Saturday, October 30, 2010

Noctem- Divinity

Noctem is a thrash/death/black metal band from Spain and Divinity is their first official release on Noisehead Records. Upon first listening to Noctem what really threw me off was the vocals, but over a few listening sessions the vocal work of Beleth started to take full form. Also I would like to mention that Noctem is packed full of strong musicianship the band plays tight and fully skilled at what they do.

Drummer Darko is a beast behind the drum kit and the combination of Exo and Helion makes for a lethal mind inducing firestorm of riffs and heaviness. The standout tracks on Divinity are Necropolis Of Esthar's Ruins, Realms In Decay, Religious Plagues, and Under the Seas of Silence is where the black metal influence comes in based on the guitar parts alone in sections. The breakdowns in Under the Seas of Silence crushes everything in site that moves and as well that breathes. In The Path of Heleim sets the foundation of what is to come on the remainder of the Divinity. I can also find a bit of technical playing as well during the album, but none the less its none of that technical look what I can do show boating.

Divinity also has guest appearances by Christos Antoniou of Septic Flesh and Leal of Forever Slave. Christos doing orchestral arrangements and Leal handling keyboards. The words orchestral and keyboards might turn a few listeners away but by no means is Divinity a symphonic metal album. I would suggest in heading to Noctem's YouTube channel to view some videos and go too the Relapse site to order a copy of Divinity as the album shows a band that is ready to unleash their on take on quality. I don't think enough words can describe how good of an album Noctem has released.

Rating 8.6/10

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Valdur - Raven God Amongst Us

My first encounter with Valdur was when I received the three way split they where featured on with Massemord and The Frost. Valdur was the only band on the split that was worth listening to as there music stood out as pure quality. Now the time has come that I was able to receive a copy of the second album Raven God Amongst Us to review. Eight songs are on the album with one intro and the entire album is quality material the overall production is raw, but clear and decent as well.

Great Abyss Unfold is a track that destroys anything in its path with black metal malevolence hard hitting drums, blast beats and freezing guitar melodies. Gravlagt I Morkets Natt! is a hypnotic track from start to finish that is full of aggressiveness. Med Fjell I Horisonten begins real clean and slow but during the track the beast turns into a different form the cymbal work stands out loud and clear. Berserrker has a militant battle atmosphere to it the guitars in this song are punishing the vocal work is rite on par with everything else on Berserrker. The remaining songs are good tracks with no filler to be found anywhere. Creation is a black metal instrumental at the beginning and a good way for Valdur to close out the album.

Hopefully Valdur will release a new album soon and for USBM Valdur is placed high at the top with few other bands. Valdur is band to keep an eye out for because I am sure you will be hearing more about the band as times goes on. Raven God Amongst Us was recorded and mixed at Trench Studios the album was mastered at Morbid Mastering. Check Bloody Mountain Records to order a copy of Raven God Amongst Us.

Rating 9.8/10

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ophis- Withered Shades

Withered Shades by Ophis is there 2010 release and also second full length album. My first encounter with Ophis came in the form of the first release Stream of Misery, upon putting Withered Shades in my CD player I noticed how much Ophis had improved their musicianship overall. Don't get me wrong Stream of Misery the last album definitely kicked some ass that is for certain. Ophis plays death/doom metal that crushes your inner soul and leaves you with nothing, but scares and bruises from the sheer heaviness and atmosphere of the songs.

Withered Shades was recorded, mixed and mastered at 3rd A. Studio. The Halls of Sorrow has a number of various tempo's that include clean guitars, fast guitars and also trademark doom guitar crushing. Pieces of death metal can also be noticed as well with Halls of Sorrow the song is plainly epic lasting fourteen minutes and thirty eight seconds. Guest vocals by Seuche are featured on Suffering is a Virtue. Suffering is a Virtue is one of the strongest songs on Withered Shades musically as the guitars is what hooked me on song for a few repeated listens. The death metal growls are deep and menacing, also one of the shortest songs on the album around nine minutes and thirty-seven seconds that carries the brutal pace to keep up with the other four remaining songs. Earth Expired jolts along at mid tempo pace and here is where the doom moments come through during I would also like to point out there is some excellent bass playing in the song like an instrumental with the guitars playing as well. Withered Shades is one of those releases where every song is a standout track, so at times this makes picking out a strong song very hard. After a couple of listens as mentioned earlier in the review the strongest song to me is Suffering is a Virtue.

Withered Shades is going on my top-ten list, I would recommend Withered Shades to listeners of Mourning Beloveth, Evoken, etc.......... or any death/doom metal band. This is where suffering is born.

Rating 10/10

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gloria Morti- Anthems of Annihilation

Anthems of Annihilation is the third full-length album by Finish black/death metal band Gloria Morti. Gloria Morti's brand of black/death metal encompasses the use of keyboard arrangements, which in return there are some good moments on Anthems of Annihilation. The line-up on the album consists of Psycho on vocals, Juho Raiha and Juho Matikainen on guitars, Aki Salonen on bass, Kauko Kuusisalo on drums and Lars Eikind on keyboards.

The vocals on Anthems of Annihilation are made up of a combination of death metal growls and black metal high pitched screams. Two bands that are a close comparison two Gloria Morti are Zyklon and Behemoth, this is easily noticeable throughout the entire running time of the album. Solution Called War is one of the better songs on the album due to the use of the keyboard arrangements in the song. Solution Called War is a fast paced songs with a few moments of rest, but the track quickly picks up the pace when needed. Clean guitars start off Swallowed By Defeat as the track is an instrumental and Redemption seems to be a standout track on the albums, in particularly the drums as they standout the most along with the keyboards. Also I want to mention that the songs on Anthems of Annihilation also show a bit of technical proficiency.

In final I would say that Anthems of Annihilation is just an average release. Gloria Morti has the skills, but in all reality the music displayed on this album has been done numerous times before by other bands and possibly even better. Anthems of Annihilation was mastered at Chartmakers by Svante Forsback. Fans of Behemoth and Zyklon I would recommend them in checking out Anthems of Annihilation.

Rating 6.5/10

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fall of Empyrean- A Life Spent Dying

Doom/death has literally got to be one of my favorite genre's of metal based on the case that the bands use death metal growls along with clean vocals in their sound, and that is what Fall of Empyrean does on their new album A Life Spent Dying. Resulting in a perfect combination that results in devastation, despair and anger. Fall of Empyrean's new album A Life Spent Dying finally is released the album was supposed to come out in May, but got delayed a bit.

Fall of Empyrean also use a keyboard that plays a major part to the overall sound on A Life Spent Dying. The production is really clear as I am able to distinguish each instrument in the mix, the vocals of Richard Medina are a death metal growl that shatters everything in site, he also switches over to clean vocals during some of the songs. Anhendonia and Lifeless In My Arms are well constructed acoustic instrumentals. A Long Silence is filled with sorrow and anguish based on reading the lyrics and also gives off a visual of sorts, mournful keyboard work fills the track. The keyboard work in Veins Split Wide has some sort of symphonic feel as well and making the song a standout track on the album. Catharsis starts off with blasting drums and overall the song seems more toward the death metal side.

When it comes to doom/death for the United States it looks like I have one bands releases to look forward to and that is Fall of Empyrean. Hopefully Fall of Empyrean will continue to release albums in the future and here is one band I will be keeping up with, because I am certain they will be able to release other quality albums.

Rating 8.0/10

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nagelfar - Hünengrab im Herbst

German black metal horde Nagelfar has possibly got to be one of the best black metal bands ever. I just think it was to soon for the band to end I only have two releases by Nagelfar and the two albums I have are pretty much outstanding. I am going to be reviewing Nagelfar's reissue of Hünengrab im Herbst the remaster of this album is solid and perfectly clear. When I mention clear is that I can actually hear the bass rumbling in the background and the guitars give off this cold desolate atmospheric tone. There was a lot of effort and time put in the seven songs that are on Hünengrab im Herbst and the end result clearly show this. In English the title of the album translates into Dolmen In Autumn.

After the twenty-six second intro Seelenland comes through with full force the track is short and memorable, the splendid melodic atmosphere is addictive once you absorb in completely the guitar riffs are cold and sharp. The cold haunting desolate keyboard in the background is what carries the structure of the song like some sort of hook similar to the work done by German black metal band Lunar Aurora. Schwanengesang has keyboard parts that remind of something that could have easily been found on Ceremony of the Opposites by Samael. The double bass drumming of Alexander von Meilenwald rolls along during Bildnis der Apokalpse at various time during the track. Der Flug des Raben (Ein Jammerschrei in traurig' Nächten) is a fourteen-minute monster of black metal misanthropy.The track has clean mid-paced sections, blasting drums, keyboards and even clean vocals. Zingultus's vocal work possibly makes him one of the best black metal vocalist period I made this choice after listening too Hünengrab im Herbst times.

One of the main things I like about Nagelfar is their use of keyboards on their albums, which I can easily make reference to Emperor, but Nagelfar does the keyboards a bit different. The band does not go to extreme when using keyboards, they just know how to utilize them in the correct way. One problem that I had with the album is the bonus track Fressen der Raben that is included, overall it is a decent track but does not live up to the rest of the material. On a side note I would like to mention is that Hünengrab im Herbst was also released as an A5 digi-CD as well. Van Records has just recently reissued the second Nagelfar album Srontgorrth so I will be adding that to my buy list, because Nagelfar is one of those bands where every release easy to obtain by them is essential.

In German the song titles are:

1. Intro
2. Seelenland
3. Schwanengesang
4. Hünengrab im Herbst
5. Bildnis der Apokalypse
6. Srontgorrth (Das dritte Kapitel)
7. Der Flug des Raben (Ein Jammerschrei in traurig' Nächten)

The English translation for the songs on Hünengrab im Herbst are:

1. Intro
2. Land of Souls
3. Swansong
4. Dolmen in Autumn
5. Portrait of the Apocalypse
6. Srontgorrth (The Third Chapter)
7. The Flight of the Raven (A Cry of Lament in Sorrowful Nights)

Rating 9.5/10

The Foreshadowing- Oionos

The Foreshadowing is a gothic doom metal band from Italy, so far they have released two full-length albums Days of Nothing and their recent one Oionos. Oionos was recorded and mixed at Outer Sound Studios in Rome and mastered at Finnvox Studio in Finland, the artwork was done by Seth Siro Anton of Septic Flesh. Basically none of the songs on Oionos are fast paced or anything, so the songs have a mid-tempo crushing feel to them with dark keyboard work, and the vocals of Marco is one of the main elements that pulls me into the sound of The Foreshadowing on Oionos.

I quickly noticed how it took multiple listens for me to really get used to the songwriting that was taking place on Oionos, but this was not the problem I had when first listening to Days of Nothing. Outsiders crushes anything into dust the song is heavy with crushing guitar riffs and drums. Soliloquium is an epic track that has a nice build up and results in a barrage of epicness the guitars in Soliloquium are more leaned toward the doom metal side. Lost Humanity has a choir singing in the background this adds another haunting direction to the album. Survivors Sleep contains drum work that seems more like tribal drum beats and Chant of Windows is a perfect song to have on Oionos as well the track built with excellent keyboard work, also the vocals are perfect as well as the are done in a clean singing format. Hope She's In the Water is one of those songs that is heavier than a ten ton hammer and the sheer weight crushes from the slightest note coming forth from the song.

Also on a closing note I would recommend in checking out the first full-length by The Foreshadowing, Days of Nothing the album kicks ass and it shows a band that is full of potential I am looking forward to see where this bands heads into the future. To occupy the time I have two releases by The Foreshadowing that will get more plays throughout the year.

Rating 8.5/10

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Teratism- Via Negativa

When it comes to the mentioning of U.S. black metal Teratism is hardly mentioned, but after listening to Via Negativa this should change, because Via Negativa is a strong album with a sound that reaps of pure hell. There is alot of mid-tempo playing throughout the songs on Via Negativa. The overall sound on Via Negativa is clear, but also offers a raw atmosphere as well. A few listens where required to really grasp a hold of the production on Via Negativa.

Gilles De Rais's
bass can be heard perfectly in the mix along with the guitars, drums and vocals. The guitars on Via Negativa have an overall hypnotic feel to them. My Wintery Embrace, He Desends, Necrofuge and He, Wretched One are all songs that reach the six minute mark. When it comes down to it the standout tracks on the album are lesous Khristos Cambion and I Am The Darkness. Artwork by Mark Riddick grazes the cover of Via Negativa, the booklet contains the lyrics and individual band photos with the exception of Void's photo missing.

If I had to compare Via Negativa to the prior Teratism album Pure Unadulterated Hate I would say that Via Negativa is a stronger release, but only slightly and requires a few listens to adjust too everything that is taking place on the album and it is well worth the time spent.

Rating 8.0/10

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Inquisition- Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult

Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult is the first full-length release by black metal band Inquisition the album was released back in 1998. Hells Headbangers has decided to re-release the album with a remastered sound and also new artwork by Antichrist Kramer who also done the artwork on the other Inquisition releases Magnificent Glorification of Lucifer and Nefarious Dismal Orations. The first thing I want to mention on this re-release is that the overall sound is outstanding. I was reading on the Hells Headbangers page where this CD is supposed to be out in August, but hopefully it will arrive back from the pressing plant before then and all I can say is that it has been added to my buy list. Inquisition is one of those bands that never seems to release a bad album. One of the main things that always stood out to me the most about Inquisition was the way Dagon does his vocals they have droning feeling that is hypnotizing and Incubus does a killer job with the drumming. The guitars on Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult have a treble tone that creates a fantastic atmosphere to surround all of the songs. I also noticed how five of the songs go way past the six-minute mark, but nothing on this release seems boring this is where most other bands fail. The tempo on the album ranges from slow and crushing to fast as well. Recommended tracks are Empire Of Luciferian Race, Journey To Infernukeorreka and Solitary Death In Nocturnal Woodlands. I advise listening to Into the Infernal Regions of the Ancient Cult in complete darkness and solitude. Highly Recommended.

Rating 8.5/10

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Deviant- Ravenous Deathworship

This review was originally written back in 2007.

When I first found out that Candlelight Records signed the Norwegian extreme metal band The Deviant I eagerly wanted to check out their debut album Ravenous Deathworship, but I was also skeptical about the release. I was wondering if the album would live up to all the other extreme metal releases for this year or would it be another album to ignore upon my first initial listen. I learned real quickly that Ravenous Deathworship was a complete package of death, thrash, and black metal.

One thing that seems to be odd about Ravenous Deathworship is that vocalist and bassist Dolgar unleashes his Abbath style vocals similar to the style used on the Immortal’s album Sons of Northern Darkness mixed in with a dose of Secthdaemon vocals from Zyklon. Genocide is where the The Deviant shows their thrash metal side of the almighty Slayer as Violator and E.N Death cast down one hell bent jaw shattering heavy section, as the guitar riffs seem to gallop with pure heaviness. Violator pulls out one of his lightning fast guitar leads. Venom of Mankind starts off with one of those slow agonizing Morbid Angel riffs, but it’s something about this track in particular that reeks of nothing, but an old school salute to the early days of death metal. Purity of Hate is the only slow song on Ravenous Deathworship as I noticed a sense of Dark Funeral as a comparison. A bit of Zyklon madness rises up at the beginning of Sadosadistic much like the material found on Zyklon’s album Aeon and drummer Blod proves that he can play at blinding speed.

Production on the album is decent, but this is more a fact that the album was mastered at Tailor Maid Productions by Peter In De Betou. All of the instruments are balanced and noticeable except for the bass, which is buried beneath the crushing wall of guitars and drums. If you are into Dark Funeral, Immortal, Mindgrinder, and Zyklon. Then this is the perfect album to add to your CD collection. Highly Recommended.

Rating- 7.0/10

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hate- Anaclasis: A Haunting Gospel of Malice & Hatred

This review was originally written back in 2005.

Anaclasis is the first track to open up the new album, but Hate decides to use some sort of intro before they rush right into the song. Overall it took me a while to get into this song, due to the fact of its slower pace than the rest of the album.

Necropolis is full of malice guitar riffs and for some odd reason this song reminded me of the material that was on Deicide’s album Serpents of the Light. Hex is a track that begins with Adam The First Sinner’s technical guitar riffs. Around the twenty-nine second mark the pace starts to pick up as it based more on full speed blasting and groove riffs. Hex also shows a crisp clean guitar tone, with Malediction the next track up on the album and Adam The First Sinner wastes no time as he jumps right into the track with those rapid speed demon palm muted riffs. Malediction also boasts some heavy breakdowns, which Cyprian shows his full bass playing capabilities. Hellrizer demolishes forth on the drums with his flesh melting blast beats and battering cymbal work.

Euphoria of the New Breed is nothing more than Deicide worship, but the keyboard samples is what gives the song more of a distinct identity of it’s own and more of an industrial metal feel. Razorblade is track number six and one of the tracks that is overall mid paced groove. Immorality begins with the drums starting in the song real low, but then the sound comes in and Hate unleashes the beastization on Immorality with no more than top-notch musicianship. Hellrizer also adds some creative techniques in his drumming, Adam The First Sinner’s riffs on this song in particular are memorable and he includes a short guitar solo.

Fountains of Blood to Reach Heaven is the last song on the eight-track album Anaclasis: A Haunting Gospel of Malice & Hatred and is the longest song on the album. Hate prove with this track that speed is a major factor, because Fountains of Blood to Reach Heaven is a speed vortex. Adam The First Sinner’s vocals on this track sound just like the work done by Nergal of Behemoth. Production was done at Hertz studio, which is known for the involvement of producing albums by Decapitated, Lost Soul, Dissenter, Trauma and many other polish death metal bands. So if you are a fan of death/black metal, I think it would be a good investment to put your money into the newest Hate release Anaclasis: A Haunting Gospel of Malice & Hatred.

Rating 7.5/10

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Daath Shadow- Crown For Kings

Finding out about Daath Shadow happened when I was browsing a forum and the name was mentioned. It is like I have an inner hunger to find out about new bands, so I listened to a sample from Crown For Kings and about a three weeks after this I ordered my copy of the CD from Relapse Records. Daath Shadow plays black/death metal and the band consist of six members Inem Trah, Six, Nahash, Neb-Heru, ZLT, I-Nferii and Y-Soth. Four of the members contribute to vocals with three contributing to guitar duties and three offering samples. The band originates from the Netherlands and their lyrics focus on Gnosis, Occultism and Kabbalah. No information is given about what other bands the members of Daath Shadow have played in, but one thing is for certain and that is the members are skilled musicians this is noticeable throughout the album. Daath Shadow has lurked silent for a while, but they have struck with a viscous onslaught of masterful venom.

Crown For Kings starts off with and Untitled intro that is thirty-three seconds, but The Great Sabbath comes forth like a demon unleashed from hell the guitars have a crushing tone along with the samples in the background and massive drumming by Six. The lyrics make for an interesting reading with a feel of intelligence and thought put into writing them. I also noticed how some of the songs are chaotic at times. Servent of Lucifer has a solid old school death metal approach and possibly one of the strongest songs on the album. Veni Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus and Blood of Qayin are ambient interludes. I also noticed how a majority of the songs have a bit of a doom metal feel as well, the vocals performed are a combination of growls and shrieks. Through The Dark Waterfalls is a strong song that closes out the album on a good note. The song also has a bit of a doom metal atmosphere in some of the guitar parts mainly at the beginning and during the duration of the track, the lead guitar work on Crown For Kings is spellbinding and feels like you have entered the deepest part of the cosmos.

Also Crown For the Kings was mastered by Dan Swano at Unisound. Anyone into black/death metal I can't recommend Crown For Kings enough this album is great from start to finish and offers a bit of variety to keep things interesting. Hopefully Daath Shadow will continue to release more albums in the future until that time Crown For Kings remains supreme. This record is dedicated to The Powers of Darkness and to the spreading of disharmonic energies into cosmos.....

Rating 9.0/10