Saturday, December 10, 2011

Draumar - Ein Wintermärchen


Genre : Instrumental ambient / Black metal

Ein Wintermärchen is mostly an instrumental release, with a vast majority of ambient parts using electronics, pianos, and deep synths lines. The other side of that release is a frostbitten black metal with very few lyrics, only a couple shrieks from time to time. The result is a successfully cold atmosphere. Even though it may become repetitive at times, pianos are the first thing that prevents the album from being boring. The melodic lines are beautiful and inspired, and they really make a great ambient, melancholic work. This album gets a good point at being quite unusual too, using dark ambient in front of metal influences, those latters still being efficient and well-done. A nice atmospheric work.

Check out Part IV and Part II. And follow Draumar on Facebook.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Mountains among us - Away with words [EP]


Genre : Instrumental post-rock

Away with words is, in my opinion, one of the best underground post-rock EP that came out this year. Tagging it post-rock is actually not enough, as those three songs take their roots into different influences and set different atmospheres. Introducing with slow minimalistic pianos, it quickly changes to a rich guitar-driven track. Melodies and riffs are totally stunning on that part, moving along on relaxing drums and ambient background lines including quiet drones. A serious highlight that ends by switching to a droning dark-ambient track, with spoken samples that set quite of a urban atmosphere. Although minimalistic, this ending fits perfectly, creating a subtle melancholic side. An EP that beautifully succeeds into setting diverse atmospheres and musical genres in quite a short time, making for an incredibly rich release!

Check out the main songs, In light bring us closer (shortened) and Still. And follow Mountains among us on Facebook. Away with words is available as a free listen and download on bandcamp.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Keretta - Vilayer


Genre : Instrumental post-metal

"Oh no, instrumental post-metal again!". Yeah, but no, believe me, Kerretta found their own identity. I wouldn't even be able to say how they can play post-metal with the regular elements without sounding just like the others. Maybe because they include some experimental touch, some unusual structures and riffs. Maybe because of their blasting melodies, or their loud bass lines. Sure, it's still instrumental post-metal. But such a catchy one, I mean... This is the kind that gives you a real punch, makes you want to headbang. Moving.

Maven fade and The square outside are good songs to feel that. And follow Kerretta on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Desiderium - An image of solitude


Genre : Folk black metal

Despite being newcomers in the genre, Desiderium set themselves as challengers quite efficiently! Using melodic and catchy riffs most of the playtime, first thing that strikes is the guitar work, done well enough not to get boring any time. Acoustic parts successfully break any possible monotony, too, and they add rich layers to the sound. Add, on top of that, vocals that fit the genre, being perfect for an atmospheric black metal, distant and not agressive in the end. Clean vocals fit the music, which is worth a special mention since it isn't the case in most black metal bands. Sure those are not the biggest part, yet welcomed. With all those positive features, the result is deep atmospheres, energic parts and calming ones, without being repetitve at all. A clever composition, moreover perfectly executed. A real surprise, and a good one!

You should check out Pale cloak of dawn and Waldeinsamkeit. And follow Desiderium on Facebook. An image of solitude is available as a free listen and download on bandcamp.

Monday, November 28, 2011

If the trees could talk - Above the earth, below the sky


Genre : Instrumental post-rock

Landing perfectly between post-rock and post-metal, thanks to an appropriate management of clean and heavy parts, one can say that Above the earth, below the sky is a huge success in the genre. It features some dreamy, soft ethereal parts, and sometimes switches to a more energic, distorted sound, just when it feels needed to break repetitive song structures. Again, these guys aren't especially innovative in the genre, and some parts obviously lack imagination, they sticked to post-rock roots for its usual structures, but still decided to create some rich, energic and melodic sounds overall. Such versatile instrumental post-rock deserves attention and listens, and if there's not much to say, there's definitely much to enjoy.

Check out What's in the ground belongs to you and Below the sky, stunning pieces of post-rock. And follow If these trees could talk on Facebook.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fanisk - Noontide


Genre : Atmospheric black metal

If a short disambiguation feels needed, I really don't care about any political influences artists may have, nor do I care how nice and cool they are in their own lives. I'm just focusing on music here. And which music for that case. Totally atmospheric, Fanisk's black metal is deep and ambient, not using much lyrics in the end, those ones being carried with agressive and deep shrieks kept as a background. Drumming can get a little annoying at times, but most of it is a musical masterpiece, with enough breakdowns and rhythm changes to carry a big load of intensity. Not to forget the typically weird influence here! Some kind of electronics, like video-game midis are included in the mix. Said this way, it sounds scary, but believe me, in the end it's pretty amazing...

... you should confirm that with Part III (excerpt).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cloudkicker - Loop [EP]


Genre : Instrumental post-rock

Cloudkicker changed genre for the last two releases, including Loop. This EP is very special and unusual, as it features 16 instrumental tracks, each consisting in a single riff, describing different kinds of atmospheres. Also, it's important to notice it is only guitar-driven, acoustic for the biggest part, including some electronic effects at times. Loop successfully creates a chilling moment, with its ethereal, melodic, and catchy untitled riffs. Yet, guitar melodies are perfectly executed, as Cloudkicker's skills are not to be demonstrated anymore. Something that's standing out of standard songs composition, setting a relaxing atmosphere. No reason not to give it a try.

Check out 1 and 3 for example. Loop is available as a free download and listen on bandcamp. Also, it is meant to be listened to with enabled 10-12s crossfades between songs, according to composer, to have tracks melt into each other.

Other reviews from Cloudkicker:
   - The discovery

Friday, November 25, 2011

Wolves in the throne room - Two hunters


Genre : Atmospheric black metal

To be honest, I'm not in all the buzz around some bands, and Wolves in the throne room are one of these black metal bands that create much hype all around. However, I won't do as some people do, pissing on such bands just because they're popular. All in all, I just mean this band is worth being mentionned here as they fit the blog idea, but I won't rate them above the others, anyway there are no marks here. Also, there's a possible arguing in their genre, yet they're playing atmospheric black metal with minor folk elements (call it "cascadian" if you prefer), and considering how things are made here, it's the best category for this album. Oh well, much talk and yet I didn't say anything about this album. Two hunters is truly a gem, gathering many facets and standing as a nearly perfect atmospheric black metal release. Vocals are maintained in the background with high reverb, creating a strong atmosphere, and guitars combined with drums create a bleak effect that perfectly suits the record. Thus, what we've got here is a darkened, not so agressive, but strongly ambient black metal. Guitar melodies, female vocals, but also fillers and interludes are elements worth being mentionned too, as they contribute a lot to the atmosphere, and break main metal phases before they get boring, as those are still much repetitive at times.

Check out Cleansing with its ethereal female vocals and the intense, epic, beautiful I will lay down my bones among the rocks and roots. And follow Wolves in the throne room on Facebook.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Musk ox - Musk ox


Genre : Mostly instrumental neofolk

As opposed to what is usual in neofolk, Musk ox features long instrumental tracks instead of short ones. However, the elements used there are the ones we're habited to, including pianos, acoustic guitars, nature-sounds samples... At first, it's a bit confusing to have such melancholic cold pianos coupled with somehow warm and more joyful guitars, but in the end it's quite well-arranged and creates atmosphere changes successfully. There are also vocal parts, done an ambient way which makes lyrics hard to get. That isn't bad anyway, as it lets the music talk by itself. Apart from this, Musk ox is quite an usual neofolk album, with a real breath of fresh air in it. A superb and perfectly done nature-bound sound, with huge melodic parts that carry real emotions through clever musicianship.

Take a listen to it, with Entre la terre et le ciel and Sur une infinie route de terre. And follow Musk ox on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Woe - Quietly, undramatically


Genre : Post-black metal

Woe's effort is the kind of album where you want to headbang like crazy... at times. Even if most of the time uncredibly energic and dynamic, it sometimes suffers some letdowns, let's say it right now. Actually, it's easily forgiven, since when you aim at delivering such a blast, you can't physically keep it up for 40 minutes. But if you take the best from the album, sure it's a very pleasant listen, even refreshing, may it be black metal. Actually, their sound take some roots from old school hard rock and punk, with the same kind of hard riffing and huge rhytmics. Drums follow that influence too, with enough breakdowns and speed changes in order to stay catchy all the time. A clever choice, that's for sure. Vocalist makes a similar effort, switching from black vocals, to death ones, to clean ones at times. The clean ones are almost punkish at times too, but definitely enjoyable. Only wrong thing with that release, in fact, are those little letdowns, some songs don't keep this dynamic feeling up all the time, and those parts are sadly something that breaks the experience. But there's still a nice lot of intensity, which deserve a listen!

The road from recovery and Quietly, undramatically should give you a real blast, if you enjoy the genre. And follow Woe on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Jakob - Subsets of sets


Genre : Instrumental post-metal / Drone

Jakob really found their own genre since their beginnings. Their first album, Subsets of sets, already features these kind of cold instrumental melodies, soft and gentle most of the time, with heavily distorted parts surfacing at some point, including drones and huge walls of sound. This recipe, however, does not fail a single second in that release, which is subtle and violent at the same time, and can't lead to any boring moment, since those heavy breakdowns completly change the feel often enough. And yet, atmosphere is kept consistent and logical. Maybe we would just have enjoyed some more droning parts, but if you're looking for a calmer, yet mature and somehow dark sound, more post-rock oriented, this one should definitely please you.

Check out Ageena with its soft and distorted sides, and RyanAnd follow Jakob on Facebook.

Other reviews from Jakob:
   - Cale:Drew
   - Solace

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fauna - The hunt


Genre : Atmospheric black metal

Ok, once again, it's more folk in the lyrical approach than in the actual sound. However, The hunt is a rich, coherent and deeply dark concept album, which before a remastering made at some point, consisted in a single 79 minutes-long track. Now it's been divided into 7 tracks (remastering also replaced programmed drums by real ones, so I recommand this version instead), but the original idea has been kept, this album describes a hunting journey across deep dark forests. Musically speaking, it's atmospheric black metal to the roots, meaning background black vocals, agressive yet somehow softened guitars, intense drumming, replaced by ritualistic percussions on soft parts, those mostly consisting in gloomy ambient sounds, played with synths or electronics rather than actual folk instruments. Yet, Fauna succeeds into setting a strong dark atmosphere in this release, and this album sounds deeper than most folk influenced releases, maybe because of the themes used, the lack of melodies, the way it's played, and the bleak nature it depicts perfectly.

Here you can listen to a couple excerpts of that release, Part II (from 15:00 to 30:00) and Part IV (from 45:00 to 1:00:00). Enjoy!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lantlôs - Agape


Genre : Post-black metal

Well, Lantlôs is quite praised in the genre, and even if there's some possible arguing about the actual genre of that recent release, I will once again keep things easy and simple, and tag this with post-black only, although there sure is some doom/sludge influences... Whatever. The fact is that this album features a deep and dark sound, still urban-influenced in some way, but definitely mature, almost disturbing at times. Vocals are extremely passionate, sincere, emotional, and well, fit perfectly as a matter of fact. Instrumentation is most of the time minimalistic, crushing and heavy, yet there are some amazing clean parts, moslty featuring jazzy effects because of deep, profound bass lines that creates a real identity. However, this isn't the only element or influence when it goes soft, as clean guitars create a somewhat cold post-rock sound, perfectly suiting the atmosphere. An album that is difficult to get into, but that also means its attempt at being bleak is a success.

Check out cold and harsh Intrauterin, and peaceful, jazzy You feel like memories. And follow Lantlôs on Facebook.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Corde oblique - Respiri


Genre : Neofolk

Sometimes, neofolk is minimalistic with only acoustic guitars. However, this is not the case here, and Corde oblique rather sets an extremly rich neofolk, featuring guitars, violins, pianos, drums, female and male vocals, with many kinds of singing. Also, influences are diverse, including some brand of medieval, classical, baroque sounds at times, or more oriental music at others (possibly because they're actually italian). Tagging this neofolk is quite tricky, however it's definitely folk, I can say. Well, one flaw in their sound, and possibly the only one, could be the bad accent on english singing. Apart from that, Respiri never gets boring, is extremely diverse and rich, calm and melancholic at times, faster and happier at others. An intense listen, that's for sure, which should please any folk lovers.

Two songs are not enough considering the multiple facets of this album, but check out Dentro and Eventi. And follow Corde oblique on Facebook.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Omega massif - Karpatia


Genre : Instrumental post-metal / Sludge

Raw, heavy, brutal at times, that's how Karpatia is. Most of the time it depicts barren landscapes through slow, loud chords and powerful rhythms. However, this album is subtle enough to add just a couple melodic lines from time to time, to avoid being boring. And it's really successful, heaviness makes its job, but ambient riffs, often kept as backgrounds, give more layers to this sound, and makes it a really enjoyable listen, although associated with desolate darkened landscapes because of deep and pitched-down walls of sound. A journey through a shadowed night forest, or a barren rocky desolation, how you feel it is up to you.

Check out Im Karst and Steinernes Meer to enjoy this raw heaviness. And follow Omega massif on Facebook.

Other reviews from Omega massif:
   - Geisterstadt | Kalt

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Caspian - Tertia


Genre : Instrumental post-rock

Caspian is one of post-rock's great names. Maybe their true identity lies in how they're able to set high distortions and keep things calm, with coherent but nonetheless awesome walls of sound. Thus, they release the perfect deal between soft atmosphere and overall heaviness, with a deep and rich sound, which gets darker at times. As usual with post-rock, guitar melodies and bass lines are especially rich, and Tertia delivers stunning soundscapes with a rich instrumental sound, not falling into a repetitive theme at any time. No, they just made it awesome, and not just similar to anyone else. A real identity.

Enjoy those calming atmospheres through Epochs in Dmaj and Ghosts of the garden city. And follow Caspian on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rauhnacht - Vorweltschweigen


Genre : Folk black metal

For a somewhat underground band, Rauhnacht are able to create well-produced music, with a skillful black metal and nice folk elements. However, it seems that black metal and folk elements are not enough merged together. Some black parts are driving overlong even with background acoustics, and if looking for an atmospheric release, we're a bit disappointed sometimes. And those folk melodies are great most of the time, so we would surely enjoy if those were shining a little more in the mix, as stand-alones. Still, this album creates interesting, cold and dark atmospheres quite successfully. And Vorweltschweigen is nonetheless intense, avoiding clichés that roam around folk black metal. Instruments shine with great quality and mastery, vocals seem a bit unpersonal at times, lack some passion in a way, but are still done correctly. A fine release, with some excellent parts, that gets better after a couple listens.

Check it out with Vorweltschweigen and Das letzte Licht. And follow Rauhnacht on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cloudkicker - The discovery


Genre : Instrumental post-metal / Math metal

Cloudkicker is all about technical, experimental guitar work. Also, those phase shifts in drumming are the first thing that made me understand what math metal was. Only relying on guitar, bass, and drums, Cloudkicker is an approach to some kind of progressive music, with a good load of energy inside of it. Of course, if you're looking for ambient stuff, this isn't the best record to check out, as it's more a matter of technicity and unusual riffs and beats. However, some sounds can create an interesting modern atmosphere. But it's definitely worth a listen for guitar and drums lovers, or just for people who enjoy uncommon song structures, without falling in some really weird, almost disturbing genre like some other do.

Yay for a couple listens! Enjoy Dysphoria and The discovery for example. The discovery is available as a free listen and download on bandcamp.

Other reviews from Cloudkicker:
   - Loop [EP]

Monday, November 14, 2011

The echelon effect - Seasons (pt. II) [EP]


Genre : Instrumental post-rock / Electronic

Seasons (pt. II), this time dedicated to summer, strikes back with the same feeling, meaning ethereal and dreamy electronic-influenced, instrumental post-rock. However, it doesn't mix as many influences or catchy melodies than spring-oriented release, and thus gives the feel there's not as much inspiration as the previous EP. But well, maybe it goes with the fact that summer isn't as rich as spring in terms of emotions, is it? Anyway, this doesn't mean there's nothing good here, even if it's shorter than the first one, there are still chilling and calming parts, not to forget some more energic sounds at times, still done in a way that suits the theme, with perfectly arranged drums and guitar distortions. Pianos are still shining throughout the four tracks, definitely worth a listen!

Check out For the shimmer of highways for pianos and other chilling sounds, and Our storm for its intense ending. And follow The echelon effect on FacebookSeasons (pt. II) is available as a free listen and download on bandcamp.

Other reviews from The echelon effect:

Altar of plagues - White tomb


Genre : Post-black metal

When it's about urban-influenced post-black, Altar of plagues are kind of gods. Gloominess, despair, frost, darkness, those are some atmospheres White tomb depicts very successfully, with a rich, highly melodic post-black metal, including a subtle touch of agressivity which is never too much for the theme. I will spare you the details, music is perfectly mastered, including awesome drumming, cold guitar melodies, powerful rhythms and bass lines, and godly-arranged, deep and bleak vocals. Also, atmosphere is made even stronger with the use of clean parts, using kind of acoustics played well enough not to give too much warmth to the genre, and some ambient sounds. A reference in the genre, a flawless record, which doesn't need more words than that.

Opener Earth: As a womb and follower Earth: As a furnace set the mood. And follow Altar of plagues on Facebook.

Other reviews from Altar of plagues:
   - Mammal

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Codes in the clouds - As the spirit wanes


Genre : Instrumental post-rock

With As the spirit wanes, Codes in the clouds don't reinvent post-rock. Still, they successfully craft a surprisingly good, chilling and highly melodic album, with a fine amount of intensity. I won't describe you again how post-rock is, with its usual guitar melodies, calm parts, heavier ones, rich bass lines and soft drumming. This album is just that, and nothing more. Yet, it's perfectly executed and such a release really deserves attention, as its catchy melodies should please most of instrumental post-rock lovers. One of the highlights in the genre.

You may want to get a preview, then check first two songs, Where dirt meets water and Look back, look up. And follow Codes in the clouds on Facebook.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Nechochwen - Azimuths to the otherworld


Genre : Folk black metal / Neofolk

Such rich music is unusual, let's be honest. Azimuths to the otherworld draws influences from many musical genres, most obvious ones being neofolk elements, clean and death metal vocals, black metal drums, but also some power metal chords (yeah, I know it could sound scary), and most impressive thing is that the result is amazing. Also, it's not just a matter of influences but real genres merging, as there is as much neofolk as metal in this album. Only flaw, due to this, is that you never know what to expect from such a release, if you're looking for some intense, blastering metal, it's not the perfect deal because there are many calm tracks, and if looking for calm neofolk, metal parts can get annoying. But still, one can only admit that this is uncommon, experimental, yet skillful. and for those who complain about bands ripping off each other, just dig this album, for it has a real identity.

Allumhammochwen - The crossing shows a good part of that versatility and as a good part of the album consist in strict neofolk, you may want to check out acoustic Gissis Mikana. And follow Nechochwen on Facebook.

Other reviews from Nechochwen:
   - Algonkian mythos

Friday, November 11, 2011

Solanaceae - Solanaceae


Genre : Neofolk

Would you enjoy warm neofolk with deep male vocals, Solanaceae's effort is going to please you. Apart from a single song with ethereal female vocals (which I won't complain about although I don't see why it's here), this album delivers simple, sometimes minimalistic guitar-oriented neofolk with nice ambient sounds and deep, warm, strong vocals, sometimes adding other layers. This album features no drums and a few other instruments, including flutes and violins, but their occurences are most of time welcome, since they add interesting atmospheres to the sound. In that case, it perfectly suits the idea of the record, and most of the songs here are highly enjoyable, successfully merging melancholy and some kind of warmth, mainly because of the typical vocals, making for a versatile, rich and intense release.

You may want to listen to Hemlock and Mandrake fields and I saw her through the pines if I didn't make enough sense.

The echelon effect - Seasons (pt. I) [EP]


Genre : Instrumental post-rock / Electronic

The echelon effect sets a calming, quiet, chilling atmosphere using post-rock elements alongside electronic ones, some clever and interesting drums, and no vocals at all. This recipe proves to be efficient in Seasons (pt. I), first EP of a project that should include four, hence its name. This one is dedicated to spring, and offers a very refreshing, pleasant, ethereal listen. Merging post-rock and electronics at best, with some calming pianos, subtle distorted guitars, background drums and ambient sounds, it also avoids falling into happy feelings, thus keeping an important part of melancholy, and features a very warm sound that makes this work a little masterpiece of beauty. A top-notch record for people looking for calming, melancholic, yet beautiful and hope-carrying melodies.

Check out Your first light my eventide and Handing over to summer, come on. And follow The echelon effect on FacebookSeasons (pt. I) is available as a free listen and download on bandcamp.

Other reviews from The echelon effect:
   - Seasons (pt. II) [EP]
   - Seasons (pt. III) [EP]

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Meniscus - War of currents


Genre : Instrumental post-rock

There isn't anything new here. It's instrumental post-rock the usual way. But it's worth being listened to, as it's quality music nonetheless, with a nice amount of energy. Adding some talk samples, psychedelic or math rock elements around is a good idea, too, but it's not the major part of the album anyway. So what's left? A great instrumental sound, that's for sure. Everything is played and produced correctly, and bass is especially rich and worth mentioning, although we'd surely enjoy some other unexpected, crazy influence. Don't get me wrong, War of currents is still a superb album, which you should definitely check out. It's not a matter of creativity, either, as tracks are perfectly composed. It's just a genre we've already heared before. But post-rock is hard to re-invent, and we're always pleased to hear some more, aren't we?

Have a listen to Fight club and 130. And follow Meniscus on Facebook.

Other reviews from Meniscus:
   - Absence of I

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Vindensång - Terminus: Rebirth in eight parts...


Genre : Folk black metal / Neofolk / Drone

Terminus: Rebirth in eight parts... is a very complex and rich album, merging different genres of music (which makes it hard to tag properly), not just as "influences" but as real entities. What I mean, is that this release moves from neofolk, to black metal, to drone, from song to song, with coherence and mastery, but this is also what makes it difficult to get into it. Let's say it, you've got to pay attention and really listen to Vindensång's album, it's not something you can play as a background, for you really need to get into the music to truly get its meaning. In musical terms, this album is mostly neofolk and drone played as some kind of dark ambient, with unusual structures. However, this isn't limited to this, as there are some non-ambient songs, mostly in a black metal vein, still folk-influenced. Vocals are often whispers or quietly spoken words, kept as backgrounds, but there also are some black vocals from time to time. Still, black metal elements are a minor part here, and it's definitely not agressive music. An album that's hard to describe, and difficult to listen to, but definitely one of the most mature releases ever.

In order to hear those different genres, you can check out Ashes and memories for some drone-esque neofolk, and The origin: The point of return for more black metal elements, but be aware that this album has other kind of sounds. And follow Vindensång on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gottesmorder - Gottesmorder [EP]


Genre : Post-black metal

Gottesmorder, with their self-titled EP, deliver an intense and skillful release. Actually, they can compete with the references in the genre, considering how good is their effort. If you're to listen to it, expect bleak and cold soundscapes, with that typical post-black urban and desolate feeling. Guitars are distorted all the way, resulting in huge walls of sound, drumming is intense, and atmosphere is perfectly set with ambient drones that shatter any possible remaining light. Vocals are perfectly arranged on top of this, resulting in powerful growls, never too loud, neither too weak. A solid, coherent and mature release.

Check out both the songs on the EP, Winternight and Abyss of throats. And follow Gottesmorder on Facebook.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Rosetta - A determinism of morality


Genre : Post-metal / Sludge

Usually, I'm a bit reluctant to sludge, as most bands in the genre play very linear rhythm guitars, with the same loud and heavy chords. Vocals suffer the same lack of passion for many bands too, behind unexpressive and boring in the end. Rosetta avoids all those flaws in a row. Musically speaking, A determinism of morality delivers a huge lot of energy and still stays catchy, powerful drums being the first thing to mention, but not to forget guitars that keep it melodic, yet incredibly heavy at a time. Of course, bass adds layers to this rich sound, and all this makes for a rich, intense instrumentation. Vocals, if they typically belong to the hardcore genre, surely come from the heart and sure done with a lot of passion, contributing to the insane energic feeling of this record. Sure those are loud, intrusive most of the time, but that's how the genre goes. And how it should sound. Cleverly enough, Rosetta also added softened, slower instrumental interludes, or some clean singing, in order to break monotony. A well-thought, and perfectly built album, in the end.

If you enjoy the genre, just dig Ayil and the slower, melodic Revolve. And follow Rosetta on Facebook.

Dråpsnatt - Hymner till undergången


Genre : Folk black metal

Grim. That's the first word coming to my mind with this album. Under a somewhat pagan sound lies a mature folk, not just nature-influenced, but definitely cold and well-balanced between traditional melodies and agressive soundscapes. Sure, like I said, it has pagan elements, mostly coming from the swedish vocals often associated with that genre, but also in the song structures, fast beats, deep clean vocals and folk melodies. Yet, Dråpsnatt don't fall in the ridiculous beer-drinking happiness that has become so usual in the folk scene. I mean, you can't really use hateful shrieks while telling your love for life and booze, can you? And there, vocals are really worth being told about. Incredibly agressive and passionate, almost inhuman, those will probably be what will make you love or hate this album, as you can completly share vocalist's feelings and love those, or get annoyed by the loud, overwhelming presence it sets. But to me, those are indeed a strength to Dråpsnatt's sound. Sharpened distorted guitars are also a great part of the album, which sadly hide bass lines a bit too much at times, but how agressive and intense those are, too. And still, pianos and acoustic parts successfully shine, with solid and intense interludes. All in all, a very talented release!

Opener En ensam sol går ner and the agressive Arvssynd are good choices to check if this album suits your taste. And follow Dråpsnatt on Facebook.

Other reviews from Dråpsnatt:
   - Skelepht

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Final days society - Noise passes, silence remains



Genre : Post-rock

Post-rock coupled with ethereal vocals is something that's quite usual. However, Final days society seem to be masters of such a recipe. Actually, this album is one of the richest in the genre, not because it has many unexpected influences or crazy ideas behind the usual elements, but just because it's perfectly arranged, with stunning melodies that fit perfectly altogether, and vocals that stay intimate and catchy at a time, sometimes dreamy, sometimes more rock-oriented. All this makes Noise passes, silence remains a very clever release, calming yet energic at times, for a band which is for sure going to become a reference in the genre.

Check out mostly instrumental Scalar fields and (The) Fire. And follow Final days society on Facebook.

Other reviews from Final days society:
   - Ours is not a caravan of despair

Jakob - Cale:Drew


Genre : Instrumental post-metal / Drone

We've already been talking about Jakob here. Well, they're for sure one of the most interesting post-rock/post-metal acts nowadays. At least, they really set a coherent and solid atmosphere, not falling into childish or boring sounds. Maybe it is because of the drone-esque influence in their mix, the cold, yet rich melodies, or the stunning walls of sound they use. Sure, labelling Jakob with only post-metal is not enough to tell how deep their sound is, as they don't go the dreamy way, but more the darker, deeper, mature way into instrumental ambient music. However, that doesn't mean there's non-stop distortion here, as tracks often switch from light and clean melodies to crushing chords and drones, back and forth. And that's what makes it so intense.

Don't get what I mean? Just listen to what I mean, with Controle and Semaphore. And follow Jakob on Facebook.

Other reviews from Jakob:
   - Solace
   - Subsets of sets

Friday, November 4, 2011

Immanu El - They'll come, they come


Genre : Post-rock / Dream-pop

Take the most ethereal post-rock you can imagine, and add, on top of this, dreamy and calming vocals. This is a mixture that's not so unusual, however Immanu El seem to master this one quite well. Of course, do not expect blasting riffs or lightspeed drumming, this would be off-topic here. Still, this release offers a nice load of intensity, in some way, as it doesn't get repetitive or boring (once you like that kind of music, that is). And if you enjoy restful music, beautiful melodies, yet not falling in a childish atmosphere, I'd say you have to dig this album a little.

Check out Home and I know you so well for a taste of it. And follow Immanu El on Facebook.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lönndom - Viddernas tolv kapitel


Genre : Neofolk

Former folk black band, Löndom switched to acoustic music with this release, and that didn't prevent them from doing a great work. Keeping male choirs and traditional swedish singing, they set an interesting neofolk, closer to traditional music than just acoustic nature-bound soundscapes. Therefore, they mostly use cold melodies and atmospheres, along with nature-sounds samples. In terms of instrumentation, it's mostly guitar-driven. Vocals are the most unusual part, as those are not always meant to sound "good". What I mean with that, is that Lönndom are not afraid to keep it very close to traditions, with that kind of campfire singing, when nothing was meant in a technical way. For sure, you'll need to get used to those viking-esque vocals before enjoying this album.

Would you mind giving it a listen, Höstdagar and Skaldekonst om ljusets återkomst are really nice songs. And follow Lönndom on Facebook.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

MAGI - 33rd degree [EP]


Genre : Instrumental post-metal / Drone

MAGI's sound is difficult to describe with words. First, you need to know it's definitely ambient music. This EP features a single 25 minutes long track, consisting in distorted soundscapes, drone elements, heavy yet calming atmospheres. What is really impressive here is the ability to set a perfect ambient track with such elements, as 33rd degree shows a world devoid of light, frozen landscapes, but not an agressive way. Yes it's loud, yes it's distorted, not especially melodic, but it's not brutal in any possible way. So if you enjoy post-metal, drones, walls of sound, all this merged in an ambient way, check this release out.

Check out a couple excerpts of this track, Part I and Part II. And follow MAGI on Facebook33rd degree is entirely available as a free listen and download on bandcamp.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Skogen - Svitjod


Genre : Folk black metal

Maybe Skogen have some pagan elements in their sound... and usually I wouldn't recommand such a genre. But there's some very mature feeling in this release, not to forget a sincere black metal, with strong riffs, powerful vocals, and anything else you could ask. Sure there's some viking influence in there, but it's definitely not meant in a happy and childish way. Maybe it just comes from the swedish vocals which remind of that genre. Maybe it comes from the couple male choirs that appear from time to time, but in a very unusual way for such a genre, those are well-executed. At least, this album gives a new hope, and is interesting as a good non-gloomy non-depressive folk black. Svitjod is really an album you should listen to.

Vinterriket is a very pleasant, slow and epic listen, and you may enjoy Midnattens glimrande stillhet for some more agressivity. And follow Skogen on Facebook.

Other reviews from Skogen:
   - Vittra

Stielas storhett - Expulsè


Genre : Post-black metal

One word comes to mind, "rich". Yeah, this album is surprisingly rich, in term of influences, emotions, genres and sounds. Though supposed depressive, it isn't really the case. But if you're looking for melodic post-black, with riffs that get stuck in your head after listening to it, you should check Expulsè out. Major non-metal influence here is some really enjoyable jazzy parts that come as introductions of fillers, and if vocals are just fine without showing a real emotion, instrumentation is really interesting and perfectly executed. Worth a listen, for sure.

Give it a try with Expulse and Two lifeless months, both being very good songs. And follow Stielas storhett on Facebook.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Tides from Nebula - Earthshine


Genre : Instrumental post-rock

We all know there are many instrumental post-rock bands around. Yet, Tides from Nebula really shine with this album, featuring great, calming soundscapes, with a couple interesting heavy parts. Everything is well played and produced here, drums are especially rich, but all the melodies are very enjoyable too. Still, the most impressive thing is how sounds are arranged together, resulting in extremely rich atmospheres. Earthshine successfully avoids boredom, too, by never being repetitive, and all this makes it a very pleasant and intense listen. Mostly a peaceful one if you ask me, now we're really talking about atmospheric music. But such an atmosphere...

Opener These days, glory days and Caravans will sure make you love it. And follow Tides from Nebula on Facebook.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Celephaïs - Becoming the deceased


Genre : Instrumental post-metal / Black metal

I could have tagged this instrumental post-black, too, but you've got the idea, Celephaïs merge post-metal and black metal elements, without any vocals. Such a combo is quite unusual, and it becomes even rare when you ask for quality stuff. But believe me, now this is! This album manages to create an urban feeling even though there are no lyrics, just with how cleverly it's composed, arranged, and produced. As with other releases in the same vein, distortion is at its maximum to create stunning walls of sound, drumming is rich and intense, and melodies are not forgotten, making for an intense sound that won't get you bored a single minute.

Check out Becoming the deceased and Shroud of mirrors. You should quickly love that sound. Moreover, Becoming the deceased is available as a free download, for exemple on last.fm.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Skagos - Ást


Genre : Folk black metal

There aren't many bands which release such good albums like Ást. Think to everything you would ask from folk black metal, including warm acoustic parts with rich melodies, powerful riffs and distorted melodies, deep vocals cleverly mixed, not too loud either... Well, let's face the mere truth, the only flaw here is a couple drumming parts, especially in the first song, that don't sound mastered at all. This is actually pretty bad to start with this, but once you dig this album, you forgive this problem with ease. Skagos offer us a warm and deep folk black metal, highly melodic, with lots of energy that will make you shiver for several nights. Don't miss it.

Be sure to check out Blossoms will sprout from the carcass, a real masterpiece, and A night that ends, as all nights end, when the sun risesÁst is available as a free download on bandcamp, and such an album for free is something you should definitely check out.

Coldworld - Melancholie²


Genre : Atmospheric black metal

Coldworld sure sets a perfect atmosphere, with its frostbitten rhythm guitars, melancholic violin lines, distorted and deep riffs... Not to forget the amazing acoustic parts that are perfectly arranged, and let us witness something else than boring, raw black metal. Only letdown could be vocals, which definitely lack emotion, and this is quite sad when such a melancholic atmosphere is set. This is easily forgiven though, and this album will really make you shiver by how rich it is, how deep it sounds, how cold it feels...

Enough words, you'd better give a listen to Tortured by solitude and the unusual, trip-hop influenced Escape. And follow Coldworld on Facebook.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Deep in thought - Dreamscapes


Genre : Instrumental post-metal

Post-metal also have underground bands to dig. And among the average ones, you sometimes come across a jewel. Deep in thought is one of those. At the edge of both post-rock and post-metal, Dreamscapes sets quite a heavy, yet really melodic sound. Being a one-man project doesn't prevent it from sounding amazingly great, with well-written and audible bass lines, powerful chords, as well as very pleasant guitar riffs. Sometimes fast, sometimes soft, sometimes heavy and distorted, it's hard to get bored while listening to this album. All in all, this is what I'd call a very pleasant surprise in modern music, but more than this, it's a perfect deal if post-metal is usually too heavy for you, or post-rock too slow for you. A clever release.

Get a taste with Ignes fatui and the calming, unusual Awash with light, but believe me, those aren't the only good ones there. And follow Deep in thought on Facebook. Dreamscapes is available as a free listen and download on bandcamp.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Walknut - Graveforests and their shadows


Genre : Atmospheric black metal

Walknut is not strict folk black, but it's for sure atmospheric music! Relying on very little vocals and mostly long  instrumental parts, this album sets for deep ambient sounds, a journey through darkened nature and grim woods. Although, the ambient mood is not setup through clean folk parts. Here, things are kept the dark and metal ways, meaning powerful distorted rhythms, yet not too agressive, even quite calm in a way. Vocals are in the same vein, truly strong and deep growls that are hidden in the background, perfectly fitting the album's concept. You will need to enjoy repetitive, deep guitars and lowered, yet fast drums, but if you enjoy this kind of atmosphere, Walknut is really a good listen as it gathers everything that makes great ambient metal!

The midnightforest of the runes is a powerful instrumental track. Also, check Grim woods.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dornenreich - Flammentriebe


Genre : Atmospheric black metal

Dornenreich is not a strict folk black metal band, and the influences change with every album. However, Flammentriebe features an agressive and melodic black metal, with many violin lines in the background. Here, it's important to mention how intense the album is. Not only in terms of melodies or voice, but everything seem to fit together so well that's it's very easy to get into this release and to somewhat "feel" these songs. Voices are really energic and personal, rather than standard boring black metal shrieks, they seem to come directly from the heart more than the throat. Violin lines are superb, and the other instruments unleash a good load of punch too. Definitely a rich and strong record.

Fährte der Nacht and In allem Weben should be good examples of what I mean. And follow Dornenreich on Facebook.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vergissmeinnicht - His own strange songs


Genre : (Mostly instrumental) neofolk

Some artists and bands loose their creativity after their first release. However, Vergissmeinnicht's Whispering solitude was just a warm-up, and now this is really serious business. His own strange songs is a pure jewel among neofolk, with all you can ask for in such a genre. Rich, melodic, melancholic, everything's gathered here. The add of a couple drums give a new warmth to the songs, but that's not the only improvement here. Guitar melodies are more complex and deeper, with better structures. The ethereal vocals return with more mastery, they fit better into the music. Ambient sounds such as storm and water are still way too loud, but that's easily forgiven since they're a minor part of the album. And the rest is gone, which is actually a good thing, because it's so pure that we don't need flutes or other instruments anymore.

Evening moon is pure beauty. Existence too. Why are you still reading? Just listen!

Other reviews from Vergissmeinnicht:
   - Whispering solitude

Thursday, October 13, 2011

We made God - Fragments [EP]


Genre : Post-metal

Yeah, Ethereal Soundscapes is into new releases, too, and EPs. And even unpopular ones, like this free one from We made God. And Fragments shouldn't be so unpopular, believe me, as the guys return with their usual (and perfectly done) atmospheric, melodic, yet energic and strongly distorted post-metal, and those passionate vocals that are indeed worth mentioning, as they add a real strength to their music! Sometimes ethereal, sometimes agressive, the singer has a lot of passion to give away, even if vocals could have been a bit louder in their mix. The main strength of the band is back too, they're able to melt many kinds of music and atmospheres in a twenty-minutes long record, and one can only enjoy this versatile intensity.

Just listen to first song, Untitled, for a good taste of it, and maybe Drón. And follow We made God on FacebookFragments is available as a free download by clicking its title on their website, and if you don't know about them yet, it's definitely a good time and a good way to start!

Other reviews from We made God:
   - It's getting colder

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Alda - Tahoma


Genre : Folk black metal / Neofolk

Alda is one more band of the "cascadian black metal" genre, which is actually nothing more than atmospheric black metal with folk elements, yet not pagan nor viking metal. And even though this genre can't stop growing recently, it's mostly crappy bands with poor production or lack of musical creativity which surface. Alda, however, succeed in avoiding those flaws and sets a perfect black metal sound with interesting and catchy chords that sure won't get you bored at all. Melodies and riffs are huge, and those five songs will surely stuck in your head for a while. The folk parts are merged with coherence and cleverness, therefore it's always a pleasure when those are heared, as they don't ruin the intensity of the album, at all. Anyway, the guys know what they do with those, as they're able to play a perfect whole neofolk song lasting eight minutes in this album. Vocals are the usual shrieks mixed with huge reverberation, but they're as good as the other elements, not wasting things anyhow. There are a couple cleans too, which if they're not the best ones ever, are fine enough to suit the album. All in all, let's face it, Tahoma is awesome!

Please check the opener, In the wake of an iron wind, and Tearing of the weave. And follow Alda on Facebook. Tahoma is available as a free download on bandcamp, and to be honest, such an album for free is something you just cannot miss.

Vergissmeinnicht - Whispering solitude


Genre : (Mostly instrumental) neofolk

If I come to you and say "hey, I found chinese folk!", you're all scared, aren't you? Well, I was, too. However, Vergissmeinnicht has nothing to envy occidental folk bands. What we have here is a very melodic, deep and calming neofolk, with ethereal male vocals featuring a couple english lyrics in the background. Well, that's almost all you have, but who dares saying simplest things cannot be good? They're even the best ones, sometimes. In some cases like this one, no need to add layers of instruments, as the aim is definitely reached, with rich, melancholic guitar and flute melodies. All we want. All you want, too, if you can forgive a couple out-of-tune parts and some noisy ambient sounds, which you should.

A superb piece of this album is for sure Innocent. Also check out Whispering solitude.

Other reviews from Vergissmeinnicht:
   - His own strange songs

Monday, October 10, 2011

October falls - The womb of primordial nature


Genre : Folk black metal

The womb of primordial nature is simply divided into four untitled chapters which consist into a deep journey through black metal and nature, getting darker and more agressive towards the end. Although folk parts are often strictly cut from the black metal elements, there are plenty of rich melodies here, and clean guitars keep playing behind distorted ones. Guitars keep singing and singing during the whole album, and the softened clean guitars parts are warmly welcomed to spare this deep autumnal forest feeling. However, that awesome guitar work is not the only strength of the album, as drums and bass are very interesting too. Vocals could have more strength (which will be the case in A collapse of faith), but they're still really good, and perfectly mixed, so the volume balance doesn't suffer any flow.

What else to say? Let's listen to Part II and Part IV now. And follow October falls on Facebook.

Other reviews from October falls:
   - A collapse of faith
   - Sarastus [EP]

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Omega massif - Geisterstadt | Kalt


Genre : Instrumental post-metal / Sludge

Usually, when it's about sludge, I feel a bit disappointed about the lack of melodies, and the overall heaviness which sometimes get too much and boring. However, Omega massif makes a good attempt in avoiding those flaws, with a strong, distorted and heavy sound, but featuring interesting melodies that stick in one's head, and softened, yet dark parts, that fit in perfectly. Omega massif thus depicts a desertic and frozen world, with an overall cold sound, would it be heavy rhythms or melodies which are kept gloomy enough to fit in the genre.

Get a first taste of their sound with Eiswüste and Arcanum. And follow Omega massif on Facebook.

Other reviews from Omega massif:
   - Karpatia

Vàli - Forlatt


Genre : Instrumental neofolk

Vàli plays a calming and inspiring neofolk, mostly made with warm folk guitars, playing unforgettable melodies. Behind those, are often hidden a couple flutes, pianos, violins, or light female choirs. Still, the strength of Vàli is to setup diverse atmospheres, through the use of complex and rich melodies. Therefore, Forlatt switchs from light parts to melancholic sounds, always kept a very natural feel, without any kind of percussions. Poetic, calming, soothing, Vàli is all that at a time, and undoubtedly one of the best instrumental neofolk of all times.

Enjoy this one through Dypt inne i skogen and Naar vinden graater.... And follow Vàli on Facebook.