There are way too many records released every week - which one should you listen to? We want to help you by reviewing lots of records every week and you can also check out a little teaser before reading the whole thing. And if you want to, you can also browse through our archive and have a look at the amazing records you might have missed out on.
Everyone knows that old comparison often used to describe food “Oh that tastes so good, it takes me back to my childhood, when (Grand)ma used to make this for me!” Somehow in a twisted, nerdy way, the latest record by Obelyskkh called The Ultimate Grace of God does the same thing for me. And on top of that, it’s a hell of a brilliant, scratchy bastard of a record!Continue reading >
Nearly one year ago, the music died. Okay, a bit melodramatic, but when Lanegan died, that really hit me because of the voice, the story, the fact that he came through. No one will ever have a voice that hits as deep and as warm, as scary and as brittle-strong as him. Being a music “addict” and always searching for new methadone, it was a sheer pleasure to stumble upon Soothsayer Orchestra and The Last Black Flower.Continue reading >
There is a world in which The Mars Volta knocked up Radiohead and their kid is smoking the Sinful Cilantro in the attic, listening to Punk Rock protest songs. This is that world.Continue reading >
New year, new me? Well at least not musically, because I still love most things hardcore, hence I picked the new Polar record Everywhere, Everything as my first review of 2023. The record is already out via Arising Empire and, spoiler alert, you should definitely go and give it a listen.Continue reading >
I’ve been increasingly drawn to Dreampop and Shoegaze over the last couple of years. As I’ve grown older my tastes have moved away from the more ‘in your face’ ferocity of Extreme metal and Hardcore and I have become much more contemplative and introspective. There’s a sense of love, longing, and loss in both the fore mentioned sub-genres that I can get lost in and reminisce.Continue reading >
Okay, let’s do something different this time. I will not talk about the band at all, so you have to figure those things out by looking at the headline and picture next to these opening lines. Let’s only talk about the six songs on this EP and let them initiate my talking. Because hey, that’s what happened in the record stores of old as well, right?Continue reading >
Why is a genre like Post-Rock destined to never ever die? Simply because the disenfranchisement of classical structures in order to come up with new, unconventional ways of performing music makes for unlimited possibilities for writing, structuring songs and incorporating new mirrors that have yet to be shaven but that are exhilaratingly infectious. The Vienna, Austria-based ensemble called Phal:Angst has just released another example of that difficult thesis: Whiteout is a perfect amalgam of Post-Rock ethos and fragility, Industrial harshness and Doomjazz passion!Continue reading >
Death Engine‘s latest release is called Ocean and indeed it bears some resemblance to the music by the powerful Post-Metal collective of the same name as the album title! Nevertheless, there is also some Chino Moreno in it, which shall not be neglected. Therefore we can affirm that this record is somewhere between Post-Metal and Blackened Shoegaze, for the Deftones were never Nu-Metal but hard, heavy Shoegaze. Just listen to White Pony - Ocean is like a crossing between that album and Precambrian!Continue reading >
I do not want to go as far as saying this will be Dungeon Synth’s Nevermind but in a just world it would surely be its Sunbather. Big statement? Yes, but sit back, enjoy the ride that one-man-project Wuodan’s Wunde from Austria is providing on this record and tell me afterwards whether I was wrong or not. Fire away, actually, because nothing can hit me here, down deep in the dungeons!Continue reading >
With enough barely contained visceral energy to power a small town, Raum Kingdom trample all over the idea of the difficult second album.Continue reading >
Mare Infinitum set out in 2010 and released a full-length in 2011 and a second one in 2015. For each of these two, they broadened the scope of their music leading to this release seven years after the last one. The musical sphere in which they operate on this album is near to unfathomable. It is a grandiose display of visionary musicianship that defies any genre one tries to narrow it down to. It is clearly rooted in Doom Metal and Death Metal, but add the angelic choir, the operatic vocals, the epic, orchestral arrangements and melodic themes and this goes beyond styles and genres.Continue reading >
When you set out for Hellfest but end up at Montreux Jazz festival, and don’t even mind.Continue reading >
The absolute masters, pioneers, forefathers and simultaneously the future, the promise, the chosen are back. Ahab, the best band in a genre they founded and that they alone inhibit. The most successful Nautik Doom band ever. Okay, all of that might seem like a lot of irony but I am sure the Heidelberg, Germany-based quartet will take this with the little twinkle in the eye. Nevertheless, to clarify it – being able to listen to new music from the best German Funeral Doom band ever, is so rewarding! Furthermore, because The Coral Tombs shows the guys from atop of their game. Every single riff, every hit on any part of the drum-kit, everything is simply magical!Continue reading >
It is always interesting to see how heavy trios can be. Azken Auzi from Toulon in Southern France can be taken as a new example for just that. Stemming from afoot the mighty Alps and simultaneously right on the blue beaches of the Côte d’Azur, the threesome started only two years ago and have now released their self-titled debut record which is somewhere in the realms of Blackened Stoner Metal. Impressive!Continue reading >
The Italians of RIAH finally tell us, five years after their debut, what the acronym stands for. It really does not give more sense. Does it matter? No, not when the band has transformed and reformed itself, and releases a tremendous Post Rock album at the start of the year. This album quite literally contains everything a heavy Post Rock release should be about - passion, emotions, longing, yearning, solitude, joy, and immense reflective parts. And some more.Continue reading >
As someone coming from the West of Germany, I have always had a strange “relationship” with the Netherlands. Being a young football fan, we didn’t like the Dutch, because they always gave us a hard time. Being a music lover I was always amazed by their scene and their metal bands and festivals. Being older now, I can definitely say “I love Holland” Its people, its landscapes and beaches. I am somewhat obsessed with its music scene and am happy to support it as much as I can. Not because a band like Onhou is from Groningen, but simply because it is an insanely good band!Continue reading >
Anthemic. Epic. Accessible. Earwormy. All these adjectives are going to be used in this review of the latest full-length Með hamri by Icelandic Black Metal trailblazers Misþyrming. Does that indirectly mean they lost some of their edge? Don’t think so! Will some scene policemen call them out for being a bit too melodic on this new album? Maybe. Should anyone care about that? No!Continue reading >
No need to be subtle about this full-length debut from these Swedes; it is an amazing Post Metal/Sludge Metal-release with hints of Post Rock in between the multilayered music. The album is varied, it is furious, it is heavy, it is complex - yes, it ticks off all the parts that high quality Post Metal music consists of.Continue reading >
Two souls alas! are dwelling in your breasts? One which yearns to prolong the contemplative part of winter solstice season? And the other one just wants things to be earth-shattering loud again? Luckily, music has specialized genres suited exactly for this dichotomy, offering soothing meditative qualities, yet also eagerly sending bone-pulverizing vibrations through your body - if you just turn the volume up high enough. And it’s one album in particular, already released about two weeks after summer solstice, which I want to entrust to you for this purpose now.Continue reading >
A few years ago, a British music-journalist argued that McLusky was the most underrated band ever to come out of the UK and a total “bands’ band” meaning that they were known by musicians all over the globe but not loved by enough fans to really have a shot at it. When listening to Greek outfit Mammock one might get the idea that they listened to the Welsh Noise-mongers because they share a love for flurry, hectic Noise-Rock songs on the one hand and some atmospheric Post-Punk elegies on the other hand. Enter their second full-length Rust!Continue reading >
Fans of Brii I tell you this: this is not the same band you knew. For a while now they’ve trespassed into the world of Ambient and Trance with their loud Black Metal, a feat that should not be undermined as their fusion is balanced, this was Brii on two of their three releases. Their metamorphosis is complete now, they have shed their cocoon and now fly into the world of progressive rock more exuberant than ever, abandoning black metal almost entirely; the journey to this point implies that this was their goal from the beginning. Corpos Transparentes is a 36-minute-tour-de-force commemorating the band that once was but a tribute to becoming the current band.Continue reading >
In the beginning was Doom Metal, and the Doom Metal was with Black Sabbath and Doom Metal was Black Sabbath. The style morphed into Heavy Metal and countless sub-genres, but it began with the heavy doom-laden riffs from Iommi. Many bands were inspired and one of them was Celestial Season who took up the Doom baton, released a demo in 1992 and the first full length in 1993, thus beginning an impressive musical journey that 30 years later has led to Mysterium I and II, both released this year.Continue reading >
Given the chaos the world has been plunged into since a certain event swept across the globe in 2019, it is interesting how some musical artists/bands have managed their creative output. Some artists laid dormant, waiting for the chaos to pass so that they could step back outside. Others, such as Derrick Vella (Tomb Mold, Outer Heaven) and Justin DeTore (Innumerable Forms, Sumerlands), the duo behind Dream Unending, have had a very prolific period of musical output, putting out two albums under this project alone in the space of just twelve months.
In November of 2021, Dream Unending released their debut album Tide Turns Eternal. The album washed over you and hit you with a wave of nostalgia as you were taken back to the heyday of the Peaceville Three, being My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Anathema. These bands, along with Norwegian Black Metal legends Darkthrone, were the building blocks of the Peaceville label in the early 1990s, and ushered in a new sound for British metal, pioneering the death / doom genre.
Most bands will evolve from release to release, such as Dream Unending have with their sophomore album Song of Salvation. Though still rooted firmly in the Death/Doom genre as per their debut, they have embraced new sounds and influences in their songs, with second track “Secret Grief” opening to clean guitar, and clean vocals from Phil Swanson (who plays in Solemn Lament with Justin DeTore), plus the inclusion of trumpet played by multi-instrumentalist Leila Abdul-Rauf (Amber Ayslum, Vastum, Hammers of Misfortune), before the death growls crash in around the halfway point of the song, underlaid with a very Greg Mackintosh-ish guitar riff.
Track three “Murmur of Voices” is just that, an almost 3-minute vignette of murmured voices over some virtuosic guitar soloing, before rolling over to track four, the instrumental “Unrequited”, that like the post-Darren White-years of Anathema, is heavily indebted to the prog stylings of Pink Floyd, which would easily fit in with any album of the sans Roger Waters years of the group.
Whereas Tide Turns Eternal was made up of songs ranging from 2-minutes up to 11-minutes, spread across the seven tracks, Song of Salvation is bookended with two epic songs, with the title track opening the album at 14-minutes and closing track “Ecstatic Reign” clocking in at 16-minutes, showcasing as much Paradise Lost’s Gothic and My Dying Bride’s As the Flower Withers, as it does the aforementioned Prog, even including a spoken word passage from classically trained actor Richard Poe.
Hopefully we will only have to wait another twelve months for Justin and Derrick to deliver us a third offering of Dream Unending tunes, but whilst we wait, if you have not already, let nostalgia overcome you and go back and see where it all began.Continue reading >
Elder seemlessly meld all facets of their sound into a glorious, cohesive whole and unleash the finest album of their illustrious career!
The Berlin based Elder (three of the four members live there with the fourth living in the USA) have never been a band to stand still sonically. Always striving forward, pushing themselves on their musical journey as far as they can. The previous album Omens (here our review) was a dive into the meandering, lush krautrock sound found on the previous EP The Gold and Silver Sessions. The new album, Innate Passages surprisingly looks backwards as well as showcasing an exciting look forwards, which I admit is a bit confusing, but I’ll try and explain.
The new album looks backwards by incorporating some of the heavier elements that were jettisoned on Omens which to my ears already makes this album one of the finest in the band’s entire career, and that is saying something when you consider the quality of their back catalogue. The forward-looking parts I spoke of, are the band truly delivering on the progressive sound they have been honing in previous years. Both of those lines, whose seeds were planted in the past, have now become the fully blooming tree of exhilarating musical prowess the band were always meant to be.
Kicking things off is “Catastasis” which does an incredible job of showcasing the increased progressive noodling with heavier, doomier riffs. The beautiful guitar work is draped over an elaborate propulsive skeleton of the rhythm section who seems to be having the time of their lives. The bouncy drumbeats work in complete harmony with the increased use of the keyboards to create a work of outstanding aural quality.
Following song “Coalescence” is even more of a trip into the subconscious with dream-like keys coming to the fore. Shimmering in its execution, it almost becomes uncoupled from its earthly grounding to explore the outer reaches of sonic exploration.
The lynchpin of the album, clocking in at over 14 minutes in length and standout track “Merged in Dreams – Ne Plus Ultra” is quite possibly one of the finest tracks the band has ever committed to tape, it’s so glorious. The dynamics on display are breath-taking, from delicate fret-board tapped passages to a barn storming mid-song rock out part which is just mind blowing and then it falls apart before building back anew. It’s a journey of listening pleasure which never fails to appeal to every music loving sinew in my body, it’s incredible.
What Elder have achieved here is astonishing. They were already one of the most revered acts in music today and they have outdone themselves on this album in almost every department. Considering the standard of output from this band down the years, the fact that this, to me, is their best ever album says it all, it’s alchemy of the very highest order. Even if you have only a passing interest in guitar-driven music you owe it to yourself to put on a pair of headphones, press play and submerge yourself in this wonderful album, the only problem with it is, it came too late to put it on my album of the year list!.Continue reading >
Feeling a bit late to the party while digging this up from of my backlog. But better late than never, because this new mezmerizing album by Nordicwinter, really is for cold winter days and nights walking under a bleak sky at the shore of a small lake on one side and a frozen snowless wood on the other side. And if you walk there at night, the music certainly will give you a sense of belonging as you look up at the sparkling starry sky out there beyond the atmosphere.
Even filled with much desperation, anxiety, separation from the world, loneliness, and sadness through the lyrics, Nordicwinter makes Black Metal-related music that is highly contemplative and introspective. It is in fact very beautiful at times, even more so when the artist fares deeper into atmospheric metal´s soundscapes as he widens and develops the layers in the music. But one sound is unmistakable - the way evilair (the master and mind behind Nordicwinter) has tuned the distorted guitars gives you a sense of ethereal transparency as it surrounds the equally unmistakable screaming and desperate vocals that try to push their agony through the layers.
This release from Nordicwinter is the third in two years since the release of the mighty Sorrow in March 2021 following it with Le dernier adieu October of last year. Each release contains amazing Atmospheric Black Metal with mournful lyrics to drift along. The sound of the guitars as mentioned and the vocals are easily recognizable, similar each time, but quite far from becoming tedious even with long songs. And that is because of the third hallmark of the songwriting: There is always an appealing and alluring melody that penetrates the soundscape and lifts each song often with yearning guitars displaying the burning desire to belong that seeps through the lyrics.
The first song ”Hallowed Darkness” has Nordicwinter´s trademarks of desperate beauty right from the start as a moderate strumming clear guitar introduces the song and is accompanied by drums to pave the way for the sound of the transparent distorted guitar sonics laying themselves above the clear guitar and the desperate vocals embedded deep in the flowing music. Out of this arises a tremolo guitar to establish the melodic theme. A theme that bursts with yearning, reflection, and introspection. To use melody this way in the often cold distorted sonics makes the music poetic. With complex layers and an engaging melody soaring, ebbing and flowing, Nordicwinter in a way embraces you and invites you into his world and thoughts without you sharing the desperation that lies behind the music. You just feel empathy. It is so beautifully well done.
The music floats along and it simmers down with thunder accompanying a meditative clean guitar steering onto a wide cold plain with synths and piano reflecting the beauty of the previous scenario. The transparent distorted guitars come back and the tremolo guitar soars over the blast beats and layers of guitars wherein the vocals are embedded. It ends with thunder claps accompanying a thoughtful piano.
”This sadness enshrines me / Never lets me see the light / In darkness I shall remain” is a line from the second song, ”Into Nothingness” where evilair, throughout the song, uses a sometimes high pitched guitar to give depth to such thoughts. The vocals float in and out of the sonics to share the desperation. It is fascinating how the melodic guitar holds back as the rhythm gets faster, pushing forward even with blast beats. A high-pitched solo guitar swirls in with a melody before a tremolo guitar is back to end the song.
The third instrumental piece comes out as a meditation for piano with tidal synths moving back and forth as it gives meaning to the title ”Forever in Memories”.
The two next songs are deeply connected to each other as the end of the title song ”Beneath The Fleeting Light” is accompanied by distant thunder and a piano sounds like a church bell. This is also the beginning of the next song ”Devoid of Life”. The first of these songs might be the most varied on the album as it often shifts pace as the song glides forward, never fast paced, just holding the atmospheric flag high. Subtle changes are made to great effect as it imitates loneliness when the sonic fades away just to be taken over by a piano playing in tune with thunder and church bell, somehow giving meaning to the earlier lyrics ” Within the veil of sadness / The solitude entombs me / Beneath the fleeting light / Eyes now blind to destiny”.
As mentioned, the song shifts imperceptibly into ”Devoid of Life” and when the piano comes back after the bells have tolled, the distorted sonics swirl slowly around for a while held up by steady drums. The despairing screams deep within the soundscape, the tremolo guitar, and blastdrums - all of that steer the song onwards. The unique thing here is that even with blast drums, the music leaves the impression of a vast and unrushed atmospheric nature. The blast beats gently push the atmospheric parts forwards while the guitar gives a yearning effect until it all sinks down to a piano tune that is lifted by synths and a lone guitar steers the song versatile drumming. ”Memories, devoid of life / The echoes of whispers fade / Beneath the dimming light / A glimpse of her face now veiled”.
A short piano piece with the telling title, ”Solemn Repose”, closes the album as we walk along the lake and the wood onto a frosted clearing while day turns into night and the sky shows a few stars already. You do not leave this music untouched whether you are at that lake or wrapped up in the warmth of your cozy sofa.Continue reading >