As Light Dies – The Love Album – Volume I (Review)

As Light DiesAs Light Dies are from Spain and this is their third album of Black Metal.

Atmospheric and moody, As Light Dies create darkly melodic compositions that take the Melodic Black Metal theme and add some interesting twists to make it their own. Avant Garde and Gothic/Depressive Black Metal influences come together across this very professional album.

Mournful cleans accompany jagged screaming growls on their journey from tragedy to tragedy, like dark tourists in a town of pain.

Quality guitar work is apparent from the off with Blackened rhythms being performed alongside emotive leads. The songs aim for maximum emotional impact whilst retaining the bite of their Black Metal core.

The album has a good sound and everything sounds clear and punchy, allowing the band the room to spread their creative wings with freedom.

The keyboard highlights work with the music instead of dominating it and add texture to the already expressive guitar work.

This album is well-written and well-performed. Check them out.

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Twilight Fauna – Hymns of a Forgotten Homeland (Review)

Twilight FaunaHymns of a Forgotten Homeland is the fourth album from this one-man Black Metal project from the US.

This is a strange and, I would guess, deeply personal release. It’s an album that’s all about creating mood and atmosphere and will undoubtedly not appeal to the vast majority of music fans out there, probably not even most Black Metal adherents.

Why? Because this may be rooted in Black metal but it’s equal parts acoustic/Drone/Ambient in scope. The tracks seep together with dark ambience and seem to corrode at the edges when you listen to them.

The brain behind the project creates a harrowing soundscape of brittle Folk and Blackened Depressive noise. It’s an ode to nature filtered through the Blackened tar-stained lens of Black Metal.

Percussion is used sparingly on these songs, with the main propulsion being the guitar work and low key sounds of cymbals and other noises.

Vocals are low in the mix and are entwined with the music; a sort of agonised braying that tugs at the hidden places in the mind.

The journey through these tracks is fraught with distorted longing and a deep sense of loneliness. It’s not an expedition that most people will want to take, and those that do would do well to remember not to leave home unequipped and unprepared.

So, if you’re made of stern stuff and prepared to open your heart to what Twilight Fauna have to offer, then Hymns to a Forgotten Homeland will accompany you on a journey into the raw, lonely beauty of nature.

Diskord – Oscillations (Review)

DiskordDiskord are from Norway and this is their latest EP. They play Death Metal.

Diskord play Death Metal that’s fused together with technicality, atypical guitar workouts and strange musical shifts. The result is a band who definitely have their own identity.

Oscillations is 26 minutes of Progressive Technical Death Metal that never takes the easy or simple route.

Diskord may have a dense and forbidding sound but it’s surprisingly accessible, considering. Amongst the violence and tempo changes lurk Doom-influenced passages and a subtle Black Metal influence that work alongside the more brutal and frenzied parts to bring harmony and a sense of vicious gloom to their work.

The sound is warm and apoplectic with seemingly random bouts of violence juxtaposed with a more lurking malevolence. All of the instruments are audible and the bass has a good role to play.

The songs are well-written and constructed with the crazy instrument-heroics never getting in the way of the song itself. Not an easy thing to avoid happening.

The vocals are quite varied, ranging from the Death-esque to the Blackened that are entirely appropriate to the music being played.

Diskord sound like Old-School Death Metal, (think Cynic, Death, Atheist), mixed with a more modern ultra-technical and eccentric influence. It’s a very meaty and enjoyable release that has a lot of nooks and crannies to explore and learn from.

A quality EP from a talented band.

Check them out.

Deserted Fear – Kingdom of Worms (Review)

Deserted FearThis is the second album from German Death Metallers Deserted Fear.

Deserted Fear sound absolutely huge. Their sound is crisp, punchy and as solid as a slab of granite. They play a blend of Classic and Modern Death Metal which sees them taking the best from the old and new to create songs that are brutal but not just for the sake of it.

Here we have a band who remember the importance of actual songs. Remember those? The tracks on this album are full of hooks, catchy melodies and memorable riffs.

The musicianship is first class and the band know how to translate good songwriting into results.

The riffs rumble along like a steamroller. The band combine aspects of Swedish Death Metal, Bolt Thrower, Vader and more modern influences to create their trademark sound.

The combination of chunky rhythm guitars and more melodic leads work well together and bring out the Swedish influence in their sound. A mid-paced assault shows their Bolt Thrower influence and the faster sections have more of a Vader edge to them. All of this is wrapped in a state-of-the-art production.

The vocalist knows his stuff and uses his voice to beat and batter the listener into submission before the crushing music deals the deathblow.

Kingdom of Worms is a solid album of destructive Death Metal that could happily sit in any Metal fan’s collection.

Try them out today.

Coprocephalic – The Oath of Relinquishment (Review)

CoprocephalicThis is the second album from Coprocephalic; a Death Metal band who have a Taiwanese/International origin.

Coprocephalic play Brutal Death Metal. This is ultra-brutal and not for the weak-hearted. The band manage to pull off something a bit different though than most as they combine an interesting perspective on brutality with dissonant melodics creating an unusual take on Brutal Death Metal that’s refreshing and addictive.

This is pure brutality and the riffs come thick and fast. When they’re not trying to beat you to death with blunt breakdowns and heavy chopping they’re trying to stab you to death with sharp melodics and atypical noises.

This is a band who play thoroughly Modern Death Metal with a twist of the most extreme Deathcore the likes of which is peddled by Infant Annihilator and Rings of Saturn. It’s frenzied, savage and not at all pleasant; just the way we like it.

Utter pig-noise vocals sound like someone’s trying to vomit up their own stomach and even though I’m not normally the biggest fan of this style of vocals here it works perfectly with the music. In this sense they’re not too far removed from fellow label mates Infecting the Swarm.

The Oath of Relinquishment is high energy and it’s hard not to feel excited when listening to this. It’s just pure fucking Metal and more brutal than most can handle.

I love it. Let’s all get behind this talented band now.

Interview with Aeonsgate

Aeonsgate Logo

The début album from Aeonsgate – Pentalpha – is an impressive foray into extremely Epic Doom Metal territory. Thirsty for more background on this intriguing project, I sought out the man behind the music…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

I`m Jondix, guitar player of Great Coven, eight Hand for Kali and Atman-Acron…More of a visual artist, but with unusual ideas and classic taste… Another looser…

Give us a bit of history to Aeonsgate

I just showed the demoed idea to Mats and he liked it for being unique, than Marco Minneman found it interesting to Sabbathian drumming instead of do polyrythms as he’s used to…

Aeonsgate 3What are your influences?

For this project Iommi, Ritchie, and trance inducing boring noises from Metal underground…

What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

The new Judas Priest and Griftegard

What did you want to achieve with this album?

Make a long boring song that I can work to.. specially when I’m painting in the studio

Are you happy with how it turned out?

I’m never satisfied… Now is one year after and I would love to hear the keyboards louder… My brother did an excellent job… But we are preparing a new record together

Tell us about the concept for the album

Death and the people you leave behind….that exact moment when you die… and the road to the other world whatever it is

Aeonsgate 2What can you tell us about the lyrics?

It’s very romantic… fighting against death and trying to come back, cause you want to stay in the world with your lover… and seeing her from the astral projection….

Give us a bit of information on how the song was constructed.

Me and my brother Joseph, we did a demo in which I sung the lyrics… and then handled it to Mats and he played his magic… Same with Minnermann… he recorded all drums in 2 days… unbelievable… then we played guitars and bass again, trying to be just simple, repeating ad nauseum….

What’s next for Aeonsgate?

Some very important people are interested in a few live shows…

Maybe a second part with different members….Like “True detective”…

Divine Zero – The Cold Asylum (Review)

Divine ZeroDivine Zero come from Germany and play Death Metal. This is their second album.

Divine Zero have a singer that alternates between deep growls and high shrieks, sometimes within the same sentence. It’s schizophrenic and harsh. The high screams have a bit of At The Gates about them and both styles sound top quality.

Ostensibly a Melodic Death Metal band, Divine Zero have enough brutality in them to satisfy fans of harder Metal also. It may be melodic but it’s also aggressive.

The songs have plenty of tasty riffs and the trade off between melody and brutality is handled well, with even a smidgen of Thrash being thrown into the mix. Everything’s played to a high standard and there are lots of things included to hook the listener and capture the attention.

The riffs are interesting and quite varied, with everything between modern Metal and Old-School Thrash having a look-in at various points. I also like that the solos are bountiful and emphatic.

A strong sound rounds off a strong package and Divine Zero have produced a very enjoyable album. It reminds me of turn-of-the-millenium Metal like Dew Scented and Withering Surface.

If you’re put off Melodic Death Metal as you think most bands who play the style sound watered down and/or too commercial then give Divine Zero a listen, you won’t be disappointed.

Lelahell – Al Insane… The (Re)birth of Abderrahmane (Review)

LelahellLelahell are from Algeria and play Death Metal. This is their début album.

This is Brutal Death Metal played fast and played heavy.

After the usual pointless intro, (mercifully brief), the real fun starts and the band introduce us to their blasting mayhem.

The vocals are the first surprise. Usually with this style of Death Metal we get typical ultra-guttural growls, but the majority of the vocals on this album are higher screams, (although deeper growls are used as well). It sounds good and reminds of a band like Defleshed.

The guitars have a nice tone to them and sound quite thick. The riffs are a bit more inventive than the norm, with colourful melodies and unusual flavours to the tunes. The songs have an exotic flair to them; Lelahell are definitely not your typical Cannibal Corpse clone.

This album is crushingly brutal and has a sound to match that’s suitably huge and clear. Lelahell are a very satisfying proposition and this chunky, thick sound combined with the band’s songwriting skills, dynamics and interesting riffs means this is an album to really get into.

As début’s go, this is a winner. Lots of bands are content to tread water, but Lelahell are more interested in forging their own path, and more power to them for this.

Make sure you get a hold of Al Insane… The (Re)birth of Abderrahmane. It’s well worth the investment.

Nero Di Marte – Derivae (Review)

Nero Di MarteNero Di Marte are from Italy and play Progressive Metal. This is their second album.

This is complex and dense music. There’s a lot of substance here, a lot to take in. Nero Di Marte are not your conventional band; they do things differently.

Rather than catchy riffs or hooks, instead they play riffs that merge and flow with each other to build up a complex tapestry over time. As the songs progress it becomes clear very early on that a lot of thought has gone into these compositions.

This is modern, heavy Prog; more akin to Gojira, Mastodon and Memories of a Dead Man than Dream Theater. This isn’t Post-Metal, but the band borrow the sense of dynamics and momentum-building that Post-Metal does so well and fuses them into their own sound.

These are masterfully crafted tracks that are as engaging as they are entrancing. The low-key vocals almost get lost in the churning maelstrom of guitars and percussive treats, yet they’re there, they add a lot to the already busy music and they help the band connect to the listener in a very visceral way.

Derivae sounds very warm, with the drums in particular having a very satisfying feel to them. This feels like real music, not just something pieced together and let loose with minimal feeling.

Overall, this is a thunderously strong album.

A rewarding and entrancing listen.

Obituary – Inked in Blood (Review)

ObituaryThis is the US Death Metal titan’s 9th album.

Obituary are a true Metal institution and one that’s rare in that they sound just as good now as when they first appeared.

That’s not to say that they sound the same though, as they have experimented with their core sound over the years, to a greater or lesser extent.

Inked in Blood is heavy and largely mid to slow-paced. This, for my money, is always when Obituary sound at their best so I’m more than happy with what they’ve produced on this album. Faster parts appear of course, but Obituary have never played blast beat-fast so it’s all relative really.

The riffs sound instantly familiar without being tired and the entire album is like a happy reunion with an old friend. You may not see them that often any more but when you do you have a whale of a time. A big fat heavy whale.

The singer’s vocals are slightly lower in the mix than sometimes they have been in the past and this just makes the music seem even heavier. His vocals appear to be improving with age as they sound slightly less fluid and more venomous these days. In essence it’s the same voice as always of course, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Inked in Blood boasts strong songs that manage to sit right in that sweet spot between heaviness, groove and catchiness where all three elements of the Obituary sound meet.

Each song is recognisably Obituary without becoming same-y. The groove-based riffs are heavy as Hell and the slower more moody sections have surprising subtlety to them on occasion.

The production is solid and the music sounds immense when played at loud volumes, which I highly recommend that you do.

These Death Metal veterans have once more returned to the killing grounds to show the new guard how it’s done.

Behold Obituary.