Villainy – I (Review)

VillainyThis is the début album of Thrash Metal band Villainy who are from the Netherlands.

Villainy have a raw and savage sound that’s rough around the edges but not lacking in ability. They can play, and there are plenty of solos streaking out of the sharpened Thrash like lightning.

The band have a slight Blackened twinge to their sound akin to bands like Audiopain, as well as a bit of a Crust influence as well. These attributes raise the band up above the general throng of Thrash bands that saturate the scene at the moment and make them a more enjoyable prospect.

They’re also not completely predictable, which is a welcome change. For example; after two tracks in the aforementioned style, both under 3 minutes in length, track 3 is 7 minutes long and is more of a Doom-laden Celtic Frost-esque song. It’s a good change of pace and a good song overall.

This is another reason why this album is better than the average – the band don’t rest on their laurels and they also inject variety into proceedings. It keeps things interesting and makes the whole album come together.

This is a quality Metal album that doesn’t suffer from boredom after repeated spins. Check out Villainy and join their underground world.

Cardinals Folly – Our Cult Continues! (Review)

Cardinals FollyCardinals Folly are from Finland and this is their second album of Traditional Doom Metal.

Trading in the type of Traditional Doom from the likes of Reverend Bizarre and 40 Watt Sun, they mix this blueprint with a bit of character and personality, Cathedral-style.

Cardinals Folly start the album off with a nice slow burner of a song Chant of Shadows before moving into Morbid Glory which introduces us proper to the band’s fuzzy, Old-School style.

Laid back vocals soar over the top of groovy drums and melodic guitar before settling into a nice riff; the theme may be familiar to Traditional Doom fans but the important thing is that Cardinals Folly know their stuff and the songs are enjoyable.

Sometimes the band hit upon a particularly hypnotic piece of dirge and I find myself staring into nothingness, just losing myself in the song and forgetting what I was doing.

Wait, what was I saying?

There is also somewhat of a Black Metal tinge to some of this. It’s probably not intentional, but the slightly scuzzy sound combined with some particular riffs…it’s just a shade of Black but it adds a nice feeling to the tracks when it shows.

This is an album to absorb as a whole; to let it seep and wash over you in waves of Doom.

P.T.O.M.A. – Shit Into Existence (Review)

PTOMAThis is the début album from Greek Thrash Metallers P.T.O.M.A.

This is riff-based Thrash with sharp, spiky guitars and a proper Old-School feel.

The vocals are loose and authentic with gang vocals backing the singer up. The entire thing sounds like it could be some long lost recording by an obscure Thrash band that has just been unearthed.

The recording itself is good and the band have a satisfying sound. The drums are nice and heavy, the guitars sound solid and the bass is surprisingly audible and runs through all of the tracks like a centre line.

The majority of the subject matter is distinctly non-serious, but that doesn’t stop the music from being composed better than I was expecting. There are some good solos too.

If you’re in the mood for some non-serious Thrashing around then you can do a lot worse than this album. Give P.T.O.M.A. a listen and see what you think.

Shards of Humanity – Fractured Frequencies (Review)

Shards of HumanityShards of Humanity are a US Death Metal band. This is their début album.

The band play their Death Metal with a nod to Death and a Thrash Metal edge.

The songs are capable of following a good riff to see where it goes and giving it the time to develop and breathe. This sometimes lends the band a pseudo-Progressive edge, (again, akin to Death), and makes their songs all the more enjoyable for it.

For the most part Shards of Humanity’s songs are fast, precise and technically proficient, although they have an ear for a slower riff when the song calls for it.

They give me the impression that these songs have undergone a lot of changes in their history; not due to poor songwriting but due to natural development as there is an exploratory feeling to them.

The tracks feel like they would have been lovingly followed through to their logical conclusions by the band who would have wanted to see where they went to and what would become of them.

Solos are played well and the performance levels all around are good.

The recording is raw and sharp, recalling the Old-School but with more bite.

The vocals are savage, rough barks that are more than capable of competing with the music.

Overall, an enjoyable release. You could do a lot worse than look up this band.

Haemophagus – Atrocious (Review)

HaemophagusHaemophagus are from Italy and play Death Metal with lashings of Grind. This is their second album.

The first track is an intro, and rather than the usual pointless nonsense most bands have as an intro, this is a lovely piece of relaxi-prog that doesn’t really prepare you for what comes next, but sounds great regardless.

The primitive thrashings and grindings of Partying at the Grave exposes the band’s true intentions and the brutally simple heaviness of Death Metal is unleashed.

This reminds me of bands like Atrocity and Abscess; Old-School, brutal, evil and fun!

Groove and chug or blast and burn, Haemophagus rip the house down around you and stomp on the fiery devastation. And then throw turds around. Or something. It’s all gloriously, horrifically messy fun regardless.

With a sound that means this could have been recorded decades ago the band plough head-first into the material and make their dirty mark all over the walls.

Don’t be deceived by the apparent simplicity though as the band know their instruments and are more than capable of shredding out a good solo. The bass also has a good presence, adding an eerie dimension to songs like Dismal Apparition.

A strong album that’s a very enjoyable listen. This may be thoroughly Old-School in many ways but it deserves a place in every modern playlist.


Interview with Frozen Ocean

Frozen Ocean

Frozen Ocean have recently released the impressive album The Dyson Swarm. It’s a surprisingly effective release that mixes Black Metal with Electronica/Industrial sounds. Finding out a bit more was the next order of business…

Give us a bit of history to Frozen Ocean.

I am afraid this history won’t be very epic. Frozen Ocean was founded in 2005 in Moscow, Russia, as a solo project of me and was intended to play black metal related stuff. After recording of the first demo “Snow is the Ash” I decided to make something different and dug into dark and drone ambient fields, in which the very first official release, “Depths of Subconscious” was produced. Later the project returned to black metal related music, but next started to bounce from style to style (or a mix of ones) from one release to next.

What are your influences?

Too hard to distinguish, because for every release they are different. In general I have always admired Ulver, how they had their versatility through artistic evolution and simultaneously kept the highest level they achieved. In particular, the musician who inspired me to start making my own works is Mikael “Vaalkoth” Baiyusik from Tearstained, Night Conquers Day, Into The Sunless Meridian and Shadowcaster.

What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

The album that could become “release-of-the-year” in my personal charts – “Existence” by Australian progressive death metal band Aeon of Horus. Also I would like to recommend to everyone the last work of Russian industrial brutal death metal band 7 H.Target called “0.00 Apocalypse”; this album will crush you to dust.

What did you want to achieve with your new album?

At least to have a wider reception and recognition for the project worldwide. I had a hope that this kind of experiment would be something relatively fresh and original (as far as is possible nowadays) and thus attractive to a listener.

Are you happy with how it turned out?

As always, the reception and feedback could be wider, but I am quite happy with the existing one. In the modern music world nobody can predict the audience’s answer for your musical proposal. And of course things get more complicated when you present some stuff that lies outside of trends. So that is great that some people have found this album attractive and listened to it more than one time; I think that is the best approval for the musician.

Frozen OceanWhat can you tell us about the concept behind the album?

“The Dyson Swarm” is devoted to close and outer space, and the place of humanity in it. It is built like a journey through the cosmos beginning on the Earth orbit and Solar system and longing to the known edge of Universe and further beyond, and each track describes some phenomenon or object you could face during that journey. Album’s title is describing one of the variant of Dyson sphere – a gigantic hypothetical astro-engineering construction the purpose of which is to utilize the radiated energy of the central star in a star system in the most efficient way. Humanity’s future, on the certain stage of its development and raising level of energy consumption, is hardly imaginable without stuff of that kind.

Give us a bit of information on the songwriting process

The whole thing begins from the conception of release, and when I have the whole picture and structure of album in my head, I start making songs for it. When all the songs are recorded, at least in some scaffold state (without some parts or instruments), I take a listen to the whole yet incomplete release, and decide what and where should be added or changed to fulfill the requirements of the general idea. Thus I get the release united under one concept, but with the distinctive songs. Speaking about the production, all the steps of the production are performed by me in my home studio.

How do you see your songs/direction developing in the future?

It will be something new, as usual, at least it will be different from things Frozen Ocean presented earlier. I will continue to shift shapes and styles, continue to experiment with merging of musical directions for the best representation of release concepts and emotional colouring of them. For instance, I will develop the usage of folk instruments started earlier (when I played mandolin on “Autumn Bridges”) and try to add them to electronics and metal in equal ratio.

What’s next for Frozen Ocean?

Soon Italian label Bylec-Tum productions will release the whole “Norse” Trilogy on one tape for true underground activists. Next plans are too loose to reveal, but they include the very first Frozen Ocean vinyl release.


We Have A Ghost – We Have A Ghost (Review)

We Have A GhostWe Have A Ghost are from the US and this is their début.

The band play Electronica/Industrial-laced Rock. Think Nine Inch Nails/Mogwai/Ulver and you’re on the right lines.

Other points of reference include the little-known/remembered Electronic Rock band Vitro, who released an excellent album named Distort in 1999 of a similar style, as well as the fantastic experimental Paradise Lost album Host.

This is surprisingly complex music that weaves elaborate soundscapes around itself like a cloak of static and charged beats.

Atmosphere and tone are an important part of the We Have A Ghost sound, as well as fostering a futuristic sense of mystery.

A feeling of foreboding is hidden throughout this album. Sometimes it’s hidden underneath energetic sections and other times it’s right out there in the open.

This reminds me of the build-and-release style of Post-Rock/Metal if it had been given an Electronic/Industrial overhaul and the build/release sections were chopped up, warped and separately focused down into shorter songs.

Varied and expansive, this is a great listen, especially if you’re in the mood for something a bit different. The entire thing plays out like some form of soundtrack and the album is suitably cinematic in scope in this regard.

A slow builder that impresses on first listen but nonetheless really shows its charms after repeated spins; this album is a keeper.

Check this out – highly recommended.

Lumbar – The First And Last Days Of Unwelcome (Review)

LumbarComing from the US, Lumbar play Sludge and this is their début.

On the first day, I have to say that I love the album cover. There’s something deeply satisfying about it.

On the second day, I have to say that as soon as the first song starts properly, (after a brief sample), it’s like a dark haze has been lifted and all of a sudden everything seems crystal clear.

On the third day, I have to say that the power, the majesty…the sheer awe-inspiring intensity of the strong vocals cresting above the Sludgey Doom riffs…it’s almost too much.

On the fourth day, I have to say that the lyrics and theme of the album are deeply felt and rooted in a personal struggle against illness. The vocals match this depth of feeling perfectly.

On the fifth day, I have to say that the songs are shorter than normal for a a Sludge/Doom band but this doesn’t seem to hold them back at all.

On the sixth day, I have to say that this album has it all; filthy bass; crusty riffing; morbid effects; gloriously dark variety; mega-crushing Doom.

On the seventh day, I have to say that this album is fucking brilliant.


Hellhate – Retsonretap (Review)

HellhateHellhate are a Black Metal band from the Ukraine, and this is their début EP.

This is a short EP at only 15 minutes but it functions as a good introduction to the band.

Hellhate have a raw sound that is nonetheless clear and functional. It wraps darkness around the already grim riffs and holds them tight.

The high pitched rasps are demonic and maniacal, giving the impression of an angry imp not entirely dissimilar to the cover.

Each song is a good collection of Black Metal riffs in the Old-School style mixing Darkthrone and Satyricon with a even a little hint of Black Sabbath now and again to the guitars.

Hellhate seem just as comfortable playing slowly as they do when blasting, and they do both producing a well-rounded release that I have really enjoyed.

When they blast they sound tight and focused and when they get a good Black Metal groove going then it’s all I can do to keep still while I’m listening. Up to the Stench is a particularly good example of when the band exhibit both traits in an extremely satisfying way.

It may be little more than a taster EP but this is the kind of Black Metal that it’s easy to like; simple, well-written and evil. If you like Black Metal you can’t fail to like Hellhate.