ALBUM REVIEW: Hexvessel – Polar Veil


Having reviewed Grave PleasuresPlagueboys for Ghost Cult earlier this year, as a Mat McNerney fan I was excited to see he had another record out, this time via his folk-orientated project Hexvessel.  

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ALBUM REVIEW: Silent Skies – Dormant


There is a beauty in simplicity. An elegance in thought and form pervades Silent SkiesDormant (Napalm Records). Where life is bombastic and loud and aggressive, Tom S Englund and Vikram Shankar provide respite. Harkening back to the singer-songwriter genre of the seventies, Englund and Shankar create a landscape of the sublime. Dormant is a beautiful flight through light and love.

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Jo Quail – Exsolve

One of the strange facts about Metal is how limited the formula can be, at times. The guitar, drums, bass and warbler model stands firm for a surprising range of genres, from Black Metal to Death, to Thrash, to the NWOBHM… So, give cellist Jo Quail a round of applause for trying something new with her new album, Exsolve (self-released).Continue reading

Kontinuum – No Need to Reason

Formed 2010 in Reykjavik, Kontinuum set out to release hypnotic and spiritual musical noise, and over the course of the last two albums, they’ve largely succeeded. However with third album No Need to Reason (Season of Mist) they’ve set out to tone down the noise part and have come back with a much more refined sound. From the first album Earth Blood Magic (Candlelight) and an upbeat and eclectic mix of post-rock and dreamwave influences to the more epic sounding, Sólstafir worship of Kyrr (Candlelight) they’ve clearly been a band not afraid to experiment with their sound.Continue reading

Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss

Front Cover Digital

Over the course of her career singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe has hardly given what you would call conventional output. Drawing influence from a distinctly varied and wide range of influences, her music has had a chameleon life effect of changing its style and colours over the years, always proving impossible to pigeonhole. On the path of further mind-fuckery, latest album Abyss (Sargent House) offers perhaps the most surreal and abrasive album of her career to date.

Abyss upholds the dark, gothic tinged atmosphere and tone of previous releases but also shows a greater embrace of orthodoxly heavier genres such as doom metal, drone and noise rock. Always one for sounds of mystery and unease, at times this proves downright terrifying, for example on ‘Iron Moon’ which contrasts between pummeling, sludge like passages with her powerful wail to cleaner, folk like parts where she sings with almost fragility, as eerie effects pierce the background.

Her vocals prove a real ace on Abyss working as both a perfect accompaniment at some parts and providing a perfect contrast to the sheer heaviness of the music at others, heightening the unsettling feel.  Far from becoming an entirely metal album however, her varied range of influences from folk and elsewhere still show huge prominence, from the creepy Cello on ‘Grey Days’ to electronic noise throughout, through to the spine chilling string section that draws the album to a close on the title track. Even moments of delicacy pierce through showing beauty throughout the album’s cleaner passages.

As ever Chelsea Wolfe gives us another challenging album that will prove near impossible to categorise, but with Abyss it is certainly her most conventionally heavy and perhaps darkest thus far. Showing more in common with the likes of SunnO))) than ever before, contrasting with her soft vocals and other influences and Abyss is a deep, at times unsettling album that reveals greater nuances, layers and depth with every listen. Without a doubt one of the year’s highlights.