I loved 2014’s Hyperion, which was one of my favourite releases of that year. Last year the band released the experimental electronically-slanted Alma | Batica, which I also really enjoyed. It’s great to finally have a new full length from the band though, one which offers us their rich use of guitars once more. Continue reading
Breaching contains almost 60 minutes of affecting, emotive material. With a post-metal approach to intensity the band wield their various influences to produce atmospheric sludge metal that’s a monolithic and immersive listening experience. Continue reading
This is Cult of Luna/Isis-inspired Post-Metal that has been combined with Converge-style Post-Hardcore to create individualistic songs that are sharp, nasty and boiling with heated darkness.
Caustic, throat-shredding screamed vocals provide a brutally simple focal point to the apocalyptic music. The band are here to sow darkness and reap pain. Their music is a dense, claustrophobic affair, ripe with urban decay and full of disturbed interest for the observer to become upset by.
Varied and nuanced, there are a lot of good ideas on display throughout these 29 minutes and Moloken make the most of the relatively short playing time by filling the album with bleak sounds that captivate and enthral.
Equal parts Sludge, Hardcore and dark atmosphere, All Is Left to See is enjoyable and recommended.
Well this is a long one; 7 tracks across 77 minutes. Hope Drone don’t do things by halves it seems. But then why should they? This kind of music demands complete immersion and Cloak of Ash provides ample opportunity for this.
The music has a Black Metal base onto which is built Post-Black Metal wanderings and Atmospheric Sludge Metal influences.
Hope Drone take the Cascadian Black Metal template and use it to fashion themselves a wide-reaching, emotive album that’s highly textured and richly delivered. All speeds and tempos are catered to as well as heavier and lighter sections, which means that Cloak of Ash is a diverse and pleasurable listen that succeeds in painting in shades of darkness and light.
The Black Metal is never too far from the surface. Even the Post-Metal and Sludge/Doom elements of their sound have that Blackened twinge to them, although that doesn’t stop them from dripping with a darkened beauty. The band can play ugliness and aggression extremely well, but there are enough moments of resplendent glory and delicate allure here that it’s easy to become mesmerized with the band’s hypnotic performance.
The lighter elements are augmented with some Ambient/Drone interludes. When these segue gently into incredibly effective mid-paced atmospherics it’s a very uplifting and transcendental experience. Of course, I’m aware that words like transcendental get bandied around far too often when describing bands like Hope Drone, but it fits like a glove and conveys the appropriate feeling that the band can sometimes create.
The agonised screams are harsh and unforgiving, reminding you that no matter how the music sounds or where it takes you, this is still music forged from the underworld.
Hope Drone have truly created a wonderfully realised piece of Blackened art. I’m thoroughly impressed and completely in thrall to it.
An essential listen.
This is an interesting and multi-faceted release that combines elements of Sludge, Post-Metal and Progressive Metal together into an overarching framework of Atmospheric Sludge lasting just under 60 minutes.
Soft acoustics and Post-Metal melodies clash with harsh Sludge and Progressive workouts. Heavy riffs and ethereal melodies create soundscapes that merge the best of both. This is a richly textured and layered album and the songs have a lot of depth and dark energy. Even when the tempo drops there’s a brooding undercurrent of repressed power and understated grandeur.
The vocals snarl and gnash their way through the songs. Ugly, vicious and essentially Death Metal in style, they’re juxtaposed against cleaner vocals nicely, in the same way that the music trades brutality with transcendence, darkness with light. There’s a lot of shading here though and the vocals pretty much run the whole spectrum from ethereal cleans to deep growls and everything in the middle.
The playing is tight and the recording perfectly judged. The album sounds great in every way.
I love albums like this. Quality songwriting and flawless execution combine to result in an album that’s an engaging journey and a real treat for anyone into atmospheric music, be that Sludge, Doom or Post-Metal.
This is Atmospheric Sludge Metal that’s as heavy as a rhino and as daunting as a pack of predators. Their sound also includes elements of Funeral Doom, Post-Metal and even a bit of a Black Metal feeling in places; anything to heighten the atmosphere and draw the listener further in to their dark domain.
Absolutely colossal vocals stab out of the swirling darkness like natural disasters striking the unwitting and the unwary. They’re loud, inhuman and utterly compelling. They’re also used sparingly, and for the vast majority of the 59 minute playing time the instruments are the firm focus of attention. This works well, as the vocals are so terrifying that any more exposure to them might have the listener running for the hills in fear.
Below the Sun excel at Post-Metal build-and-release mechanics and wrap this up with a Sludgy ambience and general aura of pessimistic negativity that really is quite powerfully done.
The guitars batter, pamper, bruise and heal. At the end of the album you feel like you’ve been through the wringer both physically and emotionally, but you’re more than willing to do it again. This is an album that can only improve with age and repeated spins. Initially you can tell it’s obviously very good indeed, but on subsequent listens it really reveals its delights.
Music like this is never going to be a disappointment. The emotional investment of a band like this is always worth it and there’s so much here to discover and respond to. Envoy is an apt name, as it feels like you’re entering an unknown landscape, the first to explore these strange, exotic climes. You’re not alone though, as Below the Sun are your guides, shining a black light into all of the scary places and somehow making them feel even more harrowing, yet enticing at the same time.
If you’re a fan of Doom, Sludge, Post-Metal or just emotive and engaging music in general then Envoy is an album to journey to far off places to.
Very highly recommended.