Cloak – The Burning Dawn

This is an exciting time for American quartet Cloak as they are ready to unleash the sophomore full length “The Burning Dawn” which promises to solidify the band’s status with an enthralling darkened essence. 

“The Cleansing Fire” immediately builds a fiery heavy momentum with an overdose of blackened rock grooves ideal for a cool live performance while the melodic guitar leads naturally evoke a sheer melancholia in proper gothic fashion. 

“A Voice In The Night” conveys irresistible eerie vibes through the slower dramatic passages and the bewitching dark tonalities of the guitar work which effortlessly shifts from decadent melodic textures to sharp riffage accompanied by the aptly sinister vocal delivery. 

“Lifeless Silence” certainly emphasizes the melodic grandeur and the gothic allure with understated atmospheric accents and guitars also acquire extremely melancholic nuances without sacrificing the heavier groovy elements. 

The instrumental track “The Fire, The Faith, The Void” depicts an eternal gloom allowing the melodic guitar leads to stand out providing poetic phrases and gelid tonalities that amplify the compelling gothic flair. 

“On Poisoned Ground” relies on a wild black ‘n’ roll spirit consequently the groovy guitar riffs and the bold rhythmic section can showcase an aggressive approach yet there will always be plenty of melodic leads channeling profoundly somber emotions. 

Despite being still a new name in the metal scene Cloak are already shaping their own sonic identity fueled by undiluted darkness and youthful energy in fact “The Burning Dawn” is destined to conquer your cold black hearts with a charismatic blend of haunting melodies and groovy dynamics. 

 

1349 – The Infernal Pathway

Norwegian black metal titans 1349 reach a new diabolical milestone with the seventh full-length “The Infernal Pathway” which draws its inner pitchblack energy from the band’s primordial roots yet dares to broaden the ferocious sonic manifesto with darkened melodies & atmospheres. 

“Abyssos Antithesis” packs a series of blistering blackened grooves as fiery guitars and monumental drums are clearly fueled by a devastating primal force while the impressive soloing delivers a precise and intense shredding galore. 

The perilous core of “Through Eyes Of Stone” ensures belligerent guitar progressions leading to an asphyxiating heavy momentum as the rhythmic section simply feels unstoppable and Ravn’s growls certainly amplify the darkly anthemic essence. 

On “Towers Upon Towers” you will find plenty of aggressive rhythmic blasts yet the mighty guitar licks will also channel a profound sense of despair with brooding melodic hints and the vocals will acquire extra dramatic depth. 

“Striding The Chasm” is destined to become a favorite with an intense hellish strength leading to addictive black ‘n’ roll grooves courtesy of absolutely menacing heavy guitar riffs, terrific flawless drum blasts and an utterly savage solo. 

“Stand Tall in Fire” dwells within a perennial gelid darkness shifting the focus to total desolation and gloomy grandeur this time through theatrical ominous narratives conveying an arcane flair through the intoxicating guitar melodies and the insanely sinister rhythmic patterns. 

Undoubtedly at the center of “The Infernal Pathway” you can always perceive the Aural Hellfire that symbolizes the sonic realm of 1349 since their inception but the band also continues to spontaneously evolve in order to create a memorable journey through chaos and darkness. 

Foscor – Els Sepulcres Blancs

The atmospheric music realm of Foscor fully comes to life on the latest release “Els Sepulcres Blancs” which is the second chapter of a poetic conceptual trilogy where the band is able to explore intense emotions within the world of dreams and expectations. 

The dreamy themes of the whole album are already evident on “Laments” as fragile piano melodies and hazy atmospheres feel essential yet there are some engaging rhythmic crescendos when guitars acquire heavier rock tonalities. 

On “Malson” the instrumental passages focus on icy harmonies and immense melancholia with the strong post-rock influence of the tranquil guitar melodies and the soft vocal delivery and while there are some pleasant rhythmic progressions everything here belongs to an ethereal sonic realm. 

On “Cel Rogent” there are plenty of intriguing dynamics as guitars can deliver bold groovy riffs yet this is not a particularly heavy track as a profound melancholia continues to linger leading to misty atmospheric layers and graceful soloing. 

“Cançó de Mort” relies on multilayered sentimental arrangements and relaxing delicate guitar phrases with hints of darker emotions or scattered luminous harmonies to create an intimate musical and even philosophical experience. 

On “Els Sepulcres Blancs” Foscor seem to have left behind their blackened roots to fully focus on an introspective musical depth that demands dreamy soundscapes and a taste of poetry to be fully expressed. 

Abbath Live in Joliet

To celebrate the latest crushing release “Outstrider”, available via Season Of Mist, Norwegian icon Abbath returns to North America accompanied by an excellent band and armed with a blackened energy well known to those who have been following him since his days with the mighty Immortal. A shroud of frost surrounded The Forge in Joliet as Abbath took the stage with his towering presence wearing an armor and ready to conquer the audience with the expected black metal fury and alluring icy melodies. The intense setlist included some of the finest offerings from the new album such as “Bridge Of Spasms”, “The Artifex”, “Harvest Pyre” and “Hecate”, but also Immortal’s classic “One By One” ensuring an unforgettable diabolical live experience.

Abbath – Outstrider

As frontman of black metal icons Immortal Abbath certainly gained a fundamental role in the Norwegian black metal scene and back in 2016 his eponymous debut album as a solo artist generated massive interest. Now the time has come to impress the audience even more with the menacing new offering “Outstrider” which promises the expected blackened fury as accompanied by solid musicians Abbath presents to the world his intriguing music vision. 

The softly gelid acoustic harmonies of “Calm In Ire ( Of Hurricane)” foreshadow an utterly dark sonic realm in fact Abbath’s vocals sound absolutely ominous accompanied by a killer mixture of somber melodic guitar licks and hints of pure black metal fury but certainly the classic heavy metal blasts and groovy rock elements render everything quite catchy. 

The rambunctious rhythm of “The Artifex” comes from the obvious blackened roots and the groovy rock dynamics effortlessly generated by bold drums and fierce guitar riffs are enriched by the tenebrous aura of the vocals but the song gets even more interesting when guitars add bewitching melodic phrases and flamboyant soloing. 

“Harvest Pyre” is an addictive track due to the monumental blackened grooves courtesy of the perfectly frostbitten guitar tonalities sometimes embellished by nostalgic vibes within the galloping rhythmic section while of course Abbath’s signature croaking growls always convey an irresistible sinister mood. 

The title track might surprise you with a major melancholic mood naturally expressed by the laid back arpeggios in the intro and the finale but the rest of the song offers plenty of heavier and utterly darkened rhythmic dynamics keeping a robust black ‘n roll framework. 

“Hecate” rightfully continues to rely on a savage series of blackened rock grooves maintaining a catchy flow with loads of chunky guitar riffs but definitely benefits from the addition of sumptuous epic arrangements and dramatic atmospheric nuances. 

The world of “Outstrider” is a perennial winter that somehow makes you feel comfortable as in the midst of a blackened blizzard Abbath clearly pays homage to the glorious old school metal but confidently follows his own sonic evolution to ultimately create an entertaining opus. 

This Gift Is A Curse – A Throne Of Ash

Swedish enigmatic band This Gift Is A Curse shares with the world a malignant blackened sonic manifesto that will leave you breathless and shattered within the visionary realm of the third album “A Throne Of Ash”. 

It’s not surprising to hear how vicious “Blood Is My Harvest” can sound with a cohesive series of ruthless rhythmic patterns mixing black and sludge elements with thick guitar riffs and menacing growls following the drumming breakneck speed through a pitchblack atmosphere.  

The impending doom of “Monuments For Dead Gods” leads to introvert guitar melodies and even if the rhythmic segments often follow a slower dramatic tempo the whole instrumental work maintains an impenetrable darkness amplified by the utterly desperate growls. 

The asphyxiating atmosphere of “Wolvking” introduces a violent sonic assault as the brutally fast rhythmic approach demands chaotic guitar riffs, crushing drums and borderline experimental noise elements. 

“In Your Black Halo (Mass 317)” is full of creepy dissonant sounds creating a suspenseful mood but all the noisy feedback foreshadows the beginning of an occult ritual and the band proceeds to offer immensely darkened guitar riffs marching through the aggressive rhythmic maze and the occasional calmer yet intensely ominous segments. 

The arcane aura of “Wormwood Star” is naturally generated by dense atmospheric layers reminiscent of familiar post metal dynamics that become a crucial element consequently guitars put aside the usual  frantic approach to focus on foreboding melodic textures that lead to an alluring hymn to darkness. 

This Gift Is A Curse are clearly devoted to absolute darkness in fact “A Throne Of Ash” dwells within a limbo between a physical and an astral plane and can sound immensely ferocious with an unstoppable extra heavy approach mainly fueled by the band’s major classic black metal roots.

Enthroned – Cold Black Suns

For twenty five years Belgian legends Enthroned have created acclaimed hymns to darkness and their signature ominous black metal style once again emerges from the darkest depths on the eleventh album “Cold Black Suns”.

With a ritualistic mood “Ophiusa” opens the album focusing on extremely ominous atmospheres surrounding the sparse bold guitar riffs and the brooding melodic passages that create a suspenseful mood. 

“Oneiros” feels like an arcane sonic journey as the hazy atmospheric layers foreshadow the arrival of darkness in fact the melodic guitar work evokes mournful vibes often following a slower tempo that emphasizes the inner desolation without sacrificing the more aggressive rhythmic patterns dictated by particularly thunderous drums. 

Through the nightmarish atmospheres of “Vapula Omega” hostile rhythmic blasts successfully channel the immense fury of classic black metal amplified by the tormented growls while the fiery guitar solo has the ability to add somber melodic depth maintaining a savage approach. 

On “Silent Redemption” the gloomy atmospheric arrangements hold a prominent role building a tension that will be ultimately released through the massive blackened rhythmic segments filled with uncompromising darkness and rage while the enthralling melodic guitars create refined sorrowful moments. 

A mysterious aura surrounds “Son Of Man” which showcases an elaborate structure effortlessly blending contemplative melodic waves with loads of mesmerizing gelid guitar tonalities and intense blackened grooves with a merciless rhythmic section while vocals can sound absolutely diabolical with ritualistic chants but can also successfully channel an epic momentum with a dramatic delivery. 

Just like the title suggests the sonic realm of “Cold Black Suns” is pitchblack and probably hopeless as driven by a primordial obscure force Enthroned craft bleak melodic textures and unleash all the crushing black metal dynamics that fans are eager to listen to. 

Saint Vitus – Saint Vitus

With a forty years career Saint Vitus are still considered the godfathers of American doom metal and in fact the latest eponymous full length aims to reconfirm such status representing the band’s classic music style with the return of vocalist Scott Reagers.

“Remains” stays true to the band’s signature doom style as guitars hold an essential role with monolithic riffs following a dramatic slow rhythm section that also allows the vivid vocal delivery and the eclectic guitar solo to stand out.

“Bloodshed” begins with enigmatic bass lines followed by powerful guitar driven grooves that feel more energetic despite the somber weight of the doom tonalities while the guitar leads always add acidic dynamics.

“12 Years In The Tomb” delivers another round of cohesive and even catchy grooves filled with doom laden guitar riffs yet everything changes with the experimental approach of the extra fuzzy guitar solo that could even make you feel dizzy.

Undoubtedly the main guitar riffs of “Hour Glass” properly symbolize the band’s doom legacy leading to heavy grooves that don’t need any special effect to grab your attention and the passionate vocals match the general crestfallen mood.

The soundscape of “Last Breath” almost feels nightmarish due to the insanely heavy & obscure nature of the monumental guitar riffs and the haunting vocals further emphasize such darker tonalities yet the massive rhythmic section will deliver some groovy moments around the spacey guitar soloing.

A band like Saint Vitus has no interest to adapt to any current trends and even after so many years the strength of their music still relies on the authentic doom metal approach that you can immediately perceive listening to this new self-titled album.