Norden – Z Popiołów i Krwi… (Review)

Norden - Z Popiołów i Krwi...Norden is a one man black/Viking metal band from Poland and this is his second album.

This is a Bathory-influenced Viking metal album, (complete with Bathory cover song), that combines this with elements of black and pagan metal to produce a blackened, yet still authentic, take on the Bathory style of Viking metal. Continue reading

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Itnuveth – Tales and Legends of Wolves (Review)

ItnuvethItnuveth are a black metal band from Spain and this is their fourth album.

This is pagan black metal that takes elements of Viking and folk metal into its blackened embrace. Hearty and full of obvious passion, this is an enjoyable listen for anyone that likes underground black metal with a medieval flavour. Continue reading

Uburen – Frå Døden Fødes Liv (Review)

UburenThis is the second album from this Norwegian black metal band.

Their debut album Withered Roots was Viking-themed black metal with a touch of death metal now and again, and very enjoyable it was.

As with their debut release, this album plays to the more extreme end of the Viking metal sub-genre, essentially to the point where they’re a purestrain black metal band really. Continue reading

Einherjer – Av Oss, For Oss (Review)

EinherjerEinherjer are from Norway and this is their sixth album. They play Viking-influenced Black Metal.

This is an album that has a lot of variety in it. We get melodic, almost martial Pagan-influenced interludes, scorching fury, rhythmic sections, colourful leads, mid-paced workouts, subtle keyboards, lots of interesting instrumentation and experimentation, blistering guitar solos and a cold Black Metal core.

Black Metal screams, shouted group vocals/chants and other vocalisations are included across these 44 minutes.

The band have a quirky, almost jaunty feel to them in places. Some of the rhythmic riffing may have that Black Metal sheen but they also have a more upbeat feel to them as well, recalling bands such as Countess and Sigh being played by Darkthrone or Satyricon, perhaps.

They also have a bit of a driving Rock influence to some of the guitar leads and solos; sometimes it’s just so damn Rocking you can feel the wind in your hair.

I like that each song has its own identity and the band keep things interesting by incorporating a whole plethora of different ideas and sub-styles into their central Black Metal vision.

The album whirls by in a blur and is over before you know it. Av Oss, For Oss is a very strong album and a big achievement for Einherjer.

Give it a try and see what you think.

Obscurity – Vintar (Review)

ObscurityThis is the seventh album from German band Obscurity. They play Death/Pagan/Viking Metal.

The band play a melodic blend of largely mid-paced Death Metal with Viking and Pagan influences.

The singer has a varied bark that seems just as home with deep grunts as it does with higher screams. After seven albums his voice is perfectly in shape and sounds really good.

The obvious and lazy reference point for a band like this is Amon Amarth, and that certainly gives you a basic impression of Obscurity but it’s not the whole picture.

Vintar is a strong collection of songs. The band play with an obvious passion and it’s clear after so many albums they’ve honed their art to a fine cutting edge. All of the instruments are well-played and the riffs and song structures in general show a good ear for composition, structure, tunes and dynamics.

I enjoyed this. It won’t set the world on fire, but it may just cover everything in a frosty winter coating…

Best played loud.

Sons of Crom – Riddle of Steel (Review)

Sons of CromSons of Crom are from Sweden and this is their début album. They play epic Viking-influenced Heavy/Black/Folk Metal.

This is thundering music with an interesting sound; it’s somewhere between Old-School and New and gives the band an interesting sheen.

We’ve heard this style before, of course, but this is a veritable exemplar of the sub-genre as it’s done exceedingly well.

Taking elements of bands such as Enslaved, Arcturus and, notably, Bathory, this is an impressive distillation of the quintessence of those bands, birthed anew in the form of Riddle of Steel.

The music and vocals are epic beyond all reason and you just can’t help but get carried away by the obvious passion and enthusiasm here. It’s hard to credit that this is a début album really as the level of maturity displayed on these songs is staggering. Each track is fully realised and boasts more features than many bands manage in a full album.

Epic melodies abound and the guitars really do draw out every last tiny bit of emotion possible from the instrument. This is Metal through and through in the best possible way. It’s Bathory updated for 2014 whilst remaining faithful and true to the original.

The vocals are varied and accomplished; they span everything from darker, rougher shouts, to higher screams, to a mid-ground semi-clean, to choral overlays. The delivery is masterful.

The music is richly textured and almost suffers from stimulation overload at points as there’s a lot going on and it’s all so damned grandiose!

This will likely be snapped up eagerly by fans of the Bathory/epic Viking Metal scene who are still hungry for all things of this nature. Unless you think Bathory are the be-all and end-all of this style then you should find more than enough to feast on here.

Turn it on, turn it up and get swept away in the huge nature of the band.

(Sample is from their Conqueror EP which is a taster of two tracks from the album)

Uburen – Withered Roots (Review)

UburenUburen are from Norway and this is their début album. They play Black Metal.

This is Viking-themed Black Metal with hints of Death Metal thrown into the mix here and there. Heavier than the norm for this style, Uburen play to the more extreme side of the Viking sub-genre.

The vocals alternate between Black Metal screams, rasps and deeper growls, with some spoken word and other styles making the odd appearance. The singer puts in a great performance and his vocals are quite varied compared to most monotonous vocalists who have maybe one or two sounds at most that they make.

The guitars are rhythmically melodic, stirring up the appropriate emotions and have a good double bass foundation that they build their songs on top of. This is not pseudo-commercial fodder, this is the real deal. Rather than the heroic songs and style-over-substance façade of most Viking/Pagan bands, Uburen have got to the blood and guts of the matter and their interpretation of the genre is altogether dirtier and heavier.

There are some really enjoyable, powerful scything Black Metal moments on this release and the combination of the higher/deeper vocals merely enhances this.

Imagine Enslaved if they were less Progressive and more aggressive, or maybe Amon Amarth if they used Black Metal as the basis for their sound rather than Death Metal.

Uburen deserve a wider audience than they’re probably going to get. You can help remedy this however – check out Withered Roots today and feel the blood run hot through your veins once more.

Favourite Track: Asmegin. Fast and furious.