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Terra Relicta Top 20 Of 2017

01. Lacrimosa
- Testimonium
02. Sólstafir
- Berdreyminn
03. Soror Dolorosa
- Apollo
04. Ulver
- The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
05. Myrkur
- Mareridt
06. Sun Of The Sleepless
- To The Elements
07. Moonspell
- 1755
08. Au Champ Des Morts
- Dans La Joie
09. Andras
- Reminiszenzen...
10. Svartsinn
- Mørkets Variabler


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Isenordal - Shores Of Mourning (2017) - Review

Band: Isenordal
Album title: Shores Of Mourning
Release date: 25 March 2017
Label: Self-Released (digital), Eternal Warfare Records (cassette), Pest Productions (CD)

01. Shores Of Mourning
02. Of Winged Fire And Crawling Shadow
03. Pyres At Nightfall
04. Tear The Veil Of Dreams
05. A Gallows Prayer
06. Cleansing Rites

If some people believe that black metal with its many subgenres has a very little or almost nothing left to offer, there are albums that testify that this is far from being the truth. The album that I recently got in my hands, the debut full-lenght of Seattle based combo Isenordal is a proof that there are plenty of possibilities, but while some bands discover new grounds by tedious progressive approaches, this band is searching their identity in vast atmospheric, yet very eclectic sound. The album named Shores Of Mourning is a follow up to bands in 2014 demo recording, Imbolc MMXIV, and consists of six both old and new compositions. Nevertheless, this album is monument, not only from musical side, but also because is a testament to grief and an exploration of purgatory, in a time where the group itself was going through arduous line-up changes, so also the line-up on the tracks is not always the same, the band now features members of Endorphins Lost, Wilt, and Thunder Grey Pilgrim, but no matter to this the tracks form an entity of pretty coherent soundscapes.

Of course Isenordal is far from being a typical black metal band, in their music there are several elements used which showcase in very high dynamics that this emotional blackened journey has to offer. Isenordal incorporates in a marvelous way beside black metal also some doom metal, neofolk, viking metal, so called "Cascadian" black metal and yet much more waiting to be discovered. To point at some bands that might be their influences and to give you an impression of what kind of a musical segments this band follows; Wolves In The Throne Room, AgallochBathory (Blood Fire Death era), Subrosa, My Dying Bride, Swallow The Sun, Woods Of Desolation and similar acts, can be a trajectory line for those who are willing to explore this broad universe of this very special band. This album is a study in loss, and a cry for a long-absent sunrise over a sorrowful and chaotic plane.

While most of the tracks are basically aggressive bleak black/doom metal with some vehement variations, already with the first two tracks the band shows that the things are set pretty high. The whole ambiance is very sorrowful, dark, but absolutely devilish, especially because of the amazing eerie shrieking vocals that sometimes migrate into death metal waters, and add to that very powerful rhythmic line, insertions of viola, broadening gloomy synths, beautiful female voices,... and while everything is just on the right place the thing becomes very intriguing also because of very melodic guitars lines. No matter if the band goes in full speeding blast or slowing down a bit, serving with lush emotional ambiances that sometimes have kind of a baroque-ish character, Isenordal constantly mantains certain flow.

I was impressed by so very soothing solemn ambiental track where neofolk meets black-doom, "Pyres At Nightfall", it's absolutely mesmerizing how nicely it builds up the tension with melancholic viola, acoustic guitars, angelic female voices and harsh male vocals, it simply creates such a haughty atmosphere with extremely rich layers. Also the epic and dreamy "Tear The Veil Of Dreams" continues in the same vein. It's so very haunting, moody, but also captivating as hell. Isenordal just perfectly make transitions between different moods, they never become boring, so it's a pure joy to get immersed into this vast ocean of dark extravagant breathtaking soundscapes. The tracks have certain complexity, but even so these compositions never lose the flow, just listen for example to driving devastating rhythms in "Of Winged Fire And Crawling Shadow" and to "A Gallows Prayer" and how much of a technical skill is present in there when the band leads the listener through various sonic moods.

Shores Of Mourning is pure example of how to make extreme dark art. Isenordal simply delivers a fantastic form of melancholic blackened music that goes through many variations, this is music for special moments, for special moods, it's an album with depth that needs listeners devotion to be grasped in everything that it offers in its almost 50 minutes of playing time. While the production, which is not bad at all, still could be a bit more perfected, everything else is giving shivers down the spine. Isenordal gives kind of obeisance to their musical heroes from the past, this adds something like an old school vibe in certain moments, but what they made is more or less very fresh and absolutely a must for every fan of any kind of extreme atmospheric dark music with twists. Impressive!

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9,5/10

Recommended by Terra Relicta

Band: Alphaxone
Album title: Echoes From Outer Silence
Release date: 23 February 2016
Label: Cryo Chamber

Now back with his fourth solo release on Cryo Chamber, Alphaxone continues to improve upon his style and impress his fans with dark spacy soundscapes to awaken the spirit. Alphaxone has made a noticeable progression between each album in honing his combination of subtlety with harsher tones. All of the elements of his previous albums which worked so well individually seems to have been brought together here perfectly. Echoes From Outer Silence brings a brilliant balance between the showcasing of lifeforms and a spacey desolation. There are all the elements present to leave the listener visualizing all sorts of fantastical realms and ideas while never loosening its grip on musical aesthetics. Echoes From Outer Silence is a brilliant album by Alphaxone. Turn out the lights crank the stereo and open your third-eye to the infinite expanses of our universe.

Read a full review HERE