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

Hekate – Totentanz

In the neofolk scene German band Hekate certainly has acquired an elite status which will be re-confirmed with the long awaited new release “Totentanz”

A shroud of darkness descends as “The Old King” opens the album with apocalyptic atmospheric arrangements that will later evolve into a more poetic yet absolutely somber acoustic crescendo enriched by soothing vocals.

“Lost And Broken” maintains grave tonalities within impeccable acoustic guitar melodies that contribute to the creation of surreal soundscapes effortlessly enhanced by reverb and lavish atmospheric layers.

The epic atmospheres and tribal percussions of “Ascension Day” clearly channel authentic neofolk elements as acoustic passages create a sense of natural peace yet synths and narrative samples tend to amplify the apocalyptic elements of the song.

The title track becomes a nocturnal hymn with obsessively minimalist rhythmic patterns and strong gothic nuances that sinuously embrace the increasing intensity of the dramatic vocals. “Desire” feels like a medieval dance or a pagan chant as magical folk melodies take the center stage to evoke mystical and ancestral energy amplified by sumptuous atmospheres and neco-classical tones.

“Am Meere” dwells in an archaic realm where industrial synths and folk acoustic passages embrace to craft unique melodies and enigmatic atmospheres with a distinct theatrical delivery,

“Totentanz” shines for the sophisticated melodies and attention for details that fully evoke the darkest nuances of neofolk as Hekate skillfully creates an hypnotic collection of songs.

Spiritual Front – Amour Braque

Led by mastermind Simone H. Salvatori Italian trio Spiritual Front returns with the first new work of music in eight years poetically entitled “Amour Braque” which evokes all the decadent nuances of the band’s nihilist suicide pop manifesto.

It’s easy to embrace the languid melodies of “Tenderness Through Violence” that becomes exquisitely romantic & decadent when the pure beauty of strings joins the melodic guitar phrases and the smooth melancholic vocal delivery.

That feeling of melancholia is extremely amplified on “The Abyss Of Heaven” which maintains a neofolk ballad mood with darkened guitar passages and echoes of distant trumpets that build lovely atmospheric soundscapes as well as subtle epic vibes.

“Children Of The Black Light” dwells in a darker gothic sonic realm where minimalist guitar melodies and shimmering strings join forces to create moody harmonies and intriguing rhythmic variations enhanced by the understated gloomy romance constantly evoked by intense vocals.

“Pain Is Love” is another decadent anthem filled of polychromatic emotions fully expressed by softly dark melodic guitars which march gracefully in the midst of elegant atmospheric arrangements.

The warm melodic essence of “Beauty Of Decay” continues to maintain a ballad style minimal rhythm with a soothing ensemble of guitar and strings but certainly doesn’t sacrifice that delicious combo of darkness and nihilism that characterizes the entire album.

With another round of charismatic & catchy melodies “Devoted To You” shines for the heartfelt somber vocals that are obviously telling a story of love and endless pain while guitars and strings craft darkly romantic textures.

You will instantly fall in love with the undiluted gloomy magic of “Vladimir Central” as moody guitars and piano effortlessly create a hymn to pure melancholia and a genuine declaration of love enriched by a darkened vocal delivery and an addictively catchy chorus.

Spiritual Front’s sixth full-length album “Amour Braque” is a collection of dark catchy ballads telling stories of love & sex with remarkable neofolk vibes destined to attract a niche but passionately devoted audience.


Crone – Godspeed

Hailing from Northern Germany dark rock band Crone led by the renowned talent of Secrets Of The Moon mastermind Phil ‘sG’ Jonas is ready to captivate the listeners with the first full length “Godspeed” conceptually based on real life tragedies and unfortunate demises.

“The Ptilonist” is filled with dreamy guitar melodies that definitely hold a crucial role in the song’s structure and are fully immersed in surreal and distant atmospheric layers reminiscent of shoegaze nuances but will occasionally acquire groovy rock energy while warm vocals evoke sincere emotions perfectly matching the highly contemplative and rather darkened melodic essence.

“Mother Crone” maintains a dark soundscape with scattered brighter moments but mainly relies on minimalist poetic melodies skillfully crafted by graceful guitars and poignant vocal delivery resulting in an enchanting series of melancholy infused soundscapes.

“Leviathan’s Lifework” becomes more epic with sumptuous atmospheric arrangements embracing a unique melodic crescendo and feverish rhythmic dynamics that will lead to the raw emotions of vocals and the sophisticated beauty of the guitar work which effortlessly shifts from darkly melancholic chords to irresistible flamboyant rock soloing.

Introduced by daydreaming vibes “H” will stand out for the addictive grooves where guitars channel the rebellious mood of ‘90s alt rock and proceed to create darkly wild rhythmic crescendos mixed to absolutely catchy melodic phrases, spacey atmospheric arrangements and passionate vocals.

The majestic title track belongs to a realm of shattered dreams and tragedies with intensely dark atmospheres recurring through the hypnotizing rhythmic maze as guitars confidently deliver moody melodies and energetic crunchy riffs until an enigmatic contemplative breakdown emerges with the ethereal elements of shoegaze and introduces a multifaceted enthralling melodic ensemble that evokes pure melancholy.

Needless to say we need more dark rock bands like Crone in the current music scene and through mysterious soundscapes and intriguing storytelling “Godspeed” will inevitably drag you into the labyrinthic darkened realm that you are destined to love.


Sol Invictus – Necropolis

The good news is that progenitors of the Neofolk genre Sol Invictus are back with the spellbinding new album “Necropolis”, conceptually based on mastermind Tony Wakeford’s feelings of a declining London, but sadly this could possibly be the final release.

With minimalist chords, baroque accents and somber atmospheres “Necropolis Portal” opens the album focusing on fascinating and surreal vocal choirs that successfully evoke an apocalyptic requiem.

“See Them” will stand out for the theatrical vocal duet evoking melancholic feelings in the midst of minimal arpeggios, a soothing mix of atmospheric layers, stylish classical oriented instrumentation and of course folk style flutes.

The bittersweet track “Still Born Summer” begins with apocalyptic vibes and poignant vocalized narratives but soon maximizes the dark emotional quality of the entire album with visionary vocal delivery and a whimsical instrumental ensemble featuring intricate melodies.

“The Last Man” shines for the undiluted darkness and meaningful verses rendered exquisitely elegant by the soft arpeggios and rich Instrumental passages that lead to a surprising classical closure and ensure kaleidoscopic soundscapes accompanied by dramatic vocals and ethereal choirs.

“Set The Table” certainly showcases the melancholy infused essence of Neofolk as refined atmospheric arrangements, lovely piano melodies and smooth rhythmic crescendo gently evoke a darkened yet absolutely relaxing mood.

“Necropolis Egress” amplifies the post-apocalyptic vision that recurs throughout the album nevertheless refined arpeggios and ethereal choirs hold a dominant role crafting dismal melodic fluidity and poetic atmospheres.

Far from being an average album “Necropolis” stands out for the contemplative moments and the fascinating atmospheres that always surround the minimalist harmonies shaped in perfect Neofolk style as Sol Invictus delivers a cinematic ensemble of music & words.


Tengil – Shouldhavebeens

Young Swedish post-hardcore band Tengil will absolutely surprise and captivate the listeners with the spiritual essence, the diverse music approach and the undiluted nostalgia that characterize the sophomore album Shouldhavebeens

“I Dreamt I Was Old” stands out for the enigmatic rumbling rhythm built by a never-ending loop of dazed synths but soon ethereal guitar passages gracefully evoke wistful daydreaming and bright melodic accents further enriched by a deeply melancholic clean vocal delivery that acquires even more poignant vibes when everything becomes quiet and contemplative to favor minimalist atmospheres before embracing a final borderline chaotic rhythmic burst.

With a bittersweet harmonious essence “And The Best Was Yet To Come” is still full of whimsical atmospheric accents but revolves around a proper blackgaze essence with a generous dosage of distorted blackened guitar riffing that will leave enough space for many dreamy melodic passages which will inevitably hold a primary role together with intensely emotional vocals.

“It’s All For Springtime” begins with uplifting atmospheric nuances matched by bright guitar melodies but the song holds a stronger darkened emotional core that will fiercely emerge when a serious blast of distorted guitars and faster tempo takes over followed by edgy experimental dynamics and desperately chaotic sounds leaving behind the earlier wistfulness.

“All For Your Myth” still has experimental textures but a profound sense of nostalgia and longing plays a major influence on the songwriting generating a moody ensemble of soft arpeggios and ambiance atmospheres that belong to a realm made of pale dreams.

In reality it would be hard to categorize the soundscapes of “Shouldhavebeens” as the sonic emotional whirlwind of this album offers a multitude of music influences ranging from modern shoegaze to the obvious obscurity of post-black metal resulting in a refreshing yet highly nostalgic effort.


Eïs Interview

Following the release of EP “Stillstand und Heimkehr” via Prophecy Productions/Lupus Lounge, we had a little chat with German atmospheric black metal band Eïs!

The Offering: Tell us a bit about the background of the band.

Eïs: Phuuu, well… we have a history of more than fifteen years, including all previous incarnations of the band. I guess it’s not the best idea to repeat all that. Basically we’re a German melodic black metal band, as you will have noticed, four guys being crazy for this music, constantly releasing albums and  playing gigs wherever we can. Probably it’s best if readers being more interested in the band’s background just read a previous interview or the wiki article.

TO: Is there a particular band or artist that inspired you to become a musician?

Eïs: Not exactly, I got into playing in bands through the second Summoning album, but didn’t write any music back then. As an active musician and composer, I’m very much influenced by the Norwegian, Swedish and partly Finnish black metal scene of pretty much the entire 90s, particularly bands like Emperor, Satyricon, Arcturus, Covenant, Troll… stuff like that.

TO: You recently released the EP “Stillstand und Heimkehr”, how did you approach the songwriting?

Eïs: Different from our normal approach – together with our drummer, I just locked into the rehearsal room, with no material being prepared upfront, and we did all you can hear in two days, including drinking of course. That’s one of the reasons why the EP sounds very direct and emotional, maybe spontaneous.

TO: What was the inspiration for the lyrics on this EP?

Eïs: Very sad personal experiences of the past year. I guess it’s best for all involved if I don’t go into detail too much. Probably everybody being a little sensitive for music and atmosphere will notice how desperate, depressed and dark this recording is. The rest is up to your imagination.

TO: Are you working on a  new full length album?

Eïs: On two actually. I’m slowly, but steadily working on a very demanding – both concerning composing and conception – album I wanted to do before the current on, “Bannstein”, but I wasn’t very inspired back then. Time for another try. The second one will be a very classical, mellow, melancholic black metal album with songs I wrote during night time when I was living in a hut in Norway last year. You’ll hear clearly where that was done.

TO: What do you enjoy most about writing music?

Eïs: Good question. The thrill of chaneling your inmost feelings and thoughts into something audible for other people, and slowly getting rid of it myself as well. It’s also kind of an orgasmatic experience to write riffs and melodies which touch me a lot, it’s like a child of yours being born, each time. Apart from that, performing songs is always such a please.

TO: If you could collaborate with any musician who would you choose?

Eïs: Only one? I guess Tony Martin. I cherish his voice so much, he’s clearly one of the best metal vocalist of all time, maybe the best one for me. Not that “cult” as Dio, Ozzy, Lemmy and the likes, but he has that really touching extra in his voice.

TO: Do you have any touring plans?

Eïs: We’re playing a lot of single gigs and festivals this year, like Metal Frenzy,  Dark Easter Metal Meeting, Barther Metal Open Air and so forth, and as there’s something new coming around the corner every few weeks it’s a good idea to look that up on our Facebook profile or so.

TO: What are your expectations for the future of the band?

Eïs: We don’t have that high expectations, just recording the music we love, play the songs we love to play, and growing constantly, a little. I’ve learned to be alright with not too much in life.

TO: Thank you for the interview!

Eïs: Thanks for the support!

Eïs – Stillstand und Heimkehr

German atmospheric black metal act Eïs returns to spread pure melancholy with the cold poetry of the new EP “Stillstand und Heimkehr”.

“An den schwarz besandeten Gestaden” begins with the soft sound of waves and distant piano melodies channeling immense melancholia and sadness but within a peaceful scenario that will soon evolve into monumental icy raw guitar riffing executed in old school black metal fashion. Growls express desperate emotions matching the profound darkness that permeates the whole instrumentation until a pale light emerges in the slow contemplative breakdown filled with ethereal melodies.

On “Stillstand und Heimkehr” guitars still dwell in a realm of darkness but provide a quite catchy yet absolutely gloomy melodic ensemble that maintains a fascinating poetic mood until a heavier blackened shroud of frost takes over to deliver more obscure tonalities with faster drumming and feverish guitar riffs.

“Stillstand und Heimkehr” definitely stands out for the sincere intimate emotional quality that Eïs fully expresses through blasts of traditional undiluted black metal anger and darkened atmospheric nuances.

The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices – Pora Sotunda

For six decades the choir known as The Mystery Of The Bulgarian Voices has worked with various artists and delivered an ensemble of ancient and post-modern music based on the fact that human voice is an extremely versatile instrument. On the new venture “Pora Sotunda, a single that will be followed by a full length album next year, the choir joins forces with renowned vocalist Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance to lead the listeners through an enchanted sonic realm.

On “Pora Sotunda” exotic and archaic flavors evoke distant magical soundscapes with the addition of subtle tribal percussions and soft arpeggios while Lisa Gerrard as lead vocalist delivers an inspired performance adding darker yet absolutely warm tonalities.

“Ganka” impresses with the minimalist yet empowering sounds that the choir seem to achieve effortlessly with mystical arcane chants.

Those looking for a unique sonic experience and willing to keep an open mind will certainly benefit from the uniquely fascinating music journey that is “Pora Sotunda”.