Album Review – Depressed Mode / Decade of Silence (2022)

One of the most interesting names of the underground Finnish scene returns to action after almost 13 years with a brand new album of stunning and symphonic Doom Metal.

Established in Pori, a city and municipality on the west coast of Finland, in 2005 by vocalist and composer Otto Salonen, the amazing Symphonic Death/Doom Metal act known as Depressed Mode is set to release their long-awaited third full-length album Decade of Silence, almost 13 years after ..for Death.., released in 2009. Recorded by the band’s guitarist Teemu Heinola and the aforementioned Otto Salonen at Ansa Studio, mixed by the same Teemu, and mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios, Decade of Silence will bring a humungous dosage of symphony and doom to your avid ears, showcasing all the talent and passion for heavy music by Otto and Teemu together with their bandmates Henri Hakala on bass and Iiro Aittokoski on drums.

Death Walks Among Us is sinister and obscure from the very first second, with the orchestrations by Otto giving it a cinematic vibe while his deep guttural will haunt your damned souls for all eternity, all spiced up by the vicious riffs by Teemu. Then featuring Veronica Bordacchini of Fleshgod Apocalypse as a guest vocalist, Endless November starts in the most lugubrious way possible, evolving into a sluggish, phantasmagorical Doom Metal song with Blackened Doom nuances, not to mention all symphonic elements sound and feel majestic; whereas back to a heavier and more symphonic mode it’s time for Iiro to dictate the pace with his pounding drums in Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind, featuring a guest guitar solo by Jarkko Kokko of Mors Principium Est. Veronica is back in As the Light Dims, another bold, multi-layered creation by Depressed Mode that starts in a serene way to the sounds of the piano and cello, offering our ears nine nocturnal minutes of stunning Doom Metal.

Just as imposing and grim as its predecessors,  Parasites of Mind explodes into a brutal fusion of Symphonic and Death Metal led by the venomous riffs by Teemu and the inhumane roars by Otto, smashing your cranial skull without a single drop of mercy, whereas drinking from the darkest fountain of Doom Metal you can think of, Kaamos (Land of Winter) brings forward the pounding beats by Iiro and the crushing riffs by Teemu, penetrating deep inside your soul while more of their sluggish, grim sounds permeate the air in Serpents, with sheer darkness flowing from both Otto’s vocals and Henri’s hammering bass. Eternal Darkness is another stunning creation featuring Veronica’s mesmerizing vocals, with the orchestrations by Otto sounding beautifully haunting while Iiro pulverizes his drums in a lesson in Symphonic Doom Metal. Finally, prepare your senses for 12 minutes of atmospheric passages, darkened skies and endless heaviness in the form of Aeternus, where Otto’s deep guttural brings a touch of Blackened Doom to the overall result, flowing darkly until its climatic and Stygian ending.

In a nutshell, the guys from Depressed Mode definitely know how to blend the heaviness of Doom Metal with the finesse of symphonic and orchestral music, and Decade of Silence is not only the perfect representation of that stunning fusion of sounds, but also a beyond strong comeback by those Finnish metallers. Hence, don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram to know more about their music, to stream all of their wicked creations on Spotify, and of course to purchase Decade of Silence from the band’s own BandCamp page or from the Inverse Records webstore sooner than you can say “doom”. After over a decade of silence it’s a pleasure to witness the return of such interesting name of the underground Finnish scene, and let’s hope that we don’t need to wait another ten years to listen to more of their awesome music.

Best moments of the album: Endless November, Eternal Darkness and Aeternus.

Worst moments of the album: Serpents.

Released in 2022 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Death Walks Among Us 5:53
2. Endless November 7:43
3. Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind 6:56
4. As the Light Dims 8:58
5. Parasites of Mind 6:39
6. Kaamos (Land of Winter) 6:16
7. Serpents 5:50
8. Eternal Darkness 5:46
9. Aeternus 12:09

Band members
Otto Salonen – vocals, orchestrations
Teemu Heinola – guitars
Henri Hakala – bass
Iiro Aittokoski – drums

Guest musicians
Veronica Bordacchini – vocals on “Endless November”, “As the Light Dims” and “Eternal Darkness”
Jarkko Kokko – lead guitars on “Dissociation of the Extinguished Mind”

Album Review – Cauchemar / Rosa Mystica (2022)

Behold the fully realized expression of this French-Canadian band’s signature sound of somber traditional doom they have been perfecting since their inception.

Rising from their moss-covered crypt, French-Canadian Heavy/Doom Metal act Cauchemar is back with their third full-length opus, darkly titled Rosa Mystica, the band’s first offering since the 2019 compilation Trapped Under Ice. Meticulously composed and rehearsed to perfection, recorded at No Man’s Land Studio, and displaying a stylish cover art by Russian artist Valeria Sakseeva, the album is a fully realized expression of Cauchemar’s signature sound of somber traditional doom the band has been perfecting since their inception in 2007 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, delivered with the vigor of Heavy Metal. The atmosphere on Rosa Mystica is spacious and rustic, gilded by the warm glow of stained-glass luminescence, all carefully brought into being by frontwoman Annick Giroux and her French-language incantations, guitarist François Patry and his austere muscular riffs, and bassist Andres Arango and drummer Joel Ladouceur’s vaulted geometry.

An atmospheric, grim intro to the acoustic guitars by François kicks off the old school opening song Jour de colère (or “day of wrath” in English) while Andres and Joel generate a rumbling ambience with their respective bass and drums, offering Annick all she needs to powerfully shine on vocals, whereas blending the epicness of classic Heavy Metal with the obscurity of Doom Metal the quartet offers us all the excellent Rouge sang (“blood red”), with Annick taking the lead with her solid vocals while François keep extracting fire from his riffs. Leaning towards pure Doom Metal, Notre-Dame-sous-Terre (“Notre-Dame-under-Earth”) is a Stygian composition by Cauchemar with Joel delivering those sluggish beats we love so much, and more of the blazing riffs and solos by François embellish the airwaves in Danger de nuit (“danger at night”), accompanied by the low-tuned bass by Andres in a thrilling hybrid of Heavy and Doom Metal with classic Hard Rock.

The title-track Rosa mystica brings to our ears another round of their cryptic Doom Metal spearheaded by the slow and steady drums by Joel. Needless to say, the guitar lines by François are a thing of beauty, whereas adding elements from Speed and Thrash Metal to their core sonority we’re treated to the high-octane aria Le tombeau de l’aube (“the tomb of dawn”), showcasing another spot-on performance by Joel on drums. Volcan (“volcano”), featuring a guest guitar solo by Alan Jones, is an old school Doom Metal chant with Blackened Doom nuances slightly less visceral than its predecessors but still very enjoyable; and last but not least, François’ acoustic guitars and the low-tuned bass by Andres kick off the melancholic La sorcière (“the witch”), offering our ears six minutes of mesmerizing doom enhanced by a guest guitar solo by Chany Pilote that puts a beyond climatic ending to the album.

Annick and her henchmen are waiting for your feedback on their music on Facebook and on Instagram, and of course if you want to show your total support to the Canadian underground you can purchase a copy of Rosa Mystica from the band’s own BandCamp page, or if you’re in Canada, in the United States or other non-EU country you can also get the album from the Temple of Mystery webstore as a CD, an LP or as a very special gold “Die Hard” version with a 4-page insert, a woven patch, a sticker and an 11″ x 17″ A3 poster, as well as from Record Shop X. In other words, let the atmospheric music found in Rosa Mystica penetrate deep inside your soul, keeping the fires of underground doom burning bright thanks to the talent and hard work of one of the torchbearers of the Québécoise scene.

Best moments of the album: Rouge sang, Danger de nuit and Le tombeau de l’aube.

Worst moments of the album: Volcan.

Released in 2022 Temple of Mystery

Track listing
1. Jour de colère 6:18
2. Rouge sang 3:11
3. Notre-Dame-sous-Terre 5:49
4. Danger de nuit 4:51
5. Rosa mystica 5:28
6. Le tombeau de l’aube 2:50
7. Volcan 5:22
8. La sorcière 6:07

Band members
Annick Giroux – vocals
François Patry – guitars
Andres Arango – bass
Joel Ladouceur – drums

Guest musicians
Alan Jones – guitar solo on “Volcan”
Chany Pilote – guitar solo on “La sorcière”

Album Review – Dark Funeral / We Are The Apocalypse (2022)

One of the pillars of Swedish Black Metal returns from the underworld with a new opus to prove once and for all that they’re the apocalypse.

The year of 1993 was when it all began, when Lord Ahriman and Blackmoon founded the infernal war machine we now know as Stockholm, Sweden-based Dark Funeral, one of the most intense and prominent Black Metal acts ever. Now in 2022, vocalist Heljarmadr, guitarists Lord Ahriman and Chaq Mol, bassist Adra Melek and drummer Jalomaah are back from the underworld with another opus of sheer obscurity and hatred, beautifully entitled We Are The Apocalypse. Mixed by Daniel Bergstrand at Dugout Productions, mastered by Paul Logus at PLX Mastering, and displaying a devilish artwork by by Marcelo Vasco, the band’s long-awaited seventh full-length album is a lecture in Swedish Black Metal not recommended for the lighthearted, proving why the band has been haunting our damned souls for almost three decades.

The evil guitars by Lord Ahriman and Chaq Mol will pierce your minds in the infernal opening tune Nightfall, a classic Scandinavian Black Metal onrush with no artificial elements, only our good old darkness and hatred, while the tribal beats by Jalomaah ignite the Stygian aria Let The Devil In, with Heljarmadr vociferating the song’s wicked words rabidly (“I take a deep, good look inside myself / I open up the gates to let the Devil in / He’s riding on the shadow of my soul / And everywhere I go, he’ll be there walking beside me”). Then get ready to be pulverized by Dark Funeral in When Our Vengeance Is Done, a fast, furious and demented creation by the band showcasing those old school Black Metal riffs we all love so much, whereas Nosferatu carries a beautiful name for another blackened sonic attack by the quintet, with Jalomaah being on fire behind his drums with both his rhythmic and demented beats.

Slowing things down a bit it’s time for the Blackened Doom-infused chant When I’m Gone, perfect for the darkest days of your useless lives, with Adra and Jalomaah making our heads tremble to the sound of their respective bass and drums. Their evil sounds keep permeating the atmosphere in Beyond The Grave, with Jalomaah’s hellish blast beast providing Heljarmadr all he needs to growl like a creature from the underworld. A Beast To Praise brings forward absolutely dark, psychological lyrics barked by Heljarmadr (“In solitude I am talking to ghosts / And while the netherworld is being ripped open wide / My human flesh is still keeping me / Between these walls, and I am eager to die”) while Lord Ahriman and Chaq Mol slash our senses with their otherworldly riffs in a lecture in Black Metal; whereas cryptic guitar lines kick off their second to last breath of obscurity titled Leviathan, not as inspiring nor as visceral as the other songs form the album, albeit still extremely violent. And last but not least, it’s time for one final explosion of pure Black Metal in the form of We Are The Apocalypse, with the demolishing drums by Jalomaah walking hand in hand with the strident riffage by the band’s guitar duo.

Such beast of an album can be enjoyed in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, but if I were you I would certainly purchase your favorite version of this devilish masterpiece by clicking HERE. We Are The Apocalypse, which will undoubtedly feature among the best metal albums of the year in countless lists from all over the world, has no artificial elements added to it, just the wrath of five insanely talented Swedish black metallers who remain loyal to the foundations of the genre even after so many years on the road. Hence, don’t forget to follow Dark Funeral on Facebook and on Instagram, and to subscribe to their official YouTube channel for more of their disturbing Black Metal. Because you know, when it comes to Black Metal, Dark Funeral are indeed the apocalypse.

Best moments of the album: Nightfall, When Our Vengeance Is Done, Beyond The Grave and A Beast To Praise.

Worst moments of the album: Leviathan.

Released in 2022 Century Media

Track listing
1. Nightfall 5:13
2. Let The Devil In 4:40
3. When Our Vengeance Is Done 4:20
4. Nosferatu 4:41
5. When I’m Gone 5:46
6. Beyond The Grave 5:08
7. A Beast To Praise 4:49
8. Leviathan 4:34
9. We Are The Apocalypse 4:33

Band members
Heljarmadr – vocals
Lord Ahriman – guitars
Chaq Mol – guitars
Adra Melek – bass
Jalomaah – drums

Album Review – Sullen Guest / Phase EP (2022)

Lithuania’s own Death and Doom Metal ambassadors will darken your heart and soul once again with their new EP, inspired by the five psychological stages of grief.

Vilnius, Lithuania-based Death and Doom Metal ambassadors Sullen Guest are ready to strike again with a brand new concept EP, titled Phase, the follow-up to their awesome 2021 opus Chapter III. Inspired by the idea that every person is forced to go through the five primary feelings or five psychological stages of grief, Phase beautifully showcases all the passion and focus that vocalist and guitarist Inanitas, guitarist Tenebra, bassist Mortem and drummer Doloribus put in the making of the album, with each song having its own mood, melody and pace, turning the EP into a must-listen for admirers of the melancholy crafted by renowned acts such as Paradise Lost, Swallow The Sun and Katatonia.

The visceral roars by Inanitas together with his and Tenebra’s raw, dirty riffs create a massive wall of sounds in Come With Me, a vicious Doom Metal feast where Doloribus crushes his drums nonstop supported by the pounding bass by Mortem, darkening our hearts for all eternity; whereas Voice Of The Subconscious begins in an absolutely grim and melancholic mode, living up to the legacy of classic doom while Inanitas exhales anguish and despair through his venomous growls in paradox with the song’s ethereal backing vocals. Furthermore, their guitars will pierce your minds mercilessly  in the name of darkness, and the fires of Death Metal and Blackened Doom burn in perfect sync in Assent, with the hammering, sluggish beats by Doloribus dictating the song’s lugubrious pace while the melodic riffage by Inanitas and Tenebra will put you in a damned trance until the song’s somber ending. In addition, if you go for the physical copy of the EP, you’ll be treated to instrumental versions of all three songs which contain some additional riffs and melodies to make them even more interesting and engaging.

You can put your hands of doom on Phase by purchasing it directly from Sullen Guest’s BandCamp page or from Apple Music really soon, and if you want to show your support to those Lithuanian musicians before the EP sees the light of day (or maybe I should say the dark of night) you should follow them on Facebook and on Instagram for news, tour dates and other nice-to-know information about the band, and also stream their music on YouTube and on Spotify. Phase will certainly reach the deepest corners inside your heart, carving the stylish hybrid of Death and Doom Metal by Sullen Guest on your soul and, consequently, taking you on a one-way journey into darkness exactly the way we like it in extreme music.

Best moments of the album: Voice Of The Subconscious.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Come With Me 6:54
2. Voice Of The Subconscious 9:26
3. Assent 6:50

Physical CD bonus tracks
4. Come With Me (Instrumental) 6:54
5. Voice Of The Subconscious (Instrumental) 9:26
6. Assent (Instrumental) 6:50

Band members
Inanitas – XII – vocals, guitar
Tenebra – I – guitar
Mortem – XIV – bass
Doloribus – XI – drums

Album Review – 1914 / Where Fear and Weapons Meet (2021)

Ukraine’s own doom infantry is back into the battlefield with another masterpiece, telling the gruesome tales of World War I, its soldiers’ fate, their death, fear and feats to be never forgotten.

Lviv, Ukraine-based Blackened Death/Doom Metal offensive 1914 continues to reflect the gruesome tales of World War I, its soldiers’ fate, their death, fear and feats to be never forgotten, unleashing upon humanity their superb new opus entitled Where Fear and Weapons Meet, comprised of eleven tracks of pure historic harshness following up to the band’s sophomore album The Blind Leading the Blind and their debut effort Eschatology of War. Unlike their previous works, Where Fear and Weapons Meet is not about death, but about life, as most of the heroes and protagonists in the songs survived war, became heroes and finally returned home, with even the album cover emphasizing this by depicting an injured, shell-shocked and bleeding sole survivor of a shield attack holding his hand out to death, praying in agony, but death does not take him away. Furthermore, the album begins in Serbia and continues on the first track from the prospective of Gavrilo Princip, who assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on June 28, 1914 in Sarajevo and caused the outbreak of World War I, all masterfully embraced by the massive fusion of sludge, death and doom sounds crafted by vocalist Ditmar Kumarberg, guitarists Liam Fessen and Vitalis Winkelhock, bassist Armin von Heinessen and drummer Rusty Potoplacht.

As expected the band kicks things off with their trademark intro War In, this time showcasing the original of the most famous Serbian song of the Great War period, “Tamo Daleko”, setting the stage for 1914 to crush our senses with FN .380 ACP#19074, with Rusty sounding infernal and ruthless on drums while Liam and Vitalis deliver endless electricity and heaviness through their wicked riffage. What a bestial start to the album, I might say, followed by Vimy Ridge (In Memory of Filip Konowal), offering us all another round of their WWI-inspired doomed lyrics growled by Ditmar (“Things didn’t go down as expected / Hill 145, ill-fated Vimy Ridge. / We are entrenched in mud as wild hogs, my 47th Battalion / A small wooded knoll we called “the Pimple” 2 miles in front of us. / We need to capture the machine gun nests, each was heavily defended”) in a demonic display of Ukrainian Sludge, Death and Doom Metal. Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines) describes the terrible events of the Battle of the Messines Ridge during June 7-14, 1917 in Belgium, one of the most insane episodes of the Great War, while musically speaking you better get ready for another multi-layered wall of sounds spearheaded by Rusty’s venomous blast beats and all the symphonic, cinematic background sounds; and continuing their path of doom and devastation we face Don’t Tread on Me (Harlem Hellfighters), where the sound of the guitars by Liam and Vitalis is phenomenal, not to mention the thunderous bass by Armin, whereas featuring Ukrainian country and folk musician, singer and songwriter Sasha Boole, Coward is very unique and distinct form the rest of the album, with the final result being really entertaining.

…And a Cross Now Marks His Place brings forward an amazing and brutal vocal duet between Ditmar and guest Nick Holmes (Paradise Lost), resulting in a lecture in old school Doom Metal that will inspire you to crack your neck headbanging, followed by Corps d’autos-canons-mitrailleuses (A.C.M), where a wicked intro quickly morphs into a Blackened Doom feast showcasing the band’s trademark warlike words (“Hold the line, Minerva will cover us / The Hotchkiss machine gun poured lead in all directions / Send our messages to all boches – We will avenge for the Belgium! / 16 of us were killed in action, / 16 of us in this Galizian sludge / They called home”). In Mit Gott für König und Vaterland we’re treated to five minutes of obscurity, brutality and fear in the form of ass-kicking Doom and Death Metal led by the demented growls by Ditmar; whereas the sound of bagpipes will penetrate deep inside your mind before 1914 come crushing like a war tank in their version for Eric Bogle’s The Green Fields of France (No Man’s Land), which original version can be appreciated HERE, an impressive rendition where Liam and Vitalis are on absolute fire with their unstoppable riffs, not to mention the song’s demonic, hellish ending, flowing into War Out, putting a climatic and stylish conclusion to their sonic battle.

It’s time to head into the battlefield together with the unstoppable troopers of 1914, and in order to do so you can enjoy the album in full on YouTube and on Spotify, follow the band on Facebook and on Instagram for tour dates and other nice-to-know information about them, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their austere music, and above all that, purchase your favorite version of the stunning Where Fear and Weapons Meet by clicking HERE. This masterpiece is indeed another heavily intense and deep-reaching output that will grant 1914 even higher appreciation than the five-piece is already credited with, and I must say that after such powerful and bold album the band has gone beyond the underground barrier and can now be considered one of the torchbearers of warlike doom worldwide. In other words, the Great War lives on, mainly thanks to the brilliant job done by the best Ukrainian metal band of all time.

Best moments of the album: Vimy Ridge (In Memory of Filip Konowal), Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines), …And a Cross Now Marks His Place and The Green Fields of France (No Man’s Land, Eric Bogle cover).

Worst moments of the album: Absolutely none.

Released in 2021 Napalm Records

Track listing
1. War In 1:11
2. FN .380 ACP#19074 5:54
3. Vimy Ridge (In Memory of Filip Konowal) 5:11
4. Pillars of Fire (The Battle of Messines) 7:04
5. Don’t Tread on Me (Harlem Hellfighters) 7:54
6. Coward (ft. Sasha Boole) 2:55
7. …And a Cross Now Marks His Place (ft. Nick Holmes) 7:29
8. Corps d’autos-canons-mitrailleuses (A.C.M) 7:54
9. Mit Gott für König und Vaterland 5:18
10. The Green Fields of France (No Man’s Land, Eric Bogle cover) 10:57
11. War Out 1:40

Band members
2.Division, Infanterie-Regiment Nr.147, Oberleutnant – Ditmar Kumarberg – vocals
37.Division, Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr.73, Wachtmiester – Liam Fessen – guitar
5.Division, Ulanen-Regiment Nr.3, Sergeanten – Vitalis Winkelhock – guitar
9.Division, Grenadier-Regiment Nr.7, Unteroffiziere – Armin von Heinessen – bass
33.Division, 7.Thueringisches Infanterie-Regiment Nr.96, Gefreite – Rusty Potoplacht – drums

Guest musician
Nick Holmes – vocals on “…And a Cross Now Marks His Place”
Sasha Boole – vocals on “Coward”

Album Review – Serpentrance / Akra Tapeinosis (2021)

This infernal Russian Sepulchral Death Metal horde comes ripping with their debut full-length opus, offering us all their raw and vile view of “the Utmost Humiliation”.

3.5rating

serpentrance-akra-tapeinosis-2021Recorded, mixed and mastered by the band’s own guitarist Spīritō Destitutus in the desolate temples of doom, and displaying a beyond blasphemous artwork by the band’s own vocalist Morkh at Nether Temple Design, the excellent Akra Tapeinosis (or “the Utmost Humiliation”), is not only the debut full-length opus by Russian horde Serpentrance and the follow-up to their 2015 EP The Besieged Sanctum, but also a lesson in Black, Death and Doom Metal by this uncanny entity, or as the band itself likes to label their own sound, a fulminating exhibit of “Sepulchral Death Metal”. Formed in 2014, the band currently comprised of the aforementioned Morkh and Spīritō Destitutus together with bassist HTM and drummer Noersyl Skept is ready to darken the hearts of the unbelievers with their unique style and otherworldly sounds, proving once again why Russia is the go-to place for the most disturbing forms of extreme music you can think of.

Gregorian vociferations permeate the air in the Stygian opening tune Vomit & Myrrh, exploding into a primeval fusion of Black and Doom Metal that will haunt the souls of the lighthearted where Morkh sounds like a creature from the underworld on vocals, while Noersyl Skept hammers his drums in great fashion; followed by Clothed in Abomination, with its darkly poetic words (“Cathedrals howling in awe / The old woman of apocalypse awakes / To feed the hunger of the devoted ones / By the coffins of the blessed tree”) being beautifully complemented by a raw, sluggish sonority. Furthermore, the riffs by Spīritō Destitutus exhale pure sulfur, supported by the menacing bass by HTM in an ode to Blackened Doom. And Spīritō Destitutus keeps slashing his stringed axe with tons of hatred and obscurity in The Tarnished Shrines of God, another venomous tune by Serpentrance where the deep guttural growling by Morkh will penetrate deep inside your psyche and drag you into pitch black darkness for all eternity.

After such intense and bold display of damnation and hatred, get ready for over 11 minutes of a demented hybrid of Black, Death and Doom Metal by the quartet spearheaded by the demonic riffage by Spīritō Destitutus and the thunderous drums by Noersyl Skept entitled Underneath Babylon, not to mention how vile Morkh’s roars sound and feel in a lecture in sheer doom for admirers of the most sulfurous side of music. And last but not least, we’re treated to the superb The Black Dawn of Sophia, offering our avid ears one final round of Serpentrance’s wicked lyrics (“Man, hast thou felt the rising winds of death / Howling among these ancient marble walls? / There, below, crawling the procession / Groveling beneath the corroding sun”) to close the album on a high and infernal note. Put differently, it’s a flawless, neck-breaking aria that positions the band as one of the most interesting names of the Russian underground scene, ending the album on an absolutely cadaverous vibe.

serpentrance-2021If you think you can endure sheer darkness in the form of the Sepulchral Death Metal blasted by Serpentrance, you can stream the full album on YouTube, and in case you survive that metallic onslaught you can join Serpentrance’s horde by following them on Facebook and getting to know more about the band, their tour dates and their plans for the future. And above all that, of course, don’t forget to purchase a copy of Akra Tapeinosis from the Godz ov War Productions’ BandCamp page or webstore in CD, LP or cassette formats, showing your true love and admiration for sick and impious doom. Serpentrance are just starting in their grim and sulfurous career, and Akra Tapeinosis is the undisputed statement that they’re indeed following the right (and by that I mean infernal) path to conquer the world of extreme music in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Vomit & Myrrh and The Black Dawn of Sophia.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Godz ov War Productions

Track listing  
1. Vomit & Myrrh 7:34
2. Clothed in Abomination 7:38
3. The Tarnished Shrines of God 7:14
4. Underneath Babylon 11:35
5. The Black Dawn of Sophia 9:10

Band members
Morkh – vocals
Spīritō Destitutus – guitars
HTM – bass
Noersyl Skept – drums

Album Review – Arcane Marrow / The Elders Present To Me (2021)

This uncanny Tennessee-based horde is ready to darken the skies with their debut opus of raw, primordial, cave-dwelling Black Metal, bringing to our ears six blistering songs harkening back to ancient times before the Old Gods were born.

3.5rating

arcane-marrow-the-elders-present-to-me-2021Labeling their own sound as “raw, primordial, cave-dwelling Black Metal”, the mysterious Tennessee, United States-based entity that goes by the straightforward name of Arcane Marrow has just unleashed upon humanity their debut opus, beautifully titled The Elders Present To Me. Featuring six blistering songs harkening back to ancient times before the Old Gods were born, The Elders Present To Me will please all fans of primeval Scandinavian extreme music the likes of Mayhem and Immortal, crushing our souls and minds mercilessly like insignificant insects and, consequently, dragging us all into a Black Metal void for all eternity.

Like a demonic creature arising from the underworld, Arcane Marrow begin their Stygian Black Metal attack in Nocturnal Neanderthal Mysticism, showcasing infernal, old school riffs boosted by those vicious blast beats only classic Black Metal can provide us, not to mention the hellish vociferations that will certainly disturb your peace of mind. Closing your eyes and sensing Arcane Marrow’s darkness and rawness is a thing of beauty, and that’s exactly what they offer us all in Glacial Tears Flood the Primeval Plains, with the strident, piercing sound of their guitars slashing our senses accompanied by their inhumane roars and gnarls, resulting in a lesson in old school Black Metal; and get ready for nine minutes of truly disturbing sounds not recommended for the lighthearted in the form of Before the First Notions of God, a bestial and extremely raw creation by this uncanny entity from Tennessee spiced up by a sick guitar solo and the endless screeches and screams flowing throughout the entire song.

If you thought the first half of the album was infernal, be prepared for seven minutes of absolute obscurity to the sound of the title-track The Elders Present to Me, presenting hints of Blackened Doom to make things even more sinister while once again bringing forward all elements we love in raw Black Metal, in special its vicious growling. Then a beyond melancholic and grim start will embrace our damned souls in the nine-minute aria The Dismal Woods Receive Me, exploding into sheer madness and violence to the sound of their crushing drums and razor-edged riffage, and last but not least, closing such intense album we have All Enveloping Black Harmony, once again hammering our blackened hearts and souls with their fulminating, unrelenting Black Metal spearheaded by their venomous blast beats, flowing infernally like an arrow on fire in pitch black darkness until the very last second.

arcane-marrow-logoThe gods of Black Metal are summoning us all to join Arcane Marrow in their evil mass to the sound of The Elders Present To Me, and you can do that by streaming the album in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, by following Arcane Marrow on Facebook and on Instagram for news and other nice-to-know details about such distinct horde, and above all that, by grabbing a copy of their pulverizing album from their BandCamp page. However, as already mentioned, I must warn you that once you begin your journey through the raw and infernal lands or raw and primeval Black Metal ruled by Arcane Marrow, there’s absolutely no way back from eternal damnation.

Best moments of the album: Glacial Tears Flood the Primeval Plains and The Dismal Woods Receive Me.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Moonlight Cypress Archetypes

Track listing   
1. Nocturnal Neanderthal Mysticism 7:49
2. Glacial Tears Flood the Primeval Plains 6:34
3. Before the First Notions of God 9:07
4. The Elders Present to Me 7:02
5. The Dismal Woods Receive Me 9:26
6. All Enveloping Black Harmony 7:51

Band members
*Information not available*

Album Review – Sullen Guest / Chapter III (2021)

An excellent album of old school death and doom mixed with brighter melodies and alluring rhythms, representing unexpected experiences and emotions we are forced to face in our lives.

3.5rating

sullen-guest-chapter-iii-2021Formed in 2013 in the city of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, Death/Doom Metal entity Sullen Guest has just released their third full-length opus, simply titled Chapter III, based on the foundations of old school death and doom sounds while at the same time mixed with brighter melodies and more alluring rhythms. One of the most important roles in the album is the emotional vocals, which inevitably forces the listener to experience the emotion of the lyrical character, not to mention the main inspiration for the lyrics has been the ailment of the soul, death and fragility of life. Mixed and mastered by L. Baškys at Lapės Records and featuring a cryptic life-and-death artwork by Lithuanian artist Arūnas Staugaitis, Chapter III flawlessly translates into music the meaning behind the name Sullen Guest, representing unexpected experiences and emotions we are inevitably forced to face in our lives such as pain, death, loneliness, fear and betrayal, with even the group members themselves having symbolic “guest” names in Latin that reflect these emotions, those being Inanitas on vocals and guitar, Tenebra also on the guitar, Demissio on bass and Doloribus on drums.

The Stygian guitars by Inanitas and Tenebra ignite the black mass Nothing Will Be Forgotten, as sluggish and somber as it can be, living up to the legacy of classic Blackened Doom while also reminding me of the early days of Tristania (but of course without the female vocals). Doom Metal lyrics are always a thing of beauty, and it couldn’t have been any different than that in Dewfall (“Dew grace once has fallen upon me / You were my friend, but I could not be with you / I reached for emptiness / Looking to the past wishing all could be different”) while the music remains dense and grim from start to finish, with Doloribus crushing his drums with tons of rage and melancholy; whereas Mortal Cord is another brutal creation by Sullen Guest where Inanitas keeps vociferating like a demonic entity while Demissio and Doloribus dictate the pace with their infernal kitchen until the very last second.

Even more doomed and nocturnal than its predecessors, Footprints brings forward a beautiful melody accompanied by the lugubrious bass lines by Demissio (which will certainly please all fans of 90’s and 2000’s Doom Metal), and with the anguished roars by Inanitas being the icing on the cake. Then blending the ferocity of Death Metal vocals with the darkness of Doom Metal riffs we’re treated to Limbonic Perdition, where Inanitas and Tenebra are once again on fire with their stringed axes, generating an enfolding atmosphere that lurks in the dark ready to attack; whereas the venomous Doom Metal riffs by Inanitas and Tenebra are the main ingredient in the funereal hymn Samsara, while Doloribus keeps pounding his drums slowly and steadily, therefore generating a neck-breaking, obscure rhythm while the stench of hopelessness permeates the air. And closing the album it’s time for a serene and gentle instrumental tune titled October Lullaby, where the band darkly jams until all fades into the unknown.

sullen-guest-2021I bet you’re more than curious to know how the fusion of death and doom made in Lithuania sounds, and luckily Chapter III is available in full on YouTube and on Spotify for your total delight. Also, don’t forget to check what the band is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their unique music, and above all that, to put your filthy hands on Chapter III by purchasing it from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music, from Amazon or from Discogs, allowing such distinguished band to haunt your damned soul for all eternity. Because, as you might already know, as soon as you start listening to Chapter III there is no light in your window anymore. You have been visited by Sullen Guest.

Best moments of the album: Dewfall and Samsara.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2021 Metallurg Music

Track listing
1. Nothing Will Be Forgotten 7:39
2. Dewfall 7:01
3. Mortal Cord 5:03
4. Footprints 6:37
5. Limbonic Perdition 7:00
6. Samsara 5:45
7. October Lullaby (instrumental) 4:54

Band members
Inanitas XII – vocals, guitar
Tenebra I – guitar
Demissio XIII – bass
Doloribus XI – drums

Guest musician
R. Budriūnas – flute

Album Review – Innersphere / Omfalos (2021)

One of the most promising metal acts from the Czech Republic returns with their awesome sophomore opus, again dealing with topics of our own existence and naturalism.

3.5rating

innersphere-omfalos-2021Established in Pilsen, a city in the western Czech Republic, in the fall of 2015, Melodic Death/Thrash Metal unity Innersphere has just released their sophomore opus, entitled Omfalos, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2018 debut effort Amnesia. Produced, mastered and engineered by Dan Friml (Mean Messiah), recorded at The Barn, and displaying a darkly stunning artwork by Martina Samková (Ghost in the Shell, Llyr), Omfalos, which derives from the Greek ομφαλός (omphalos), meaning “center of the world”, once again deals with topics of our own existence and naturalism through mysterious stories with many metaphors, all beautifully brought into being by the ominous quartet comprised of Míra Litomerický on vocals, guitars and samples, Lukáš Mai also on the guitars, Marek Hubocký on bass and Filip Wintr on drums.

The atmospheric and somber intro Presentiment warms up our senses for The Darkest Hour, an imposing Progressive Metal tune showcasing obscure lyrics growled by Míra (“Droughts, plague, famine – we all blame the gods – surrendered / Cannot escape our fate – raising blackest thought – in this hour”) while the instrumental parts remain dense and captivating from start to finish; and  enhancing their aggressiveness considerably, Míra and Lukáš sound infernal with their riffs in Above accompanied by the crushing drums by Filip, therefore resulting in a multi-layered, bold Melodic Death Metal aria. Then it’s time to set fire to the album in Fire, where the classic, strident riffage blasted by the band’s guitarists walks hand in hand with the bass punches by Marek, reverberating in the air in great Black and Death Metal fashion, whereas the title-track Omfalos is a headbanging beast led by the intricate drumming by Filip, with all background elements and orchestrations adding a touch of epicness to the overall result. Not only that, Míra’s roaring gets deeper and more enraged as the music progresses for our total delight.

In Wisdom, a sinister, Blackened Doom-infused intro evolves into a massive wall of sounds, showcasing neck-breaking riffs and beats, a mournful atmosphere and the always demonic vociferations by Míra, ending in a beyond climatic manner; and putting the pedal to the metal, Filip fires some tribal beats in the violent Blackness, with the bass by Marek sounding truly thunderous in an amazing display of their trademark fusion of Melodic Death and Thrash Metal, not to mention the song’s sick guitar solo. Back to a more somber vibe, the quartet brings forward a fusion of Death, Black and Doom Metal in Nature Of Sorrow, which unfortunately falls flat after a while, sounding a bit generic compared to the rest of the album; however, Innersphere gets back on track with their second to last explosion of Melodic Death and Thrash Metal, titled The Embodiment, where they keep slashing their stringed axes nonstop, providing Míra all he needs to growl and scream demonically. Finally, melancholic piano notes ignite the closing aria The Fall, once again investing in a Blackened Doom sonority (in special through the deep gnarls by Míra and the sluggish beats by Filip), flowing smoothly until its Stygian finale.

innersphere-2021Such intense fusion of melodic, progressive and dark music can be appreciated in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and you should also show your support to the guys from Innersphere by following them on Facebook and on Instagram for new, tour dates and so on, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their awesome music. And above all that, you should definitely add Omfalos to your vast collection of metal albums by purchasing it from their BandCamp page, from the Slovak Metal Army webstore, from Apple Music or from Amazon. The guys from Innersphere more than succeeded in depicting the center of the world through their unique music, leaving us more-than-curious to know what’s next in their shining path of life and death.

Best moments of the album: Above, Omfalos and Blackness.

Worst moments of the album: Nature Of Sorrow.

Released in 2021 Slovak Metal Army

Track listing 
1. Presentiment 1:14
2. The Darkest Hour 4:13
3. Above 5:05
4. Fire 4:49
5. Omfalos 4:17
6. Wisdom 6:13
7. Blackness 4:03
8. Nature Of Sorrow 5:48
9. The Embodiment 4:47
10. The Fall 6:05

Band members
Míra Litomerický – vocals, guitars, samples
Lukáš Mai – guitars
Marek Hubocký – bass, backing vocals
Filip Wintr – drums