Inanimate Existence – Underneath a Melting Sky (Technical Death Metal)

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I never really went on board the hype train for Inanimate Existence when Calling From a Dream came out last year. I understand why people were loving their stuff as it was a bit different than most techdeath and they are great musicians but it just wasn’t for me (especially the clean vocals I couldn’t get passed). Due to that I wasn’t really expecting too much from Underneath a Melting Sky.

Oh boy was I wrong (again, see Archspire review) though! Inanimate Existence have once again made lineup changes, this time I think it really made them hit the spot for me though. Gone are the clean vocals, it’s heavier than their last album and in general just appeals to me way more than Calling From a Dream ever did. Sure they might not stick out as much as they did before and are now closer to bands like Hideous Divinity, Rivers of Nihil or Beyond Creation but to me that’s nothing wrong because that’s the type of techdeath I enjoy listening to. Forever to Burn and the title track Underneath a Melting Sky instantly makes me change my views on the band and are miles better than any song I’ve heard from them before in all honesty. The whole album melts (pun intended) together well as the songs transition flawlessly.

I am really happy to hear a band that I once didn’t enjoy listening to have now released an album I spin regularly. All within a year! 2017 has turned out to be an insane year for techdeath, I feel like I need to review and change how I grade this genre as there has been so many high quality albums the top scores just keeps pouring in compared to last year. That probably tell more about how lucky we are as fans of the genre than my grading though. Inanimate Existence offers us another album to add for our collection of technical death metal.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheInanimateExistence
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Inanimatetweets
Label: The Artisan Era
For fans of: Rivers of Nihil and Beyond Creation
Favorite song: Underneath a Melting Sky
Score: 4/5

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Terhenetär – Metsänhenkien Tanssi (Folk Metal)

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The Finnish band Terhenetär were created in 2007 and is sadly relatively unknown. The band released their first EP Korven kosto in 2014 and with Metsänhenkien Tanssi they are out with their second EP release, meaning the band is yet to release a full-length 10 years after their creation. In the Kalevala (poetry on Finnish folklore and mythology), Terhenetär is the goddess of the mist. With that being said I get some vibes from Kalmah, Finntroll and the likes who also get some of their inspiration from Kalevala.

Terhenetär plays folk music that takes a little bit of their countrymen Moonsorrow and Finntroll but equally as much form the Danish bands Asmegin, Svartsot and Svartby. It has to be said I love this type of folk metal. It has the perfect mix of mysticism, use of several different kinds of instruments, both happy and scary tunes and it makes me want to grab some beer and jump around. The whole EP is really great but it’s when the Metsänhenkien tanssi chapter hits the EP really grabs me by the balls. The track that ends the EP Surumieli, Varjosielu is an almost 9 minute long epos that would make even Moonsorrow proud. This is some of the best folk music I’ve heard in years, I kid you not.

Folk metal lovers should not miss out on Terhenetär. They deliver folk metal in its purest raw form and it is amazing. I really hope they will get their name out and release a full-length eventually. Imagine a Finnish folk metal takeover with Korpiklaani, Finntroll, Moonsorrow and Terhenetär. That would be freaking sweet. One can dream but until then I will have Metsänhenkien Tanssi playing regularly at home.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/terhenetar
Label: Independent
For fans of: Moonsorrow and Asmegin
Favorite song: Surumieli, Varjosielu
Score: 4/5

Broken Hope – Mutilated and Assimilated (Brutal Death Metal)

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Being a very new listener to Broken Hope as I actually discovered them on Twitter a couple of months ago when I followed Suffocation and got them as a recommendation I am sorry to say I will have to review this album as it is a debut basically. Some history about the band to begin with, as I obviously had to check these bad boys out to know what I am dealing with. Created in 1988 (very good year mind you) the band has had quite the history with a band member being kicked out due to basically hustling, disbanding in 2001, reuniting in 2012 and being droped from a Deicide tour in 2013. All that shit aside the band is still going strong and Jeremy Wagner on guitar is the only original member still in the band. Has this made Broken Hope lost….their hope?

As I said earlier I haven’t listened to this band at all before and I am going into this album with a very fresh mind and don’t know what to expect, unlike I did with Origins for example. Holy crap though! If John Carpenter’s The Thing was a music album this could be it! I’m a big fan of Damian “Tom” Leski’s (Gorgasm) vocals and it really sets the tone together with the rest of the band and lyrical theme of Mutilated and Assimilated. This is a brutal death metal album filled with gore and horror. All the pieces are set in the band to make it an experience you deserve in that theme. The album proves to be a good one for me, it lacks that extra punch as I am having a hard time finding a song that sticks out from the rest. It’s solid brutal death metal through and through though but could use that tank of a song that breaks it out of the cage. With Broken Hope re-assembled (or mutilated and assimilated?), having new members and new hope (sorry) I am sure this is just the beginning for the band as they go for that tier one brutal death metal spot.

Mutilated and Assimilated is out now through Century Media Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/brokenhopeofficial
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/BROKENHOPEBAND
Label: Century Media Records
For fans of: Suffocation and Cannibal Corpse
Favorite song: The Carrion Eaters
Score: 3/5

Origin – Unparalleled Universe (Technical Brutal Death Metal)

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From the crazy White Ward jazz-post-black metal experience I go to something I feel right at home with. It’s time to review one of the technical brutal death metal greats, Origin. A band which has given us mortals some of the best brutal techdeath that’s ever existed since their formation in 1997. Since then the band has released one EP and Unparalleled Universe will be the seventh full-length release, something very few techdeath bands have even done actually. With heavy hitting albums like Antithesis and Omnipresent fresh in mind how does Unparalleled Universe stand next to them?

Have to be said Origin still got it, even seven albums and 20 years into their career. However I lack that Wrath of Vishnu, The Aftermath and All Things Dead feel to it. It’s a good album but next to a discography like Origins they almost slay themself. I always hate reviewing albums like this in all honesty. When a band has a really good discography should they get punished for releasing something not on the very very top? I mean if this was a debut or even a sophomore album I would say something along the lines of “omg this is one of the best bands that will tear the future apart!!!”. I don’t know, this is a freaking great album but knowing what Origin has done in the past I know I can expect more. A great album doesn’t cut it this year within brutal death metal, not with Dying Fetus, Broken Hope, Decrepit Birth and Suffocation getting releases out. Mithridatic, Dajjal, Burden of Prescience and Origins longest track as of yet Unequivocal are the highlights of this album and especially Unequivocal makes me go all headbang mode and presents Origin in top form. It’s a good album and any Origin fan should get it. As I said they still got the touch. However I know there is more brutality to be unleashed from them, some songs are just too soft for my liking to make this a real heavy hitter as an Origin album should be.

Unparalleled Universe is out now through Agonia Records in EU and Nuclear Blast in the US. With this review I am also bringing back the score scale, this time instead of a 1-10 scale it will be a 1-5 one. 5 being the highest grade and 1 the lowest.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Origin
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/OriginBand
Label: Agonia Records (EU) and Nuclear Blast (US)
For fans of: Nile and Decrepit Birth
Favorite song: Unequivocal
Score: 3.5/5

White Ward – Futility Report (Post-Black Metal)

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I got recommended this album from a friend a couple of weeks ago but it’s been quite far down the backlog of reviews I’ve wanted to do it has had to wait until now. I got to start with saying wow! What is this? White Ward are experimenting with and crushing boundaries of black metal as it is nothing! Saxophone in black metal? Why not? Taake has used a banjo so put that it in the genre too! The thing is it works, most of the time. The passages between traditional black, post-black and basically jazz works so well I am stunned. As this is my very first listen to the band and their music I did not think anyone really did this type of music. I mean jazz-post-black metal!?

Thing is though I do find this music a bit weird for my personal taste, due to the jazz influences. I do love the fact White Ward are doing this and I am sure it will be in many peoples album of the year lists but I would actually like this album more if it had, well less sax in it. It’s a cool thing and does make me go “wow you can do that!?” at first but after a 40 minute album I am not too sure anymore. I mean Stillborn Knowledge is a freaking great song, as are most of the songs on the album. One by one. When I listen to the whole album though I don’t get swallowed up in it like some has. Basically what I am saying is this jazz-post-black metal isn’t really my thing for a full album but I am sure I will listen to their songs every know and then for the sake of their creativity. I like my post-black metal without the jazz. A shame, I really hoped I would love this album and I feel like I should but I just don’t. Not my kind of jam, but I am still stunned with a band breaking boundaries like this, so if you’re reading this do give White Ward a try. Who knows you might come to love this type of thing.

Futility Report is out now through Debemur Morti Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/whitewardofficial
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
For fans of: Ulver and Agalloch
Favorite song: Stillborn Knowledge

Ofermod – Sol Nox (Black Metal)

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Ofermod, a name every black metal fan should know. This legendary act from Sweden have since their formation in 1996 offered the world two of the best black metal releases ever in Tiamtü and Thaumiel. It’s been five years since then and only Belfagor remains in the band. Sadly he has had quite the shaky past (which I won’t get into) but has since then focused his life on religion and music. Ofermod are to many a true act of black metal and genuine darkness with it’s music and ritualistic approach. It doesn’t just feel real it is real.

I am happy to tell you that Belfagor hasn’t lost his touch and he is back to spread the darkness once more. Already on the opening track The Alpha of the Antichrist you will hear the drums and guitar play haunting you with it’s riffs. The vocals are just as gnarly and perfect for this music as I remember it. This is evil shit right here I tell you. Funeral Mist, Watain and Ondskapt are bands I think are close but I do not really think any band out there, that I know of, delivers genuine darkness as Ofermod does. Just listening to music based on Sitra Achra (look it up) is heavy and surrounded by chaos.

True black metal is back, a cosmic journey into chaos not many band can offer but Ofermod. It’s hard to beat Tiamtü and Thaumiel but Sol Nox is a good try at it. It’s definitely one of the best black metal releases of the year, even though it might not be as good as Ofermod’s past work. They can be seen as different beasts entirely though and Sol Nox is an album any Ofermod fan will be pleased with.

Sol Nox is out now through Shadow Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OfermodOfficial
Label: Shadow Records
For fans of: Funeral Mist and Ondskapt
Favorite song: To Dare the Tower

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