Ides Of Gemini – Constantinople
Ides Of Gemini’s sound has been dubbed “dream doom,” and after indulging in their music I can’t think of a better term for it. Listening to their latest work, Constantinople, is akin to being guided through a hazy dream. All the while there’s a dark ambiance cloaking everything. There’s a slight sense of dread, but you’re just along for the ride, so no worries. The focal point of Ides Of Gemini is singer Serra Timms haunting vocals. They soar and float through each song with an otherworldly beauty. Decibel Magazine writer J. Bennett and drummer Kelly Johnston fill out the lineup. Their spacious melodies are dripping with despair and melancholy that compliment Simms’ ghostly vocals perfectly. There are moments like the opening of ”The Vessel And The Stake” that give a nod to black metal. This album is absolutely mesmerizing and will completely absorb you for its entirety. It’s one that allows you to escape reality and completely get lost in its labyrinthine passages. This is surely a standout release this year and one I find myself repeatedly pulled back into.
Ancient VVisdom – A Godlike Inferno
Since first hearing A Godlike Inferno from Ancient VVisdom it has remained a permanent fixture in my daily music playlist. It is one of the most honest and raw releases I have heard in a long time. More often than not on this album the amazing atmosphere is created more by what isn’t there rather than what is. Ancient VVisdom expertly hold back just right to let each song breathe. They utilize a stripped down blend of acoustic driven folk and classic rock to weave together the eight spellbinding tracks that make up A Godlike Inferno. I mean, who doesn’t want to hear soulful, heartfelt hymns about Satan and the occult? My favorite song is hands down the anthemic “The Opposition.” It’s one of those songs that I could repeatedly listen to without growing tired of it. Ancient VVisdom’s “diabolical folk metal” is a real gem among this years releases. There isn’t a bad song on this album or a single negative thing I could say about it. Each and every moment is cleverly crafted and masterfully orchestrated. If you’re looking for something a little different and something real look no further than A Godlike Inferno. You’d be doing yourself a disservice by not checking it out.
Jess And The Ancient Ones – S/T
I’ll be quick to say that I love the new rise in occult rock that has taken place as of late. Many amazing bands are springing up and proving to be modern masters of the style. Here’s one you may not have heard of yet, Jess And The Ancient Ones. Hailing from Finland this group packs a punch with a sound that lends itself to greats like Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate. Their three guitar attack really hammers home that sentiment. In a way Jess And The Ancient Ones sort of reminds me of The Devil’s Blood yet better. Yes, better. JATO just seem to have a little more “oomph” in their sound which really draws me to it. Everything brews together quite nicely on their debut album concocting one potent spell. Jess’s soaring vocals gallop along in perfect unison with the psychedelic infused melodies. From the sprawling epic “Sulfur Giants(Red King)” to the groove laden “Ghost Rider” and “Prayer For Death And Fire” you’ll be enthralled every moment of this album. When “Sulfur Giants” really picks up it not only shines as the lengthiest track, but also as one of the best on the album. Things end on another weighty note in the form of “Come Crimson Death.” It’s a slow, somewhat doomy track with some killer guitar work that sees the album off nicely. If you’re into occult rock even the slightest bit then this isn’t a band to overlook.
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan – YT//ST
Yamantaka // Sonic Titan is one of those bands that comes along and is nearly impossible to accurately define or describe. They’re just so different you have no choice but to pay attention. Here’s a press quote to attempt to help get across what exactly they have to offer: “Yamantaka // sonic Titan are a psychedelic noh-wave opera group fusing noise, metal, pop, and folk music into a multi disciplinary hyperorientalist cesspool of ‘eastern culture.” If you think that’s a lot to take in you’ll understand upon hearing their music. Each track is a multi-dimensional environment with several layers creating their vivid world. They lead on a journey through their elaborate world for a rich and rewarding experience. One of my favorite tracks from YT//ST is “Hoshi Neko.” It’s so quirky and catchy at the same time. Each track is great in its own right and a piece to the puzzle that is Yamantaka // Sonic Titan. ”A Star Over Pureland” is definitely another standout for me with its rough metal edge. These ladies show their tough side with some fuzzed out guitar riffs and a driving drum beat. This primarily instrumental track shows off their knack for creating an atmosphere like no other. Check out YT//ST for something wildly different.