys the band’s beautiful and harsh music vision.

From a realm of eternal darkness Eye Of Nix emerges as a unique sinister force that on “Black Somnia” naturally generates the unusual macabre blend of atmospheric nuances and blackened momentum.

Duncan Evans – Prayers For An Absentee

Duncan Evans, former guitarist for A Forest Of Stars, began his solo career in 2013 and the new album “Prayers For An Absentee” holds a strong dark folk spirit but also showcases an interesting multifaceted songwriting approach.

The uptempo rhythm of “Bring Your Shoulder” relies on recurring acidic & groovy guitar tonalities while the softer arpeggios and the soulful vocal delivery fully express somber emotions.

“Us And Them And You And Me” delivers unusual melodies always fueled by underlying feelings of sadness yet the rhythmic structure is far from monotone as the whole instrumentation embraces eclectic variations with psychedelic accents that lead to a more chaotic borderline dissonant groove.

“Trembling” immediately feels passionate and profoundly melancholic as hazy atmospheres surround the moody guitar melodies and the graceful nostalgic piano phrases, a solid instrumental combo that spontaneously shifts from fragile harmonies to more urgent rhythmic segments.

On “Christabel” there is a bittersweet mood that influences deeply the instrumental work from beginning to end resulting in an elegant blend of darkened guitar melodies and atmospheric vintage organ harmonies.

The closing track “Time” focuses on the pure melancholia evoked by peaceful acoustic arpeggios that allow Duncan’s heartfelt vocal performance to take the spotlight and convey an emotional whirlwind.

Continuing a personal music journey with an evident poetic approach Duncan Evans performs eight prayers transformed into the songs of “Prayers For An Absentee” with an open heart and a taste for minimalist melodies.

Nochnoy Dozor – Nochnoy Dozor

It might be difficult to categorize the music style of Nochnoy Dozor, featuring guitarist Manos Georgakopoulos of doom eccentrics Universe217, yet you can easily appreciate the intriguing soundscapes of the self titled debut EP.

There is magic on “Black Hand” as sultry vocals guide the listeners through a sophisticated sonic realm where peaceful piano melodies spontaneously lead to somber atmospheres and melancholia infused guitar harmonies that contribute to build a dreamy mood.

The minimalist approach on “Stains” certainly favors the enchanting vocals accompanied by the right dose of soothing guitar melodies that will eventually lead to a more energetic rhythmic crescendo.

“Closer” focuses on darker enigmatic dynamics as guitar melodies seem to echo through nocturnal soundscapes and vocals feel particularly bewitching fiercely cutting through the grim atmospheric layers.

The final track “Ben-Hur” begins with ethereal arrangements and soft vocals creating a suspenseful mood, soon heavier doom influenced guitar riffs will drastically amplify dismal tonalities and macabre vibes yet the band also maintains a constant surreal mood with loads of ambient atmospheres.

What Nochnoy Dozor has crafted is absolutely captivating and this debut EP has what it takes to attract the audience and trigger curiosity about what the band has in mind for the next music endeavor.

Nhor – Wildflowers

What enigmatic British project Nhor has concocted during last year is quite unique as four separate “Wildflowers” cassette tapes were released in very limited quantities, each depicting one of the four seasons. Now Prophecy Productions/Lupus Lounge have compiled “Spring”, “Summer”, “Autumn” and “Winter” together with an additional unreleased track for each season for a total of 100 minutes of music available on vinyl.

“Wildflowers” could not sound more poetic and emotional as the poignant piano melodies, bearing a refined classical inspiration and crystalline nuances, on these songs are performed with a rare spontaneity. Stripped of any special effects or loud distortions “Wildflowers” blooms in a drifting ethereal sonic world where everything flows like a dream, at times channeling immense melancholy or decadent romanticism or even luminous hopefulness, often chasing shadows in the night and always capturing images and feelings that otherwise might become fading memories.

Far from being an average album and dedicated to an open minded audience willing to enter the fragile dreamy world that Nhor has created,“Wildflowers” represents a different music experience best enjoyed under the moonlight watching the stars.  

Noekk – Carol Stones And Elder Rock

Schwadorf and Helm of Empyrium always work on new music ideas and this time their project Noekk returns with the mythical acoustic tonalities of “Carol Stones and Elder Rock”, a limited 7-inch single in advance of their fourth album which will be released in 2019.

“A Loss” gives you a brief yet absolutely intense blast of melancholia with calm piano melodies, airy atmospheres and whispered vocals.

“Pan” is full of darkened atmospheres and a series of gentle arpeggios that follow odd tempo signatures leading to eclectic prog textures with a slightly folk mood while vocals become increasingly dramatic.

“A Vision” is another short tune that offers dreamy autumnal vibes with laid back magical acoustic phrases and hazy atmospheres.

“Archaic Tune” fully embodies the magical atmospheric mystique of the whole album yet the acoustic guitar passages become more intricate with extra prog dynamics and solemn vocals naturally evoke ethereal poetic vibes.

The fascinating acoustic nuances of “Carol Stones and Elder Rock” will warm your heart and leave you wondering about the future music endeavors of Noekk.

Farsot/ColdWorld – Toteninsel

German bands Farsot and ColdWorld joined forces to dedicate the new split album ”Toteninsel” to the Austrian Symbolist Arnold Böcklin’s most famous and mysterious painting Toteninsel (“isle of the dead”).

On “Erde I” Farsot hypnotizes the audience with the peaceful feelings channeled by darkly gentle arpeggios floating through dreamy atmospheres yet this soothing calm will often fade into a blackened sonic void where desperate growls and distorted guitar riffs become the main focus.

“Erde II” maintains a dark mysterious aura yet Farsot choose to focus exclusively on the minimalist beauty of soft acoustic guitar phrases and refined atmospheric crescendos.

On “Wasser I” ColdWorld creates elegant harmonies and subtle atmospheres that constantly evoke ethereal seaside soundscapes yet there is also a darker momentum featuring melancholic distorted guitar riffs.

“Wasser II” becomes harsh and notably heavier as blackened guitar riffs take the spotlight and the atmosphere inevitably acquires gelid tonalities which match the arcane old school black metal mood yet ColdWorld still delivers some contemplative melodic segments.

“Toteninsel” dwells in a rather dark sonic realm where Farsot and ColdWorld comfortably express monochromatic emotions and naturally follow their signature music pathway.


Finnr’s Cane – Elegy

Canadian atmospheric black metal stalwarts Finnr’s Cane are ready to reach the next milestone in their music journey with the third album “Elegy”.

You can perceive the emotional nature of “Willow” since the very beginning as dreamy atmospheric textures and uplifting melodies surround and embrace the obscure dynamics of the blackened rhythmic momentum.  

The title track amplifies the dark aspects of the album as somber guitar riffs slowly build surreal dreadful soundscapes accompanied by soothing vocal harmonies that will eventually become distant desperate screams through multiple waves of mournful guitar melodies.

“Empty City” is a heartfelt highly atmospheric music piece where refined orchestral arrangements become the main focus crafting peaceful harmonies spontaneously followed by sentimental piano melodies and minimalist gentle acoustic guitars.

“A Sky Of Violet And Pearl” feels more enigmatic as the initial mix of primordial blackened guitar riffs and dismal growls will depict the most somber scenario dragging the listeners into a realm of supreme darkness yet later the song will embrace a dreamy soundscape with a generous dosage of undiluted melancholia channeled by delicate piano & strings phrases.

In the midst of sheer desolation Finnr’s Cane aim to broaden their music vision to ultimately create a unique sonic experience on “Elegy” which definitely contains familiar elements of extreme metal but focuses on a wider range of contrasting feelings and tonalities.

Khôrada – Salt

Featuring former Agalloch members Don Anderson on guitar, Jason Walton on bass and Aesop Dekker on drums alongside former Giant Squid guitarist / vocalist Aaron John Gregory the new band Khôrada is ready to rise with the intricate debut album “Salt” and the spontaneous desire to explore diverse music styles.

“Edeste” can often favor delicate shades of melancholy with comforting darkened instrumental passages and mystical atmospheric arrangements but there is a heavier enigmatic spirit that will inevitably demand attention with gritty riffing galore and scratchy vocals.

“Seasons Of Salt” might borrow the dismal strength of doom metal but doesn’t necessarily follow any particular composition rules and rather puts together refreshing yet extremely dark melodies with underlying mysterious vibes fueled by a shimmering dominant guitar work.

“Water Rights” can easily reach an atmospheric gloomy acme enhanced by dramatic vocals evoking obscure feelings that easily match the darkened melodic guitar progressions as well as the recurring more aggressive rhythmic intensity.

“Ossify” feels particularly ambitious with a taste for decadent atmospheres and surreal soundscapes but this time guitars focus greatly on an intriguing series of elegant kaleidoscopic melodic moments that seamlessly embrace theatrical tonalities or even restless faster rhythmic crescendos and become the indisputable highlight of this lengthy track.

Among new names to check out in the current underground metal scene this year Khôrada will certainly stand out with the challenging often uneasy sonic vision behind “Salt”, an album that will require multiple thorough listening sessions to embrace its inner adventurous soul and dramatic energy.

Khorada Salt

The Dark Red Seed – Becomes Awake

King Dude guitarist Tosten Larson and engineer Shawn Flemming new musical outlet The Dark Red Seed last year released the enigmatic debut EP “Stands with Death” and now the band is ready to truly reveal a unique music manifesto with the full length “Becomes Awake”.

This intense music journey begins with the mystical tonalities of “Dukkha” soon followed by a mix of crunchy guitar riffs and lavish fuzzy melodies that accompany heartfelt vocals but there are also avant-garde moments featuring dissonant saxophone & synths dynamics that effortlessly enhance the mysterious mood.

“Darker Days” offers familiar dark folk nuances with intricate acoustic phrases and a profound melancholy yet this track features minimalist and absolutely captivating grooves skillfully amplified  by another round of dissonant multi instrumental progressions.

On “Ancient Sunrise” surreal soundscapes are influenced by exotic music flavors with mystical chants floating through shimmering minimalist acoustic passages which will be further adorned by dreamlike atmospheres and horns.

“The Destroyer” gradually guides you through a grim atmospheric maze where vocals acquire a gloomy poetic delivery following a soft passionate melodic crescendo featuring the alluring beauty of strings, graceful acoustic guitars and occasional epic trumpets.  

The darkened rhythm of “Awakening” will ensure a trance state with a steady enigmatic rhythmic crescendo spontaneously crafted by calm atmospheric arrangements and vibrat guitar melodies.

“Diana And Ouroboros Dance” begins with psychedelic distortions that introduce a contemplative mood made of slow burning guitar melodies but the inner chaotic soul of the song is bound to emerge with enticing saxophone passages, wilder vocals and a final charismatic dissonant  momentum.

Becomes Awake