Pure Wrath – Ascetic Eventide (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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Indonesia is not a country I think of when looking at atmospheric black metal. However Pure Wrath are sure to make both me and many others change their views on where great atmospheric black metal is produced from. Pure Wrath started as solo project in 2014 by Januaryo Hardy (aka Ryo). Energized by the essence of Earth, including nature, vision, and the call of solitude Ryo set off to create the Pure Wrath of nature itself in musical form. The end result is nothing short but greatness, a wonderful debut that will surely make a mark in the atmospheric black metal scene.

Pure Wrath brings a lot of energy and the use of various sounds and instruments (such as flute and piano) to create different emotions to the listener is wonderfully put together on Ascetic Eventide. The tracks really catches the atmosphere just like their names implies. Colourless Grassland feels desolate but yet calm and one with nature, Mountain Calls feels cold, harsh and barren (takes me back to the whole Wayfarer experience I had last year). This feeling of solitude and being one with nature that Ryo wanted to capture the essence off with Ascetic Eventide he has really achieved. It’s epic and raw, just like nature itself.

Ascetic Eventide is a work of art and stands tall in the vast atmospheric black metal discography that’s out there. I look forward to hear more from Pure Wrath in the future, until then I am more than happy to have one of this years big surprises on repeat when I want my mind to wander away and try to become one with nature. Pure Wrath’s debut album Ascetic Eventide is out now through Hitam Kelam Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/purewrath
For fans of: Saor and Wayfarer
Favorite song: Clouds Retiring

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Xenomorphic Contamination – Colonized from the Inside (Brutal Death Metal)

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Having two of Italy’s most known brutal duo in Max (ex-Vomit the Soul and ex-Septycal Gorge) and Davide “BrutalDave” Billia (Beheaded, Hour of Penance, Septycal Gorge and ex-Putridity) Xenomorphic Contamination has been a band to watch out for in 2016. With their full-length debut Colonized from the Inside, that came out in April, their apocalyptic alien project has finally unleashed (with wicked artwork to boot).

As you probably guessed by the bands name the lyrical theme in the album is aliens. Together with the concept from the album cover Colonized from the Inside creates a sci-fi feeling even before you start listening to it. Once you put the music on you’re in for a ride, of alien kind. Starting off like an Alien movie with soundeffects Transformers style you get sucked right into the hellish world of the Great Devourer. The riffs are crushing and growls very deep and guttural, no high tones here just straight up brutal, just like it should be within the genre.

I’ve always loved myself some brutal sci-fi and Xenomorphic Contamination gives me just the perfect dose of that. The whole package, from lyrics, mixing, vocals, instrumentals and artwork are really well made and you would do best not to miss this one out. What did you expect though from two heavy hitters like Max and Davide? Oh and as a bonus the band has a handmade sculpture for sale on their store that looks like the character on the cover. How cool is that!?

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/xenomorphic.contamination
For fans of: Analepsy and Infecting the Swarm
Favorite song: Onset of Infection

Gatecreeper – Sonoran Depravation (Death Metal)

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From the vains of the legendary death metal supremes such as Entombed and Dismember comes American band Gatecreeper with their debut full-length Sonoran Depravation. While being heavy influenced by the old school Swedish death metal sound Gatecreeper manages to keep it fresh and Sonoran Depravation is an album even Entombed would be happy to have in their discography. The album is filled with goovy headbanging material.

What makes Sonoran Depravation stick out is that every song feel different, in a good way. I can listen to this album over and over again and find new favorite tracks each time. Another good thing is they keep it short and sweet, relentless 30 minutes of death metal madness. You don’t really need more do you? Pedal to the metal, going in 120 all the way to the finish is what death metal is all about to me. One or two more songs wouldn’t hurt of course but I rather have a good 30 minutes with high quality than quantity.

This is death metal at it’s finest. Gatecreeper is a nice fresh wind in the death metal genre, yet keeping it old school and will surely bring in some new fans to the genre. A must have album.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/gatecreeper
For fans of: Entombed and Dismember
Favorite song: Stronghold

Trees of Eternity – Hour of the Nightingale (Doom Metal)

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What do you get if you take some of the best doom musicians from Sweden and Finland? You get Trees of Eternity! Featuring members who’s played or play for heavy hitting doom bands such as October Tide, Swallow the Sun, Wintersun and Katatonia you can’t call this anything else than a doom super group. What’s sad with this project, which started in 2009 but Hour of the Nightingale is the bands debut, is that this will be the one and only release with the singer Aleah Liane Stanbridge. She sadly passed away after a long struggle against cancer in April this year.

The album reflects the true doom metal sound. It’s very dark and gloom, got a haunting feeling to it and Aleah’s voice together with the doom veterans instrumental play is just out of this earth. You can’t help but to feel sadden and think about all the love and sorrow you will or have experienced in life, even onto death.

This is a different type of doom metal than for example October Tide as this is not infused with death metal and consists of clean singing. Hour of the Nightingale is definitely one of the best doom albums of 2016, depending if you want your doom metal with death metal influences, clean singing or with growl your vote might differ. What I do know though is that Trees of Eternity has made a superb debut and it’s a crying shame that the band won’t feature Aleah’s beautiful voice yet again.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/treesofeternity
For fans of: Swallow the Sun and Draconian
Favorite song: Eye of Night

Saor – Guardians (Atmospheric Folk/Black Metal)

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Starting off like an intro to Braveheart with crows singing, bagpipes playing and thundering riffs Saor lays the foundations on their latest release Guardians right from the start. It has to be said that Guardians is the first album I hear from Saor, even though I’ve heard a lot about them since Roots came out I’ve never actually sat down and listened to one of their albums. So why the name Saor? Saor means “free” and “unconstrained” in Gaelic. The name was inspired by the Scottish independence motto “Saor Alba” which translates to “Free Scotland”. Perfect for Andy Marshall’s solo project which lyrical theme revolves around the Scottish heritage and landscapes.

The music is very beautiful and atmospheric, what you would probably have guessed. However it also adds that harsh tone from the vocals and guitars making it change phase when needed and adds a lot of depth to the sound. I really love how Saor uses bagpipes and violins as it just makes me take in the celtic atmosphere and almost feeling the sorrow and grief the Scottish have endured. Or as to quote my favourite song on the album (they are all great though) Hearth:

“I’ve wandered through the ancient glens
Where the air is filled with sorrow
and climbed to the highest of peaks
Walked amongst the haunted ruins of my nation
There’s nowhere I’d rather be
This is my home
My heart
My soul
My hearth”

Simply beautiful, yet a saddening masterpiece and I hope you will all take an hour of your time to experience this amazing album. Now I need to book a trip to Scotland…..

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/saorofficial
For fans of: Winterfylleth and Panopticon
Favorite song: Hearth