Paradise Lost – One Second (Review)

Paradise LostThis is a remastered version of Paradise Lost’s classic 1997 album One Second.

What can you say about this album if you haven’t already heard it? It’s just so good.

Following up the metal masterpiece that was 1995’s Draconian Times was always going to be a tricky proposition, but the band certainly didn’t opt for Continue reading

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Vallenfyre – Fear Those Who Fear Him (Review)

VallenfyreThis is the third album from Vallenfyre, a death metal band from the UK.

Featuring current and ex-members of Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and Abhorrence, in Fear Those Who Fear Him Vallenfyre deliver 39 minutes of ugly, nasty death metal. Continue reading

Vetrar Draugurinn – I (Review)

Vetrar DraugurinnThis is the debut EP from Gothic metallers Vetrar Draugurinn, who are from the Netherlands.

Featuring current and ex-members of bands such as Stream of Passion, The Saturnine, and Autumn, this new band brings a wealth of experience to the table, showing a maturity and professionalism that you’d expect from such accomplished artists. Continue reading

Unothera – Broken (Review)

UnotheraThis is the début EP from Unothera, who are a melodic doom/death band from the Netherlands.

This EP consists of 5 tracks – two actual songs and three piano movements.

The songs take influence from the likes of My Dying Bride, Katatonia and Paradise Lost, with sorrowful atmosphere aplenty. Keyboards are also used to add depth to the misery that the band exude, and I think these are particularly Continue reading

Abyssic – A Winter’s Tale (Review)

AbyssicThis is the début album from Norwegian Symphonic Doom/Death band Abyssic.

Well this is an absolute monster of an album. At 79 minutes in length and featuring just four tracks, Abyssic certainly know how to provide the listener with a lot to get their teeth into.

A decent stylistic reference point for Abyssic would initially be the old Peaceville roster, with bands like Anathema, My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost all providing an idea of what the base of the band is like. Only longer and more epic, of course. Once you have this in your mind’s eye, mix in some more modern, epic funeral Doom from the likes of Monolithe, as well as a sterling Classical influence, and you’ll have a good idea of what Abyssic are getting up to here.

The symphonic aspects of Abyssic’s sound are big, bold and unashamedly impressive. Abyssic don’t hold back, and nor should they. This is a band that manage to incorporate the symphonic and Classical elements into their sound in a holistic and complete way, rather than having them just added on at the end. The music easily takes on a cinematic legendary feel and each of these long songs feels like a story. Nay, a saga.

A Winter’s Tale benefits from a huge and lavish production that allows all of the different parts of their repertoire to sound clear and crushing. Thick guitars and textured keyboards merge together with the crushing drums to provide the listener with a very engaging and absorbing listen. The songs may be long, but if you have the time to spare for them then there is so much here to enjoy.

For the most part the vocals are deep, dark growls, of the kind that are pretty much standard for Death/Doom. That’s not to say they’re not effective or don’t do their job though.

Long they may be, but these songs justify their own existence by being so damn impressive and well-put together. The band know their stuff, that’s for sure. Amazingly, given the length, these tracks don’t get boring and the lavish, lush orchestration is a constant joy to listen to, especially when combined with the heaviness of the guitars.

This atmospheric album really nails the best parts of the Death/Doom style for me, and the overwrought symphonic elements are just candy to my ears, pulling the whole thing up to another level.

Very highly recommended.

Hooded Menace – Darkness Drips Forth (Review)

Hooded MenaceThis is the fourth album from Finnish Doom-laden Death Metallers Hooded Menace.

Hooded Menace are well-known for playing Death Metal that’s heavy on the Doom influence, and just heavy in general. On this latest release this is taken to its logical conclusion, and the four songs on Darkness Drips Forth really blur the line between Death and Doom Metal, so much so that this is equally for fans of Incantation as it is for Esoteric.

The shortest song here is just under 10 minutes in length, with all tracks being stretched out to their maximum capacity for crawling, sinister, evil Metal.

Dark melodies creep into the thick, crushing music so that the band really foster the ancient Death/Doom influences that sit at the core of music like this. It’s not as overpowering or centralised as some who play similar styles though, allowing the heaviness and pure dirt of a band like this to remain at the fore. Old-school Anathema/Paradise Lost/My Dying Bride fans will be proud.

The singer’s cavernous growls are slow and drawn out, keeping pace with the unhurried music and reminding everyone that ultimately this isn’t pretty music; this wants to drag you down into the murk and consume your soul.

When they’re not playing at a snail’s pace the band have a rhythmic quality to them that’s almost Rocking, albeit one that’s coated in filth and grim intent.

These songs are veritable slabs of monolithic Metal, seemingly passed down through the ages in sealed tomes of forbidden lore, only to be discovered and unleashed by Hooded Menace. Each one is an impressive foray into Doom/Death, only much more malignant and nasty than a lot of the style normally is.

Highly recommended for both Doom and Death Metal fans alike.

Tor Marrock – Destroy the Soul (Review)

Tor MarrockTor Marrock are a Gothic Metal band from Wales. This is their second album.

Tor Marrock play Gothic Metal with a plethora of different influences; Black, Death and Doom Metal are all represented to various degrees. The tracks are an interesting combination of these influences and make the band quite hard to pigeonhole in some ways.

For reference points I’d say an unholy mix of Type O Negative, Celtic Frost, Paradise Lost and Moonspell. Essentially it’s an Old-School Peaceville sound updated with a few different elements from some of the aforementioned bands and genres.

The songs are quite catchy and are quite accomplished in the verse/chorus technique. You could almost sing along, if you fancied trying to keep up with the usually gruff tones of the vocalist.

Some of the songs are quite upbeat while others take a slower, more maudlin route. I find I slightly prefer the latter, although the former is almost as good. Songs like Christ Betrayed have the best of both worlds, making this track one of my favourites.

The songs are stripped back and simplified; it’s easy for Gothic Metal bands to pile on the keyboards and other sounds/effects for quite an ostentatious sound, but Tor Marrock have gone for a basic and raw sound, (relatively speaking), making the most of the standard instruments to colour their emotive palette.

Tor Marrock are doing something a bit different with their take on Metal and this relatively short album, (36 minutes), is an individual and charismatic take on the genre.

Nightfell – Darkness Evermore (Review)

NightfellThis is the second album from Nightfall, a US Death/Doom Metal band.

This is the follow up to their 2014 début album The Living Ever Mourn, which was a very enjoyable album of Death/Doom. Darkness Evermore continues their brand of Old-School Death Metal that has a large Doom influence, this time resulting in songs that are longer and more mournful than their first release.

The darkened atmosphere from their début has been expanded upon and fleshed out with more ambition in Darkness Evermore. The essential style of the band is the same, but the melodies are bolder, the emotions heightened, the Doom deeper and the darkness more palpable. This is The Living Ever Mourn 2.0, in the sense that they have improved upon and refined their original formula, which was already pretty damn good to begin with.

The riffs are highly emotive and continue to draw on the wellspring of fertile inspiration that bands such as Dismember, Sentenced, Paradise Lost, Amon Amarth, My Dying Bride, etc. have all drawn from for their powerful guitars and melodies.

These tracks are involving and paint a heady picture of a strange, underworld landscape for the listener to become entranced with.

The Death Metal base is complemented extremely well by the Doom influence, reminding me of the amazing début by Temple of Void; both bands know how to create emotive Metal atmospheres without losing their Death Metal core.

It’s not all slow dirges either, as there’s enough upbeat material here to provide good variety. These parts are still done in a gloomy way though, and they even have a Blackened feel on occasion; there’s a noticeably larger Black Metal influence in general on Darkness Evermore in fact.

Nightfell have successfully followed up their strong début album with an ever stronger second one. Check this out.

My Silent Wake – Damnatio Memoriae (Review)

My Silent WakeThis is the eighth album from the UK’s My Silent Wake. They play Doom Metal.

This is Atmospheric Doom that takes elements of bands such as, (older), My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost and works them into its own melancholic, gloomy soundscape. There’s a Gothic component to their style, as well as some Old-School Death Metal elements wrapped up in their sound.

Although they have their share of slower sections, for the most part this is not agonisingly slow Doom that crawls along at a minimal speed. No, this is Doom Metal with plenty of groove, mid-paced momentum and Metal riffs, and the Death Metal influence helps the band keep things moving.

Screamed/rasped vocals are the main mode of lyrical delivery, although the odd clean and semi-clean does appear here and there. They’re performed in a really engaging manner, and their real strength is in how they work with the guitars to seamlessly ensure that the songs are greater than the sum of their individual parts.

There are a lot of really tasty, captivating riffs on this release. Combined with the interesting vocal delivery and vocal patterns the two work together to hook and snare the listener. Before you know it you’re nodding along and getting into it quite easily.

The music is enhanced by keyboards and effects that add to the atmosphere, although these are quite subtle and the main show is carried off via the interplay between guitars and vocals.

My Silent Wake’s latest album is full of top quality Doom that harkens back to the early 90s without wallowing in nostalgia or backwoods glancing; it’s simply a sound of the era, impressively realised in 2015.

Have a listen and let the band work their dark magic.