We don’t know much about the elusive trio An Autumn For Crippled Children but for over a decade they have been developing an intriguing atmospheric black metal formula that today thrives within the bleak soundscapes of the new album “All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet”.
“I Became You” opens the album with fragile melodic progressions and melancholic guitar tonalities surrounded by the moody synths that constantly amplify the shoegaze inspiration and the tormented feelings.
“Water’s Edge” is filled with luminous guitar harmonies flowing freely through delicate multilayered atmospheric waves creating spaced out rhythmic crescendos in contrast with the extreme metal style of the mysterious growls.
On “Paths” the shoegaze flair generates dreamy melodic tapestries and subtle rhythmic patterns that naturally evoke melancholia but also a pale sense of hopefulness through the comforting vibes of the intricate atmospheric arrangements.
The slower passages of the title track naturally emphasize the gloomy essence of the synths and the reassuring tonalities of the vivid guitar melodies but the charismatic rhythmic section will eventually create more energetic and darker dynamics.
While the otherworldly melodic soul of “The Failing Senses” continues to focus on ethereal atmospheric textures and celestial harmonies, guitars can acquire harsh tonalities to properly channel a primal black metal inspiration.
With the release of “All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet” An Autumn For Crippled Children embark on an emotional sonic journey that spontaneously leads to a distinct blend of magical melodies and obscure nuances.
The music style of Huntsmen has been described as Americana metal but the band seems to aim for a wide range of diversity on the new ambitious double LP “Mandala Of Fear” which also tells a harrowing tale of survival and resilience.
“Ride Out” packs a groovy fuzzy rhythm as guitars channel classic rock dynamics with subtle stoner tonalities that can sound quite intense during the faster segments while there is also a strong melodic core amplified by calm phrases and soothing vocals.
“Colossus” has some desert rock vibes as the guitar tones become extra fuzzy with loads of moody riffs that tend to steal the spotlight and eventually lead to a darker & heavier rhythmic rampage enriched by spaced out atmospheric waves.
The instrumental track “Atomic Storms” focuses on elaborate soundscapes offering a generous dosage of monumental guitar riffs supported by a significantly heavier rhythmic backbone and this bold groovy approach is enhanced by dreamy guitar melodies and psychedelic elements.
On “A Nameless Dread” guitars acquire acidic tonalities and psychedelic vibes to craft wild faster rhythmic variations which can sound rather harsh with the addition of gritty screams in contrast with the sorrowful melodic moments and the soulful vocal harmonies.
“Awake At Time’s End” evokes a melancholic serenity amplifying some post-metal nuances with dazed melodic guitar progressions and intricate solos while the borderline aggressive guitar riffs generate a fierce sludge oriented rhythmic momentum.
The strength of “The Swallow” comes from the detailed composition which features cohesive rounds of monolithic rhythmic grooves embellished by nostalgia infused melodies fueled by the extremely somber guitar tones that can easily make you space out during the slower hypnotic passages.
“Clearing The Sand” offers massive distorted guitar riffs that maintain a prominent sludge influence yet there is a recurring moody melodic sentiment further emphasized by the comforting vocal harmonies emerging through the thick rhythmic maze.
Huntsmen confidently follow a variegated songwriting approach and even step out of their comfort zone to keep things interesting throughout “Mandala Of Fear” often shifting from spacey instrumental ensemble to absolutely epic arrangements.
Hailing from Chicago The Atlas Moth always focused on experimenting with psychedelic & atmospheric facets of metal and on the latest effort “Coma Noir” the band embraces darkened nuances and bravely continues to defy standard music style categorization.
The title track offers plenty of aggressive rhythmic dynamics but never sacrifices an inner melodic finesse fueled by post-metal dark tonalities embedded in the polished guitar work and a conscious desire to blend multiple music styles with recognizable doom/sludge accents and industrial oriented synths layers.
On “Last Transmission From The Late, Great Planet Earth” fiery distorted guitars contribute to the creation of super tight eclectic rhythmic patterns but also deliver a noteworthy series of rather catchy vibrant melodies which passionately match the shimmering atmospheric weaves.
“Galactic Brain” becomes particularly cinematic with modern electro/industrial atmospheres and experimental noise momentum surrounding slick sludgy grooves and the creative clarity of guitars often provide icy luminous melodic textures while clean vocals hold emotional quality in contrast with the more obscure piercing screams.
“The Streets Of Bombay” immediately features exquisite trippy moments where synths evoke contemplative soundscapes that will ultimately enter an intensely darkened realm made of super groovy riffing bearing heavy doom tonalities and widely accessible melancholia infused guitar melodies.
Massive guitar riffs gain a primary role on “Smiling Knife” which is consequently filled of untamed stomping grooves but also features several quite creative lead guitar concoctions surrounded by spacey & mysterious industrial elements lurking in the background.
“Chloroform” feels quite hypnotizing as the whole instrumentation acquires profoundly nostalgic tonalities especially palpable and lovable in the charismatic lead guitar moments scattered throughout the grim doom oriented rhythmic maze enriched by loads of cinematic creepy accents and deliciously flamboyant saxophone leads performed by Bruce Lamont of Yakuza & Corrections House.
What stands out on “Coma Noir” is certainly the fascinating darkness surrounding the multifaceted intricate instrumental passages as The Atlas Moth shows the necessary creative force and potential to conquer a solid status in the current underground metal scene.
Since black metal and shoegaze inevitably combined, many bands emerged to embrace the niche yet trendy underground blackgaze subgenre and California based Nullingroots fully embrace this atmospheric style in the new album “Into The Grey”.
“Subsistence” immediately ensures a ravenous blackened assault that involves immensely somber nuances as guitars follow a fast riffing pattern but also focus greatly on bleak melodic layers that often slow down dramatically to depict cold melancholic soundscapes fully channeling the ethereal nature of shoegaze.
With such darkly poetic title “The Morning That Killed The World” does hold an apocalyptic tension as well as desolate atmospheric quality as tight guitar riffs draw inspiration from the ominous depths of traditional black metal supported by fast drumming fury yet manage to weave all kinds of melodic tapestries that actually feel much more interesting.
On the multifaceted title track minimalist melancholy infused harmonies introduce an aggressive rhythmic momentum skillfully built by unrestrained guitars and drums and amplified by growls filled of pure black metal obscurity until everything shifts to slower gloomy bleakness with elegantly emotive guitar phrases.
With “Into The Grey” Nullingroots mainly stay true to the blackgaze music formula successfully demonstrating the band’s ability to seamlessly blend a chaotic blackened sonic realm with refined shoegaze melodic depth.
Phoenix based band Sorxe is relatively a new name in the metal scene but the sophomore effort “Matter & Void” demands the listeners’ full attention as these guys deliver captivating songwriting ideas with intense psychedelic flavors.
The spacey atmospheric vibes of “Hypnotizer” introduce massive guitar driven grooves and certainly the untamed screams help maintaining a heavy approach but with undiluted creative force wild guitars tend to take the spotlight leading to a charismatic guitar solo.
The psychedelic nature of “Distraction Party” is definitely attention worthy as fierce guitar riffs and distorted licks guide the whole instrumentation through monolithic rhythmic patterns that will occasionally slow down with stoner oriented melodic passages.
“Never To See” puts aside the expected overdose of heavy sludge concoctions to create an enigmatic atmospheric maze with a consequent trippy mood and it’s like feeling lost in a remote desert at night when the guitar work start to deliver hazy melodies but also slightly macabre nuances.
On “The Endless Chasm” Sorxe raises the bar with a genuine desire for experimentation in order to escape the need to follow the annoying standard rules of music composition. There is still a cohesive backbone of stoner doom & sludge elements to satisfy a thirst for punishing heavy rhythms yet this lengthy track will take you through a multi-dimensional music journey when everything slows down to favor acidic rock melodies built by an excellent guitar work that just seems unstoppable within an addictive psychedelic whirlwind.
Ensuring a majestic heavy assault that benefits also from the presence of two bassists, “Matter & Void” dwells in a darkened psychedelic limbo where Sorxe carefully crafts intricate and often unexpected music patterns that will inevitably intrigue the audience.
Hailing from the U.K, Abhorrent Decimation dish out a unique brand of death-core with their debut record, The Pardoner. The most succinct summation of this album would be total sonic nihilism. Each track broods with absolutely devastating mood pieces as either song intros or interludes a la piano, orchestrations, or downtrodden clean guitar riffs. This is juxtaposed by ear drum obliterating dissonant guitar riffs against a maelstrom of double bass drums and blast beats, and red in the face death growls. Even when they hint at melody, the counter part is crushing heaviness. There is no respite to be found throughout the 40 minutes of sheer mood destroying music found here. And I take it, that’s exactly the point. The Pardoner is ugly, depressing, and heavier than a semi truck full of bowling balls. Not for the faint of heart, just the way I like it.
Marty Friedman has been making a bit of a comeback as of late with some new solo material that “keeps up with the times,” so to speak and maintains his signature sound and phrasing. This album is packed with dynamics, melody, and aggression. I had the pleasure of seeing him on tour for this album in Chicago, and I can honestly say, for instrumental prog/shred, He has to have one of the tightest, high energy bands I’ve seen. They play as if they were playing a packed arena. Now let’s get to the album shall we?
Self Pollution: opens the album with some pretty cool riffing. Something that stands out about this album is that although it is a “Guitar Virtuoso” album, it has riffs for days. It’s very focused on composition. This track kind of throws a little bit of everything at you to give you a taste of what’s to come.
Sorrow and Madness: is easily one of my personal favorites. This track is loaded with melody and dynamics. The composition is very moving. And Marty’s signature sound is very apparent here, all those beautiful bends from out of the key that go into the key. Lots of emotion here.
Streetlight: Also packed with incredible dynamics, really shows that in a short period of time tons of versatility and ground is, has, and will be covered on this album.
Whiteworm: is an absolute rocking track, loaded with some flashy playing. It also has some very cool Latin vibes at certain points with the melody and rhythm. It has a very pretty chorus theme with a bit of an 80’s neo classical feel. Definitely a fun track.
Pussy Ghost: kind of changes things up with almost a black metal/death metal set of progressions. It’s a bit darker and atmospheric, but really interesting. It’s harmonically a bit reminiscent of some of the Cacophony material that was released way back.
I won’t give anymore away here, but I will say this. Go listen to this and buy it. It will be worth your time. I also recommend seeing him live, if you get the opportunity because it will be an enjoyable experience.