Top 10 Records of 2023

Ville Valo – “Neon Noir”
Spinefarm Records

The extraordinary Ville Valo returns triumphantly with a perfectly stylish collection of Love Metal songs and even if we miss HIM terribly “Neon Noir” has all the power and the gloomy charm necessary to comfort our cold hearts.

Personal Favorite Track: “Saturnine Saturnalia”

Dozer – “Drifting In The Endless Void”
Blues Funeral Recordings

Dozer haven’t been around in a decade but they celebrate a majestic comeback with an overdose of simply addictive fuzzy stoner rock grooves and hypnotizing melodies that demand your attention.

Personal Favorite Track: “Missing 13”

Myrkur – “Spine”
Relapse Records

Amalie Bruun has already demonstrated to be an eclectic artist but this new musical chapter shines for the personal deeply emotive approach which ultimately leads to a compelling blend of darkness and beauty.

Personal Favorite Track: “Blazing Sky”

Katatonia – “Sky Void Of Stars”
Napalm Records

The evolutionary pathway of Katatonia naturally generates an enthralling melodic ensemble emphasizing excellent musicianship, intense creative force and the immense melancholia that we all love.

Personal Favorite Track: “Impermanence”

Graveyard – 6
Nuclear Blast

Swedish masters Graveyard choose a spellbinding melodic style channeling bluesy and heavy rock influences in perfect vintage fashion that defies any standard musical categorization.

Personal Favorite Track: “Godnatt”

Blood Ceremony – “The Old Ways Remain”
Rise Above Records

Blood Ceremony continue to develop a mature artistic identity and ultimately create a bewitching sonic realm where whimsical folk and occult rock naturally entwine.

Personal Favorite Track: “Song Of The Morrow”

Domkraft – “Sonic Moons”
Magnetic Eye Records

It’s all about massive psychedelia and heavy loud guitar riffs as Domkraft proudly promise to take you far away from this awful reality until we finally reach another galaxy.

Personal Favorite Track: “Black Moon Rising”

Saturnus – “The Storm Within”
Prophecy Productions

On this new musical endeavor Saturnus reach stunning dramatic depth with exquisite melodic themes without sacrificing the ominous force of death/doom metal.

Personal Favorite Track: “The Storm Within”

Dødheimsgard – “Black Medium Current”
Peaceville Records

Driven by an obscure energy Dødheimsgard bravely craft a deeply enigmatic opus that defies space and time but still maintains a cryptic blackened aura.

Personal Favorite Track: “Et Smelter”

Shining – “Shining”
Napalm Records

The one and only Niklas Kvarforth brings back Shining’s signature sound conveying pure despair and cold darkness with a tasteful touch of melodic gloom.

Personal Favorite Track: “Snart Är Dom Alla Borta”

Myrkur – Spine

Certainly one of the most anticipated albums of the year must be Myrkur’s haunting new release “Spine” where acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Amalie Bruun explores her personal mythology with honesty and creativity.
On “Like Humans” a mysterious aura surrounds the striking combo of interweaved somber melodies and blackened guitar riffs ultimately leading to a surprisingly super catchy chorus enhanced by the soothing vocal delivery.
“My Blood Is Gold” represents a minimalist songwriting approach focusing on enchanting piano & graceful vocals and the power of these mystical melodic themes can instantly captivate the listeners.
Within the cathartic atmospheric ensemble of the title track Amalie’s ethereal voice floats gracefully complemented by elegant piano melodies evoking immense Nordic melancholia and fiery blackened rhythmic progressions highlighting the genuine expression of contrasting emotions.
“Valkyriernes Sang” belongs to the pristine wintry landscapes of the old Norse sagas as the faster savage rhythmic section proudly conjures an obscure blackened force unfolding around Amalie’s poignant vocals and epic chanting.
“Blazing Sky” can sound like a nostalgic daydream due to the riveting atmospheric waves and the mesmerizing vocal harmonies shine bright during the addictive chorus while the raw energy of the guitar riffs maintains the ideal rhythmic tension.
Throughout “Spine” Myrkur bravely embarks on the most personal of artistic journeys confidently invoking her Danish folk roots and black metal influences to create an intoxicating musical opus.

On Thorns I Lay – On Thorns I Lay

Greek cult band On Thorns I Lay returns to shake the underground metal scene spreading perennial melancholia and grief through the apocalyptic tales of the new self-titled album.
“Fallen From Grace” constantly conjures a classic death-doom essence as a grave atmosphere forebodes the beginning of a perilous journey focusing on heavy riffage and visceral growls while strings and lead guitars can effortlessly create mournful melodic themes.
“Crestfallen” enhances the melancholic soul with graceful acoustic passages and dreamy piano melodies yet maintains a rhythmic tension with towering drum blasts and faster darker riffs ultimately leading to an eloquent guitar solo.
“Among The Wolves” instantly stands out for the doomy guitar progressions evoking grim emotions and the consequent vicious rhythmic dynamics are easily enriched by charismatic soloing and somber melodic accents.
Within the cryptic atmospheric realm of “Thorns of Fire” the decadent beauty of the melodic guitar work and the sorrowful flute swirls captivates the listeners while the monumental rhythmic section diligently follows a harsh doomed pathway.
Once again On Thorns I Lay don’t disappoint their loyal fanbase proudly invoking the ominous force of death metal and the endless despair of doom to craft monolithic rhythmic patterns and sublime melodies.

Shining – Shining

Eccentric mastermind Niklas Kvarforth delves into the darkest sonic territories to create the new self-titled obscure opus “Shining” characterized by the band’s malevolent signature sound and nightmarish soundscapes.
“Avsändare Okänd” marks a menacing beginning as guitars conjure the fury of black metal to generate aggressive rhythmic patterns but there is still time to breathe as enticing mellow melodies and hazy atmospheric nuances are destined to emerge within the oppressive sonic realm.
“Snart Är Dom Alla Borta” can comfort your broken soul with crestfallen acoustic phrases and calm mournful vocals reaching the acme with a wistful melodic guitar solo yet the mighty rhythmic section acquires speed and ferocity naturally leading to a final grim piano piece.
Throughout “Allt För Döden” you can feel an overwhelming emptiness and everything is bound to get darker & gelid as the unstoppable ominous riffs effortlessly create intense blackened progressions but an evocative melodic essence remains dominant through the poignant guitar leads and the mystifying atmosphere.
“Fidelis Ad Mortem” relies on a slower dramatic composition to instantly spread misery and melancholia with haunting guitar phrases and solemn choirs enriched by two charismatic solos courtesy of King Diamond legendary guitarist Andy La Rocque.
The world of “Shining” is made of inescapable darkness and pure poetry as the band skillfully combines the violence of black metal with eclectic prog rock elements and enthralling melodic waves.

Domkraft – Sonic Moons

Swedish psych doom trio Domkraft drags you through a neverending intergalactic voyage with the monumental dirges of the fourth full-length “Sonic Moons”.
“Whispers” symbolizes a majestic opening as the crushing guitar riffs easily create a convoluted rhythmic spiral enriched by a multitude of psychedelic effects, hazy atmospheric layers and moody vocals.
“Slowburner” invites you to embark on a lysergic trip as the charismatic guitar work delivers the perfect dosage of wicked riffage with a touch of doom and the vocals become wild screams within a psychedelic atmospheric ensemble.
“Black Moon Rising” relies on the heavy weight of the gritty guitar riffs and monolithic drumming to generate intense quasi chaotic rhythmic patterns plus you can often perceive the presence of a spellbinding darker essence.
“The Big Chill” defies time & space as the raw energy of the robust guitar riffs feels absolutely dominant yet is destined to naturally evolve into languid melodic passages that will take you straight to an alternate reality.
From outer space Domkraft rises triumphantly to expand a bewitching musical manifesto blending towering heavy doom rock dynamics and hypnotic psychedelia throughout “Sonic Moons”.

Thy Catafalque – Alföld

Founded by multi-instrumentalist mastermind Tamás Kátai,Thy Catafalque have demonstrated a limitless artistic evolution that now leads to the shapeshifting soundscapes of the 11th album “Alföld”.
“A csend hegyei” opens the portal to a darkened sonic realm as the band’s primordial black metal roots demand a series of asphyxiating rhythmic dynamics with incessant riffage and cavernous growls.
Within the murky atmospheric ensemble of “A földdel egyenlő” the monolithic rhythmic section focuses on extra speed and sheer brutality while celestial harmonies emerge from a distant dimension to bring solace.
The title track constantly manifests a complex composition using the brute force of extreme metal to generate malignant grooves in contrast with a melancholia infused melodic flow embellished by delicate female vocals while guitars have the chance to develop intricate prog style leads well supported by the precise drumming.
Throughout the instrumental track “Folyondár” a wild folk spirit takes over as the spellbinding violins and the magical flute convey uplifting feelings creating delightful melodic themes.
“Néma vermek” closes the album with a detailed mix of aggressive rhythmic blasts, enchanting folk harmonies and futuristic multi layered synths showcasing the band’s renowned experimental approach.
On “Alföld” Thy Catafalque once again can easily challenge the audience with an eclectic sonic vision yet deliberately choose to focus on the strength of classic extreme metal and massive guitar riffs.

Graveyard – 6

Swedish heavy rock masters Graveyard embark on an unforgettable sonic journey through the hypnotizing melodic waves of the first record in five years simply entitled “6”.
The album opener “Godnatt” features a captivating series of bittersweet melodic themes that put the spotlight on the masterful guitar work and perfectly complement Joakim Nilsson’s moody vocal performance.
You feel comfortably wrapped by the warm melodic lines moving sinuously through “I Follow You” and the fuzzed out guitar phrases run wild & free to ultimately build sensational rhythmic crescendos.
“Breathe In Breathe Out” focuses on a slow burning melodic flow emphasizing the compelling vocal harmonies and the charming vintage guitar sound reaching the acme with an extensive impeccable solo.
Loads of energetic blasts emerge throughout “Just A Drop” as guitars and fiery drums meticulously generate trippy rhythmic patterns while the soulful melodies maintain the album’s minimalist vision.
“Rampant Fields” still showcases a glowing ballad style with a memorable melancholic chorus enhanced by Joakim’s soothing vocal delivery and definitely enriched by the psychedelic textures of the simmering Hammond.
Formed in Gothenburg in 2006 Graveyard continue to demonstrate passion and creativity developing an elaborate songwriting approach that now spontaneously leads to the bluesy & hazy soundscapes of “6”.

Tenhi – Valkama

Finnish dark folk band Tenhi aims to spellbind the audience with the cathartic acoustic composition of the first record in 12 years entitled “Valkama”.
“Saattue” takes you far away from the modern world with the enchanting power of the mellow acoustic crescendos and the monochromatic vocal delivery surrounded by soothing atmospheric waves.
Throughout the title track intricate guitar melodies flourish within an elegant atmospheric ensemble creating peaceful soundscapes.
“Laineinen” evokes immense melancholia through the darkened allure of the acoustic phrases and the classical violin.
“Hele” constantly maintains a somber folk mood and the poetic piano & violin melodies ultimately enhance a palpable dramatic depth.
“Ulapoi” belongs to an ancestral realm featuring a perfect combo of crestfallen melodic guitars and magical violin movements that emphasizes contemplative themes.
“Elokuun linnut” moves the listeners with the sheer beauty of nostalgic piano melodies floating gently through dreamy atmospheric arrangements.
“Aina sininen aina” focuses on otherworldly chants and recurring graceful piano harmonies while the thick bass lines & drums meticulously build slow burning rhythmic patterns.
As Tenhi fully embrace a cinematic songwriting approach “Valkama” symbolizes a spiritual journey through the frozen landscapes of the Land of the Thousand Lakes.

Saturnus – The Storm Within

After over a decade Danish melodic death/doom band Saturnus begins a new musical endeavor evoking overwhelming melancholy throughout the highly anticipated full-length “The Storm Within”.
The majestic title track feels like a cathartic journey through stormy waters as the bittersweet arpeggios and the graceful piano provide comfort while the deeply mournful guitar work channels the heavy weight of classic doom metal.
The dramatic composition behind “Chasing Ghosts” constantly generates exquisite melodic tapestries as guitars focus mainly on elaborate refined leads emphasized by poetic spoken words.
On “Closing the Circle” ethereal atmospheric arrangements and dreamy arpeggios convey a sense of perennial longing and once again guitars demand your attention with fascinating somber tonalities leading to a charismatic solo.
“Truth” amplifies the contemplative themes as the classical beauty of the piano creates a mesmerizing melodic flow that gradually evolves into massive doom rhythmic patterns fueled by the robust riffage and the cavernous growls.
As Saturnus confidently embrace an intricate songwriting approach “The Storm Within” can hit you in the face with crushing dynamics yet a gorgeous melodic essence is always destined to flourish expressing genuine emotions.

RUÏM – Black Royal Spiritism – I – O Sino da Igreja

Formed in 2020 by Rune ‘Blasphemer’ Eriksen, renowned for his work with Norwegian black metal legends Mayhem and Vltimas, RUÏM begins an ominous spiritual journey with the debut release “Black Royal Spiritism – I – O Sino da Igreja”.
Like an ancestral witchcraft “Blood.Sacrifice.Enthronement” opens the portal to a sinister dimension as guitars skillfully shift from ghastly melodic passages to full blown angered rhythmic patterns that ultimately lead to an unearthly atmospheric momentum.
On “The Triumph (Of Night & Fire)” recurring mysterious guitar phrases slowly build a malevolent rhythmic march constantly fueled by unrestrained riffage and monolithic drumming.
The ritualistic flair of “Black Royal Spiritism” becomes evident through the theatrical growls and the hypnotizing melodic guitar work flourishing within an enigmatic atmosphere while the gruesome rhythmic dynamics are rooted in primal Norwegian black metal.
“Fall Of Seraphs” inevitably conjures total darkness unleashing an overdose of hellish rhythmic blasts yet guitars once again have the ability to emphasize the dramatic depth with cryptic melodies.
Throughout “O Sino da Igreja” guitars seem to emerge from the darkest depths demanding a furious speed to deliver insanely brutal riffs easily enhanced by the menacing growls and only the bewitching atmospheric accents give you time to breathe.
“Black Royal Spiritism – I – O Sino da Igreja” explores Blasphemer’s personal beliefs regarding the greater spirits of the left-hand path therefore you can expect a pitchblack sonic realm where blackened grooves run wild in the midst of an eerie atmospheric ensemble.