Rainbows in the Dark: Crooked Mouth and Headstone Brigade — “Crooked Headstone”

If you know me at this point, you might know that I love collaboration albums.  Bell Witch and Aerial Ruin’s official collaboration was one of my favorite releases of last year, as was Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle’s series of joint releases, and anytime The Body releases a collaboration album with just about anyone, I buy it sight unseen.  There’s something that is just so interesting about when two projects come together to make an end product that is more than the sum of their parts.  Enter Crooked Mouth and Headstone Brigade and their aptly titled collaborative release Crooked Headstone.

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Rainbows in the Dark: Wÿntër Ärvń — “Abysses”

Let’s do a little word association.  When someone shouts “90’s black metal” at the top of their lungs at you, what are the first things that come to mind?  Satanism, for sure.  Certainly minimalistic production values, dark lyrics and dense atmosphere.  How about acoustic guitars, clarinet and bouzouki?  No?  Well, maybe you should start associating those things more strongly.  Wÿntër Ärvń, the French neofolk one-man project turned duo, are back with their second release Abysses, and on it they take everything that you would expect from classic second wave black metal and turn it completely on its head.

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Rainbows in the Dark: Wudewuse — “Northern Gothic”

I think what we can all agree on is that there just aren’t enough troubadours in the world today.  At what point did we, as a society, decide that travelling minstrels weren’t cool or acceptable anymore?  Why aren’t there entertainers regaling me and my compatriots with song and merriment as we feast and dance?  If this is something that is causing stress in your life, fear not.  Wudewuse, the forest boys themselves, are back with Northern Gothic, a celebration of the nature and the landscape of Northern Norway, old school rock, deep and contemplative moods, and the bardic spirit.

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Rainbows in the Dark: October Falls — “Syys”

Okay, so I cheated a little bit with this one.  October Falls are not what anyone in their right mind would classify as “non-metal” but they are incredible, I will jump at the chance to review them anytime I can, and they have always had a way with mixing surprising elements into their brand of nature-inspired black metal. It seems that they are going to keep to that trend, and maybe throw some surprises out there, with their latest release, the all-acoustic Syys, which is also their second full-length release of this year.  See? That’s my rationale.

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Rainbows in the Dark: Hagathorn — “Hartworld”

I’ll be honest here: I’m feeling a little burned out on heavy music as of late.  Not that there hasn’t been a long list of stellar heavy releases this year, not that I’ll never go back to it, but I just feel tired of loud and aggressive when everything outside the music world is almost unbearably loud and aggressive.  I need a break, something that does a better job of helping me escape and take my mind away to a better, more peaceful place.  Enter Hagathorn and their debut release Hartworld, which rings incredibly close to what I need.

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