Monday, 24 November 2014

Astrakhan - A Tapestry Of Scabs And Skin EP (Review)

01.Cupids Fist
02.Blinded By The Diamond Planet
03.Rest In Depths
04.The Pillarist

Dustan Toth (Vocals/Bass)
Adam Young (Guitar)
Rob Zawistowski (Vocals/Guitar)
Jerome Brewer (Drums)

Formed in 2012 in Vancouver, this riff-laden quartet are offering up a limited edition 12" vinyl four track EP to end their year with a bang.

Featuring two tracks that were previously release as a digital EP, they've also added two brand new, never released, tracks to make up the A Tapestry of Scabs and Skin EP. Recorded with producer Jesse Gander (3 Inches of Blood) in two sessions totalling eight days, the results are, say the band, "doomy, pyschedelic, sludgey and progressive".

Quite an intresting little Ep, a mix of styles that seem to justify their comment about it's sound and influence.
Great vocals roar out over a solid wall of sound, full of excellent guitar riffs and pounding drums.

Whilst the opening track has a commercial feel of say early Queens Of the Stone Age, the next one 'Blinded By The Diamond Planet' with its clever timing changes has modern progressive influences like those of Mastodon.
'Rest In Depths' has that doom/sludge feel, some great bass playing holds this one together and some pretty heavy riffs lurk in the mix.
For 'The Pillarist' just add a touch of doom to what i just said, mind you towards the end it gets faster and heavier.

Rating 8/10
For fans of: Kylesa, Mastodon, Kyuss, Monster Magnet, Melvins

Friday, 21 November 2014

Endzeit - Years Of Hunger EP (CD Review)

05.The Dawn No More Rises

Schwarz (Guitar/Vocals)
Polaris (Guitar)
Pyry (Bass)
Samuli (Drums)

Hailing from Finland the band formed in December 2012 and began writing ‘Years of Hunger’,intentionally set out to be a raw black metal project.

The band state that, "Lyrically the songs deal with a futureless life in a post-apocalyptic world. References to religious contexts can be found, yet reflecting a godless narrative. The inspiration to embed the decay of life, the decay of happiness and the absence of a future into the band’s musical and lyrical concept was triggered by the decay of the city of Detroit where modern capitalism has failed. Only haggard human shadows now dwell in the smouldering rubble."

I shall ignore 'Inception' as its just another pointless intro set out as a first song, why bands still continue to do this i have no idea.

'Hunger' starts us off in the right way though and delivers a full on no frills Black Metal assault on the ears.Heavilly drum driven and with an evil growl vocally this does indeed harken back to the early days of Norways finest.

What else can you say the next ones 'Hunger', Godless' and 'Life' are pretty much the same, now with some bandfs and styles this could be seen as a bad thing, however in this case it's perfect, the sound and feel of each songs remains true to the genre, perfectly produced and executed.

The final track, which in many ways is a giveaway as to their influence, is a cover of Dark Funerals 'The Dawn No More Rises'.
This captures their sound perfectly, they manage to make it their own, which is not an easy thing to do.

This is a solid EP, they have not gone down the route of over the top guitarwork and screaming vocals, avoided the "symphonic" route that many have taken in the wake of Dimmu or Cradle, this is authentic old school Black Metal.

Rating 9/10
For Fans Of: Dark Funeral, Marduk, Mayhem, Darkthrone, Carpathian Forest

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Dissorted - I EP (CD Review)

01.Bloodshed Divine
02.Eaten Alive
03.The New World
04.The Somnambulist
05.Operation Observation

Mirco (Vocals)
Dillon (Bass)
Florian (Guitar)
Martin (Drums)
Sebastian (Guitar)

German band formed in 2004 playing melodic thrash metal connecting fast, neck breaking riffs influenced by Exodus and Testament mixed with traditional bands like Iced Earth and Megadeth, always focussing on their own, yet recognizable sound.

This would appear to be their first release after 10 years together.

Seems the one band they didn't mention in their short biography was 'Anthrax' because the first track 'Bloodshed Divine' has a real early Anthrax feel, solid drumming powerful riff and shout it out vocals, perfect!

Picking up the speed on 'Eaten Alive' and hell we could be back in 1984, but thats not to say that this is an old school copy, because they throw enough of their own style to make this sound original and up to date.

'The New World' has a touch of Iron Maiden at the beginning then it picks up a treat and creates another headbanging mosh pit anthem.

I was expecting something a bit special with 'The Somnambulist' and this six minute rocker did not fail to deliver.
Clever timing changes, a huge vocal delivery and great guitarwork, definatley the stand out song.

The final song 'Operation Observation' is the least thrashy song here, a solid near early 80's german power/speed metal anthem, but some very agressive vocals thrown in over some quality double pedal drumwork to keep it up to date.

Amazing EP, why have they waited so bloody long to put something out??

Rating 9/10
For Fans Of: Anthrax, Kemakil, Elimination, Exodus, Accept

Aphonic Threnody - When Death Comes (CD Review)

01.The Ghost's Song
02.Death Obsession
04.The Children's Sleep
05.Our Way To The Ground

Riccardo V (Guitars/Bass)
Roberto M (Vocals)
Abel L (Cello)
Marco Z (Drums)
Kostas P (Keyboards/Piano)
Juan Escobar (Keyboards)

Guest Musicians
Greg Chandler (Guitars on “The Children’s Sleep”)
Josh Moran (Guitars on “Dementia”)
David Unsaved (Backing vocals on “The Children’s Sleep”)

Aphonic Threnody is an international project and extreme doom collective. Founded by Riccardo (Gallow God & Dea Marica) and Roberto (URNA & Dea Marica) around the end of 2012 in London, the project was later joined by Kostas (Pantheist), Abel (Leecher) and Marco (URNA, Arcana Coelestia). While the core of the band has been enstabileshed in London, Abel co-operate the project from Hungary and Marco from Italy.

So this band is formed by members of Urna, Dea Marica, Arcana Coelestia, Gallow God, Locus Mortis, Pantheist, Wijlen Wij, Clouds and even more bands i could list, thus creating a sort of Doom Metal supergroup etc.
And this album features additional contributions from Greg Chandler of Esoteric, David Unsaved of Ennui/Necropoli on vocals and Josh Moran of Vacant Eyes.

"When Death Comes" is their first full-length album following on from the first EP "First Funeral" and the two split albums "Immortal In Death" and "Of Graves, Of Worms And Epitaphs". It's also the last album recorded by the band before Kostas left the band and was replaced by Juan Escobar.

From the haunting opening words of 'The Ghosts Song' to the majestic sweeping keyboards and guitarwork, this is a massive 10 minutes of doom inspired, near symphonic, dark and brooding music.

Coming in at just over 17 minutes is 'Death Obsession', just stunning in its beauty with mournful cello and piano then this slow, pounding drum pattern kicks in as does the powerful yet restrained guiter playing.
A dark and evil growl vocal then forces it way through creating this melancolic ambience, this is a huge piece going way beyond the normal doom genre, its almost gothic rock but with a sinister edge.

'Dementia' may have a "funeral" pace but the quality of the music keeps it alive and some fantastic guitar playing towards the end!

Playing like a lullaby from hell the start of 'The Childrens Sleep' soon picks up to a nightmare inducing vocal, over powerchords and some serious riffing.

The final track 'Our Way To The Ground' again creates this instant ambience with just a simple piano refrain, this false sense of laid back security is disturbed after a couple of minutes when the rest of the band explode through the speakers!

I have not heard Doom like this for a long time, the combination of instruments and a first class production elevate this way beyond any expectations of the genre.This is almost a hybrid of Gothic, Symphonic, Ambient rock music blended with traditional Doom elements.

Rating 10/10
For Fans Of: Necropoli, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Tiamat, Vision Bleak

Friday, 14 November 2014

Determination - Vision EP (CD Review)

01.X Rays

Christian Reimer (Vocals)
Steffen Nevermann (Guitar)
Oliver Lusga (Guitar)
Rouven Haliti (Fretless Bass)
Martin Preising (Drums)

German band formed in 2012 as a recording project by Steffen (Ex-Weyland,Ex-Still Alive, Ex-Endless Distrust) and Oliver (Ex-Pangea, Ex-Advocatus Mortis), later joined by vocalist Chris (Ex-Pangea, Ex-Bonobos, Ex-Midgard), drummer Martin (Ex-Coroner’s Inquest) and then finally Rouven.
Of their musical style they say, "We describe our music as melodic, progressive, old-school, fat and brutal. But DEATH METAL fits best."

The EP was recorded, mixed and mastered at their own Shredsound Studio in Rostock.
The Artwork was done by the indonsiean artist Godfinger Arts.

Right from the start 'X Rays' comes across as a very well constructed song, clever timing changes help this 3 minute piece range from pure death metal, to progressive technical standards and even a brief symphonic breakdown.
All this is held together by a relentless wall of power from the drummer and an agressive vocal delivery.

Another symphonic style opening before 'Parasite' evolves into another well balanced mix of styles, at times this one borders on modern black metal in tone.

Again i have to mention that this next track 'Vision' also has that symphonic feel, i dont know which musician is playing the synth but he is doing it very well, the atmosphere it lends to the music is excellent.
This is also the first song that the fretless bass really comes into play.

Finally 'Pestilence' shows that pure power can blend with symphonic undertones, at no point does the death metal lose its impact and yet the songs retains a melodic edge throughout.

Rating 9/10
For fans of: Winter Gate, Cenotaph, At The Gates, Opeth, Dark Tranquility

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era (CD Review)

01.Enter The Asylum
02.God Has Fallen
03.Leader Of The Titans
04.We Are The Sleep
05.Innocence Lost
06.I Am War
07.Monster In Me
09.Wrath of Indra
10.The Journey
11.The Forsaken

Ville Viljanen (Vocals)
Mikko Sipola (Drums)
Teemu Heinola (Bass)
Andy Gillion (Guitar)
Kevin Verlay (Guitar)

Melodic death metal band formed in Finland in 1999, this is their 5th album.
As seems to be the norm these days we start with an intro, pointless as ever as this leads straight into track 2 'God Has Fallen'.
This is melodic death metal with a definate power metal influence, to be fair the only "Death" element here seems to be the gruff vocal delivery, aside from that this is heavy drum driven power metal full of clever riffing.

'We Are The Sleep' starts with a synth techo pulse and then proceeds into near symphonic territory until that vocal comes in and destroys that nice vibe.
Full of power and speed with melodic hooks and maidenesque guitarwork.

The next song to leap out to me is 'Apricity' starting with melodic keyboards (Though would like to point out that the record company bio doesn't tell who the musician is) the song then moves into a Scorpions like heavy ballad, this is a really nice interlude of melody and precision playing.

'The Journey' has all the qualities of an anthemic battle metal song, pounding drums and shout it out and sing a long vocals.

The last song 'The Forsaken' seems to manage to throw everything from melodic piano to full scale was care of heavy riffs and that ear crushing pedal work from the drummer.

I like this album, its "Power Death Metal" which is the perfect combination of the two genres!

Rating 8/10
For fans of: Iron Maiden, Children Of Bodom, Matron, Sylvatica, Xenochord

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

My Shameful - Hollow (CD Review)

01.Nothing Left At All
03.And I Will Be Worse
04.Hour Of Atonement
05.The Six
06.Murdered Them All
07.No Greater Purpose
08.Now And Forever

Sami Rautio (Vocals/Guitar)
Twist (Bass)
Jürgen Fröhling (Drums)
Mario (Guitar)

Begun in 1999 as a two-man studio project, evolved into a multinational machine of hate and doom based in Finland.

Eight huge slabs of funeral doom, does exactly what you want from this style of music, presenting gutteral vocals, slow pounding drums and solid chord structures.
What i also like about this is the tone of the lead guitar, it reminds me of early goth bands like Bauhaus.
This all helps to create the perfect mood, hard to pick any one track as such but 'Hour Of Atonement' and 'Murdered Them All' do leap out the speakers due to the overwhelming ambience of gloom yet tinged with great melody.

Rating 9/10
For Fans Of: Triptykon, Wolveserpent, Necropoli, Witchsorrow

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Sorrows Path - Doom Philosophy (CD Review)

01.First Beam Of Darkness Into Light
03.A Dance With The Dead
04.Brother Of Life
05.Everything Can Change
06.The King With A Crown Of Thorns
07.The Venus And The Moon
09.Clouds Inside Me
11.Damned (O)fish-L.S.D

Stavros Giannakos (Bass)
Angelos Ioannidis (Vocals)
Fotis Mountouris (Drums)
Kostas Salomidis (Guitar)
Giannis Tziligkakis (Guitar)

Snowy Shaw (Vocals on 'Everything Can Change')
Edgar Rivera (Guitar on 'Tragedy')
Vangelis Yalamas (Bass/Classical Guitar/Synthersizer)
Lefteris Moros (Drums On "Damned")
Katerina Nikoloudi (Female Vocals)
Barbara Michaloutsou (Spoken Words on 'Darkness')

Greek Doom Metal band 'Sorrows Path' was formed by Takis Drakopoulos and Kostas Salomidis back in November 1993. Both being inspired by bands like Memento Mori, Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass and shortly after Angelos Ioannidis and Kostas Farmakis joined them, the band began rehearsing and composing material.

January 1995 “Sorrows Path”, the band’s first demo, was released but shortly after that, Kostas Farmakis decided to leave the band and while the band was in a search of a new drummer Takis Drakopoulos tragically died.

Angelos and Kostas decided to continue with band and so after recruiting Stavros Giannakos on bass and Gregory Vlachos on drums released in May 1996 a new demo simply entitled “Promo 96".

After a break of some seven years they returned and finally released their first album.
By 2009 a new guitarist Giannis Tziligkakis joined in order to fulfil the band’s vision for a solid and heavier sound that the new material demanded.

I reviewed their album 'The Rough path Of Nihilisim' back in October 2012, i said at the time that the vocalist sounded like Snowy Shaw who is a guest on this latest album and also remember saying that i felt they were more symphonic than doom, so i am looking forward to hitting "play".

'Tragedy' starts us off and have to say the band sound just as good as last time, a clever mix of Symphonic metal with doom elements, quite atmospheric due to a spooky vocal style and yes he does still sound like Mr Shaw !

The next couple of songs are borderline Power Metal, then comes the symphonic meatl of 'Everything Can Change' and what an amazing vocal performance from both vocalists and really like the 60's sounding keyboard in the mix.

'Epoasis' is a really great stand out song as well, mixing doom and symphonic elements well and a great spoken piece in the middle, lots of timing changes and nice piano and phased guitar playing!

So another top class album, but one i still dont really think is "Doom" i'm sticking with "Symphonic Metal".

Rating 10/10
For Fans Of: Snowy Shaw, Therion, Paradise Lost, De Profundis

Toxoid - Aurora Satanae (CD Review)

01.Baphomet Enraged
02.Feed My Wrath
03.Demon Lust
04.Mystical Misanthropy Doctrine
05.Aurora Satanae
06.Thy Infernal Defloration

Adnan Khan (Guitar/Vocals)
Sagar Sidhanti (Drums)
Paul Marandi (Bass)
Angad Singh (Guitar)

Formed in India in 2012, they are the self styled "Indian torch bearers" , carrying forward the Norwegian / Swedish legacy of the most authentic, ritualistic, satanic underground black metal. Toxoid is on a quest to establish the devil's empire, and overthrow all which is not real. 

Fucking hell, this really does sound like early Norwegian black metal, its one of those things you have to take a double check on just to make sure you are playing the right cd!
Everything about this is perfect in sound, style and composition from the riffs to the blackend screams!

Rating 9/10
For Fans Of: (Early)- Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Darkthrone, Marduk

Itnuveth - The Way Of The Berserker (CD Review)

01.The Learning (Intro)
02.Legacy Of A Dead Wolf
03.Death We Are
05.Black Henbane
06.Chaotic Chasm
07.Northern Demons
08.Lif In Hoddmimis Holt

Lianne (Vocals)
Volundr (Guitar/Bass)

1st album by this spanish band formed by Volundr (SVIPDAGR) and Lianne Krossburner (EDENKAISER) where they play a raw and melodic Pagan Black Metal.

Weird intro, but still pointless to have it as a seperate track, anyway 'Legacy Of A Dead Wolf' kicks in and already i can hear the problem, we have great guitar and good evil sounding vocals and the shittest drum machine sound ever with horrible tinny cymbal tink tink sound!

The drum actually sounds a bit better on 'Death We Are' but it really does kill the darkend vibe!

Even the doom composition of 'Skoll' with its awesome guitar sound is killed by the machine.

Look guys sorry i cant go on, this is such a shame, you have put in the work, created great vocal and guitar stuff, but the drum machine is fucking it up!

Rating 5/10

Bloodbound - Stormborn (CD Review)

02.Satanic Panic
03.Iron Throne
04.Nightmares From The Grave
06.We Raise The Dead
07.Made Of Steel
08.Blood Of My Blood
09.When The Kingdom Will Fall
10.Seven Hells
11.When All Lights Fail

Patrik Johansson (vocals)
Tomas Olsson (Guitar)
Henrik Olsson (Guitar)
Anders Broman (Bass)
Fredrik Bergh (keyboards)
Pelle Akerlind (Drums)

Swedish power metal band formed in summer 2004 by Tomas Olsson and Fredrik Bergh. Quickly they recorded a demo and got a contract for Europe and Asia instantly. The debut “Nosferatu” was released in 2006 to critical acclaim. Consequently they played shows with bands like Sabaton, Arch Enemy, Pretty Maids and Evergrey. But 2006 was also characterized by line-up changes which didn’t pass unnoticed, particularly as singer Urban Breed left after the tour to focus on his solo project.
But soon Michael Bormann (ex-Jaded Heart) was found to fill the gap and so the second album “Book Of The Dead” was recorded and released in 2007. But shortly after the release, it became obvious - Michael´s other obligations did not leave him enough time for him To play the already booked shows they could convince Urban Breed to return to the band. And it became more than some gigs. Urban stayed for another tour supporting HammerFall and recorded the next album "Tabula Rasa“ with the band on which more modern and hard elements have been added to their sound. Numerous festival shows as well as another tour with HammerFall followed.
But in 2010 the band parted ways with Urban Breed again. On their search for a new vocalist the remaining members luckily found Patrik “Pata” Johansson (Dawn Of Silence).

Oh here we go again another pointless intro, so i'll skip that and move to a song, now i dont like power metal but this is pretty good, the song 'Satanic Panic' does a pretty solid Iron Maiden impression but then moves more into Accept terrotory with some vocals that Rob Halford would be proud of.
It has a huge chorus as well !

Now 'Iron Throne' has more than a touch of Therion about it mixed in with some pretty hyper speed metal drumming.
Same for the next track as well, but 'Stormborn' is a bit on the epic ballad side and not for me.

The rest of the album is more or less what i said for track one (proper).
So then a power metal album i like!!!

Rating 8/10
For Fans Of: Iron Maiden, Hammerfall, Judas Priest, Accept, UDO