Ram – The Throne Within (Review)

Ram - The Throne WithinThis is the sixth album from Swedish heavy metallers Ram.

Since 2015’s Svbversvm, and then 2017’s Rod, I have been a huge fan of Ram. Very few heavy metal bands from the last decade or so do it for me quite like Ram. They are, quite simply, just so damn good at what they do. Continue reading

Blissful Stream/Lightsabres – Devil’s Night to All Souls – Split (Review)

Blissful Stream LightsabresThis is a split between two Swedish one man bands; the doom metal of Blissful Stream and the dark rock of Lightsabres.

Blissful Stream are up first, with the first new material from the project since 2016’s Ascending Demons. Continue reading

The Thirteenth Sun – Stardust (Review)

The Thirteenth SunThis is the debut album from Romanian progressive metal band The Thirteenth Sun.

This is a mix of the progressive versions of both metal and rock, one that manages to do justice to both.

The album has a professional, well-rounded production that shows off the band’s skills. Theirs is a strong, full-bodied sound that allows them the freedom to make the most of their music.

Continue reading

Dread Sovereign – For Doom the Bell Tolls (Review)

Dread SovereignThis is the second album from Irish doom metal band Dread Sovereign.

2014’s All Hell’s Martyrs was an absolute stormer of an album, and definitely one of my favourites from the doom metal genre. After catching them live at last year’s Damnation Festival, I was very excited to eventually hear some new material from the band. Finally, the wait is over. Continue reading

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

Primordial – Where Greater Men Have Fallen (Review)

PrimordialPrimordial are from Ireland and this is their eighth album.

A new Primordial release is always a bit of an event to be greeted with great anticipation. They’re a band who have carved out their own niche in the world of Metal and can rightfully say they’ve achieved what they have through their own hard work and individuality.

The first thing that always comes to mind when thinking of Primordial is the talented and dramatic vocals of their singer. This is not to belittle the musical content in any way, but this has always been the focal point of the band for me.

On Where Greater Men Have Fallen he’s on top form as always; power and passion are the cornerstones of his delivery. His performance is first-rate and he still has a great turn of expression and a strong theatrical presence.

The music, as always, is bold and striking whilst simultaneously having nuance and depth. The driving riffs will be instantly familiar to Primordial fans and the colourful, emotive world the band exist in is welcoming from the get-go.

The songs cover upbeat charges and more atmospheric, considered parts. Primordial do both very well and both get equal consideration on the album.

Primordial’s Black Metal background has allowed the band to retain a certain edge to their songwriting, even though these days there’s only a few Black Metal traces left in their sound. For the most part this is roaring, passionate Heavy Metal through and through, but without a cliché in sight.

Nobody really sounds like Primordial, and Primoridal don’t really sound like anyone else. A lot of this is down to the singer, but musically this is true as well. When you hear them you just know who the band is.

This album is a jewel in the crown of Primordial’s considerable back catalogue. Their previous album, (Redemption at the Puritan’s Hand), was good but not quite up to the usual Primordial standard for some reason. With Where Greater Men Have Fallen they’ve corrected this slight dip in quality with an album that sits alongside the best of their work.

If you already know Primordial then you’ll need little convincing to get this album. If you’re new to the band then this is a perfect introduction.

Have a listen.

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.

Dread Sovereign – All Hell’s Martyrs (Review)

Dread SovereignThis is the début album from Ireland’s Dread Sovereign and they play Traditional Doom Metal.

At 67 minutes this is an epic album full of True Doom that is executed to perfection by people with an obvious mastery and love for the genre.

The singer is none other than the singer of Primordial, so you know the vocals are not going to be a let down. As usual his very characterful voice is on fine form and it adds a singular amount of personality and drama to the tracks.

The songs themselves are exceptionally well composed, with lots of stand-out moments. They have a real strength about them and feelings of grandeur and Doom majesty abound.

The album is chock full of prime riffage and they utilise both overtly catchy riffs and more subtle, insidious ones. On occasion they also use extra effects to highlight certain sections increasing the overall effect of the songs.

All Hell’s Martyrs is both a slow burner and an instant win; the best combination. It’s strong enough that it comes across straight away as an obviously special record, but it has enough depth and longevity so that it won’t simply be forgotten in a month or two. Part of this is down to the striking, expressive vocals, but it’s in large part to the master-crafted songs that are expertly put together.

Doom Metal has a new great and terrible leader. Lower your heads in reverence.

Hounds of Annwn – Stirling (Review)

Hounds of AnnwnHounds of Annwn are from the US and play Folk Metal.

This is chirpy, Folk inspired Metal that uses plenty of non-standard instrumentation to bring the themes and images that it wants to portray to life.

The vocals are clean, clear and nicely done. The singer’s voice is restrained and laid back but has depth and power readily available when needed. He has talent in abundance and is one of the main highlights of this release for me.

There are only two songs on this EP but it’s still a meaty 14:43 of music to get your teeth into. The songs are catchy and well written, as well as being high energy and with a lot going on. To my ear they come across as a kind of mixture of Primordial and Korpiklaani and it works really well. 

A really enjoyable couple of songs. Hopefully the’re building up to a full album; if they can keep up the standards set on this EP then it should be something good.