Welcome back to the Metal Periscope.
I have to confess, I almost repeated the introduction from the July issue, only mentioning that August was an even poorer month for metal fans.
But then, all of a sudden good albums started to be released at the end of the month. That’s why I’m a bit late in publishing the August’s Metal Periscope – it took me a lot of time to listen to all the good stuff and choose the best records.
So, without further ado, I present to you some of the most notable August 2018 albums.
Dol Ammad – Cosmic Gods: Episode II – Astroatlas
It took Dol Ammad 6 long years to release the follow-up to the first episode of Cosmic Gods.
If you never listened to the music of this Greek band, then you should know that it is symphonic metal with a full-blown choir on vocals (yes, a bit similar to Therion), but with some electronic touches here and there.
Astroatlas follows the same formula as its predecessor and doesn’t offer anything new to the table, but the fans of the band should still be satisfied, as the quality of the music and the performance of the musicians are both top-notch.
Rebel Wizard – Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response
While this Australian one man band may not be the first to ever mix the dirtiness of raw black metal and the melody of traditional heavy metal in the same musical pattern, Rebel Wizard may very well be the first one to achieve such a degree of success in the said field.
Voluptuous Worship of Rapture and Response brandishes proudly not only some (absurdly) long song titles, but also lo-fi sound that flows back and forth between the sound of some underground black metal demo and the sound of some equally obscure NWOBHM band from the 80’s. This is the sound that the band named “The New Wave of Negative Metal”.
The end result is a cocktail that should appeal to an underground metal fan searching for something new to listen to.
Bæst – Danse Macabre
If you are into traditional death metal based on pummeling riffs, brutal growls and pure aggression, then this Danish band should appeal to you.
While Bæst might not be the “best” band every in this particular metal sub-genre, it is still worth listening to.
The Eternal – Waiting for the Endless Dawn
The Eternal is another Australian band in this list, but they have nothing to do with Rebel Wizard musically.
This Melbourne four-piece plays classic gothic metal with some touches of doom. Therefore the band’s music has nothing to do with commercial pseudo-gothic bands like Evanescence and HIM. I’d say The Eternal is one of those bands that celebrate the melancholy, but do it in good style.
I guess, the one characteristic of this album that can turn potential listeners away from it is its length. Waiting for the Endless Dawn clocks at almost one hour and a quarter, which may seem a lot, but be sure that there are no fillers – each of the tracks is filled with high quality gothic metal that will aim to touch the strings of your very soul.
Mantar – The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze
Sludge metal is supposed to sound dirty, but, if you add some crispy black metal vocals on top, what you get is Mantar – the band that creates a brutal sonic assault that will leave you breathless, uncomfortable, and… wanting more.
Manes – Slow Motion Death Sequence
Norway has a long traditions of weird-sounding metal bands: Arcturus, Ulver, Virus, Vulture Industries…
Manes is one of those bands. And, although, you can hear some moments similar to Ulver or Ihsahn, this band from Trondheim seems to have its unique touch.
If you are into electronic/avant-garde metal, you definitely shouldn’t miss Slow Motion Death Sequence.
Dark Millennium – Where Oceans Collide
Now, this is an album that could possibly come directly from the 90’s (which is not a big surprise, as the band was formed in late 80’s – early 90’s).
To be honest, I never listen to the previous Dark Millennium records so this album is my first experience with the Germans.
I mentioned the 90’s metal scene before, because many of the bands that surfaced in those years (especially in Europe) searched for new musical form and mixed various extreme metal forms as if they were medieval alchemist. Where Oceans Collide is precisely one such album.
If I had to put a label on it, it would be something like progressive/atmospheric/death/black/doom metal. I know it sounds quite absurd, but the musicians clearly aren’t trying to imitate any of the more well-known bands. Instead, they create an amalgam of the elements of different metal sub-genres that produces complex emotions in the listener.
A worthy album for the people feeling nostalgia for the 90’s metal and all those that are searching for some new musical forms in the modern metal scene.
Omnium Gatherum – The Burning Cold
I think that there are quite a few bands that once in their career release an album that overshadows the rest of the discography. A masterpiece, if you will.
In case of Omnium Gatherum, in my opinion, it would be 2011’s New World Shadows. It sounded almost like a perfect melodic death record of Finnish school – very melodic, but not overly so, a bit melancholic and quite tasteful.
Since then, I think, the band tried to recapture that same feeling, but without much success. The Burning Cold is the third band’s album since New World Shadows. So, did they succeed this time?
Don’t take me wrong, there are some very strong songs on this record: the tracks chosen for music videos Gods Go First and Refining Fire sound cool, there are some a bit thrash-ier songs in the middle of the record and I really like the final track, Cold. Still, the album as a whole is just a good melodeath record that is a bit far from being a masterpiece.
If you are a fan of Omnium Gatherum or/and Insomnium (they even share the guitar player), or are looking for a good melodic death record, you shouldn’t miss The Burning Cold. Just don’t expect too much from this record.
This is it for the August issue.
I hope you enjoyed this selection of very different-sounding records. I know I did enjoy making this list.
See you next month!