Meschera – Жатва (The Reaping) 9/10
From their beginnings in 2022 with the evocative ‘’ Зимним хладом’’ and ‘’ Сказки чёрных лесов’’ releases, Meschera have been sowing the seeds of devotion and hatred in reverence of mother earth and Жатва is the literal Reaping of their efforts.
Both harrowing and haunting courtesy of the beautiful yet also brutal vocals of Alexandra Sidorova, Meschera are able to nimbly create music that is pure Nordic folk yet also extreme black metal, traditional sonnets sung in native tongue are matched by some extreme blast beats ‘’ Взор Безлик их’ rages with huge modern rhythms and multi-layered vocals. ‘’ Страж Сосновых Чащоб’’ rages from the dreamlike to the brutal using both traditional instruments and the modern seamlessly to create an experience unlike any other. ‘’
‘’Вечность Белых Январей’’ is a step back into traditional metal and folk territory where the harsh vocals and the clean trade off against each other, the result is a song that lingers long in the senses complimented by a great solo and excellent percussion. The Title Track ‘’ Жатва’’ is a tour de force of beautiful vocals over intense blast beats and incredible dynamics. When Meschera go for the throat, the result is utter black metal full of hatred and vitriol that is merciless.
Meschera is not a metal band that indulges in traditional folk, it is infused into the very fibre of their creations. Each track is a unique journey that is filled with both darkness and light. Жатва is a journey of free will and its consequences, the earthen beauty of a sunset yet filled with ashes, Revenge filled with black blood and utter conviction. Essential.
Darktide – NO ONE / NOWHERE / NOTHING 9/10
New Zealand’s Darktide is unique to the environment. Consciously aware of man’s failings as an individual and as a collective, No One Nowhere Nothing is the Auckland five-piece debut EP, and it is an immense one.
From The beginning, No One, it is immediately that their combination of doom and deathcore is heavy. Their breakdowns are painful, full of the stigma of alienation and despair from knowing such. Darktide has arrived with their ideas fully formed, their spoken words full of regret and weariness, their riffs monolithic slabs of despair and resignation. Ethan Wilson’s vocals explore the whispered sounds of regret and the massive shrieks and aggression that make death metal and its subgenres vital. Ending with the Coda of Nothing it is simply their heaviest moment, the breaks in power ominous, punctuated by doom and blistering speed. The inevitable is coming, and there is no escaping its final embrace.
No One Nowhere Nothing is a fully formed thematic Ep that drips in knowledge and the final inevitability of the great emptiness. It is a downward spiral marked by excellent musicianship and dedication to their craft. Informed, powerful and incredibly wise, this is a modern epic metal that traverses genres yet remains true to the band’s identity and the potential of things to come.
Loather- Eis 8/10
German four-piece Loather release their debut full-length album Eis. It is six tracks that capture the essence of modern post-music. Eis rages with a storm like quality yet also has a sense of calm with its purpose to surprise with layers of feedback, dissonance, and acoustics.
Perfectly capturing the band’s spirit from the dreamlike vocals and chants through to the pounding percussion, it is a record that is at times painfully discordant yet also beautiful with some ethereal vocal lines. Loather has captured the essence of post metal/rock and given it is a visceral, immediate quality, that develops over the course of Eis (Ice). It is a time cold and desolate and yet over warm and dreamlike. The agony of ‘’Proper Burial’’ is countered by the epic ‘’Lost Sight;’’ and its dramatic introspection. The Title track is a dreamscape sans percussion that transports the listener into Loather landscape of cold, rugged beauty. The vocals are equally soaring and impassioned with wails of despair as on the distortion that is ‘’Holler your Name’’,
Equally dark and depressive, yet with brief glimmers of light, EIS is a record that captures the essence of the human condition and its beauty in all forms. Unrestrained and heavy, countered by subtlety and melody, it is a sombre yet dynamic listening experience that reveals itself further and deeper over repeated listening.
Eave – Fervor 8/10
Eave releases their third full-length Opus ‘’Fervor’’. This an emotional, atmospheric offering that continues their journey from their previous release ‘’ Phantoms Made Permanent’’ into new realms of experimentation, emotion and cohesion for this US-based four-piece.
From the opener of ‘’Past Pulses’’ and its gradual crescendo into a post-metal avalanche of feedback and anguish that morphs into a dreamlike tremolo soundscape, that is soothing and transportive, Eave excels in delivering impassioned modern post-music that is immediate, visceral, and raw in its haste to deliver its message. ‘’Shards ‘’ drips with Us Black metal fury that delves into a discordant feedback soundwave of vitriol. ‘’ Chance is a Spectre’’ is an utterly heavy denouncement of loss and despair. Eaves are able to touch upon moments of prog and atmosphere without losing the dynamics as on beautiful, yet ugly reflections cast by the epic ‘’Mirroring’’. ‘’Sale Ash’’ continues the despair and sorrow, the woe delivered with waves of dissonance and feedback that give way to gentle picking before hurling you into their sonic abyss.
Fervor is an album where the immediacy of their energy and anger does not require technical ability but a deft hand that is punctuated by experience, power, and anger. Inherently aggressive it is a stripped-back visceral experience that, over its seven tracks, delivers its concepts with a blackened, broken heart lost in misery, anger and agony.