Spirit of the Forest – A Void into the Fields of Silence/La Nature Oubliée (Review)

Spirit of the ForestThis is Spirit of the Forest’s third album. They play atmospheric melodic black metal and hail from Canada.

Are you a fan of Emperor, Dissection, Windir and Borknagar? If you are then I’ll happily point you in the direction of Spirit of the Forest and let you listen to their very satisfying new release.

For others that might require a bit more convincing, let me Continue reading

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Crystalmoors – The Mountain Will Forgive Us (Review)

CrystalmoorsCrystalmoors are a Spanish pagan/folk black metal band and this is their third album.

This is a double-album release consisting of two different parts. The first is named The Sap That Feeds Us and the second is named La Montaña.

The Sap That Feeds Us is pagan/folk black metal that should find fans in any that favour the work of Dissection, Primordial, Agalloch and Drudkh.

I like the blackened Continue reading

Enthean – Priests of Annihilation (Review)

EntheanEnthean are from the US and this is their début album. They play Black Metal.

This is progressive, technical and symphonic Black/Death Metal. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but then this is a band who have a lot of different influences. I hear bands like Zyklon, Dissection, Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Septic Flesh and Fleshgod Apocalypse in their sound.

Continue reading

Horrified – Of Despair (Review)

HorrifiedThis is the second album from UK Death Metal band Horrified.

Horrified’s début album Descent into Putridity was a maggot-filled coffin full of raw, underground Swedish-influenced Death Metal. Things have changed since then, it seems.

A Swedish Death Metal influence is still apparent, but the band have expanded their horizons and taken in further influence from the more melodic side of the Swedish scene; think bands like Dissection, Edge of Sanity and Eucharist. It’s an interesting and unexpected change of direction for Horrified that allows them to develop their more expansive, progressive and melodic sides, while still including some nice brutality when they want.

As this development sees the band becoming more sophisticated and melodic, there’s a corresponding increase in length in the songs, with a couple breaching the eight minute mark. This allows the band to add the melodic, emotive side to the core of their old-school style, achieving a blistering combination of the two that works really well.

Although I miss the primitive old-school rumble of their début, I must admit that it’s very nice to see a band develop and spread their wings further afield than their early influences. As these influences do still play a part in their sound though, it’s not a total departure. The end result is that they have progressed into an entity that’s far more interesting and accomplished than what they have demonstrated in the past, and Of Despair is a very enjoyable and compelling piece of work.

Opus Inferii – Ancient Mysteries Unveiled (Review)

Opus InferiiOpus Inferii are a Brazilian Black Metal band and this is a re-release of their 2012 début album.

Here we have 48 minutes of Occult Black Metal. It’s raw, infused with darkness and cold to the touch.

Ancient Mysteries Unveiled has a solid sound that’s underground enough to suit the music but strong enough to not do the band any disservices.

This has the air of 90s-era Second Wave Black Metal and there’s a Swedish Melodic Black Metal influence at play here too, alongside a Norwegian one as well. Kind of like Dimmu Borgir stripped of orchestration and merged with Dissection, as well as a hint of mid-period Immortal here and there. This allows the band to not be constrained by just a single style. There are quite a few nice touches and ideas on this release, including moments of introspection, atmosphere and grandeur alongside the ritualistic violence.

The songs contain both blast beats and mid-paced sections, with a good balance between rhythm and dark melodics. The riffs are bleakly emotive but also know when to get heavier and meatier as required.

The singer’s Blackened rasp is one that does the genre proud. There are no issues with his performance at all.

This is such a classic style and it’s always a joy to hear Black Metal that’s played with such conviction and with talent. Add to this an infectious sound that allows the band to show off their wares without impediment and you have a recipe for success.

I really enjoyed this. A great combination of older Black Metal styles wrapped in darkness and shrouded in mist. Opus Imferii have impressed.

Thorns of Sin – Destroy the Light (Review)

Thorns of SinThorns of Sin is a one-man project playing Melodic Black Metal.

This is well-played and well-recorded Melodic Black Metal in the Dissection vein.

The music is very professional and accomplished, with plenty of shine and polish on display. This would be notable for a full band and is even more so as one person played and recorded everything.

Keyboard accompaniment adds highlights and splashes of colour while melodic guitars shine in their time in the light.

This is Extreme Metal easy listening, and that’s a compliment; Thorns of Sin positively flow out of the speakers and are received most gratefully by yours truly.

The vocals remind me of Dimmu Borgir and there’s a little bit of their, (older), style to this release, as well as a touch of Arch Enemy here and there..

The songs are very enjoyable slabs of Metal and make me nostalgic for the late 90s/early 00s too. There’s 6 originals and a faithful cover of Death’s The Philosopher.

A quality release and one that’s easy to enjoy and recommend; make sure you check out Destroy the Light

Ctulu – Sarkomand (Review)

CtuluCtulu are a Black Metal band from Germany and this is their third album.

Ctulu play their Black Metal at speed and with much venom. Their sound is akin to the mid-90’s Swedish Black Metal style which is one that’s always been close to my heart. Think bands like Naglfar, Dissection, Dark Funeral, Marduk, etc.

Sarkomand is not just a derivative though, it has its own personality swimming though the Blackened riffs. A highlight of this release for me is said riffs; Ctulu are strong writers when it comes to the dark melodies of the guitars.

Note; this is not Melodic Black Metal, but rather Black Metal that has a lot of melody in it. It’s a subtle distinction to the uninformed but an important one. There’s nothing jolly or happy here; this is grim, dark Black Metal with melodies that will cut you to ribbons if you’re not careful.

The vocals are raspy croaks befitting the style, although they also throw a few Mayhem-esque semi-clean/chants into the mix on occasion as well as some actual mournful singing – it all definitely adds to the listening experience.

Cold Black Metal is always a good listen and Ctulu play it well. Their chilled delivery is served at the right temperature and this collection of tracks tastes just right to me.

If you enjoy the second-wave sound then Ctulu are a band you should check out. They may be playing the style but they stand tall in their own right and Sarkomand exists on its own merits, of which there are many.

Recommended for fans for frostbitten grimness everywhere. Quality stuff.

Lysura – II (Review)

LysuraComing form the US, Lysura play Black Metal and this is their latest release.

II has two tracks, each clocking in at 8:41. This is Dissection-inspired Black Metal with a hint of Emperor.

Seasons in Exile starts off with some soft sounds and a gruff spoken voice barely audible. This slowly and inexorably builds to a rather grand set of riffs and noises reminiscent of Enslaved.

Once the song speeds up the screeching high vocals take the fore and we’re in icy cold territory with some bleak melodics and just a subtle hint of Thrash. Some Doom and even proto-Death Metal passages are allowed into the song enhancing it with their presence.

The second track Tome of Suppression starts with a rumbling, chuggy groove with razor blade vocals propelling it forwards before dropping off into lighter atmospherics with some almost 70’s noodling going on. Things soon get heavy again and add in a few Classic Metal riffs and we’re good to go.

The track demonstrates Lysura’s competence in weaving in small snippets of other genres into their sound without neglecting or weakening the Black Metal core that they’re founded on. Like the first one, this track is a winner.

II has a good energy about it and the band seem comfortable with their songwriting skills, even throwing in solos and leads.

Although this is billed as a demo the sound quality is perfectly fine for the most part and doesn’t get in the way of the enjoyment factor at all.

This is the kind of Black Metal that it’s easy to like; even within the given framework Lysura provide enough variety and interest to sustain and have enough depth of composition to ensure they aren’t written off lightly.

They have yet to release a full album, but when they do it’ll probably by a stormer.

Check this out.

Streaming here – http://www.metalunderground.com/news/details.cfm?newsid=102767

Obsequiae – Suspended in the Brume of Eos (Review)

ObsequiaeObsequiae are from the US and play melodic Black Metal.

This is dark and atmospheric Black Metal with a strong medieval feel and influence to the melodies. Said melodies are thick and emotive, swallowing the listener and transporting them to another century.

Frequent interludes intersperse the songs, adding to the medieval theme of the album. These mini sagas add great feeling to an album already awash with melodic entreaties.

The rasped Black Metal vocals seem to glide out of the layered guitars, piercing the tuneful riffs with a harsh reality check before they quickly recover like nothing happened and it’s back in time we go once more. Not that they had Metal back in ye olde times of course, but if they had…

Imagine Dissection had they embraced the aforementioned medieval influence, this should give you a good idea of where Obsequiae are coming from.

The sound seems to flow organically and the riffs are like liquid nature distilled to their Blackest essence and allowed to root deep in the mind of the listener.

Obsequiae grow there, in the dark, quietly taking shape until they cannot be removed. Listen to Obsequiae and one day you’ll know what I mean.

Frozen Dawn – Those of the Cursed Light (Review)

Frozen DawnFrozen Dawn are a Spanish Black Metal band with a penchant for all things Swedish.

The band are influenced by bands such as Watain, Naglfar and Dissection, and as such the guitars are scything and icy, with the vocals as sharp as a barb and a solid rhythmic underpinning.

Frozen Dawn have a good grasp of melodics and the tunes melt through the hands like thawing snow.

A lot of these songs are surprisingly catchy; tracks like Blackened March have infections guitar riffs and Blackened grooves to die for. This is a theme repeated throughout the 53 minutes of this enjoyable album.

The band ably create the atmosphere of a Blackened winter’s day, with ice crystals as far as the horizon.

A good album, and recommended. Give them a listen.