Chaos Moon – Resurrection Extract (Review)

Chaos MoonChaos Moon are from the US and play Black Metal. This is their third album.

This is Atmospheric Black Metal with violent tendencies and a core of pure darkness.

The Black Metal created here is enhanced at all times by a layer of dark ambience that follows the songs around like an omnipresent shadow. This has the net effect of saturating every song with Blackened feelings and melancholia tinged with bloodshed.

Esoteric and obscure melodies are made full use of and there’s even a touch of the Post-Black Metal to some of the sections on Resurrection Extract. It all adds to the appeal of the tracks and ensures that the listener is sufficiently drawn into the world of Chaos Moon.

This is an album with many strings to its bow, whether this is the blasting hatred of the fast sections or the sorrowful mournfulness of the slower; Resurrection Extract hits you where it hurts and the combination of gratuitous atmosphere and razor sharp violence is a winning one.

A highly recommended listen that takes you on a journey through Blackened soundscapes and unexplored lands. Get ready to praise the Chaos Moon.

Ars Moriendi – La Singulière Noirceur D’Un Astre (Review)

Ars MoriendiArs Moriendi are from France and this is their third album of Black Metal.

This is atmospheric and creative Black Metal that makes a left-of-centre entrance under the guise of some form of slinky lounge lizard whilst retaining a core of darkness so you know you actually are playing the right album.

When the Black Metal truly kicks in though it’s noticeable and memorable. Propelled by interesting riffs and subtle but meaningful effects the music is stimulating and diverse.

The vocals are Black Metal croaks that have some personality to them and the singer appears to have a good range to his voice rather than staying too monotone.

Long songs allow for plenty of variation around the central theme and the band allow themselves the luxury of exploring and developing the soundscapes they create.

Progressive Metal elements make appearances here and there, adding character to the songs and increasing the listener’s depth of appreciation for the tracks.

The production is low-key and surprisingly warm and organic for a Black Metal release. The adds another facet to the album and the songs are very easy to listen to and enjoy; the music is warmly absorbed like a fine wine.

This is a quality release from a band who are likely to be overlooked by many. Don’t make this mistake – give Ars Moriendi your full attention.

Frozen Ocean – The Dyson Swarm (Review)

Frozen OceanThis is the eighth album from Russian band Frozen Swarm.

The band play atmospheric Black Metal/Ambient.

They open with Syzygy which is a wonderfully composed piece of Dark Ambient that sounds straight out of a science fiction film and is a great piece of music.

The second track CE-4 starts in a similar vein until the addition of drums and light Black Metal-esque guitars add a gentle beat to the emerging aural tapestry.

Vocals are present, very much low-key and used like another instrument.

The Sci-Fi/cosmos-themed album is powerfully atmospheric with Black Metal, Electronica and quasi-Industrial sounds merging with a cinematic soundscape to create and involving and absorbing journey into deep space and beyond.

This album has surprised and impressed me.

Chemical Cascades – Demo (Review)

Chemical CascadesChemical Cascades are from Australia and play Black Metal.

This may be billed as a demo but the usual substandard demo recording is missing; instead we get a perfectly serviceable Underground Black Metal sound that fits the band like a glove and has an especially strong drum presence.

The vocals are howling and shrouded in reverberation. Like a dark aura they saturate the songs and are used as another instrument rather than separate vocals as with most bands.

The unearthly noises the singer makes scream in and out of the tracks like the doppler effect and they sound as if they’re alive. At least; some form of otherworldly, barely-sentient instinctual life.

The music is blasting and melodic with a strong, cold, ominous feeling to it. The riffs are well written and the album art gives a good impression of the frigid nature of the guitars. Each track reinforces the belief that this is not your standard, bedraggled Satanic wannabe band; rather this is a band fuelled by parts unknown and who possibly originate from the very place depicted in the simple-but-enticing cover artwork.

This is deeply satisfying in that it combines elements of harshness, melody and atmosphere all at once without ever giving itself over to any one of them completely. It’s a rewarding listen and promises great things from the band in the future.

At 34 minutes in length this could easily be classed as a début album rather than just a demo. If the band can continue to mine this creative seam of dark inspiration that they have found then their actual début album will be something well worth getting excited about.

A great release from a band you should definitely check out.

Spectral Lore – III (Review)

Spectral LoreThis is the fourth album from Greek Black Metallers Spectral Lore.

Spectral Lore play atmospheric Black Metal which courses with malevolence and a feeling of exploration without too much experimentation.

The songs are long, (as indeed is the album at just under 90 minutes), and they’re not afraid to develop their Progressive and Ambient sides. Well, I say “they” but Spectral Lore is actually only one person, which makes this album even more impressive.

The songs have a good amount of interest and variety during their long playing time which is essential for a work such as this. The Blackened melodies slip out of the speakers and the howling vocals are perfectly judged.

Even the bass is audible and does its own thing irrespective of the guitars in a rare show of autonomy.

Each track is emotive and lavishly bestowed with depth and character. A classic and masterfully judged recording harks back to the early glory days of the genre when Black Metal was already straining at the seams of its genre definitions but had yet to burst out completely. The sound in general is reminiscent of early Emperor and Satyricon and evokes nostalgic feelings whilst simultaneously earning it a stamp of high quality.

II is a veritable work of Black Metal art. It’s worth investing in this as its true value will only increase in time.

Valdrin – Beyond the Forest (Review)

ValdrinThis is the debut release from US Black Metallers Valdrin.

Valdrin play Melodic Black Metal; if you think of Dissection, Old Man’s Child, Dimmu Borgir and Emperor as your starting points you’ll get the right idea.

That’s not to say this is overly symphonic or orchestrated though; Valdrin may tip their toe in that genre of Black metal but they firmly live on the darker, harsher side of the Melodic Black Metal spectrum.

The orchestration and effects they employ are subtler than the more overt side of Dimmu Borgir and even Emperor, and are mere enhancements to the songs rather than the driving force.

The band know how to effortlessly mix aggression and melody, and have a good amount of variety in their compositions for this genre. They even employ a few solos; unusual for Black Metal but a very welcome addition.

The pure-blooded Black Metal vocals work well and complement the darkness of the music.

This is atmospheric Black Metal with none of the pomp and plenty of bite. It’s good to hear a few bands playing this style recently and bringing back the good old days of harsher Black Metal whilst still retaining some melodies and a sense of atmosphere.

Highly enjoyable.

Favourite Track: Beyond the Forest. Epic and empowering.

Despot – Satan in the Death Row (Review)

DespotDespot come from Brazil and play Black Metal.

This is Old-School Black Metal with a distinct streak of personality and individuality about it. The core is of the 80’s/early 90’s Black Metal fused with an unusual album art/band logo and with added musical flourishes such as a few more modern moments and unexpected guitar solos/leads.

Subtle keyboard embellishments haunt the tracks like a ghost of forbidden memory just playing around the edges of perception. It’s almost like it’s not there, but you can definitely sense something on the outskirts of hearing.

The riffs are interesting and inventive and the general structure of the songs is an impressive homage to all things dark Metal. The band use melody well and manage to infuse the tracks with a sense of wonder and awe in addition to the usual Black Metal trappings.

Not content with this there are some Celtic Frost influences at play here as well as a bit of a Death/Morbid Angel-inspired Death Metal influence on occasion. They even flirt with some almost sci-fi touches now and then.

The songs are ambitious and as the above description shows they are not afraid to throw different influences into the blender. It all works.

The same is true of the vocals; although primarily an Old-School Black Metal croak there are also deeper grunts and cleaner utterances as well as shouting and chanting.

The sound is authentically Old-School and could in fact be some long-lost gem from decades ago.

This is a top-of-the-line Metal album with lots to draw the listener in and keep them enraptured. This is one Despot to be listened to attentively.

The Committee – Power Through Unity (Review)

The CommitteeThis is the first album by international collective The Committee.

This is Black Metal which is bleakly atmospheric and retains this feeling throughout the album. The guitars are powered by a darkly melodic undercurrent, with the central riffs seemingly constructed of continuous rolling rhythms, a feeling further enhanced by the drums.

The tracks are all between 7:01 and 9:20 in length which means that they all take the time to have their mystique flow freely and allow the listener to become absorbed in the songs.

The vocals are typical Black Metal fare but that’s not to say anything bad about them; they are handled competently and the voice fits the music as it melds with the songs while they speed by. The lyrics deal with historical events; the band themselves have described each song and what it’s about here.

For an album that is comprised of disparate members spread across multiple countries this is coherent and well-made. The songs are enjoyable, Immortal-inspired, double-bass-powered gallops through bloodied history.

Listen to the band here.

Amiensus – Restoration (Review)

AmiensusAmiensus are from the US and play Progressive Black Metal with plenty of melody and epic feelings.

Keyboards and other effects transform the already pronounced melodic talent of the band to another level, washing over the listener in waves of atmosphere.

Restoration skillfully blends aspects of bands such as Opeth, Agalloch and Dimmu Borgir into a talented melting pot and adds something of its own personality to the mix to avoid sounding derivative; the results of which have led to this pretty special release.

I usually find this genre of music a bit too sickly and derivative, essentially it’s easy to do but hard to do well. Whatever this magic, secret ingredient is that makes an album like this great without sounding like another clone of the aforementioned bands, Amiensus appear to have it in spades.

Meaty guitars cloaked in wistful mood and dripping with ear-candy dominate this release, while angelic vocals croon and soar alongside harsher cries and grunts. Female vocals are used to punctuate the atmosphere when needed and are a great asset to the band.

The album flows easily from one song to the next; the symphonic nature of the band working perfectly to accentuate every harmony and lamentation into a seamless whole until suddenly the 46 minutes playing time has elapsed and you’re left simply wanting more.

As début albums go this is high quality indeed and quite an achievement for such a young band. If album number one is this accomplished I can only imagine what album number two will be like.

Here’s to more in the future. You should get this.