Neck of the Woods – The Passenger (Progressive Death Metal/Metalcore)


Sometimes Spotify really does give me great weekly lists with some new bands and albums I’ve never heard before. This time they pointed me in the direction to Neck of the Woods, a Canadian band which plays a progressive death
metal/metalcore type of music. Think of Misery Signals or August Burns Red doing a co-op project with Dillinger Escape Plan and you’re kinda there. The Passenger is the bands sophomore release and from hearing the opening track Bottom Feeder before I knew I was in for something great.

The progressive elements really does push this albums to great heights. I never get bored and there are so many good riffs and breakdowns on The Passenger it’s almost silly. I haven’t really enjoyed metalcore releases these past years since the genre doesn’t give me anything to enjoy anymore. However once in awhile a band like Neck of the Woods comes along and mixes different elements creating something fresh and new. They got slow paced starts like on Bottom Feeder which eventually turns and produces some metalcore goodness. Nailbiter on the other hand is pedal to the metal from the get go with furious riffs and becomes a favorite of mine, really giving me those August Burns Red vibes. White Coats bass solo is sweet but other than that the song doesn’t quite capture me like Bottom Feeder and Nailbiter did, good song but a bit too slow for me. Open Water is a beautiful passage leading into You’ll Always Look the Same to Me. Initially I found the song a bit too metalcore, less progressive, for my taste but halfway into it they change the pace and I really like it. Making use of the elements I find them sticking out from the rest.

Face of the Villain, oh wow, the start on that features everything I am liking with Neck of the Woods. The bass, the drums, guitar and vocals. Everything is synced well, pushing their sound to new levels and this is the way I want them to sound. Together with Bottom Feeder and Nailbiter it’s definitely the song I will remember from this album. Drift crates another well written intermission until Foothills kicks in. Starts as one of the heavier tracks on the album but eventually slows down and becomes very progressive-sounding like Vattnet. Not a personal favorite of mine but I like that they did a song like this going more all in progressive. The song to end the album, Before I Rest, features another slow progressive start then eventually turn into the August Burns Red-like metalcore sound just to turn it back around. A good ending and one of the better songs on The Passenger.

I have to say I enjoyed my listen of The Passenger. It had its up and downs giving and taking from a wide range of genres but when Neck of the Woods are on form jelling those elements together into one I find them being one of the most interesting bands to follow.

Label: Basick Records
For fans of: August Burns Red and Dillinger Escape Plan
Favorite song: Face of the Villain
Score: 3.5/5


Rapheumets Well – Enders Door (Progressive Death/Black Metal)


Are you ready for a sci-fi concept album? Follow the rogue travler Eryos and how he discovered an artifact that would change his place in cosmos forever. This one hour long journey will leave you wanting more of Eryos and his adventures. Rapheumets Well were formed in 2008, North Carolina USA, after changing name from Blue Man’s God (created 2002). Having had a very wide range of influences on their albums, experimenting in classical, ambience and metal music this band stands out. Enders Door is the bands third release after having told other stories within this multi-verse on Dimensions and The Exile.

One thing is certain when you listen to Rapheumets Well, it’s epic. Much like you find Dimmu Borgir’s symphonic black metal massive and sometimes overwhelms you with their orchestral music Rapheumets Well does the same. Differences are many though. The progressive elements and clean vocals (both female and male) makes you think about The Faceless more than Dimmu Borgir. There is also a lot of death metal influences in the music, still very symphonic, which bands such as Fleshgod Apocalypse are known for. The whole sci-fi take on all this is awesome and at times I think on movies such as Tron or Ghost in the Shell while listening to Enders Door. The different directions the songs take is also what makes Enders Door sick out from the rest. It feels like a movie in musical form, and it’s freaking epic!

I can recommend Rapheumets Well to anyone who is out for something a little bit different. It’s a great concept album with various of influences covering a wide range of genres. I would also love to see this band live, from what I’ve read they seem to make it like a play when performing their music. I can imagine it being a great experience in the veins of what Fleshgod Apocalypse or Carach Angren does.

Rapheumets Well – Enders Door is out May 26th through Test Your Metal Records.

Also with this review I will leave you guys for two weeks. Traveling to Tokyo tomorrow and I will not be reviewing any new albums while there. Hopefully I will get the chance to catch a concert on some of the local bands there though!

For fans of: Dimmu Borgir and The Faceless
Favorite song: Lechery Brought the Darkness

Persefone – Aathma (Progressive Death Metal)


Ah Persefone, a band that I’ve always liked when I want “sofisticated” progressive/technical metal as I like to call it. Plus the fact the have some of the coolest album covers I’ve seen on literally every single album. Andorra’s offering to the metal world Persefone now gives us Aathma, the bands 5th release since they formed in 2001.

You are instantly hit with sweet guitar solos and riffs that will make you blush like if your crush were singing to you from the guitar sound. I know a lot of my readers aren’t fans of clean singing but how can you not like Persefone when musically everything just clicks. Aathma is as much as an outer body experience as it is progressive death metal madness.

The fun thing with Aathma is how the tracks leads up to one another and you can feel the emotions flow through this album. Opening songs are instrumental and will guide you through the journey to come. Then comes Prison Skin and you’re left numb. After that you just sit down and relax, take it all in as I am sure Persefone fans know by now. You enter such a calm and blissful place in your mind while listening to Persefone it’s a nice change from the worlds usual sorrow and death. Let go of anger, fear and guilt.

If you were to listen to only a few tracks on this album then do take Aathma Part I to IV. The ending of this album is superb and could easily be an EP by itself (actually looking at metal archives they have it down as a 20 minute long track). Lucky enough it’s on Aathma and the one hour soul searching experience is over in a great fashion. Fans of Persefone don’t worry Aathma is another hit from Andorra’s finest, granted hard to top Spiritual Migration as that’s one of the best progressive albums released in my opinion but still an insanly good album. If this was a release from a band which didn’t have such a high average level then it would be named progressive album of the year right away. Question is readers, are you ready to transcend?

Persefone – Aathma is out now through ViciSolum Productions.

For fans of: Ne Obliviscaris and Edge of Sanity
Favorite song: Aathma Part I-IV


Morgue – Sense of Fear (Death Metal)


Morgue from Israel is a band not many might have heard of but they are actually a piece of history being active between 1990-1994 (releasing a demo during this time), making them one of the very first metal bands from Israel still active that I know of (only Salem seems to be older dating back to 1985). The band reformed in 2014 and Sense of Fear is the first album the band has released since their comeback. What’s also special about the band is that it features Sami Bachar on vocals. Bachar was an original member of the famous progressive band Orphaned Land, back then he was on drum duty.

Sense of Fear features five tracks and is 24 minutes of death metal madness with a progressive and oriental touch. There are elements on some songs that takes me to the early stages of Orphaned Land due to that progressive and oriental feeling while yet keeping it dark and heavy. Sense of Fear also feature Orphaned Lands vocalist Kobi Farhi as a guest appearance, making the links between the bands even bigger.

Ve Hamaskilim Enon Heikhalin (Intro) starts with oriental chants leading into Slaughter of Thousands which got some classic old school death metal riffs and vocals going. Perfect for fans of early Entombed or Dismember. The albums title track Sense of Fear brings in the prog and oriental music into the mix which makes it stick out from the classic death metal and get Morgue their more unique sound to it. While on Free from Perfect the band brings more of the death metal solos and grove. The Evidence on Stones (Deny the Pain) keeps this going and ends Sense of Fire with a bang.

Sense of Fear is a great comeback from Morgue, who not only brings you old school death metal but with a oriental and progressive twist to it that will surely surprise a few of you. Sense of Fear is out now as an independent release.

For fans of: Entombed and Orphaned Land
Favorite song: Sense of Fear


Swine Overlord – Entheogenesis (Progressive Brutal Death Metal)


What’s this, progressive brutal death metal? Does that even exist? Apparently it does and it’s the American duo Will Peplinski and Anthony Viscusi who’s made something rather unique and named it, as awesome as it is, Swine Overlord. Entheogenesis is the bands second full-length actually as the band released Parables of Umbral Transcendence in 2014. Since then the band has taken the song-writing even further and Entheogenesis is a concept album “which offers a unique look at the development of the human psyche through the lens of western religion and eastern spirituality” as stated on their store. The album cover is stunning and is created by Chinese artist Yang Guang (Equilibrium, Putridity, Inanimate Existence) who’s made one of his best works as of yet.

I was unsure what to expect from this album as I’d never heard of this cross-over of genres before. After listening to Entheogenesis though I just want more of this. Think Beyond Creation molded with Black Crown Initiate on speed and you’re halfway there. This is great. The song-writing and religious horror-story filled with gore is crazy epic and Swine Overlord are great at changing the tempo throughout the whole album. The instrumental intermissions, as you can call it, in the album works great to add extra prog to the party (I: The Creator and Riverchrist for example). Meld it all together and you have yourself an album that stands out and is beautiful yet sick and brutal. Now excuse me while I dig into all of Swine Overlord’s discography while I keep on telling you how great they are.

For fans of: Decimated Humans and Beyond Creation
Favorite song: Procreating the Offspring of Gods and Men


In Mourning – Afterglow (Progressive/Melodic Death Metal)


The Swedish doom veterans In Mourning have had an interesting discography. At first they only released demos until they eventually got it all going full scale and released their first full-length in 2008. Since then the band went from a release every second year, up until the last album The Weight of Oceans and we have been waiting long four years for the Afterglow. It is here now though so time to dig in!

The four years seems to have done In Mourning good as the opening song Fire and Ocean reels you right into their oceanic dreams, and oh how sweet it is. Since The Weight of Oceans release In Mourning has taking in the drummer Daniel Liljekvist, which many of you have probably heard during his years in the legendary band Katatonia. Liljekvist is doing a superb job on Afterglow, as expected, and adding the three guitarists to the mix Tobias Netzell, Björn Petterson and Tim Nedergård then you got yourself a riffing solo machine that’s well oiled and has that blasting punch to it from the drums.

If you’re a fan of the older Opeth or bands such as Insomnium and Swallow the Sun then In Mourning will be exactly what you are looking for.

For fans of: Opeth and Insomnium
Favorit song: Fire And Ocean


Dischordia – Thanatopsis (Progressive Death Metal)


Some might debate if Dischordia is technical death metal or progressive. It is hard to tell at times however I do feel Dischordia is more towards the progressive side like The Faceless, or even djent masters Meshuggah than lets say Archspire. A bit slower, less brutal with more riff and djent based music for the most part. There are segments that leans more towards the faster brutal tech death sound though. Thanatopsis is my first contact with Dischordia and after hearing James Dorton (Black Crown Initiate) would feature on the album I knew that something special is going on at the Dischordia camp.

James does add some punch to the song The Ruin but I am glad to say that the band stands perfectly fine on their own feet, as it isn’t even the best song on the album. Thanatopsis II: The Ruin is a good song but songs like Thanatopsis II: The Road, The Curator and Bone Hive are masterpieces with djent, tech death and progressive elements to them. Hard to not groove to those bad boys.

Want a good mix of Meshuggah and The Faceless I would recommend giving Dischordia a try.

For fans of: The Faceless and Meshuggah
Favorite song: Thanatopsis II: The Road