June 23, 2017

Ex Eye - Ex Eye

By Justin C. This one's a bit of a treat for me to write up, because as a former sax player myself, I've long been an admirer of Colin Stetson's playing. You can hear all manner of his
By Justin C.


This one's a bit of a treat for me to write up, because as a former sax player myself, I've long been an admirer of Colin Stetson's playing. You can hear all manner of his weird and wonderful sounds at his own Bandcamp. The fact that he's gathered together a band, Ex Eye, that's heavy enough (or at least, using my term, metal adjacent™ enough) for Relapse to release their self-titled debut is pretty exciting.

Stetson contributes both alto and bass sax on this album. No, that wasn't a typo--I mean bass sax, not baritone. There's a performance video of the album's opener, "Xenolith; The Anvil," on Bandcamp, and that metal behemoth you see around Stetson's neck is a bass sax, which is what happens if you light some candles and leave an alto sax and a tuba alone to mate. Most people don't know it's a thing at all, and there aren't many who specialize in it. A decent chunk of the bass-y thunder you'll hear in "Xenolith" is a result of that sax and the synths mixed in. And although this is an instrumental album, but you might be fooled at times. Some of the human/animal-like sounds you'll hear halfway through "Xenolith" are also coming from that sax.

The opener has almost a 70s, proggy feel to it, but the next track, "Opposition/Perihelion; The Coil" shows that Stetson isn't averse to using more intricate "sheets of sound," a term coined by reviewers of John Coltrane's overwhelming soloing in the late 50s. It's a lot to take in at first, but it's best to just let the intricate arpeggios wash over you until a moodier, sparser sound arrives halfway through the song, letting the synths, drums, and guitars shine through with the sax dancing in the background. As if knowing that might have pushed you passed your recommended daily allowance of ALL THE NOTES, the next track, "Anaitis Hymnal; The Arkose Disc" starts with a gentler, more mystical vibe, although that vibe gets a shot of adrenaline when the track dips its toes into some blast beat-type drumming a little ways in.

I've talked a lot about the sax on this album, but the rest of the band deserves a lot of credit as well. At times, it's hard to tell where the synths and guitar end and the sax begins, and that's part of what elevates the music. This isn't a jazz quartet playing with distortion to try to push into fusion, rock, or metal--it's a different entity entirely, running roughshod over any genre lines I could really throw at you. I know there's a decent contingent of people who hate horns in metal, and this album can be difficult to approach sometimes, but as I often do when I review things that are a bit more outre than usual, I urge you to give this a chance. The songs are long (and even the song titles are long and strangely punctuated), but I think this will reveal itself to you over multiple listens. Any open-minded fan of music will likely find a lot of things here to sink their teeth into.

Tagged with 2017, Ex Eye, Justin C, post-rock, progressive rock, Relapse Records

June 22, 2017

Mavradoxa - Lethean Lament

By Justin C. I'm a sucker for bands that fall under the broad umbrella of "atmospheric black metal." I'll listen to it all day long with a smile on my face. It's my Kryptonite. So it's even more exciting when something
By Justin C.


I'm a sucker for bands that fall under the broad umbrella of "atmospheric black metal." I'll listen to it all day long with a smile on my face. It's my Kryptonite. So it's even more exciting when something truly remarkable raises itself above the rest of the field, and Mavradoxa's second album, Lethean Lament, does just that.

The album opener, "Cicadan," is a perfectly pleasant acoustic intro, complete with violin, but it only hints at the direction of the rest of the album. "The Phantom Visages" roars in with a dirty, Sabbath-y guitar tone with a doomy/folky vibe that runs through the whole album. The vocals have just a touch of extra grit to them, sounding almost as if the singer were on the edge of emotional/physical exhaustion, but pushing through nonetheless. To my ears, the musical influences run more to a classic doomy sound with lots of Iommi-an riffs rather than any second-wave worship, and in that respect, the band shares similar territory with Falls of Rauros. I know I name-check that band a lot, but I think that's only because Falls of Rauros is both very good and also helps broadly define a subgenre of nature-inspired black metal with classic rock and metal influences, and Mavradoxa fits very nicely in with that company. Both bands make me feel that same sense of melancholy, triumph, and awe all wrapped together.

The shining jewel of this album has to be the nearly 18-minute "Crimson Waves of Autumn." A brief, shimmering acoustic intro starts things off. The melodic lines plus the clean vocals, both solo and harmonized, give the first third of this track a very nice, Alcest-y feel. It's lovely, and the contrast with periods of heavier, chunkier riffing makes it all the more effective. Just after the 6:30-minute mark, harsher vocals enter, and the accompanying melodic line is just perfection. It makes me feel things that I'm not even sure how to articulate. As I said, it's a sense of melancholy and triumph all at once. And this isn't even halfway through this monument of a track.

If I had one minor complaint with the album is a whole, it would be the length. It's an hour and 6 minutes, and although that's no record-setter by any means, the album stacks four songs in the 11 to 18 minute range in between the relatively short intro and outro tracks, and the fifth track, "From Fog," suffers a bit in comparison to the beauty of "Crimson Waves of Autumn" and "Across the Nival Grove." "From Fog" isn't a bad song at all, but after being emotionally wrung out by the earlier tracks, it does make the end of the album drag a little bit.

That said, I feel bad even spending that many words on a misjudgment in sequencing/length, because this is truly a remarkable piece of "Laurentian black metal," as the band calls themselves as a nod to their Canadian origins. I suspect I'll very likely put this band in heavy rotation alongside my favorites from Falls of Rauros and Alcest, and that's pretty high praise from me.

Tagged with 2017, atmospheric black metal, Hypnotic Dirge Records, Justin C, Mavradoxa

June 21, 2017

Death Fortress - Triumph of the Undying

By Bryan Camphire. Death Fortress churns out malicious bone-crunching black metal. They make music with a vengeance, unhinged and foaming at the mouth. It's the sound of a horde of hell hounds rabidly chasing your
By Bryan Camphire.

Artwork by Raul Gonzalez.

Death Fortress churns out malicious bone-crunching black metal. They make music with a vengeance, unhinged and foaming at the mouth. It's the sound of a horde of hell hounds rabidly chasing your sinful soul toward irrevocable damnation.

On Triumph of the Undying, the tone is evil and punishing. The minor key melodies are full of menace. The serrated guitars mirror the hoarfrosted hellscapes depicted on the cover art. The low slung bass is like ten tons of blue-green undulating sludge. And the drums ...the drums ...the drums. Shawn Eldridge plays like a man possessed, like he's tirelessly trying to turn the kit inside out as he attacks it with every ounce of his being.

Death Fortress spread destruction with the voracity of a hungry wildfire. The songs careen forwards at breakneck speed, consuming all and sundry with heinous jagged tongues. Now and then the music slows to half-time, presenting the full extent of the scorched remains like a helicopter surveying acres upon acres of ashen death.

Deathless March of the Unyielding, the previous long player by Death Fortress, was one of the sickest releases of last year. Triumph of the Undying is leaner and meaner without losing any of the quality we have come to expect from this band. It's a short set: six songs clock in at just about thirty minutes flat. Once again, Death Fortress have delivered another masterful set of uncompromising black metal, full to the brim with grit and gristle.

Tagged with 2017, black metal, Bryan Camphire, Death Fortress, Fallen Empire Records, free download

June 20, 2017

Datura - The Harrowing

By Karen A. Mann. North Carolina’s Datura takes an all-inclusive approach on their metal odyssey, touching on thrash, doom, sludge, black metal and even a little prog on The Harrowing, their first full-length release.
By Karen A. Mann.


North Carolina’s Datura takes an all-inclusive approach on their metal odyssey, touching on thrash, doom, sludge, black metal and even a little prog on The Harrowing, their first full-length release. The band ventures out in many musical directions -- sometimes at an angry, Crowbar-esque plod, but more often at breakneck speed --on the album’s eight songs. But their main avenue of choice is old school death metal, the type that would have fans of Carcass, Slayer and Death banging their heads.

The album opens with “Keeper of the Light,” which begins in doom territory, then speeds up angrily and quickly. Two of Datura’s most distinctive elements quickly reveal themselves: the unholy growl of vocalist Kellie Gates and the sweet, clean leads of guitarists Allen Foster and Raymond King. These two elements work together to make The Hallowing so effective. Gates’ scathing voice combines with raw guitar melodies and a punishing rhythm section (courtesy of bass player Adam Cohen and drummer Brian Watson) to create a beastly wall of sound, with those clean elements ripping through. Back-to-back songs “Battle Worn” and “Charm of the Rat King” showcase the band’s strengths.

But while Datura is always heavy, their sound isn’t always aggressive. The title song is a soft instrumental with haunting, shimmering riffs. That’s just a short break before the band roars back with “Haxan,” an angry thrasher that slows down to a sludgy crawl. The Harrowing ends with the band’s most ambitious song, “WVLFCVNT,” which builds up ominously with shimmering guitars before throwing a thrashy punch and settling into a death ‘n’ roll groove.

Datura’s willingness to explore keeps their sound from ever growing stagnant, and yet they always remain consistent and cohesive. The Harrowing is a harbinger of exciting things to come from this band.

Tagged with 2017, Datura, death metal, doom metal, Karen A. Mann, thrash metal

June 16, 2017

Impetuous Ritual - Blight upon Martyred Sentience

By Bryan Camphire. Blight upon Martyred Sentience. The title of the third record by Australian death metal sorcerers, Impetuous Ritual, merits contemplation. Sentience can be taken to mean any kind of life. To be martyred is to have died for some sort of purpose.
By Bryan Camphire.


Blight upon Martyred Sentience. The title of the third record by Australian death metal sorcerers, Impetuous Ritual, merits contemplation. Sentience can be taken to mean any kind of life. To be martyred is to have died for some sort of purpose. Martyred Sentience can then be thought of as referring to anything that lives and dies for any sort of purpose or belief. This record is a Blight upon all of that.

It begins like an act of arson: kindling, smouldering. The guitars creep up in the opening seconds like a bad omen flickering in front of your face. Then it catches. The death knell is rung. The full band descends together like a winged demon scorching the ground. Rhythm and meter come and go. "Void Cohesion", the first track, delivers on the promise of its title.

Impetuous Ritual seem to aim at taking death metal to previously unimagined extremes of darkness and depravity. You would be hard pressed to try to find music made with harmonic instruments that turns any notion of harmony so completely inside-out as much as this. It is alien sounding. It is unrelenting. In nine songs over the course of some forty-three minutes, Impetuous Ritual deliver pure sonic madness, demonstrating complete mastery of the cavernous demented style of death metal that they helped to found. The band has once again bested themselves in their pursuit of aural perversion. It's both sadistic and delicious.

Tagged with 2017, Bryan Camphire, death metal, Impetuous Ritual, Profound Lore Records

June 14, 2017

Unleash the Archers - Apex

By Calen Henry. Vancouver power metal / melodeath stalwarts Unleash the Archers are celebrating their 10th anniversary with the release of Apex. Evolving from the fun "party power metal" of Time Stands Still, it's an original fantasy concept album and it's the kind of career
By Calen Henry.

Artwork by Ken Sarafin.

Vancouver power metal / melodeath stalwarts Unleash the Archers are celebrating their 10th anniversary with the release of Apex. Evolving from the fun "party power metal" of Time Stands Still, it's an original fantasy concept album and it's the kind of career defining achievement worthy of that ten year milestone.

Though I've been a fan for a few years, the influx of quality releases this year almost caused me to miss Apex. It wasn't until I heard about the record's stellar production that I actually listened to it. It sounds absolutely phenomenal. The mix is dynamic enough that the drums have real punch and the bass is present in every track. It's a record that makes you disappointed that other albums could sound this good, but don't.

Unleash the Archers 2015. Photos © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

Musically, the album delivers on every level. It fulfills the promise the band hinted at on previous releases. Like Khemmis and Pallbearer, Unleash the Archers are unconcerned with any kind of genre boundaries and deliver their concept through a series of expertly composed and performed tracks. The sound is rooted in power metal, anchored by Brittney Slayes' powerful performance, but frequently crosses into melodic death metal and even features some bluesy leads and breakdowns.

The songs ebb and flow through styles and tempos with nothing seeming out of place, superfluous or self indulgent. Everything works towards the album's concept, led by some of the absolute best vocals in metal. Slayes is an astonishing singer, delivering an incredibly powerful performance often in more of a classic metal range than power metal soprano/falsetto.

Unleash the Archers 2015. Photos © John Mourlas. All rights reserved.

The lyrical flow is absolutely expert and some of the tracks have an almost folk music-like lilt that succeeds not only in delivering the narrative but, combined with Slayes' ability and the band's songwriting, stand out as some of the best songs in metal today. The narrative itself, though somewhat cliched, is excellent. Not since Dawnbringer's Night of the Hammer have metal songs told stories in such a compelling way. In contrast to a lot of power metal, there is no "cheese factor". Apex comes off as genuinely serious and compelling. The band are highly literate nerds judging by the track-by-track videos on Napalm Records' youtube channel. Featuring Slayes in front of a bookshelf filled with fantasy books ranging from George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire to Justin Cronin's Passage series, it guides the listener through the story of the Immortal, forced by the Matriarch to bring her four sons to her for a blood sacrifice to gain immortality.

Back to front there isn't a bad track or a second of filler. The album is front loaded with faster tracks but the flow of the album is flawless and it's actually hard to pick standout tracks. Apex is nearly without fault and truly the stuff of legend.

Tagged with 2017, Calen Henry, John Mourlas, melodic death metal, Napalm Records, power metal

June 9, 2017

Necrot - Blood Offerings

By Matt Hinch. Recently I talked about a little band featuring a member of Vastum (Shelby Lermo) called Extremity and their debut, Extremely Fucking Dead. It's one of the best death metal albums of the year so far by far. Well, hold on a minute.
By Matt Hinch.

Cover art by Marald Van Haasteren

Recently I talked about a little band featuring a member of Vastum (Shelby Lermo) called Extremity and their debut, Extremely Fucking Dead. It's one of the best death metal albums of the year so far by far. Well, hold on a minute. Hot on the heels of that bruiser comes Blood Offerings, the debut (proper) full-length from the Bay Area's Necrot, also featuring a member of Vastum! That would be vocalist/guitarist/bassist Luca Indrio. Rounding out the deadly trio is Vastum alumni and current Atrament drummer Chad Gailey and Saviours guitarist Sonny Reinhardt.

Almost everything I've seen regarding Necrot likens them to Bolt Thrower. I couldn't name a Bolt Thrower song if I tried (nor could I for the other name bandied about, Autopsy) but that doesn't mean the meat and potatoes death metal that crushes your ears on Blood Offerings won't endear itself to like-minded individuals. It just might mean spending some time with Bolt Thrower is necessary. But there's no rush to visit a classic band when Blood Offerings has all the makings of a classic itself.

The first thing to notice is how the album never quits. From start to finish it simply kills. The rhythm guitars fire off enough chugging riffs and speed-laden runs to subdue any foe while the leads burn their bones to ash. Dictating the carnage, Indrio shreds his throat with the kind of growl that isn't totally indecipherable and drips with a bloody sheen that never feels too forced or ridiculous. In other words, perfectly suited to the necrotic filth around them.

Photos by Carmelo Española.

Let's not forget how much of a machine Gailey is. His energy is non-stop. To keep a creature like Necrot continually pushing forward requires horsepower and stamina. Both of which are present in spades. His cymbal work is outstanding, especially on the title track.

Necrot capture the essence of what makes death metal death metal. It's something that makes the muscles flex, the neck specifically. Spectacular riff after spectacular riff unleash the beast within balancing speed and power. If I wanted to marvel at complexity I'd listen to prog. This is straightforward but not stupid. There's a lot going on sometimes but you don't have to “figure it out”. They find that propulsive drive, that chugging rhythm, that “crush it all” mentality and work it hard. Sure they throw in some fine-fingered touches but they don't make fretboard Olympics the focus. Just beat me over the head with a bag of shrunken heads and keep it coming!

I'm not trying to dumb it down, but sometimes you just have to put your shit away and rage. That's where Blood Offerings comes in. A lot of death metal has and will be released this year but Necrot and Blood Offerings will definitely make the podium when all is said and done. It's an outstanding 40 minutes of destructive power and sickening riffs you should be willing to offer blood for.

Now when can we expect a Necrot, Extremity and Vastum tour? Can Memoriam come too? Would anyone survive?

Tagged with 2017, death metal, Matt Hinch, Necrot, Tankcrimes

June 7, 2017

Coldfells - Coldfells

By Karen A. Mann. Blackened doom trio Coldfells hails from a town just across the Ohio River from Wheeling, WV -- an area of astounding natural beauty that’s been hit hard economically. The band also is part of a close-knit heavy music scene, and includes members of at least
By Karen A. Mann.


Blackened doom trio Coldfells hails from a town just across the Ohio River from Wheeling, WV -- an area of astounding natural beauty that’s been hit hard economically. The band also is part of a close-knit heavy music scene, and includes members of at least three other bands you need to know about: the haunting, acoustic Nechochwen, classic doomsters Brimstone Coven and blackened sludge monsters Plaguewielder. Coldfells reflects these influences and their environment with music that’s both soothingly ambient, scathingly bleak, and always heavy.

Their first full-length, released via Bindrune Recordings in March of this year, features five lengthy haunting paeans to nature in both lushness and decay. (The band released a two-song EP, Black Breath, in 2014.) Comparisons to Agalloch and Paradise Lost aren’t really off the mark: Coldfells seems to equally shift between cold, despairing black metal and stately doom. Fans of Ulver’s Black Metal Trilogie, especially Bergtatt, will also find a lot to love about this release.

The album begins hauntingly with “The Rope,” which opens with an eerie organ melody and a chorus of clean, soaring voices singing wordlessly. Soon the song gives way to chunky, blackened riffs, and harsh vocals. The lyrics are mystical and mournful, seeking truth and despairing of reality.

The remainder of the album follows this recipe fairly closely: Quiet intros give way to blackened assaults that roll in like storm clouds, engulfing everything and raining doom. The album hits its peak with the last two songs. The sludgy “All Night We Flew,” uses subtle, and unexpected, piano melodies to soften the oppressively angry rhythms.

The last song, “Eons Pass,” is the album’s doomiest and most discordant. It also makes good use of the ambient sound of a storm, along with acoustic guitar and piano, before ending on a thunderous note. The feeling is haunting, tranquil and melancholy.

Overall, Coldfells is a noteworthy debut full-length that showcases a band completely in harmony with its environment. If you’re at all able, you should listen to it in the woods, or by the ocean or anywhere away from civilization, in order to experience its power.

Tagged with 2017, blackened doom metal, Coldfells, Karen A. Mann

June 3, 2017

Elder - Reflections of a Floating World

By Karen A. Mann. Elder was already a force to be reckoned with before Lore, the 2015 release that expanded their sound worlds beyond stoner-ish heavy psych and introduced them to a wider audience. A staple on critical year-end lists, Lore was an arresting slab of Allman Brothers-style
By Karen A. Mann


Elder was already a force to be reckoned with before Lore, the 2015 release that expanded their sound worlds beyond stoner-ish heavy psych and introduced them to a wider audience. A staple on critical year-end lists, Lore was an arresting slab of Allman Brothers-style improvisation mixed with Pink Floyd’s experimentation, led by singer/guitarist Nick DiSalvo’s soaring guitar and wrapped up in five wide-ranging, multi-part compositions. Lore was such an achievement that it was easy to wonder how the band would top themselves on their next release.

Well, they did, easily. While Lore opened the door to a new world for Elder, Reflections of a Floating World finds the band venturing out boldly, exploring every nook and cranny of this new soundscape, and sending us six sonic postcards from beyond. With the copious addition of Mellotron, keyboards and pedal steel (thanks to guest musicians Michael Risberg and Michael Samos), Elder’s sound takes on a lush adventurousness only hinted at on Lore.

Photos by Abrisad.

The opening song, “Sanctuary,” sets the roadmap for the album. Opening with DiSalvo’s signature riffing, the song evolves into a spacey jam with psychedelic, polyphonic melodies and quiet interludes.

After a quiet, Floydian intro, “The Falling Veil” shifts to the type of progressive riffing found on Lore’s “Compendium,” with time signatures that shift unexpectedly. Matt Couto’s snare drum is the one constant, acting almost like a trail marker as the song ventures into unfamiliar terrain.

Expecting the unexpected is always a good strategy with Elder. The only moment in which Reflections of a Floating World takes off into an ill-advised direction is “Sonntag,” a full-on ode to Krautrock that’s pleasant enough in its hypnotica, but seems a bit out of place with the rest of the album. Elder is back to its classic sound with the last song, “Thousand Hands,” which offers an appropriate bookend to the album, ending Reflections of a Floating World with a shimmering wall of sound, and setting the bar even higher for Elder’s continued musical evolution.

Tagged with 2017, Abrisad, doom metal, Elder, Karen A. Mann, stoner metal

June 2, 2017

Völur - Ancestors

By Justin C. So how do we categorize a trio of drums, violin, and bass with two vocalists? Well, bassist/vocalist Lucas Gadke (also of Blood Ceremony), in an interview with Burning Ambulance, says, "First and foremost, we are a doom band", so let's go with that.
By Justin C.


So how do we categorize a trio of drums, violin, and bass with two vocalists? Well, bassist/vocalist Lucas Gadke (also of Blood Ceremony), in an interview with Burning Ambulance, says, "First and foremost, we are a doom band", so let's go with that. It does fit--the music is slow and deliberate--but as in so many cases, it's far from the full story.

For some metal fans, Völur's Ancestors is going to be a big ask. You'll be pressed to hear anything "metal" in a basic sense until nearly halfway through the 15-minute opener, "Breakers of Silence." But for those open-minded enough, I urge you to stick around. Throughout the album, you're treated to a mix of clean and harsh vocals from Gadke and violinist Laura Bates. Sometimes the vocals harmonize to great effect, even when one is harsh and the other clean. Bates's violin does triple duty, sometimes classical sounding, sometimes folky, and sometimes as a distorted, ripping substitute for a lead guitar. Gadke's bass duties are similarly diverse, switching up between clean and distorted bass guitar as well as double bass, moving between melodic and rhythmic duties, and all anchored by the just-what's-needed drumming of Jimmy Payment (also of Do Make Say Think, who are also excellent).

Völur 2014. Photos by Danielle Griscti.

What's the listening experience like? That's a tough summation. After the more languid opener, the next track, "Breaker of Skulls," has a sound both harsher and more occult. The descending bass line underneath eerie violin is classic, witchy doom. But as you'll find if you read the interview I linked before, the band's drawing from a lot of influences and genres, and your ears should confirm that. The halfway point of "Skulls" sees the violin playing some of the most overtly folky material on the album, but it's a fleeting moment before the song moves into more mournful sounds.

One of the things I like best about this album is that the band pulls so much in and in such a fresh way, there are rarely moments when you can sum them up as just "folk-influenced" or "death-doom" or anything else that tickles your ears. All the influence is pulled into their own, fresh perspective and singular sound, and that's no easy trick. Sure, the songs are long and might seem drone-ish on occasion (although the whole album still clocks in under an hour), but keep those ears open. Themes are stated and reappear. Vocal and instrumental lines twist around each other. There's never a point when the songs repeat themselves for no good reason. The music might be a slow burn, but it will carry you along if you let it.

The band says that this album is the second in a four-album cycle. The first, Disir, dealt with feminine myths, whereas Ancestors deals with Disir's masculine counterparts. The third will apparently turn its attention to gods and goddesses, and in the Burning Ambulance interview, Gadke hints at the possibility of even more diverse instrumentation. Sometimes life interferes with the best-intentioned bands, but I hope they pull off the full four-album concept. I'm definitely in.

Tagged with 2017, atmospheric folk metal, doom metal, Justin C, Prophecy Productions

June 1, 2017

Progenie Terrestre Pura - oltreLuna

By Calen Henry. Oltreluna is Italian Sci-Fi metallers Progenie Terrestre Pura's second album. Progenie Terrestre Pura mix black metal, synths and electronica, similar to Mesarthim (though they predate the Australian duo by a few years), but the result is very different.
By Calen Henry.


oltreLuna is Italian Sci-Fi metallers Progenie Terrestre Pura's second album. Progenie Terrestre Pura mix black metal, synths and electronica, similar to Mesarthim (though they predate the Australian duo by a few years), but the result is very different.

Many "cosmic black metal" bands focus on evoking the vastness, wonder and loneliness of space. Mesarthim, in particular; their hugely dynamic mix with distant sounding guitars and vocals supported by synths at home in a 70's documentary evokes a particular cosmic atmosphere. Rather than evoking space, Progenie Terrestre Pura specifically evoke modern epic science fiction by taking a decidedly modern approach to their synth-ey metal.

The metal side of the coin features very distorted guitars and vocals, almost to the point of industrial metal and the electronic parts feature harsher sounds, favouring sawtooth synths and dubstep pulsing. This is complemented by an array of ethnic instruments and percussion as well as some chanting, rounding out the sound. Like Mesarthim, though, everything cohesively fits together.

Though lumped into "atmospheric black metal" they lean much more on melody and riffs than many of their genre comrades. Most of the metal parts are guitar led with soaring melodies underpinned by frenetic percussion. Though the overall sound of the band is great, the commitment to melody is what really sells it for me. It anchors the whole record in a way that can be lacking in atmospheric music.

The downside to the otherwise excellent record is the production. oltreLuna is very dynamically compressed muddying the detail in the metal sections in particular. There are some amazing passages with a fantastic guitar lead over top of interesting rhythm guitar, supported by synths and excellent drumming, but the mix creates a much less distinct separation than there should be for the band's epic scope.

Despite the production complaints Progenie Terrestre Pura are a truly unique metal band and well worth checking out.

Tagged with 2017, ambient, atmospheric black metal, Avantgarde Music, Calen Henry, Progenie Terrestre Pura