This year is already on the verge of its halfway point, and with the elevating heat comes a continual abundance of captivating releases to experience. Immersive settings with mythical and psychedelic properties are the focus of this selection from May, and they traverse various ancient eras along with some other trailblazing territories. The transcendence of imaginative boundaries is sought through intense elemental combinations, and their melodic and crushing counterparts deliver a corresponding strike, which collectively affirms the unlimited potential of metal. There were many notable works that emerged throughout the previous month, and these are just a few that were encountered during my ventures.
WOEDEN Deity of Revival
This curse from WOEDEN is currently raging throughout the darkest recesses of Turkey, and its elements reflect concentrated levels of malevolence and despair. An introduction of dungeon-like ambience fits the prevailing atmosphere, which is mainly shaped by its blackened orchestrations, but numerous instrumental enhancements arise throughout the unfolding journey. Bells toll as the energy advances on the title track, and a striking tremolo course follows, which demonstrates one tactic used here by that picking technique. Dissonant tones are also produced when multiple layers converge, and they extend to currents with an oppressive quality matched by blast beats. A thicker tremolo variety appears in the riffing alongside muted speed and other rhythmic structures, where complex melodic formulas weave malignance and dread through arpeggiations or noted patterns, and many of the heavier components strike further with notable force. The drumming elevates these impressions with blasting variations and different grooves, and some slower paces flow with a dark stride to augment their concurrent melancholy. The cumulative arrangements are magnified during lead sections, and vocals assist the aura with dismal clean expressions to contrast a central arcane harshness. Acoustic passages reinforce the enduring mythical undertones, and bowed strings unite with rain to finalize Deity of Revival and its lasting enchantment.
VITAL SPIRIT Still as the Night, Cold as the Wind
This Canadian horde joins raw blackness with a whole different terrain, and that frontier first glimpsed in 2020 has become fully realized as they return with Still as the Night, Cold as the Wind. It sets off in a fury to match the unforgiving nature of old Western settings, with vast plains evoked in riffing that rages alongside blast beats, and the rhythms vary with grooves and flow while tremolo melodies are woven among striking progressions. Moments of riff and percussive chaos are encountered, and “Lord of the Plains” specifically slows for a crushing riff before frantic noted shapes proceed across an escalated pace. Diverse melodic structures manifest throughout, along with the psychedelia induced from warped string effects, and their details produce arpeggiated notes or other potent forms of euphoria. Some embody the Americana spirit, which also emerges at points within the extremity, but this aura is definitively captured during instrumental passages. Clean and acoustic strings, horns, and violins haunt the arrangements with multiple spellbinding dynamics, and many sections reach epic immensity when ambient tones surface amid interacting layers of heaviness and melody. These developments are occasionally supplemented with leadwork, and its soaring quality is likewise displayed by fierce vocal rasps. The captivating sound and style of this work can’t be overstated, and its atmosphere demonstrates the boundless possibilities of extreme metal.
SYNTELEIA The Secret Last Syllable
The Ancient Ones have been summoned in Greece, and this second full rite from SYNTELEIA embodies their essence through its elemental array. The classic Hellenic style proves effective at conjuring mythical and ancient settings, with riff and percussive structures highly reminiscent of legends like ROTTING CHRIST, and tremolos with muted speed pursue intricate courses alongside the progressions. Other riffs possess a thrashy quality, and striking rhythms develop as potent melodic forms are weaved throughout the heaviness. A spellbinding flow is integrated with blast-beaten varieties, which all display a steadfast and compelling resolve, and their respective arrangements are enhanced while meandering across seamless transitions. The harsh vocal tone is also consistent with some of the founding Greek acts, but it projects a distinct and commanding force to elevate the orchestrated power. A demonic presence is reflected in the effects used during spoken incantations, and operatic female voices appear at points to heighten the overall atmosphere. This is further enriched by a diverse selection of ambient and instrumental elements, and many memorable passages unfold when they harmonize with the melodic and rhythmic layers. Leadwork often carries them toward a ritualistic ecstasy, where The Secret Last Syllable leaves its epic mark, and the entire opus provides an alluring contemporary take on this influential practice.
ASSUMPTION Hadean Tides
Italy becomes the epicenter of an underworldly surge as ASSUMPTION executes their newest burden, and a primordial abyss is reflected in the vastness of its aural depths. It proceeds with the brooding disposition of chords that crush amid thick tremolos, and a heavy INCANTATION vein is noted when matching their tones with guttural roars. The heavier currents bend and morph with disturbed impressions of gloom, and dissonant interactions occur between multiple layers while blasting bombardments compound the oppression. Slower paces and grooves dominate the arrangements, however, and they highlight various noted shapes that bring sinister emanations to the surface. These creep from the murk with incorporeal and intoxicated effects, which harmonize with the lower planes to amplify desolation, and lead developments also extend from elevated tremolo melodies. Notes clinging in eeriness are summoned alongside other melodic courses, and one SABBATH-infused formula on “Black Trees Waving” pursues a path of otherworldly vibrations. This aura materializes further during ambient passages, and clean strings induce a depressive trance echoed in mid-ranged vocal alterations. An immersive spoken section forwards a storytelling aspect to enhance the ancient and mythological substance of Hadean Tides, and its unique distortions offer a maddening twist on the spirit of classic death/doom.
BLUT AUS NORD Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses
These French masters have induced their next work of psychedelic darkness, and its formations are designed to send the mind spiraling toward utter insanity. Drum paces with double bass or blast-beaten rapidity sustain a tense and oppressive aura, but detailed and unpredictable courses are notably prevalent, including some with a jazz-like quality, and an attention-seizing turbulence is produced to counter sections of entrancing flow. Rhythmic fluctuations accommodate the presence of multiple warped currents, which evolve at various unsettling and spacey levels while forming a complex whirl of textures, and melodic patterns are revealed amid the chaos until being engulfed by its totality. The torment is paralleled by vocal embodiments of unearthly and malevolent diversity, and madness is driven through the overlap and interaction between these mediums. Points of heightened enchantment are attained when culminations ensue alongside lead effects, and the menacing contortions and dissonance from heavier layers coincides with those developments. Their timed strikes reverberate throughout distorted abyssal depths, where industrial post-apocalyptic vibes are compounded, and certain features used to enhance “Into the Woods” bring further captivation. Vibrations of spectral and avant-garde horror permeate this unbounded atmosphere, and it ultimately crafts an experience laden with nightmarish appeal.