Imperium Dekadenz – Into Sorrow Evermore

German black metal duo Imperium Dekadenz emerges from the Black Forest to spread infinite darkness through the frostbitten soundscapes of the new album “Into Sorrow Evermore”.
Within the pitchblack realm of the title track the classic tremolo-picked guitar work becomes the main focus well supported by the relentless drumming but mournful melodic phrases will flow naturally through such oppressive rhythmic patterns.
“Truth under Stars” immediately unleashes ferocious blast beats and the desperate growls enhance a blackened aura yet the slower guitar leads and the murky atmospheric accents convey harrowing emotions.
“Aurora” relies on the classical beauty of the piano to evoke an overwhelming melancholia and the resulting melodic motifs are further amplified by the gelid tonalities of the haunting guitar work.
The steady drums march and the harsh riffage of “Awakened beyond Dreams” bring back a traditional black metal inspiration but as the tempo drastically slows down the elegant arpeggios enhance a dramatic depth.
On “Memories… a Raging River” the fast ruthless riffs can easily build ferocious dynamics but during the woeful grand finale a gripping melodic essence comes to life through graceful guitars and immersive atmospheric arrangements.
Just like the title clearly suggests sorrow is the center theme of “Into Sorrow Evermore” as Imperium Dekadenz can effortlessly craft a majestic melodic gloom but still manifest strong black metal roots.

Katatonia – Sky Void Of Stars

Swedish masters of melancholic metal Katatonia are constantly embracing an artistic evolution that today generates the vivid soundscapes and the gloomy beauty of the highly anticipated new record “Sky Void Of Stars”
Throughout “Austerity” guitars can acquire heavier tones to create interesting proggy rhythmic patterns marching fiercely through a hazy atmospheric ensemble enhanced by sorrowful phrases and ultimately leading to a vibrant chorus.
“Opaline” puts the spotlight on the surreal yet comforting keyboard arrangements and the crispy guitar leads while the uplifting chorus emphasized by Jonas Renkse’s soulful voice instantly grabs your attention.
“Drab Moon” always evokes sheer melancholia through the sophisticated guitar melodies and the haunting vocal delivery embellished by moody atmospheric waves yet the impeccable rhythmic section can still build a crunchy momentum.
On “Impermanence” the exquisite melodic guitars seem to emerge from a distant dreamland conveying immense nostalgia and perfectly complement the bittersweet vocals courtesy of guest singer Joel Ekelöf of Soen before engaging in a charismatic solo.
“Atrium” marks another memorable moment as guitars effortlessly shift from eloquent melodic passages to super catchy rhythmic crescendos that can even reveal positive energy within the contemplative atmosphere.
“No Beacon To Illuminate Our Fall” perfectly represents the musical universe of the whole album as the composition emphasizes the emotive themes through wistful harmonies and somber atmospheric layers but also focuses on the prog inspiration of the convoluted rhythmic patterns and the consequent heavier guitar work.
The sonic realm of “Sky Void Of Stars” lies in between darkness & light where Katatonia can freely express emotional depth and craft refined melodic motifs without forgetting their strong doom metal roots.

Ville Valo – Neon Noir

The extensive discography of HIM undoubtedly has left an indelible mark and we all remember the devoted fans in tears during their farewell tour back in 2017 but now Finnish Love Metal pioneer Ville Valo embarks on an exciting & heart wrenching music voyage with the debut solo album “Neon Noir”.
“Run Away From The Sun” soothes your soul with beautiful shimmering melodic waves enriched by a catchy mix of subtle atmospheric tapestries and upbeat rhythmic dynamics that constantly revolve around Ville’s vibrant vocals.
The glowing melodic flow of the title track conveys a bittersweet romance definitely enhanced by Ville’s sophisticated vocal harmonies while the darker vibes of the guitar work lead to an addictive chorus.
“Loveletting” belongs to a dreamland as the graceful acoustic phrases are accompanied by hazy synths arrangements skillfully combining pop & rock elements that perfectly complement the dramatic vocal delivery.
“In Trenodia” is all about heartache but it makes you feel good as Ville’s comforting baritone tone flows gently through lavish multilayered atmospheric textures and delightful melodies.
“Heartful Of Ghosts” warms your heart with poetic melodies and modern synths layers that constantly put the spotlight on Ville’s moody vocals while guitars add hypnotizing darkened motifs.
“Saturnine Saturnalia” is absolutely unforgettable and enthralling as guitars finally embrace a beloved doom essence reminiscent of the glorious “Venus Doom” era and Ville delivers a stunning vocal performance reaching the acme with a seductive chorus.
“Vertigo Eyes” focuses on Ville’s deeply melancholic vocals surrounded by a mellow and often brighter melodic ensemble emphasized by the intricate synths yet guitars create captivating rhythmic twists acquiring a more fuzzy raw sound.
Throughout “Neon Noir” Ville dares to explore diverse musical territories proving a striking creative force but at the same time continues to write mesmerizing Love Metal songs evoking heartbreak and gloom.

Obituary – Dying Of Everything

Death metal legends Obituary redefined the genre throughout the 1990s and now they are still eager to write music with passion continuing to solidify their legacy with the highly anticipated new album “Dying Of Everything”.
“Barely Alive” marks a brutal beginning with a savage combo of punishing drum blasts and unrestrained riffage unfolding around John Tardy’s signature ruthless growls.
In the beginning “The Wrong Time” manifests a somber mood but the infectious guitar riffs become simply unstoppable well supported by the monstrous rhythmic section and enriched by a flamboyant solo.
Without the need for extra speed “War” unleashes massive stomping rhythmic patterns though the bold bass lines and the fierce guitar work while John’s vocals sound absolutely vicious.
The title track bears the mark of old school death metal as the relentless drumming and the mighty riffs become more frantic calling for an immediate moshpit yet ultimately lead to a slower sinister breakdown.
While following a mid-tempo the rhythmic core of “My Will To Live” can still convey pure anger consistently building entertaining grooves enhanced by the tasteful guitar leads.
“Be Warned” closes the album with a palpable sense of impending doom as guitars acquire an ominous sound within a dramatically slower & darker rhythmic ensemble.
Undoubtedly the strength of “Dying Of Everything” comes from the memorable rhythmic dynamics and the vitriolic guitar riffs as Obituary proudly stay true to their classic style but successfully manage to add variety.

Mos Generator – Time//Wounds

Heavy rockers Mos Generator reach another milestone with the release of the 10th full length “Time//Wounds” reflecting on the passing of time, dreams and regrets through a multifaceted songwriting approach.
The energetic opening track “Aja-Minor” relies on the shapeshifting rhythmic section that can always surprise you with retro rock dynamics and flamboyant prog elements enhanced by the charismatic lead guitar work.
“(Don’t) Wait Until Tomorrow” often sounds more mellow as the warm acoustic phrases perfectly complement Tony Reed’s laid back vocal delivery but you can also expect mighty grooves fueled by the raw guitar riffs.
“Only Yesterday” once again highlights the mature musicianship as guitars carefully blend gritty riffage and softer harmonies to build diverse rhythmic patterns enriched by moody synths layers.
The longest track “Until We Meet Again (Parts I-IV)” closes the album focusing on a nostalgia infused melodic ensemble yet there are many rhythmic & style variations as guitars manifest a strong 70’s progressive rock spirit as well as a vintage rock flair leading to a magnetic extensive solo.
Listening to “Time//Wounds” you can certainly appreciate the classic heavy rock vibes and the great band’s chemistry yet Mos Generator combine multiple influences to ultimately achieve an eclectic sonic vision.

Threshold – Dividing Lines

UK’s premier progressive metal band Threshold begins a new thrilling chapter with the release of 12th studio album “Dividing Lines” characterized by excellent musicianship and intricate composition.
‘Haunted” instantly showcases the key elements of the whole album, in fact you can appreciate the prowess that generates big guitar riffs and tasteful leads embellished by bittersweet melodic accents and modern electro layers.
“Silenced” stands out for the futuristic mood with robotic sounds and rich atmospheric arrangements while guitars skillfully build bold rhythmic patterns ultimately leading to a smooth melodic solo.
The cinematic synths on “The Domino Effect” introduce an inflamed rhythmic ensemble highlighting a complex prog pathway while the elegant harmonies emphasize a contemplative essence reaching the acme with a flawless melodic guitar solo.
Throughout “Complex” guitars deliberately acquire heavier tones to ensure a groovy approach and the precise rhythmic section generates shapeshifting dynamics always enriched by the eclectic keyboards.
“Lost Along The Way” features a catchy chorus and some harrowing atmospheric waves that contribute to build a palpable rhythmic tension while the compelling lead guitar work provides polished melodic motifs.
The majestic final track “Defence Condition” conveys a significantly darker atmospheric grandeur through the sorrowful tones of the multilayered synths surrounding a winning combo of mighty riffage and charismatic technical solos while Glynn Morgan fully demonstrates his vocal abilities.
The strength of “Dividing Lines” evidently relies on the band’s chemistry and the sophisticated songwriting style as today Threshold are still driven forward by a strong creative force.

Black Anvil – Regenesis

Hailing from New York City purveyors of USBM Black Anvil fully showcase a malevolent blackened vision on the fifth full-length “Regenesis”.
“In Two” hits you in the face with the obscure power of the fiery riffage and the crushing drums but an inner mournful melodic essence tends to emerge through the gelid lead guitar work.
Within the enigmatic atmosphere of “8-bit Terror” guitars have a chance to focus on profoundly sorrowful tonalities besides the expected violent riffs easily enhanced by the visceral growls.
“Silver & Steele” follows a slower lugubrious tempo allowing guitars to carefully craft hypnotizing phrases and a charismatic solo emphasizing a gripping melodic gloom.
“NYC Nightmares” also favors a melodic approach through the coldest crestfallen guitar tones yet the monumental rhythmic section acquires extra speed to build thrilling blackened grooves.
“Grant Us His Love” doesn’t waste any time as the relentless guitar riffs spontaneously generate a solid series of menacing rhythmic patterns later enriched by epic vocals and solemn keyboards arrangements.
The title track proudly unleashes venomous rhythmic blasts accompanied by vengeful growls while the guitar leads can easily provide a fair dosage of haunting melodic accents.
While drawing inspiration from the darkest depths of traditional black metal Black Anvil focus inward with their songwriting to develop a distinctive style that today thrives through the sinister soundscapes of “Regenesis”.

Top 15 Records of 2022

Isafjørd – Hjartastjaki
Svart Records

In an old house with a broken piano Aðalbjörn Addi Tryggvason and Ragnar Zolberg join forces to create a deeply evocative debut album that feels like a spiritual voyage through frozen landscapes, so we eagerly wait for the next chapter.
Personal Favorite Track: Hjartastjaki

Amorphis – Halo
Atomic Fire Records

Finnish veterans Amorphis are simply unstoppable crafting another enthralling opus where dramatic melodies and fierce guitar driven grooves become naturally entwined.
Personal Favorite Track: Seven Roads Come Together

Watain – The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain
Nuclear Blast Records

This time Watain truly find the perfect equilibrium between gruesome blackened dynamics and haunting melodic motifs.
Personal Favorite Track: We Remain

Haavard – Haavard
Prophecy Productions

Mastermind Håvard Jørgensen creates the ideal wintry soundtrack through a truly hypnotizing acoustic ensemble.
Personal Favorite Track: Mot Soleglad

Candlemass – Sweet Evil Sun
Napalm Records

Candlemass continue to solidify their legacy so you can expect an overdose of mighty guitar riffs and consequent doom laden grooves.
Personal Favorite Track: When Death Sighs

Disillusion – Ayam
Prophecy Productions

Disillusion return triumphantly embracing a convoluted composition that naturally blends poetic melodies and harsh rhythmic dynamics.
Personal Favorite Track: Am Abgrund

Septicflesh – Modern Primitive
Nuclear Blast Records

Greek titans Septicflesh clearly dwell within the darkest sonic realm and the detailed orchestrations generate an extraordinary symphonic splendor.
Personal Favorite Track: Hierophant

The Halo Effect – Days Of The Lost
Nuclear Blast Records

Supergroup The Halo Effect carries the torch for the glorious Gothenburg melo-death scene providing plenty of melodic hooks and excellent musicianship.
Personal Favorite Track: In Broken Trust

Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse
Century Media Records

As darkness descends inevitably, Dark Funeral stay true to their signature black metal style but also the gloomy melodic moments deserve your utmost attention.
Personal Favorite Track: When I’m Gone

Avatarium – Death, Where Is Your Sting
AFM Records

Once again Avatarium blend traditional doom metal elements and exquisite melodies plus Jennie-Ann Smith’s vocals are simply amazing.
Personal Favorite Track: A Love Like Ours

GGGOLDDD – This Shame Should Not Be Mine
Artoffact Records

GGGOLDDD continue to evolve fearlessly shifting from soothing harmonies to magnetic electronic layers to express an emotional whirlwind.
Personal Favorite Track: Like Magic

Therion – Leviathan II
Nuclear Blast Records

Therion return to their epic roots focusing on memorable heavy metal grooves and striking symphonic grandeur.
Personal Favorite Track: Lucifuge Rofocale

Elder – Innate Passage
Stickman Records

Elder bravely go beyond the realm of psych-rock demonstrating an eclectic songwriting approach enhanced by musical prowess.
Personal Favorite Track: Merged In Dreams – Ne Plus Ultra

Sylvaine – Nova
Season Of Mist

Sylvaine continues to show her abilities as multi-instrumentalist & composer and the result is a mesmerizing blackgaze oriented album.
Personal Favorite Track: Everything Must Come To An End

Venom Prison – Erebos
Century Media Records

Drawing inspiration from classic death metal Venom Prison are developing a unique twisted sonic vision that demands your attention.
Personal Favorite Track: Golden Apples Of The Hesperides

Haavard – Haavard

Under the banner of Haavard Norwegian guitarist and vocalist Håvard Jørgensen draws inspiration from his native land’s folklore to craft the enchanting eponymous acoustic album.
“Printemps” certainly embodies the whole album’s poetic spirit as the rich acoustic guitars create an irresistible melodic flow and magical folk rhythmic dynamics.
“Heartwood” offers minimalist heart wrenching acoustic harmonies while the viola and the atmospheric arrangements bring darker ancestral tonalities.
“Snøhetta” captures the haunting essence of dark folk through the mournful guitar sound floating through a mystifying atmospheric ensemble.
Following a faster tempo “Eastwood” takes you to a pristine wintry landscape and the violin adds a graceful classical flair to the eerie atmosphere.
“Niende Mars” relies on an elegant blend of soothing strings and flawless contemplative arpeggios that gradually create a dramatic atmospheric crescendo.
Featuring a passionate vocal performance by Kristoffer “Garm” Rygg of legendary Ulver “Mot Soleglad” instantly captivates the listeners with the melodic gloom and the cold tones of the intricate guitar work.
On “Athena” the spellbinding violin and cello movements perfectly complement and amplify the crestfallen acoustic phrases.
As an ideal winter soundtrack “Haavard” constantly conveys a profound Nordic melancholia through the detailed atmospheric tapestries and the soulful acoustic passages which definitely showcase an elaborate songwriting style.

Elder – Innate Passage

Prog-psych rock veterans Elder once again aim to push boundaries embarking on an introspective sonic journey on the sixth full-length “Innate Passage”.
“Catastasis” depicts a surreal sonic realm through the recurring delightful harmonies and the understated atmospheric textures in contrast with the heavy weight of the wilder rhythmic rampage effortlessly enriched by the intricate guitar soloing.
The convoluted track “Merged In Dreams – Ne Plus Ultra” features a peaceful rhythm with chunky bass lines and wistful melodies flowing gently through borderline futuristic synths layers yet guitars can build a heavier momentum with galloping riffage and flamboyant leads towards a majestic finale.
“The Purpose” holds a contemplative mood as the melancholic guitar phrases and the dreamy synths arrangements become naturally entwined and even if the resulting enthralling melodic motif remains the main focus the eclectic rhythmic section will add some darker dynamics.
After more than 15 years Elder have developed a distinctive songwriting style further emphasized by the brilliant musicianship that render “Innate Passage” a delightful sonic experience.