Editor’s note: That’s right kids, I AM ALIVE! But don’t get used to it 😉 Special thanks to Austin Griswold of Secret Service PR for always having the patience of a saint and not strangling us. You’re awesome bud 🙂

Vesperith (self titled, Svart Records, Release date Nov.22)

There is something magical about the Finnish and sure I can sit here all day and point out how well they do their power metal, goth rock, heavy metal monsters and everything in between. But let’s slow our roll… and add another thing to their repertoire, how about experimental ambiance ! I am talking about Vesperith who is driven by Sariina Tani. 

In this debut LP, Tani metaphorically takes us by the hand and lures us deep in to the corners of this foggy record with her siren like vocals with “The Magi.” One can really appreciate her haunting calls as they blend in nicely with the ominous and otherworldly melody, a predominant theme in this record. “Fractal Flesh” builds the suspense before having the fast paced cacophony predominantly used in black metal creating a… you guessed it…ambient black metal track! Tani flexes that growl of hers while her softer vocals resonate in the background creating a beautiful and haunting spectacle. Yes, this became yours truly’s favorite track. Shocker, right?

 “Valohämärä” is a mixture of all of all said genres and elements creating a nice medley one can digest. One can soak in this priestess’ interchanging vocals in “Quintessence” while enjoying the black metal-esque frenzy. The album comes full circle with another ambient track “Solar Flood” in which Tani’s voice gently sends you back into reality. This debut will give you a spiritual awakening, especially for those who can’t get enough of ambiance. Check out Vesperith’s bandcamp on Nov.22 to buy a digital form of this debut and check out her EP where she shows off them claws.     

5/6, Awaken

Defy The Tyrants- Asylum [EP] (Independent, May 30)

These local liberators are at it again with their latest EP! The quintet brought to the table a new and more ferocious strand of their previously established brand of groove metal. Oh no, you got it all wrong! Their previous work was certainly not for the faint of heart but Asylum isn’t afraid to rip you apart with ts sharp little claws, and soon you will be rhetorically asking us if we wanna know how you got your scars. It will terrify you, intrigue you, and will make you go coo coo for them for all the right reasons. 

The first track “By My Hands” and the pit loving “Salvation In Ruin” will certainly lock you in its tight grip. The title track doesn’t beat around the bush and makes a grand entrance in to the recreation room but hey it will become the right cure for our metal health! “Negation” wraps up this session with a steady pace that will consume you slowly making this a nice ending for this EP.

There is much to be admired from Asylum such as the versatility from the ensemble and the nostalgia they will invoke especially to those of us who grew up with the late 90’s/ early 2000 wave of groove metal. Defy The Tyrant’s is ready to show those who listen to Asylum a great time and though this record showcases their former front man’s, Chris Maddox, impressive vocal range this is still a good teaser of what’s to come next especially with their latest front man. To be fair, we were unfashionably late to this party. Check out the EP on all major streaming services and get your copy in their bandcamp page here

5/6, They make us un poco loco

Alcest- Spiritual Instinct (Nuclear Blast, Oct. 25) 

The post black metal duo is back with their 6th installment Spiritual Instinct and much like the title of this record, they create an inviting sense of Nirvana but how!? The record may only have six tracks but Alcest and yours truly are firm believers of quality over quantity… even if I am guilty of lackin’ on the quantity department this year but hey! This ain’t about me, let’s turn the spotlight back to the French duo!

The title track perfectly conveys the moment one reaches the summit in a spiritual awakening per se and as always, Niege’s resonance give this track a metaphysical triumph that even a skeptic can’t deny. “L’lle Des Morts” is a lot more aggressive but maintains a steady pace enough for us to savor every aspect of the song much like a silent avalanche that will inevitably wash over you, terrible analogy but you know what I mean.   

“Les Jardins de Minuit” starts sweet and soft and then swallows you up like a Venus flytrap but it’s fine because a great cacophony from Niege and Winterhalter soon ensues in this sweet release. The synthesizer shines and leads the way in “Le Miroir” and don’t even get me started with the support this track received from the wind instruments which was a great compliment to this slow and pleasant track, so yeah I loved it so come at me! 

Alcest dish out another pleasant record in which you can blast it in your late night creative sessions (like yours truly) or stuck in our notorious SoCal traffic to try and reach that zen part of you. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be enlightened by Spiritual Awakening which is available in all major streaming services and check out their bandcamp

6/6, Très Bien