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

Panychida – Haereticalia – The Night Battles (Review)

PanychidaThis is the fourth album from Czech band Panychida, who play black metal.

Panychida’s 2013 release Grief for an Idol was an enjoyable slab of Pagan-influenced black metal, which is why I have been looking forward to their latest release.

Let’s start off with the album artwork; I like a good cover and this is one Continue reading

Fimbulvinter – Начертаны Резы Древних Заклятий (Review)

FimbulvinterFimbulvinter are a Russian Black Metal band. This is their début album.

Fimbulvinter’s Black Metal is thoroughly of the old-school, so much so that it even contains a relatively high proportion of proto-Black Metal in the form of more classic-era Metal riffs and licks, including leads and solos.

There’s a pagan feel to some of the guitars and the band successfully capture the original Scandinavian style while also infusing the music with other elements. Infectious riffs from even earlier times are frequent additions and there’s enough of a melodic edge through the leads to grab the attention.

The songwriting is really strong and the band’s grasp of dynamics and pacing is good. These songs are exactly that; songs. Coupled with the highly enjoyable leads and the well-considered rhythm guitars, Начертаны Резы Древних Заклятий aptly demonstrates the band’s considerable talent in writing tracks that are actually quite catchy and memorable.

Screamed vocals make up the bulk of the release, but growls also appear on occasion adding that little bit extra variety and interest.

At only 36 minutes in length Начертаны Резы Древних Заклятий doesn’t outstay its welcome; in fact it leaves you hungry for more. The Metal leads, blackened guitars, solid riffs and rasping hatred that flow easily from the band make this album an extremely enjoyable listen.

Definitely one not to overlook. Very highly recommended.

Old Forest – Dagian (Review)

Old ForestOld Forest are a Black Metal band from the UK and this is their third album.

This album features four long songs and a fair amount of variety across the 48 minute playing time. The band play Atmospheric Black Metal that has a contemporary feel with nods towards the Pagan, Folk, Gothic, Depressive and Progressive sub-genres of Black Metal.

These additional influences make their presence felt during the tracks and manifest in different ways, from exploratory sections, to enhancing cleans, to Folk instrumentation, subtle synths, and more.

It’s a hugely impressive demonstration of musical ability and songwriting skill; even only a couple of minutes into the first track Morwen, with its Doom-laden intro and understated-yet-powerful cleans, you know this is going to be a special release.

The songs have a lot of content, all contained in a modern Black Metal wrapping and serviced by a recording that’s meaty enough to do the material justice without loosing its Blackened lustre.

The emotive guitars do everything requested of them with ease, whether this is playing fast, slow, or even at a good rocking pace. The guitars serve as a bedrock for the other instruments to be built around, both the standard ones such as the drums and bass, and the non-standard ones that serve to add so much additional atmosphere to the tracks.

Vocals are as varied and interesting as the music; Blackened screams, Gothic cleans and lots in the middle.

Old Forest have produced a very gratifying release that manages to successfully combine old and new into a cohesive atmospheric package. Dagian is impressive, emotive and destined for a lot of positive feedback I would imagine.

For any fans of expressive Atmospheric Black Metal.

Kampfar – Profan (Review)

KampfarThis is the seventh album from Norwegian Black Metallers Kampfar.

Kampfar play Black Metal with speed and melody, drawing the listener in and then slicing at them with hidden blades.

Serrated screams and powerful cleans are both used to great effect on this release. The screams provide the focal point as they are meant to, while the cleans add an emotive enhancement to the songs that works really well.

Kampfar incorporate influences from both Melodic and Pagan Black Metal into their sound, as well as Progressive Black Metal elements akin to, (but not as pronounced as), a band like Enslaved. This results in songs that have a characterful epic feeling to them in addition to the razor sharp edge of Blackened aggression that they foster so well.

The songs are well-written and played, with lots to keep the interest of the listener. Some of the guitar melodies are particularly compelling and taken holistically there’s a grand amount of atmosphere contained on this release.

Highly recommended.

Skvara – Carpathian Pagan Terror (Review)

SkvaraSkvara are a Ukrainian Black Metal band and this is their second release.

This is underground Black Metal with a raw, fuzzy sound. It’s dark and cold, just as we like it.

The guitars seem to slither out of the dark murk of the songs like snakes sliding through water. The frozen, Blackened melodies do well to create both atmosphere and aggression, while the bass is actually audible and makes a good contribution.

Seething, screeching vocals lash across the back of the music like a vinegar-dipped whip, with every scream a torrent of pain and outrage.

Throughout these 34 minutes Skvara show that they have a deep love for the Black Metal Old-School elite. Importantly, however, they also show they have ambition and talent for the music, as the songwriting on Carpathian Pagan Terror is already quite proficient for such a young band.

Good riffs, melodies and ideas are included and for the most part these songs are very well-composed and performed. Skvara pretty much have all of the necessary components for an enjoyable Black Metal release. If they manage to tighten up their songwriting in a couple of places then they will very quickly become a force to be reckoned with, as this release clearly shows they have a massive amount of promise and potential already.

Highly recommended.

Macabre Omen – Gods of War – At War (Review)

Macabre OmenMacabre Omen are from Greece and play Black Metal. This is their second album.

I really enjoyed Macabre Omen’s first album, The Ancient Returns, and it’s been over a decade since that so I was very pleased when I found out they had a second one out, finally.

This is an hour of quality Black Metal that has an epic feeling and Pagan influences.

Staying mainly in the mid-paced arena, they do speed things up when necessary and they know how to make the most of these high-energy sections.

The songs are all well composed and this is a band that thrives on writing emotive Blackened riffs.

The guitar melodies are frequently stirring and full of grandeur. Macabre Omen fill their songs with an epic feeling despite not being an overtly ostentatious band. Subtle additions of keyboards and ethnic instrumentation/influences enhance the Blackened core and pay homage to their Pagan roots.

The vocals are mainly impassioned screams that almost turn into shouts in places, like the hoarse cries on an ancient battlefield.

Macabre Omen have produced a very impressive second album that may be long overdue but has definitely been worth the wait.

Worthy of a place in anyone’s collection.

Panychida – Grief for an Idol (Review)

PanychidaThis is the third album by Panychida who come from the Czech Republic.  They play Black Metal with a heavy Pagan influence.

Take a powerful Black Metal core, add some atmospherics and keyboards, infuse a bit of Primordial and old Dimmu Borgir into it and soak in a heady strain of Paganism and you have a good starting point for Panychida.

The songs are stirring and involving. They have aggression and exploration written into the guitars, as well as a good amount of epic Metal riffage.

Panychida offer a good variety of vocals, with almost every type making an appearance – screams, growls, whispers, cleans; they’re all here and all done well. Krastina (Grief for the Idol) is a great example of this as the vocals alternate between all of these and more in a short space of time.

Folk influences and instrumentation appear and these are done well without sounding out of place.

Panychida have produced a quality album. Give them a listen and see what you think.