Atriarch – Dead as Truth (Review)

AtriarchThis is US blackened doom band Atriarch’s fourth album.

The band’s last album An Unending Pathway was a notable, individual, and very engaging release from 2014, managing to combine elements of doom, black metal, and deathrock effectively and enjoyably. Continue reading

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Midnight Odyssey – Shards of Silver Fade (Review)

Midnight OdysseyMidnight Odyssey are an Australian one-man Black Metal band and this is his second album.

Well, what an epic release this is. Eight tracks, lasting a colossal 143 minutes. Shards of Silver Fade demands a big investment of your time. Is it worth it? You’re damn right it is.

Midnight Odyssey has a Black Metal base that has been expanded to include Ambient, Darkwave, Funeral Doom and Post-Black Metal, resulting in the weighty collection of tracks here.

In many ways it’s difficult to review a release such as this. It would be far better for you to just accept the fact that this is an album you need to get and go and get it. Once done, make a night-time trip to the top of some local hill or mountain, put on your headphones, gaze at the night sky and get lost in Midnight Odyssey’s transcendental, elemental, cosmic embrace.

In lieu of this, however, a darkened room will suffice for now; just zone out and concentrate on nothing but the music.

Anyway, if you have yet to hear them then my feeble prose will have to do. This is not a band to dip into for a quick fix of whatever you fancy, this is a band to pay attention to and take notice of.

These songs combine spacious Progressive Ambient/Doom with ancient Blackened moods that sound like they were old before metal was even invented. The combination of Darkwave, Doom and Black Metal is one that works incredibly well and sounds flawlessly delivered.

Grand orchestral passages sweep across the heavens and invoke feelings of loss and grandeur, frequently at the same time. This is highly emotive music but probably not in the way that you might think. Moving, is probably a better description. This is music that’s moving.

The vocals don’t let the side down either, with croaking Black Metal rasps sharing the stage with charismatic cleans that seem imbued with some form of long-lost wisdom.

An intriguing, ambitious and ultimately victorious merging of Burzum and Vinterriket; Shards of Silver Fade is easily up to the task of fitting in with such hallowed company.

If I haven’t made this clear by now, Shards of Silver Fade is a must listen. It’s a long one, of course, but well worth it. I suggest you start now.

Manes – Be All End All (Review)

ManesManes are from Norway and this is their fourth album.

Following on from their last release Teeth, Toes and Other Trinkets, which was an anthology, this is the first new Manes album in seven years.

Manes play a beguiling blend of artistic Rock, Darkwave Trip Hop, Avant Garde and 80’s-style Pop. It’s subtle, charming, disarming and insidious.

These songs have a laid back quality to them that’s almost detached from the actual music; as if something has been created by the music that hovers just out of view yet its effects can be felt by a lasting aura of deceptive comfort and false familiarity. This lends the songs a certain flavour of the otherworldly and the different.

There is a low-key catchiness to the tracks as well. Again, it’s a subtle affair, as even though the songs obviously contain hooks the first time you listen to them, it takes multiple listens for them to fully work their magic. Such is the nature of all great albums that have true longevity and depth.

There is so much to experience here. Manes create across a vast canvas using a rich palette of colours. There’s a lot that’s easily missed on first glance and only after taking it in for a good amount of time can you really appreciate what they have done here.

The singer’s captivating vocals are on strong form and the bleak-yet-uplifting-yet-not melodies that he uses complement the instruments perfectly adding layers of emotion to already emotive and layered songs.

This is music for dark nights and even darker activities. This is music that drips with soul and is ethereal in nature.

Fans of bands such as Arcturus, Ulver, Lethe, Dødheimsgard, Green Carnation, In The Woods…, etc. will lap this up, and with good reason.

It’s time to enter the world of Manes.

Manes – Teeth, Toes And Other Trinkets (Review)

ManesNorwegian band Manes have released this anthology album that collects together alternative versions, unreleased, obscure and live songs.

This is of the Avant-Garde style, replete with dark melodicism and atmosphere. It’s heavy on the electronics and effects, both of which are used skilfully to craft memorable songs and melodies.

Even if these tracks are essentially B-sides, the talent of the band is still apparent. Combined with the soulful, melancholic vocals the tracks portray the same kind of depth and nostalgic feelings as some of the best of 80’s pop/Darkwave music.

Some of the songs are unfinished or works-in-progress, but as a whole the album works surprisingly well and doesn’t sound as disjointed as one might expect from a release of this nature.

A quality band with quality songs; even though they are off-cuts this is an enjoyable collection. This should appeal to more than just completists and also serves to adequately whet the appetite for the next album that this always-evolving band release.