Unearthing The Metal Underground: The Latvian Metal Scene
As we’ve shown throughout the years in our never ending quest to the Unearth the Metal Underground, high quality metal bands can come from the most surprising of locations. Europe is known as a hotbed of extreme metal, both originating several styles and still innovating others, and even those tiny, out of the way countries have something appropriately metallic to offer.
Today we’ll take a look at three unknown acts from the Latvian metal scene. Working largely without label support and independently releasing demos, EPs, and albums, which in an earlier era would have been hindrance, now these underground stalwarts have a chance to be heard by a much wider audience thanks to various social networking sites and music platforms like Bandcamp.
Featuring members of Ocularis Infernum, this absolute gem of the Latvian scene takes the black metal sound you think you know and takes it on a twisting journey. While it keeps up the menacing and horrifying vibe black metal is known for, it’s all injected with a surprising amount of melodic hooks. The band’s debut album “Hierophanies” is out now (reviewed here) and can be streamed in full via the player below.
This melodic death/black hybrid works all angles for both a symphonic and an extreme sound that brings to mind Dimmu Borgir and other big names. The band released the full-length “Statical” in 2007, followed by the “Cryophobia” EP in 2010.
Preternatural is also now working on new album “Angeloid.” A teaser for the new album is available below, along with a music video for the title track off “Cryphobia.” Further details on the band can be found at Facebook here.
Rounding out today’s look at Latvian metal bands is Heaven Grey, a Gothic group that features a big dose of melody. Despite being around since the early ‘90s, the band has only released two full-length albums separated by more than a decade – “Northwind” all the way back in 1998 and “Falling Mist” in 2010, along with three demo releases interspersed throughout the years.
The lengthy wait between albums was caused by the group disbanding between 2000 and 2007. In late 2012 Heaven Grey announced work was underway on a new album, although the band has been largely silent since then, with no concrete details having been released at this point. You can get acquainted with the band’s sound by checking out tracks from “Falling Mist” in the players provided here:
These are only three quality acts to hail from Latvia, and undoubtedly there are many more. Let us know what you thought of these picks, and give us your recommendations on similar bands below! Be sure to check back in again next Monday as we continue to Unearth the Metal Underground.
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