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Beneath the Vault Reviews

Beneath the Vault #16: Riff With Me If You Want to Live

Welcome to Beneath the Vault, a column in which we take a brief look at the many review requests we get from bands that aren’t always fortunate enough to afford a promotional campaign or the backing of a big record label. Whether you like your music like you like your coffee or prefer listening to groovy tunes with headphones and some smoke, we’ve got you covered with these underground treasures. If you’re a band and would like a review or a spot in this column, click here to put in a request.

Delfinia - Deep ElevationDelfinia
Deep Elevation
Released on January 16, 2019
Genre: Power Metal

This Ukrainian modern power metal band plays a keyboard-enhanced version of power metal that emphasizes songs, atmosphere, and plenty of guitar heroics. The music is highly melodic, and the songs are well-written examples of the style. The lead singer’s voice is emotive and powerful, but without being overly dramatic or attention seeking. One of the things I like about the keyboard use on this album is the fact that although they are an important part of the songs, they’re not overblown or placed too high in the mix. There’s an obvious epic streak to music like this, and Delfinia channel this well in their music. There’s a selection of relatively well-known guests, (in power metal circles), spread out across the album too, and their presence adds something to the songs in each instance. Infectious, moreish, and very enjoyable, this is one of the stronger power metal releases of late and deserves your attention. – Nigel Holloway

On Interrupt
Released on May 9th, 2019
Genre: Synthwave

Although the horror-laced synthwave tends to be where I find the most fun in this genre, it is nice every now and then to dig into something that doesn’t feel like you’re entering a haunted theme-park. On Interrupt’s short collection of tunes known as Totality deals in many layers that tamper with my mind. What do I mean by that? ‘Collapsar’ uses trickling backing beats with ascending and descending patterns based off of the center note, which is quite chilling. More mellow drones and borderline stringy passages take precedence, acting as a buffer to balance out the overall feel, keeping it from getting too sharp. The overall idea is meant to deliver a thrill that isn’t scary in the slightest; instead, there are actually signs of sorrow, as a lot of the minor keys scream sadness. The beginning of ‘Blind Idiot God’ is the perfect track to taste this. Regardless, make sure you’ve got some solid quality speakers or headphones when hearing this because it makes a difference. – Nichalas Edward
Svet Kant - The Visage UnbiasedSvet Kant
The Visage Unbiased
Released on May 31, 2019
Genre: Progressive Metal

Svet Kant’s second album is an experimental progressive metal release that operates on the heavier end of the spectrum, providing crushing songs that nonetheless have emotive and atmospheric elements in them. I’ll steal directly from the PR blurb – “Our main influences are Gojira, Meshuggah, Devin Townsend, and Opeth. We incorporate their most appealing characteristics and mix them onto our own interesting sonic brew.” This description gives any listener a good starting point for approaching Svat Kant’s music. The songs may be heavy, but they’re also frequently intricate and technical. The band cover a lot of ground across the album, and sometimes even in a single song. They’re clearly not afraid to challenge or push themselves, and The Visage Unbiased is a very enjoyable and satisfying modern metal record. – Nigel Holloway

Gates to the Morning - Return to EarthGates to the Morning
Return to Earth
Released on July 19, 2019
Genre: Progressive Post-Black Metal

This is an ambitious and well-developed progressive album with a base style influenced by black metal. This is expanded and built on by progressive elements that push the music into post-black metal waters, resulting in a rich and textured collection of songs. Restraint, introspection, and delicacy are combined in some areas of the music, while in others the approach is rawer and closer to the original blackened template. Acoustics, guitar solos, and other musical instruments and ingredients are sprinkled around the release, sometimes as part of interludes, and sometimes as part of full songs. I particularly like the vocals – clean and otherwise – as these are strongly performed. Return to Earth is largely well-written and paced. Although it could do with some tightening up here and there, it’s more than worthy of your attention, and I suggest you spend some time with it. – Nigel Holloway

Black Galaxy - Wrath of the VoidBlack Galaxy
Wrath of the Void
Released on June 1, 2019
Genre: Hard Rock

Black Galaxy play hard rock with bits of stoner and grunge thrown in for good measure. The songs are straightforward, there’s no frills, and it’s all about jamming out to good riffs and catchy vocals. What’s not to like? Well, not a lot actually. Wrath of the Void is an enjoyable slice of guilt-free rock and is simply good fun. Sure you may have heard it all before, but you could say that about most bands. This is honest, authentic, guitar-based music to kick out the jams to as you get ready to go out on a Saturday night. Add to this the fact that the band have charisma and an ear for a decent tune, and you have a satisfying collection of tracks. – Nigel Holloway

Faunus - When Eerie Whispers Bridge Human FateFaunus
When Eerie Whispers Bridge Human Fate
Released on January 16, 2019
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal

Dark and lonesome, one-man outfit Faunus laces his atmospheric black metal with doom, offering us 41 minutes of music that’s bleakly evocative and largely quite engaging. I particularly enjoy the doom parts of this album, especially as some of it verges on pure funeral doom. As part of the colossal doom and synth-enabled atmospheric path that this album walks down, the Cascadian style of black metal can be heard, as can a galloping first wave influence here and there. At other times the music resorts to a base raw attack, vicious and biting. Whatever the music does, the artist behind Faunus seems to know his craft well, and When Eerie Whispers Bridge Human Fate is an enjoyable album that should appeal to lovers of underground blackened soundscapes. – Nigel Holloway

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