Dragged Into Sunlight’s second album Widowmaker is arguably the grimiest 40 minutes recorded this year, and that’s just the starting point in the compliments department. The band takes a risk, and in turn, elevate themselves to contenders for album of the year.
Don’t buy only one track of Widowmaker or stick to a 90 second sample to make a final verdict. Take the time, put each track side-by-side, and let Dragged Into Sunlight overwhelm you with horrific sounds. Widowmaker is a stunning album that may get pushed aside due to its late-in-the-year release date and the large amount of releases over the past few weeks, but don’t ignore this mesmerizing sophomore effort.
The best way I can describe the texture of Monolithe's sound, as well as the emotional impact that it has, is like being in a sensory deprivation tank. At first, the experience is dominated by the sense of enclosing dark, the complete blackness and weightlessness. Then, the darkness suddenly expands as the listener journeys inwards, becoming impossibly vast. Just as one hallucinates in a sensory deprivation tank, so does the darkness of Monolithe III become filled with bright, twisting visions.
This record is a massive 52 minutes in length, and yet there is never a dull moment. The flow is extraordinary, riffs twisting and bending, melting into one another with just the right amount of friction or smoothness. The melodic passages dapple the record silver-bright. They never rely on the trappings of the genre, the cliches of a plodding pace or leaden riffs, proving a sparkling interlude can induce as much misery as a limestone slab. Monolithe III is something extraordinary.
In spirit and delivery Koi No Yokan reminds me of White Pony, albeit with a mature twist to it. The band can still rage when it’s warranted, but it’s much more restrained and it never compromises the overall structure of the album. In fact, it’s the frightful ease of which the band uses the dynamics and contrasts in their music that makes Koi No Yokan such a magical listening experience.
Simply every little element and detail feels like it belongs there serving a bigger purpose. Koi No Yokan is graced with a dynamic and rich sound, which emphasizes the album’s layered approach and experimental character. It’s not an easy album to get into, but when it opens up to the listener, you’re in the musical ride of your life. Without a doubt one of the musical highlights of this year.
Hailing from the Black Forest region of southern Germany, Finsterforst offer a suitably Teutonic take on the brand of progressive Pagan/Viking metal more readily associated with countries like Norway and Finland. Rastlos does more than match the high quality output from those territories; it establishes Finsterforst at the very top of their chosen genre.
This is a record of such sweeping breadth and hidden depth, that to summarize it is a thankless task. Adjectives like epic and majestic spring too easily to mind, but even such high praise fails to fully convey the album's sheer scale.
As Vanquish In Vengeance begins, there are seemingly no surprises as songs combine a fast pace with crushing moments of slow, heavy riffs. John McIntee’s deeply guttural vocals anchor the sound, and a few moments of eerie guitar solos make appearances. But, strange moments appear late in the album, as Incantation slow things down considerably and pile on the doom and death.
The second half of the album is definitely a departure from what we’ve heard from Incantation in the past, as McIntee shows no apprehension about expanding the band’s sound while remaining firmly rooted in death metal. Vanquish In Vengeance is a varied album of crushing death metal that is a solid addition to Incantation’s discography.