AOTY 2023

#20 Sulphur Aeon - Seven Crowns and Seven Seals

 

#19 Morne - Engraved With Pain

 

#18 Pugnale - Purified In Emptiness

 

#17 Body Void - Atrocity Machine

 

#16 Slow - Abîmes I

 

#15 Closet Witch - Chiaroscuro

 

#14 Divide and Dissolve - Systemic 

 

#13 Rot Coven - Nightmares Devour The Waking World

 

#12 Elbrus - And So I Always Crawl

 

#11 Gangrened - Ambient Doom Dream

 

#10 Abyssal Rift - Extirpation Dirge

As if the raging Death Metal aggression weren't skull crushing and terrifying  enough, Extirpation Dirge additionally immerses you into a sinister ambience and adds an otherworldly dimension to the terrors.  Its complex structures are dense and confusing with gloomy thick Drone-Doom atmospheres and avalanches of vicious Death Metal assaults. This album is breathtakingly vigorous and inexorable.

 

# 9 Exitium Sui - Endless/Regression

This is blackened atmospheric funeral doom that's instantly enthralling. It opens the door to a vast world of bleakness and misery, and once you enter the door closes behind you. An atmosphere that's utterly depressing and haunting engulfs and captivates you throughout the almost 1 hour of the album's playing time. It's unrelenting, monumental and majestic.

 

# 8 Oromet - Oromet

Atmospheric and melodic Funeral Doom inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien's literary world. Immense build ups with layered sounds and melodies intertwine and somehow emerge from each other create a pastoral feel of lushness overshadowed by melancholy and brooding darkness that's lush no less.

The epic, symphonic sound of the guitars and synths enfold a heaviness that's encompassing and permeating, and yet, this heaviness isn't completely dense, there are bays in the walls of layered sounds where some light soaks in and it stays, latently , but once in a while it breaks forth in a majestic golden glow.

Read full review HERE.

 

# 7 Dread Witch - Tower of the Severed Serpent

Dread Witch mix downtuned, oppressive heavy Doom, relentlessly abrasive and crushing Sludge, hypnotizing occultish Stoner sounds and Ambience with detailed nuances, throw it all into their cauldron, stir it, probably cast a spell, and out comes a concoction of atmospheres and soundscapes to become an album that tells a story of apocalypse with a remarkable distinctive style. Tower of the Severed Sepent is a fantastic debut album, with a stunning tightness in the structures of each song as well as in the album as a whole.

Read full review HERE.

 

# 6 Torpor - Abscission

Abscission, mainly a blend Doom/Drone/Sludge/Post Metal, is as colossal in sound, as it is abyssal in its atmosphere. Thematically Torpor transfer the notion of "Abscission" as a process in the cyclic life of nature to the human experience of loss and disappearance.

Right from the start, and throughout, the album radiates a unique feel of sobriety and graveness. Violent urgency contrasts a gloomy serenity shrouded in a veil of depressive darkness oozing despair and regret until the veil suddenly gets disrupted and there's all rage and chaos and the most cathartic moments of the album (Accidie and Carbon). The album ends with a compelling contrast of harsh and clean vocals indicating, once again, the nexus of the agony of rupture and the ability of renewal, the latter offering glimpses of hope and healing. The soundscapes and atmospheres are breathtakingly powerful. Everything here is essential and on point, which brings about a sense of purity, beauty and the afore-mentioned graveness. Still the structures are deeply textured to get lost in.

 

# 5 Full Of Hell & Primitive Man Suffocating Hallucination

Suffocating Hallucination is a collaborative album of two bands who both are rooted in realms of extreme music. Primitive Man play a Sludge/Doom style that's dark, crushing, raucous, bleak and noisy. Full of Hell's method to lay everything to waste is a chaotic, blackened Powerviolence /Grindcore/Noise.

There's an abundance of extreme emotions as there is abundance of their sonic expression in violence, heaviness, grinding distortions and feedback, noises and atmospheres. There are also so many structural dualities, because both bands throw their take on extreme music into the caldron from different angles and they aren't always juxtaposed in the narrow sense, but happen at the same time, laid upon each other, merge and build new patterns and sensations. The album is absolutely gripping in its intensity and beauty, culminating in the substantial and majestic closing track Tunnels to God.

Read full review HERE.

 

# 4 Frogskin - III Into Disgust

These five songs that are III - Into Disgust skillfully wallow in filth, they are massive in sound, with abundance of distortion. But Frogskin don't only rely on just being slow, low and distorted. With well-wrought minimalistic structures, well set sound layers and a great sense for precision they create heaviness that plows several levels deep into the mud and produce a kind of heavier than heavy and blacker than black atmosphere and a really deep texture that allows, despite all its viscosity, to unfold a breathtaking dynamic, and overwhelming intensity with major impact, musically and emotionally.

Read full review HERE.

 

# 3 Phantom Winter - Her Cold Materials

Her Cold Materials was inspired by the novel trilogy His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. And like Pullman's story this is also a coming-of-age story of a teenage woman.

With their very distinct style of a Black, Doom, Ambient, Sludge and Postmetal mix Phantom Winter tell a beautifully dark and enigmatic story that captures the emotional chaos and struggles that accompany coming of age. The wide range of stylistic elements they employ adds to the overall brilliant songwriting and the outcome is a coherent, intense, emotional, atmospheric and compelling album of Winterdoom.

Read full review HERE.

 

# 2 Antrisch - Expedition II: Die Passage

This is a concept album based on the historical events known as "The Lost Franklin Expedition".

The major direction in terms of genre is definitely Black Metal, but they use elements from Doom and Ambience f.e. or whatever serves their soundscapes and atmospheres. There are so many brilliant aspects about EXPEDITION II : Die Passage, be it the tight and intricate song structures, the really stunning ability to create almost visual atmospheres and soundscapes with various sound effects and experiments, the masterfully layered elements that create intensity, complementing the harsh Black Metal aggression with the gloomy Doom vibes... , or the excellent lyrics and their vocal delivery. It all boils down to the band's overall compositional skills that bless us with an album of emotional complexity and intensity.

Read full review HERE.

 

# 1 The Salt Pale Collective - A Body that Could Pass Through Stones And Trees

This a post apocalyptic cyber nightmare, sparked off by alchemy (musically and thematically). Different stylistic elements from the realms of Doom, Noise, Ambient and Post-Rock are brilliantly combined. There's juxtaposition and contradiction in everything, a constant morphing and merging, .The songwriting is brimming with original ideas and the orchestral and cinematic intensity is absolutely compelling and absorbing.

Read full review HERE.