Lord Mantis – Universal Death Church

After a dark time of struggles and feuds extreme metallers Lord Mantis have found a new purpose and creative force leading to the latest venomous offering “Universal Death Church”.

“God’s Animal” certainly holds a fiery blackened sludge core generating a legit overdose of darkly enigmatic tonalities with galloping groovy guitar riffs and filtered spiteful screams while the solo manages to channel the perfect dosage of bleak melodies. 

“Qliphotic Alpha” seems to belong to an underground post-apocalyptic realm as the heavy guitar riffs have a mournful doom flair well supported by the abrasive rhythmic section but later a series of slower arcane melodic guitar progressions will amplify the inner atmospheric desolation. 

On “Consciousness.exe” the crunchy guitar driven grooves don’t really need extreme speed to grab your attention and the whole instrumental ensemble feels quite accessible also due to the comforting melodic gloom and the hazy atmospheric arrangements. 

“Fleshworld” immediately unleashes an aggressive blackened approach further enhanced by the vitriolic screams so the atmosphere becomes pitchblack even when the tempo slows down a bit to focus on a grave emotional turmoil expressed by the somber doom aesthetics of the guitar work. 

The compex final track “Hole” constantly evokes a mysterious aura through the ominous rhythmic maze still characterized by a darkened blend of sludge & doom yet there is a desire to experiment with different styles as the saxophone delivers moody dynamics and the synths create murky psychedelic atmospheric textures. 

“Universal Death Church” marks the renewed union of Lord Mantis and certainly belongs to a realm of darkness and torment as symbolized by the instrumental chaotic moments and the abstract atmospheres. 

Hypno5e – A Distant (Dark) Source

French post-metal collective Hypno5e are known for the alluring cinematic nature of their music which once again flourishes through the magical soundscapes of the new full length “A Distant (Dark) Source”.

“On The Dry Lake” is an artsy hypnotizing work of music that offers a profoundly emotive cinematic ensemble feeling like the ideal soundtrack for an avant-garde movie. The understated atmospheric arrangements surround the charismatic heavy rhythmic segments that can sound quite aggressive at times with fierce guitar riffs and hostile screams yet the delightful melodic soul is fully expressed by the glowing melancholic guitar melodies and the softer vocal delivery. 

“A Distant Dark Source – Part I” is a somber quasi enigmatic cinematic introduction of “A Distant Dark Source -Part II” which delivers an elaborate blend of soulful guitar harmonies and technical grooves characterized by intriguing prog metal variations leading to contrasting feelings of nostalgia and sheer anger.  

The surreal and moody “A Distant Dark Source – Part III” continues to seamlessly shift from darkened melodic moments to intense rhythmic crescendos courtesy of the brilliant guitar work again showcasing the amazing abilities of Hypno5e. 

“On Our Bed Of Soil – Part I” relies on mellow and dreamy harmonies accompanied by poetic narratives while “On Our Bed Of Soil -Part II” soon evolves into a terrific unrestrained rhythmic rampage featuring sharp guitar riffs fueled by some primal energy in contrast with the recurring poignant melodies that will inevitably move the listeners.

“On Our Bed Of Soil -Part III” begins with graceful atmospheric layers and calm vocals channeling peaceful feelings yet such enchanting tranquility will be interrupted by a darker and significantly heavier rhythmic approach with venomous riffage and powerful drumming before returning to a less chaotic and rather melancholic momentum. 

As Hypno5e continue to showcase stellar musicianship and stylish ideas “A Distant (Dark) Source” is undoubtedly a complex album where so many emotions fuel the intricate melodic tapestries and the wilder djent oriented patterns. 

Crest Of Darkness – The God Of Flesh

Norwegian black metal veterans Crest Of Darkness are ready to arise from hellish depths once again to unleash the new diabolical offering “The God Of Flesh”. 

The title track focuses on a massive hostile onslaught with relentless guitar riffs, thunderous drum blasts and demonic growls and such insanely brutal approach clearly channels the primal force of classic black metal. 

“Endless Night” still dwells within a pitchblack sonic realm yet the instrumental ensemble feels more accessible as besides the expected aggressive rhythmic segments there are some comforting somber guitar melodies leading to pleasant contemplative moments.

On “The Spawn Of Seth” the ominous guitar tones and tight riffage foreshadow the consequent savage blackened grooves even if the rhythm will slow down to emphasize the arcane keyboards arrangements. 

Drenched in darkness yet incredibly groovy “Blood” combines fiery ritualistic vibes with grave blackened melodies following a slower yet intense rhythmic section and guitars certainly stand out for the memorable riffs. 

Besides the strong traditional black metal influence “Salvation In Hell” showcases a groovy black ‘n’ roll spirit embedded in the relentless guitar riffs and the chunky bass lines marching fearlessly through a sinister atmosphere. 

It might seem that Crest Of Darkness focus only on ferocious old school black metal style but in reality they are willing to diversify the songwriting approach and the tonalities throughout  “The God Of Flesh” without sacrificing the inner perpetual darkness. 

Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond The Dark

Somehow Abigail Williams have often been considered outcasts within the extreme metal scene but regardless of obstacles and tribulations mastermind Ken Sorceron continues to faithfully follow the chosen music pathway on the latest full length “Walk Beyond The Dark”. 

Descending into the darkest depths “I Will Depart” is able to express intense dismal feelings through the fiery blackened grooves full of gelid guitar riffs and the understated atmospheric textures that surround the more melodic progressions that clearly emphasize an increasingly sorrowful mood. 

The darkened journey continues on “Sun And Moon” which at times amplifies a profoundly melancholic approach with the comforting crestfallen cello & guitar melodies and a palpable introspective vibe yet there are moments of unrestrained wrath symbolized by the faster galloping guitar riffs and drum blasts obviously accompanied by tormented growls. 

On “Black Waves” the intricate atmospheric tapestries and the sublime cello melodies create a sense of perennial desolation that is bound to move the listeners while guitars craft additional fervent harmonies that will ultimately embrace the brooding tones of the massive faster blackened grooves. 

Already from the title on “The Final Failure” you can perceive an immense melancholia that flows through the harmonious maze with mournful guitar tonalities following a slower contemplative rhythm at times interrupted by a desperate blackened momentum and constantly embellished by the lavish cello melodies that naturally evoke a neoclassical splendor matching the song’s gloomy grandeur. 

On this new thrilling musical endeavor Abigail Williams focus on an elaborate songwriting inspired by the eternal struggle between dark and light that leads to an impressive blend of soulful melodies and sheer fury, as a result “Walk Beyond The Dark” will inevitably take you to an insanely darkened sonic realm where you might have to face your demons. 

Sun Of The Sleepless & Cavernous Gate – Sun Of The Sleepless / Cavernous Gate

There are some insanely creative musicians in the burgeoning underground metal scene and it’s a pleasure to see Schwadorf of Empyrium, The Vision Bleak and Noekk join forces with Helrunar’s co-founder S.K. to craft the bewitching self-titled split album Sun Of The Sleepless / Cavernous Gate. 

“The Lure Of The Nyght” evokes an irresistible darkness as minimalist arpeggios introduce a blackened sonic realm filled with desolation and bleak emotions fully expressed by the fast diabolical rhythmic crescendo and ominous growls naturally entwined with the poetic slower acoustic melodies. 

Impeccable acoustic phrases emphasize the immersive nature of “To The Moon On Summer Eves” which also delivers an arcane blackened momentum through unrestrained guitar riffs while the melancholy infused melodic tapestries and the theatrical clean vocals inevitably lead to a compelling gloomy grandeur. 

The last track by Sun Of The Sleepless is “Kristall” which focuses on an enticing atmospheric beauty with minimalist acoustic melodies and soft vocals creating a darkly romantic mood. 

“Those Who Walk The Fog” definitely showcases the essential role of darkened essence in the new project Cavernous Gate as vicious growls march through the dense doom tinged guitar riffs and the consequent impetuous heavy rhythmic patterns yet there are many melodic moments featuring exquisite melancholic tonalities. 

With eloquent mournful vibes “Amongst Decayed Grass” relies on mighty guitar riffs executed in true funeral doom fashion and surrounded by aptly lugubrious atmospheric arrangements while the theatrical clean vocal delivery enhances the inner spiritual torment. 

“A Pale Shimmer In The Dark” opens the gate to the darkest sonic realm offering mysterious atmospheric textures and extremely sinister rhythmic progressions accompanied by arcane chants and enriched by brooding melodic guitars. 

Sun Of The Sleepless / Cavernous Gate split album could not sound darker or more poetic in fact the stylish music generated by this unique collaboration will fatally attract all black metal & doom acolytes and hopefully Schwadorf and S.K. will team up again in the future. 

Strigoi – Abandon All Faith

Featuring Greg Mackintosh of Paradise Lost and Chris Casket of Extreme Noise Terror  & Vallenfyre the new band Strigoi proudly unleashes an old school death metal inspired manifesto on the debut album “Abandon All Faith”. 

There is a fiery rage behind “Phantoms” as the rhythmic section delivers angered fast blasts yet something creepy lurks in the dark generating sinister guitar tonalities within the relentless riffage as well as the mournful doom tinged leads. 

“Seven Crowns” is full of smouldering grooves as the guitar riffs and drums truly channel the primal essence of classic death metal spiced up by menacing progressions and the savage growls can certainly amplify the inner turmoil. 

The sonic realm of “Carved Into The Skin” is made of desolation and misery focusing on monolithic doom laden grooves with utterly heavy riffs and gloomy guitar leads that can also evoke enthralling gothic vibes crafting melancholy infused melodies. 

On “Parasite” guitars acquire an abrasive industrial inspired sound enhanced by suspenseful atmospheric layers that introduce a malevolent rhythmic ensemble as the aggressive approach demands faster unstoppable riffs.  

“Plague Nation” again blends refined sorrowful doom elements with majestic fury as cavernous growls are surrounded by an overdose of ravenous guitar riffs while the evidently more melodic licks cut through the dense rhythmic patterns. 

The title track holds an arcane flair with extremely ominous chants and visceral growls emerging from the darkest depths and the instrumental ensemble is characterized by diabolical tonalities further enhanced by the cryptic doom style of the enticing guitar work. 

Greg seems to have a grand music vision in mind for Strigoi in fact while “Abandon All Faith” is just the first release it already showcases impressive musicianship and an inflamed creative force rightfully fueled by hostile dynamics drenched in darkness.  

Skyblood – Skyblood

Since many years swedish vocalist Mats Leven has worked with several amazing bands such as Therion and Candlemass and now he is ready to begin a new exciting music endeavor as a solo artist under the moniker Skyblood.

“The Not Forgotten” has a catchy melodic essence inspired by classic metal dynamics with the right dosage of steady guitar riffage and bright soloing surrounded by subtle symphonic accents while Mats engages the listeners with a mix of high-pitched screams and soothing vocal harmonies. 

On “Wake Up To The Truth” the atmosphere becomes darker and the symphonic tapestries are more present with variegated opulent layers while guitars deliver a fancy shredding solo and maintain a heavier rhythmic approach around the theatrical vocal delivery. 

“Once Invisible” shines for the elegant melancholia infused piano melodies and charming atmospheric arrangements that lead to a sumptuous dramatic depth further emphasized by the gloomy guitar driven crescendos and the darkly fervent vocal performance. 

“One Eye For An Eye” balances warm melodic textures and powerful rhythmic patterns generating widely accessible soundscapes that are definitely spiced up by Mats’s shapeshifting vocals confidently delivering massive harsh screams and somber harmonies.

The elaborate composition behind the final opus “Le Venimeux” focuses on majestic symphonic orchestrations, poignant classical piano melodies and refined melodic guitar work to create a lavish theatrical experience where Mats can truly express his music identity through a quite compelling and diverse vocal performance. 

Mats worked several years on this new project bravely expressing his personal music taste and exploring different styles that allow him to fully showcase his versatile vocal abilities, as a result Skyblood debut album is certainly destined to surprise the audience. 

Fen – The Dead Light

British metallers Fen consistently follow a fascinating sonic evolution that reaches the acme on the sixth full length “The Dead Light” which shines for the detailed composition highlighting a mesmerizing post-black metal essence. 

Under a shroud of frost “Witness” is a true symbol of melancholia as fragile guitar melodies create a gorgeous evocative soundscape that will certainly move the listeners and will ultimately embrace a cold blackened crescendo without sacrificing the poignant atmospheric spirit. 

“The Dead Light (Part 1)” amplifies a heavier blackened approach with loads of inflamed guitar riffs and the consequent faster menacing rhythmic patterns that hold a crucial role even if the luminous nostalgic melodies will often emerge to convey profound emotions. 

Channeling an irresistible dreamy post-black metal force “Nebula” offers a memorable blend of delicate melodic waves and fierce heavy rhythmic dynamics while the vocal performance also expresses such contrasting feelings shifting from warm cleans to ravenous growls. 

The misty daydream continues on “Labyrinthine Echoes” which offers cold poetic atmospheres and appealing contemplative melodies while the impeccable rhythmic section will generate cohesive unrestrained grooves fueled by a palpable primal black metal inspiration. 

Within a captivating atmospheric realm “Exsanguination” features another eloquent melodic grandeur with a calmer introspective vocal delivery surrounded by cathartic guitar harmonies gradually acquiring darker tonalities to build a soulful yet more aggressive rhythmic crescendo. 

Throughout “The Dead Light” Fen are constantly evoking pure melancholia in the midst of gelid crushing blackened dynamics naturally entwined with heartfelt melodic tapestries so there are plenty of reasons to instantly fall in love with such darkly alluring release. 

The Night Watch – An Embarrassment Of Riches

Canadian progressive instrumental quartet The Night Watch worked seven years to create the majestic opus “An Embarrassment Of Riches” which will constantly surprise the audience with a major creative force and an elaborate composition. 

“Land Ho!” is made of magic and melancholy as the sublime violin melodies comfort you and guide you through an intricate sonic maze where heavier rhythmic progressions and mellow acoustic phrases can fully express an emotional turmoil. 

“The Summit (Part I)” feels like a daydream focusing on soothing atmospheric arrangements and gentle acoustic harmonies yet the excellent combo of violin and guitars will lead to powerful rhythmic crescendos that emphasize the epic vibes and the prog elements. 

“Shamaniac” continues to offer an incredible array of diverse styles as guitars acquire somber tonalities to generate heavier riffage and groovy prog oriented rhythmic patterns while the violin will constantly convey a fascinating classical elegance with striking prowess and glowing melodies. 

Listening to “Telling Brow And Tongue Root” you never know what to expect as the violin crafts luminous melodies channeling uplifting feelings yet the whole instrumentation will later evoke sophisticated darker nuances with the addition of faster inflamed rhythmic progressions and atmospheric gloom.  

The mesmerizing track “The Summit (Part II)” evokes a melancholic serenity as the violin once again holds a crucial role delivering all kinds of gorgeous harmonies as well as additional eclectic phrases together with the remarkably precise guitar work leading to a particularly thrilling prog infused ensemble. 

Far from being an average album “An Embarrassment Of Riches” feels like an epic film score and will certainly stand out for the dazzling musicianship that allows The Night Watch to seamlessly shift from pure classical splendor to enigmatic prog dynamics. 

Pencey Sloe – Don’t Believe, Watch Out

The time has come for emerging French band Pencey Sloe to unveil the rich dreamgaze tapestries of the debut album “Don’t Believe, Watch Out” which is destined to make you space out since the very first listening. 

Listening to “Lust Of The Dead” you will immediately start to daydream as the soothing guitar harmonies evoke absolute tranquility but also a darkened emotional palette further emphasized by the exquisite melancholic vocal delivery and the hazy rhythmic crescendo. 

On “Buried Them All” we’re still dreaming the same dream as vocals feel like a lullaby while the slow burning guitars craft immersive melodic progressions and darkly comforting rhythmic segments. 

“All Ok” focuses on contemplative atmospheric waves that take you far away and the mellow guitar tonalities hold a distinct shoegaze essence leading to an overwhelming nostalgia while the catchy chorus naturally channels uplifting vibes. 

The title track is filled with blossoming guitar melodies that flow gently like a distant fond memory and the rhythmic section actively contributes to the creation of gently darkened nuances lingering through the subtle atmospheric ensemble. 

“Sins” can sound even darker with electrifying guitar tonalities yet the main calm melodic soul always prevails through the immense melancholy infused melodies and the enchanting vocal performance. 

A dense almost enigmatic atmosphere surrounds “Empty Mind” which constantly expresses an intense wistfulness through the fragile beauty of the graceful vocals accompanied by spacey guitar driven grooves. 

The future of Pencey Sloe already looks bright because the moody ethereal soundscapes  flourishing throughout “Don’t Believe, Watch Out” are destined to conquer your heart.