Primalfrost – Prosperous Visions (Review)

PrimalfrostPrimalfrost are from Canada and play Melodic Black Metal with influences from Power Metal.

An extravagant intro heralds in the very textured and multi-layered Metallic sound that the band have. Razor sharp Melodic Black Metal sounds combine with larger-than life orchestration and enough solos to make any Power Metal band blush.

The musicianship in general is flawless, whether it’s the opulent leads, the spiky riffs, the solid drums or the symphonic keyboards.

The vocals for the most part are high pitched rasps straight out of the Black Metal handbook. These are occasionally offset by deeper grunts and heroic cleans that add further flavour to an already tasty meal.

The songs are highly accomplished and there are plenty of ideas at hand to stop things becoming dull. The songs each offer something slightly different, but all built around the central core of the band. We even get an epic 14:00 track that serves as the album’s centrepiece and is an expertly executed slab of Metal.

Prosperous Visions is 55 minutes of prime-time Melodic Black Metal. If you want the epic, fantastical grandeur of Power Metal with the rougher, more aggressive delivery of Black Metal then this is for you. An ambitious album and well worth adding to your collection. May they prosper for many years to come.

Get it here:

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.

Isacaarum – Whorecraft (Review)

IsacaarumThis is veteran Czech band Isacaarum’s seventh album of filthy Blackened Deathgrind.

Inhabiting the same degraded, run-down pay-by-the-hour hotel as The Meatfückers; Isacaarum are more at the Grind/Death end of the spectrum than the aforementioned band, but no less seedy and porn-obsessed for it.

The 9 songs that span this 30 minutes of depraved Metal never get stuck in a rut. In fact, for the genre this is a surprisingly varied release with even some melodic moments raising their rubber-clad heads at appropriate intervals.

The vocals alternate between higher and lower shrieks/grunts, (in a similar vein to, say, Exhumed), with the deep growls in particular being very well done.

A strong production with a heavy sound accentuates all of the questionable fluids that the band excrete and allows their songs to breathe and enjoy themselves while being mindful of the safety word at all times.

I have enjoyed this album immensely; the band have an ear for a good song and the album doesn’t get stale. This is the first time I’ve encountered Isacaarum and I’m very glad I have. I’ll be visiting them at their seedy hotel more often in the future.

Return To Innocence – The Ring of Moon (Review)

Return To InnocenceReturn To Innocence are a Czech band that play a mix of Death, Heavy/Power and Symphonic Black Metal.

After a classical intro the band burst out of the speakers with blastbeats, aggression and epic keyboard backing. The orchestral accompaniment to the songs is cinematic and heavy, but not overbearing. They symphonic effects are wielded as an extra instrument and made full use of; rather than being mere additions to the songs they are an integral part.

The singer growls and rips his way through the songs, sparing time for the occasional high-pitched shriek. That’s when he’s not putting in a characterful performance with his semi-clean vocals which lend an air of European Metal to some of the songs; Tristan’s Dream is a perfect example of this. We are also treated to operatic vocals such as the ones on Blood Related and female vocals make an appearance too. A good variety of content is important, and the vocal contributions to the album certainly deliver this.

The music is based on a solid foundation of Death Metal, supercharged with Symphonic Black Metal and then infused with a good Heavy/Power Metal influence on some of the riffs and arrangements. The songs keep things interesting and the attention doesn’t wane for the 40 minutes that the album runs.

A solid release from a long serving band who have a clear vision of what they want to achieve and the talent and skill to realise it. I suggest you give this a go as it’s well worth the listen.

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.

Teloch Vovin – I (Review)

Teloch VovinUS group Teloch Vovin play Black Metal with a mystical, esoteric feel and full of black magic.

Here we have 8 arcane hymns to who-knows-what, starting with the impenetrably titled 12/21/2012–1+2+2+1+2+0+1+2=11 (Including A Hymn to Apophis) which is as much 70’s Prog/Psychedelia as it is Black Metal.

The sound is atrocious, really bad, although presumably this was the intent. It sounds like it was recorded in a bucket in the early nineties.

Once you look past the dire sound you have some interesting Black Metal full of occult themes and references, sung with passion and played with intent.

The poor mixing and bad quality sound will put almost everyone off though, even those who are quite comfortable with a lo-fi Black Metal release will likely quail at this.

Good if you can take it.

Check it out here –

Persekutor – Power Frost (Review)

PersekutorThis is a short EP by Romanian Black Metallers Persekutor.

And what a striking cover they’ve chosen! Not what you would necessarily equate with such underground Black Metal but kudos to them for avoiding the usual clichés.

The two tracks on offer here are short and straight into the action with some fuzzy Black Metal straight from the dark, dank underworld.

This is Old-School Black Metal and the first track Power Frost may be less than three minutes long but immediately grabs you with a strong guitar riff and the whisper-rasped vocals. It’s masterful display of rhythm and mood is over all too quickly though.

Second song The Twitching Hour has the same rawness of delivery as the first and seems just as quickly over, (although it’s a whopping 15 seconds longer!). A quality riff leads the way with the drums providing a simple backdrop. The vocals are raspier on this song but keep the same sense of rhythm and catchiness.

A solid EP that is far too short and mainly serves to whet the appetite for more. Hopefully the band will summon up a full length at some point in the near future and we can all bask in its glory. Hail!

Hiss From The Moat – Misanthropy (Review)

Hiss From The MoatHiss From The Moat play a modern brand of Blackened Death Metal.

After a perfunctory intro we’re straight into the action with Conquering Christianity which is full of solid blasting and evil mayhem. If you think of a band like Goatwhore and have them take their cues from the New-School rather than the Old-School you’ll be in the right ball-park for Hiss From The Moat.

Deep, guttural vocals and higher rasps steer the songs towards their logical conclusions, while well-played, hyperspeed drums anchor everything and allow the guitars to concentrate on the ultra-brutality or blackened rhythms, depending on how the mood takes them. Additional orchestration heightens the atmosphere in select places, and is strategically used for surgical strikes rather than mass slaughter.

Depth and carnage are the watchwords, for the songs stick around long after they have stopped playing, filling you with the urge to experience their nihilistic bludgeoning once more.

The riffs seem to flow like pulsating tar through veins of blackened darkness and spewed out into the unsuspecting light to corrupt and infect everything they touch. The songs offer nothing but hatred and want nothing in return but your demise. Misanthropy in more than just title.

The album is 30 minutes of extremity wrapped in malevolence and served up by a talented group of individuals and guests who know how they like their Extreme Metal, and I heartily agree with their obvious good taste.

Top marks for a top band. More please.

Von – Dark Gods: Seven Billion Slaves (Review)

VonVeteran US Black Metal band Von return with their new full length album.

The darkness opens with a rumbling, brooding menace and sustains this feeling of malevolence and tension throughout the entire album.

Von ratchet up the pressure using their moody approach to atmosphere well; even when they put their foot on the accelerator the taut environment just keeps getting tighter.

These 9 tracks are Von’s attempt to create a bleak, disheartening experience for the listener; to take them on a Blackened trip to regions uncharted. The songs transport and transform, and once experienced no-one is the same again.

The vocals are Hellish emanations straight from the blackest abyss. Less singing and more arcane belchings of pure misanthropy.

Von have unleashed 54 minutes of darkened art, concentrating on twisted melodies and demonic auras to spread their uncompromising gospel. It won’t be to everyone’s taste of course but what art ever is?

Forlorn Path – Man’s Last Portrait (Review)

Forlorn PathThis is the début album from US Melodic Doom/Black/Death Metallers Forlorn Path.

For a début this is well-written, ambitious and implemented with a skill a lot of bands would envy.

Melodic and orchastrated, yet still having an intensity born of pure Metal this is more aggressive and outright better than I was expecting. From the name and album cover I thought I would be hearing a second-rate Gothic Death Metal Paradise Lost clone, but thankfully my hasty pre-judgement was incorrect, and instead we get epic, expansive, symphonic and melodic Blackened Doom of the highest quality.

At just over an hour in length a lot of passion and work has gone into this album to create a journey that you can get your teeth into.

The vocals alternate between a Black Metal rasp and an ultra-deep growl that is just a pure pleasure to experience.

The forlorn atmosphere and rich melodic melancholy combined with an more aggressive assault than a lot of bands of this genre attempt means that the album always entertains and for me is up there with recent melodic Metal greats like Amiensus.

A refreshing and surprising album; I’ve had my expectations completely surpassed and it’s an abject lesson to me that you can’t judge a band by their name or their artwork. What matters, all that matters, is what they sound like, and Forlorn Path sound very good indeed. Highly recommended.