Five Standout Releases from February

            Great releases continue taking form as Winter gives way to Spring. With the year progressing into March, it’s worth recognizing a few more notable albums released during February. Of course, there are countless other excellent offerings from last month that didn’t make it on this brief selective list, so feel free to comment on others that deserve mention.

SPELL OF DARK     Ghost from the Past

            This one-man act from Russia has released a fourth album of haunting, melancholic Black Metal. Riffing progressions from raw, organic guitars lay a dismal foundation for the constant writhing of dark melodies, hooks, and atmospheric elements. These arrangements result in a wealth of instantly memorable developments throughout each song. Faster sections creep up occasionally, but it’s mainly composed of slow or mid-paced tempos which combine with the unique whispery vocal approach for a relatively relaxing and contemplative listen.

MISOTHEIST     For the Glory of Your Redeemer

            The sophomore album from these Norwegians is full of ominous atmosphere and songwriting that invokes hellish, dungeon-like visions. There are many compositional variations that include raging blast beats and dark tremolo melodies, groove sections with eerie atmospheric effects, and anguish conveyed through slow melancholic desolation. Some of the album’s more abrasive and chaotic moments are very reminiscent of bands like DEATHSPELL OMEGA, and the work ultimately delivers an unsettling and dreary experience.

GRAVESEND     Methods of Human Disposal

            This debut album from the US sees Black Metal and Grindcore spawning a straightforward dose of satisfying primitive brutality. The raw, grinding sections alternate with breakdowns of crushing groove while harsh blackened vocals occasionally layer with deeper growls. Synths, static effects, and other eerie samples are scattered throughout to enhance the cacophonous atmosphere, and the result is guaranteed to induce head banging, face melting, and the urge to wreak general havoc.

Los Males Del Mundo     Descent Towards Death

            A bleak soundscape permeates this debut album from the Argentinian band whose name translates to “the evils of the world.” Entrancing riffs further the melancholic tone along with dark atmospheric elements and spacey melodies. The intricate drumming and time changes create a rhythmic groove and flow as songs also transition from faster sections of tremolo riffing to slow, eerie passages. An impressive vocal range effectively triggers flashbacks of Dani Filth during the glory days of Dusk and Her Embrace, and guitar solos occasionally capitalize on a truly memorable moment that develops from these elemental combinations.

VALDAUDR     Drapsdalen

            This is another strong debut coming from Norway that blends the icy sound of classic Black Metal with doses of Punk, Thrash, and black ‘n’ roll groove. There are many interesting rhythm variations, catchy melodies, and eerie brooding sections to be found in these compositions. Folk vibes also manifest through distinct melodies, choral vocals, and acoustic passages that appear as the album progresses. It’s an experience of pure Metal diversity that radiates with energy and atmosphere without the heavy use of artificial effects.

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