Skognatt – Ancient Wisdom (Review)

SkognattThis is the debut album from German one man black metal band Skognatt.

This is atmospheric and expressive black metal, full of texture and dark ambience. Continue reading

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Star Insight – Messera (Review)

Star InsightThis is the début album by Finnish Melodic/Symphonic Black Metal band Star Insight.

First off – I like the album cover. A good start.

This is futuristic Cyber-Metal with Symphonic Black Metal elements in the style of Neurotech, The Kovenant and certain Samael material, and anyone familiar with these bands will immediately have a good idea of what Star Insight sound like.

The band are actually a bit more varied than a lot of this kind of stuff and have a good ear for a song. A lot of these tracks are catchy and filled with hooks and unless you’re completely inured to this style it’s hard not to like them. They have a good Power/Euro Metal influence which gives them an edge over similar bands. Add to this a harsher, Dimmu Borgir-style influence and you have a recipe for quite the enjoyable album.

Vocals are predominately harsh, slightly-deeper-than-the-norm Black Metal vocals. One of the main ways Star Insight differentiate themselves from the aforementioned bands though is through the inclusion of clean and semi-clean vocals, and these are extremely good. The singer has a good range and runs the gamut between these styles. Female vocals also appear on Poem of Misery which sound great and add another aspect to the band’s sound, even if it is for only the one track.

The songs never have a chance to outstay their welcome as only two of them breach the 4 minute mark. Instead, we get focused and catchy songs aimed at maximum enjoyment in minimal time.

The symphonic elements and effects are never overbearing and add to the songs rather than smothering them.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable album that I like way more than I thought I would; the band are more adventurous and varied than I was expecting and this is to their credit.

Give Star Insight some of your time.

Black Altar – Suicidal Salvation (Review)

Black AltarPolish Black Metal band Black Altar start things off nicely with a bit of atmospheric piano, and when they’re ready they kick it up a gear and come out blasting.

This is Black Metal with a healthy amount of keyboards and orchestration, but it is used to create a dark atmosphere and accentuate the Metal, rather than swamping it with unnecessary pomp and overdone theatrics. The orchestral interludes work well also; minimalist and dark. In short, they have the mix right.

Whether mid-paced or faster, they have a good sense of rhythm and an ear for a good melody. The mid-paced parts of Pulse ov the Universe for example, are as good as anything Samael have ever done, with the faster parts being a bit more reminiscent of Marduk, or some such. There is even a guitar solo, that rarest of Black Metal things. Possibly my favourite track on this EP, but there is plenty to like here.

A well recorded and played sound complements the release well, and allows the band to sound tight and professional, without sacrificing the feeling of Black Metal darkness and awe that they foster so well.

I look forward to seeing what else this band are capable of. Based on this EP they know their art and I for one admire it.