A free sampler from an eclectic Italian label, post-hardcore/metalcore, melodeath, atmospheric black metal of the highest quality, and brutal death metal are all on the menu today. Bon appetit!
Swiss black and death metallers Beansidhe are seeing a full release of their debut album Mónt from Via Nocturne. The album is a lush and folky take on atmospheric black metal that also features some interesting technical touches and progressive tendencies. There is a strong uniformity to its concept; one that will certainly take you on travels through a variety of open landscapes. While it's not my favorite atmospheric album this year, I feel like there is something different about this one warranting attention. In a world where a lot of these releases can start to run together, it's refreshing to hear someone take an idea in a slightly different direction.
Unique Leader is sharing with us the fruits of labor from Kansas death metal group, Unmerciful. Ravenous Impulse features the drum demolition of John Lonstreth (Dim Mak, Origin, ex-Gorguts etc), so you know speed and technical calisthenics are part of the package. The band reports that the lyrics deal with "violent instinct and diabolical human behaviors." Let me tell you that this record deals in only the darkest, most depraved reaches of the death metal spectrum. It's like Cannibal Corpse at grinding speed. The production is extra raw, which lends itself well to the manical growls and squealing guitars contained within. Perfect for fans of 90's-era Florida death metal.
Toten Schwan is an Italian label that is host to a number of bands in disparate styles. In this 100% FREE sampler, you will be treated to everything from mathcore to post-metal. Instrumental progressive with strings to face smashing darkened hardcore...and even some industrial metal to boot. You may recognize a few of these names from past reviews (like Lamantide). In any case, this was the perfect mixture of music for my day, and there's no reason to pass on it considering the price tag. All 14 bands have something interesting to bring to the table, and I always respect a label that is willing to take chances on a variety of different things. Kudos.
Absence is the sophomore album from Swedish atmospheric black metallers, Mist of Misery. Two of the members are also involved in another BM project, Hyperion. The album focuses on lush symphonics and melancholic ambience to present the listener with an experience that is the perfect balance between gorgeous and grim. With palpable textures and just a touch of folkiness, Absence is a meditative experience despite the harsh blackened howls. If you close your eyes, you can almost picture the snow falling silently from heavily-coated branches...and feel the cold wind on your cheek. Best to bundle up.
What's better than a black metal split? A four way black metal split. This album is over an hour of ugly, uncompramising black metal, with each band challenging your senses in their own special way. Wormreich is my personal favorite with their ominous and atmospheric domination. Their instrumental track, "Terra Mortuorum (Call of Nvathron)," is the best one of them all in my opinion. Diabolus Amator goes full second wave with possibly the most abrasive approach of the four. Terrifying vocals. Gravespawn prefers to challenge you by tossing you a sword and shield. Their tracks have a more viking metal vibe with their folky jaunt. Finally, Vesterian close things out with plenty more facepaint and death worship to go around. If you wanted a nice cross-section of what underground black metal is up to, this is a good place to go.
Cold Summer is the lightest band on this list, but they're no less notable. This UK post-hardcore/metalcore band out of Wakefield maintain a superb balance of strong, poppy vocals and heavy guitars in line with groups like Letlive. While I think there is room for growth in some of the compositions and the harsh vocals, there is a solid foundation here that rivals much of the major label stuff getting vomited onto the scene. Rather than coming off as a pop band that appropriates metal elements, Cold Summer still feels like a band that is influenced by the early 00's groups that solidified the sound to begin with. Listening to the album takes me back to my high school years, and some of these tracks are pretty fun like "A Time Imagination Forgot To Inspire," and "Coins Fall (But Don't Make It)." Looking forward to seeing this group mature.
Three words: I smell talent. Sweden's Hour of Anguish may be a little rough around the edges when it comes to production and composition, but there is just something about this melodeath crew. If I were to put my finger on the one element that kept me listening, it was the clean vocals. We get plenty of harsh-clean-harsh, rinse and repeat melodeath bands these days, but there is something unique about how they are presented on Solace of Sorrow. When your album has that little extra special quality that catches the ear and inspires, say, someone making sure to share it on their latest review roundup...you can't put a price tag on that. And aside from the vocals, for a band only a year old and consisting of just two people the instrumentation is pretty strong. Enough so that I am confident in saying that if this duo sticks with it they will be going places. Good luck, guys. One track streaming below, several others also available on Youtube. Facebook. Website.
Erebus is a one-man death metal project from Providence, Rhode Island. I don't think we've hit this little corner of the US yet, so I better get out my thumbtacks and map. Anyways, I am never one to shy away from a direct artist request. 4 tracks of DM clearly influenced by the old school is what you get with The Maw of Eternity. Though rough and raw, there seem to be the makings of something here. I have a certain admiration for one-man projects, and this is no different. In addition to the ugly death grunts and grimy riffage, Owen shows some interest in experimentation as well. Support your local artists.