Label Roundup: Godz Ov War Productions – Eradicate, Toughness, & Angrrsth/Czort (Reviews)

Wonderbox Metal gets sent a lot of new music, (which is great), but there’s no way that everything can get covered unfortunately, (which is not so great). This column hopes to redress this balance, if only slightly, by taking a look at a handful of releases that a record label has recently sent out that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

Godz Ov War Productions have released some good albums over the years, so now seemed as good a time as any to catch up with some of their latest output. According to the label, they are “an independent label dedicated to extreme music from the depths of the underground.”Let’s see what they’ve got… Continue reading “Label Roundup: Godz Ov War Productions – Eradicate, Toughness, & Angrrsth/Czort (Reviews)”

Label Roundup: Grind to Death Records – Belarus Beaver, Eldprov, & Beyond the Catacombs (Reviews)

Wonderbox Metal gets sent a lot of new music, (which is great), but there’s no way that everything can get covered unfortunately, (which is not so great). This column hopes to redress this balance, if only slightly, by taking a look at a handful of releases that a record label has recently sent out that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

In this edition of this column we’ll take a look at Swedish label Grind to Death Records. It’s not a label I’m familiar with, so how better to get a good look at what they do than this? Besides, how could I resist a grindcore album about beavers… Continue reading “Label Roundup: Grind to Death Records – Belarus Beaver, Eldprov, & Beyond the Catacombs (Reviews)”

Label Roundup: Black Mass Prayers – Lykten, Urluk, & Valadier (Reviews)

Wonderbox Metal gets sent a lot of new music, (which is great), but there’s no way that everything can get covered unfortunately, (which is not so great). This new column hopes to redress this balance, if only slightly, by taking a look at a handful of releases that a record label has recently sent out that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.

For this edition we turn to Black Mass Prayers, an Italian label that states it is “supporting the Italian Black Metal underground and aiming to spread its glory worldwide”. Neither other the label nor the bands on it were familiar to me prior to this, so it felt like a good time to dig in and explore what they had to offer… Continue reading “Label Roundup: Black Mass Prayers – Lykten, Urluk, & Valadier (Reviews)”

Vanum – Legend (Review)

Vanum - LegendThis is the third album from US black metallers Vanum.

The promo blurb states that Legend is for fans of Ultha, Wiegedood, Ash Borer, Fell Voices, Turia, Fluisteraars, Wode, Yellow Eyes, Bathory, Rotting Christ, and epic heavy metal. This is as good a place as any to start with for this record. Continue reading “Vanum – Legend (Review)”

Yoth Iria – As the Flame Withers (Review)

Yoth Iria - As the Flame WithersYoth Iria are a Greek black metal band and this is their debut album.

Containing ex-Rotting Christ and ex-Varathron members, Yoth Iria play a form of Hellenic black metal, as would be expected, but don’t limit themselves to this completely, (there’s a strong occult atmospheric component to the music, for example, as well as a classic heavy metal one – think Iron Maiden in particular). Continue reading “Yoth Iria – As the Flame Withers (Review)”

Funeral Storm – Arcane Mysteries (Review)

Funeral Storm - Arcane MysteriesFuneral Storm are a Greek black metal band and this is their debut album.

Funeral Storm channel early second wave energies into 42 minutes of occult black metal. Yes, Rotting Christ are the obvious name to drop, but there’s also a Varathron cover here, which should give you further indication of the band’s influences. Continue reading “Funeral Storm – Arcane Mysteries (Review)”

LÜÜP – Canticles of the Holy Scythe (Review)

LÜÜPLÜÜP is a, (deep breath), Greek one man experimental avant-garde blackened classical band, (phew), and this is his third album.

Canticles of the Holy Scythe features 37 minutes of music that consists of a black metal undercoat, which has then been fully fleshed out and painted with colours from folk, progressive, avant-garde, ambient, and classical music. Continue reading “LÜÜP – Canticles of the Holy Scythe (Review)”

Agatus – The Eternalist (Review)

AgatusThis is the third album from this Greek black/heavy metal band.

Now this is an interesting release. 14 years after their second album, Agatus return with even more of a progressive/heavy metal approach to their music.

70s progressive rock and NWOBHM influences collide head-on with the black metal background of the group, making for an album that sounds little like any of their contemporaries.

The closest I can come to compare with other bands would be a crazy fusion of Rotting Christ, Vintersorg and Countess, all given a workover by NWOBHM and 70s progressive rock. or something. All I know is it’s infectious, addictive, individual and bloody good.

The black metal aspects Continue reading “Agatus – The Eternalist (Review)”

Sigh – Graveward (Review)

SighThis is the tenth Sigh album. If you’ve never encountered them before, they’re from Japan and they play Black Metal. At least, that’s what they started out as and they’ve just kind of evolved from there. Avant-Garde Black Metal/Extreme Metal is probably closest to the mark these days, if you have to label it at all.

Sigh are one of the few bands in existence that come even close to being able to be called unique. They definitely have their own sound and identity, even if this has changed quite a bit through the years.

So on to Graveward. This is dense and complex music that features a lot of different parts to the songs. Clearly a lot of work has gone into these compositions.

The Black Metal base is present and correct, as well as the Avant-Garde tendencies. Add to this is a psychedelic influence, powerful cinematic qualities as well as a strong theatrical component and you have an album that’s born to stand out from the pack.

The theatrical nature of the release belies the horror-themed core of the album, but ultimately serves to reinforce it.

As you might think, each track has a lot going on and it’s a lot to take in on first listen. Subsequent spins reveal all kinds of nuances and little things that you didn’t necessarily consciously pick up on first time around.

Choirs and orchestration rub shoulders with Thrash riffs and Blackened croaks. Psychedelic keyboards and operatic vocals join horns and saxophones in backing the distorted guitars. It’s a true melting pot of influences that probably shouldn’t work but it really, really does.

Befitting music that has a lot of different components to it, Graveward features a wealth of guest appearances from well-known members of bands such as Trivium, Dragonforce, Shining, Rotting Christ and The Meads of Asphodel, among others.

Somewhat of a cross between Emperor, Therion, Arcturus and some form of crazy Progressive Jazz, Sigh can always be relied upon to liven things up with their presence and Graveward is no exception.

This is a truly exceptional release that many will probably find overwhelming with its multicoloured assault on the senses. Those who endure, however, are rewarded tenfold for their perseverance.

Essential listening.