Apotelesma – Timewrought Kings (Review)

ApotelesmaApotelesma are a doom metal band from the Netherlands and this is their debut album.

This is dark, atmospheric doom metal that has several corrupting influences from black metal’s more atmospheric strains. Continue reading

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Fragarak – A Spectral Oblivion (Review)

FragarakFragarak are an Indian progressive death metal band and this is their second album.

We first met Fragarak on their 2013 album Crypts of Dissimulation. Well, we’ve been waiting a long time for a follow up release, and now it’s here, it’s quite the monster. Continue reading

Ne Obliviscaris – Urn (Review)

Ne ObliviscarisNe Obliviscaris are an Australian progressive extreme metal band and this is their third album.

Urn is epic, progressive, aggressive, and textured. It’s a release that has a lot to absorb and experience, requiring multiple sittings to really even start to get the most from it. This is a complex and emotive listen, one that’s highly rewarding and enjoyable. Continue reading

Iapetus – The Long Road Home (Review)

IapetusThis is the debut album from Iapetus, a progressive death metal band from the US.

Okay, here we have – deep breath – atmospheric, progressive, melodic death metal. Well, that wasn’t so bad, actually. Continue reading

Crystalmoors – The Mountain Will Forgive Us (Review)

CrystalmoorsCrystalmoors are a Spanish pagan/folk black metal band and this is their third album.

This is a double-album release consisting of two different parts. The first is named The Sap That Feeds Us and the second is named La Montaña.

The Sap That Feeds Us is pagan/folk black metal that should find fans in any that favour the work of Dissection, Primordial, Agalloch and Drudkh.

I like the blackened Continue reading

Falloch – This Island, Our Funeral (Review)

FallochFalloch are from the UK, and this is their second album. They play Folk-tinged Post-Rock.

This is the kind of album you’d listen to when trying to relax at the end of a hard day, or when you want something light and non-invasive to tinkle away in the background.

Falloch specialise in nature-inspired songs that take the slow route and utilise the build/release nature of Post-Rock to carve out their ethereal sounds.

This Island, Our Funeral is somewhat of a mix of bands such as Agalloch, Anathema and Blueneck only with more of a Post-Rock style and an elemental, windswept feel.

Guitar melodies and leads conjure images akin to the album cover and the organic production has some steel to it despite the nature of the music.

The vocals are well-performed with layered harmonies and angelic tones. The singer’s voice is well judged and fits the music well; it shares the same Folk-edge that the music does and the vocal melodies seep out of the speakers like honey.

Falloch have crafted an album that attempts to forge an emotional connection with the listener and its success largely depends on how receptive the listener is to what they have to say. They clearly believe in what they’re doing and I think they’re definitely worth a listen or two. Have at it.

Ahamkara – The Embers of the Stars (Review)

AhamkaraAhamkara are from the UK and play Atmospheric Black Metal. This is their début album.

This is Black Metal with epic length songs and a windswept feel.

This is the kind of album that’s the soundtrack to exploration. It’s the Blackened equivalent of a map of uncharted territories and frost-worn mountains.

The Embers of the Stars is bitingly cold and achingly sensual in equal amounts. These songs are emotive and expressive, infused with the raw energy of nature and the passion that goes along with this.

Heartfelt guitars and subtle synths provide the rasping vocals with a rich background on which to scream out into the heavens.

This sweeping music is perfect for Black Metal that’s inspired by nature and seeks to channel it via a darkened Metal route. Each of these songs is extremely well composed and gives the feeling of really being in the raw, dangerous outdoors.

This is the kind of epic, atmospheric music that has been characterised well by the Cascadian scene, even though this is from the UK. Fans of Wolves in the Throne Room, Altar of Plagues, Agalloch, Fen, Skagos, Fauna, Wodensthrone, (who share a member), etc., will be very at home with Ahamkara. However, whereas a lot of these bands have Post-Metal qualities to their sound, Ahamkara substitute these for shades of the mighty Emperor and thus are more “pure” Black Metal than not.

Really top quality work like this should always be supported. Listen and become enthralled.

Doom:VS – Earthless (Review)

Doom:VSThis is the third album from Doom:VS. Coming from Sweden this is a one-man project featuring a guest vocalist.

This is bleak and sombre Death/Doom Metal that’s haunting and beautiful despite, or perhaps because of, the misery and anguish it portrays.

The album slowly unveils under a cloud of desolation and heartbreak. Mournful riffs seem to slide out of hidden openings and colossal growls give a solid and forceful outlet for the emotive music.

The guitars are rich and textured, as one would expect from a release such as this. The music works well to evoke the necessary feelings of woe and despair required from this style of Metal and yet also manages to find beauty in the negativity.

There are no weaknesses with the recording and the songwriting is top notch. In fact, unless you just don’t care for this style of music you’ll be hard pressed to find any real flaws here.

Taking cues from My Dying Bride, as it’s pretty impossible not to do for this type of Metal, they also pay attention to other areas of the Metal globe and have hints of bands like Agalloch in the mix.

One of the best things about this album is that it never gets boring, stale, dull or repetitive, which is no mean feat for a genre that’s essentially slow and melodic. This is a testament to the talent of Doom:VS and the album sails by in a blur of emotive dirges.

Along with bands like Eye of Solitude and Decembre Noir, Doom:VS are one of the very best bands in the Doom/Death genre now.

Immerse yourself in their despair.

Obelyskkh – Hymn To Pan (Review)

ObelyskkhThis is the third album by Germany’s Obelyskkh and they play Doom that’s crushing and visceral.

They have an extremely full, heavy sound; like they’re about to birth a special kind of monster into the world.

As well as super-heavy Doom they are also adept at adding a bit of melody into the proceedings to further the depth and richness of their sound. I particularly enjoy these moments in The Ravens where it reminds almost of Agalloch.

Take the Pagan side of Agalloch, mix with some Post-Metal Neurosis elements and wrap in some demolishing Doom and you’re close to the Obelyskkh sound.

The vocals are very impressive; powerful, strong, forceful, full of charisma and with good range and variety – not a weak link to be found.

Importantly these are not just collections of riffs they are actual songs, with plenty of hooks to grab the listener and draw them close. They are, dare I say it, catchy in a lot of ways.

Each track is expertly constructed and well thought-out; designed to create a highly impressive collection of Doom that’s damn near essential for anyone with even a passing interest in this genre.

Compared to most bands this is an album that’s on another level entirely. Prepare to meet one of your new favourite bands.