Drift into Black – Anthems from the Darkest Winter (Review)

Drift into Black - Anthems from the Darkest WinterThis is the second album from Drift into Black, a solo, (with guest musicians), death/doom metal act from the US.

Anthems from the Darkest Winter contains 56 minutes of material, (including a Pink Floyd cover). The music mixes death, doom, and Gothic metal together into songs that have a good balance between all three strains of heaviness. Continue reading

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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

Maloic – Death (Review)

MaloicMaloic are an Indian death metal band and this is their debut album.

This is melodic death metal with folk elements. Featuring influences from traditional Indian music, Maloic are reminiscent of the early/mid 90s death metal era, where bands were experimenting with the core genre to include wider styles.  Continue reading

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.

The 69 Eyes – The Best of Helsinki Vampires (Review)

The 69 EyesThe 69 Eyes are from Finland and play Gothic Rock.

This is a pretty epic Best Of album, spanning 28 tracks across 25 years. Most bands will never be that prolific.

I haven’t actually heard The 69 Eyes before but they’re certainly a band I’ve been aware of.

As is the case with Best Of albums like this it’s essentially a greatest hits package, and the quality of the songs reflect this.

It shows a remarkable consistency over the band’s long career. Times, style and fortunes may shift and change, but a good song is a good song regardless.

These are catchy, memorable, Gothic-infused Rock songs with personality and choruses aplenty.

The singer has that kind of deep, charismatic voice that is essential for this kind of music and it’s easy to see why he has captivated so many hearts over the decades with his vocal performance.

There is a lot of music on this release, almost 2 hours in total. But even given the constraints of the genre there’s a decent amount of variety here, with everything from up-tempo rockers, moody slower songs and outright ballads getting a chance to shine. The band have suffered no shortage of inspiration over the years, that’s apparent.

From my own point of reference, they combine elements of HIM, Ashbury Heights, Mono Inc., Paradise Lost, Tiamat, Type O Negative, Moonspell and Sentenced; although I’m well aware that it’s probably the other way around in reality.

With such a wealth of riches in one package, if this is your kind of music then it’s hard to go wrong with The Best of Helsinki Vampires.

I’m sold. Sign me up.

Dehumanize/Nihilism – Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed – Split (Review)

Nihilism DehumanizeDehumanize and Nihilism are both French Death Metal bands. They’ve conspired together to unleash this split on the world and have clearly given it some thought rather than just chucking some old songs together; each band has contributed two new songs, a new version of an old song and a cover of one of the other’s. As ideas for splits go it’s better than most.

We start off with Dehumanize, who offer us 16 minutes of sharp Death Metal.

Dehumanize have a good amount of both savagery and brutal melody in their sound. Solos and leads are used well and there’s lots of meaty guitar action.

Their style incorporates an Old-School feeling as well as some Thrash influences in the riff department.

This is an interesting collection of tracks and, for whatever reason, I enjoy each one more than the previous. This culminates in their final song Don’t Be Scared with it’s driving rhythm guitar and subtle melodies that combine with some brutal thrashing and an emotive vocal performance. It’s almost as if you’re watching the band warm up – the start of their side is good but it definitely improves as it goes along.

After Dehumanize, Nihilism have 20 minutes to show their stuff.

Nhilism’s Death Metal is rhythmic and Old-School. It’s primitive and atavistic with an underground sound and vocals that sound like they’re issuing forth from a daemonic cavern. Interestingly though, the band aren’t above using semi-clean vocals when they need to; this, coupled with some nice melodic/atmospheric work, lends them an air of early Amorphis/Anathema/Sentenced on occasion.

The songs have a fuzzed up bounce to them and a rotten energy that’s undeniable. The Old-School is strong with these, and the more interesting elements of atmosphere and harmonies make the band even more compelling than if there were just playing Old-School Death Metal alone.

An enjoyable split from both bands.

Nightfell – The Living Ever Mourn (Review)

NightfellNightfell are from the US and play Death/Doom Metal.

This is heavy, very heavy, and darkly melodic. The riffs collide and smash down, like Entombed playing a funeral dirge. A collision of Old-School Death Metal and Crusty, Sludge Doom; this is reminiscent of an older Metal landscape whilst concurrently sounding fresh and invigorating.

The music has a personality about it that recalls Old-School Death/Doom Metal from the likes of Dismember, Sentenced, Paradise Lost, Amon Amarth, My Dying Bride, etc. – bands with character that were leaders rather than followers.

The dual vocals rasp, growl and bark their way across each other and are as harsh and unforgiving as you would expect. Added to these are the odd spoken passage and semi-clean to keep things interesting. The vocals have their own personality and character and are very much in keeping with the rest of the music in this regard.

The Old-School Doom Metal riffs really pile up on each other and the feeling of having stepped back in time is strong. However, none of it comes across as nostalgic; rather Nightfell are merely treading the same ground as many of the greats from yesteryear and are looking to put this style of music back on the map once more.

The songs come with plenty of hooks; you’ll wonder how a song like Altars To Wrath isn’t a cover song, so authentically Swedish and catchy it is. Each song has been poured over with love and passion and a monster has been created.

The band make the most of their dark melodies to create a bleakly rich atmosphere dosed up on Doom and heavy on the Metal.

This is an album that demands to be heard.