Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dirge - Elysian magnetic fields

Genre : Post-metal / Sludge

Crushing, heavy, deep and dark. That's sludge. Vocals are very sludge, too. However, those succeed into not being annoying, enough in the background, with a strong reverb, and coming as short verses with long instrumental parts between. Moreover, some melancholic clean vocals add a serious versatility to this release, breaking its monotony, successfully making it ethereal, hypnotic, yet catchy. Elysian magnetic fields still sets a strong gloomy atmosphere, because it's quite downtempo, it's loud, sometimes despaired. But it keeps quite a good melodic part, thanks to interesting riffs and well-done ambient synths, making the whole release a very nice record, actually one of the best in the genre.

Cocoon is a great song to start with, with a crushing, epic ending. Check also opener Morphée rouge. And follow Dirge on Facebook.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Darkflight - Perfectly calm

Genre : Atmospheric black metal / Doom metal

Darkflight lands between heavily synths-influenced black metal, and melancholic doom. An album which genre is hard to describe, but for sure unusual, maybe unique. Tempos are usually very low, and raw production makes the sound even harsher, yet the stunning guitar and synths melodies successfully shine in the mix. Vocals are kept a step behind, with strong reverb, making some kind of voice from the underworld, all this merged with logic and consistance. However, the most intense part here is now how the sound is delivered, but how melancholy and beauty are spread through the eight songs. Needless to say that you have to love low tempos and ambient stuff here, with deep and sad emotions. Ready to take your first dark flight?

If yes, check out Dissolving into nothingness and Perfectly calm. And follow Darkflight on Facebook.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Message to bears - EP 1 [EP]

Genre : Instrumental neofolk / Ambient

Ok, let's move to some other dimension for tonight. I'm not even sure about how to tag the genre, but all I can say to describe it quickly, is "mostly acoustic guitars, no lyrics, and a huge amount of melancholy". Therefore, there isn't much to review -musically speaking- here. Well, if the release name definitely lacks imagination, music doesn't, at all. Expect very beautiful guitar melodies here, like... I mean, beautiful is the best word here. It's filled with emotions, be it melancholy, joy, happiness, childhood memories. Nostalgy strikes in those guitar lines, and the other arrangements, hand percussions, spoken samples, some piano or violin, fill the atmosphere perfectly. A very nice addition to the deep guitar layers in the end, all this in an album you should definitely check out for a moment of meditation and contemplation. I'd call this "sounds of our homeworld", because of the strong human feeling laying in these songs.

Check out a couple songs, Plane over evening sky and Swim for example. And follow Message to bears on Facebook.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Dark forest - Land of the evening star

Genre : Folk black metal

Sometimes, I think I should be able to enjoy so-called pagan metal. But those unbearable wind instruments or poor garage male choirs often ruin it. Well, at first I was not so sure about Land of the evening star. Intro song sounds glorious and cheesy just like many bad pagan bands. But I decided to dig it despite of that. And that wasn't a waste of time, at all. Dark forest cast a mature pagan metal, filled with positive energy, and without any letdown. First strength which strikes here, is how powerful guitar riffs are. Not going overspeed, not sounding like a childish video game either, I think that the guys found the perfect balance here. Drumming and black metal shrieks are perfectly executed and the long songs don't fall into monotony, thanks to the huge amount of various melodies used around here. No real folk instruments, it's more a matter of atmosphere if this is folk and pagan, as everything relies more on black metal arrangements, mainly guitar-focused and some synths fillers, which are, let's be honest, not the best elements in the album. However, if you're looking for mature, deep and epic pagan metal, you should definitely check this. Did I say epic? I did.

Listen to Árborg / Bjarne Herjúlfsson ca. 985CE, which gets magnificient towards its end, and Vesperia. And follow Dark forest on Facebook.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Svafnir - The heathen chapters

Genre : Folk black metal / Neofolk

Genius and magnificience. The heathen chapters is not strict folk black metal. Instead, it's almost a whole neofolk release. And what a neofolk my friends, this is perfectly executed, rich and deep. As opposed to many neofolk bands, vocals, even if they're a minor part, are not a letdown at all, here being melancholic and perfectly executed. Folk black only appears in a couple parts from time to time. It's quite impressive to notice that it's just as good as the neofolk parts. Riffs are impressive, catchy, some chords have an unexpected old-school hard rock feel, and the result of those harsh parts is a really positive, enjoyable, quite enlightened folk black metal, especially since the folk guitars often stay alongside distorted ones, keeping this feeling of nature and beauty anytime. Some other unexpected things sometimes surface, such as a melancholic distorted guitar solo on top of a full neofolk song. Well, this album is something without musical limits or restrictions, it's just pure artistic expression, and you've got to check it out, because it would be far too long to express everything that lies between those deep musical layers.

Two songs only, that's what I said? Well, check out Zweige sich im Winde wiegen and Death of the sun, which should be good examples of the various musical sides of this release. Then check the whole album.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Draugnim - Northwind's ire

Genre : Atmospheric black metal

Heavily synth oriented, Draugnim's effort couldn't be described a better way than with epic and majestic black metal. I promised myself not to make comparison between bands on this blog, just like rating albums, I don't like that. But Draugnim sounds quite close to a much appreciated synth-oriented black metal band which name begins with a S...! Major difference, though, is that Draugnim relies on many blastbeat parts. And all this is perfectly executed. I mean, synths lines are beyond epic and successfully merged with guitars, drums and vocals. Vocals are kept at a distance, making this definitely atmospheric. Melodies are huge and synths arrangements are well-done, since those parts don't have that ugly "computer-sound", but cast a real atmosphere instead. Guitars are easy to notice, yet they do not shine with any particular riff, since melodies are carried by synths here. But Draugnim explore a genre which is, in the end, not so common. And they did it right.

Opener Moonpath is completely stunning, and Toward the dusk is surely worth a listen too. And follow Draugnim on Facebook.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The foetal mind - The grand contraction

Genre : Instrumental post-metal / Black metal

To be completly honest with you, early works from The foetal mind left me totally unimpressed. I wasn't even able to listen to a full song. That being said, it's very important to say how quickly this band got way better. The grand contraction is a remarkable effort, with quite an unusual album structure. After a short pleasant intro track, the album switchs to an interesting post-black metal song. Clean vocals are not the best ever, but pleasant guitar melodies make up for it. Such songs would make this a good album, but all the other songs are instrumental only, meaning they're more post-metal than anything else, with some black metal elements. And they make this a stunning album instead. As instrumental post-metal is something tricky, it's fair to notice how good this one is. Melodies are superb, riffs are ethereal and rich. Drumming, if not really impressive by itself, perfectly fits the arrangements. This album, from third track, is pure bliss, melodic post-metal with crushing chords, played an unusual, but very pleasant way.

Check out The collapse and Silence for a hint of it. And follow The foetal mind on Facebook.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

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

Genre : Instrumental post-rock / Electronic

Do you remember The echelon effect's Seasons project? Fall is now gone, but the third EP is still here to recall it somehow. Calming and beautiful just like the first two EPs, this one features four new melancholic tracks, with a serious highlight making the whole release quite heterogen in the end. Return of voice sample and soft, catchy drumming is definitely a good thing, but melodies are kind of gone when the record is listened to as a whole, and this is quite sad when one know what The echelon effect is able to do in the genre. This record thus appears more monotonous, repetitive, maybe more linear in the end. But maybe that's what autumn is all about, isn't it? Still a very pleasant and refreshing moment one shouldn't miss.

Branches and constellations is the huge highlight in there. The last warmth is worth a listen too, for it seriously describes what "beautiful melancholy" really is. And follow The echelon effect on FacebookSeasons (pt. III) is available as a free listen and download on bandcamp.

Other reviews from The echelon effect:

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Addaura - Burning for the ancient

Genre : Atmospheric black metal

In a way, Addaura's newest release is calming and ethereal. An agressive way. Something which could be observed as a letdown, naming non-stop blastbeating, makes the music actually somehow airy and light. Not sure if I make sense, but this constant, quick heartbeat, kind of carry its listener through a world depicting grandeur, desolation, and melancholy at a single time. This atmosphere is reinforced with the strong, deep vocals, which are undoubtedly a reference in the genre. At least, those are filled with emotion, maybe a little hint of despair, like some cry coming from far away, raw, wild and strong. It's hard to explain how blastbeats and vocals perfectly fit together to create a catchy and ethereal atmosphere, but it's an obvious win. And guitars, how can I forget those? They work as walls of sounds mainly, yet melodic ones, and there are some chords on that release which will easily get stuck on your head for a while. Burning for the ancient features four really long songs, maybe a little overlong at times, but this is for sure a clever part of an atmospheric black metal album, which turns out to be one of the most melancholic around, considering its well-done structure and production. And monotony is successfully broken with some unexpected parts, like female airy vocals or droning, doomy moments.

City light (in still dark forenoon silence) and its catchy melodic line is a must-listen here. Solace beneath a greying sky is an other highlight, check it out. And follow Addaura on Facebook.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Nechochwen - Algonkian mythos

Genre : Mostly instrumental neofolk

We haven't been talking about some neofolk for a while, have we? Nechochwen's first release was full neofolk, and well, it's just so rich and deep that it's hard to talk about it. This is an album which requires more than a couple listens to actually dive into it, because of how many instruments appear in the sound layers, and because of the lack of usual song structures. It requires much attention to really get into it, because it's complex in terms of songs composition and sonorities. Album is almost instrumental, and only some choirs and male vocals appear from time to time. Melodies are rather unusual too, sometimes cold and almost annoying, sometimes warm and melancholic. They feature some ritualistic percussions which may sound a bit too much in the foreground at times, yet they add a lot to the sound diversity. Maybe the fact that Nechochwen isn't linked to scandinavian folk makes for its uncommon sound, too, as many bands tend to refer to norse folk sonoroties, when it's all about American traditions here.

Algonkian mythos and Talgayeeta are good songs to start with this album. Check those out! And follow Nechochwen on Facebook.

Other reviews from Nechochwen:
   - Azimuths to the otherworld

Monday, March 5, 2012

Ygg - Ygg

Genre : Atmospheric black metal

Ygg is amazing. Not something we've never heard before, to be honest. But something we want to hear again and again as we enjoy black metal. Jew harps and distorted walls of sound are the first striking elements here, the first one appearing quite often, the second one successfully merging melodic soundscapes and ambient backgrounds. But vocals and drums are worth a special mention, too. Vocals, because they're strong and raw, mostly thanks to the Ukrainian language, but also because of singer's ability to make it wild and raw at a time. Drums are especially nice for avoiding the "non-stop blastbeat" which would quickly get boring. And yet, they're not played with obvious and omnipresent breakdowns, more kept an ambient way. But the first drumming line is still very energic and adds a lot to the catchy side of this record. All those things perfectly arranged and mixed make this a very solid ambient black metal release, with huge soundscapes, but also a fair amount of heaviness. Dark, wild, and moving.

Self-titled song Ygg is an obvious highlight. Ритуал is also an amazing song. And follow Ygg on Facebook.