Album reviews A-E

Back

ABSOLUTE OF ALMIGHTY (Jap) "Same Title" CD'08. 6 tracks, 45 min. Satanic Propaganda.
Absolute Almighty is a Japanese Black Metal combo but they're miles away from Sabbat or Abigail. Indeed, the 6 tracks from this release are about nihilist Black Metal with a fuzzy production and high pitched vocals. Basically this combo reminds me a bit Xasthur though the vocals and the overall sound. But the Japanese band is closer to early Norwegian scene through ultra fast compositions, that are played without compromises. The drumming is done by a drum machine. Thus said, the songs sound all alike as their core is always the same, which means that after the first tune the other part of the album is nearly useless.
ABYSMAL GRIEF (Ita) "Mors Eleison". MLP'06. 4 tracks. I Hate.
Not many bands can play Horror Metal these days, and the best one might be without any contest Death SS. Thence, these Italian dudes seem to be born under a Death SS sign as their music is highly influenced by the mentioned combo. What you will get on this MLP is 4 songs of typical Italian Horror Metal with low-tempo, low gained guitar, and occult 70's synth. The vocals of this band is very particular it's a kind of very twisted and wicked voice, that reminds me of Gothic bands. The guitar gain is rather powerful, crushing your mind with those alienating riff. Actually the result is fucking good in your like that kind of Metal. In one hand the band knows how to create the perfect atmosphere that's a major element in that kind of music (i.e. "Mysterium Umbrarum"), and in the other hand the vocal tones will turn you mad while the tortured solis will tear you apart. Note that A.G covers "Occultism" from Paul Chain. A must for every Horror Metal fans !!!!! Note that if you listen to the vinyl at 45RPM speed, their music turns fucking insane !!!!!!
 
AFFLICTIS LENTAE (Fra) "Chapter I – Chaos Fire And Hate" MCD'07. 8 tracks, 16 min. Auto Prod.

Strangely the album starts with a Dead Can Dance then all of a sudden everything is blown away and furious Black Metal arises from this intro. Well, the introduction hasn't it place here and could astonishes you. Anyway, the 7 other tracks are about Black Metal in its most bestial way through hypnotic, straight in the head guitar riffs and 200 % speed tempos through a drum machine. The songs are pretty short and could be labeled as War Metal. Here and there some mid pace interludes help the listener to recover his mind but the whole tempo of this material is ultra fast. The positive points of this MCD are the powerful guitar gain and the great scolding vocals, but according to me the temps is way too fast all along the songs.
AFTER ALL (Bel) "The Vermin Breed" CD'05. 9 tracks, 40 min. Killer Metal.
The Metal scene is crossing through a strong Thrash Metal revival with bands such as Hobb's Angel Of Death, Mortal Sin, Assassin and so on. In one hand we face old 80's bands coming back and in the other we have combos such as After All who deliver the new version of Power Thrash Metal in a very descent way. "The Vermin Breed" is established on American Power Metal such as new Agent Steel with staccato guitar riffs, powerful drumming, and typical Power Thrash Metal vocals that perfectly fit to their kind of music. After All can also grab ideas in the Doom Metal scene with pondering and low tempo tune such as the killer "Reasonable Doubt". The song structures are straight in the head and carry the 80's feeling with a modern sound. Actually this album has been recorded with John Harris, so you can expect something of quality both recording wise and musical wise : just listen to the strong and hammering "The Great Divide". This is a great discovering anyway !!!!
AFTER DEATH (USA) "Retronomicon" CD'07. 14 tracks, 75 min. Iron Pegasus.
"Retronomicon" is a collection of all previous releases from this American band featuring
Mike Browning as drummer and vocalist. Thence the 14 tracks gather "Secret Lords Of The Star Chamber Below" demo; "Reviving The Gods" demo, "Consumed By Fire" demo and "Vibrations" EP. Musically After Death is a pretty original and avant-garde Death Metal, uniting two opposite elements that are old school D.M sound and vocals, with modern, nearly futuristic song structures. Actually I feel like listening to a mix between "The Key" from Nocturnus, with late Death melted with some obscure Morbid Angel feeling. All the songs convey a very occult and evil magic in their core, for instance the twisted "The Star Chamber Of Isis" song could be the perfect example. The band established their concept on ancient Egyptian goddess and occult mysticism. The result really stands against all the conventional releases and is fucking interesting !

AGMEN (Czech) "Eternal" CD'06. 9 tracks,35 min. Ravenheart.
That's the re-release from their second album that was released through Breath Of Night. So, "Eternal" was the next album released after "Damnation". I was pretty astonished with their old school Black Metal that fucking smells like great Czech combos. So, Agmen is a kind of Czech version of rocking Darkthrone, that uses a lot the 80's aggressive parts through rather over gained guitar that is terribly efficient. They stick to raw and filthy Black Metal, with growling background vocals melted with a deep reverb. The tunes are really well written and never betray their unique style. That's really strange that all the Czech bands have the same way of sounding from Törr to Maniac Butcher actually but that kicks ass. They remind me a bit of Avenger here and there, but song such as "Pekelna Brana" really kicks ass as they convey a really dark feeling. Actually this is the highlight point from this release, Agmen knows how to melt powerful riffs such as in "Pisen Smrti" with the obscure atmosphere. Strangely enough they cover an old Helloween tune "Victims Of Fate" that is well…very twisted and wicked here, but the result is rather interesting. Get this fucking release for sure !

 

AGMEN (Czech) "Dethroned" CD'04. 9 tracks, 37 min. Ravenheart.
This is the latest release of Agmen, that was released in 2004. It's a shame I received that album two years after the release date but anyway let's review that stuff. First of all, the production department has impressively increased as the sound is really massive and thigh. Secondly, their musical direction has changed a bit, while their early releases but a kind of rocking B.M, with a strong old school root, this new material drastically sounds modern Black Metal. Beware, I'm not talking about post modern B.M shit, but more a kind of speed and brutal Black Metal version that could be listened between '97/'01. Thus said, the result is of pretty good quality, as some songs carry some dark and hateful feeling such as "V Obeti Smrti". Obviously the lyrics are sang in Czech language. Even though that release is great, I preferred their early materials direction, I feel like Agmen wanted to sound like any Western B.M bands which is a shame.

 

ALASTOR (Autr) "Silva Nordica" CD'06. 8 tracks, 46 min. Ashen.
Alastor is promoted as one of the oldest B.M band from Australia, founded in 1995 ….well what about Abigor, Summoning, Trifixion ? The 8 tracks from this full length are about average Black Metal, with a garage guitar gain, clumsy drumming and horrible vocals. Well that's for the instrumental parts, when it comes to the musical one, I'd say they play a boring and inspired Black Metal (may we could call it Black Metal ?)

ALASTOR (Austr) "Noble North" CD'07. 8 tracks, 43 min. No Colours.
The band formed in 1995 with the aim of playing Black Metal and now in 2007 they finally unleashed their second album. After very few minutes it's obvious to see this band is part of the last Black Metal wave, very influenced by Satyricon, Setherial, Naglfar and Blot Mine. This album is a kind of melting pot of the 4 mentioned bands with all the Nordic Metal clichés you could imagine in such a band : low grunting vocals, mid tempo yet melodic guitar riffs and back ground synth to create the cold and Scandinavian atmosphere. Now that the musical description is done, there's no real original nor personal touch in this band. Evidently the album has an Abyss studio like crystal clear sound. They just gather all the riffs from their favorite bands to record their release.
e
AMNION (Spa) "Cryptic Wanderings" C'08. 7 tracks, 41 min. Oniric.
After a listening to this album, I've to admit that my view is shared. Let's consider that Amnion plays cruel Black Metal with a certain strenght and agressivity, their way of compositing tracks is a bit upsetting. Indeed, the opening composition sounds like a very long introduction to the album but it's actual a song in a whole that starts brightlity but goes nowhere. The song track yet includes more Death Metal influence both through the vocals and the guitar lines. The drumming is closer to D.M than "pure" B.M, I won't blame some D.M elements in some B.M combos as long as it sounds solid, which is not the fact here. To me Amnion looks like a combo searching for their directions, going into so many different ways that the tracks aren't convincing at all. I'd also mention the very weak vocals that bored me to death.
ANGER AS ART (USA) "Same". CD 06. 12 tracks. 32 min. Old School Metal.
There is only one Steve Gaines in this world (yes, the man who did the vocals for the Abattoir "Vicious Attack" LP and the Bloodlust "Terminal Velocity" EP), and he's back with Anger As Art. This album is killer Thrash Metal ! The tracks are more raging than the storm, as "Hate In My Heart, Hell In My Head", "I Create Your God" or "New War", and can be awesome hellish devastations, as "Blood Of My Enemies", "Wait For The Hammer" or "Anger As Art" (even if this one has a surprising break). There is one crossover track (at the eighties meaning : Thrash Metal + Hardcore), called "Attitude Adjustment", and it's as kick-ass as the pure Thrash material. This CD rips from the beginning to the end ! (P)
ANGER AS ART (Usa) "Callous And Furor" CD'06. 13 tracks, 51 min. Old School Metal.
Finally the second full length from Anger As Art (featuring Steve Gaines from the mighty Abattoir and Bloodlust) has been unleashed. First of all this band strikes hard with a very powerful and modern production. This American dudes are back with some crushing Thrashing guitar riffs such as the introduction of "Anger Is Rising". They really found some excellent ideas in devastating songs like "Watch Me Suffer (Watch Me Die)" that reminds a lot of the 80's or even "Race For The War". These compositions are fueled of anger emphasizes with a clean production that helps a lot. The draw back of this band are the awful vocals, that are a kind of barking without any emotions, nor Thrash feeling. How can Steve be so bad in this department ? That's a mysterious point. Furthermore, I'd add the really ugly tunes like "Bane My Existence". What is pretty disconcerting with that really is that AAA can come with tamed and skilled song structures, but some songs are out of place (i.e. "All That Is Mine To Average"), and the vocals are really boring.
APOKALYPTIC RAIDS (Bra) "The Third Storm" CD'07. 8 tracks, 54 min. Dark Sun.
While in Europe T G Ripper gave birth to his baby Celtic Frost once more, some die hard fans from the first era paid tribute to the legend of Death/Doom Metal : Hellhammer. Apocalyptic Raids is turning to be well known in the underground for their very Hellhammerish approach of Heavy Metal. Once again the 8 tracks are pure doom and defeat Metal, with a low and detune way of playing songs. The hymns are a tribute to darkness and fallen angel of doom, their chainsaw saw angel wings and thrust Heavy Metal cokes in ! The band has kept in the same path increasing their way to worship the god from Switzerland, while Warhammer had to disband. Even though their early releases sounded Hellhammer like; A.R now found the perfect guitar gain and way of drumming. I won't forget this so typical way of singing. This is fucking dark Thrash !
ARATHORN (Ger) "Treue & Verrat" CD'08. 5 tracks, 38 min. Folter.
This release is the second ful length from this German Black Metal combo, but while the first album features two members, "Treue & Verrat" is the only remining force from Arathorn's work. I've never listened to the previous album, but I'd say that if it's so boring than this one, Arathorn is a completely useless band !! The 5 tracks are nothing less than poor Black Metal melted with acoustic guitar interludes (in the medieval way) and fucking long, boring tracks. The Black Metal parts sound like a 15 years old kid discovering this musical genre and wanting to be part of the circus. It's been a long since I hadn't listened to such a lack of talent, forget this crap
ARCANA COELESTIA (Ita) "Ubi Secreta Colunt" CD'07. 4 tracks, 33 min. ATMF.
The concept of this release in based upon a Swedish writer A. Stringberg from the 18th century and his work "Arcana Coelestia" This Italian combo delivers something unique and original here : a kind of emotional Funeral Metal. The hardcore of the album is an ethereal, atmosphere music played with synth, in a with moody way. Here and there the traditional Metal instruments (guitar, drum) appear to emphasizes the grievance feeling of these 4 songs, while grim B.M like vocals alternate with chanting one. A.C is a kind of deathly veils surrounding your room, where candles dance on the wall waiting for your death. The band mixed the melancholic image on the synth with the obscure touch of guitar and depressed vocals.
ARCANA COELESTIA (Ita) "Le Mirage De L'Idéal". CD'09. 6 tracks, 48 min. ATMF.
Two years after the success of "Ubi Secreta Colunt", LS and Mz have recorded the following concept album through 6 long tunes. The increase and the quality of the CD are huge since the first tune. Arcana Coelestia are excellent musicians when it comes to write Funeral and nightmarish Black/Doom materials. Actually, I don't know if we can mention the word "Black Metal" to describe their music as Arcana Coelestia is now far away from the rules of this genre and the Italian band is as original as Abruptum was !!! The whole album is a real trip into abyss and despair. The guitar riffs are dreamy; a kind of veil of thrilling emotions is part of the instruments, while the hunting vocals are screaming at the background. The band seems to have mixed stuffs from Void Of Silence, My Dying Bride, Anathema and Novembre at once to get this famous result. There's a fleeing emotion, a bit like a ghost chanting on your back and waiting for your own death. The album title is one of the best songs of this album capturing the essence of funeral doom heaviness.
ARCHGOAT (fin) "Whore Of Bethlehem" CD'06. 10 tracks, 36 min. Hammer Of Hate.
How can a band record a debut album 13 years after releasing their latest demo tape ? Well, some of you had perhaps never experienced the early days of Impaled Nazarene, Beherit, Belial and Profanatica. During the birthing days of Black Metal some combos came with a totally chaotic and insane concept melting the most horrible guitar sound with Satan's voice and grinding drumming ! Well, Archgoat has finally came back to life to show you what Black Metal is about ! 10 tracks full of nightmarish and torturous riffs, demonic growling bringing rage back to earth. This release is simply fantastic, an ultimate Black/Death Metal album. While Impaled Nazarene and Beherit used many grinding parts in their tunes, Archgoat prefers the mid paced tempo through most of their hymns. Nevertheless they can include blast beasts here and there such as in "Black Crusade". How can you survive after this awesome "Whore Of Bethlehem" tune that mix bitching riffs with angel-rapes ?! I fucking love their mid pace lugubrious melodious side melted with this ho so low vocals. Teach your children to pray, the Beast is coming. Fuck off new trendy B.M combos, Archgoat's here !!!!!
ARCHGOAT (Fin) "The Light – Devouring Darkness" CD'09. 10 tracks, 29 min. Blasphemous Underground.
The second opus of Archgoat is about fun, happy melodies and glam rock full of gliters ! What ? Is there's any joke ? Ahahah, actually yeap !!! The 10 tracks are in the pure Archgoat's vein, respecting the codes Profanatica, VON and Beherit established nearly 18 years ago. The half hour litany displays nightmare and thrilling atmospheres, brings all religious people to their graveyard to kill them mercilessly. The tune "Goat And The Moon" is very luciferian, reminding of Lavey's ritual, and is in the right Profanatica's vein. Once you know Archgoat you can't be deceived by their art, because this music is fucking art, an art of creating haunting shadows, satanic rites and bestial raids. The recipe hasn't changed since the previous album, but the compositions are a little bit more "evolved", with an emphasis on atmosphere. Welcome to the land of 30 minutes album and welcome to hell by the way. A mandatory release for sure !

ARCKANUM (Swe) "Trulen". CD'06. 17 tracks, 53 min Carnal.
Back in '94, the ex drummer of Grotesque unleashed a pretty original demo tape of nearly 40 min established on Scandinavian Trolls and Pan. During the processed of re-editing all old Arckanum's materials, Carnal Records has unleashed the very first demo with 3 bonus tracks. I don't know if it's really useful to musically review this CD as so many Metalheads should known it by now. Arckanum was playing a rather original and untamed B.M, with a personal guitar sound, strange back ground mid shrieking, mid growling vocals that sound like a Troll. Yet, the concept was established through songs such as "Baeghet". According to me that's not the most exiting release from this Swedish band, but it allows you to discover, or re-discover the early step from Arcknum. The re edition comes with only one page booklet. The album ends with 3 bonus tracks taken from a rehearsal with a dirty sound.

 

ARCKANUM (Swe) "Antikosmos" CD'08. 8 tracks, 37 min. Debemur Morti.
Finally the fourth album of Arckanum is unleashed, a long awaited album for sure !!! First of all this is the shortest Arckanum release so let's see for these 37 minutes are about. The first listening will immediately comfort you as Shamaatae hasn't changed that much the musical direction. It's still a straight and raspy Black Metal rooted in old mythology and anti cosmic philosophy. After several listening there're slight differences with the previous materials. First of all, the lyrics are in runic language, an ancient way of chanting that brings a kind of vintage and ancestral touch to the band. Arckanum went a bit further in this concept. The music is also a little different as there're less "orchestral" songs with background clear vocals. I'd say the new tunes are rawer, more rooted into traditional Black Metal but thus said the songs are very great and personal. Some hymns reminds old Arckanum's style such as "Rokikfargnyr" with its the weird structure that in some way reminds the first album but with a new way of interpreting them. Shamaatae comes back to the core of Black Metal, dropping all the exterior elements from "Kostogher" for instance that gave a pagan touch to its style. The perfect example would be "Nakjeptir" that is nearly old school Black / Death Metal that is emphasises with abrasive vocals. This is really an excellent release from Arckanum, where he has understood how to evolve without repeating the early ideas but in keeping the unique concept. What I fucking like with this band is the blur production that isn't a bad production but as if the release had been recorded a long time ago : awesome
ARS DIAVOLI (Por) "Pro Nihilo Esse" CD'08. 6 tracks, 51 min. Debemur Morti.
"Pro Nihilo Esse" is the following production from this combo, as their demo was also released through Debemur Morti. After a listening to this CD, we can definitely say that nothing has changed from their earlier work, the band is still playing Suicidal Black Metal in the pure Xasthur's vein. This definition means that we can't properly heard the riffs and variations from this album as the sound and production are pretty blur, even poor if we consider the shitty guitar gain. Actually "Pro Nihilo Esse" is really nothing less than a copy cat of "Filosophem" from Burzum and Xasthur's work, and when we know how many albums the American band has unleashed and the real lack of freshness came from all the past songs, I'm wondering why new combos try to keep in this path. Thence the 6 tracks here are about long, repetitive Suicidal Black Metal with a buzzing guitar gain, shrieking vocals and some synth lines. This is not bad, but realy useless if you've the previous mentioned albums in your collection yet.

ARTISIAN (Uk) "Seargte Le Reothadh " CD'07. 11 tracks, 29 min. Infernus.
England has never been famous for quality Black Metal and Artisian once again proves that you will not find the milestone B.M album over there. The 11 tracks of Artisian shows a mediocre Black Metal, completely formatted by clichés with an ugly high pitched vocals. The compositions are so standard and tasteless that I hardly stand 3 songs of this useless band.

 

ATHEIST (USA) "Jupiter" CD'10. 8 tracks, 33 min. Season Of Mist.
What could Atheist record 17 years after the last release and how the fuck could they sound ? For those you saw Atheist live at Wacken they got the real potential and aura this band has and how talentuous they're ! Honestly speaking I always enjoyed this combo without really knowing why as I'm not a Jazz fan or a groupy of technical D.M but Atheist has something raw and gorgeous in their way of delivering compositions. Thence, what about "Jupiter" ? Well, after the first listening I immediately noticed the Jazz elements arr less part of the band without droping their technical ability. And here, I think their years of practice are revelant and extremely postive as the tunes are strong, power and keep the headbanging part (i.e. : "When The Beast"). The vocals are still as rough as usual and pretty aggressive. Actually, only the bass is less upfront and has less intricate parts. I feel like the bass player fellow much more the guitar part and does a "classic" role in the combo. The shortness of the album is a position point as there's no weak part or boring songs. This is an excellent come back from me side and a mind blowing album !!!
AXEL RUDI PELL (Ger) "Diamonds Unlocked" CD'07. 11 tracks, 55 min. SPV.
This album is a bit different from the classic release as "Diamonds Unlocked" consists of exclusively compositions from other musicians and bands. Thence you'll listen to Axel covering Riot, U2, The Law, Kiss, Mickael Bolton, Free, Montrose, Phil Collins, The Mission and finally The Who. So as you can notice this is a large panel of Rock and Hard Rock bands. The Kiss' "Love Gun" cover for instance is pretty different from the original as the band only uses acoustic instruments here, and gives a totally different result for sure ! What is certain is that Axel Rudi Pell members are enough experienced to cover all this opposite bands, staying in the Rock And Roll range and the result is far from being disappointing. But now, I feel it a bit strange to offer a full length of only covers, excepted for the overture none of the tunes are from the band itself. So, excepted for ultimate fans, I don't think this release will concern lot of Metal heads.
AXIS POWERS (Swe) "Pure Slaughter" CD'06. 12 tracks, 41 min. Iron Fist.
Wow, after listening to the 1st first tune I thought in was an unreleased album from Entombed from the early 90's time ! This Swedish sounds…old school Swedish D.M, you know this kind of mid dirty, mid fuzzing guitar sound, heavy drumming, and low growling vocals. Axis Powers plays nothing but awesome D.M in the same vein than their compatriots : Revokation, Repugnant, and Kaamos. If I inform you that the members from Axis Power are all part of Suicidal Winds, now you can trust me if I say this release is a masterpiece in the D.M genre. For sure, it's far away from Behemoth and shit like that, listen to what the Metal of Death is about. Their pounding sound, their D.M grunts and their chainsaw hollow are perfect, they remind a lot Autopsy's sound, or even Carnage.
Amazing !
AZARATH (Pol) "Diabolic Impious Evil" CD' 06. 10 tracks, 33 min. Pagan.
"Diabolic Impious Evil" is the third release from these Polish dudes. If you've never experienced this band so far, note that they play Death Metal in one on the most brutal way. The 10 tracks are about extremely fast and wild D.M with many grinding parts, and low scolding vocals. They won't let any resting time all along this release, expected nothing but speed chainsaw spiced with devilish ultra hasty solos. One can really feel that D.M combos such as Vader and Behemoth have been heavy influences in the Slavonic lands and Azarath keeps on the same path wit their own interpretation of how D.M should be played. As far as I'm concerned I've never been fan of brutal D.M, thence this release didn't evoke any deep inside demons to bang my head til Death. This album is fast fucking fast, so if you like that way of D.M, get it !
BAHIMIRON (Usa) "Pure negativism : In Allegiance With Self Wreckage" CD'06. 8 tracks, 34 min. Aura Mystique.
That's pretty strange Aura Mystique signs this band as they're not in the same vein than the previous releases… Thence Bahimiron plays a kind of grinding Black Metal full of fury and untamed, mad chainsaw going in any direction but calm and peaceful riffs. They unleash devastating tunes one after the other without any resting time, they're always playing full tempo with could reminds me of Black Witchery, Antaeus, Kratornas (without reaching his uncreativeness !). The album is rather well produced for this kind of Metal, with crushing guitar sound and haunting back ground vocals. Now, when it comes to the interest on this release, my view is so-so as all the songs are alike and I'm a bit bore to death of this kind of Black/Death Metal as so many bands come with the same ideas. But if you're fans of wild Metal jump in this release.
BATTLERAGE (Chi) “Steel Supremacy”. CD’04. 9 tracks. 39 min. Highland.
Their debut album was released by the end of 2004 but reached European mail-order lists in the beginning of this year. The influences of the band being quite varied (old Omen, old Running Wild, old Metal Church, old Manowar, old Nasty Savage…), if you think there is nothing original, at least you can’t tax them being copycat of one of those mentioned combos. Chilean Battlerage delivers quality Heavy Metal, playing in a powerful way, that is never boring, but always captivating. They are totally convincing when they raise the steel with brilliant songs such as “The Nameless Ones”, “The Cult Of Doom”, or gathering the hordes with “Heavy Metal Axe”, “Battlerage”. They play a good cover of Manilla Road’s “Necropolis”. The production of the record is decent. The motto of the band is “We Kill As We Play” and they are not pretentious, as their CD is killer ! (P)

BATTLEROAR (GRE) "Age Of Chaos". CD 05. 10 tracks. 58 min. Black Lotus.
I was impressed with their strong debut album, so listening to their second offer, I discovered with a great joy that Battleroar is in the step of evolution and gained maturity in its art. Their epic Heavy Metal is a dream full of divine melodies, anthemic parts, ancient warrior spirit, travels in forgotten lands. They are forging their own steel and it's a solid one. If you like bands as Manilla Road and Doomsword, you will like Battleroar. It would be a non-sense to do a track by track review, because there is absolutely no fillers. My favourite songs are "Sword Of Crom", "Tower Of The Elephant", "Calm Before The Storm" and "Dyvim Tvar". "Age Of Chaos" is simply a milestone in the story of epic metal. The bonus DVD includes live video tracks, a making of the album, and an interview. (P)
BEDEMON (Usa) "Child Of Darkness". LP'06 15 tracks. Black Widow.
Bedemon was a project of guitarist Randy Palmer in ’73 for one year, before he joined Pentagram in ’74. Then he quitted the band, and in the late seventies he returned with Bedemon project. He wrote most of the songs in ’73-’74 and ’79, asked the help of vocalist Bobby Liebling and drummer Geof O’Keefe from Pentagram to record the tracks with the addition of bassist Mike Matthews. So the sound is not of high quality as these recordings are remixed old demos, but all is listenable on this vinyl. The quality is in the songs. Great seventies Doom Metal related to horror, nightmare, morbidity and desperation. You are trapped in the cursed mood when you listen to it. A journey in a dark land of doom where the final destination is the grave. As there are 15 tracks, don’t expect long epic pieces of 6 minutes, the songs turn around the 3 minutes. For info, BEDEMON reunited first in ’86, and a second time in 2001 with the plan to work on an album. But it didn’t happen as Randy Palmer died in August 2002. "Child Of Darkness" will stay a tribute. (P)

BEHEXEN (Fin) "My soul For His Glory" CD'08. 8 tracks, 38 min. Hammer Of Hate.
How many Black Metal bands released albums that are nothing less than "standard" or even mediocre; turning this music change into mainstream and average bunch of worthless albums ? But, while many combos are still convinced they can do something into the scene but aren't able of anything, others strike hard with awesome materials. This is the matter with Behexen as they wrote a fucking strong album using the key elements of B.M though a very personal approach. The glorious hymns to Satan unveiled here are marvelous, real pieces of oppressing and nihilist music alternating lugubrious mid tempos and pounding parts such as in "Demonic Fleshtemple". The opening track is also another highlight part of this opus through a very atmospheric Black Metal. Behexen can perfectly mix brutality, satanic anger and insane misanthropic feeling in memorable songs. An excellent release with many variations in the vein of Waitan, Deathspell Omega.

 

BELENOS (Fra) "Chants De Bataille" CD'06. 14 tracks, 48 min. Adipocere.
To be honest I've never heard any Belenos materials since their very first demo "Notre Amour Eternel". I've to admit this new opus simply kicks ass, everything is nearly perfect here from song compositions to production. The 14 tracks bring you to the ancient land of Gaulles and to the Celtic atmosphere, through epic yet B.M tunes. The "Eld" Enslaved influence is extremely huge all along "Chants De Bataille", especially through the clear male chants, and blasting B.M riffs. Belenos is heavily inspired from the 90's Norwegian scene, and actually if this release could have been done in the 90's Belenos would have been the most important band in France. I'd point the clear production, both on guitar/bass and the excellent drumming. This is a great release !

BE PERSECUTED (China) "I.I". 8 tracks, 48 min. No Colours.
Wow No Colours records signing Chinese Black Metal band ! What a surprise, not only these little men can built cars and motorcycles at lower price and now they're invading the Metal scene ? Well, actually this release is a pleasant discovery bringing you back to the roots of Black Metal. Be Persecuted is a 3 members band, that is rather young as they formed in 2005 and has only released one demo previously. The 8 tracks from "I.I" are depressive and nihilist Black Metal in its cruder way. The band took influences from early Burzum works, all the Judas Iscariot's previous album and Xasthur's discography melted them and added their private torments. This release feels anger and hate for sure through the shrieking and skinned vocals that reminds me of Varg's vocals. The music is fueled with a real melancholic touch such as in "Be Resented For Livelihood" while the band can create utterly chaos with speed parts. I don't know whether the Chinese hard way of life brought them such anger but this is a excellent discovery from No Colours !
BESTIAL MOCEKRY (Swe) "Slaying The Life" CD'07. 12 tracks, 46 min. Season Of Mist.
I don't know why but something missed in "Gospel Of The Insane" as I really preferred "Evoke The Desecrator", this is a mile stone record for me ! I kept on following the band with their split with Destrutkor that was also pretty good. But now what about this album as they signed on Season Of Mist ? Well, after few minutes I really get into Bestial Mockery twisted world, their infamous and mad touch was again present in their tracks. The opening tune really remembers me the feeling of "Evoke…" while "Black Spell Of Armageddon" is a fucking great and violent satanic hymn ! This band has something unique in their style, they sometime come very close to Nifelheim and Sad X fields without copying them ! Bestial Mockery end their album with a lesson of real Death Metal with "Metal Fucking Death" that will crush all the crappy bands pretending playing D.M !! Obviously there is an hidden 66th track at the very end of the CD. This is Black Metal; period !

BLACK FLAME (Ita) "Conquering Purity" CD'06. 8 tracks, 42 min. Worship Him.
This record is a bit old now as it was released in 2006 but I got the promo these days (march 2008). Their previous record "Torment And Glory" was an outstanding material, thence reading that Peter from Abigor wrote one tune I could expect the best here….and I got the best ! After a thrilling introduction the band unleashed occult Black Metal with pretty fast straight in the head riffs, and even grinding like drumming (i.e. "The Curst ov The Flesh") that actually remind early Impaled Nazarene's materials. In one hand, the link between the Italian and the (early) Finish combo is obvious, both in the kind of satanic growling than in the grinding drumming. But Black Flame is not a copy cat of I.N, they came with their own view, much darker than the mentioned band. The 8 tunes built the temple of desolation and occult power through a raw and dynamic approach. In some way, Black Flame followed Necromantia and Varathron's path in the arrangement of their materials. If you didn't get this release when it was out, you much order it to Worship Him immediately because this is one hell of a qualit

 

BLACK JADE (Swi) “Helvetica Diabolica” CD’08. 10 tracks, 56 min. Black Tower.
The album starts with a Scottish bagpipes introduction that suddenly turns into a kind of Celtic music….Weird… Well, let’s drop this part to concentrate on what could Black Jade offer ? Actually nothing interesting that’s certain !! They are into a fucking trendy Black Metal with an ugly vocal and boring music. Forget it !
BLACK STEEL (Austr.) "Hellhammer" CD'06. 12 tracks, 54 min. Killer Metal.
This is pretty funny to see a band that took the name of a Satan's Host tune as band name and the name of a famous 80's band as title album. So, now let's review this band with an objective eye, Black Steel performs what I'd call old school Power Heavy Metal with a strong emphasis on the mid tempo. Their Heavy Metal is a kind of mix between Manowar and Judas Priest for the British side of their song, without reaching the ability of the mentioned bands, but I found some kind of epic ideas here and there melted with traditional N.W.O.B.H.M. Black Steel is both able of creating fast tunes such as "Then Was Then, This Is Now" or the classic ballad song "Up Against The World". The vocal parts are really great as the singer can use high pitched Heavy screams and normal singing Metal ideas.

 

BLOODY SIGN (Fra) "Explosion Of Elements" CD'07. 8 tracks, 45 min. Ibex Moon.
Bloody Sign is probably one of the best Death Metal band from France and for sure one of the most sincere in their art. I mean they're not covering Vader like all the fucking French trendies knowing absolutely nothing about D.M. I'm far away from supporting French DM scene as since Massacre and Merciless none of the bands are able to move my head but Bloody Sign is the exception. So "Exposition Of Elements" is their second full length and the improvements are fucking huge since their debut, even though the first full-length was amazing. So imagine a band following the steps of Incantation (ho ho they're on band member label !!), Immolation and Morbid Angel but not only they're following the masters but they can be king in this genre. An example is needed ?? Well listen carefully to "Ghost Riders" then you'll understand how tigh these French lads can be. Bloody Sign can write really crushing Death Metal with a modern approach but that still conveys the old school feeling ! This is one hell of a Brutal Death Metal album ! Fuck Off Gojira, long live to Bloody Sign. There's a lovely video track full of pink colors and pop music in this CD !

BLOODTHIRST (Pol) "Let Him Die" CD'07. 9 tracks, 36 min. Pagan.
Bloodthirst previously appeared on the "Thrash Metal Blitzkrieg" compilation with combos such as Witchtrap and Hangman. Thence, if you've ever experienced the Polish band you'll know they're into furious Black Thrash Metal. Indeed, Bloodthirst got influences from early Kreator and Dark Angel and speed it to the maximum, blending some Black/Thrash ideas from Gehennah and Aura Noir. The result is a really convincing headbanging album with excellent Thrash anthems such as "Crush The Bastard Nazarene" or "Winds Of death". The band can hold fast tempos to the end without lacking of energy nor turning boring. On the other hand tune like "Thrashing Madness" hails the legends from the 80's (Kreator, Whiplash, Slayer) with storming guitar lines and twisted solos. A very great material with a powerful sound fur sure !!! Horns up !
BROCAS HELM (Usa) "Black Death". CD 05. 13 tracks. 44 minutes. Eat Metal.
Re-release of the '88 album and begins with the "Black Death Overture", followed by the mad and deadly fantastic anthem "Black Death". "Prepare For Battle" is a tune for the knights before going to the battlefield. "Hell's Whip" is a monster of heaviness, while "Satan's Prophet" is a furious assault, "Fly High" is another great anthem, "Prophet's Scream" is fast with a pessimistic atmosphere, "The Chemist" is a melancholic ballad. The closer tune "Fall Of The Curtain" starts as a semi-ballad before exploding in a metallic deluge. It's the cult album of Brocas Helm, a timeless masterpiece. The bonus tracks are the "Helm's Deep" '89 demo (the tracks were re-recorded for the third album in '04, except for "Crazy") and a live video of "Prepare For Battle" shot in 1983 (at this time, it was an instrumental). (P)
BROCAS HELM (Usa) "Into Battle". CD 05. 15 tracks, 57 min. Eat Metal.
Here's the re-release of the '84 album. Opener "Metallic fury" is a call to warriors. "Into Battle" is a fantastic hymn. "Here To Rock" is fast and straight. "Beneath a Haunted Moon" is a very heavy and possessed tune. "Warriors Of The Dark" attacks with Heavy/Speed from hell. "Preludious" is an up tempo instrumental. "Ravenswreck" is powerful and superb. "Dark Rider" is another Heavy/Speed from hell. "Night Siege" is threatening. "Into The Ithilstone" is magic and closes magnificently the album. A legendary epic Heavy Metal band was born, with iron and blood. The bonus are the "Into Battle" '83 demo and a live video of "Ravenwreck" filmed in 1983. (P)
BURIAL HORDES (Gre) "War Revenge And Total Annihilation" CD'06. 10 tracks, 38 min. Asphyxiate.
"War Revenge.." displays a rather aggressive Black Metal that always plays with the Black/Death Metal scene. The core of their music is a kind of Swedish B.M reminding me some Bestial Mockery's stuffs, melted with the Australian War Metal scene (i.e. : Abominator, Bestial Warlust). The 10 tracks are straight in the head, with ultra fast guitar riffing such as in "Aeons Of Hell" main riff while they use the dark mid tempo concept in many other tunes. The vocals are a kind of mad screaming ones that really give something special to this release. Originality isn't the highlight of this production, but "War Revenge.." has a great bunch of fury !
BURNING SAVIOURS (Swe) "Hundus" CD'06. 9 tracks, 40 min. I Hate.
I've never experienced Burning Saviours but while listening to it I felt like travelling back in the end of 60's and the Flour Power time. This band has the vintage sound and guitar gain (a very light gain actually) from this time, a kind of old fashion way of singing that reminds me Jimi Hendrix, Led Zepplin's psychedelic touch melted with the first step of Black Sabbath, Pentagram. So, this combo is mid way between Hard Rock and Doom Metal that was created in the early 70's. All the songs sound like a travel to Kathmandu, smoking on the water and co…Whether you like it or not, you've to admit this band is fucking good in this genre as I thought it was a re edition of some 70's forgotten albums. "Hundus" is a quiet and resting piece of Rock/Hard Rock, don't except blast beats, ultra gained guitars and screaming vocals.
CARCHAROTH (Spa) “Desolated Battlefields” CD’08. 6 tracks, 34 min. Black Tower.
After the traditional medieval introduction, Carcharoth unleashed their 5 tracks of Black Metal. First thing that strikes the listener is the awful production and guitar gain, they are way to high pitched. But the desolation comes with the vocals that are fucking wimp. Once you’ve these elements in mind, it’s hard to be convinced this combo has any potential as everything is mediocre here. The song writing is lame with crestfallen and barren tracks. Another insipid Black Metal combo that’s good for trash bin
CELESTIAL BLOODSHED (Nor) "Cursed, Scarred And Forever Possessed" CD'08, 7 tracks, 37 min. Debemur Morti.
Norway has been a huge spot of influence for the world wide Black Metal scene in its early day and now strangely enough French bands are influencing the Norwegian combos. The survey of Celestial Bloodshed will immediately bring you images of despair and agony from Deathspell Omega. Indeed, the opening tune is gorgeously influenced by mid tempo Deathspell Omega's ideas, then all along this album you'll find links between the two bands. Thence, this CD is an hymn to depression and sadness through 7 merciless tracks. The misery feeling is expressed here through unholy twisted chant and vicious guitar lines. Thence, even though D.O is really part of their materials, Celestial Bloodshed have their own way of playing Black Metal, with a true sinister touch. It's been a long since a great and real B.M album hasn't been released in Norway.
CENTURIONS GHOST (UK) "The Great Work" CD'07. 10 tracks. 49 min. I Hate.
The first thing we immediately notice with this new release is the change of singer. While the previous one had a dark Death Metal vocal the new one has more a kind of modern Metal voice. There're many evolutions in Centurions Ghost, as the music has a bit evolved toward a kind of new Entombed, they play a post modern Metal melted with traditional Doom Metal like Cathedral. The working process now stands against Usurper, this influence isn't part of the band anymore. They also dropped the early Celtic Frost ideas from their previous release. This album is definitely more modern than "A Sign Of Thing To Come". Thence, in one hand the Doom Metal influences of this album are really high light of the English combo, but they lost their obscure touches with the new singer (especially through his way of singing) that according to me destroys the feeling of the instruments.
CHILDREN OF DOOM (Fra) "Doom, Be Doomed Ör Fuck Off". CD'11. 6 tracks, 42 min. Emanes Metal.
Emanes Metal Records has decided to slow down the number of their releases and selected more promising/selling bands to stand in time. Children Of Doom is rather a young combo from Northen France that released a demo and a split 7EP (through Emanes Metal) so far. The 6 tracks from "Doom…" consists of a kind of doomish Metal that is midway between Heavy Metal with a strong bunch of groove (a bit a la Superchrist) and Doom Metal. Actually the songs are pretty catchy and heavy, with pretty simple and loud riffs. Here and there the band reminds a me a kind of doom version of Mötorhead copy cat. But instead of getting a whisky kind of vocals, we've clearer vox, more "chanting". The result is rather convincing and gets its headbanging moment ("Mr Nasty" and "Mia's Desert") but the song structure are always established on the same pattern, thence there's a serious lack of variation in the album.

CHRISTICIDE (Fra) "Same" LP'07. 8 tracks. OSCR.
Finally the French combo has recorded their first full length and on LP ! That's really a great news as this band has a real potential in raw Black Metal. The 8 infernal hymns delivered here are strongly influenced by old school Black Metal scene and bands from Sweden. I wouldn't go comparing them with the Orthodox scene, but the borderline is pretty thin. They perfectly melt the rasping vocals with fearfully guitar riffs. The opening track is a perfect example to illustrate their musical style : "Foreword To Obscurity" is a strong and powerful Black Metal tune with all the elements to give an utterly satanic style. The highlight of this release is definitely the vocals that completely turn dark the musical veil. So to conclude Christicide's LP is definitely a worth B.M album to get in your collection, the French B.M scene has immensely increased in quality !

 

CLANDESTINE BLAZE (Fin) "Church Of Atrocity" CD'06. 6 tracks, 42 min. Northern Heritage.
Clandestine Blaze established their name through a playing recipe they've always used in each release, and that gave them the noble letters in many underground fanzines, stating them as unique. So once more this Finish one man band came with an obscure album melting some classic mid tempo, depressive tunes such as "Ashes Of The Eternal Wandered", "Church Of Atrocity". What is really original in this band is the infernal and very low scolding vocal that I can't compare with any others, just like Dead or Athila had their "voices from the underworld". Even thought the production department is in use to being rather minimalist, Mikko increased a bit the means in the recording process, but this album still has an underground sound. According to me Clandestine Blaze is one of the most interesting experience within the actual B.M scene if you're looking for sick and depraved release. This could be the nihilist sound track of a murder.
COUNT RAVEN (Usa) "Mammons War" CD'09. 11 tracks, 69 min. I Hate.
Who would thought that Count Raven could one day by signed on I Hate Records ? Not because the label is unable to sign great bands (they proved the opposite so many times before), but I don't know it sounds just like "magic". Thence, first of all congratuelation to I Hate for getting this ho so famous and exciting combo. Fredrik Jansson (Witchcraft) joined the ranks as bass player. This record is their come back for these Americain dues, after 13 long years the come back album had to be excellent as now the rule for old combos is "rise or fall". After a listening to the whole album I can assert this is absolutely not the "fall" album for Count Raven, as yet the opening track is a gorgeous one full of emotions and griefs. Dan's vocals remind so much the old Ozzy's voice and perfectly felt within the new Count Raven's arrangements. The band has franckly increased and matured. I don't know if the past of the band or the long silence helped but fuck the songs are awesome from the beginning to the end. The compositions are very moody; relate frustration and sadness all along "Mammons War". The Raven are able to record a new album in 2009 that is both fresh and old fashioned without falling into the pure retro 70's. This is obviously one of the best Doom release from 2009. A new Raven flies above Metalheads and shadows their grieves.
CORPUS CHRISTII (Por) "Rising" 13 tracks, 58 min. Nightmare.
"Rising" is the third part of the "Torment" trilogy, thence musically and philosophically Corpus Christii stays in their orthodox Black Metal vein that started with "Tormented Belief". The 13 tracks of this opus are pretty brutal and straight in comparison to the previous materials, with scolding and insulting vocals. The drum blast beats are the heart of composition, while guitars can slow down tempos such as in "Black Gleam Eye". The main core of the album is very Swedish orthodox Black Metal like compositions, with some very twisted guitars riffs as in "Torrents Of Sorrow", alternating violent and insane parts with calm acoustic guitars ideas. The album unveils some excellent Black Metal parts, where you can see the real evolution and increase of the band. Furthermore, this album has a true black soul, which sometime remembers of Altar Of Perversion's release.
CORTEGE FUNEBRE / INTO DAGORLAD (Fra/Fra) "Split" CD'07. 9 tracks, 49 min.
This split offers two new French combos I've never heard before. Cortege Funebre opens the battle with a crude and straight B.M this is so typical from what was done in France ten years ago. They seem to strongly be influenced by early Mutiilation, Vald Tepes or Torgeist. The vocals are raspy and high-pitched screams, while the guitar gain hasn't power and the drum is hardly listenable. The production is a garage one, without any mix or production so that the result is average. Into Dagorlad comes with 4 tracks of even less quality than the previous band. This time I.D plays a kind of fast Norwegian B.M full of clichés and stolen ideas from the 90's scene without brining any personal touch. The vocals are not memorable and sound immature. Well, this split doesn't shine with its originality.
CRUCIFIED BARBARA (Swe) "In distortion We Trust" CD'06. 11 tracks, 39 min. Bad Reputation.
Four lovely female Metalheads from Sweden delivering Glam / Heavy Metal music, that sounds pretty interesting. The 11 tracks are rooted in the early 80's scene with a totally modern sound. It's so fucking obvious those ladies have listened to Girlschool, Motorhead, AC/DC or stuff such as Lita Ford for long time. Their Metal is so rock and balls through songs such as "Motorfucker", sometimes a bit more Glam with "In Distortion We Trust" or "Losing The Game". They have this typical English groove that was part of Punk/Metal scene from the early 80's. "In Distortion We Trust" is full of adrenaline, powerful heavy guitar riffs and a wonderful female vocals that is METAL. I'm really freak of this Motorhead like tune "Rock'n' Roll Bachelor". I'd only complain about the production that is a bit too much crystal clear for such kind of Heavy Metal, I was expecting a little bit dirtied sound. Anyway, check it with a pack of 6 !!!!
CRUX (Czech) "Rev Smrti' CD'07. 11 tracks, 42 min. I Hate.
Wow, I Hate Records found an old jewel demo from the 80's Communist scene. The lads behind the label were seeking in a rotten chest and found a completely unknown material from ex Root members ! Crux was an active band by the end of 80's that featured Petr "Blackosh" who later was in Root. In '91 this combo recorded a 7 tracks demo that is offered here with an excellent sound plus additional of 3 tracks. If you're fan of early steps of Master's Hammer, Root and Törr you'll cry to get this CD. The 11 tracks are pure fucking old school Thrash Metal with this particular Czech touch that is to turn every Metal song into something darker than what is done in the Western countries and much more evil. Songs such as "Scream Of Death" (that is the album title meaning) could have easily compete with tunes from Kreator or Destruction back in time. These lads had the fury and the evil way of creating riffs, it's an outburst of relevant Thrash Metal in the way it must be done. The vocals are terribly cruel and satanic for such kind of Thrash Metal. Actually this band sounds like a mix between early Bathory melted with the Thrash speed of early Kreator. Even though the song title is translated in English the band sang in Czech language here. Excellent re-release, it's a shame this band wasn't famous when it was alive !
DAMIEN (Usa) “Stop This War”. CD'05. 10 tracks, 42 min. Power Play.
Damien appeared in the late eighties, when Thrash Metal was already overshadowed by early Death Metal, so it was too late for their Heavy Metal. “Stop This War” is their debut album recorded in '89. The only thing that I remember from this band was the video for the thundering “Break Out” I saw on French TV in the defunct “Boulev’hard des clips”. A good surprise is that the video of this track is included as the bonus with this CD. What does this disc offer excepted the awesome “Break Out” ? Catchy tunes that are powerful (“Rising Dawn”, “Stormwind”), heavy as hell (“Matilda”, “Warlord”), or attacking with fury (“Stop This War”, “The Priests Are Coming”). All these tunes are delivered with a really Heavy rhythmic section, great guitar solis. I am very pleased with Randy Mikelson 's rough vocals, and when he goes in the high singing, he doesn’t sound like having the balls getting jammed in the zipper of his blue jean, but like he is fighting in the battlefield. The only low point is the ugly artwork album cover. Well, there is nothing original, but it is traditional Heavy Metal played with passion and fire by enthusiastic musicians. As a result, “Stop This War” is really a fantastic album ! (P)

DAMIEN (USA) "Every Dog Has Its Day". CD 05. 10 tracks. 43 min. Power Play.
That's cool Power Play also re-released the '87 album from Damien. Here you will find your dose of pleasant traditional US Metal. That can be heavy and pounding ("Serpent's Rising", "Wolf Dreams"), galloping through the storm ("World Affair"), or fast and kicking your ass ("Every Dog Has Its Day", "Possession"). Another cool thing is that the video for the track "Every Dog Has Its Day" is added as a bonus. Yes, I know there is again nothing original, but whatever it is today or tomorrow, I prefer to listen to an album like this one (where you can feel the passion and the dedication the musicians had) than trendy albums (that sound awful). However, the following album "Stop This War" is superior to "Every Dog Has Its Day". (P)

 

DARKEST GROVE (USA) "Pain And Suffering Shall Be Known" CD'06. 10 tracks, 63 min. Forever Plagued.
The label sent me this promo without any information, nor from cover. But after some search on the net, I happen to understand the band comes from Usa and is a one-man band project, with previously one demo tape. The 10 songs from this album are into atmospheric Metal some a strong dark groove. They could be labelled as B.M even though we're far from common release here as Darkest Grove is a kind of mix between Traumatic Voyage and Xasthur. The guitar work is pretty simple, but rudimentary drumming and hardly rudimentary guitar interludes. The lyrics are delivered through high-pitched vocals, but unfortunately there's no booklet here. Without being really neither original nor extraordinary, this realise reveals some worth parts.
DARKESTRAH (Kyr) "Epos" MCD'07. 1 track, 34 min. No Colours.
When I saw the album was only one long track I was expecting a very boring tune I'd fall asleep before the end. No at all ! Not only this single tune is fucking amazing but Darkestrah can hold this composition for long and keep it extremely captivating. The tune starts like a Bathory's overture with wave sounds and acoustic instruments, then the Metal parts of this band come in and what a surprise ! "Epos" is a very moody and emotional Black Metal tune. Beware, I use emotional word in the noble way, not any shitty pseudo emotion you are supposed to find in ugly combos such as Anorexia Nervosa. I'm speaking about a real anger emotion, something you'd be ready to kill for. The violins and synth melted with the melancholic guitars give a traditional and melancholic touch to the release, while the grim vocals scold the lyrics. All along the track the band alternates traditional B.M riffs with original acoustic instruments or clear vocals. Congratulation for recording such a thrilling song !

DARK FAITH (Spa) "Storm Of Hatred And Anger" CD'06. 9 tracks, 29 min. Blackenend Moon.
Spain has never been the land of B.M and Dark Faith won't changed that. They play such an insipid B.M that I couldn't listened to the album in a whole. They deliver such clichés riffs and awful Donald duck's vocals that you must avoid this crap by all means !

DARKNESS (Ger) "Death Squad". CD'05. 16 tracks. 60 min. Battle Cry.
A label took care of re-releasing Darkness’ debut album (they re-released the second and third albums too). Their first LP was their best material so far, offering a great dose of German Thrash Metal madness. There's nothing to throw in litter among the 9 tracks, they are all convincing, although some stand out such as the ripping "Death Squad", the anthemic "Faded Pictures", the epic side of the monumental "Burial At Sea" and the brutal "Critical Threshold". At this time, the motto of the bans was "Thrash ‘till death !" and they really put it into effect. From ’87 to this day, it’s still a great pleasure for me to listen to this killer record. It’s a pity they didn’t continue that way with the following albums. There are seven bonus tracks in this Cd. "Neues Von Gestern" was recorded in July 2005, which is a new version of "Critical Threshold" with German lyrics, I don’t get the point here. Then, the most interesting bonus are the four tracks of their "The Evil Curse" ’85 demo (well, a long horrific intro plus three tracks), which are raw, devilish and chaotic. You will find a demo version of "Death Squad", and surprisingly, a cover of Judas Priest’s "Living After Midnight" (recorded live) at the end of the CD. There is nothing more to add, except that "Death Squad" is the classic Darkness album. (P)
DARKNESS (Ger) “Bocholt Live Squad”. CD'05. 18 tracks, 79 min. Battle Cry.
A live album from German Thrashers Darkness saw the light of day. It is the right choice of a gig recorded in ’87 as they were supporting the “Death Squad” LP. All the nine tracks of the debut album are played plus old demo tracks (“Beyond The Gates Of Death”, “The Kingdom Of Death”, “Titanic War”, “Armageddon”…). That is live, that is raw, that is without overdubs. You just get raging Thrash Metal here. The testament of a killer show. A good addition to your records if you like alot their first LP.
DARK MESSIAH (Gre) "Rise Of Black Dawn" MCD'07. 5 tracks, 19 min. Full Moon.
Dark Messiah is the reborn of the 90's Hellenic Black/Death Metal scene. Will listening to their MCD images of early Varathron, Kawir and obviously Rotting Christ came back to my mind. Even though the opening track is a fast and wild Black Metal tune there's lot of reminiscences of old school Death Metal both in the guitar gain and song structures. The other tunes really remind me of Rotting Christ's album "Thy Might Contract", with the same sound of the snare melted with some Agatus' ideas and vocals. Dark Messiah still has this melodic touch you could find in the early Greek scene through interludes such as in "Antichristian Sins". Thence if you're a nostalgic of this nearly forgotten but ho so great Greek Black/Death scene that really branded the Metal history for sure, get into this MCD.
DARK PSYCHOSIS (Usa) "Obsessed By Shadows" CD'06. 9 tracks, 38 min. Blackened Moon.
Despite a really cliché cover and unappealing cover this band is a fine discovering !! This solo project from Usa is a kind of old school Black/Death Metal sometimes sounding really obscure through tunes such as "The Emersing Soul" or "Profane Hallucination" that reminds me some of the darkest material from B.M scene (Profanatica, Beherit) while one the other hand Dark Psychosis sounds a lot like early Bathory through songs like "Rebel Of Fallen Angels", mixing a kind of primitive B.M with Thrash tempos. What is rather original in this release is the addition of keys here and there, that turns his materials into something really gloomy and lost in shadow of nightmare. Really descent production in the B.M field.
DARKSTORM (Czech) "Hell Satan Blasphemy" CD'06. 7 tracks, 32 min. Ashen
Darkstorm was originally active in the mid 90's through 2 demos tapes ("The Forest Of Magic Rain" and "The Past Forgotten"). The band was advertised as a Maniac Butcher project back in time featuring Vald. Since Maniac Butcher no longer exists Vlad keeps alive this band and recorded a very descent B.M in the pure Norwegian path. This release was recorded in '03 but is unleashed now. The 7 tracks are cold and grim Black Metal, with strong influences from Darkthrone melted with early Gorgoroth. Darkstorm uses a lot the untamed and uncompromising elements, through rather dirty chainsaw and straight in the head riffs. The scolding vocals remind me a lot Darkthrone, through a thrilling atmosphere. This album gathers all the B.M sides : cursing songs, haunting vocals, madness and despair (i.e. "Hymn To Hell"). And even though this kind of B.M has been copying so many times, Darkstorm sounds rather fresh and convincing for sure ! 666.
DECAYED (Por) "Hexagram" CD'07. 13 tracks, 46 min. Folter.
Wow, I saw that I haven't listened to any new Decayed's materials since "Nocthurnaal" full length. Fuck it's been 6 years since I hadn't caught a new Decayed's song, and it's fucking long. So, what about the 13 tracks of this "Hexagram" ? Well, the first tune astonished me a bit with the introduction of synthesizers as this band has always been old school, actually the result is far from being disappointing. Excepted that, Decayed is still playing their Bathory/Venom like B.M with a strong influence from the 80's. The departure of JM as vocalist changed a bit the texture of the songs as now the new singer is a bit more into B.M way of singing. When it comes to the writing of the tunes, they're very similar to the previous one, thence there's no drastic change in this department. According to me there's a lack of variations within the tunes, and the CD sometime sounds alike after a while, but if you like Decayed's formula get this album !
DEJA VU (Ger) "Bullets To Spare". CD'05. 13 tracks. 56 min. Self-financed.
As the band is called Deja Vu, I was expecting a CD sounding like Running Wild and Grave Digger. I was wrong. The influences of Deja Vu come from Judas Priest (listen to "Wings Of Steel" or "Nightmare") and US Heavy/Power Metal (i.e. "Catch Me If You Can" or "Hate In My Soul"). "Bloodsucker" could have been written by Overkill for their "Horroscope" album, and a ghost of old Agent Steel hangs over "One By One". The band shows their ability to create metallic anthems with "Evil" and "Skullcrusher". "We’ll Burn The Sky" is the only song in the territory of German Metal and I don’t like it because of it's happy sounding. "Pain" with a seventies Hard Rock spirit is a bit out of place on this disc. There are a few fillers and I think a length of 40-45 minutes should have been more effective for their debut album (and of course released on vinyl). But all in all, this is a good album with a strong rhythmic section, galloping guitars and a very capable vocalist. So you can invest your money here if you’re asking for an interesting album of traditional Metal. (P)
DELIRIUM XTREMENS (Ita) "Cyberhuman" MCD'06. 5 tracks, 22 min. auto prod.
Do not confuse with the German Thrash band Delirium Tremens ! This MCD is about modern Death Metal with staccato riffs, influenced by the mainstream acts such as Malevolent Creation melted with some kind of new Samael through the tempos. They label their music as "technological death metal" and I think that perfectly suits to their style as their compositions are rather technical, played tightly. D.T way of writing music and delivering their riffs is very American, and at first I thought this band came from over there. I'd point the great and thin production for such an auto production, that could fit to a full length release.
DEMONIZED (Bel) "Triumphator" CD'08. 9 tracks, 45 min. Folter.
The band changed label choosing Folter Reocrd for Painkiller to record their third opus. The new album and label was an opportunity for Demonized to shrapen their axes. Here the 9 tracks have a strong Swedish Black/Thrash touch and production. Indeed Demonized is still playing Black Metal as the core of their music, but they've blent a large part of retro Thrash ideas in their materials such as in "Alcoolic" tune. The production is pretty clear here and powerful which is a good point here, while guitar gain is both sharp and old school like (the album has been recorded at Necromorbus studio). In some way, this release reminds me a bit the early Nocturnal Breed with stronger Black Metal parts. The song structures are rather classic if you consider this range of Metal, I mean that they wrote solid compositions but all of them are established in the same way, which tend to be a bit boring at the end.
DEMONTAGE (Can) "Sacrilege'n'Miscreancy" CD'06. 6 tracks, 46 min. Unsung Heroes.
The flyer advised about "old fashioned Metal the way the Devil in you like it!". Thence as this band was coming from Canada I was expecting a kind of furious Heavy Metal hymns such influenced by the legends from over there like Exciter, Piledriver, Razor or this kind of 80's genre. Actually we're very very far from what the 80's bands could offer you back in time as Demontage comes with a very personal approach and way of labeling old fashioned their materials. Demontage sounds like a kind of mix between Pagan Altar for some kind of Dark/Doom ideas they carry in tunes such as "Desastrophies Of War" and new Thrash combos such as Delirium Tremens or Devil Lee Rot's CDs. The compositions are pretty long, more than 7 minutes that's way too long as the band can't stand the listener enough with their astray song structures. Indeed, the weak point here is that the band can't come with crushing ideas or riffs, you know that kind of riff you say "fuck they blow me away". I'd even say that some interludes sound strange such as in the end of the second tune. Furthermore, the singer needs to get more balls of the wall in his screams. I'd be curious to listen to a new Demontage material with a much better production and some improvement in the composition department.
DENOUNCEMENT PYRE (Autr) "Under The Aegis Of Damnation" 7EP + "Hells Infantry" MCD. Apocalytor Records/ Forgotten Wisdom.
Here's another Aussy band playing crushing Death/Black Metal. The 3 opening tracks from the 7EP immediately remind me of Gospel Of The Horns.; you know this very furious bestiality in the way of delivering the hymns. The band is like a bulldozer, smashing your ears apart. D.P is slightly faster than GOTH in the way they use more grinding drum parts, but the vokills are very similar. The Aussy band perfectly melts the old Death Metal feeling through cursed solos with a more "modern" Black Metal song structures. "Hells Infantry" contains a little bit more melodies in the songs like the long introduction of "The March Of Hells Infantry" which acts like hell sirens calling for demons. The production is not as thin as for the 7EP but it's really descent. Get these two releases as they perfectly fit to fans of GOTH, D666, Grenade or Atomizer.
DEPRESSIVE WINTER (Fra) "Llac Edicius" CD'06. 7 tracks, 54 min. Auto Prod.
What a cliché band name ! Depressive Winter is about blasting Black Metal, full of 200 % blast beats, shrieking vocals and an excellent production. Thus said, this release seems appealing for some people, but actually the high-pitched vocal quickly gets on my nerves, while the blasting parts are fucking boring. I feel like this band took influences from here and there, melting everything and nothing : you will find ultra speed part, then just after a guitar hero solos, mixed with progressive interlude and some suicidal riffs. This release didn't convince me at all.
DESOLATION TRIUMPHALIS (Fra) "Forever Bound To Nothingness" CD'06. 6 tracks, 33 min.Aura Mystique.
Finally, the debut album from Desolation Triumphalis has been unleashed and we can now listen to their new material through a proper production, and not rehearsal sound. After very few minutes I feel like coming back in the early days of Funeral, Osculum Infame, Bekhira as the song structures and the development of the songs are rather close to this new album. The 6 tracks from "Forever.." unveil a dark and depressive Black Metal, through mainly slow tempo, back ground oppressing keys and haunting vocals. Their compositions brings funeral to reality, belling for the end of mankind through grieving lyrics. Each song is rather long to increase the nocturnal atmosphere in which D.T successes perfectly. That's rather a worth discovering bringing you back in 94's French BM scene.
DETONATOR 666 (Cze) "Supremacy & Tyranny" CD'07. 8 tracks, 36 min. Infernus.
I've never heard of this band before, but Vlad Blasphemer from Maniac Butcher features in so that announces old school and true Metal. And yes I was right, the early minutes from Detonator 666 are about old school Black Metal with an 80's touch. The concept of this album is to join the madness from 80's Thrash years with the grim Black Metal from Darkthrone through a modern yet polished production. Don't get wrong here, we're not talking about Nightwish's like sound, but rather a "clean" and audible production in which the chainsaw and bulldozer hammering can perfectly be crushing. The whole album is mainly brutal and fast with straight in the head compositions such as "Necrocosmos" while the band can also deliver rather mid paced tunes such as "Satanic Alkometal Hellkult". Strangely enough Vlad's way of playing reminds a me lot what he did in Maniac Butcher and some songs could have featured in previous MB's releases. I'd consider Detonator 666 as a worth enjoyable piece of pure Metal without being outstanding, in the same way Maniac Butcher had never been an incredibly original Black Metal combo but delivered some great moments.
DEVASTATOR (Usa) "Morbid Force" CD'07. 7 tracks, 49 min. Regimental.
Receiving a promo CD without any info sheet or cover is a real pain in ass. First of all, this full length has really a pour and powerless production. The album starts with a boring and much too long intro then finally unveils 13 tunes. They play a kind of retro Black Thrashing Metal, that is highly influenced from early Sodom, Bathory and Kreator. Thus said, this kind of music needs powerful production if you don't want to get a floppy Metal. The compositions themselves have this old school Thrashing touch melted with an obscure feeling such as in early Celtic Frost or Sodom. Here and there they blend some keys to increase the gloomy atmosphere. The main problem with this release comes from the pour production that completely annihilates any hope of getting crushing Thrash anthems.
DEVASTATOR (Usa) “Conjuring Evil” CD’08. 8 tracks, 50 min. Old Cemetary.
A new release from USA/Florida has hit my mail box and is ready to desecrate my Metal soul !!! I’ve never experienced Devastator so far, but the 8 tracks from their 4th full length are …devastating ! This combo is playing old school Black/Thrash Metal with a strong root on the early German stuffs (Sodom/destruction) melted with early Bathory’s darkness with a slight Aussy Metal touch in the vocals. Actually they’re pretty close to what Vomitor and Destrutkor could offer you now, which means a bunch a blackened Thrash with a satanic side and raspy vocals. Here and there the band comes with hunting riffs à la “The Return Of Darkness And Evil” (i.e. “The Devil’s Mark”) but there’re are also fillers in the album such as the boring “Worship The Gibbous Moon”. There’s absolutely nothing new here, it’s just a bunch of headbanging tunes smelling sweat and beer. The main complaint will come from the pretty weak guitar gain.
DEVILISH IMPRESSIONS (Pol) "Diabolicanos – Act III : Armageddon" CD'07. 9 tracks, 51 min. Conquer.
Some bands are pioneers in their Metal vein, creating awesome riffs and concept that have never been done before and others are nothing less than followers without any personal touch. That's the feeling I got while listening to Devilish Impressions. This band really lacks of personal touch and directions, all along the tunes from this album you can notice here an copy cat of Vader through the brutal D.M parts, Emperor's riff in the orchestral ideas, some ideas from Rotting Christ and the list can goes on and on. So, sincerely there's no point listening to such a combo. Of course they're talented players, but where are Devilish Impressions' mark after all ?
DIABOLI (Fin) "The Antichrist" CD'06. 8 tracks, 34 min. Northern Heritage.
Shame on me I've never listened to the previous discography from Diaboli, and I've to admit I'll check their releases now. This 8 tracks full length is about…well how to say that…perfect Black Metal ? Yeah I think that kind of description would wholly fits to Diaboli as the band reminds me a kind of mix between the hunger from early Darkthrone, the misanthropic touch from Burzum and the growling yet scolding vocals from bands such as Ofermod or Malign. Even thought these kind of words sound really pathetic now, but I'd say Diaboli play TRUE Black Metal music with capital letters, conveying cold dimensions, depression and fucking hate here. Songs such as "Cursed Be The Name" would reminds me of Burzum mid tempo parts from "Hvis Lyset Tar Oss" while "Malicious Satanic Vengeance" are closer to aggressive Norwegian combos from the 90's.while "The Beast Of Apocalypse" is an insane tune. I feel like this release is a forgotten material from the glorious 90's B.M wave as it sounds simply amazing : the song structures are perfectly wild and mad, the guitar gain is enough fuzzy while the drumming can be both minimalist and straight in the head. Forget the clown B.M combos some labels want to fool you, and get this release !
DIABOLIC FORCE (BRA) "Old School Attack" CD'07. 10 tracks, 38 min. No Colours.
Diabolic Force is another band from members of Farscape and Atomic Roar. The album gathers "Old School Attack" '03 '7EP and "Prisoner Of Wickedness" '03 demo. First of all the sound of these materials is rehearsal like, without any production, and even though they took the band name from a Running Wild album Diabolic Force sounds much more like a mix between Hellhammer and the early steps of Sodom. Tunes such as "Old School Attack" or "Preachers Of Hell" are very close to "In The Sign Of Evil" while tune such as "Absolute Cruelty" is very Hellhammer like. By the way, the CD ends with Hellhammer "Massacra" cover. If you need another combo paying tribute to the glorious 80's dark Thrash Metal scene Diabolic Force is perfect.
DIMENSIONAL PSYCHOSIS (Hol) "Magical Matrix Of Dimensional Continuum" CD'06. 7 tracks, 43 min. Asphyxiate.
When looking at the cover, I was nearly certain I wouldn't like this album and I was right. D.P plays a weird, psychotic B.M melted with hypnotic guitars riffs and industrial samples. It sounds so modern, a bit like the second Forlorn album "Opus III" that unveiled a futurist concept through ethereal background synth. According to me all the tunes sound alike, there's not really a riff you can remember once the album is finish. Absolutely not of my taste.
DIMENTIANON (Usa) "Hossmanas Novus Ordo Seclurum" CD'07. 9 tracks, 62 min. Non Compos Mentis.
I've never heard of this American band before, thence this CD is a total news for me. When looking at the lay out of the inlay card one can see this band is into Satanism and might play some kind of Black Metal. Actually Dimentianon rather play Death Metal, with a slight technical touch in the arrangement of the tunes. They sound like modern American Metal bands with a very classic mix and guitar gain. Indeed, this guitar sound is terribly common and destroys a lot the final result. Another point that quickly feds me up are the vocals. The singer can only bark at the micro like grunge bands do and it's really, really boring if you're waiting for serious and "real" Metal. The survey of the release is thence absolutely not catching, all the materials written here are ok without reaching the borderline that would turn it into something mandatory.

DISASTER (Chi) "Criaturas Del Mal". CD 06. 10 tracks, 44 min. MFC.
This is old school Thrash Metal from Chile with influences from US thrash (old Slayer, early Exodus, Dark Angel first two albums era...) a touch of German Thrash (old Destruction, early Kreator...) but no retro bullshit here. They perfectly understood the Thrash Metal spirit, and they play it in a devastating way without mercy, with evil Spanish vocals. The highlights for me are "Almas Negras", "Perversion", "Motosierra Del Infernio", "Thrash Metal". I didn't find any fillers. All the tracks are fucking effective. It's really a killer album, respecting the roots, but that also contains freshness that can be brought by a young band. The only shame it's only released on CD format. (P)

 

No cover

DISJECTA (Ita) "Da Marmorea Lapide Ombrati" CD'06. 5 tracks, 34 min. Aeternitas Tenebrarum Music Foundation.
This CD is the re-release of the demo on digi pack…well where's the interest ? Here we've another one member band influenced by Darkthrone playing raw Black Metal. After very few minutes we can easily feel that the lad behind the instrumentsis rather young, both through the vocals and the clumsy drumming. The use of Death Metal growlings really sound immature. There's nothing of interest here excepted if you're collecting any Black Metal release.

 

DISSECTION (Swe) "Rebirth Of Dissection" DVD'06. 19 video tracks. Escapy Music.
What kind of better testimony could be given to fans than this awesome documentary about one of the most original Black/Death Metal band from Sweden ? On the 24th of Oct' 2004, Jon and Co played a sold out gig in Stockholm Arena, just after his release from jail and announced the rebirth of his satanic combo. The 19 tracks are played smoothly, with an impressing tightness in the delivery of melodies and lyrics. Even though Jon had spent time in jail, he could still perfectly played his tunes (I checked that live and it was amazing !). Dissection went through hymns such as "Night Blood", "Where Dead Angels Lies"; "The Somberlain" without forgetting their new tune ""Maha Kali". The quality of this live show is fantastic, with an excellent sound. I really like the way the DVD is offered and shot, a bit like an horror movie. The DVD also includes a long and extensive video interview with Jon, a video clip "Starless Aeon", and photo gallery. Just one word : get it !

 

DRAKAR (Czech) "Let Draka/Flight Of The Dragon" DCD'11. 16 tracks, 75 min. I Hate.
Honestly speaking I've hardly heard of Drakar before, so that's a delight to discover old materials from Czech Republique. The combo recorded their debut album in 1990 as "Let Draka" which had two different versions : one with native lyrics and one with English lyrics. The promo material only contains the Czech's version, wich can be seen as the original one. The 8 tracks if this CD immediately brings you back 20 years ago with the typical Czech Metal sound and way of composing the album. A direct link with Master's Hammer can be drawn both through the way of delivering the lyrics and in the arragenemtns. Indeed, even if Drakar isn't a Black/Death Metal combo, they've a great bunch of morbidity in their tracks, and weird way of playing instruments that is so fucking original. Each tunes are a kind mid tempo Heavy Metal with a dark veil. The best way to describe them would be that Draka is a perfect mix between Master's Hammer, Ripper and Death SS.
DRAUGNIM (Fin) "Northwind's Ire". CD'08. 7 tracks, 45 min. Spikefarm.
After releasing 4 demo tapes, Draugnim finally got a deal to unleash their first full lenght. Honestly speaking, I've never listened to any of their work before this CD. The opening track yet establish the band in a Pagan Black Metal vein, through mid tempo songs and ethearal back ground synthetisors. The second track has definitely a Bathory's like touch through the background chant and howling guitar lines, while the vocals are typically high-pitched B.M screams. Actually, we can see the band was heavily influcned by Windir, Falkenbach and Bathory for the epic side of their compositions. The fastest parts don't convey that much emotions and ambiences than the slowest one, and I'd even say the fastest parts aren't that much conivincing. The production of this album is a bit strange, as if there weren't any bass tone.
DROWNED (Swe) "Viscera Terrae" MCD'08. 4 tracks, 20 min. Worship Him.
As some of you might know, Drowned is the Death Metal side project from Necros Christos' members. Mors Dalos Ra sings in both bands, and his way of delivering the lyrics will immediately brings you images of pain and haunting nightmares. The 4 tracks from this MCD are very dark and satanic D.M with a quality way of delivering tunes. The atmosphere is pretty personal here, a sinister anger unveiled through each composition. In many respects the combo reminds me a mix between Winter and the early MCD from Aeternus melted with early Incubus' touch. Some parts from "Keys To Lunar Waters" sound terribly morbid and eerie, such as Incubus/Morbid Angel was doing. Actually, Drowned has written pure Death Metal tunes, but with a strong emphasis on feeling rather than playing something brutal and straight in the head. So, we're dealing with something exceptional and of high quality here that stands against all the Vader's clones and boring happy Death Metal.
DRAUGR (Ita) "Nocturnal Pagan Supremacy" CD'06.10 tracks, 46 min. Christhunt.
After the long introduction, the band delivers….blasting symphonic B.M with a boring 200 % full speed tempo drumming. Draugr is a kind of second range mix between cradle of filth and late emperor without any pounding riffs. Actually the band can only play blasting riffs which turn fucking boring at the end. Another insipid release…with stupid keyboards
EERIE (Bul) "Hollow Starve" CD'06. 10 tracks, 46 min. Brutalica.
Eerie is not the kind of Metal band you can easily describe as this band belongs to the "strange" experience in Metal scene. Thence, "Hollow Starve" is a kind of eerie, emotional Metal with a constant keyboard drape at the background. The 10 songs carry an ambient gothic Metal, with the typical mid growling vocals you can find in any gothic Metal combos and drum machine. The info sheet states about "one of the best Metal album from Bulgaria", well I wouldn't be tag this band with such kind words as they are definitely not so original and not so Metal in the way it meant to be. Actually I found this release a bit boring at the end, as all the songs sound alike, there's no highlight tune you could remember once the CD is finished.
ELITE (Nor) "Bifrost" CD'06. 8 tracks, 41 min. No Colours.
This is the third material from Elite I review, they considerably evolved since their early tunes. The production is much better, more powerful and sharper than previously, which really helps the band in delivering a strong B.M. When it comes to compositions, they're more efficient thanks to a better song structures. They really nothing but pure Norwegian B.M from the 90's area, sometimes reminding Kampfar (i.e. : "Vikingfjord") and sometimes more conventional stuffs from this Scandinavian land. The vocals are midway between dry and tonsil, always hateful. Elite has developed a bit more their epic side without sounding pagan à la Bathory. Really great material.
ELITE (Nor) "We Own The Mountains" CD'08. 10 tracks, 48 min. Folter.
Finally Elite switched from No Colours to Folter Records for their third album and redesigned their logo. After two previous great materials "We Own The Mountains" seems to be the test album: rise or fall. First of all, the studio budget has increased in consequences as the album has a strong and power sound, typically Norwegian but a little 90's Griegallen touch. I really like this kind of production, while the guitars are midway between rough and melodious. If the main influences were Tulus, Kampfar (the interlude of the third song will reminds you a Kampfar's song !!!) and in some aspects Taake on the previous album, this element hasn't changed. Indeed, the "new" Elite is in this very straight vein, offering personal compositions without getting out of the fields. A tune like "Winter Moon King" will symbolize all the description clearly. For instance, this composition is a fine mix between the melodious Black Metal side and the raspy touches from early Norwegian B.M scene. This is really a very descent production from Norway !!!
EMERALD (Swi) "Hymns To Steel" CD'07. 12 tracks, 60 min. Pure Steele.
I've never experienced this Swiss combo before but that's a real shame. The 12 tracks (including a Crimson Glory cover) are pure Epic Heavy Metal from the 80's. One can definitely feel the strong influences from Medieval Steel, Warlord and obviously Manowar. How can a band play Epic Heavy Metal without being inspired by this awesome US combo ??? Actually this influence can easily be heard in intro or interludes of each song. When it comes to the quality of the material, Emerald has really spent time on their tunes to get the best of each of them. The opening track is nothing less than a pure hymn glorifying Heavy Metal, while "Revenge" is more a kind of powerful mid tempo rock and Heavy track. I really like the old guitar gain the band has, it sounds like in the 80's, a warm and sharp gain but with modern technology now. Finally, Emerald blent plenty synth in their tunes, and that doesn't suck like in Hamsterfall .Buy, buy, buy or fuck off !
EMINENZ (Aut) "Eminenz" CD'07. 8 tracks, 35 min. Miriquidi.
Eminenz is probably one of the oldest Black Metal combo from Germany, they played with Mayhem back in '90 and started in '89 when this extreme scene was rising. This self title album is the 5th release, but the less we can say is the popularity of this German band is very low. Actually it's a shame not many Metalheads are following EMINENZ as their new release contains some very great parts. The 8 tracks are about old school Black Metal with strong dark Death Metal touches melted with a Thrashing side. The atmosphere of Eminenz could be compared a bit with the Czech band Avenger, as all their songs have a gloomy feeling, and mid tempo parts. After a while we can definitely see influences from early Rotting Christ and Samael when these two bands played Black/Death Metal and the music borderline was little. Nevertheless the German approach and way of writing are very personal; this is not a killer album, but there're great moments of darkness.

EMPTY (Spa) "The Last Breath Of My Mortal Despair" CD'08. 7 tracks, 44 min. ATMF.
This is the third edition of the album, the previous ones being done by Blackened Moon and Drakkar and I was wondering what is the reason of so many editions ? Was this album so cult that a single edition isn't enough ? Mhhh…well actually the answer is yet no. The 7 tracks from Empty are polished Black Metal with a quite good production and clear sound. They very influenced by early Setherial, Blot Mine or late Enthroned through the guitar gain and song structures. The members are enough skilled to come with straight and massive songs adding some melancholic parts such as in the third song through ethereal, chanting vocals. The draw back of this release are the vocals that are much too high pitched and much too clichés. The other problem with this album is that there's no track that stands against the others, and some of them seem like being a huge buzz. If you collect everything in the B.M scene get this album, otherwise get something better.
  ENGEL (Swe) “Next Closed Door” Single EP’08. 2 tracks. 7 min. SPV.
What’s that fucking crap ? A ugly logo, a pseudo Metal band playing pop music with electric guitars ??? Well, give me something better from Sweden
EPHELES (Fra) "Souveins Toi" CD'06. 7 tracks, 48 min. Konklav.
The album title means "Remember" and I didn't remember this band was so much unappealing. Epheles is nothing more than a clone of symphonic B.M synth in its worth side, with awful Donald duck vocals, boring blast beats and no ripping riffs Just listen to "Les Abimes Du Temps" and you'll understand me point of view, they try to sound brutal and efficient but they completely failed.
EREB ALTOR (Swe) "By Honour" 7 track, 53 min. I Hate.
Ereb Altor is a two people project gathering Daniel Bryntse from Isole. Thus said, we can notice that Quorthon had been a huge influence for this combo as they play Epic Heavy Metal in the vein of "Blood On Ice". The 6 tunes of this release (the open one being an instrument introduction) are very close to what the Swedish heathen was doing through slow tempo, warlike and glorious hymns to the one eye god. Hammer and Scandinavian proud are displayed here through out the album, where the blue prints of the Swedish god are obvious. But Eres Altor is not only a copy cat of Bathory, they've blended some Epic Doom elements in their compositions. Some songs such as "Winter Wonderland" will also bring you images of the Russian Epic band, Scald, with whom similitude is obvious. Actually the more you'll listen to this band there more you'll feel like listening to a Doom version of "Blood On Ice". The album is very well written and doesn't suffer from gap or boring part. To conclude the review, I can recommend this album to everyone who is into quality Metal, as members from Isole are unique musicians and their ability isn't to be proved anymore !!!
ESCHATON (Gre) "Causa Fortia" CD'06. 6 tracks, 36 min. Nykta.
"Causa Fortia" is the first full length from this Greek band that released several demo tapes before. We're in the land of raw B.M with a minimalist production and rowing vocals, rather dry and over mixed. The 6 songs are nothing but regular B.M with a rather speed tempo. This band sounds a bit like early Polish productions, which means their riffs are rather common, without any outstanding parts Actually this CD isn't that much bad, but there's nothing exciting here, nor any memorable songs. I feel like listening to any unoriginal production from 95's era, do you remember when all bands sounded alike ? Another release that'll quickly be forgotten.
ESTUARY (Usa ) "The Craft Of Contradiction" CD'07. 10 tracks, 47 min. Ibex Moon.
This is second full length of Estuary which yet had a name in the scene with their great first debut album. Thence what can "The Craft" offer us ? First of all the band has increased in their way of playing, writing even tighter songs and interludes. The style of Estuary is still dark Death Metal with a gloomy vocal from the underworld. In one hand they've also kept some 80's Thrashing fast way of delivering interludes such as in "Heirs To The Throne Of Fear". If you carefully listen to the compositions you'll understand that this band can play and know how to get crushing songs. Nevertheless; there's something missing in this release to really be an awesome record. Indeed, the guitar gain lacks of power, I think the guitar gain mix is not enough sick. Another point is the production could have been a bit more crushing : everything sound too smooth.
ETERNAL FLIGHT (Fra) "Under The Sign Of Will" CD'07. 11 tracks, 60 min. Pervade.
Eternal Flight is a band from my are in which the singer was in Dream Child. It's a band I've seen many times live, but I never really got into their music as they're a bit to much progressive and Power Metal to me, but let's see what's the result on stereo. First of all, the production is noticeable, pretty powerful and fine with a slight 80's touch in the guitar gain. The mix between the traditional Heavy Metal instruments and the synths is well done as in opposition to ugly hammerfall combo, the keys have the background role here. Then the 11 tracks deliver all their quality through well written musical structures, strong high pitched vocals and a powerful drumming. The melodious side of their Metal can be on the front line such as in "Dark Society" while the hammering Metal riffs can also be the core of their music like in "Deaf Dumb Blind". Eternal Flight brilliantly melt the traditional approach with a more modern one to record a strong Power Metal release. Even though the synths could be dropped in such an album as according to me the symphonic Metal should feature in E.V, they don't destroy the result. We will also note the ability of each musician in writing complex Metal without sounding like a demonstration. Finally Emmanuelson from Ellipsis sings in one track.
ETHER (Can) "Depraved, Repressed, Feeling" CD'07. 11 trakcs, 54 min. Sepulchral.
Well, let's think that Ether wanted to play the ugliest B.M from Canada, the less catchy one with one of the poorest production. Congratulation !! Your album is fucking lame !
EVOL (Ita) "The Saga Of The Horned King/Dreamourest" DCD'08. 24 tracks, 120 min. No Colours.
The re-issue syndrome stroke No Colours Records and not for the best heree. Indeed, they've re-issued two Adipocere Reocrd's back catalogue CD from Evol : "The Saga Of The Horned King" (their first full length released in 1995) and their following "Dreamourest" released in 1996. Yet 12 years ago these albums didn't get raved reviews in fanzines as their pseudo medieval Black Metal really lacked of conviction and skill ! Indeed, the vocals and their ugly english prevented many fans from listening to Evol. Furhtermore, you'll add poor guitar lines and playschool synth to these vocals, I'll let you imagine the desaster. Sinicerly, those albums weren't interesting when Black Metal was at its peak, but now they sound so amateurish ! Why No Colours didn't re issue Mortuary Drape instead of these pieces of shit ???

EVOKEN (Usa) "A Caress Of The Void" CD'07. 7 tracks, 62 min. I Hate.

This album was scheduled for 2007 Halloween, but due to troubles it's released 20 days later. As strong as a band with yet 3 excellent previous releases, Evoken can be labeled as master of Doom/Death Metal with their mate of Thergothon and Winter. Indeed, the band can create excellent atmospheres of depressiveness and darkness through their tunes. While some bands pretend to be dark, Evoken are really miles away from what others can offer. The word dark gets all its meaning in Evoken's world, the long and pondering riffs unveil universe of nothingness, a veil of void. Evoken are able of writing utterly slow compositions, very fearful. The detune guitar lines melt with clear guitar riffs sound like a corridor of death, creating pure depressing feeling. This album demands a total concentration on music, it's not the kind of release you can listen to in your car. "A Caress Of Void" contains several musical levels, but if you're fan of Thergothon and Winter, this release if for you. Gorgeous.

EWIG FROST (Austr) "Blue Septime Winters" CD' 07. 9 tracks, 55 min. Ashen.
Ewig Frost is a pretty new band as their formed in 2003 with only one demo released so far. This debut album contains all the previous tunes from their demo plus new tracks but all of them have been re-recorded for this album. So, what is the content of the hour of this CD ? Well, first of all they play Black Metal. The major influence is obviously Darkthrone through a grim and blur music but the comparison will stop here. Indeed, even though the band is influenced by one of the genitor of the B.M they'll never compete the Norwegian one for sure. First of all the vocals are a bit too high pitched, secondly the work on the compositions is really average. Indeed none of the tune could stand against the others, there's no high light riffs here you could remember. Another hopeless B.M album.

 

  EXCALIBUR (Fra) "Fils Vengeur" CD'07. 9 tracks, 41 min. Emanes Metal.
This album is a the re-edition of 1985 demo tape from this "not very famous" French combo. Indeed, in 1985 the French Heavy Metal scene was really strong, offering plenty of bands singing in French language. Excalibur was one of them, coming from the northern part of France they were playing a fast version of Heavy Metal. The 6 tracks taken from "Fils Vengeur" demo 1985 have a pretty good rehearsal sound, and are typical 80's French stuff. Indeed, the band was following the steps of Satan Jokers through fast riffs, thundering drumming and high-pitched vocals. Here and there you'll also find some connections with ADX that were more "thrash" than the common scene. If you've never heard this demo, I'd say that it was a really strong material with some bunch of punch. The re-edition ends with 2 bonus tracks from their very first demo and a live tune. A mandatory piece if you collect 80's French scene !!!
EXCITER (Can) "Thrash, Speed, Burn" CD'08. 10 tracks, 46 min. Massacre.
Eight years after the end of cooperation between the Canadian legends and Osmose Productions, Exciter comes back with a new album, a new label and a new singer "Kenny Winter". The first thing that immediately stroke me is the vocals that are very very similar to Belanger alternating from very high pitch to straight in the head Speed screams. Thence after the first listening you can notice that the new opus sounds alike "Blood Of Tyrants" but actually not really. The tunes are really faster and heavier than in the mentioned album. Tracks such as "Massacre Mountain" and "Thrash, Speed, Burn" carry fucking excellent bunches of Thrash riffs, ready to devastate everything. While on the other hand Exciter has also writing a pondering Heavy Metal tune through "Hangman" that could remember classics from their debut. This album is full of pure Metal tracks with oppressing title in "In Mortal Fear" that feels the 80's. "In Mortal Fear" is followed by a pretty average slow tempo track "Crucifixion" but soon after "Demon's Gate" will probably reminds the best years of Exciter with a tune sounding a lot like "Violence & Force". The album ends with an excellent composition that is both harsh and aggressive without losing the Heavy Metal feeling : "Rot The Devil King". Actually the vocals are at their best here as here and there they reminds Judas Priest and the 80's NWOBHM from where Exciter took all their influences. This is definitely an excellent release here and even early fans won't be disappointed to get this album if they don't except Beehler's like vocals and accept a slight evolution. Stand up and Fight with Exciter !!!!!

EXORDIUM (Fin) "Super Casu Heresis Quondam Combuste Fuerunt" MCD'08. 3 tracks, 28 min. Satanic Propaganda.
Exordium offers us a new MCd featuring 2 long tracks cklocking more than 10 min and a normal one.The 3 tracks of Exordium are in the typical Orthodox Black Metal vein following the left hand path of Deathspell Omega, Ofermod and Funeral Mist. They use the "standard" formula to deliver their compositions through well written tunes conveying a real satanic feeling and nightmarish atmosphere, including here and there a slight depressive feeling. Here and there samples of monks or twisted sounds appear to increase the uncomfortable feeling. My view about this release is mixed, in one hand the band can find worth arrangements and freezing atmospheres such as in the opening track, but in the other one some guitar riffs are just too basic in the way that any bands used them before. Anyway, the quality in part of this release that stands again conventional materials. Check it.