Horrorgraphy – Season of Grief (Review)

HorrorgraphyHorrorgraphy are a symphonic doom metal band from Greece and this is their debut album.

Here’s a rather unusual release, (for 2018 at least), both in form and consistency; the band is made up of three vocalists and one multi-instrumentalist, while the music is layered old-school doom metal, with a firm symphonic side and rich melodies. Continue reading

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Dimmu Borgir – Eonian (Review)

Dimmu BorgirDimmu Borgir are a symphonic black metal band from Norway and this is their ninth album, (unless you count the rerecorded version of Stormblåst).

So, Dimmu Borgir have returned, a band that will likely need little introduction. Is this a case of more of the same, or do they offer something a bit different on their latest album? The truth lies somewhere in between.

Although the classic building Continue reading

Therion – Beloved Antichrist (Review)

TherionTherion are a Swedish symphonic/operatic metal band and this is their sixteenth album.

Holy crap. This is a three-CD album, with a total duration of over three hours. Dear me. Where do you even begin with a release like this? And in case you’re wondering; no, I have not listened to this in its entirety in just one sitting! Continue reading

Sarpentra – Supernova (Review)

SarpentraThis is the début album from Russian Death Metal band Sarpentra.

If you think of bands such as Nile, Behemoth, Melechesh and Septic Flesh you’ll be on the right lines. This is aggressive, atmospheric and dark Death Metal that’s further enhanced by choirs, orchestration and operatic vocals.

The core of the band is fast and brutal, with deep growls and blast beats leading the way. This is tempered by the atmospheric side of the band, which reins in the brutality, (or tries to), so that the band’s grander and more cinematic side can come to the fore.

The technical brutality of the band blurs by as they indulge their atmospheric side and the two taken together merge into something really special. They may not be the first band to play this style but they sound like they’re doing it on steroids. While some Death Metal bands dabble in their Classical components, here they’ve been taken to the nth degree. It’s as if Therion had created reinterpretations of Nile songs and then asked Behemoth to perform them.

These are songs that have real presence to them. It’s undeniable. There are so many stand-out moments on this album that it’s hard to credit. The lightning-speed playing combined with the exotic melodies and the orchestral bombast…it’s a heady mixture and Supernova is nothing if not ambitious.

A lot of hard work has clearly gone into writing and recording these songs and it’s all paid off handsomely. This is an album that feels like a tour of a strange new land, one that’s ripe with danger but worth exploring nonetheless.

Very impressive and very, very good. Make this a high priority listen.

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.

Settima Draconis – Legio (Review)

Settima DraconisSettima Draconis are from Germany and play Melodic Death Metal.

Legio has a good sound that allows the band to show off their works.

This is Melodic Death Metal with a Gothic influence and heavily accompanied by violins and strings. These Classical elements are not overdone though and add the right amount of atmosphere and culture to the heavier guitars and snarling vocals.

For a crude reference point, think Dark Tranquillity combined with the music of Therion and a more free-form method of songwriting, particularly in the drum department. Only a crude reference point, as I say, but it gives the right kind of idea.

While this is bound to be somewhat of an acquired taste, (but what isn’t though, really?), it’s worth checking out if you want Gothic Metal with colour and unusual quirks to the songs. While it can seem a little incoherent at times it shows a band trying to do something a little different and this should be encouraged.

Have a listen and see what you think.