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Terra Relicta Top 20 Of 2017



01. Lacrimosa
- Testimonium
02. Sólstafir
- Berdreyminn
03. Soror Dolorosa
- Apollo
04. Ulver
- The Assassination Of Julius Caesar
05. Myrkur
- Mareridt
06. Sun Of The Sleepless
- To The Elements
07. Moonspell
- 1755
08. Au Champ Des Morts
- Dans La Joie
09. Andras
- Reminiszenzen...
10. Svartsinn
- Mørkets Variabler

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Near Earth Orbit - Trans Neptunian Objects (2015) - Review

Band: Near Earth Orbit
Album title: Trans Neptunian Objects
Release date: 9 October 2015
Label: Solar Lodge

Tracklist:
01. Jupiter Ignition
02. Kepler 186F
03. Earth Research
04. Ignition Started
05. Trans Neptunian Objects
06. Planet X
07. Pitch Black
08. Jupiter Moon

We are back in the future, exactly in the year 2034. The second chapter of Near Earth Orbit invites us again to experience an imaginary movie created by the force of sound. Now the mother Earth is left behind, it went into ashes; do you remember the last words on End Of All Existence from the communication between the Mission Control Centre and Ashley Dayour? "OMG the apocalypse is fucking beautiful!", Ashley said in the end of the of the album which was released in May this year, and then it was only silence... Now Artaud Seth (Garden Of Delight, Merciful Nuns, Lutherion) and Ashley Dayour (Whispers In The Shadow, The Devil & The Universe, Coma Divine,...) are deep in the space. Trans Neptunian Objects reveals why the E.D.E.N. mission was discharged there and how it got there, the significance of the Einstein-Rosen Bridge and also which part a pre-human device buried deep in the desert sand has got to play in all of this.

2034: The Year We Make Contact. A strange device has been discovered from deep beneath the surface of our planet. Its origins: unknown. Its age: older than life, and its purpose: to change mankind.

It's almost impossible to separate the first Near Earth Orbit's chapter, End Of All Existence, and the second one, Trans Neptunian Objects, while the third opus of the trilogy is expected to be released next year. Now I must invite you to read once more what I had to say about the first album in the review over HERE, just to get into the whole story, or kind of a a dreadful message, a digital radio podcast broadcasted from the future.

Musically the new effort by Artaud and Ashley differs a bit from the previous one. While the biggest emphasis on the first chapter was on dreadful apocalyptic atmosphere, now the two based their sound a bit more on powerful, still very cinematic and atmospheric doomy gothic rock. Trans Neptunian Objects is a bit less adventurous, regarding the compositions not so many things are going on, but please note that on End Of All Existence everything was truly fascinating, adventurous, serving with realistic visual/sonic experience like maybe never heard before. Nevertheless these eight tracks on Trans Neptunian Objects are dark, the whole ambiance is dense, but I can't go past that I sense too much of Merciful Nuns/Garden Of Delight impact this time. Still it showcases with ease that heavy, obscure, turbulent and dark music can be made also on the basis of gothic rock sound, but don't take the term "gothic rock" as a proper description of Near Earth Orbit's sound, because it's not entirely true. Yes, beside the typical Merciful Nuns/Garden Of Delight sound, you'll find some Fields Of The Nephilim elements, especially in the tracks like it's amazing "Earth Research" or in the second half of the opener "Jupiter Ignition", to name a few.

But what enthuses most is the deep dark atmosphere created with use of devastating bass lines, soul shaking beats, amazing keys and other electronic samples, obscure gliding guitar lines, and mind penetrating powerful rather hoarse, yet deep and dark Artaud Seth's vocals. The message behind lyrics delivered by Arthaud gets its proper delivery into listeners ears, yet the one must use some of his intelect to get it the right way. The one who'll take this adventure will experience soothing, yet in a way psychedelic atmosphere on short "Kepler 186F", to almost militaristic turmoil of the vibrant album title track, with plenty of industrialized sequences, forming a rhythmic line that could appeal to those who want to hear it on the dancefloor, but I believe that's far from the Near Earth Orbit's point. You must be taken in the pitch black universe by the amazing "Ignition Started", where typical streched yet melodic gothic rock guitars, bone crushing drum beats and throbing bass lines create such a dense mind blowing ambiance that none of dark music lovers should pass by. The listener is constantly bombarded with powerful earsplitting soundscape and luminous spatial noises, with almost no space for any emotional variations, for example on the devastating punishment of "Planet X". The whole atmosphere eases down a bit on bass steerable "Pitch Black" and gets its expressive culmination on the closing one, "Jupiter Moon", where soft distant piano touches and vast dark ambiental atmosphere, together with significant vocal approach leads its way into total darkness which will appeal also to the most demanding lovers of dark ambient in the last three minutes of the album.

In a strange way, even though that the last word is "death", it leaves kind of a open space for the third final chapter of Near Earth Orbit saga. Trans Neptunian Objects is a strong and dark album from every possible point of view. Unfortunately it lacks that mesmerizing emotional factor that got under my skin with its vivid interpretation on End Of All Existence, which ignited such a cinematic thought provoking experience of post apocalypse, paranoia and fiction. Also the musical variations are diminished a little bit, but still it's a solid and in my opinion extraordinary release, perfectly capturing the feeling and experience of being in the vastness of space, yet it's very well produced piece of unique sonic darkness that shouldn't be missed out.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 8,5/10

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Band: Batalion d'Amour
Album title: Fenix
Release date: 4 November 2016
Label: Echozone

Eleven long years after their last full-lenght, Niya, the Polish female fronted combo Batalion d'Amour returns among the living with their sixth album. Songs of the band got more depth, even more heaviness with addition of heavy riffs, but most of all everything became more subtle, catchy, romantic and with a high dose of sensibility. The instrumental side is leaning now more than ever towards synth rock, gothic and even progressive rock/metal, with a huge dose of atmosphere and catchy pop melodies offers sometimes an otherworldy sonic experience. There's still present some dark wave and absolutely the band doesn't forget their roots in gothic rock, just listen to those typical sparkly gothy guitars and strong reverberate bass lines in almost every song, not to mention those gloomy synths and electronics that so smoothly deepens the whole ambiance. Fenix is an addictive and captivating storm of beautiful yet refreshing dark rock music!

Read a full review HERE