Argus Megere – VEII (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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Haunting yet beautiful. That’s the first words that comes into my mouth when listening to Argus Megere’s fourth (three as Argus Megere, one as Argus) full-length album VEII. In all honesty I’d not heard of them before stumbling upon them when browsing through atmospheric black metal music on youtube. The band was created all the way back in 1996 as Argus before changing name to Argus Megere in 2005. This is also, to my knowledge, the very first band I listen to from Romania which I find quite cool (I’ve been meaning to go through a band from each country some day).

Close to 48 minutes long featuring four tracks that’s sure to grab your attention VEII is an album not to take lightly. While listening to it I get a lot of Moonsorrow and especially Falkenbach vibes (due to the vocals) coming from it. It’s basically good atmospheric black metal with some elements that really sticks out (the clocks ringing on Tabla as an example) and they make it mix in well together.

The guitar solo in Umbre din piatra apuse is one of my favorite parts from the whole album and it’s exactly that which makes me pick that song above the rest. Close second I would say is Tabla, yet another class track that’s sure to become many atmospheric black metal fans favorite this year. Hard choice between the two for me really.

All in all this is a good atmospheric black metal album I found today that I had to share with you guys. Argus Megere is an Romanian act more should know about that’s for sure. VEII is out now through Loud Rage Music.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/argusmegere
For fans of: Falkenbach and Moonsorrow
Favorite song: Umbre din piatra apuse

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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

Noumena – Myrrys (Melodic Death Metal)

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When thinking of melodic death metal from Finland I would guess bands such as Amorphis, Insomnium and Children of Bodom are the first ones that comes into your mind. However there is a band that was formed 1998, celebrating 20 years as a band this year, that I think a lot of people miss out on called Noumena. Having not had a single member leaving the lineup since the formation 20 years ago is quite rare and I respect that a lot from them. In 2009 Suvi Uura joined as a vocalist to add a female touch to the music which was first heard on their latest album Death Walks with Me. The album title “Myrrys” (old Finnish) refers to ruckus, tumult or uproar. Which is the emotions Noumena will give the listeners through melancholic Finnish mollie tunes, just like you love it from the Finnish melodeath scene.

What makes Myrrys stick out from the rest of Noumena’s discography is the use of Finnish throughout the album, this is the first time they do that. Reason for not using English on this album is due to the albums lyrical theme, including Finnish nature and cultural heritage, and intimate stories which required the use of Finnish to be expressed the way the band wanted it to. Every single member of Noumena has contributed to the songwriting as well, even the cover art is made by a Finnish artist by the name of Otto Lehtonen. Safe to say this made in Finland all the way through.

If you’re a fan of Finnish melodeath then you will love this. That melancholic feeling, sweet melodic riffs, tempo changes at just the right moments, Suvi’s clean vocals to add more depth to the album (I get Myrkur vibes listening to her) and Antti Haapanen’s growling together in a sweet package will make any melodeath fan happy. Sanansaattaja and Murhehuone are the perfect way to demonstrate the more melancholic side of Noumena where I think Suvi really shines, while tracks like Roihu and Metsän viha will hype you up with the fast riffs and overall tempo of the songs, bringing the more classical Noumena sound. The last two songs on the album is a great display of epic duets between Suvi and Antti. Pedon veri being the most epic song, if I can call it that, on the album. Ending this journey in Finland we have Syvällä vedessä, wrapping it up where Kohtu started. Clocking at almost ten minutes and being melancholic down-tempo this is a song that will bring fort all the emotions on Myrrys. A great way to end this tumult and emotional journey.

As my favorite song I had a really hard time choosing between Sanansaattaja, Murhehuone and Syvällä vedessä. All three portray Noumena of today in a great way and I am sure you will think the same.

Myrrys is released April 28th by Haunted Zoo Productions, an independent record label established by Noumena members. Distribution by Playground Music and Inverse Records. Released in Russia by FONO under the license from Haunted Zoo Productions.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Noumenaband
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/noumenaband
For fans of: Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum
Favorite song: Murhehuone

Fen – Winter (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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Named after a region in England called The Fens, Fen have since their formation in 2006 made a big name for themselves in the atmospheric black metal scene. The band members grew up in this mysterious landscapes, with marshes and wetlands, and this is where they’ve found the inspiration for their music. Winter is the bands fifth full-length release and it’s been three years since their latest masterpiece Carrion Skies.

Fen are one of those bands that brings you epic songs which, more often than not, goes past the ten minute mark. I know this isn’t for everyone just due to the length and you’re probably afraid that you will lose interest halfway through the song. I urge you not to let time be a factor for giving this one a miss, you owe it to yourself to get embraced by this cold and bleak winter that Fen offers you. It’s an album that should be experienced as a whole, which fans of Fen (and quite a few other atmospheric black metal bands) should know by now. It might not be an album where you turn on a song on your way to work which takes 5-10 minutes but see it as an audiovisual journey instead.

The Winter starts somewhat warm and gently. It’s that time of the year where you’re not entirely sure what to wear as the climate hasn’t truly become cold. Then the snapping cold hits and all of a sudden it’s a harsh icy landscape. This is portrayed in the opening song I: (Pathway) as the beginning of Winter is upon us. The songs smoothly transitions on the album, making this an even greater experience to the listener who wants to not only hear but to feel the Winter breeze.

In many ways this is the perfect way to give tribute for the ten years Fen have existed. It brings an interesting concept, with an atmosphere that’s fitting Winter and a journey in mysterious landscapes of darkness and sorrow. This is Fen at it’s finest and you should allow yourself to be absorbed and fully embrace this journey you’re about to take in the cold Winter. It captures the season from start to finish, ending with VI (Sight) that makes you feel that spring might even be coming soon.

Fen’s fifth full-length release Winter is out now through Code666 Records.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fenofficial
For fans of: Agalloch and Alcest
Favorite song: V (Death)

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

Nekrokraft – Will o’ Wisp (Black/Death Metal)

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Nekrokraft is a rather new band being formed in Linköping, Sweden 2012 and got an EP released during the same year, Witches Funeral (Reborn in Fire). Since then the band has gone through a lot of changes, adding new members (from four to five) and changing some (bass and drums). With the changes the band has been ready to work towards releasing their first full-length album named Will o’ Wisp, which came out from the ashes in late 2016.

The band draws a lot of influences from the old school black metal scene from legends such as Emperor and Immortal with a hint of death metal Behemoth and Dissection style. There is much to like on this album, it’s melodic yet punishing and the vocals are just what I am looking for within black metal, angry with hissing shrieks and screams that gives me the chills. Lyrical wise it’s what you expect from a black metal album, occultism but taken from folklore (also a reason the album is named Will o’ Wisp I take it), a concept I like and had a bit different touch to it due to it. All seven tracks on the album are of high quality and I had a really hard time picking my favorite song from the album. Which eventually actually lead to a choosing a song at random from Worship, Hellfire and Armageddon Unleashed.

Only downside of Nekrokraft’s first full-length album is the length of it, clocking 23 minutes. I personally feel anything less than 30 minutes is more of an EP than a full-length album. However you do get 23 minutes of great black/death metal and fans of the dark arts will surely enjoy the will o’ wisp symphony.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nekrokraft
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Nekrokraft
For fans of: Immortal and Emperor
Favorite song: Worship

Forndom – Dauðra Dura (Atmospheric Metal)

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Art. That’s the only word I need to describe Forndom. This is not simply music, this is art. This is expressing emotions and a way of life through sound as well as the artwork and live performances. Let me copy a line taken from the record label Nordvis, one of my favorite labels, “We aim to work with musicians who build their musical creations around old native traditions, folklore & the great outback”. Forndom does exactly that. You might have heard of Wardruna before but you should definitely learn to remember Forndom.

I can’t help but to get taken away by this kind of music. It is so atmospheric and brings harmony to my very soul. I saw Wardruna live a few weeks ago and it was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve ever had in my live. There is something special with the old ways and instruments that sweeps you away to a world long lost to many. The man behind the Forndom project is L. Swärd. Inspired by Scandinavian folklore he has brought forward a masterpiece that will surely calm your spirit and take you into the wild.

Longing for something in the same musical realm as Wardruna? Then Formdom’s Dauðra Dura will a must have.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Forndom
For fans of: Wardruna and Ulver
Favorite song: Svitjod