Witchthroat Serpent – Swallow The Venom

French stoner doom band Witchthroat Serpent is ready to embark on a spacey sonic journey with the esoteric vibes of the latest full length “Swallow The Venom”.

Full blown psychedelia takes over “Lucifer’s Fire” as guitar dynamics are characterized by gritty tonalities and retro vibes supported by a massive series of heavy bass lines and embellished by vibrant melodic guitar soloing.  

The super psychedelic beginning of “Pauper’s Grave” introduces the occult atmospheres that will deeply influence the whole instrumentation leading to heavy rhythmic sections, doom worshipping guitars and some hazy moments generated by a slower tempo and calmer guitar phrases.  

“Scorpent Serpion” doesn’t deviate from the whole album’s mood so the overdose of fuzzy guitar riffs is certainly expected and also enigmatic tonalities amplify the mysterious vibes that surround the rhythmic crescendos.

“Red Eyed Albino” begins with monolithic bass tones swiftly followed by another round of dirty guitar riffs with a prominent sludge/stoner approach interrupted only by the spacey melodic guitar solo and additional super fuzzy segments.

On “No More Giant Octopuses” guitars naturally enhance the psychedelic temper maintaining a steady series of stoner oriented grooves that will later acquire a quite ominous heavier doom quality while the soloing revolves around dizzy melodies.

Psychedelia and the black arts are the key elements behind “Swallow The Venom” as Witchthroat Serpent here are evidently inspired by classic doom and stoner rock and diligently follow such music formula to deliver a trippy collection of songs.

Urarv – Argentum

Norwegian avant-black metal band Urarv definitely dwells in a profoundly dark sonic realm and it is from this abyss that the latest effort “Argentum” emerges as an enigmatic entity.

“Krakekjott” instantly unleashes feverish guitar riffs that follow an increasingly punishing speed with steady fierce drum blasts inevitably creating nightmarish soundscapes matched by an insane raucous vocal delivery.

On “Aurum” nightmarish atmospheres introduce dissonant somber harmonies and vocals become howls in the darkest night foreshadowing the creepy nuances embedded in the desperately frenetic guitar riffs which are certainly inspired by old school black metal.

From beginning to end  “Sannhet” tends to favor fast & grim rhythmic dynamics as we are still stuck in a realm of undiluted darkness but the palpable ferocity often leaves space for melodic yet uneasy moments.

“Soloppgang” begins with a surreal sense of serenity expressed by graceful  arpeggios but it’s just a matter of occasional calm segments that eventually will be almost erased by bursts of chaotic fury offered by relentless blackened guitar riffs and diabolical growls.

Once again Urarv demonstrates to have a unique creative force that naturally leads to the monumental blackened force and the unsettling mood of “Argentum” which, despite being a mini album, stands out as one of the most avant-garde releases of the year.

Pelagos – Revolve

Finnish band Pelagos just started a multifaceted melancholic music journey that aims to enchant the listeners with the enigmatic nuances of the debut full length “Revolve”.

“Code” opens the album with eclectic arrangements that naturally shift from futuristic ambient style to ethereal harmonies fully embracing the soft vocal delivery yet guitars will eventually emerge through the calm atmospheres to create a smooth melodic crescendo.

The minimalist guitar melodies on “River (Proxima Centauri)” hold a primary role in the creation of serene soundscapes where luminous atmospheric arrangements and electro accents effortlessly evoke a moody emotive whirlwind.

Everything flows like in a daydream on “Aphrodite’s Shore” with the elegant rock tonalities of crispy guitars gently surrounded by intricate atmospheres that will often acquire a darker solemn energy.

The soothing atmospheres on “Sea Of Tranquillity” certainly match the song’s title as gentle guitar phrases with subtle prog rock vibes appear to be immersed in spacey electronic layers leading to cosmic relaxation.

“Muted Stars” offers delicate aesthetics as the band skillfully blends polychromatic arrangements, whispered narratives and polished guitar melodies that seem to float freely through hazy soundscapes.

Overall, far from being an average debut album “Revolve” shines for the surreal cinematic arrangements as all the music carefully composed by Pelagos seem to emerge spontaneously from a limbo between space and water.


Witch Mountain – Witch Mountain

There has been some drastic line up changes but Portland based doom stalwarts Witch Mountain return with the new singer Kayla Dixon and renewed obscure energy in the latest self titled full length.

“Midnight” is an instant heavy hitter that clearly draws inspiration from the darkest tonalities of doom with a traditionally monolithic rhythmic ensemble keeping a steady intense groove while the guitar solo offers raw classic rock variations and Kayla’s vocals add a lovely bluesy melodic touch but the inner fierce darkness often emerges with creepy screams.

A loop of fuzzy guitar riffs create suspense and an aptly sense of impending doom on “Mechanical World” which will eventually undergo a heavily trippy rhythmic crescendo mixing slower melodic guitars and enigmatic vibes enhanced by Kayla’s enchanting voice that effortlessly floats through the mysterious rhythmic maze.

“Nighthawk” is the most challenging song on the album running for about fourteen minutes with several mind bending moments. In the beginning guitars gain the spotlight with trippy melodic grandeur swiftly followed by slow & monumental doom riffs and an overdose of hazy bluesy harmonies that intentionally channel epic vibes as well as intensely enigmatic atmospheres while Kayla’s vocal performance offers decadently darkened nuances and esoteric charisma.

Certainly on this new album Witch Mountain successfully maintains a delightful darkened mood and pays homage to the band’s strong doom roots creating a bewitching sonic experience dedicated to lovers of such genre.

 Witch Mountain

Malady – Toinen Toista

Finnish progressive rock quintet Malady invites you to experience the unique ‘70s influenced music journey of the new album “Toinen Toista” which showcases extraordinary musicianship and is conceptually based on the basic questions of being human and the transient nature of things.

The title track has an enigmatic beginning with minimalist chords and surreal atmospheric accents while the vintage vibes embedded in the guitar work will soon acquire highly energetic dynamics and exciting rhythmic variations accompanied by sweet retro organ layers to achieve those ‘70s rock flavors that characterize the whole album.

“Laulu Sisaruksille” is a short magical music piece as atmospheric layers channel a profound melancholy further enhanced by the otherworldly beauty of strings melodies that introduce the vintage sonic realm of “Tiedon Kehtolaulu”.

The epic opus “Nurja Puoli” closes the album with hypnotizing nuances and great music diversity as the band is clearly exploring prog rock territories with a desire to create something original. The result of this adventurous spirit leads to soothing instrumental passages dominated by lovely & talented guitar work that offers meditative breakdowns as well as powerful melodic textures and several enthralling intricate solos.

“Toinen Toista” is an excellent progressive rock effort on which Malady skillfully crafts relaxing soundscapes and complex melodic textures that deserve the listeners’ full attention.

Hard Action – Hot Wired Beat

Following an explosive debut in the underground scene young Finnish rockers Hard Action return with the sophomore release “Hot Wired Beat”, an album devoted to straightforward authentic rock dynamics with an entertaining vintage essence.

Listening to “Free Fall” will reminisce of bands like Hanoi Rocks because of the up-tempo guitar action full of licks and sleazy hooks that basically take the lead throughout the song.

“Nothing Ever Changed” can display mellow melodic vibes in the midst of another round of solid mid-paced rhythmic patterns and guitars are again very dominant in the mix accompanying the punkish rebel vocals with the right amount of traditional rock dynamics.

On “The Losing Side” the adrenaline blasts are definitely toned down as the band favors a melodic approach with inevitable radio friendly tones but guitars do maintain the retro gritty energy that becomes more empowering in the entertaining guitar solo.

“Tied Down” returns to focus on high impact rhythmic dynamics fueled by traditional rock aesthetics as guitars deliver tight riffing jamming towards a lovely guitar solo but there is still space for softer melodies.

“Tunnel Vision” is all about loads of gritty guitar riffs & solos executed in bold rocker fashion with the welcomed addition of fuzzy tonalities that accentuate the irresistible vintage mood resulting in a particularly delightful anthemic rock groove.

On “Hot Wired Beat” Hard Action pays homage to decades of catchy rock n’ roll successfully crafting all kinds of melodic hooks and focusing on enthusiastic guitar driven grooves.


Anguis Dei – Ad Portas Serpentium

Self-proclaimed True Satanik Black Metal secretive collective Anguis Dei are ready to unleash the spine chilling debut EP “Ad Portas Serpentium” and already the title gives you an idea of the absolutely arcane vibes that linger throughout this demonic opus which will be followed by the band’s first full length.

“Maythorns Over Uroboros” opens the gates of hell with triumphant orchestral glory swiftly followed by inhuman screams and all kinds of blackened flavors borrowing a familiar primordial black metal formula with breakneck speed and crunchy guitar riffing but always enriched by baroque arrangements and creepy atmospheres.

“Angela Krudeliis Ambitiosa Nokturniis” relentlessly follows a similar damned pathway with vampiresque atmospheres and unrestrained guitars shifting from traditional blackened riffing to diabolically refined melodies surrounded by ominous horrific growls & screams and generous symphonic layers leading to a grotesque theatrical breakdown.

“The Lionel” is another hymn to darkness and irrational untamed black metal force with brutal drumming and painfully fast rhythmic guitars that simply support the omnipresent devilish gutturals and the occasional dramatic clean vocals surrounded by the dark orchestral incantations.

If you’re in the mood for flamboyant sinister black metal and are willing to enter this perilous Black Magick realm then you should feel comfortable with the overwhelming obscurity of “Ad Portas Serpentium”.

Jess And The Ancient Ones – The Horse And Other Weird Tales

Finnish psychedelic rockers Jess And The Ancient Ones deserve to be recognized worldwide as an exceptionally intriguing band in fact on the newest album “The Horse And Other Weird Tales” they fully embrace a unique musical identity & creative force that will inevitably surprise the listeners.

Opening the expected magical portal “Death Is The Doors” takes you back in time with slow burning guitar melodies that suddenly become exquisitely vibrant as longing for refined psychedelic energy the soft rhythm acquires a bolder groove accompanied by Jess’s impressive vocal abilities.

“Your Exploding Heads” offers a quite entertaining groove with a generous dosage of thick bass lines, melodic guitars and an extremely catchy chorus while Jess’s warm vocal delivery leads you through an unrestrained trippy journey back to the ‘60s.

“(Here Comes) The Rainbow Mouth” follows a remarkable melodic fluidity provided by a winning combo of flamboyant organ layers and spacey guitar tonalities while vocalist Jess moves sinuously like an ethereal enchantress through the intricate web of bewitching rock grooves.

With an altered state of mind “Minotaure” can become particularly obscure with spiritual emphasis yet the colorful moody guitars & organ grooves stand out for the impeccable retro flavors and often hold the lightheartedness of youth and wild outdoor festivals.

“Anyway The Minds Flow” shines for the great psychedelic instrumental variety as things are easily getting spacey and rather surreal with detailed vintage melodies & arrangements that feel just like unconsciously riding a cosmic wheel (or a horse) and, once again, Jess delivers a charismatic heartfelt vocal performance.

“The Horse And Other Weird Tales” is often filled with rare sincerity and profound passion plus it seems simply impossible to resist the alluring quality of the band’s charismatic vintage sound. Do not miss the opportunity to enter the magical sonic realm of Jess And The Ancient Ones!

Urarv – Aurum

Black metal connoisseurs are certainly familiar with the work of Björn Aldrahn Dencker in DHG, The Deathtrip and Thorns. With the new visionary project Urarv, Aldrahn is eager to explore diverse often avant-garde music territories to create the debut effort “Aurum”.

“Forvitringstid” starts with melancholy infused arpeggios that bear the cold nature of Nordic quiet landscapes but soon viciously abrasive blackened tonalities and gritty rhythms become extremely dominant entwined with scattered spacey melodic guitars while vocals can be wildly moody or desperately introvert.

“Ancient DNA” is filled with a recognizable black metal urgency as guitar riffs acquire speed and blackened groovy tonalities emerging straight from a black hole but this track also features a profound arcane essence.

On “Broken Wand” unconventional vocals and cascading guitar riffs can become quite savage with intense experimental freedom that leads to dissonant elements channeling a dramatic almost hostile sonic chaos.

“Red Circle” chooses a more accessible monolithic guitar driven groove enriched by haunting atmospheres that create hypnotic vibes while vocals range from fierce blackened growls to cries of despair through a thick breathless rhythm that in the last couple of minutes naturally fades into a dreamy serenade.

Psychotic and borderline dissonant yet absolutely spontaneous “Aurum” might be a strange album, uneasy for some unprepared listeners, but its strength will be found in the limitless unrestrained passion for music.

Hallatar – No Stars Upon The Bridge

Hallatar is born as an extension of Trees Of Eternity to bring Aleah Starbridge’s poems and music to the world. Following the devastating death of Aleah, amazing musicians Juha Raivio guitarist of Swallow the Sun and Trees of Eternity, Tomi Joutsen vocalist of Amorphis, former HIM drummer Gas Lipstick and Draconian’s vocalist Heike Langhans united to create the stunning emotional album “No Stars Upon The Bridge”. Gathering Aleah’s poems and lyrics, Juha Raivio was able to translate the most painful emotions into an ensemble of cathartic darkened songs.

Lost in a dark abyss “Mirrors” draws its inner strength from heavy doom guitar riffs while elegantly melancholic melodies slowly unfold to portray a profound feeling of grief and vocals become wretched screams. Lovely, yet extremely anguished, softer guitar melodies and Tomi Joutsen’s heartfelt clean vocals emphasize the overwhelming despair.

“Melt” is the sound of loss and endless pain with a soulful range of precious darkened guitar melodies. Tomi’s vocal performance is particularly impressive featuring guttural primordial growls in contrast with a fervent poetic delivery while haunting atmospheres and dramatic slow instrumental passages express a surreal emotional depth.

On “My Mistake” Heike Langhans delivers an unforgettable performance with graceful dreamy vocals that bring ethereal elegance to the terrific dark doom blend of heavy guitar riffs, always amplified by Tomi’s massive growls, and poignant melodies are further emphasized by exquisite somber keyboards arrangements.

“Severed Eyes” leaves behind the heavy funeral doom structure to embrace minimalist poetry and is filled with spiritual melancholia as Tomi’s sincere clean vocals gently linger over a series of spellbinding diaphanous arpeggios.

The inspired swansong “Dreams Burn Down” holds a fragile darkness with hazy atmospheres and wistful guitar melodies but also feels like the beginning of a healing process through the creation of beautiful music. In the midst of vibrant dense instrumental melodies Tomi’s desperate blackened screams seem to emerge from a nightmarish abyss while Aleah’s enchanting voice becomes a luminous guide delivering a magical sense of hope.

Any listener can easily appreciate the brilliant talent of the musicians that joined forces on Hallatar and even if you don’t know the heart wrenching tragic circumstances behind the genesis of “No Stars Upon The Bridge” this exceptional album will inevitably move you.