Atrocity – Okkult II (Review)

AtrocityThis is the tenth album from German death metallers Atrocity.

Atrocity have had a varied career, with probably as many different incarnations and eras to their name as Paradise Lost. Okkult II finds the band in one of their darker, more brutal moods. Continue reading

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Dimlight – The Lost Chapters (Review)

DimlightDimlight are a symphonic metal band from Greece and this is their third album.

Now this is quite interesting. Here we have a Gothic/symphonic metal band that have some death/black metal elements entwined into the tracks.

This is a modern, updated version of the old, so-called, beauty-and-the-beast vocal approach that twins angelic female cleans with guttural male growls. I always quite liked this approach when it was probably at the height of its popularity Continue reading

Mandragora Malevola – Black Flame ov Illumination (Review)

Mandragora MalevolaMandragora Malevola are a Portugese Black Metal band and this is their début demo.

Here we have three tracks of newly-birthed Extreme Metal lasting 15 minutes.

The first track Mandragora Malevola is essentially an intro, setting the scene with dark sounds that soon morph into unearthly incantations and invocations. As is the case with most intros, it’s entirely disposable.

So, first proper song is Arkangelvs Satanis (The Red Moon Wolves). Right from the start we get a lovely, filthy guitar sound that sets the tone in no uncertain terms. My first impression is that it reminds me of Antaeus, although this has a bit more of a Blackened Death Metal feel to it too. Soon after we get some absolutely rabid vocals that are somewhere between a growl and a scream, reminiscent of older Behemoth. The band inject some energetic melody to things almost halfway through and also at this point they reveal themselves to have other, grander influences as the song takes on a powerfully epic feel, all the time retaining its raw, dirty sheen. By the end of the song I’m extremely impressed by their Antaeus-meets-Behemoth-meets-Dissection style.

The second song is Apotheosis (Hvmana Manifestvs), and this initially continues the themes and atmospheres projected by the previous track, but soon demonstrates a more Euro-Metal influence that wouldn’t be out of place being described as Atrocity-meets-Hypocrisy. It’s all still wonderfully raw, and the previous influences can still be heard, but it’s great to see a band not constraining themselves to a one-dimensional approach.

Mandragoa Malevola have revealed themselves to the world, and what a glorious revelation it is! This is an exceptional demo and shows a band with a massive amount of potential and promise for the future. If they can harness the dark energy that seeps from every pore on these two songs then their future place at the top of the pile should be assured.

A must listen.

Mindscar – Kill the King (Review)

MindscarMindscar are from the US and this is their début album. They play Death Metal.

This is an interesting release. The band play Death Metal that’s brutal and is not without technicality, yet also features a good amount of melodic and atmospheric sections and even clean vocals on occasion.

It’s a winning combination. The blasting brutality of the Death Metal core mixes surprisingly well with the more restrained, melodic parts.

The band seem to be talented musicians and there are no shortage of solos or technical wizardry.

The more atmospheric sections have the aura of Nile or Behemoth if they experimented with background clean vocals a bit more. They definitely have an exotic flavour to these parts and it’s great to see a band spread their wings to incorporate wide influences as well as the more traditionally brutal aspects of their sound.

They’re not afraid to show their Classic Metal heritage either, with a few riffs that would do Iron Maiden proud lurking here and there, albeit heavied-up some.

Sort of a cross between elements of Behemoth, Nile, Atrocity, Orphaned Land, Melechesh, Gorguts and Misery Index. Quite an eclectic mix in some ways when you see it written down, but when you hear it it all slots together quite naturally.

You’ve gotta love an Extreme Metal band who are willing to push the boundaries a bit. Kill the King fuses blasting extremity with melodic abandon and exotic atmospherics to great effect. Importantly they get the ratio correct. It’s mainly heavy and brutal, contains a good amount of flashy solos and leads, with the more atmospheric sections used sparingly for maximum effect.

Very good stuff indeed. Listen and enjoy.

Noctem – Exilium (Review)

NoctemNoctem are from Spain and this is their third album.

The band play Blackened Death Metal with a bit of pomp and plenty of bite.

After a symphonic intro the first track proper Apsu Dethroned wastes no time introducing you to the band’s particular brand of blasting and heaviness. What is not quite as expected, however, is the orchestral accompaniment that forms a nice link to the intro.

It’s a great touch that precedes the actual singer who belches out occult growls with the fervour of the possessed. His is an unrelenting, uncompromising style that gives no quarter and knows no mercy.

The rest of the album continues the theme of a Death Metal band with Blackened influences that incorporates plenty of interesting ideas and sounds into their Extreme Metal repertoire.

The brutality and blast beats of their core Death Metal sound share space with more melodic riffs and a healthy dose of Black Metal influences. The orchestral sounds/choirs/keyboards add a deeper layer to Noctem’s identity and are embedded well rather than just sounding tacked on.

The musicianship is first rate, with the drumming being a precision assault and guitar solos and leads flashing by like lightning. It’s all wrapped up in a stellar production job that allows everything to shine and just sounds crushing.

None of this would have any longevity of course if it wasn’t for the songs themselves. The band show quite capably that they can write a good tune and Exilium is full of them.

If you take elements of bands like Behemoth, Nile, Atrocity and Septic Flesh, mix them in a blender and make a tasty hate-filled frothy shake then Noctem would be the cream.

A high quality, ambitious release; Noctem have proven they have what it takes to become forerunners in the Extreme Metal world.

Watch them go.

Dark Man Shadow – Victims of Negligence (Review)

Dark Man ShadowGerman band Dark Man Shadow have released their third full length album of Symphonic Black Metal.

This is well-produced slick music with varied vocals and orchestration aplenty.

The male vocals alternate between growls and semi-cleans, with the latter sounding particularly gratifying. These are usually interspersed with melodic/operatic female vocals.

The music has a pleasantly aggressive core with added keys and ornamentation played over the top of it. There is a bit of a Death Metal influence to some of the riffs as well, meaning that the guitars sound a bit more muscular than a lot of bands of this ilk. The band is still largely playing in the Symphonic Black Metal genre and Gothic Metal ostentation abounds, but they sound more solid and heavy than similar bands. Think more Atrocity than Leaves’ Eyes, for the most part at least.

If you’re in the mood for it this album fulfils your Symphonic Metal needs. Have a listen.