Vulcain – Vinyle

French veterans Vulcain return with the timeless hard rock style of the latest album “Vinyle” which, as you can imagine, is filled with no frills loud anthemic songs.

There are no surprises on the title track as the trio focuses on a solid series of gritty guitar riffs and consequent raw energy, a recipe that aims to keep old school hard rock alive.

Following a similar pathway “Héros” revolves around entertaining guitar riffs, wild rhythmic sections, roaring vocals and the inflamed guitar solo also bears the mark of classic hard rock.

The hard rock intensity of “Darling” ensures another bold round of killer guitar riffing and leads accompanied by aptly raucous vocals resulting in a highly energetic song.

“Décibels” slows down to deliver a borderline rock ballad melodic ensemble featuring acoustic phrases as guitars acquire calmer tonalities but still offer some groovy moments.

In proper seasoned rocker fashion the lead guitar work on “Contrôle” delights the listeners with fiery licks and shredding galore marching confidently throughout the song.

“Motör” is about having good time, partying with friends and headbanging to the traditional groovy rampage spontaneously built by tight galloping guitar riffs and powerful drumming.

Vulcain proudly carry the torch for ‘80s hard rock and “Vinyle” diligently follows the footsteps of legendary bands like Motorhead & AC/DC with genuine passion and an explosive instrumental work.

Ken Mode – Loved

On the new Ken Mode album “Loved” mastermind brothers Jesse and Shane Matthewson audaciously continue to explore enigmatic tonalities and unexpected noise sonic patterns.

The opening track “Doesn’t Feel Pain Like He Should” is short and violent as guitar riffs embark on a noisy music journey deliberately abolishing rules yet this is not just random chaos and you can perceive a clear vision behind such bitter grooves.

“The Illusion Of Dignity” sounds super gritty with harsh guitar riffing and odd tempo variations that keep a tumultuous rhythmic section to support the angered disillusioned screams while the saxophone offers a borderline dissonant jazz inspired momentum.

“Learning To Be Too Cold” still offers chaotic noise action yet there are underlying somber guitar nuances flowing through the abrasive rhythmic patterns.

The mood changes on “This Is A Love Test” which features calmer yet absolutely eclectic rhythmic segments allowing the noir saxophone melodies to shine accompanied by spacey textures and bold bass lines but the undiluted anger will return with scattered heavier moments.

“No Gentle Art” becomes more atmospheric and mysterious before giving way to a dissonant darkened sonic realm where a brilliant trippy saxophone naturally collide with massive noise guitar riffs, dizzy rhythmic variations and enraged screams.

Certainly what you’re listening to is the product of absolute creative freedom as on “Loved” Ken Mode is not following any trend and rather deliver a unique sonic vision that tastes like desperation and passion.

Sylvaine – Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone

Talented Norwegian multi-instrumentalist Sylvaine is finally back with a new kaleidoscopic opus entitled “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone” where chaos and serenity spontaneously embrace.

The bittersweet melodies of the title track are inspired by shoegaze and post metal as dreamy guitar phrases surround soft spellbinding vocals flowing through tranquil atmospheres that will naturally evolve into darker and faster instrumental moments with recognizable blackened force.

Infused with daydreaming shoegaze splendor “Mørklagt” offers gorgeous layers of atmospheric arrangements and melodic guitars that evoke an emotive whirlwind combining slower introspective passages with barely whispered vocals in contrast with the audacious rounds of blackened rhythmic blasts amplified by utterly desperate screams.

Stripped of any fancy effects “Worlds Collide” is another mini dreamland that begins with crystalline guitar phrases softly depicting serene lush soundscapes enhanced by precious atmospheric accents and ethereal vocals.

On “L’appel Du Vide” you feel surrounded by a cosmic force where emotions and music entwine through polychromatic hazy atmospheres, fragile like fading memories, and minimalist soulful guitar melodies that fluently express a shoegaze dreamy essence even when they acquire slightly colder harsh tonalities.

Sylvaine demonstrates to be a charismatic composer as the sonic vision of “Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone” is made of personal struggles, wonders and a lingering emotional quality that renders each song a unique experience.  

 

The Lion’s Daughter – Future Cult

Revolting against the mainstream metal scene The Lion’s Daughter knows no music boundaries and bravely follows a personal evolution which leads to the uneasy soundscapes of the latest release “Future Cult”.

A mysterious aura on “Call The Midnight Animal” creates a slightly futuristic suspenseful mood courtesy of loads of synths that constantly surrounds an impactful sonic assault featuring harsh guitar riffs and venomous growls.

On “Die Into Us” electronic segments continue to hold a dominant role embellishing the song’s rhythmic core with intriguing arrangements while guitars often become more melodic yet effortlessly maintain extremely darkened tonalities.

“The Gown” begins with profoundly somber tones as minimalist phrases and creepy atmospheric layers depict a post apocalyptic soundscape where you can perceive distant echoes of angered screams and monolithic guitars.

On “Tragedy” the band continues to experiment with diverse subgenres reaching a balanced blend of melodic despair and electronic twists while offering several heavier sludge oriented grooves in the midst of asphyxiating atmospheres.

A familiar blackened force on “In The Flesh” fuels a plummeting series of faster savage grooves yet majestic synths will always spice up such aggressive rhythm with variegated spooky sounds and unsettling atmospheric textures.

“Future Cult” cannot be categorized as music for the masses but it must be said that with this modern distinctive collection of songs The Lion’s Daughter will manage to reach the right audience.

Black Tusk – T.C.B.T.

The new full length “T.C.B.T.” marks a powerful return for Black Tusk as they fiercely unleash an interesting blend of punk rock anger and sludge sonic depth.

The roaring grooves of “Closed Eye” come with a straightforward music approach as guitars consistently offer enraged riffing following thunderous drumming and vocals become belligerent screams.

“Agali” might sound less predictable with a fair dosage of sludge quasi melodic guitar work nevertheless galloping riffs and desperate vocals tend to focus on a harsh hardcore mood.

“Scalped” surprises the listeners with a sophisticated atmospheric approach that will naturally embrace the heavier rhythmic assault efficiently built by a relentless combo of riffing and drumming.

With a recognizable rough hardcore attitude “Ill At Ease” is noisy & groovy consequently the screams become wilder and rebellious following a need for speed definitely satisfied by the tight merciless rhythmic section.

Without hesitation “Never Ending Daymare” delivers another round of ferocious grooves but this time the lead guitar work stands out particularly crafting fiery and less intimidating sludge passages.

In the midst of ravenous grooves “Burn The Stars” showcases hints of classic rock tonalities in the guitar work without sacrificing the savage hardcore momentum and the super energetic rhythmic blasts.

Overall the aggressive nature of “T.C.B.T.” will trigger headbanging & moshpit pretty much constantly and Black Tusk appear to be comfortable with such angered no frills music vision.

Vreid – Lifehunger

Rising from the ashes of sognametal pioneers Windir Norwegian band Vreid has worked hard since 2004 to rightfully conquer a seminal status in the underground metal scene and the latest full length “Lifehunger” marks another successful chapter in the band’s flourishing career.

Guitars can sound really venomous on “One Hundred Years” which immediately showcases a profound blackened approach allowing darkness to descend upon the listeners with moments of sheer rhythmic brutality without forgetting a fair dosage of Vreid’s renowned black ‘n roll temperament yet due to the multifaceted songwriting approach here you can also find extra melancholic guitar melodies and dreamy arpeggios.

There is a darkened catchy mood on the title track courtesy of gelid guitar riffs, tormented growls and fiery rhythmic segments plus you simply cannot miss the charismatic lead guitar work and the wicked impactful blackened momentum that dominates the song’s final passages.

With stomping rhythmic fury “The Dead White” features some memorable groovy segments where fierce bass lines and infectious guitar riffs seem unstoppable but suddenly this massive darkness is interrupted by nostalgic acoustic arpeggios soon embellished by soulful melodic guitar leads.

“Hello Darkness” takes a different route as Vreid experiments with bleak atmospheric tonalities and softer yet still very darkened melodic guitars that generate a highly dramatic mood and certainly the brilliant haunting guest vocals courtesy of Aðalbjörn ‘Addi’ Tryggvason from Solstafir are a marvelous surprise.

The final instrumental track “Heimatt” features remarkable sognametal motifs as the eerie atmospheres introduce a rather somber melodic ensemble where slower guitars channel immense cold melancholia and it’s impossible to shake such wistful feelings even during the scattered faster blackened progressions.

Vreid are still delivering many elements of their signature black ‘n roll music style yet they are also ready to step out of their comfort zone following instinct and passion which are the key ingredients of the new enthralling opus “Lifehunger”.

Circles – The Last One

In Australia’s burgeoning progressive metal scene Circles has the potential to stand out and conquer new fans with the sophomore release “The Last One”.

“Winter” unleashes an overdose of technical metal elements embedded in the fiery guitar work that certainly showcases the unpredictable nature of prog metal with sudden tempo & style changes and an engaging blend of harsh rhythmic segments, featuring prominent heavy bass lines, melodic guitar phrases and emotionally charged vocals.

“Breaker” follows a similar intricate music pathway but this time the heavy guitar riffage is accompanied by futuristic electro accents and soothing melodic accents can be found in the softly contemplative breakdown while the rhythmic complexity might not have an immediate impact but rather requires multiple listenings to be truly embraced.

On “Arrival” rich atmospheric synths, warm guitar melodies and vibrant vocals become quite crucial as the band doesn’t completely abandon heavier dynamics but definitely explores more widely accessible music territories.

“Resolution” immediately focuses on introspective vocal delivery and a graceful mix of dreamy guitar melodies and subtle synths layers which will lead to an inspired atmospheric crescendo and charismatic lead guitar work.

On “Dream Sequence” guitars take the spotlight offering variegated progressions that hold remarkable prog metal aesthetics as well as modern djent dynamics leading to several impactful tempo changes amplified by the technical approach.

“Alone With Ghosts” aptly feels haunting with a generous dose of ambient atmospheres surrounding a series of gentle guitar melodies and emotive layered vocals yet the band packs some powerful guitar driven grooves without disrupting such dramatic mood.

On “The Last One” Circles skillfully offer a well balanced work of music where the modern technical style genuinely embraces an emotional turmoil and the audience will be curious to hear what the band will craft next time.

Craft – White Noise And Black Metal

After a long hiatus Swedish act Craft returns triumphantly to spread obscurity with the intense blackened force of the latest full length “White Noise And Black Metal”.

“The Cosmic Sphere Falls” marks an absolutely majestic beginning with its unmistakable blackened soul leading to charismatic & savage rhythmic crescendos and guitars proudly deliver waves of brutally gelid tonalities and sinister melodies definitely amplified by the venomous growls.

Without the need for breakneck speed “Again” sounds immensely ominous with massive blackened grooves, guided by precise vicious drumming, that arise from a recognizable & beloved dark abyss yet sound utterly catchy with addictive wintry melodies and excellent guitar licks.

“Tragedy of Pointless Games” welcomes you to a realm of misery and yes everything will remain dark and hopeless courtesy of belligerent rhythmic blasts but captivating guitars also offer impeccably darkened melancholic melodies.

On “Darkness Falls” the rhythmic section possesses a massive raw energy that will trigger a black ‘n roll mood with an infectious riffing rampage while guitar leads effortlessly channel pure melodic obscurity.

The cosmic darkness of “YHVH’s Shadow” cannot go unnoticed as the band unleashes a chaotic devilish black metal core where faster menacing drums and asphyxiating guitar riffs become essential yet the moody melancholic guitar harmonies prove that this track doesn’t rely exclusively on sonic aggression.   

Craft is very comfortable within the extremely dark universe and the misanthropic black metal approach expressed by each and every song on “White Noise And Black Metal” which therefore is bound to delight acolytes of this genre.

Kontinuum – No Need To Reason

Among the many amazing bands from Iceland Kontinuum certainly stands out for the poetic gloom and charming post-rock melodies that continue to have a strong presence on the new album “No Need To Reason”.  

“Shivers” begins with extremely somber yet very accessible guitar melodies that gently accompany passionate vocals creating profoundly emotional waves that will inevitably influence the entire instrumentation.

On “Warm Blood” colder & darker nuances emerge in the mix as guitars acquire a crunchy distortion amplified by uptempo grooves and slightly heavier dynamics while vocals effortlessly shift from poetic delivery to harsher tones.

The title track returns to tranquil soundscapes following a slower tempo to favor the compelling lead guitar work and passionate vocals in the midst of introspective atmospheric layers yet both vocals and instrumentation will occasionally embrace a darker momentum.

Featuring dreamy atmospheric crescendos “Stargaze” focuses again on rich sonic textures and spacey harmonious guitars that naturally build an eclectic mixture of gentle melodies with hints of shoegaze style and significantly darker instrumental segments.

The remarkable soothing poetry of “Two Moons” will lead to increasing feelings of nostalgia & melancholia as guitars smoothly craft moody melodies with a cinematic approach and a distinct introspective nature.

“Black Feather” might amplify the dark side of the band even more with a striking somber melodic ensemble featuring inspired atmospheric arrangements and captivating guitar work that will briefly acquire extra obscure vibes & rhythms yet the recurring hazy harmonies still feel widely accessible.

Overall, the intriguing melodies of “No Need To Reason” will attract lovers of darkly emotional songs that Kontinuum has carefully crafted following a rather natural music evolution.

Sólstafir Live in Chicago

The beloved and unique Icelandic band Sólstafir finally returned to North America and delivered an absolutely spellbinding performance at House of Blues in Chicago. Fronted by extraordinaire vocalist/guitarist Aðalbjörn Addi Tryggvason, Sólstafir played songs from the latest mesmerizing full length “Berdreyminn” and simply hypnotized the entire audience with the final song “Goddess Of The Ages” so we can’t wait to experience this powerful live show again!