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  • Writer's pictureThe Metal Mayan

The Metal Mayan Mixtape - 16 February, 2024

Updated: Mar 13

Welcome to the Metal Mayan Mixtape! New for 2024, this segment will feature brief reviews of exciting new music set to release on the date in the headline. With so many great albums coming this year, we are pleased to offer a way to get you hyped for all things heavy!

Be sure to visit your local record store and demand copies of all these incredible albums.

Far Beyond - The End Of My Road (Prosthetic Records)

"Your soundtrack to epic battles and journeys into the unknown."

Though a new name on the ever impressive Prosthetic Records roster, Germany's Far Beyond has been hard at work crafted soundscapes for over twenty years.

With The End Of My Road, mastermind Eugene Dodenhoeft brings to life wild runs through dark forests and introspective nights under the stars. Between the intricate layers of guitars, keyboards, and Dodenhoeft's incredible vocal range, the album is essential listening for fans of Wintersun and Epica.

From "A Symphony Of Light", to "From The Stars And The Crescent Moon", it would be understandable if one were to enjoy this album alongside a fantasy book or a favorite video game - it is certainly a suitable soundtrack for any quest.

Farsot - Live Promised Death (Lupus Lounge)

"Black metal excellence as enigmatic as it is infectious."

Rolling in like a heavy fog of blackened progressive metal, Germany's Farsot returns after nearly seven years with their fourth release, Life Promised Death.

Though crowned by grinding guitars and blast beats akin to Dark Fortress and Dissection, melodic and ambient passages, such as those in "Buoyant Flames" and "Descent" channel grim, nearly gothic influence ala Draconian and My Dying Bride.

Choosing to use cryptic codenames (for example, a vocalist known only as X.XIX), the mystery surrounding Farsot continues even twenty fives years after their formation. Nevertheless, there is no question of the band's impeccable songwriting and, despite the avant-garde nature, the ease of appreciation for this album, even for metal fans not as familiar with progressive elements in black metal.

Ihsahn - Ihsahn (Candlelight Records)

"Ice-thetic perfection from the hands of a black metal legend"

One does not need to be a Kvlt Kommando with a deep knowledge of black metal to know the respect commanded by Ihsahn. Forging his name in fire and ice in the 90's as one of the pillars of Emperor, Ihsahn has spent the last two decades journeying down a new path - one that challenges the idea of extreme music down to its core.

Returning six years since his last release, the much anticipated eighth album actually comes in two different forms: a studio version with full instrumentation, and an orchestral version. The former showcases Ihsahn's tremendous rasp over eclectic grooves and melodies on tracks such as "The Promethean Spark" and "Hubris and Blue Devils".

However, the latter is where Ihsahn's songwriting truly shines as dissonant string and brass sections blend with delicate piano and thundering percussion. Already an accomplished guitarist, the orchestral versions of each track are testaments to talent far beyond metal born of frozen fjords.

Consider picking up both albums to experience the best of both worlds.

Illumishade - Another Side of You (Napalm Records)

"A rising star setting the standard of excellence for 2024."

Meeting at the crossroads of melody and polyrhythmics, Switzerland's Illumishade returns with Another Side of You, the much anticipated follow up to their 2020 debut.

Formed five years ago by vocalist Fabienne Erni and guitarist Jonas Wolf, who also fill the same respective roles in Swiss folk metal masters Eluveitie, the band's sophomore release binds djent and symphonic metal influences with fusion and progressive elements. The result is something akin to Periphery meets Epica with Guthrie Govan and Hans Zimmer influences - the latter of which can be credited to Mirjam Skal, a much respected film composer who oversaw orchestration and synth work for the album.

Opening with the headbang heavy track "Elegy", low tuned guitars are backed by dramatic synthesizers under Fabienne Erni's shimmering voice. Again noting the more progressive components, "Cloudreader" and "Fairytale" dial back the metal groove in favor of a more introspective vibe.

Set to make their North American debut in April supporting Korpliklaani and Visions of Atlantis, Illumishade has unquestionably set the bar high for 2024 releases and an act to catch while they're still touring venues. It won't be long before massive stages will be the only place to see such an incredible band.

Advanced copies courtesy of Prosthetic Records, Secret Service PR, Freeman Promotions and Napalm Records


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