Subliminal Fear is an Italian band that combines elements of melodic death metal, industrial metal, and symphonic death metal. They have been recommended to fans of Sybreed, Mnemic and Fear Factory. This album deals with "a futuristic and apocalyptic vision of the world and the society, inspired by movies like Terminator, Alien and Matrix." Something about Escape From Leviathan is extremely nostalgic to me. It's like listening to something that came out in the early 2000's. The band is certainly heavy, but they have a really strong melodic side coursing through every moment a la Neurotech or perhaps even Soilwork. In any case, you should check it out. Bonus: artwork was done by Speticflesh's Seth Siro Anton.
Skognatt is a doomy bit of atmospheric black metal from Germany. This two-song EP sounds as icy as they come. It's 90 degrees outside as I write this, yet I feel like I should be wearing a sweater. Songs are driven by equal parts standard guitar and drums with lush synth arrangments that include everything from more digital inclusions to traditional organ. Acoustic instruments add a folky vibe to the sound, but the serpent-like vocals keep it grounded in the typical sinister nature of black metal. The slower pacing only adds to a certain sense of dread. For such a small project, I am impressed with the strong production and mixing job. Check it out below.
Third Island is a doom/post-metal band based out of Limerick, Ireland. Their 3-song debut EP is a grungey slog through a cold swamp. Something about the aesthetic is super-90's. The haunting vocals recall everything from the Seattle scene to Godflesh. There is a very purposeful repetition to the lengthy tracks that is dark and hypnotic. As much as black metal gets associated wtih rituals and sacrifice, I think that Dusk evokes this vibe so much more. Listenings feel like they should be confined to a dark basement with only the flicker of flame to provide light. Is it just me, or are the shadows getting closer?
Dreamquest is the first full-lenght album of Finland's Kausalgia. The album is roughly 3 years in the making, with the band previously building up the band's concept as far back as 2010. The end result, largely unfettered by the trappings of major label or studio intervention, is an impressive array of atmospheric black metal. The doomy pace adds layers to the ambience, never allowing compositions to become boring. I will say that the first few songs are stronger than some of the later ones, but even so Dreamquest shows a lot of promise and ends up being a very engaging romp through dark forests of the distant past.
Finally, we have Morte, another band from Argentina that actually shares a member with Psicosfera (more on them next week). Changing gears entirely from that band, Morte is death metal obsessed with the old school. Crusty D-Beats, deranged vocals dripping with the sticky sap of reverb, and buzz-saw guitar distortion. If you like your death metal with a little mange, this is the band for you. Riffs are infectious and the production is quite strong in its own fittingly gritty way. Those death growls...not of this earth. Great headbanging stuff for fans of Gruesome, Helsworn, Eteritus, and the like. Name Your Own Price for this one.