Ne Obliviscaris – Urn (Extreme Progressive Metal)


I will start by saying Ne Obliviscaris has grown to be one of my favorite bands. I just love their music and it grows on me with each play-through, as a great album should. That being said my expectations of Urn has been through the roof. For those unfamiliar with Ne Obliviscaris I often call them “the Bethoven of metal” or “cultivated metal” as their extreme progressive metal is insanely well played and beautiful. A rather unique sound I would say as the closest I can get is Be’lakor or Persefone but I do find them quite different from Ne Obliviscaris as well. For Urn their sound has evolved even more. It’s beautiful acoustic symphonies and orchestral might goes straight to your soul and leaves it’s mark just to lash out into a flurry of riffs and growls. It’s a thing of beauty you have to experience yourself to even grasp how well made this is.

Everything from the violin, growling, clean singing to the guitar riffs is made for perfection, a symbiosis of metal and classic music unlike any other. It’s rather uncanny what Ne Obliviscaris have managed to create here and I am left here with a hard time finding the words that will give Urn the praise it deserves. Urn is one of the best albums this year and if you do not know about Ne Obliviscaris yet now is the time to get sucked into a whole new world of how metal can be played.

Label: Season of Mist
For fans of: Persefone and Be’lakor
Favorite song: Libera, Pt. 1 – Saturnine Spheres
Score: 5/5


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

Misanthropic Rage – Gates No Longer Shut (Progressive Black Metal)


My first listen to Gates No Longer Shut was an interesting one. I didn’t quite get it at first and thought it wasn’t my kind of music but it grew on me. So much that I had to listen to it again, and again, until eventually I was there. I’d joined that realm I recently saw in a horror movie called Satanic (cool idea but movie was only decent) and Misanthropic Rage had taken me there. Much like the experience I got from experimental and atmospheric black metal acts Eldjudnir and Veilburner gave me last year I find this disturbing and horrifying but yet it draws me in, one playthrough at the time.

It’s not too common I give albums a review from 2016 but this was such an interesting release I just had to share it with you. Every song feels a bit different. Be it the sense of horror, psychedelic or intense evil Misanthropic Rage gives it to you. I don’t think this is an album for everyone but if you did enjoy my reviews of Eldjudnir, Miserist and Veilburner or the more known acts that play something similar like Deathspell Omega and Dodheimsgard then this is right up your alley. Also how many times do you listen to a progressive black metal album right?

Misanthropic Rage’s full-length debut album Gates No Longer Shut is out now through Godz ov War Productions.

Label: Godz ov War Productions
For fans of: Eldjudnir and Veilburner
Favorite song: Into the Crypt


Deity – Deity (Technical Death Metal)


Deity were formed by the duo and long time friends Danny Alessandro and John Massey about 15 years ago (!). They have since then worked on material, letting it grow until they felt it was good enough to be released to the world. Personally I am glad they did as they seem to have unleashed the Deity in a pure form of metal.

The intro is a sweet symphony that doesn’t make you think about death metal at all, since it’s simply beautiful, and I was wondering if I really did listen to death metal act Deity. Beginning of Extinction brings the chaos right to my ears though on song number two and now I feel right at home. Take a bit of Suffocation, smidge of Gorguts and top it off with Death then you got the main influences in the sound of Deity. Lovers of technical riffs, no clean singing and shredding beware as this is an album made for you, the way Deity themselves would like it to sound. The album is filled with great solos and riffs that you can’t stand still on and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this Canadian (again a great techdeath band from Canada) duo live on stage as a supporting act to the likes of Gorguts, Cryptopsy or Archspire. Or why not even do it with other up and coming bands like Samskaras and Fractal Generator. Would be sweet lineups!

I think this album rocks. Anything from the instrumental songs From Which We Came, We Now Return, the acoustic In Time to the shredding tunes of Rituals is a joy for my ears. Favorite tracks on the album being Beginning of Extinction, Rituals and Illuminate the Unwilling.

Deity’s self-titled debut is out June 2nd as a independent release.

For fans of: Suffocation and Gorguts
Favorite song: Beginning of Extinction


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


Fen – Winter (Atmospheric Black Metal)


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.

For fans of: Agalloch and Alcest
Favorite song: V (Death)


Longhouse – II: Vanishing (Doom/Sludge Metal)


Lets bring the tempo down a notch to kick off this week after a few days of aggressive black metal reviews. What I got for you guys today is the doom metal release I’ve enjoyed the most from what 2017 have offered so far. Longhouse is a Canadian band that had a great debut in 2015 with Earth from Fire, now the time is here for their sophomore album II: Vanishing to take their sound even further.

What Longhouse gives to the listener is a great mix of just about everything. There are sludge, doom and progressive influences shining brightly and I can’t help but to look back at one of my favorite albums last year from Khemmis, Hunted, as I give II: Vanishing a spin. Wrenching vocals gets stuck in your head throughout the album that together with the lyrics make this release a bit more spiritual and occult. Before the singing even kicks in though the opening track Hunter’s Moon sets the atmosphere with it’s post-metal gloomy riffs. If that track doesn’t manage to get you in the right mood for a doom/sludge album then I don’t know what will! After that it’s just to sit back, relax and enjoy this very dark trip that Longhouse so kindly offers. You even have some clean doom vocals on The Vigil that makes it a great ending to a great album. It’s with the albums single No Name, No Marker the band really hit their stride though. Here both the song-writing, vocals, riffs and everything else is just in perfect harmony with each other. Knowing that the song is about the horrible acts that took place in Canada where children were abused and died while forced to attend residential schools, leaving them buried with unmarked graves makes it even more powerful. Actually all of the tracks have powerful lyrics, I just find this being extra dark.

There haven’t been too many good doom or sludge metal promos coming my way this year, so I am very happy to dig into this. Fans of Cult of Luna, High on Fire, Khemmis and Neurosis will love this release. Longhouse sophomore album II: Vanishing is out April 14th as a self-release.

For fans of: Cult of Luna and High on Fire
Favorite song: No Name, No Marker