2016 Interesting Picks

Thumbs up: +1
Apologies for possible grammar error and for some repetitive leitmotiv.

Non Metalstrom Bands

Alastor (AUT): http://www.reverbnation.com/alastoraut
Anicon: https://gileadmedia.bandcamp.com/album/exegeses
Deviant Process: http://deviantprocess.bandcamp.com
Eldjudnir: http://eldjudnir.dk/
Eternal Delyria: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC9VTolNq1DgBNT5mYGME4Iw
Eneferens: http://eneferens.bandcamp.com
Infinite Density: https://infinitedensityband.bandcamp.com
The Lost Sun: https://thelostsun.bandcamp.com
Sarastus: https://sarastus.bandcamp.com/album/ii-toinen-tuleminen
Svlfvr: https://soundcloud.com/bakerteam-records/svlfvr-shamanic-lvnar-cvlt

Still to review

Gateway to Selfdestruction - Death, My Salvation
Antimateria - Valo Aikojen Takaa
Kres - 40 Nocy Grudnia

Best cover

Augrimmer - Moth And The Moon


Interesting EPs

Au Champ Des Morts - Le Jour Se Lève https://dmp666.bandcamp.com/album/le-jour-se-l-ve
Lord Mountain - Lord Mountain https://lordmountain1.bandcamp.com/album/lord-mountain
An Eater's Curse - An Eater's Curse https://aneaterscurse.bandcamp.com/
Witte Wieven - Silhouettes of an Imprisoned Mind https://wittewieven.bandcamp.com/album/silhouettes-of-an-imprisoned-mind

Created by: Rot Teufel | 01.01.2017

1. Vale of Pnath - II
Simply a technical death metal feast with some neoclassical approach. Fast, smart, technically valid and overall seems that the whole band have reached the full potential. Even if the whole ablum is just 39 minutes long, they know when it's time to take a brake from the storming shredding riffs with some really good melodic solos. It's the attention to the little details that rise up the whole album quality, like the insane drumming, as well some tech progressive choise with some really memorable complex riffs. Highly reccomanded.
2. Saor - Guardians
This album is excatly what i want from this one man band. Nothing more, nothing less. What i want was another step foward after Aura and the mission is accomplished. But on the folk parts i must give kudos to all guest musician who got more experience on fiddles, strings and naturally bagpipes. In this last album, the black metal is less prominent than in previous work (but still alive in Fuath) and serves as a solid base where the folk emerges. This choise allows a bit more variety, but less arsh passages and more smooth ones. This allows the folk instruments to slide good into guitars, without overpower one or the other side. In the previus work, the folk part sound a bit more arsh, but appears more authentic. Here, everything got a relly great post production care and become more accessible and still keeping the trademark epic scottish climax. Songwriting as excpected is full based on the scottish heritage and strongly evoques it. Highly Reccomanded.
3. Moonsorrow - Jumalten Aika
How i could describe in few words this album? Probably as the Sorvali cousins summa of 20 years of experience in Moonsorrow. I belive that fans could't ask more for it: a predominant black metal oriented album with flutes, jaw harp and folkish medley. One album really close to their demo "Tämä Ikuinen Talvi" and ful lenght "Hävitetty". Compared to the previous album "Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa" where despair and desolation were predominant, here we got a really large variety of emotional contrast really well exceted by the screams of Ville Sorvali. The guitars part are strong too, but drums are even more strong and complex, carring out all Tarvonen's skills. Highly recommended.
4. Deviant Process - Paroxysm
A really distinctive high otcane technical death metal band from Canada with some great progressive tones you'll not regret to listen. They got all guts that need: speed, skills, tecnique, dynamism, frenzy vocals. Each song is really distinctive from the other uniquely. I don't know why they have waited over 5 years between their first EP and this full lenght: Still don't know if this will be the album of the year, but for sure it's the best debut lenght so far. I really appreciate "As the End Begun" slow intro that interrupts the technical frenzy from one minute and half before another storm falls. Superb indipendent post production too with a crystal sound that made you enjoy all that frenzy technical guitar distortions. You should really keep at least one if not not to towards those guys, cause they'll sure shine in the next years. Highly recommended.
5. Vektor - Terminal Redux
Technical high octane progressive trash metal with a retroflavour of space black metal in some parts (Cygnus Terminal for example). Technically is simply ineccepible, but i feel that they miss that spark that could enlight this album from great to marvellous. For example i could find a song that is promiment or highly remarkable compared to the others. I feel like the whole album is a long song just splitted in 9 parts, wich shows in mine hopinion how much technically talented those guys are. In any case is highly reccomanded.
6. Svlfvr - Shamanic Lvnar Cvlt
I'm fucking happy when i see that mine country is able to carry out those bands. In the past years i have suggested with pleasure many italians bands so i'll do with Svlfvr (Sulfur). Their sound is almost ritual and lisergic for each song, mid tempo mainly, fully inspired from Black Sabbath and Candlemass masters, with some fast "dirty" parts with a retroactive black/death metal sound. Power and energy combined with a claustrofobic anxiety are wisely balanced to recreate a sinistre atmosphere of dark cloudy reflections described in four tracks over 8 minutes long, with a 20 minute majestic finale that really few bands could handle for a total of 56 minutes for full album. In conclusion this album is able to rise up from the masses, placing in the narrow zone close to excellence. A band to looking foward in the future. Highly recommended.
7. Witherscape - The Northern Sanctuary
Dan Swanö is a name that doesn't need any presentation. A men deeply involved in the death/progressive underground scene, capable of everything. This second full lenght album from Witherscape project could be consider the sum of his whole carreer. It's remembering me a lot the sound of late Edge of Sanity and Moontower album (along with Nightingale, wich i never explore a lot), but i feel there's a lot much more: a sense of still futher potential on this project, by implementing every possibile different techniques he knows going futher. In this sense, this could be one his darkest work (expecially on lyrics) as well his most accessible one; and with no filler songs. Swanö along with Widerberg deliver an outstanding performance, finding a way to mix all their knowledge together by amazing the listener and showing how it's possible to produce an "accessible" (not on lyrics) album without loose anything on heavy side. "The Marionette" could be best example for me, where the clean vocal and parts tells the story, meanwhile the growls brings the emotional part that gives deep goose bumps. Highly recommended.
8. Infinite Density - Recollapse of the Universe
The lyrics of this small pearl reminds me a lot those ones from In Flames "Lunar Strain" and "Subterrean", two albums that i love. I'm pretty aware that this pure techinal death metel, but i simply can't let think about this connection. But let's focus on what musically this debut album has to offer. First of all, it's consistent, coherent, concise and hard-hitting, with more melodic guitars, some mid tempo interludes (like in "Multidimensional Unity" where emerges the melodic voice of Rachel Murray. Where i could find a similar solution? Yes folks, In Flames "Everlost"), atmospherics/acoustics parts (see "System Disconnection" acoustic end part, you'll not regret. Even a metal profane will love it) a and vocals that space from growls to really deeply rant growls. Anyway i found the bass tones too much preponderant (probably to hide the flatness of drum), wich probably it's a difect, as well some transitions from a passage to another, wich it's a shame condisering how some melodicism have been fitted so great in some of the chaoticest moments of songs. And that's probably those things that lower this album from great to very good. Since those tracks were all written nine years ago, i wonder if my judgement could be differntly influenced or not. Anyway i propend that mine conclusion should be the same: it anyway lacks of the enlight spark that rise it from very good to great. Recommended.
9. An Abstract Illusion - Illuminate the Path
How to emerge from Scandinavian death metal scene showing a bit more of originality? Atmospheric Death Metal. But this description is more generic that you think: there's much more, ambient, progressive, melodeath riffs. It could sounds a lot intricated, but those swedish guys know how build a balanced structured song for more than 10 minutes of average lenght. No forced transitions, if i should find a small difect is the presence of short repetitions or cycles, but those are common in Atmospheric genre. In each genre passage there's any over abuse, but really dynamics passage with every note at its right place. It's an album for who love about complex music. Plus the last track is a really well played Windir cover. How you couldn't listen to them? Highly recommended.
10. The Lost Sun - Spectral Voice From Newborn Star
I don't know why no one has notice this intriguing space ambient/atmospheric depressive black metal band (probably a one man band)... I feel a little bit weird to be the only one to review it. Maybe just just me i really like this stuff, don't know... The first song long over 22 minutes could be an exceptional EP able to change from space ambient rock (with clean vocals) to pure atmospheric black metal (with harsh scream vocals and some growls) and both of them are really capable to express the sense of solitude and despair of this Newborn Star in a continuing crescendo. True, the sounds doesn't offer something new in this genre, but it's really well executed at high level. Keyboards and piano are used in the right places The other songs are 6/7 minutes long (except for Lone Wandering Among Pale Stars, 11 minutes) and follows the same pattern. The two instrumental songs are the intro and outro of this second part of this space journey; the forth song (Ode to Dead Sun) is another interlude at its end to the last one before the outro close the circle. I would like to spend some more words about how it's really good this album, but i can't find any other to describe it. The next step is start to listen it and beeing raptured by the radiating space atmosphere. Highly recommended.
11. Mistur - In Memoriam
Well, this upcoming was unexpected... I was thinking that Cor Scorpii will release something before. If you don't know them, Mistur is one of the three bands born from Windir's ashes. And from the album title, i guess this album was made in memory of Valfar. Anyway even if it shares a big Sognametal flavuor, i found it in some part really complex in songwriting and overall a great vocal perfromance. But in some songs, there's a really small variety (Firstborn Son), meanwhile others offers a more complex amalgam with black, atmospheric and symphonic tunes (Distant Peaks, Matriarch's Lament). If in the previous release, someone could appoint that they were a Windir clone, in this one it's more a great omage from Terje Bakken: in some solo goes over the black metal bonduaries (expecially trash and some heavy). Keyboards are not usen often and the band offers a great lesson about creating a great climax without abusing of them. In conclusion, In Memoriam is a good album that sounds modern and traditional at the same time and i think you'll like this contraddiction. Reccomanded.
12. Khemmis - Hunted
Strange but true, this the second doom band i review this year. It's near the apokalypse? Naaah, i just find two band that fits with mine tastes. Probably 'cause they don't limit thier sound in the classic doom bounduaries, offering their own vision and style. Doesn't matter if the purist of genre doesn't like their heavy metal approach with harsh/growl vocals: it's in songwriting that they had put all the efforts and evolved everything that they have showed, in a acerb way, in their first release (wich for a debut album is absolutely normal. Nda). Melodies are often put in constrast with darker parts, with vocals following the same tandem. Every song is crafted in a way that doesn't allow that one part become prominent to the other, in a solid duality that makes sometimes the album more accessible than you can expect in this big puzzle. Reccomanded.
13. Wayfarer - Old Souls
A black metal band with the right amount of atmospheric and folk flavour from Rocky Mountains and their folklore, with their bleak and desolate feeling wich sorrounded their first settlers, harmless in front to the power of nature. The album mutate between shorter songs and longer progressive ones with a balance between heavy, crushing and slower acoustic passages, with no forced interludes. The seven mid tempo songs nearby the end tends to blend into the next one, showing a similiar solution: a little bit of variation could help out the whole album from the status of good to excellent. It's anyway one of the reccomanded album to listen if you missed.
14. Insomnium - Winter's Gate
Thanks to (god) Dan Swanö, Insomnium finally NOT OVERPOWERED instruments over vocals like in the last two albums. Thanks mastermind Swanö for bring them back in the right track. Everything here is balanced and I'm so fucking gratefull for that. I'll be honest, i was highly sceptical after two previous album and the concept idea of a full 40 minutes long "album song" scared me to be bored. I'm glad to be wrong: i was thinking that Insomnium riffing would heavily influenced it in a monotonus overstretched way. Yes, What we got it's a classic Insomnium album very close to first releases, but with some interesting really progressive, atmospheric, ambient and acoustic parts that adds more variety to this concept album beside the classic Insomnium riffing. I even found the last 7 minutes some Moonsorrow influences. This progresse variability never lower the overall tone as well as attention to caught the listener for his entirety lenght till winds blows away to repeat the circle. The background landseekers story fits great in this sad and cold tale that seems more written more from Moonsorrow than Insomnium, but with less anguish and sorrow and more gloomy of Insomnium's sadness. Difects? As all concept single song album (even if subdivided in 7 parts) it's an all or nothing, no skipping or fast foward: it must be listened from start to the end. Second, i give it more spins and i found that imho Swanö was deeply involved, expecially in some parts, leaving a question mark on Insomnium for the next release. In any case it's recommended.
15. Chthe'ilist - Le Dernier Crépuscule
One of the most expected album was finally released. Highly impressed from their 2012 demo, i was hoping to see really a worthy successor of Demilich. Don't know if i got too much hopes or those guys try to fly too high; compared to the demo, technically this album is a magnificent, superb production, crisp sound and so on. But demo got that dirtier sounds that turns them more to a Demilich influenced band. This final lenght is just a souless high technical Demilich emulation that try to add some atmospherics but it's not enough to rise up from finnish cult shadows. For sure this album is not bad and have its really good points, because technically is unexceptionable good, but at the same time is far away from beeing genuine.... And the last song "Tales of Majora Mythos Part I" full proves that those canadians have the whole right motherfucking skills to do a motherfucking well done job. To the next release. Reccomanded.
16. Howls of Ebb - Cursus Impasse: The Pendlomic Vows
Sometimes an interesting cover caught a lot your attention and made you listen the whole album. And it's really an explicative good job of what kind of music you'll find. Normally i'm not in the black/death metal american scene since i find it too much monochromed and monotone, but i'm always happy to be encouraged to find bands that worth listening 'cause they sound different. Prepare to enter in a mid tempo sluggish, malsane and psychedelic sound played in a unique sickening new form born from a surreal lovercraftian nightmare that placed a lot of emphasis on the bass guitar lines: and i fucking love it. Despite this could sound chaotic or complex, but in reality it's just psychotically calibrated, if you grant me this paradox. Those duo knows well where there's a need for speed and when it's time to slow down again. Lyrics oscillates like a pendulum from non sense to vivd fears. Anyway there's a bit sense of fragmentation and unfinishedness from some tracks and a lack of potential (i feel that they could show more much potential from the boiling pot) but overall worth to be listened. Reccomanded.
17. Sodom - Decision Day
Straight old style teutonic trash metal: those words will be enough to descrive the 15th album of Sodom and what you should expect from them. This straightness it's just simply made good this album. At the end of career is hard to add more songs to your live tracklist, it's really a big challenge (if you have made the trash history), but Sodom somehow did it, giving to fans more headbanging fast songs. I don't know if lyrics are more deep that Persecution Mania as Angelripper said, but like their music are straight to the core.
18. Anicon - Exgeneses
What should bring to mine attention this classic american BM band? Why if hevily influenced with some classic elements from american scene i like them? Because they have found a way to craft abrasive and melodic tunes well with some atmospheric, melodic and even techincal elements in an intelligent way, that made the sound pretty interesting outside the fast BM american ramming style. Plus each track got differencies on the atmospheric, melodic and techincal elements, well knowing when each of these styles should be utilized along 6-8 minutes in each song for of 50 minutes in total. The results is a really balanced album with a lot of climax on the technical and melodic parts, the true reason why this band shines. Give it at least some spins.
19. Eternal Delyria - Letting Go Of Humanity
I never think about a modern melodeath band coudl caught mine attention... until those guys spead out their first indipendent autoproduced album. It's pretty good to see a young band trying to find their way so soon, expecially when it lacks a lot in melodeath bands today. Maybe someone could not like some symphonic solution (more oriented to symphonic black thant power like), but in riff and refrend there's even space for some brutal death, old and new melodeath such as heavy, offering a good wide variety in a really dynamic path. A nice plus is vocalist that could range from scream to growl really well and sometimes is attended by a second growl voice. It's not a miracle album, but a really honest one full of some good spots. In conclusion those guys certainly should have you keeping an eye on them in future.
20. Eldamar - The Force Of The Ancient Land
Compared to the older 2015 indipendent release, this is sure a huge step foward in the right direction of ambient black metal one man band with the help of Norther Silence Production. Kudos to the new cover too, it's just wonderful. If you like bands like Lustre, Elderwind, Basarabian Hills or Nord Frost, you'll sure enjoy this album. Lyrics are just absent, just some few screaming sentencies in some songs. Best song is "From Life to Spirit", the most heavy track with a really goose bump finale. Anyway there's some difects in songwriting scheme: melancholic melodies, similar dreamy sourrinding keyboards, solemn synths and folkish acoustic insertions, except for the two short tracks that offers more variety. Anyway for a 70 minutes full album lenght this could become (if you don't like the genre) monotone and dull. Overall is a really good album able to carry the listener to a mystical jorney, but i hope for the next album a more variety and a slow building climax to rise up the whole quality.
21. Bifröst - Mana Ewah
If there's a thing that i like on their fourth full lenght it's the return of a bit of flokish flavour that reminds me that little treasure of Heidenmetal, but at the same time is not enough near to par. For sure sounds better than "Tor in eine neue Welt" imho. Mine impression is the 2013 lineup has found a better cohesion and have added more Flammensturm strings (two members comes from this disbanded band). By playing a consolidate formula, the Salzburg group is able to pack a cool album for the genre fans, but nothing more. If for the next album, they'll take some more risk to rise up from standars, I belive they could do much better and maybe gives us a worthy successor of Heidenmetal. If not, well i hope at least will suond good as this one. EDIT: On june '16, Bifröst have annunced that the whole project is on hold. So i guess that the last hope lines will not happen sadly.
22. Alastor (AUT) - Waldmark
If you like listen something that offers a new complex intriguing different black metal sound (since in those modern decade has evolded more and still evolving), well you choose the wrong album. Welecome back to the 90s second wave with a sound that benefit by modern production standards (luckly). Anyway album sound interesting for me, just plays itself with any kind of worries and start enojy their ability to effectively lead the subject matter within the songs (nature, mysticism and sagas) perfectly portrayed individually in the atmosphere and composition; plus the vocal performance is able to paint vidid images in your mind. Music it's just harsh, furious, but even melodic in some great passages. This could let you think it may sound anachronistic, but the truth is despite its limits this album offers pride and passion with a glacial precision. So at least, give it some rounds.
23. Sarastus - II - Toinen Tuleminen
Pure 33 minutes long finnish black metal album: fast, minimalist and efficient. No pauses between the 7 songs, wich follows the same path without carrying anything new. Despite this difects, the minimalist hypnotic riffs never turn the whole album boring, creating a fine album for all finnish black metal fans.
24. Eldjudnir - Eldjudnir
Helrunar meets Árstíðir Lífsins, that how will describe in few words this omonimous release (their second) from this Danish band. From their previous releases (one album and two EP), sound got a small evolution from the minimalistic black metal they play earlier (things that at long could sound boring): by adding some folk and acoustic parts they enhances the tracks from their black metal rawness at the right times. They're not original, but i suggest to give it a spin. At least it could worth.
25. Eneferens - The Inward Cold
Interesting black metal/blackgaze project with doom influence from Montana. At least for the first song that show the potential of this band, well combining different styles. The others two songs follows a more common path for their style, sounds raw, with some acoustic passages. Anyway the whole album is able to recreate the whole mistical beauty of the woods, foggy morning landscapes that become clear with the passing time, all sourrounded by a very human melanconic sorrow. Give it at least a spin.
26. Morar - Wahlheim
I wondering why after a really interesting demo that mixes obscure primordial black metal (deeply inspired from early Bathory, Carpatian Forest and Icelandic bands), atmospheric parts and acoustic passages, this greeland secret band has decided to play simply straight black... Wich is not bad, but why put away what you have done good before? Back to this full release, it has a really great intro, but then where are the demo's soft melodies that add more variation to the album? Simply disappears... Album itselfs show in any case all the skills of those guy/s, adding that grim/obscure flavour from a Greenland band wich element/s are still unknow. But at the same time lacks of that sophisticate spark (according to their site, their main trademark) that enlight the demo? Except for the intro, simply missing. I hope they reconsider it for the next release, as for a better drumming lines that sound still a bit off place from other instruments.
27. Suidakra - Realms Of Odoric
Better or worse this band in over 20 years of carreer was able to find its way and able to invent and write new thing: this could be an epic change or a failure. Well, this is not the cause, cause this teutonic band under the guide of Arkadius Antonik has been able to release another good release. Never a failure, even if some reason you feel that something is lack, there's another thing that made you like the album. Expecially when you gerne is melodeath with folk flavour is hard to made accessible every release: but this doesn't mean it got a more complex path unable to be supercially discovered listener. Infact for this album, it's hard to spoke about single songs, as i prefer consider it like a whole fantastic told story and the songs are just many of its facets. If we want to be picky at most, in a few moments the sounds are too pompous and some parts tend to return a bit 'too often on some sections already addressed in the narrative path, making a bit uncongenial the whole experience, expecially on the second half of the album. Anyway with an average song lenght between 3 and half and 4 and half minutes this feeling fades away a bit. It won't a be a memorable album, but it sure deserves some listening rounds.
28. Draugnim - Vulturine
Six years for this album... personally doesn't worth the wait, but overall i can't find anything really bad to quash adversely all, beacuse is a honest one. It's a warm comeback, but at the same i was expect something better. Indeed they play with passion, but the songwriting is missing: the finnish take with full hands from Moonsorrow the epic atsmosphere that sorround all album along, as a lot of ice cold aggressive black riff solution from Kampfar that create a hopeless atmosphere. Wich overall is not bad, but carry away all possible originallity. Probably just "Drums Of The Black Death" is the only track that sounds more their own, but got the same problem of the others: too much repetitive simplified solution that repeat over and over. They must find some courage and try more articulate solution that should rise them to next level. In conclusion is an album you will listen just few times but it's a honest one. To the next release.

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
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