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Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Heavily Atmospheric Metal Scene

Monday means it’s time to expand your metallic horizons again as we delve into the underground metal scene and dig up three bands you might not had a chance to check out yet, but which all deserve to be heard by a wider audience. This week we’re looking at heavily atmospheric groups that incorporate specific sonic elements to create an undeniable mood throughout the music. In this instance by “atmospheric” we’re not necessarily referring to ambient or even symphonic bands (although these acts do have some symphonic sounds), but rather to bands that have a clearly present atmosphere in addition to being extreme metal.

Porta Nigra

This out-of-nowhere band just signed on with Debemur Morti Productions to release an upcoming album titled “Fin De Siècle.” The vocalist’s weird, screechy screams almost would have qualified this act for our previous look at unearthing bands with bizarre vocals, and those screams are put to good use to foster a specific tone and mood.

The abrasive, off-the-wall screams mixed with the atmospheric clean singing and mid-paced guitar riffs draws all ears in, and basically forces attention as the music builds and becomes more frantic. The video for “Megalomanic,” available below, embodies the depressive black metal ideal, creating a sort of unhinged and demented sound, while vaguely giving the impression of being utterly alone in the middle of nowhere.

Clockwork Spirit

Formerly known as Amarantine, Clockwork Spirit bears some passing similarities with Dimmu Borgir, Gothmog, and that general style of symphonic-laced black metal. Where Clockwork Spirit differs is that the music is very immersive, dragging a listener into a symphonic world that’s quite dark and even a little creepy. For a whirlwind tour of what Clockwork Spirit offers, check out the teaser below featuring samples from all the songs off the band’s new self-titled album. For more info on Clockwork Spirit, check out the band’s Facebook profile.

Opera Diabolicus

Opera Diabolicus is baffling in how big it hasn’t yet managed to become. Despite featuring guest appearances from the likes of Snowy Shaw and many more musicians from the Gothic and symphonic scenes, the band’s debut album doesn’t seem to have really hit the collective metal consciousness yet. The “1614” album (reviewed here) has a strong Gothic atmosphere and lots of instrumentation that makes it an attractive release for fans of King Diamond or Therion, and the whole thing feels like an extreme metal version of a Gothic opera. The first two songs off the album, along with the “Blood Countess Bathory” video, are available below.

These are just three of the many heavily atmospheric bands out there, with plenty more to be discovered in the underground. What did you think of this week’s picks, and what bands with loads of atmosphere would you recommend? Be sure to check back next week as we continue to unearth more underground metal acts.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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