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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Eldjudnir – Eldjudnir (Atmospheric Black Metal)

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The selftitled album by Eldjudnir is the bands second full-length and their follow-up of Angrboða. Coming from Denmark, playing black metal and writing music for the stories from Norse Mythology this is something that is right up my alley. I mean Norse Mythology, black metal done by Scandinavians, what can go wrong?

What hits me first on Hræsvelgr is the bass play that really sticks out, add the sound of the drums and guitar then it almost sound like a diabolical jazz session. Very different but that’s also what makes Eldjudnir stand out, either you get it or you don’t. The unsettling atmosphere and eerie clean vocals fused with jazz is definitely something you have to be a fan of to experience Eldjudnir the right way. I have to say I was not sold on Eldjudnir at first but after giving the album a few listens it grew on me. This is rather complex music, unique and interesting that you need to give yourself time to understand. I find that really cool that even today you can find unique sounding bands such as Eldjudnir.

So where would I put this album? Hit or miss? Well it’s really hard to rate but I do think everyone should give this album a try. Because I am quite sure this will be an new experience for you just like it was to me.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Eldjudnir
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Eldjudnir
For fans of: Panopticon and Ved Buens Ende
Favorite song: Gagnråd

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

Waldgeflüster – Ruinen (Black Metal)

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One of Germany’s pride within the black metal scene Waldgeflüster is back with their fourth full-length album Ruinen. The somewhat funny band name translates as “Forest Whispers”. Which goes well along their lyrical theme about nature. Ruinen is solely in German and will be hard to understand for most (just like Moonsorrow can be for anyone who isn’t from Finland) but Ruinen is one of those albums were you can just be taken in by the atmosphere of the music.

Not only does the name fit their music but as does the album cover, which has to be one of the best ones this year. It captures the essence of the bands work and just looking at it you can tell what you are about to experience. I wish I knew German before starting to listen to this as I would of course want to go in depth on the song-writing, as I am sure they are wonderful, but I can’t. Ruinenfelder is a great example on what feels like it has such powerful lyrics going but I just can’t understand them, which in a way makes me not being able to review his album as I would have liked to. As stated before though the atmosphere reel you in and the musicianship is great so you can just dig to the guitar riffs and still be satisfied even if you got no idea what they sing about (but you might get an idea).

Only real downside I have for this album is the length of the songs. Most of them are around 10 minutes long and to get the listener committed to the song for that long you need something extra, which they sure managed to do on for example Trümmerfestung. Which for me is the best track on the album but sadly not all songs keeps me as engaged as that one. Sometimes less is more but that’s just my personal preference. All in the all album is a good listen and if you know German I am sure you will get an even better experience than I did.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BlackMetalWaldgefluester
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/_waldgefluester
For fans of: Saor and Panopticon
Favorite song: Trümmerfestung