CD, Metal Mind Records While their style isn't the most unique, it's still fresh enough so that I wouldn't necessarily label them as another clone band. There's some good energy here. However, the tracks are pretty bland, mostly - not enough hooks. Still; if you're fan of Dimmu Borgir, check this out. CD, Candlelight Records Axiom is a curious batch of extreme metal with all sorts of tricks involved. The roots are in black metal, but the tree branches out to progressive metal and whatnot.
It takes few rounds to get your head around it all, but I've enjoyed it since. I wouldn't mind if they improved the vocals, though; now the distorted vocals are sparse and feel a bit pasted-on.
Proper, well-sung vocals would've made a huge difference here. CD, Fear Dark Records The whole blast works pretty well - there are real musical highlights, like Besieged. The clean vocals are a bit clumsy and the song-writing isn't top-notch throughout the album, but still: a decent album. CD, Moribund Records Here we have a cult classic of sorts. The album has been lying in the Moribund archives for ten years, but now it has seen the day of light again. I Shalt Become is a follower of Burzum; the style is the same, dismal and depressive hypnotic monotony.
It's executed well enough to lift I Shalt Become from being just another copycat. Despite thelack of sound quality and the rough edges of some of the tracks, Wanderings is a fine album for the fans of suicidally depressive black metal, and now there's even three appropriate covers as bonus tracks. Fear of Eternity is an Italian one-man band focused on creating gloomy atmosphere.
While the music has a background in black metal, the guitars are toned low and the horror-film synths and organs take the spotlight. The vocals are a disgusting in a good sense growl, which is a direct nod to black metal.
The atmosphere is indeed dark, but otherwise this is not my cup of tea and I'm quite sure I'm in majority here. Check this out if you know you'll like it. Swedish Taketh plays technical death metal with thrashy and even some small black metal influences. I like the way they've kept their songs short, around three minute mark, but there are few too many. More variety would've been necessary. I think they could also use a better vocalist. Now the result is fairly mediocre, to be honest, but at their best, Taketh really shines.
CD, Abracadaver Cradle of Filth has put together a mixed bag of stuff. Couple of instrumental pieces, some new tracks, a cover, some remade older tracks Most of the stuff have one thing in common and that's their mediocrity.
Cradle of Filth has made better stuff, and even the decent tracks, like The Principle of Evil Made Flesh, sounded better the first time they were released.
The rest of it can be forgotten. CD, Autopsy Kitchen Records I'm quite unfamiliar with the US black metal scene, but apparently there's life in the underground.
Demise is, at least, a solid proof of that. Armed with a cold, bleak style reminiscent of Burzum's coldness, Nachtmystium paints some pretty convincing soundscapes. The album sounds simply dismal. It's not pure gold, though - the album-ending ambient noise piece Transmission Postmorten is uninspiring filler stuff. I'd prefer proper music. CD, Dockyard 1 What's up with metal bands and religion? If they really hate religion so much, Swordmaster Of The Dragonland - Falchion - Legacy Of Heathens (CD, why the love affair with the religious imagery?
The Bloody Path of God, for example, is a very religious album, with just about every song drawing inspiration from god and church. How boring is that? The music's not superb, either. Mystic Circle has moved from black metal to death metal, practically removing most black metal influences from their music the song Unholy Terror is an exception.
The result is, frankly, fairly boring. CD, Rebellion Brothers Records Goathemy is Finnish black metal band. Their personal touch is the heavy use of a female vocalist. She's definitely the brightest thing about Frostland, as the album is fairly mediocre otherwise.
Technically it's alright, but the songs just lack the final shine that would make any of them really stand out. CD, Century Media This German group mixes paranormal themes, black metal and slow doom influences to create an interesting and surprisingly fresh mixture of metal. The best track on the album is While They Sleep, which is spiced with very clever string arrangements. Even though there are low points, the end result is fresh, interesting and atmospheric.
Xathagorra Mlandroth is the man behind this new extreme doom metal band. Extreme is indeed a good word for this album, since I reckon most people - even those who enjoy metal in general - will probably find In the Depths of R'lyeh unlistenable.
Long songs featuring slow, crawling beats, wailing guitars and an ominous low grumble for vocals aren't for everybody. Those who fancy that sort of thing will enjoy In the Depths of R'lyeh immensely; for others, this has nothing to offer. CD, Adipocere Records Quality black metal from France, how refreshing! Drawing from Celtic spirit, Belenos is a French group hailing from Brittany.
Their elegant black metal sounds pleasant in my ears. Don't know why - it's not exactly unique, but somehow the whole mixture of influences comes together just right.
Chants de bataille is one of the better black metal albums recently. Mexico is home for many quite aggressive bands, and Hacavitz is no exception. They marry technical death metal with the evil sound of black metal with good results. I particulary enjoyed Mixtla Miquixtli, it's definitely the high point of the album. The rest of it sounds fierce and is good, ibutnot exceptional. CD, Nailboard Records This Estonian metal album has seen the light day years ago and has since been released several times.
This CD release by Nailboard Records, digging the vaults of Estonian metal, is the latest and greatest. This one hasn't been rerecorded, but it has been digitally remastered. The result sounds good and is quite convincing. Most of the album, however, is ok, but nothing spectacular. CD, Holy Records Their collaboration is so intense that Salem's own metal sound has been pushed far back. Grunts, distorted guitars and blastbeats are there, but so are strings and choir vocals.
Which is nice, as that's definitely the better part of this album. I particularly enjoyed the classical intermission Slave reminds me of Balanescu Quartet and the old Hebrew song Ha'ayara Bo'eret. Surprisingly pop Winter's Tear is one of the highlights as well. CD, Neurotic Records Some mixture of black and death metal is what these Tasmanian guys have to offer.
I like the sound, but the songs don't impress me. Nothing spectacular here, I find it pretty hard to even remember what the music sounds when it's not playing. It's not bad, just somewhat boring. Still, a decent debut and perhaps their next album will be more interesting. CD, Foreshadow Track list Newbreed is a bunch of Opeth fans from Poland.
It's not an Opeth cover band, even though that's hard to believe when you hear the music. It's almost Opeth: long, winding progressive death metal, played with skill and emotion.
The death metal growling is absent, as is some of the beautiful sensitivity in Opeth's music. The apprentices aren't quite as good as their masters, but close enough. Opeth fans should check this out; others, start at Opeth.
CD, Hammer of Hate Hammer of Hate is dedicated to releasing new Finnish puritanist underground black metal. IC Rex is a perfect example. Raw black metal with satanic and occult lyrics, played with a burning passion. Instead of having distorted guitars, they have distorted everything - their sound is leaning towards noise. This is clearly extreme music for extreme people. My first reaction was dismissal, but after some time it all came to me: yes, this is perfectly evil.
The album sounds absolutely cruel and violent, which is exactly what's right for this kind of music. This is definitely not for everyone, but for fans of raw underground black metal, Sielun kadotuksen sinfonia is a perfect choice. CD, Roadrunner Records Well, what can you say about the new Opeth album? Of course it's good, very good. But that is no surprise, as Opeth is a constant source of high quality. What's interesting about Ghost Reveries is how deep it has its hands in the pockets of seventies progressive rock.
I almost classified this one as rock, but I suppose the death metal is still there enough. If the trend continues, next Opeth album is progressive rock, not metal. But who cares? If it's this good, I know I won't. CD, Lupus Lounge German newcomers Helrunar play Scandinavian black metal. No keyboards this time, just brutal guitars with some acoustic flavour. The German vocals are very good, very convincing and all. There's some pagan metal flavour, but not much. Frostnacht is a good start and well above average, but not quite on top of it all yet.
CD, Prophecy Productions Dornenreich paints a dark and sleepy portrait. The mists surround the music, which is based on monotony of a single riff for each song and flourishes from acoustic guitar. Lone voice whisper German words on fantasy and magic. Appreciating Hexenwind takes patience and a quiet moment. It's not my world, but a beautiful world nonetheless. CD, Karmageddon Media Nebular Mystic scored a recording deal with their fifth demo.
Karmageddon Media decided to publish the demo as it was. No wonder, as it sounds totally ready. Necrotic is certainly not demo-quality. The tracks are a bit similar and there's more Satyricon and other influences here than necessary, but I don't really care. It might be the same old same old, but it's all done really well and the music sounds really, really good it took me a while to get used to the sharp, high guitar sound, but it was worth it.
Not best of the best, but very good, nonetheless. CD, Nocturnal Woodlands Productions Finnish folk-inspired pagan black metal, sounds original Solgrav does a pretty good job, actually - they have enough spirit and even sense of humour, and that's what folk metal often needs in my opinion.
However, Auringon hauta falls short on the production, as the album sounds like a demo: guitars and drums are too weak. Even if the band calls their music forest metal, it doesn't have to sound like it was recorded in a forest.
CD, Black Lodge However, the pressure from their fans got the band into a studio one more time. The result is here, a glorious swan song. Definitely worth checking out for anybody into black metal. CD, World Chaos Productions These young guys from Finland claim to play folk-inspired pagan viking metal. In practise, their music is some blend of death and black metal - at least I have a hard time hearing any folk influences here. Judging their music by what it is, I'll have to say I find it rather boring.
Technically correct, yes, but not much spirit or originality in it. At it's best, it's decent, but that's not quite enough.
CD, Black Mark Apostasy is back, with another album full of symphonic black metal. With dashes of death metal, Devilution hits pretty hard. However, while it's technically well-played and sounds good, the album has a bit of a lack of originality. Still, fans of symphonic black metal in the vein of Dimmu Borgir should probably check this one out. CD, Displeased Records I like Vredens Tid, it certainly has its moments. Sigrblot, for example, is a pretty fine track. The whole of it isn't quite top-notch, but almost.
The folk instruments could stand out a bit more, I think - now they drown under the metal part. Which sounds good, by the way - this is one well-done album and despite my criticism a good choice for someone who's looking for Scandinavian folk metal. CD, Massacre Records This piece of bizarre German metal simply fails to impress me. There's an odd weaker piece to counter every good bit on the album. In general it all sounds pretty good and the best black metal parts are certainly decent, but the rest of it just leaves me confused.
Nothing spectacular here. Celtic metal rocks! No bagpipes or tin whistles this time. At its best, this is superb material. CD, Metal Blade Records Paths of Possession boasts the Cannibal Corpse vocalist Corpsegrinder in vocals.
It's not Cannibal Corpse, though, but more like Swedish melodic death - with rather nifty vocals, too. There are certainly brighter spots on the album, but unfortunately it's not quite enough to make the album really shine. In the end, Promises in Blood is yet another decent but not stunning death metal album.
Danish thrashers HateSphere are back with a new album. Thrash fans should envoy these quite groovy tracks, with plenty of aggression to share. The Album) Within is certainly decent, with enough speed and power, but I'm not sure it'll leave an lasting impression.
Thrash fans, check this out. CD, Regain Records Sargatanas Reign plays modern death metal with a tricky twist. Their songs flutter from one tempo to another, throwing obstacles to the listener. It's not the easiest possible style, but I find the songs rewarding enough.
Bloodwork is certainly not boring, like so many death metal records are. Rutthna's black metal sound relies on wicked mood and slower tempos than usual. No blindingly fast blastbeats here, but that's fine: I like the result anyway. However, even though the songs sound good, the content's a bit lacking. Nothing really sticks to my mind, and that usually means that I won't return to the album after I'm finished reviewing it.
It's a shame, but perhaps Rutthna's next album will be better? There's certainly potential. CD, Baphomet Records I'll confess: I don't get this. Alexisstar Morphalite consists of rather crappy underground eg. This must be a joke of some kind I don't get. The things aren't helped by musicians hiding in the cover of anonymity. All I know is they are Finnish. Why this album was released? That's a question for which we'll never know the answer, I suppose. Meanwhile, avoid this unless you're a physicist with affinity for underground black metal.
CD, Nocturnal Art Productions Riot Detonator is a rough death metal attack. It's quite like the band's previous album, MindTech. The material was complete, says the info sheet, when that album was released, so perhaps it's not a coincidence.
I'm still a bit lukewarm about MindGrinder. I see what they're doing, but perhaps it's just not for me. There's plenty of better death metal, that's for sure. In the Windblasted North - W. Cryptic Wintermoon's black metal is laced with thrash and heavy metal elements. At some points it's full on black metal blast, at others the heavy metal melodies rule.
That's actually quite nice, as it all works out rather well. There are some very good tracks BonegrinderOnce In the Windblasted Northeven though the rest of the album doesn't quite stand out. Decent, if Swordmaster Of The Dragonland - Falchion - Legacy Of Heathens (CD really memorable. French Belef blasts out extreme black metal with maniacal speed. Fortunately the production is decent - had they fallen for underground sound, this would've been complete rubbish. Now it at least sounds pretty good.
However, it certainly lacks control. Being such a violent album, the songs are also a bit too long; five minutes of monotonous blasting is too much.
CD, Osmose Productions The cover says it all: aggressive, primitive, satanic and underground black metal. The tracks sound all exactly the same except the introespecially as the production values are very low.
It's all the same fuzzy jumble. Fans of extreme black metal might like this, but I'd certainly appreciate it more if the album had better production. It's pretty hard to say anything positive about Christcrushing Anthems. It's an example of mediocrity at it's darkest: the songs aren't really very interesting well, An Friedhofsmauern is a pleasant exceptionthe vocals are just too typical, the album doesn't sound good for example it's pretty hard to believe that the band actually has a drummer - sounds too clean, too much like a machine.
Crionics, the Emperor of Poland. There's no doubt where these guys get their inspiration from: Armageddon's Evolution is newer Emperor all over again. I'd go as far as call it a pastiche, really. To emphasize the obvious, they've even added a carbon copy cover of The Loss and Curse of Reverence as a bonus track. So - do you like Emperor? If you do, you'll like Crionics. It's that simple.
CD, Devil's Shitburner Records Track list: Funeral Begin Here's some party music for the living dead. Scarecrow plays catchy horror punk like Devil's Whorehouse and does it well. Fast, nice chorus lines, bloody themes, what else you need? If your concept of good fun involves skulls, gore and pathology, La Morte Vivante provides the soundtrack.
CD, Season of Mist Sturmgeist is a side project of Cornelius Jackhelln of Solefald. He's gone all Germanic with this Goethe-inspired theme album. Meister Mephisto promises to be a hardcore party soundtrack, but fails to deliver. It's a pity, because the best songs would indeed work that way. In the end the result is somewhat pointless and probably won't receive much playtime from me.
CD, Nuclear Blast Norwegian trio Communic is formed on the ruins of Ingermanland. Their style is kind of progressive metal, with lots of influences elsewhere - there's a healthy dose of power metal, for example. For some reason I don't quite like it. Conspiracy in Mind is a decent album, but nothing more. The vocalist is one part of it - his style isn't into my liking.
CD, Spikefarm Moonsorrow has gone wild with their tracks. The three opening tracks of this album all clock in over 14 minutes and Jotunheim - the home of the giants, you know - weighs in at 19 and half minutes!
The five tracks total over 70 minutes of epic metal music. That's all good and well and fortunately Swordmaster Of The Dragonland - Falchion - Legacy Of Heathens (CD long tracks are built of several parts.
Will it beat Kivenkantaja as my favourite Moonsorrow album is another thing, but at least at this point I'm really satisfied with the album. Swedish Slumber was formed back in and has now come up with their debut album. Fallout is very mature, high-quality album that's directly comparable to works of Opeth and like. Slumber plays Swordmaster Of The Dragonland - Falchion - Legacy Of Heathens (CD, atmospheric death metal, full of gloom and melancholy. Only thing I'm seriously missing is more range on vocals: band's vocalist Siavosh Bigonah does good work, but only in death metal style.
Clear vocals would've spiced this album up in a nice way. And that's the only bigger flaw I can see - Fallout is a very good album and one of the highlights. CD, Codebreaker Switzerland doesn't have a huge reputation as a metal country, even though it is the home of Celtic Frost.
Zatokrev tries to polish the shield a bit and succeeds fairly well. This, their debut, is actually a demo recorded in their rehearsal room. Despite the lack of any remastering or polish, the result is surprisingly good. Their flavour of metal leans on metalcore, mostly due to the aggressive and energetic screaming vocals.
The result is heavy and depressive. France is home for many bad metal acts, but Phazm is surprisingly good. What makes Hate at First Seed so interesting the pure rock'n'roll attitude and sound that is mixed well with elements of black and death metal. It's hardly unique, but sounds reasonably fresh.
Hate at First Seeds sets up high expectations for Phazm's next album. CD, My Kingdom Music Track list: Nightfall guides insomnia to be an everlasting mental torture, with this being the consequence - We have uncovered a question and now we must unearth the answer - To diagnose the fortunes of paranoia consuming consciousness and sanity - Long I feared that my sins would return to visit me, and the cost is more than I can bear - Reasons to open your eyelids and awake the apocalypse Iris is telling you.
This album has the longest song titles I've seen in a long time. Dutch Marco Kehren doesn't take the short way, it seems. The songs are long as well and the mood is very gloomy doomy. The album describes the suffering of an insomniac. It's painfully depressed and - I believe - needs the listener to be in a dark state of mind to be fully enjoyed.
It's dark, it's sad, it's beautiful, but I still prefer Shape of Despair. CD, Low Frequency When the music starts, the sources become fairly obvious: the likes of Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth aren't that far from Twilight Ophera's symphonic black metal. I'm not too keen on this one, but the fans of more symphonic black metal should enjoy. CD, Listenable Records French symphonic black metallers Anorexia Nervosa what a silly name play intense, but unimpressive music. With the possible exception of the very best track of the album - Sister September - it is all quite boring.
Cradle of Filth has done it all and much better. Fans of symphonic black metal might want to check this one out, but for others - you don't need this. Shape of Despair is a product of the long and dark Finnish winters. Illusion's Play is slow and gloomy doom metal, with long and many-faceted songs. Do not listen to the songs out of context, it's the whole album what you want to hear. Of course, slow doom is not for the easily bored - music-lovers with patience and an ear for beauty will adore this one.
Norwegian industrial metallers Red Harvest are back with another album full of industrial-flavoured metal. And that's what this is - industrial fans will be disappointed, so don't bother. One could compare Internal Punishment Programs to some cuts from Ministry or Front Line Assembly, but it's more straight-forward, more metal.
There's some variety in the songs, that's always good, but in the end the material just isn't that good. Swedish trio Jigsore Terror plays grindcore - easy enough to figure out from the song titles.
Nothing to complain about in it, either, it's all well done. Producer Mieszko Talarczky from Nasum had probably something do with it, as the album sounds pretty good.
However, there's little new on offer, only the same old done pretty well. CD, Black Lotus Records Acheron has done a long career in satanic death metal, over fifteen years already. This two-cd compilation sums up the first ten years. It offers a wide selection of tracks, being a good choice for newcomers to the Acheron faith. Those with full collections have nothing to gain from this one. However, even those who have no Acheron albums might want to consider: Acheron sounds a bit outdated, the songs are fairly monotonic and the whole of it just doesn't impress that much.
Still, if you want something from Acheron, this is probably your best bet. CD, Threeman Recordings The result, World Wide Death, isn't super, but still a rather enjoyable piece of old school death metal.
The album sounds very good and songs are fairly good, but something's missing. Perhaps World Wide Death is a bit of a therapy album? Still, it's more than decent offering for the fans of traditional death metal. French Seth is a curious beast. They have steady black metal background, including co-operation with Fenriz and a song on Mayhem tribute, but they incorporate industrial sounds in their music. The result sounds pretty good, even though it isn't as ground-breaking as such union might be.
Still, Era-Decay might be an interesting album for those interested in the more avantgarde end of black metal spectrum. Thunder from Netherlands! Hellebaard is my first experience with black metal sung in Dutch. Interesting, but unfortunately Strijdkracht is, frankly, crap. Boring pagan metal with cheap synths, very bad sound quality, uninspiring songs Sorry, but there are simply too many other bands who do this kind of thing in much superior way.
It took me a while to get Ajattara's second album, even though I enjoyed the first one a lot - I have certain principles when it comes to copy controlled cd's. Ripping the mp3's took, by the way, about fifteen seconds. Anyway, Ajattara keeps on pounding their blackish metal, pretty much like before. Their greatest strength is in the Finnish lyrics, which use the means of old Finnish poetry.
Quite unique and very effective. Their greatest weakness, in the other hand, is monotony. Kuolema sounds just like Itse and can be equally boring in long quantities. Thus, less stars than before: Kuolema is good, but brings little new to fans of Itse. Canadian battle metal group Axis of Advance beats down fast, furious and chaotic death metal. The album is full of energy and rarely slows down. The result sounds good, I especially enjoyed the drums performed by J.
Read of Revenge and Conqueror. Fans of heavy and chaotic death metal should enjoy the command. Well, it took a while for me to get it, and even longer for me to get around to reviewing it, but after seeing numerous ignorant and biased reviews of this album, I felt like I had to do my part to set the record straight. I see a lot of people slamming this for being an Ensiferum ripoff, but that's just asinine: Ensiferum were never this good, and anyway, this is nowhere near the hyperactive Children Of Bodom fellatio that Ensiferum have always relied on.
Falchion sound a lot less Black here than they did on their demo. This is much more Melodic Death Metal fueled by catchy folk riffs. I'd say this band sounds a lot like Withering, only nobody has ever heard of that band either, more's the pity.
This is an excellent, highly catchy and consistent album of riff-oriented melodeath with a strong focus on folk melodies and pagan lyrics. Falchion are not about speed, and most of this album is at a steady midpaced march. Any comparisons to Ensiferum can only be explained away as being made by those who know nothing about the Folk Metal genre whatsoever, and that's the only band they know of to compare this to. If you missed it, try and remedy that as soon as possible.
This is definitely a band to look for in the future. Originally written for www. How people fail to see through the schemes of bands like this is beyond me. How could someone give this band any accolades for anything, except for forgery and identity theft?
This is so blatantly a rip off of Ensiferum, it's just unimaginable to me that someone would not see it and instantly be turned off. It surprising manages to sound exactly like Ensiferum - that is, if Ensiferum sucked. I'm going to try to keep this short, because this clearly offensive release deserves little of my time. The production is clean and the vocals are just a pinch too loud. The guitars are melodic in a forgettable way. There is some fast yet repetitive lead guitar work that ultimately is just fast for fast's sake and is otherwise pretty inane.
The vocalist is average to sub-par in all aspects. The songs are structured just like the band they counterfeited, with a even mix of slower, folky parts and fast speed metal-esque parts. The most noticeable thing that these shams failed at doing right is that somehow the drumming just manages to be weaker than shit.
The drummer does the same lifeless, half-hearted stupid beat over and over again with few fills and no variations. It's hard to understand just how one succeeds in playing drums so devoid of spirit or zest.
This album instantly loses 50 points for the band trying to clone one of the greatest metal bands from their country. The only saving grace of this album is the guitar playing mostly just the acoustic partswhich can be at times moderately catchy or fun - and is really occasionally the only thing that avoids sounding completely identical to Ensiferum.
Bands like this have no room in metal. They clutter the metal scene uselessly, and get recognition for cloning bigger bands, when other bands who are doing unique, and great stuff go unnoticed - so, don't get this unless you want to insult all of metal.
Finnish band Ensiferum managed to build quite an extensive fanbase thanks to their folky conception of Scandinavian melodic death metal and I find it rather suprising that there was no real outbreak of newly formed bands playing something in the vein of Ensiferum at least I haven't heard about any band. Perhaps that was the reason for Falchion to be formed by the way, the band is a side project of Juha Kuppinen, who is the accordeon player in in a really succesfull band Korpiklaani.
Falchion's music is similar to the one of Ensiferum in general you can spot elements of Scandinavian metal with the difference of not using any other instruments than guitars, bass and the drums. Many reviewers will definitely point this out as a flaw, but I see it more as a positive thing.
Now something about the songs themselves. Both first and the second one will grab you and all you can do is look forward to the following ones.
Rain Of Stars - Danny Serrano - Rain Of Stars (File, MP3), Devilock (Bonus) - Hellwinkle - Any Similarities To Persons Living Or Dead Is Purely Coincidental (C, Youre My Sunshine - Ray Charles - Ray Charles (CD), Various - Summer Klub80 Volume 2 (CD), Gotcha Open (Rmx) - DJ LS One - Get It Boucin (Cassette), Smudge - Max Rebo Band - Ghost In The Shell (Vinyl, Album), Moonlight Masquerade - Una Mae Carlisle - In Chronology - 1941-1944 (File, MP3), Du Willst Immer Nur F..... (Natural-Mix) - Ganz Schön Feist - Du Willst Immer Nur F..... (CD)