Archive for Atmospheric

Frozen Ocean – The Prowess Of Dormition

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 10th December 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Frozen Ocean
The Prowess Of Dormition
Released February 26th 2016
Atmospheric black metal
Released via Apocalyptic Witchcraft Records

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I don’t think this band could have picked a more fitting name, judging by the unveiling of The Prowess Of Dormition’s first track. This is like sailing face first into a blizzard of ice, albeit in an eerily pleasant way. When discussing black metal, the term ‘atmospheric’ tends to feed me a pre-emptive expectation of slow, meandering ponderings, but this leans far more heavily on the BM side of things. ‘Atmospheric’ in Frozen Ocean’s universe might be better replaced by other words. Not that I’m keen on expanding the list of sub-sub-sub-genre tags already available, unless through descriptive necessity, titanic black metal does have a certain ring to it.

I’m not sure whereabouts in Russia they hail from, but they seem to have taken influence from the folk music of The Steppes which stretch out into Northern Asia. However, it is in a far more extreme direction than, say, Mongolia’s Nine Treasures. The import of the folk element would be better compared Melechesh’s inclusion of Persian sonic idioms, or the metalised Celticisms of Cnoc An Tursa. Blending this with the depth of Moonsorrow, and the pace of Enslaved, TPOD is delivered with a certain charisma which makes it stand out from its contemporaries.

The ability to capture such a distinct essence is all the more impressive, considering this all created by the individual known as Vaarwel, the single contributor to Frozen Ocean’s output. It’s a shame, as it would be easy to imagine this music performed by a full line-up in an open air environment, under the likes of Primordial or Satyricon. However, if you’re not big on society’s take on the coldest season, yet still have an affinity for winter, TPOD is the perfect partner to isolated ambulations and frostbitten retrospect. Definitely worth putting on your mp3 player and letting yourself become immersed for a while.

4/5

Paul Macmillan

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Talanas – Asylum [EP]

Posted in CD, Experimental, Metal, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 23rd May 2014 by Paul Macmillan

Talanas
Asylum
Released in February 2014
Acoustic atmospheric death metal
Released via Eulogy Media

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Having been bought over by the first three releases from London based Talanas, I was honestly unsure of what to expect when confronted with the prospect of their unplugged effort, Asylum. Let’s face it, some past efforts by other artists to take a heavy band into the sphere of un-amped song writing have produced pretentious and pedestrian results. However, in this case, I am pleased to say it doesn’t disappoint.

While they have done away with a significant proportion of the technical riffery of their previous releases (Joe Butterworth’s massive drum kit still gets put to good use!), it has been more than adequately replaced with a haunting layering of intelligent rhythmic structures. As a musician with a minor obsession with tricking the ear, I get a deeper level of enjoyment out of noting the way in which my head subconsciously nods in unison, regardless of the strange blend of timings and bar counts. It stands out as a mark of excellence when music in this vein subtly distracts from the fact that a lot of this isn’t in 4/4, the standard time signature for…well…pretty much everything.

Where in general, metal leans heavily on the voice of distorted guitar to convey concepts of malevolence, this stripped down creature stalks the rooms of the mind as something altogether darker. The ephemeral melange of enigmatic sonics displays no ham-fisted gothicisms, neatly side-stepping the comedy trap which snares many others treading similar shadowy realms. Success in this department is possibly due in part to front man Hal Sinden’s inherited understanding of creative expression through his theatrical lineage. It certainly doesn’t seem to have hurt.

It may not be a universal viewpoint, but I have always believed that interpretation should be open to the listener. Although the lyrical content herein is hinged around ‘Britain’s rich history of supernatural and occult-based tales of murderous hauntings, possession, witchcraft & insanity’, I feel swamped in an otherworldly sensation: I swear it’s almost affecting my vision, transforming familiar surroundings into an eerie, threatening and alien world. I feel transported.

Another enduring quality of these five-tracks is that they balance the musical holy trinity of character, emotion and technical ability, without overplaying any of the three. It’s a humble approach which does the finished recording no end of favours. In aiming, above everything else, to create ‘specific atmospheres regardless of the genre’, Talanas appear to have ticked all the boxes on the mission check-list.

It seeps through to every decision too, with guest artists selected for their ability to contribute to the grander scheme, rather than as a mere exercise in name-dropping. Fellow Eulogy Media artist Beth Ryan provides some ice cold vocal melodies on the soulfully ethereal The Apostle, while the hammered dulcimer (yes, I did have to look that up if you must know) brings a sinister Prussian carnival air to My Lady White at the hands of Tim Manning.

Has this been a tricky review to write? Yes. There is no real comparison to other bands to be made, which is possibly the best way to describe new music to the reader. If you like the unique, the creative and the intricate, performed with integrity, I whole-heartedly recommend this. It’s certainly a release which will stick with me for a long time.

4.5 / 5

Paul Macmillan

Edenfall unveil artwork for Under Sultry Moon And Velvet Skies

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 3rd September 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Atmospheric gothic doom act Edenfall have unveiled the artwork for their next album; Under Sultry Moon And Velvet Skies. The release date is currently to be confirmed as the band head into the studio next month to start recording. The album is the follow-up to the band’s 2011 debut album Forever Fallen. The artwork was designed by Beccy Dancer.

Edenfall online:

http://www.edenfallband.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/edenfallmusic
http://www.youtube.com/user/edenfallofficial

http://www.reverbnation.com/edenfallmusic

The Devil – The Devil

Posted in CD, Experimental, Metal with tags , , , , , on 10th December 2012 by underthenorthernstar

 

The Devil
The Devil
Released November 12th, 2012
Experimental Black Metal
Candlelight Records

 

So! I do love a bit of home-grown British metal, and with the recent release of both Old Corpse Road and Winterfylleth’s astounding new albums, it seems to be a very good time for British black metal. As you can imagine, I was pleased enough to discover that Candlelight records had just signed and released the first album of an enigmatic new band, called The Devil, who have chosen, like the humongously popular Ghost, to remain completely anonymous. Before reviewing this, their debut, self-titled album, I knew nothing of them, and it’s safe to say that all I know now is that they play some fairly interesting experimental black metal.
An extremely unconventional and instantly noticeable trait seen here is that no real vocals are used until the 6th track, and even then, it is only a spoken word section. Instead, the songs are filled with recordings of news bulletins, political speeches, and even the moon landings. It’s hard to distinguish one song on this album from another – they do tend to flow together. It does serve to an extent to immerse the listener, but is still just far too repetitive to warrant it. I felt very much like there should have been some kind of building atmosphere, but it just… didn’t quite materialise. The music is very minimalistic – drums rarely shift from a simple 4/4 pattern, never once going into blastbeat territory, nor even really making much use of double bass. The guitars are simplistic, and riffs are rare, if they appear at all. Choirs often meander through the background, filling out the fairly small sound, but are nowhere near the epic end of the scale.

When it comes to production, everything sounds clean; perhaps a little too clean, a bit too studio-made. Call me a traditionalist, but the music is just far too polished. It’s not REAL enough. Everything is clear, and clean, but it seems like a very shallow sound.

The whole album… frustrates me. I want it to go somewhere that it stalwartly refuses to go. No real Crescendo, no climax… it just wanders about for its duration and fritters away. Nothing stands out, nothing really changes. While it’s interesting, and indulges in some unusual ideas, it’s just not enough to be a bit odd, minimalistic and Anonymous. Maybe I just don’t get it, but I’ve heard far superior atmospheric, “experimental” black metal, and this just doesn’t cut it. A mask doesn’t make you good.

1.8/5

Alasdair “Scotch Egg” Dunn

Tiamat – The Scarred People

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 9th October 2012 by izaforestspirit

Tiamat
The Scarred People
Released: October 2012
Gothic Metal/ Atmospheric Doom Metal
Released via  Napalm Records

‘The Scarred People’ is the long awaited new album from the Swedish atmospheric metal band Tiamat. It is the follow up to the 2008 album ‘Amanethes’. Now before I start, here’s a little background history for those unfamiliar with the band. They originally started out back in 1989 and their debut album ‘Sumerian Cry’ was a key part of the Swedish death metal movement along with Entombed’s ‘Left Hand Path’. Since then Tiamat has experimented with various styles ranging from gothic/doom metal to atmospheric rock.

First up is the title track ‘The Scarred People’ offering that wonderful eerily gothic atmosphere that Tiamat have become renowned for. Johan Edlund’s vocals are as haunting as ever and the melodic guitars help to maintain that melancholic feel. One thing that’s new is the use of speech samples such as the one in ‘Winter Dawn’. Then there’s the slow and somewhat creepy ‘384EKteis’ which reminds me of Tiamat’s earlier works such as ‘Wildhoney’.

On a general note ‘The Scarred People’ reflects a gentler and less heavy side of Tiamat with guitar infused, melodic ballads like ‘The Sun Also Rises’ dominating the album. It seems also like a step back from the metal elements of its predecessor ‘Amanethes’ and a return to the goth rock style of ‘Prey’. Having said that even these mellow tracks have a certain charm. However they are still no match for the up-beat sounding ‘Thunder & Lightning’; one of the undisputed highlights of this release, which takes me back to the time when I first discovered Tiamat after watching their video for ‘Brighter Than The Sun’.

Needless to say that if you’re a Tiamat fan like me, you probably don’t need much more convincing to acquire this album. For those who have never heard this band before, I’d recommend you to check out one of their earlier works first.

4.5/5

Iza Raittila

 

The Chant – A Healing Place

Posted in CD, Rock with tags , , , , on 31st August 2012 by hammersmashedlauren

The Chant
A Healing Place
Released August 2012
Atmospheric Rock
Released via Secret Entertainment

Having never heard of The Chant, I was a bit apprehensive to listen to their newest album A Healing Place since I’m pretty picky about atmospheric music. However, this album was absolutely nothing like I expected it to be, and it incorporated many different rock and metal band sounds that meshed wonderfully together. With the rock influences of Chevelle and A Perfect Circle mixed with the more progressive and a bit heavier sounds of Opeth and Katatonia, this album is refreshing from a lot of other newer bands who try to take beautiful, atmospheric music and add it onto a more hardcore/deathcore based songs. It’s evident that this band has worked their way up to create their own kind of sound that could not only appeal to fans of lighter rock music but to also fans of melodic and progressive metal.

Right from the start of the album, the song Outlines does exactly what the title intends and outlines a picture of what this album will sound like. Starting off softly and then working up to a faster paced sound, it sounds captivating and almost a bit spiritual in a way. Paired with the clean vocals of lpo Paasela, I was instantly hooked into the album.

The other 7 tracks had that same consistent sound as Outlines which gave me the impression that the band is pretty confident in their development as a group. They didn’t try so hard to add random solos and other instruments as most new atmospheric bands will try and do. I see a bit of an Opeth influence in that this album has only 8 songs and most of those songs span over a period of 5 minutes, and fans of Opeth know that they are known for creating very long and beautiful pieces. The vocals derive from the sound of Katatonia’s Jonas Renkse which, again, adds that heavier sound to The Chant. The guitars reminded me a lot of Chevelle in that it had a heavier sound but not too heavy which is suiting for this album.

However, I found that the saxophone solo in the song Distant Drums was a bit unnecessary and seemed out of place in the song, though the one in Outlines was incorporated very nicely. The most memorable track from this album was Ocean Speaks in that it was the shortest song on the album (just over 4 minutes) and it got right to the point while still incorporating that same beautiful sound heard throughout this entire album. The Black Corner was also another song I enjoyed from this album in that it included a bit of chanting and collective singing towards at the end of the song that can be arguably annoying to some people but it was an element I felt that made the song memorable and unique.

This album definitely took me by surprise to say the least. This album is definitely recommended for anyone who is into lighter rock, progressive, atmospheric, or melodic metal. Hopefully The Chant continues to progress in their music and keep on making albums just like this one.

4/5

Hammer Smashed Lauren