_ CRESCENT LAMENT
'Behind The Lethal Deceit'
Eclipsing the moonlight on dark nights is the sounds of Crescent Lament's debut album 'Behind The Lethal Deceit', sounding extremely superior to their previous two releases (demo and EP), the Taiwanese septet immerse the listener with anguish amongst all darkened emotions. Captivated by the soul-soothing vocals of Muer Chou and intricacy from the backdrop musicians of which comprises of the usual guitarists, bassist, drummer and keyboardist as well as a special appearance by violinist Heven Chang. This debut delicacy of pure Taiwanese musicianship’s and heavenly feminine melodies is surely to change the direction of the swinging pendulum; Crescent Lament is set to take the world by storm.
 RHYS STEVENSON
'My Own Angel'
Catalonian Heavy Power Metal sextet Ankor make their return extra special, that being in reference to their majestic and all-so intricate sophomore album 'My Own Angel'. From raging waterfalls in the mountains to desert racing in the plains of Spain, Ankor will take you on a magical journey that not even Disney could conjur up, providing the perfect accompiment to the El Clásico experienced in Spanish football. Dynamic vocals arising from the depths of the abyss collide with graceful music from the heavens to produce a beautiful piece of exciting music, without a doubt 'My Own Angel' is Spanish Metal album of the year.
 RHYS STEVENSON
Firing on all cylinders is Swiss mosh-bombardiers Darkmoon with their third album assault, 'Wounds' deploys the combined sound of Black and Death Metal to such an extent, this is perhaps a toned down version of Behemoth, but whilst that may sound apt, the music is just as brutal as rottweilers savaging a gang of chickens, ruthlessly and brutally. For the quintet from Hölstein this is perhaps the pivotal moment in their existence, rallying a futile blast of unimaginable proportions. Darkmoon is without a doubt, Switzerland's most kept secret until now, the evil has just turned nasty.
[8.5] RHYS STEVENSON
Battling their way through the forests and wilderness of the Melodic Death minefield, Germany's Asgaia offer a unique twist on the common genre with some ambiance and coldness in their music, similar to that of Latvia's Preternatural. Mystical and eclectic best suit this quintet's third album 'Trinegra', by diverging away from the rules of the genre and adding their own unique sound to the affray. Pummelling drums encase the atmospheric in a shroud of bizarreness and almost near sci-fi embodiment. Asgaia are sure to become a storm in the German Metal scene and with this effort, they are ready to smother Europe, watch this band at all costs.
 RHYS STEVENSON
'Relief By The Sun'
In their 20th year of existence, the underground yet-long-serving Gothic Doom quintet Elizium make their sophomore album somewhat worth the wait, by far not the greatest Gothic Doom release yet it has a persona to it in relation to the atmosphere produced - such that depression easily seeps in. For the Dutch quintet this is another step, but for the listener this may well be the last step before untolled suicide. Whilst conventionally short in length to most Doom Metal albums, 'Relief By The Sun' has a darkened feel instead, but lacks creativity here and there, ideally this release is for those Gothic Doom diehards, but not necessarily the average metal fan, just don't expect the release to make tracks.
[3.5] RHYS STEVENSON