Bewitcher – Bewitcher (Review)

BewitcherThis is the debut album from US black/speed metal band Bewitcher.

This is some heady old-school stuff. Mixing thrash, speed, heavy, and first-wave black metal influences into its delivery, this album is designed to get you headbanging. Continue reading

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Soulburn – Earthless Pagan Spirit (Review)

SoulburnThis is the third album from Soulburn, a predominantly black metal band from the Netherlands.

Featuring ex-members of Asphyx, this is a solid slab of prime-time metal that effectively mixes black and death metal, (with some doom), into a tasty 47 minutes. Continue reading

Terra Tenebrosa – The Reverses (Review)

Terra TenebrosaThis is the third album from Terra Tenebrosa, a black metal band from Sweden.

Terra Tenebrosa are definitely one of the stranger, more imaginative bands out there at the moment. This is experimental, avant-garde metal with a blackened side and all manner of sinister and misanthropic vibes.

If you take a mutated, warped black metal core, and add in Continue reading

Wederganger – Halfvergaan Ontwaakt (Review)

WedergangerWederganger are a Black Metal band from the Netherlands. This is their début album.

This is largely mid-paced Black Metal with a haunting, mystical sound. They have a knack for combining typically dark Black Metal auras with more hopeful/heroic feelings to create music that is a double-edged blade, with one side sounding evil and malevolent and the other sounding epic and heroic.

Let’s start things off by saying that this is a damn fine record, with strong songs and interesting ideas.

The vocals combine strangled screams and confident cleans. These work with the dual nature of the music to create an atmosphere that’s both epic and grim. You can kind of think of it as Darkthrone meets Bathory, with probably a little more of the former in their sound rather than the latter. Either way, it results in Halfvergaan Ontwaakt sounding a bit different to the usual Black Metal norm, which is to be commended.

Wederganger continue in this vein for just under 44 minutes, working their black magic on the listener and weaving a spell that’s quite enticing. Their interesting take on Black Metal is infectious and it’s quite clear that the formula they’ve developed on Halfvergaan Ontwaakt works. These are enjoyable songs that perfectly straddle the boundaries of Orthodox Black Metal and epic, Folk Black Metal.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable release that uses two very old styles as its musical base, allowing the band freedom to create their own vision of what Black Metal should be.

And do you know what? Their vision looks pretty damn good.

Favourite Track: Dodendans. Perfectly judged, sorrowful cleans with just the right amount of vigour, powerful leads and a hypnotic, crawling delivery make this track a winner among a wealth of strong songs.

Sons of Crom – Riddle of Steel (Review)

Sons of CromSons of Crom are from Sweden and this is their début album. They play epic Viking-influenced Heavy/Black/Folk Metal.

This is thundering music with an interesting sound; it’s somewhere between Old-School and New and gives the band an interesting sheen.

We’ve heard this style before, of course, but this is a veritable exemplar of the sub-genre as it’s done exceedingly well.

Taking elements of bands such as Enslaved, Arcturus and, notably, Bathory, this is an impressive distillation of the quintessence of those bands, birthed anew in the form of Riddle of Steel.

The music and vocals are epic beyond all reason and you just can’t help but get carried away by the obvious passion and enthusiasm here. It’s hard to credit that this is a début album really as the level of maturity displayed on these songs is staggering. Each track is fully realised and boasts more features than many bands manage in a full album.

Epic melodies abound and the guitars really do draw out every last tiny bit of emotion possible from the instrument. This is Metal through and through in the best possible way. It’s Bathory updated for 2014 whilst remaining faithful and true to the original.

The vocals are varied and accomplished; they span everything from darker, rougher shouts, to higher screams, to a mid-ground semi-clean, to choral overlays. The delivery is masterful.

The music is richly textured and almost suffers from stimulation overload at points as there’s a lot going on and it’s all so damned grandiose!

This will likely be snapped up eagerly by fans of the Bathory/epic Viking Metal scene who are still hungry for all things of this nature. Unless you think Bathory are the be-all and end-all of this style then you should find more than enough to feast on here.

Turn it on, turn it up and get swept away in the huge nature of the band.

(Sample is from their Conqueror EP which is a taster of two tracks from the album)