Five Sinister Expressions from June

            Another month passes while time continues its relentless course, and we now force a pause to explore some other noteworthy efforts from June. These selections also demonstrate a range of atmospheric potential within their grim personalities, along with prominent melodic tendencies and other dynamics. Of course, many other great releases are eluding notice at this time, but this summary highlights a few I experienced until other full reviews take form.

GLORA NEXUS     A Grand Monument to Mortality

            A new project from Indonesia has emerged with their debut EP titled A Grand Monument to Mortality, and this introductory effort combines dissonance and melody to craft a merciless exploration of death and existential despair. A bleakness develops through the raw essence of Black Metal while incorporating Thrash and Death influences, along with rhythmic transitions from blasting ferocity down to slower, depressive passages. Intricate melodies and solos also manifest in these arrangements, and their haunting impact is further enhanced by the ambient tracks and other nuances appearing throughout. The evocative atmosphere and melodic complexity of this offering demonstrates a high level of potential within its 18 minutes, and I will look forward to hearing what materializes on a full-length output from GLORA NEXUS when the time comes.

GNOSIS     Omens from the Dead Realm

            Arcane forces permeate this third exercise in Blackened Death from the US, and its rugged conjurations evoke the legendary Hellenic spirit while channeling the band’s own originality. Thrashy grooves, melodic intricacies, and layered tremolo sections emerge from classic riffing structures while hooks and solos drive their epic developments. This sound is also augmented by a variety of atmospheric elements to create memorable passages of cosmic psychedelia, dark mysticism, and the haunting ambience of ancient times. The majesty continues through clean and acoustic guitars, along with other instrumental effects for a cohesive experience of tenebrosity and enchantment.

FROZEN ECLIPSE     Noctambulous Occultation

            This icy debut has been unleashed by a new entity from uncertain origins, and a variety of haunting soundscapes take form through its proper use of symphonic elements. Tremolo riffs and melodic progressions become increasingly discernable within the imposing wall of lo-fi guitars, along with passages of brooding heaviness and hypnotic dissonance. Fierce vocal projections also layer and fluctuate as rhythms transition from blasting frenzy to slower grooves, and the atmospheric shroud remains while keeping a primordial essence at the forefront. This elemental triarchy of melody, ambience, and raw savagery merges into epic arrangements to yield a satisfying venture into the cold darkness.

GALLOWS     66 Black Wings

            Grimness takes hold in the US with the arrival of 66 Black Wings, and this full-length debut from GALLOWS pays tribute to the enduring legacy of the 90’s, while also demonstrating a new variation of the era’s timeless sound. Riffing is the main focus here, and it effectively conjures a spirit reminiscent of early DARKTHRONE with arrangements of heavy rhythm, thrashy groove, and raw tremolo melodies. Hooks and solos also emerge along with the haunting atmosphere of ambient subtleties, dissonant notes, and other sinister developments. Its bleak and gloomy impressions further enable a continuation of raw energy from the past without becoming redundant, and it will likely appeal to many purists of the genre.

FIAT NOX     The Archive of Nightmares

            Shadows loom over Germany as FIAT NOX unveils The Archive of Nightmares, and the melodic execution on this debut realizes the essence of its ominous title. Layers of arpeggiated dissonance and heavy rhythm form entrancing compositions, with occasional ambient manifestations compounding their eeriness. Intricate tremolo melodies and soloing effects also appear and bring memorable closure to the tracks after culminating into levels of epic immensity. Desolation and doom are further conveyed through dynamic vocal expressions, and while furious blasting rhythms are notable, it’s the distinct quality of melodic groove and flow that carries this haunting experience into expansive realms.

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