Anathema

Oceans of Slumber – Starlight and Ash Review

Oceans of Slumber – Starlight and Ash Review

“Anyone who follows Oceans of Slumber on social media is aware of the stylistic evolution the band has been undertaking. The band, notably leaders Cammie Gilbert and Dobber Beverly, have been hammering on the fact that this new album will not be another progressive doom metal outing. Starlight and Ash is the band’s fifth album; fourth with Gilbert at the helm, and second in a row with the current lineup. The fact that they have all stuck around through the turmoil of the last couple of years and have also all bought into the stylistic shift is a positive thing.” Different tides.

Deathwhite – Grey Everlasting Review

Deathwhite – Grey Everlasting Review

Deathwhite clearly enjoy the role of enigmatic mega-mystery band. For ten long years, they’ve toiled to release dark, gothy-tinged doom music with cascading negative thoughts and feelings, and all without revealing who is actually in the band. Their sound has gone through some evolution over the decade but here on album number three, Grey Everlasting, they’ve firmly locked themselves into the same soundscape as Katatonia and Warning, dropping much of the alt-metal elements in favor of bleak, unhappy odes to bummertude.” Grey is the new grey.

Famyne – II: The Ground Below Review

Famyne – II: The Ground Below Review

“U.K.-based “modern” doom act Famyne evaded my metal detector with their eponymous 2018 debut. I might have missed their sophomore outing too, had I not been desperate for some doom when skulking through the fetid promo sump on a dark and dreary night. Thus, I approached II: The Ground Below without context or expectation, and what I heard befuddled me for a good while.” Uncommon grounds.

Celestial Season – Mysterium I Review

Celestial Season – Mysterium I Review

“Second acts for bands are always interesting. Sometimes the years away from the tussle and grind of the record release schedule does a band good, allowing passion and creativity to flow anew as it did back in their early days. Sometimes that same passage of time provides maturity and a seasoned confidence that informs the new material. In the case of Dutch goth-doom act, Celestial Season, we saw a bit of both of these progressions on 2020s The Secret Teachings. Coming off a 20-year hiatus, the compositions felt surprisingly creative, confident, and adventurous. They retained enough of the original sound from their heyday but were unafraid to wander into new soundscapes. Two years later we get the follow-up, Mysterium I.” Mystery season is upon us.

Swallow the Sun – Moonflowers Review

Swallow the Sun – Moonflowers Review

“There hasn’t been much positivity coming from the Swallow the Sun camp these last few years. The tragic passing of guitarist Juha Raivio’s partner and Trees of Eternity collaborator Aleah Stanbridge led to a grief-driven release from Raivio’s Hallatar project as well as the unrelentingly depressive When a Shadow is Forced Into the Light from this group. Years pass and pain diminishes, but based on what we get on Moonflowers, it seems Mr. Raivio is still struggling to get back to the light.” Aphotic hypnotic.

Celestial Season – The Secret Teachings Review

Celestial Season – The Secret Teachings Review

“Talk about unexpectedly bumping into a long lost friend! Back in the 90s when the doom death movement was new and being driven by the “Peaceville Three,” there was a lesser known Dutch group called Celestial Season trying to horn in on the grimly emo fun. I first encountered them when I bought their 1995 sophomore album Solar Lovers and ended up quite taken with their gloomy yet accessible style. There were some great moments and I even loved their rendition of Ultravox‘s classic 80s hit “Vienna.” After that I never heard from Celestial Season again.” Surprise homework assignment!

Crippled Black Phoenix – Ellengæst Review

Crippled Black Phoenix – Ellengæst Review

“I’ll open this review with the sentence I used to close my last Crippled Black Phoenix review: Crippled Black Phoenix are a band I want to like more, but the material continues to fall short of their potential. And with that thought the band’s latest album, Ellengæst, was bestowed upon me, giving me several weeks to think about how I’d be going in with high expectations and coming out feeling like I’d only eaten half a meal. A quick scan of the promo material did raise an eyebrow: the size of the band has been cut in half (CBP have always been immersed in drama), and there are a number of interesting guest vocalists as a result.” Crippled but dangerous.

Invernoir – The Void and the Unbearable Loss Review

Invernoir – The Void and the Unbearable Loss Review

“We all have styles of metal so squarely in our wheelhouse it’s hard to tell where the wheel ends and the house begins. Weird phrasing? OK, I’ll try again: we all have styles that fit so well, they’re like slipping into a second skin made from stitched-together skins of bands that make the styles we—nope. How about we’re all like a bed-bound shut-in with sores down one side because we never shift position, and each of us has a style of metal that’s the corresponding depression in the mattress and rotting bed linens that perfectly mirrors our moribund—know what? Let’s forget similes. We all have styles that are our jam. Now, rising from Rome, Italy, comes Invernoir and their Cherd-bait debut The Void and the Unbearable Loss with the explicit “…desire to resurrect the sound of doom music from the 90s.”” Void rage.