Rudra – Enemy of Duality (Review)

RudraRudra are a blackened extreme metal band from Singapore. This is their eighth album.

Despite being around for a very long time at this point, and despite having first heard of them an almost equally long time ago, this is my first actual encounter with Rudra and their so-called Vedic metal. Continue reading

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Drevorod – I Swear to Return Here (Review)

DrevorodDrevorod are an atmospheric black metal band from Russia and this is their debut album.

This is atmospheric black metal with folk influences. It’s well-played and manages to balance the atmospheric/folk sides of the music well, so that the band have an obvious character to their music without it coming across as twee. Continue reading

Thy Worshiper – Klechdy (Review)

Thy WorsiperThis is the fourth album from this black/Pagan/folk metal band Thy Worshiper.

I’ve been following this band for a while now, and their individual take on black metal is always a very welcome listen. Both Czarna Dzika Czerwień and Ozimina were very enjoyable, and it seems on their latest album Klechdy they’ve really Continue reading

Gargantua – Avant-Propos (Review)

GargantuaThis is the début EP from French Progressive Metal band Gargantua.

Gargantua play Progressive Metal that combines some quite eclectic influences to produce a 26 minute calling card that shows off what they can do quite effectively.

To give you a flavour of their style, imagine a mix of The Meads of Asphodel, Sigh, The Black Dahlia Murder and Akercocke, among others. It’s essentially a form of melodic Death Metal with added folk, avant-garde and progressive influences, allowing the band a freedom to experiment and be playful with their influences.

The keyboard and accordion aspect of their sound is quirky and endearing. While not as completely over-the-top as some of the stuff that Sigh get up to, this part of their sound can still be demanding and attention-seeking.

The more aggressive Metal that lays the foundation of their music is tempered by their other influences so that the majority of the riffs have a lot of other stuff going on; the avant-garde and more-emotive aspects of their style are never too far away.

Thrash Metal-esque shouted growls, barely-holding-it-together screams, progressive cleans, operatic choral parts, emotive theatrics; there’s a plethora of different styles employed on Avant-Propos via four of the various band members.

A very promising first release. While not perfect, it shows a creative band willing and able to push boundaries to achieve the sound they want. With a few tweaks here and there to tighten the songwriting up, they could become quite a fearsome proposition in the future.

Check them out.

Thy Worshiper – Ozimina (Review)

Thy WorshiperThis is the latest EP from Thy Worshiper, who play pagan/folk Black Metal.

The band’s previous release Czarna Dzika Czerwień is one that I really enjoyed, so this EP I was eager to hear.

Featuring music that’s heavy on percussion and non-standard instruments, (such as didgeridoo, darbuka and djembe, to name a few), Thy Worshiper continue their individual and characterful melding of folk, pagan and Black Metal influences into their enticing brand of music.

These tracks are rich and layered songs that cover themselves with emotion while providing enough substance and grit to back it up, ensuring that they have produced a real collection of songs and soundscapes, rather than novelty or throwaway music.

Vocally, the female vocals sound even more beautiful and powerful than before, and combined with the rhythmic pulsing of the music are a real highlight. The male vocals remind me of those of The Meads of Asphodel in places on this release more than on their previous album, which adds a different slant for me.

Clearly a lot of work has gone into arranging and composing this EP, and the end result speaks from the heart and burns as deep as fire.

Another sterling release from this important band.

Windfaerer – Tenebrosum (Review)

WindfaererWindfaerer are a Black metal band from the US. This is their second album.

Windfaerer have a Black Metal base which they build on with Melodic Death Metal and Folk-style influences. Their Folky Black Metal vibes are melodically fluid and have an added bite via their Melodic Death Metal influences.

Sharp and streamline, these songs create atmosphere via a variety of delivery methods; whether that be through fast guitars and relentless drums, dual guitars that are subsumed into the Melodic Death/Black easily, or slower, more evocative sections.

Added to all of this is a violin that speaks of the band’s Folk influences and the overall melancholic atmosphere that Windfaerer foster through the faster sections as well as more reflective, slower parts.

These songs are both familiar and friendly; it’s a joyful listening experience, despite some of the darker atmospheres that infuse the music, and it’s one that’s easy to digest and enjoy. These seven tracks are well-paced and well-judged, delivering just the right amount of diversity to hold the interest while remaining cohesive overall.

Windfaerer have produced a strong album that’s a recommended listen for anyone who likes a bit of Melodic Black/Death Metal with some nicely-played violin.

Chiral – Night Sky (Review)

ChiralChiral is an Italian one-man band. This is his second album.

I have enjoyed watching Chiral’s development over the course of his releases that he’s put out so far. From the primitive Proto-Death/Black Metal of Winter Eternal, to the frozen Blackened landscape of Abisso, to the more ambitious Atmospheric Black Metal of his splits with Haate and Nebel Über Den Urnenfeldern/Eternal Sleep…the brain behind Chiral as consistently impressed with both the quality of his music and his progression within it.

So what of this latest release then? Showing that he doesn’t sit still, Night Sky continues the previously developed themes of Atmospheric Black Metal, only this time adding a Post-Black Metal element to the music, resulting in an album that favours mood and texture over all else.

For a surface comparison to to other bands, I’d say Night Sky combines elements of Wolves in the Throne Room, Falls of Rauros, Falloch, Vinterriket, and Opeth.

The songs are long and ambitious tracks that show a love of both Black Metal and a more naturalistic sound that is quite atavistic in its realisation. Folk melodies and influences would be an appropriate description, although it feels somehow older than this.

Acoustic passages, Folk instrumentation and Progressive Metal tendencies work together with the icy, Blackened core to create Atmospheric Post-Black Metal that takes in many influences over the 58 minutes of material and ably demonstrates the talent and skill of Chiral.

These songs are slow-builders; ramping up the atmosphere and emotional content over the span of the playing time and layering just enough keyboards and extra instrumentation on top to really provide a consistent sense of space, flavour and feeling.

So there you have it. Another quality Chiral release, his best work yet I’d say.

Fans of Atmospheric Black Metal take note.

Yonder Realm – The Old Ways (Review)

Yonder RealmYonder Realm are from the US and this is their début album. They play Folk/Melodic Metal.

This is music that combines the bite of Melodic Death Metal with the jauntiness of Folk Metal, resulting in songs that have Folk Metal’s quirkiness and Melodic Death Metal’s seriousness but without going too much in either direction; reminiscent of Ensiferum.

The harsh main vocals have a good presence throughout whilst more epic cleans are used very sparingly.

The violin is a strong component of the band’s sound and juxtaposes against the more Metal guitars in a way that is pleasingly disruptive yet separate from the main music.

The Folk melodies are a constant companion to the Metallic riffing. Yonder Realm are interesting in that usually the guitars of bands like this follow a Folk theme as with the rest of the music. The Old Ways is a bit different in that it’s almost as if two bands are playing; a Melodic Death Metal band and a Folk instrumentalist group. It’s like the two aspects of their sound just happen to fit into the same song structures.

Although this is potentially a recipe for disaster, Yonder Realm avoid this simply by having the two styles fit together and compliment each other. If you removed the violin and keyboards, etc. you’d still have a perfectly serviceable Metal band, but with the Folk instrumentation it’s better than it would be without.

This is a rare case of the Folk stuff sounding just tacked on to a Metal band and it actually working in the band’s favour. How on earth they managed this feat is anyone’s guess. I call black magic.

Overall I’ve enjoyed Yonder Realm’s début. They have a harsher edge than some bands of this style, which I appreciate. The very-Metal core identity of the band is simply enhanced by the Folk inclusion and the album as a whole is a rocking good listen.

Check them out.

Northland – Downfall and Rebirth (Review)

NorthlandComing from Spain, Northland play Folk-influenced Melodic Death Metal. This is their second album.

There are a whole load of different instruments used on this album in addition to the usual ones that form the Metal core. Keyboards, piano, flute and bodhran are all present, as well as guest musicians and singers.

Northland take all of these and wrap them up in a Melodic Death Metal delivery that successfully knits the Folk influences into a cohesive Metal whole so that the album flows nicely across its 11 tracks.

Downfall and Rebirth has a good sound that brings the Folk and the Metal components together so that you don’t feel like you’re listening to a band of two halves.

Harsh and clean vocals are both used, with the harsh vocals having quite a bite and the cleans being of the epic, stirring variety.

Epic and stirring are good words to describe the music as well, but not in the way that, say, Power Metal or certain strains of Black Metal can be. This is more of a journey to old lands that have been forgotten, and a reliving of the tales and deeds of heroes long past.

The songs are well-written slabs of Folk-enhanced Melodic Metal and whilst the clean vocals provide an extra layer of accessibility the band never stray too far into commercial territory; this is real Metal through and through.

I’ve really enjoyed this. It gets the balance between its jaunty, upbeat nature and its darker Metal soul just right.

Check out Northland and get ready for an epic adventure.