Zud – A Wilderness Left Untamed (Review)

ZudZud are a US black metal band and this is their second album.

It’s been a long wait since the band’s 2013 debut album The Good, the Bad and the Damned, but we now finally have a new release from this very individualistic black metal band. Continue reading

Avatarium – Hurricanes and Halos (Review)

AvatariumAvatarium are a doom rock band from Sweden and this is their third album.

Featuring current and ex members of bands such as Candlemass, The Doomsday Kingdom, Jupiter Society, Tiamat, and Evergrey, you know a lot of experience and talent is going to be present on this album before you even listen to it. Continue reading

The Night Flight Orchestra – Amber Galactic (Review)

The Night Flight OrchestraThe Night Flight Orchestra are a Swedish hard rock band and this is their third album.

Featuring members of Soilwork, Arch Enemy, and Witchery, (among many others), this is something of a different beast from these other bands, and presents us with 50 minutes of classic rock with some progressive overtones. Continue reading

Greenleaf – Rise Above the Meadow (Review)

GreenleafThis is the sixth album by Swedish Stoner Rock band Greenleaf.

Boasting the kind of album cover that you could lose hours staring at, Greenleaf return with 44 minutes of retro-themed Stoner Rock that’s as easy-going and as compelling as ever.

With a warm, well-rounded sound, Rise Above the Meadow is a very easy album to get along with. The band’s personalities seem to seep from every note and the songs effortlessly send out emotive vibes in a retro-friendly fashion that’s sure to light up many a classic Rock-fan’s eyes.

The singer’s anthemic, charismatic voice resonates with relaxed power and presence, complementing the analogue warmth of the music. Hearty melodies and hummable tunes are in abundance and the band really don’t sound like they’re native to 2016 in many ways.

There are so many good riffs on this album and the band are in no short supply of melodies and evocative catchy sections either.

This is good stuff. For someone who mainly listens to much more extreme music, I sometimes have to be in the mood for this kind of release. However, like a lot of things, when you press play and let the music comfortably roll out of the speakers, it’s all very nice indeed.

Somewhere between The Sword, Clutch, Rival Sons, and even The Beatles in places.

Top work.

The Meads of Asphodel/Tjolgtjar – Taste the Divine Wrath – Split (Review)

The Meads of Asphodel/TjolgtjarThe Meads of Asphodel are from the UK and play a very individual brand of Black Metal. Here they team up with US one-man Black Metal project Tjolgtjar, who you may remember from 2012’s Kjal Tjormejn.

As such, this is an interesting and exciting split release from two atypical Black Metal bands that succeeds in putting two very individual and different spins on this well-worn genre.

The Meads of Asphodel are up first and contribute 16 minutes to this release.

The Meads of Asphodel always manage to imbue their songs with such personality and character, due in no small part to their charismatic singer Metatron. On this release he’s as expressive as ever and has his performance aided by other vocal styles such as croaking screams, ghostly chants and female vocals.

The music manages to be underground, extreme and catchy all at the same time. Classic Blackened blasting and experimental pseudo-Pop share space on this impressive collection of tracks and whether they’re playing fuzzed-up, dirty Black Metal or synth-heavy atmospheric sections, The Meads of Asphodel are at the forefront of Experimental/Progressive Black Metal.

Oh, and track three is a cover/re-imagining of Candi Staton’s You’ve Got the Love, retitled You’ve Got the Hate. It works.

After this it’s on to Tjolgtjar, supplying 18 minutes of music. It’s an odd, atypical expression of Black Metal, with a more garage, underground feeling than the more flamboyant tendencies of The Meads of Asphodel.

In some ways Tjolgtjar remind more of a conventional raw Black Metal band, but this is only superficially true. Upon closer inspection, the riffs and general composition of the music is unusual. Even when the blast beats are flowing swiftly, the guitars are playing Blackened rhythms and melodies that are almost like semi-distorted Country/Folk acoustics. Almost. It’s as if this music came from decades ago and is a Black Metal version of 70s Progressive Rock.

The vocals are screamed croaks but also benefit from cleaner accompaniments. It’s an added extra that, when combined with the music, reinforces the 70s music connection, at least to my mind.

Black Metal, Classic Rock and Progressive Rock, combined. Nice.

But this is what Tjolgtjar do so well; their music is not your average Black Metal and their contribution to this split is superbly delivered and realised.

This is a very impressive release from two impressive bands. If you’re looking for Black Metal that’s challenging and different from the norm then this should be your first stop.

Very highly recommended.

The Order of the Solar Temple – The Order of the Solar Temple (Review)

The order of the Solar TempleThe Order of the Solar Temple are from Canada and play Heavy Metal/Rock.

This is Old-School with elements of Classic Rock, Doom Metal and Psychedelic Rock.

The band have a very warm, laid back sound that instantly makes you feel at ease like a welcome old friend.

The singer has an excellent voice; he’s soft and exquisite, or ultra-high and maniacal, or deep and melodramatic…He has character and personality that’s for sure and puts in a stellar performance.

Coming across as a mix of Blue Öyster Cult, (who they also cover), Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Merciful Fate, this is an enjoyable way to spend 45 minutes when you’re in that retro mood.

There really is some great material here! The singer has a forceful presence and some of these riffs are just epic in scope and feeling.

I thoroughly recommend you listen to this and experience the band first-hand. May you be drawn into their world…

Favourite Track: Aeon of Horus. Everything from the vocal delivery to the tense guitars to the understated bass…a stunner of a song.