The Gathering

The River – Vessels into White Tides Review

The River – Vessels into White Tides Review

“December is usually not the best time to go for a dip in the promo sump. Historically this is the month where we get deluged with re-releases and more low-fi basement black metal than a barrel full of Vardans could churn out in a fortnight. It takes a steady hand to reach into the brackish murk and pull out something promising, and fortunately, nothing is as steady as the iron hand ov Steel. That brings us to the new release by UK experimental Goth/doom act The River.” Follow The River.

Freternia – The Gathering Review

Freternia – The Gathering Review

“Of all the bands that flooded the European power metal scene in the late 90’s and early 00’s, Sweden’s Freternia is certainly one of them. I’m not so much apathetic towards them as I am unfamiliar; I followed countless power metal bands in the previous decade, and while I’ve long known of Freternia‘s existence, I never got around to adding them to my rotation. In retrospect, they were a solid early example of Blind Guardian worship, and one that may have tapped into some serious potential, had they not fizzled out in 2002 after only two albums. When several members of Freternia formed Cromonic a few years back, I had thought that the latter band would serve as the former’s replacement, so I was a bit surprised when Freternia‘s comeback album, The Gathering, surfaced in the promo sump.” Join the Freternity.

Splendidula – Post Mortem Review

Splendidula – Post Mortem Review

“Coming from the Latin ‘splendidus’, ‘splendid’ is defined—by one (free) online dictionary that this n00b found, anyway—as an adjective meaning ‘magnificent; very impressive.’ Of what relevance is this to Post Mortem, the second album from Splendidula? Quite possibly none but having made the splendid-Splendidula link in my head, I got my hopes up.” Album autopsy.

Record(s) o’ the Month – October 2017

Record(s) o’ the Month – October 2017

“Hoo boy! It’s the 7th of November and I’m dropping the Record(s) o’ the Month from October. What on earth will you people do with yourselves when you don’t have a late Record o’ the Month to complain about? Oh right, you’ll complain about the record I chose. I’d say “You can’t win all the time,” but when it comes to the RotM that’s not true. I do win all the time.” Trolling with timeliness.

Vuur – In This Moment We Are Free – Cities Review

Vuur – In This Moment We Are Free – Cities Review

“I’m about as far from a nationalist as you can get, but for metal I make an exception. In the Netherlands, for a country 17 million strong, the amount of metal icons is remarkably low, with Ayreon probably the most famous example from our little patch of Earth. But we did produce some big names among female vocalists, and none more so than the insanely productive Anneke van Giersbergen, whose angelic voice featured on a wide array of guest performances, three Ayreon albums, numerous Devin Townsend collaborations, The Gentle Storm and of course quirky doom goth icons The Gathering, where her upward trajectory began. Seeking more focus in her musical escapades, she decided to relegate her more quiet acoustic side to her solo name (formerly Agua De Annique) and concentrate her progressive metal tendencies in new project Vuur.” The unsinkable Anneke.

Bathsheba – Servus Review

Bathsheba – Servus Review

“It always disheartens me when bands with so much potential turn to ash shortly after burning brightly. For instance, remember the buzz surrounding Belgium’s Serpentcult? Their 2008 debut Weight of Light caught many a doom aficionado’s ear with their sludged-out grooves, crushing basslines, and the otherworldly vocals of Michelle Nocon. Fast-forward three years, and the Nocon-less follow-up, Raised By Wolves, while still heavy and uncompromising, lost its spark with her departure. Now here we are in 2017, and Nocon’s plying her voice in a new band.” Can the Nocon magic happen twice?

Esben and the Witch – Older Terrors Review

Esben and the Witch – Older Terrors Review

“I’m not alone among the AMG staff in having fallen hard for The Gathering‘s career defining Mandylion release back in 95. That platter combined elements of doom and goth rock in a way that had never been done before and created something haunting, sad and achingly beautiful. The band quickly drifted toward more commercial waters, and many (myself included) were left hungering for more of what Mandylion delivered. Perhaps that’s why my ears pricked up when I heard a snippet of the Older Terrors promo from hitherto unknown by me English three-piece, Esben and the Witch.” Oh, Mandy, you came and you found me an Esben….

Vuolla – Blood. Stone. Sun. Down. Review

Vuolla – Blood. Stone. Sun. Down. Review

“In the case of Finnish five-piece Vuolla, nomen really est omen. Their name, which translates as “carve” or “whittle,” is an apt symbol of the group’s reductive and appropriating approach. As they chisel away at a body of work developed from various genres, from post-rock to death metal, it’s difficult to ignore that the essence of their sound is still based in a rehashed version of melancholic doom metal.” Turn loose the sads.

Draconian – Sovran Review

Draconian – Sovran Review

My Dying Bride and Anathema invented what we now think of as the goth-tinged doom/death genre back in the early 90s with their respectively earth-shaking debuts. Though many bands have subsequently tried their hand at the style, few have nailed the original sound and mood as well as Draconian.” Sadness, thy name is Draconian.