For those who don't know, Omnium Gatherum's "New World Shadows" is easily one of my favorite melodic death metal albums of all time, filled with great, dynamic writing and gorgeous melodies and atmosphere throughout. So naturally, I'm looking forward to their upcoming full-length "Grey Heavens" to be released within this month. Their single from the album, "Skyline," while by no means a bad song, is a rather big step down from some of the band's older material. It is a solid track, but nothing about it is that compelling; it's not atmospheric enough to ensnare the listener, but it's not explosively melodic enough to strike the audience that hard. The writing also isn't that interesting; it just follows the verse-chorus structure without really doing anything that fresh or entertaining with it. The melodies themselves are catchy, but catchy doesn't equal well-written; not that "Skyline" is poorly written, but it's just really bare-bones and standard for the melodic metal genre. I still look forward to what the rest of their new album may have to offer, but until then, this'll do. [6]

"Skyline" was released on August 31, 2015 on Lifeforce Records.


Australian deathcore outfit Aversions Crown grabbed my attention a few years back with their debut full-length "Servitude." Their following release "Tyrant," while not that bad, definitely left something to be desired. Sadly, I can say the same for their most recent single "Erebus." At this point, they seem to have gotten really stagnant and formulaic with their sound; every song of theirs is all starting to sound the same in both writing and execution. The same high-pitch guitar melodies, the same type of fluctuation between the fast and slow passages, and the obligatory low-chug breakdown within the last third of the track are all present here. That's the exact same blueprint older songs such as "Hollow Planet," "The Glass Sentient," "Parasite," and others follow, and it's just getting stale and tired (This was one of the problems with "Tyrant" to begin with). It's not a necessarily bad song, as it's highly energized and has much better-sounding production than all of "Tyrant," but hopefully whatever they release next will breathe some life back into their craft. [5]

"Erebus" was released on February 5, 2016 on Nuclear Blast Records.


I actually never heard any of Ihsahn's material aside from a guest vocal appearance in the song "Juular" by Devin Townsend. However, now that I've had the chance to listen to their new single "Mass Darkness" from their upcoming full-length "Arktis," I can certainly see why this band is so highly revered. It has this sort of epic, sonic atmosphere to it that sounds like something out of the soundtrack to a grand-scale battle scene, but it also has depth and intrigue to it as well.  It mixes the dark and somewhat haunting ambiance of something along the lines of black and progressive metal with the fast pace and vigor of melodic metal music in a really engaging piece. The instrumentation is very bold and fierce from the vocals to the drum patterns, but it's orchestrated in a way that makes room for a lot of atmosphere and resonance; this balance alone makes the single quite the blood-pumping track. "Mass Darkness" is a great and highly invigorating song on its own, and I am very curious as to what else the rest of the album has to offer us. [8]

"Mass Darkness" was released on December 18, 2015 on Candlelight Records.