Somnium Nox – Terra Inanis (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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It’s been a long time I got to listen to some new atmospheric black metal! Finally the time has come when I can be taken into the vast darkness that atmospheric black metal usually offers. Hailing from Australia the band was formed last year and features the drummer from Norse, which was a big reason I wanted to check them out. Distorted guitars, harsh atmospheric background music with screeching from the depths of hell, tempo-changes and use of various instruments. You know what I am talking about, it’s the backbone of any good atmospheric black metal album and Somnium Nox does it better than most. This is a very deep album that stirs up emotions throughout the three songs, songs that could in all honesty be seen as one as they transition into each other really well.

Speaking of using various instruments, the use of a didgeridoo is present on this album but Somnium Nox definitely don’t overuse it. It’s just there to create some background atmosphere, just like their samples are and I think finding the balance on using these things is what differs a good and a great atmospheric black metal band. There are a lot of good atmospheric black metal bands out there but only a few that can really get all these components to really jell together. Fen, Saor, Panopticon, Winterfylleth and Agalloch being some of these bands that comes to mind but Somnium Nox debut album is one of the best atmospheric black metal albums I’ve heard this year, if not the best, I am interested to see if they can be consistent enough to play with the big boys in a few years.

Terra Inanis is a great example on how to make a atmospheric black metal debut. The future is very bright for Somnium Nox and I wouldn’t be surprised if people name them when talking about the atmospheric black metal greats in the future. Terra Inanis is out now through Transcending Obscurity Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SomniumNox
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
For fans of: Panopticon and Fen
Favorite song: The Alnwick Apotheosis

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Moribundo – Raíz Amarga (Death/Doom Metal)

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Are you a fan of bands such as Swallow the Sun, Draconian, Paradise Lost and Amorphis? Then look no further! Moribundo (means “Dying” in Spanish) and the melancholic thoughts you might get when thinking of death is something Moribundo expresses through their music. Created in 2014 Raíz Amarga is the Spanish bands debut album and what a debut it is!

The various influences Moribundo takes from have created a new beast entirely. The use of different instruments like piano and violin combined with the depressed growls creates an almost funeral doom experience at times. Not only that the four tracks are really different to each other, with a lot of variety to the music it makes Raíz Amarga an album you can easily listen to several times without getting bored. Death and despair. Take those words in and what they really mean to you then listen to this and you will experience the bitter rot Moribundo so beautifully expresses.

I found this to be a rather epic experience. It’s sweet melancholic symphonies and variety in music that makes it stand out from the average doom act. Adding the mixing of Hiili Hiilesmaa at Yellow House Studio (Swallow the Sun, Moonspell, Amorphis, Sentenced) and you got yourself one of the better doom albums of 2017.

Raíz Amarga is out now through Satanath Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/MoribundoMetal
Label: Satanath Records
For fans of: Swallow the Sun and Draconian
Favorite song: Luz (Ciego Color)

Loathfinder – The Great Tired Ones (Blackened Doom Metal)

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Ah it’s a good thing I got those promos from Godz ov War as not only did I get to review one of this years best releases (HerezA’s I Become Death), but I’ve also got to listen to some of last years releases I missed out and get more into the ever evolving Polish scene. Whereas Misanthropic Rage album was released last year Loathfinder’s debut EP The Great Tired One is only two months old, fresh meat so to say. Not finding much information about the band I got intrigued to see what this mystic band is all about. What I found out was rather evil.

Loathfinder plays a very chilling to the bone type of blackened doom metal that resembles the kind of profound evil that bands such as Forgotten Tomb, Lifelover, Bethlehem or even early Katatonia plays. As you probably can guess this isn’t for the weak of heart. It’s heavy down-tempo with vocals that will torment your very soul, lyrics that will leave you in horror and an atmosphere that’s so dark and vile you’re unsure how to even take this in. With four tracks and clocking on 27 minutes you’re in for a ride of twisting doom. As I said this isn’t for the weak hearted and it took me a few listens to get into (much like Misanthropic Rage did) but once I did the disorted sound, the gnarling vocals and feeling of despair got the best of me and now I can say this is a great debut.

Loathfinder is one of those albums that challenges the listener but if you dare to take up that challenge then I am sure you will come to like it. Loathfinder’s debut EP The Great Tired Ones is out now through Godz ov War Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Loathfinder
Label: Godz ov War Productions
For fans of: Forgotten Tomb and Bethlehem
Favorite song: The Great Tired Ones

Shores of Null – Black Drapes for Tomorrow (Doom Metal)

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Candlelight Records used to be a label I always looked at when I wanted the more extreme quality music. Sure they still got Emperor, Winterfylleth, Shade Empire and Limbonic Art that I like but they used to have so much more than that! Entombed, Enslaved, Enthroned, Dismember, 1349, Candlemass etc. The list is very long on some of the worlds biggest metal acts that’s been with Candlelight one way or another. From Candlelight we do have one of the best melodic doom albums you will hear this year though. It’s the Italian band (I’ve told you, this is probably Italy’s biggest metal year) Shores of Null that bless us with their sophomore album Black Drapes for Tomorrow. The band was formed in 2013 with members from the likes of Zippo and Noumeno.

Black Drapes for Tomorrow offers the same kind of high quality doom metal you’re used to hear from heavy hitters within the scene like Katatonia, Daylight Dies and Novembers Doom. This is the first time I hear Shores of Null and they are blowing me away quite frankly. I can’t really find a single song that isn’t good, and it gets better each time I play it. I’ve heard from others that told me about Shores of Null that this record is a safe path and a bit weaker than their debut Quiescence. If it is then I’ll be damn that album is nearly perfect, just like this is a hidden gem within the metal community every doom fan should be all over, safe path or not. Straccione’s vocals are perfect for this kind of music and the guitar duo Raffaele Colace and Gabriele Giaccari are in sync like it’s almost a symbiosis.

As I said before this album is so damn good and solid through and through it’s hard to pick favorite tracks (second album in a row, lucky me). If I had to then it would have to be Donau, Tide Against Us and We Ain’t Ashes. If you need your fill of gloom and darkness then Black Drapes for Tomorrow is an album you can’t miss. Shores of Null sophomore album Black Drapes for Tomorrow is out now through Candlelight Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoresofnull
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/shoresofnull
Label: Candlelight Records
For fans of: Katatonia and Daylight Dies
Favorite song: Tide Against Us

Red Moon Architect – Return of the Black Butterflies (Doom Metal)

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Not too long ago I reviewed Kaunis Kuolematon, a Finnish melodic doom/death metal band that I found being a hidden gem from the Finnish metal scene. I’ve kept on digging for more doom and gloom sound from the cold heart of Finland and I didn’t even need to look far, actually I didn’t need to look at all since Inverse Records were kind enough to email me a promo with exactly what I was looking for. Red Moon Architect were formed 2011 in a very fitting environment, namely a town called Kuovola. The town is often called the ‘largest lighted cemetery’ in Finland, so it’s no wonder the town gave birth to a doom metal band.

Compared to Kaunis Kuolematon and Swallow the Sun this is a bit heavier music in some aspects and touches on funeral doom sound. Shape of Despair is the closest I can come to their sound (that being said I am not the most experienced doom metal listener). It’s haunting sound and heavy doom will surely get to you and it’s an emotional journey that Red Moon Architect guides you through beautifully. The addition of vocalist Ville Rutanen (ex-The Final Harvest and ex-Casket) after losing Juuso Turkki (Hypothesis) was a really great move. He does a superb job in his debut taking over the doom mantle and it’s burdens like he has been in the band since the start. Anni Viljanen sings just as beautiful as ever, while Saku Moilanen, Jukka Jauhiainen and Matias Moilanen pulls off their best performance yet.

I’d never heard of Red Moon Architect until last week. After listening to this album I was hooked, had to dig into the rest of their discography (which was the reason this review didn’t get out yesterday) and I had a really good time going through it. It’s great doom metal and for me they are now one of my go to bands within the genre. Return of the Black Butterflies is out May 19th through Inverse Records (another great release by them) and until then I suggest you listen through their discography to prepare yourself for what is to come!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RedMoonArchitect
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RMAmetal
For fans of: Swallow the Sun and Shape of Despair
Favorite song: NDE

Kaunis Kuolematon – Vapaus (Melodic Doom/Death Metal)

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Ending my days with pure Finnish music we slow it down a notch and go for a doom twist in Finlands melodic death metal heaven. Kaunis Kuolematon is Finnish for “Beautiful Immortal” and in many ways I think this shows in their music. Singing purely in Finnish it’s a band that doesn’t get much attention outside Finland but here is me hoping that is soon to change. Vapaus is Kaunis Kuolematon’s second release after their 2014 debut Kylmä kaunis maailma received quite a bit of praise for being one of the better death/doom debuts these past years. Being compared to Swallow the Sun in the process, which proves these rockers got a lot of talent. Vapaus hopefully continues that road and elevates the bands sound even more.

Eloton is a sweet introduction to Kaunis Kuolematon where the harsh and clean vocals works in great symphony and this is the type of death/doom combination I’ve come to love from the Nordic countries. Hurskas continue that right up until 2:20 in where it takes a turn and all of a sudden becomes a beautiful acoustic medley building up for fantastic guitar plays and riffs. Yksin is, in my humble opinion, the song that gets to me the most. It’s a beautiful ballad with lyrics that saddens you but also gives you hope, it’s simply stunning. What’s more is that the song smoothly transition to Tuhottu elämä which initially ups the tempo and brings you more of that headbang worthy riffing. The way Kaunis Kuolematon changes the tempo during the album really does makes me think of Swallow the Sun, one of the best death/doom bands out there. Ikuinen ikävä is the heaviest song on Vapaus and if it wasn’t for Yksin being one of the best songs I’ve heard all year it would be my favorite song on the album. It definitely got the best instrumental elements in my ears. Ikaros is yet another good slow paced song but it’s the next two tracks that grabs my attention the most. Arvet, one more track with very powerful lyrics along with great music, quickly becoming another favorite of mine. Sanat jotka jäivär sanomatta ends the album in a great way, a magnificent ballad where the use of clean and harsh vocals really shines. Ending this sad journey of war, life and death with memories of your loved ones being there forever.

Last year I had October Tide’s Winged Waltz as my favorite doom album release. This year I can sense Vapus grabbing that spot. Kaunis Kuolematon uses a formula that works and melodic doom/death doesn’t get much better than this in my opinion. Vapaus is out now through Haminian Sounds. Knowing Finnish or not I still suggest you get it!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KaunisKuolematon
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/pahankasvot
For fans of: Swallow the Sun and Barren Earth
Favorite song: Yksin

Wolfheart – Tyhjyys (Melodic Death Metal)

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Next up in my melodic death metal spree from Finland we have Wolfheart. A band that features one of my favorite musicians Tuomas Saukkonen due to his work with Before the Dawn, one of the greatest melodic death metal bands to come out from Finland in my opinion. Wolfheart were formed in 2013 as a solo project by Toumas (just like his other bands began) but in 2014 he decided to disband all his other bands in order to fully focus on Wolfheart. I may have labeled Noumena, Mors Principium Est and now Wolfheart with the melodic death metal genre but they all sound very different. Wolfheart is definitely the more brutal sounding of the trio with it’s fast blast beats, Tuomas harsh growling style and overall more heavy sound. Calling it winter metal it’s no surprise it is heavy and brutal, while keeping it melodic and even featuring soothing flute play on The Flood, Wolfheart are great at capturing the essence of winter with it’s melancholy harsh style.

If you’ve heard Tuomas Saukkonen work before then you can know what to expect. It’s high quality music with a lot of catchy melodies to it. Shores of the Lake Simpele is a nice three minute intro, building up the atmosphere for Boneyard, the first single that came out from the album and in my opinion the high point of Tyhjyys. The orchestrations and acoustic passages that are common elements in an Wolfheart album are better than ever and it really helps setting the tone for this cold winter release. That or the beautiful tunes on The Flood, that’s both dark and sad but yet gorgeous. The lyrics are dark, from what I’ve read it’s partially due to Tuomas personal struggles over the years which makes sense, I think the more you can relate to the music you write the better you can show those emotions on the songs.

As a fan of Tuomas Saukkonen’s work I knew I would like this release. I think this is one of his best creations as of yet with Wolfheart and it’s a solid melodic death metal album. It might not be as good as some of his work with Before the Dawn and Black Sun Aeon, but that’s insanly hard to top. Finland is having a superb 2017 already getting some pretty great albums out. Fans of the darker side of melodeath will love Tyhjyys. It’s Tuomas putting out one of his best releases in years with the atmosphere of winter metal being colder than ever before. Every single song is good by themself and they showcase quite different aspects of both nature and battles.

Tyhjyys is out now through the legendary Finnish label Spinefarm Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WolfheartRealm
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/WolfheartFIN
For fans of: Insomnium and Before the Dawn
Favorite song: Boneyard