A melancholic trip into the obsessive compulsions that take shape within our lives in the form of first-class Atmospheric and Depressive Black Metal made in Italy.
Developing its atmosphere through lengthy songs with strong dynamics and pacing, keeping the listener lost in a reverie and crafting an immersive experience at once melancholic and infectious, the newborn Italian Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal project Notturno will take you on a melancholic trip into the obsessive compulsions that take shape within our lives, the psychological torment, and the scourge of madness that takes hold inside the ancient walls of the human psyche with their debut full-length opus entitled Obsessions, peering around the dark corners within all of us. The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Vittorio Sabelli (Dawn of a Dark Age, Suici.De.Pression), Notturno floats between Atmospheric and Depressive Black Metal, Doom Metal and chamber music, sounding intimate and possessing a strong character highlighted by the unique and singular expressiveness of female vocalist Kjiel (Eyelessight) and organically driven drum work of Sven. Mixed and mastered by Stefan Traunmuller, and displaying a stylish artwork by Dario Ursino (featuring model Michela Suffritti), Obsessions offer the listener 36 minutes of an absolutely stunning Black Metal sound, pointing to a bright future ahead of such promising project.
The sluggish, somber beats by Sven kick off the first of the three tracks of the album, simply titled Fear, being gradually accompanied by the melancholic guitars and low-tuned bass by Vittorio while building a depressive and obscure atmosphere that will darken your heart and soul, all of course embraced by Kjiel’s smooth but anguished vocals. Furthermore, the guitar work by Vittorio is a thing of beauty, elevating the song’s intensity to a whole new level. Then more of the band’s Depressive Black Metal will invade our senses in Darkness, with Vittorio and Sven being in absolute sync with their respective riffage and slow and steady beats while Kjiel sounds even more perturbed and evil on vocals, adding an extra touch of malignancy to the overall result. And the last song of their triumvirate of darkness and depression, entitled Falling, brings forward Kjiel’s most anguished vocalizations accompanied by the minimalist and reverberating guitars by Vittorio in a lesson in Atmospheric Black Metal, with their despair, hatred and obscurity rising as the music progresses while also presenting elements from Progressive, Experimental and Doom Metal before ending in a beyond Stygian way.
If you want to know more about Vittorio Sabelli and his Notturno, you can find the project on Facebook for news and other details, and of course if you’re a true admirer of Atmospheric and Depressive Black Metal with a beyond sinister aura you can purchase your copy of Obsessions as a very special bundle containing a digipack CD, a shirt printed on Gildan softstyle, a logo patch, a signed postcard, a magnet and a logo sticker, as well as a CD or in digital format. Italy has always been an amazing source of first-class Atmospheric Black Metal thanks to bands like Notturno, and may that darkness go on forevermore to the sound of classy and multi-layered albums like Obsessions. In other words, if this is just the first step in the career of Notturno, I can’t imagine what’s next for this newborn entity brought into being by the multi-talented Vittorio Sabelli.
An unstoppable one-man army from Canada examines the darker side of the human condition in his beautiful new album of Atmospheric and Depressive Black Metal.
After a lengthy hiatus, Quebec, Canada-based Atmospheric Depressive Black Metal one-man horde Nordicwinter came back in a big way in 2020, releasing two new full-length albums (Requiem and Desolation) and showing no sign of slowing down as the project hits us once again with a new full-length album, entitled Sorrow, released amidst the dead of winter. Produced and engineered by the Nordicwinter’s mastermind Evillair (aka Yves Allaire, who’s also responsible for all vocals, all instruments, drum programming, production, engineering, songwriting and lyrics), recorded, mixed an mastered at Dirgevows Studios, and featuring a somber cover image by Melissa Parker, Sorrow examines the darker side of the human condition through somber and melancholic music sticking at a mostly mid-tempo pace, being therefore highly recommended for fans of the music by bands the likes of Xasthur, Austere, NONE and Nocturnal Depression.
And Evillair begins his atmospheric and melancholic journey with Somber Winds of Despair (Part I), showcasing enfolding guitars and a dark vibe, exploding into top-of-the-line Atmospheric Black Metal with the anguished roars by our one-man army penetrating deep inside your soul; whereas beauty and melancholy flow from Evillair’s words (“I see your cold corpse / Laying upon the crimson leaves / I hear the lost song / Whispered by the dismal breeze”) in Sullen Echoes, while the music offers our ears a sinister fusion of Blackened Doom and Atmospheric Black Metal. Then more of his Stygian sounds invade our ears in In This Darkness…, where his incendiary, classic Black Metal riffs will burn your skin mercilessly in paradox with the song’s bitterly cold background, not to mention his gnarls get more and more demonic as the music progresses.
This Mournful Dirge brings to our ears another round of his dark poetry (“In dismal veils of snow / I fade into this tomb / As fading memories / Whisper eternal gloom”) amidst a somber atmosphere in a great display of Depressive Black Metal, followed by Dying Winters, where a beyond embracing start will drag you into the cold lands ruled by Nordicwinter and with Evillair doing a great job with both his growls and riffs, all spiced up by the programmed drums (which sound truly organic, by the way). And what kicked off such intense album is completed with Somber Winds of Despair (Part II), again showcasing sharp but at the same time delicate guitars, venomous, introspective vocals, and a sense of hopelessness permeating the air until the very last second. In other words, a simply stunning creation by Evillair and his Nordicwinter, ending in a more than hypnotizing way and flowing into Enshrined by Solitude, a funereal, depressive outro that will darken your thoughts as the storm gets closer and closer.
You can easily join Evillair and his Nordicwinter by streaming Sorrow in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, savoring every second of its over 50 minutes of solitude and introspectiveness, but don’t forget to also follow the project on Facebook and on Instagram for news and other nice-to-know details about this lone wolf of the Great White North, and above all that, to purchase a copy of the album from the project’s own BandCamp page, from the Hypnotic Dirge Records’ BandCamp page or webstore (as a regular CD or as a very special bundle), from Apple Music or from Amazon. In a nutshell, Evillair more than succeeded in providing us his view of the darker side of the human condition through his music, leaving us eager for more of his stunning Black Metal in a not-so-distant future.
Best moments of the album: In This Darkness… and Somber Winds of Despair (Part II).
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2021 Hypnotic Dirge Records
1. Somber Winds of Despair (Part I) 7:27
2. Sullen Echoes 9:20
3. In This Darkness… 7:28
4. This Mournful Dirge 8:43
5. Dying Winters 9:36
6. Somber Winds of Despair (Part II) 8:11
7. Enshrined by Solitude 2:39
Band members Evillair – vocals, all instruments, drum programming
Eternal darkness is covering my eyes and penetrating me…
Dark skies are over us all once again here on The Headbanging Moose thanks to the raw and visceral Black Metal crafted by a multi-talented woman who will undoubtedly blacken our hearts even more. Hailing from Rivne, a historic city in western Ukraine located over 300 kilometers to the west of the country’s capital Kiev, she’s not only an amazing Extreme Metal vocalist, but she also plays all instruments including lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, bass and drums for her stunning one-woman Occult and Depressive Black Metal project entitled Ieschure. Her poetic name, Lilita Arndt, adds an extra touch of beauty to her unique creations, and you’ll be more than pleased with her music, her view of Black Metal and how she incorporates all her influences into each one of her songs.
Lilita’s interest in writing and playing music began at a very early stage of her childhood, when she started to write lyrics and later tried to create simple melodies for them on her acoustic guitar, which by the way was her very first instrument, then learning how to play keyboards (followed by all other instruments she currently knows), all self-taught and never having any sort of formal or structured music lessons with anyone. After taking part in different projects as a singer, including an old acoustic project called Embrace of Hedera from 2007 until 2015 which played melancholic, dark and romantic music with acoustic guitars and clean female vocals (and with whom she recorded the album The Castle On The Rolling Hills in 2015), Lilita wanted to explore new territories by creating her own music with her own melodies, lyrics, singing and atmosphere, being the mastermind of her own project and experimenting with melodies and vocals, the main reason why she decided to found her own solo project Ieschure back in 2015.
A word chosen by Lilita after the whole album The Shadow was finished in 2017, Ieschure has the project’s name related to occult things and the meaning of this word is really important for her, although our multi-talented musician prefers it to be known only by herself. Dealing with classic Black Metal lyrical themes such as occultism, witchcraft and death, and using a serpent as her symbol (more specifically as a primitive symbol of power and wisdom but at the same time representing death and damnation), this one-woman Black Metal force has already released an array of bold, captivating albums since the project’s inception in 2015, those being the aforementioned full-length opus The Shadow, in 2017, the EP’s Cold Stars of Eternity and Phantoms of God, in 2020, and more recently the split album Witch’s Consecration, now in 2021, with Brazilian Black Metal horde Promethean Gate. If you want to have a very good taste of how breathtaking the music by Ieschure is, you can enjoy some awesome songs online such as Eternal Agony, Mystic Schizophrenia and Phantoms Of God, or simply go to BandCamp, to Big Cartel and to Spotify (or click HERE) to stream and purchase all of her wicked creations.
Not only the woman responsible for all vocals and instruments in all of Ieschure releases, Lilita also handles all recording, mixing, mastering, lyrics and layout of the albums, which is absolutely in line with her initial dream of having a project of her own. In addition, Lilita has also collaborated in several albums from other bands, with the most memorable for her to date being singing with the bands Detention and Restless. For instance, she recorded vocals for the songs Nidhogg(from the album Lost Souls in a Godless World) and Wolf’s Head (from the album The Battle of Tara) by American Doom/Stoner/Southern Metal band Black Mountain Thunder, both in 2015; vocals for the song The Face of God, from the 2015 self-titled album by American Stoner/Doom Metal band Clawhammer; vocals on the 2014 album Marginal, by Kazakh Depressive Metal band Detention; vocals on the song Rurel, from the 2018 self-titled EP by Italian Black/Folk Metal band Dovrefjell; backing vocals on the songs Spiritueller Selbstmord, from the 2014 album Verwüstung, and Wenn Die Sterne Nicht Mehr Scheinen, from the 2014 EP Horizont, by Ukrainian Black Metal/Ambient band Moloch; vocals on the 2017 album Funeral Impressions, by Italian Funeral Doom Metal band Restless; and vocals on the song Bride of Winter, from the 2016 album Forgotten Tales, by Italian Black Metal band Waldweg; not to mention the cover art for the 2019 EP The Wanderer, by Tuskish Atmospheric Black Metal band Akrunant.
Regarding her first experiences with Heavy and Black Metal, Lilita mentioned in one of her interviews that she began listening to popular metal bands when she was a teenager, becoming more and more interested in the underground and, consequently, getting attracted to the world of Black Metal. In her opinion, Black Metal is not just a music style, but a dark side of art, an irrational fusion of music, theatre and philosophy, full of paradoxes and concentrating the strongest emotions, hatred and some perverted love to life, which is the main reason why she considers it perfect. She complemented by saying that she has felt the presence of hidden forces in the world since she was a little child, gradually getting more interested in those and in occultism, also saying that realizing that she will die some day was what truly attracted her to that. Apart from drawing inspiration from the works of renowned occultists the likes of Aleister Crowley, Eliphas Levi, Stanislas de Guaita and George Gurdjieff, she also enjoys reading and studying about her work as a designer, all forms of art, mythology, psychology, history, travelling and everything that can give her new knowledge about the world. And in terms of what inspires the music by Ieschure the most, she mentioned Black Metal behemoths such as early Urfaust, Behexen, Rotting Christ, My Dying Bride, Opeth and, above all, Burzum, as his music embodies the ideas of misanthropy and loneliness in the best way imaginable according to our sinister diva.
When asked about her vocal style and technique, Lilita said that her screaming vocals were influenced by classic Black Metal bands, whereas for clean vocals she gets her inspiration from non-Black Metal music, as for example Julie Christmas, her favorite female singer of bands like Battle Of Mice and Made Out of Babies, and Free Dominguez, of Kidneythieves. In addition, regarding her songwriting process, Lilita said the first thing she does is many improvisations on the guitar at her home studio, recording various ideas, listening to them again at a later stage, and if she finds any of those ideas interesting enough she rerecords them to include all other instruments. Also, she complemented by saying most of her time in that process is taken by the lyrics writing process, as she can rewrite those many times and do various vocal improvisations to find the best version, finally rerecording everything.
As a true admirer of the underground, in special the first wave of Black Metal bands, their sound and atmosphere, as well as old Doom Metal, Lilita also said that although she doesn’t listen to a lot of bands from the Black Metal scene in her homeland Ukraine she knows there are several bands and projects in the country who create true underground music, always prioritizing the music instead of fame or money. However, she said she cannot compare herself to any of those bands, as she tries to go her own way with her own opinion about music. In addition, she also mentioned in one of her interviews that she doesn’t usually attend concerts, as for her personally the best way to listen to music is to listen to it in her headphones.
Lastly, when questioned if one day Ieschure will become a full-bodied group with other members joining her, Lilita said that, although she’s always open to change, she doesn’t think that’s a possibility for now. Furthermore, she mentioned that if one day she finds that a good alternative for embodying her ideas she will definitely try working with other musicians, as long as of course they’re sincerely interested in music and follow similar or the same ideas as hers. In the end, it doesn’t matter if she continues to create music as a lone she-wolf or if she finds the perfect lineup for Ieschure, our beloved metal witch will keep experimenting with melodies and vocal styles while always keeping an evil Black Metal atmosphere in the background, playing raw and devilish sounds for our total delectation in the name of darkness, death and the occult.
“For me black metal is really a dark side of Art. It’s not just a music style. Mixture of music, theatre and philosophy, more irrational than other music styles, full of paradoxes, concentrating the strongest emotions, hatred and some perverted love to life. That is why it is perfect.” – Lilita Arndt
Embark on an atmospheric voyage to the mysterious and untamed nature of Serbia’s wilderness adorned with enthralling, majestic soundscapes and endless streams of melodies and harmonies.
Through the cosmic mists it descends upon us, Pred Dverima Noći, the new (and fifth) full-length album by Atmospheric Black Metal/Ambient act Bròn. Formed in Edinburgh, Scotland in 2014 as a sonic chronicle of the wanderings of New Zealander KG (from Barshasketh), but currently based in Belgrade, Serbia, Bròn (which by the way means “sorrow” in Gaelic Scottish) has already released a handful of ambient, down-tempo albums exploring life within a sprawling urban expanse since the project’s inception, but now with the addition of drummer GH (from A Forest Of Stars), Bròn has permanently left urbanity behind and has returned to the mysterious and untamed nature of Serbia’s wilderness in Pred Dverima Noći. Recorded, mixed and mastered at Sonorous Studio, and featuring a grim artwork by Khaos Diktator Design, Pred Dverima Noći is adorned with enthralling, majestic soundscapes and endless streams of melodies and harmonies, propelling the listener into the vast expanses beyond the conscious mind throughout its three sprawling tracks, all clocking in at over 15 minutes, being therefore recommended for lovers of the music by Limbonic Art, Evilfeast and Darkspace, among others.
The atmospheric keys by KG grow in intensity in the opening track Dverima Noći, darkening the skies and preparing our senses for an onrush of Stygian and captivating Black Metal spearheaded by KG’s devilish gnarls and the fulminating drums by GH in a 16-minute journey through the bitterly cold lands of extreme music, changing its shape and form as the music progresses while showcasing stunning keys intertwined with venomous riffs. If that wasn’t complex enough for you, Bròn offers us all Usnulu Zlobu Razbudi, which already begins in full force like an infernal tempest, filling our ears with scorching riffs, vicious blast beats and endless obscurity while once again presenting elements from classic Black Metal, Atmospheric Black Metal and even Symphonic Black Metal for our vulgar delectation. Moreover, KG sounds like a true beast with his hellish roars and riffage, supported by the talented GH and his unstoppable drums in this full-bodied, dense and very detailed aria. And the third song from such grandiose album, entitled Zastore Skrai, brings forward more of Bròn’s thrilling and epic fusion of heavy and austere sounds with the finesse of atmospheric music, also presenting elements from Blackened Doom and Depressive Black Metal to make things even more somber. In addition, GH pounds his drums slowly and steadily while KG keeps gnarling with tons of anguish and pain, flowing darkly and embracing our souls majestically until the very last second.
In the end, after the three songs (which offer an impressive combined running time of over 52 minutes of music) from Pred Dverima Noći are over, you’ll definitely feel trapped in the vastness of the Serbian uncharted lands forever and ever, going back to the start to savor every second of such imposing album of Atmospheric Black Metal again and again. Hence, don’t forget to follow KG and his cryptic Bròn on Facebook and to purchase your copy of Pred Dverima Noći from his own BandCamp page (or you can also click HERE or HERE and select your favorite version of the album), inspiring the wanderer KG to keep exploring the most desolate, uninhabited and serene regions of the world armed with his idiosyncratic music, bringing a paradox of peace and violence to our souls just like a feral creature trying to survive in the cold and dark nights out in the wilderness.
A bottomless ocean of emotions, worlds and experiences connected into something much larger, absorbing and liberating in the form of the debut album by an innovative trio from Russia.
Hailing from Moscow, Russia, the Black and Doom Metal trio known as Dunwich doesn’t limit themselves to just those two subgenres of heavy music, also adding to their music an array of distinguished elements from Darkwave, Post-Punk, Post-Rock and Progressive Rock, among others, resulting in a unique sound that frontwoman Margarita Dunwich has been crafting together with guitarist and keyboardist Anton Bronikov and drummer Mikhail Markelov since the band’s inception in 2018. Together, Dunwich are an attempt to dive into the bottomless ocean of your emotions, which is exactly what they’re offering us all in their debut effort entitled Tail-Tied Hearts, with each song from the album representing a separate world and a separate experience, but with all of those worlds and experiences being connected into something much larger, absorbing and liberating, showcasing the paradoxical beauty of the creations by those talented and passionate Russian musicians.
The phantasmagorical keys by Anton ignite the dark and sinister Glow, bringing forward elements from Atmospheric and Depressive Black Metal to their smoother sonority, setting the stage for Margarita to shine with her piercing vocals and roars in Through the Dense Woods, bringing forward doomed sounds perfect for Margarita to darkly declaim its cryptic lyrics (“Crawling bugs along the spine / You feel them, that’s what you’re think / Wolf howl in the ears and webs in hair / Slobbering mouth of fear exuding stink”), sounding cinematic, dense and Stygian from start to finish. And the gentle, acoustic guitar lines by Anton permeate the air in Solitude, with Margarita simply stealing the spotlight with her introspective and mesmerizing vocals while Mikhail delivers minimalist and at the same time tribal beats in this modern Darkwave composition, followed by Wooden Heart, where futuristic sounds and tones warm up our souls in one of the most progressive and groovier of all tracks, with Anton doing a superb job with both his riffs and keys, resulting in a lighter but still obscure version of modern-day Doom Metal.
Anton comes ripping once again with his Phantom of the Opera-inspired organs, generating a menacing ambience before the band ventures through more rockin’ and visceral lands in Mouth of Darkness, a lesson in Post-Metal where Mikhail dictates the rhythm with his classic beats in a fusion of the music by Cradle of Filth with Sisters of Mercy and Type O Negative, all spiced up by the witch-like roars by Margarita, whereas Fall is another grim and pensive creation where Margarita, Anton and Mikhail offer the listener a Post-Black Metal aria focusing on the serene vocal lines by our stunning frontwoman, growing in intensity until reaching a truly Stygian vibe. Sanctuary is a folk-ish song full of ethereal passages and an embracing atmosphere, with Anton alternating between gentle guitar lines and heavy-as-hell riffs while Mikhail brings sheer doom to the overall result with his sluggish beats, before The Sea concludes the album in the best possible way you can imagine. The song couldn’t have started in a more doomed and melancholic way, with Anton slashing his guitar in great fashion in over nine minutes of somber passages, classy beats and the always hypnotizing voice by Margarita, flowing smoothly and beautifully until its climatic finale.
If you have what it takes to dive into the dark and embracing world ruled by Dunwich, simply follow them on Instagram and on VKontakte for news and other nice-to-know details about the band, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music and stunning videos, and of course purchase their newborn opus Tail-Tied Hearts from the Caligari Records’ BandCamp page or from Amazon. Margarita and her loyal bandmates might be a new face to the world of heavy music, but the high level of professionalism and the top-of-the-line production of their debut album make them look like true veterans to the scene, proving not only that they know exactly what they’re doing, but also that there’s nothing better than a wild and gripping fusion of dark music styles to flawlessly depict the never-ending rollercoaster of emotions we end up experiencing every single day of our lives.
Best moments of the album: Through the Dense Woods, Wooden Heart and Mouth of Darkness.
Worst moments of the album:Solitude.
Released in 2020 Caligari Records
Track listing 1. Glow 2:43
2. Through the Dense Woods 4:35
3. Solitude 5:46
4. Wooden Heart 5:47
5. Mouth of Darkness 6:39
6. Fall 5:28
7. Sanctuary 5:45
8. The Sea 9:13
Margarita Dunwich – vocal
Anton Bronikov – guitars, keyboards
Mikhail Markelov – drums
A lesson in how to transform pain, agony and grief into beautiful metal music by one of the pioneers of the death and doom style.
It’s impressive when even after 30 years on the road a veteran band like West Yorkshire, UK-based Gothic/Doom Metal masters My Dying Bride, one of the pioneers of the death and doom style alongside Anathema and Paradise Lost, is capable of still delivering top-of-the-line music without sounding repetitive, outdated or tiresome, just like what they have to offer us now in 2020 with their 13th studio album, the majestic The Ghost Of Orion, proving once again why the band currently comprised of Aaron Stainthorpe on vocals, Andrew Craighan and Neil Blanchett on the guitars, Lena Abé on bass, Shaun Macgowan on keyboards and violin and Jeff Singer on drums is and will always be a reference in extreme music. Produced by Mark Mynett (Mynetaur), portraying a stunning artwork by Israeli artist Eliran Kantor (Testament, Tristania, Fleshgod Apocalypse), and featuring very special guest appearances by British cellist Jo Quail and Norwegian singer Lindy Fay Hella (from Folk/Ambient band Wardruna), The Ghost Of Orion not only marks the band’s longest gap between studio albums to date, being released five years after their previous effort Feel the Misery, but it’s also a lecture in how to transform pain, agony and grief into beautiful Doom Metal.
As soon as you hit play, get ready to dive deep into the Stygian waters of doom ruled by Aaron and his horde in the opening track Your Broken Shore, with Jeff dictating the rhythm with his somber, sluggish beats while Aaron is absolutely superb with both his anguished, clean vocals and his demonic roars, resulting in the perfect anthem for savoring endless darkness and solitude, not to mention the delicate and whimsical sounds of the cello by Jo Quail and the violin by Shaun throughout the entire song as the icing on the cake. And that lugubrious vibe goes on in the also captivating To Outlive the Gods, with sheer melancholy flowing from its words (“A fool will believe every single word said / And yes you may speak with only me now on the sunrise / Child of my sore and bleeding body come over here / Sit here and say your words feeding only me till sunrise”) while Andrew, Neil and Lena make our hearts tremble with their crushing riffs and bass punches.
Clearly inspired by Aaron’s arduous experience with his five-year-old daughter, who was diagnosed with cancer a couple years after the release of Feel the Misery, from which she was thankfully declared in remission later, Tired of Tears brings forward gentle and serene sounds that graciously permeate the air while Shaun is absolutely amazing with his violin, with Lena and Jeff keeping the atmosphere dense and mournful with their sonic weapons. Put differently, this is a lesson in Gothic and Doom Metal with nuances of Depressive Black Metal and Blackened Doom, showcasing My Dying Bride’s undisputed ability to turn pure sadness into grandiose metal music. Following such touching tune we have The Solace, where the hypnotizing vocals by Lindy Fay Hella are solely accompanied by the grim guitar lines by Andrew and Neil in a minimalist and enfolding creation by My Dying Bride.
In the brilliant The Long Black Land the energy emanating from the cello by Jo Quail together with the low-tuned, menacing bass by Lena is outstanding, embellishing even more the song’s over ten minutes of obscure passages spearheaded by the clean and aggressive gnarls by Aaron, giving life to its poetic lyrics for our total delight (“On the lap of the world I lay my head / Pick my way carefully through our long past / Hold my hand, young one / Hold my hand / Listen to my voice / Hold my hand / Face your God / Your God”) and ending in a classy and mournful manner. The semi-acoustic, phantasmagorical bridge The Ghost of Orion sets the stage for the also bold and intricate The Old Earth, starting also in a gentle and somber way led by Andrew’s and Neil’s acoustic lines, suddenly exploding into a lecture in devilish and sluggish Doom Metal where Aaron declaims the song’s lyrics with passion and rage, overflowing sheer melancholy before the outro Your Woven Shore brings to the listener an ethereal, sinister atmosphere and sonority, putting a cinematic and therefore fabulous closure to the album.
In summary, as aforementioned, Aaron and his bandmates from My Dying Bride simply nailed it in The Ghost Of Orion, available for purchase from the Nuclear Blast webstore and for streaming on Spotify, filling our ears, minds and hearts with an immeasurable amount of melancholy, sorrow and distress in what’s undoubtedly one of the best metal albums of 2020. Having said that, I highly suggest you go check what the band is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, including their tour dates, as they’ll bring the music found in The Ghost Of Orion to the stages near you without a shadow of a doubt. Hence, after listening to such distinguished album of Gothic and Doom Metal (again and again), I’m sure you’ll understand once and for all why My Dying Bride are so important and relevant to the world of heavy music, getting better and better as the years go by just like that fancy red wine you enjoy savoring all by yourself on a cold and rainy night while listening to their undisputed doom.
Best moments of the album: Your Broken Shore, The Long Black Land and The Old Earth.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2020 Nuclear Blast
1. Your Broken Shore 7:43
2. To Outlive the Gods 7:56
3. Tired of Tears 8:37
4. The Solace 5:52
5. The Long Black Land 10:01
6. The Ghost of Orion 3:31
7. The Old Earth 10:32
8. Your Woven Shore 2:09
Aaron Stainthorpe – vocals
Andrew Craighan – guitars
Neil Blanchett – guitars
Lena Abé – bass
Shaun Macgowan – keyboards, violin
Jeff Singer – drums
Guest musicians Jo Quail – cello
Lindy Fay Hella – female vocals on “The Solace”
Accept hopelessness and succumb to the brand new opus by this unknown entity from the Pacific Northwest, picking apart your psyche and destroying your seasonal optimism with their oppressively bleak atmosphere.
Since their introduction in the spring of 2017, the enigmatic and anonymous Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal unity NONE, from Portland, Oregon, in the Pacific Northwest, has crafted disturbing and emotionally devastating music that have garnered the attention of many listeners of the genre. After having released their self-titled debut opus on April 11, 2017, a thick shroud of piercing guitar interwoven with haunting synth and tortured vocals marching in despair towards an empty void, followed by Life Has Gone On Long Enough exactly one year later, on April 11, 2018, developing its tortured personality further, NONE returned this spring like clockwork, once again on April 11, with their brand new effort entitled Damp Chill of Life, weaving visionary soundscapes with first-class Depressive Black Metal, picking apart your psyche and destroying your seasonal optimism with their oppressively bleak atmosphere.
As atmospheric and cold as possible, the intro Fade embraces our souls in darkness and sets the tone for the chilling and piercing sounds from the 10-minute aria The Damp Chill of Life, with its Doom Metal beats, melodic riffs and an ethereal background generating the perfect ambience for NONE’s desperate, raspy gnarls. In other words, this is a lesson in Depressive Black Metal, alternating between serene passages and aggressive and dense riffs and vociferations, and flowing majestically until its melancholic ending. Cease also begins as mournful as a lonely morning in the woods, with the music exploding into the most Stygian form of Atmospheric Black Metal you can think of after four minutes of pure serenity, all enfolded by beautiful piano notes and anguished vocals, once again showcasing a touching finale and building an instant connection with You Did a Good Thing, where the uncanny duo delivers more of their delicate but at the same time crushing music. Furthermore, eerie voices exhale anger, despair and the feeling of loss, matching flawlessly with the music to give the listener a true and deep melancholic taste.
It’s Painless To Let Go brings forward another visceral hybrid of Depressive and Atmospheric Black Metal, this time infused with Doom Metal and Blackened Doom nuances, with the duo delivering somber guitar lines, creepy vocals and endless obscurity for our total delectation; whereas I Yearn to Feel is a semi-acoustic composition by NONE that will penetrate deep inside your mind and take you on a journey through vast, gelid lands, always led by crystalline piano notes and showcasing an enfolding aura. And the music remains bold and inspiring, reverberating into A Chance I’d Never Have, beginning with acoustic guitar lines and growing in intensity and fear until an avalanche of dark and crisp sounds invades our ears. In my humble opinion, this is perhaps NONE’s record with the most introspective vocal lines, and this song is the perfect depiction of that, with its second half offering the listener sheer melancholy and rage in the form of top-of-the-line contemporary Depressive Black Metal.
I’ve already had the utmost pleasure of reviewing all albums released by NONE since the inception of such idiosyncratic and mysterious entity, and I must tell you NONE definitely know how to transform all the solitude, wilderness and bitterly cold winds of the Pacific Northwest into the best Depressive and Atmospheric Black Metal one can ever imagine, showing how connected they are with their homeland. Hence, you should take a good listen at Damp Chill of Life in full on YouTube (especially on your loneliest days), and grab your copy of such bitterly cold album of extreme music from the Hypnotic Dirge Records’ BandCamp or webstore (by the way, you can find all special bundles of the album and all of NONE’s previous releases by clicking HERE), as well as from Apple Music, Amazon, CD Baby or Discogs. Simply succumb to the music by NONE, accept hopelessness, and finally realize you are no one, nowhere, and nothing.
Best moments of the album:The Damp Chill of Life and It’s Painless To Let Go.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2019 Hypnotic Dirge Records
Track listing 1. Fade 1:58
2. The Damp Chill of Life 10:30
3. Cease 8:50
4. You Did a Good Thing 5:08
5. It’s Painless To Let Go 5:56
6. I Yearn to Feel 3:45
7. A Chance I’d Never Have 7:57
Band members Anonymous – vocals
Anonymous – all instruments
Lose yourself on a journey through eight organic tracks of foggy mountainous atmosphere and bleak music by this unknown Atmospheric Black Metal entity, devouring and nourishing a hopeless life.
Written and recorded throughout the latter half of 2017, Life Has Gone On Long Enough, the brand new album by American Atmospheric/Depressive Black Metal entity NONE, takes its haunting shape through eight organic tracks of foggy mountainous atmosphere and bleak music. On this new chapter, NONE delves deeper into the blackest woods to find abandonment, and developing its tortured personality further. Moving in and out like the long shadows of an ancient forest, the harsh musical passages of Life Has Gone On Long Enough intertwine and die through forlorn atmospheres, devouring and nourishing a hopeless life.
Presented in a six-panel digipack with gorgeous panoramic photography, Life Has Gone On Long Enough represents a huge step forward in the career of this unknown, almost nameless creature, bringing all elements that made their 2017 debut self-titled EP so compelling and mesmerizing, but also showcasing new details and nuances that only make their music even more engaging than you can imagine, being highly recommended for admirers of the atmospheric creations by bands like Woods of Desolation, Coldworld, Shining, Gris and Sombres Forêts.
Ethereal sounds penetrate deep inside our minds in the intro Bleak, Damp, and Dead, transporting us to a different dimension and time titled A World, Dead and Gray, where the band’s melancholic and dark sonority fills every single empty space, with the song’s Doom Metal-inspired beats together with its lancinating riffs setting the perfect stage for the song’s uncanny gnarls coming from the unknown. In short, this is a superb exhibit of modern-day Atmospheric Black Metal, which can also be said about Bed the Cold Earth, where hopelessness and grief are the only two emotions crafted by NONE from start to finish, with their slow and steady beats and delicate guitar lines building a disquieting wall of Stygian sounds, flowing majestically until its somber finale. And in Hypoxic we face a gentle and introspective intro to another Depressive Black Metal feast, with the music remaining as lugubrious as possible with the deep, harsh laments complementing the overall obscurity. Put differently, this is one of those songs recommended for getting lost with your own deviant thoughts.
The somber Corroded creates an instant connection with the previous tune, where its mournful and gray background noises are thoroughly blended with the bitterly cold and melancholic sounds of guitars and keyboards, suddenly exploding into flammable Atmospheric Black Metal in Desiderate, with its crisp guitar melodies creating an interesting paradox with the song’s angelic keyboards. Moreover, also presenting a beyond obscure ambiance that will certainly blacken your heart and mind, the music flows into a desperate ending that lives up to the legacy of contemporary Ambient and Depressive Black Metal. Sluggish, creepy and macabre, Life is Long Enough showcases mysterious laughs intertwined with a pensive and heavy atmosphere, in a beautiful and captivating exhibit of the most outlandish and gloomy sounds you can think of, therefore dragging you to the palest and most ominous corner of life, and with its delicate, ethereal ending being the icing on the cake. And as a “bonus” to the listener we have a cover for Burzum’s Illa Tiðandi, an instrumental work-of-art by NONE presenting the cold winds of winter accompanied by a gentle piano just like the original by Mr. Varg Vikernes, which you can check HERE.
Best moments of the album: A World, Dead and Gray, Desiderate and Life is Long Enough.
Worst moments of the album:Corroded.
Released in 2018 Hypnotic Dirge Records
Track listing 1. Bleak, Damp, and Dead 2:51
2. A World, Dead and Gray 7:46
3. Bed the Cold Earth 7:44
4. Hypoxic 6:59
5. Corroded 5:17
6. Desiderate 7:52
7. Life is Long Enough 7:56
8. Illa Tiðandi (Burzum cover) 6:03
Contemplate an ancient life born from a star longing in Saturn changing and elevating everything around, embraced by the ethereal and delicate sounds of Atmospheric Black Metal.
Atmospheric Black Metal act Lumnos is the solo project of the talented Breno Freire, a Brazilian multi-instrumentalist based in Vitória da Conquista, a city located in the state of Bahia, who’s been working in outer space since 2015 under the nickname Putrefactus. As brutal and austere as his nickname might be, the work by Putrefactus is completely immersed in distant nebulas and quasars lights year away from home, with the sound by Lumnos drawing inspiration from the most recent cosmic currents and bands such as Mesarthim, Lustre and Midnight Odyssey. The contemplative melodies by Lumnos draw pictures of distant planets, ancient celestial bodies, and the endless distances that separate them from us, small creatures scurrying around in haste.
After several digital releases in a span of just two years, Putrefactus took his fascinating work to a complete new level with his brand new album entitled Ancient Shadows Of Saturn, a journey through the deepest universe. Hosting multi-instrumentalists B.M. (from Russian Atmospheric/Post-Black Metal act Skyforest) and Unknown (from Russian Ambient/Atmospheric Black Metal project The Lost Sun) as session members, Ancient Shadows Of Saturn is a landmark album in Lumnos’ career, a mature work which will accompany your astral journeys through this solar system and beyond. The main idea behind this peculiar album is to create a history around Saturn since the very beginning to the fatal end, showcasing an ancient life born from a star longing in Saturn changing and elevating everything around.
Ethereal, atmospheric waves invade our senses from the very first second in the opening track I am Born From a Star, a modern and vibrant Atmospheric Black Metal aria where B.M.’s anguished gnarls match perfectly with the eccentricity of the lyrics (“I’m in a cosmic limbo / There’s no answer, there’s no escape / You won’t rest until you die / I’ll sink through my fade / Where I will go / What will I find / When pain gets too real / You simply can’t hide”). Furthermore, when this multi-layered musical voyage is over, you’ll certainly feel your soul wandering outside your body. Then gentle piano notes and a melancholic background set the stage for another eccentric creation by Lumnos titled Primordial Darkness, evolving into a piercing fusion of Atmospheric and Depressive Black Metal with highlights to the amazing job done by Putrefactus with all instruments, in special his steady, mournful beats and somber guitar lines. And the music remains whimsical, hypnotizing and dark from start to finish, creating a smooth and gripping bridge with the title track Ancient Shadows of Saturn, with its cinematic keys and pensive vibe kicking things off before morphing into an atmospheric and experimental journey that goes on for over four minutes. After that “extended intro” it’s time for B.M. to begin blasting his somber gnarls while the music flows gently and melancholically until its end.
Actually, you can consider all songs as one single entity if you prefer, as No Soul is Near continues from where its predecessor ended, an instrumental extravaganza thoroughly put together by Putrefactus with a strong focus on the balance between his gentle keyboard notes and his Stygian guitar lines, all embraced by slow and steady drums and an aerial vibe. Lastly, we face another instrumental blast of heavenly sounds and unorthodox experimentations entitled Existentialism, flirting with pure ambient music until after five minutes traditional Atmospheric Black Metal riffs invade our ears, giving the song a darker vibe and guiding it to a beautiful grand finale; followed by a bonus track that comes exclusively with the limited edition of the album (which you can by the way listen in its entirety HERE), named Crystal Clouds, Diamond Sun, a 9-minute instrumental tune that continues to showcase Putrefactus’ undeniable ability to craft high-quality ambient music.
The primordial darkness was gone and ancient shadows of Saturn were set free to conquer the entire galaxy, and in order to join Putrefactus in his otherworldly expedition, simply go check what he’s up to on Facebook, listen to his music on Spotify, and buy Ancient Shadows Of Saturn from Lumnos’ own BandCamp page, as well as from the Flowing Downward’s BandCamp page. Ancient Shadows Of Saturn is Ambient Black Metal at its finest, courtesy of a multi-talented Brazilian metaller who doesn’t seem to care about any boundaries when creating his musical universe, and that’s why he more than thrives in his endeavors.
Best moments of the album: I am Born From a Star and Primordial Darkness.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2018 Flowing Downward
1. I am Born From a Star 12:09
2. Primordial Darkness 10:43
3. Ancient Shadows of Saturn 10:35
4. No Soul is Near 9:08
5. Existentialism 8:59
After the 56 minutes of intense and pensive Depressive Suicidal Black Metal thoroughly crafted by this Romanian quartet reach deep into your soul, you’ll never be the same again.
Born in 2007 in the city of Timișoara, the main social, economic and cultural centre in western Romania located around 550km northwest of the capital Bucharest, and functioned in the early days as a one-man band until de beginning of the recordings of the demo Silver Melancholy in late 2008, self-released in 2009, Depressive Suicidal Black Metal act Katharos XIII return after their 2011 debut Dead Emotions with their second full-length installment, titled Negativity, comprised of seven tracks emerged from the dark chambers of human psyche, questions and deep melancholy into black chords, a truly unique combination of different layers and influences.
Featuring a somber artwork by Romanian artist Alexandru Das (Argus Megere, North, Ordinul Negru), Negativity offers the listener an amalgamation of personal experiences (all kinds of abuse, paranoia, severe depressions), strange stories, movies (Greenaway, Lynch) and books (Eliade, Cioran, Zola), all thoroughly put together by the talented F on vocals, guitars and keyboards, Andrei on guitars, SQ on bass and Sabbat on drums, resulting in a unique experience of extreme music for admirers of the genre. And if you feel your heart got darker after listening to the album’s 56 minutes of intense and pensive Black Metal, that means Katharos XIII succeeded in sending you the desired message through their disturbing music.
Opening the album on a high note we have XIII, a modern approach to Black Metal sounding very melodic and epic thanks to the excellent guitars by F and Andrei, with the devilish gnarls by F bringing more obscurity to the overall result. Moreover, its riffs get to a very traditional mode halfway through it, while the song’s atmosphere keeps growing in intensity and mystery, flowing to an ominous ending led by the demonic vociferations by F. Slightly different than its predecessor, the title-track Negativity goes full Black Metal, overflowing blast beats, flammable riffs and infernal growls, also presenting elements from Atmospheric Black Metal and Doom Metal, not to mention its disturbing lyrics (“Burn in the kingdom of the blind / A garden that cannot be seen / By the ones who ignore the creation / The path of the eternal self-torment”) and its beyond somber break.
The steady beats by Sabbat together with the darkened keys by F create a truly somber ambience in No One Left to Lead the Way, a perfect fusion of Black Metal with Blackened Doom supported by a strong harmonious background, flowing into a smooth but very obscure ending; followed by The Chains are so Beautiful, where a melancholic and grim beginning led by Sabbat with his sluggish beats and bassist SQ with his low-tuned roars gradually leans towards old school Doom Metal, supporting the very macabre spoken words by F (“I will tell you a story / Stories as we all like to hear / The amphetamine has won the game / Enslaving the pain inside soul / Close your eyes and sleep tight / While the angels watch you closely / Nothing bad to happen to you / Only to fall into their arms”), before exploding into visceral and deranged Black Metal until its introspective finale.
Spearheaded by the piercing riffs by Andrei, World’s Coffin sounds like a blackened waltz, with F grasping his words bestially, blending old school Black Metal with contemporary Symphonic Black Metal the likes of Dimmu Borgir. Furthermore, the bass by SQ keeps rumbling in a demonic way in the background, topped with a soulful solo by Andrei. I Die Everytime I Walk This Path brings forward a serene and contemplative intro, generating a comforting but at the same time perturbing ambience where F instead of growling simply grasps in a vile manner. Not only that, tempestuous moments are thoroughly inserted in this Blackened Doom aria, with the beautiful work done by Andrei and SQ with their strings taking you to a dark dimension ruled by Katharos XIII. Lastly, closing this amazing album of extreme music the band offers a darkened assault titled Inside, with Sabbat pounding his drums vigorously while Andrei blasts straightforward demonic riffs, reaching an epic and reverberating stage before the song’s climatic and violent conclusion.
In other words, are you prepared to have your mortal soul embraced in the endless darkness crafted by Katharos XIII? If you can’t wait for that to happen, then you should definitely visit Katharos XIII on Facebook to know more about this distinct Romanian band, and purchase your copy of Negativity through the Loud Rage Music’s BandCamp or webshop, as well as at Discogs. As mentioned before, after listening to Negativity, you’ll never be the same again, and all you’ll have to do is to thank this amazing Romanian quartet for such unique experience of dark and mournful sounds.
Best moments of the album: XIII, Negativity and World’s Coffin.
Worst moments of the album: None.
Released in 2017 Loud Rage Music
Track listing 1. XIII 9:50
2. Negativity 6:13
3. No One Left to Lead the Way 6:24
4. The Chains are so Beautiful 8:21
5. World’s Coffin 5:58
6. I Die Everytime I Walk This Path 12:03
7. Inside 7:16
Band members F – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Andrei – guitars
SQ – bass
Sabbat – drums