Album reviews M-R

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MAGNUM (Uk) "Like Brothers We Stand" CDS'07. 2 tracks, 8 min. SPV/Steamhammer.
Here's a single as advance for the new full length. The opening tune is really a cheesy and crappy molten pop/rock tune that prevents you from listening to this combo. The second track ("Your Lies") is much better and offers a mid tempo Hard Rock song, full of guitar melodies and solis. The middle of the track include a symphonic like part then return to a more rocking time. This tune is so different from the previous that I could hardly tell whether the full length will be good or not. Nevertheless it won't brand the Metal history, that's certain.

MAGNUM (Uk) “Wings Of Heaven Live” DCD’08. 19 tracks, 115 min. SPV.
Who would have thought that Magnum would be reviewed in Franang zine ? The double CD consists of one CD with their early classics and the second one with tracks from their 1982 “Sacred Hour” tour. Mangum has been around for nearly 20 years but strangely if they were famous in their early days, not many forums or web sites deal with them nor review their materials. Is it because they are considered as too old or too soft ? I don’t know. But the fact is that they’re well established in the FM Hard Rock /AOR music and play this kind of Metal with a certain talents. The 19 tunes are really smooth and polish, offering a kind of “class” in the Metal genre, a bit like Deep Purple now. We can here and there hear the crow in the debut of each tune, but here again the crowd seems to be very polite and quiet, listening to Magnum without any shout. This DCD is pretty interesting as it gather a great bunch of their best tunes, and allow Magnum’s neophytes to discover this combo. Once against, SPV has re-edited old materials with a CD containing classics for a lower budget.
MANOWAR (Uk) "The Sons Of Odin" MCD'06. 5 tracks, 24 min. SPV.
Ho, bloody fuck a new Manowar…where are my shield and sword ? Manowar hadn't recorded any new tunes since 2002 and their return is..well…AWESOME ! The MCD contains 2 live tunes "The Ascension" that is more a kind of introduction to the MCD followed by "King Of The Kings" played with an incredible fury. Then "Odin" an instrumental song brings you back in the early 80's with a very Conan The Barbarian sound track, very emotional and heroic. Note that all this tune is played with synth !!!! Finally the mini album ends with "Gods Of War" and "The Sons Of Odin", two new tunes displaying a more epic than ever Manowar !! These tunes are a fine mix between epic synth, radical guitar playing and hammering drumming with speaking Eric Adams lyrics telling us how Viking warrior were great and brave ! The structures of the songs are amazing and fucking sound "Manowar". These English warriors recorded something unique, an excellent piece of Epic Heavy Metal. Other bands play, Manowar kicks ass ! Lay down to Mighty Thunder Gods.

MANOWAR (Uk) "Gods Of War" CD'07. 16 tracks, 74 min. SPV/Magic Circle Music.
I was very excited to listen to this new full-length from the gods of Metal as their previous MCD "Sons Of Odin" brought me to Valhalla's hall as a proud Metal Warrior. The album starts with a long 6:19 min instrumental overture where you could imagine Eric Adam's team walking dressed like Norse fighters, sword in hand. Then the 2 songs from the previous MCD "Ascension" and Kings Of Kings" are finally unleashed and as I mentioned them in my previous review they seriously kick ass. Then all of a sudden the album is nothing but failure, boredom and sleeping instrumental keyboards dealing with kitsch Epic topics through "Army Of The Dead pt I and II" (where do they want to go in the second part of this ugly chant ?) mentioning the average Metal "Sleipnir" while "Loki God Of Fire" at least success in headbanging my head with the fabulous mid tempo drumming from Scott Colombus. From the 7th to the 10th tunes Manowar have recorded some of their weakest materials so far that is nothing but speaking vocals behind tasteless synth Epic keys if I dare say that. Finally the 5 last hymns are something in-between average Metal songs and insipid synth orchestration. The result of this album is extremely disappointing as Manowar offers 32 min of instrumental keyboard over hardly 4 great Heavy Metal tracks. I mean I was expecting some kind of very Epic Heavy Metal and crushing riffs but not that kind of shit. Other bands play Manowar sucks !

 

MANOWAR (Uk) "Gods Of War Live" DCD'07. 22 tracks, 115 min. SPV.
Blow the horn, kneel before one eye god ! Manowar has unleashed their third 22 titles live album and what a live ! Before reviewing the music, one can notice the excellent double digi pack offered here, including a thick booklet and a video track. First of all I'll mention the excellent work done by engineers here to capture the live session in Germany. The sound is splendid and Eric Adams' vocal shines here. The first disc includes 14 tracks covering all their discography with some classics such as the opening "Manowar"; "Secret Of Steel"; "The Gods Made Heavy Metal", "Die For Metal" (one of the few song where the audience is audible); the killer "King Of Metal". This first CD is really something of quality both in the choice of tunes played here and on the way of playing them. Manowar is definitely a live band and gets all its power during tour ! Now the second disc features the eight last tracks from "Gods Of War". According to the booklet the live seems pretty strong with tons of pyrotechnics, a large Viking ship at the background and fighting people dressed in Viking warriors ! While most of people agreed to states "Gods Of War" is a so-so album, the live version of these tunes is another story. The live recording gives a totally new color and power to Manowar's last work. The only complaint would come from the lack of feed back between the crowd and Manowar, we sometime feel the audience wasn't here ! Anyway, another gorgeous live from gods of Metal !
MASSACRE (Usa) "Tyrants Of Death" CD'06. 14 tracks, 60 min. Iron Pegasus.
Can you remember the deepest growling from the depth of hell in "From Beyond" album ?? I guess many of you may remember Kam Lee and his incredible demoniac vocals. Then, if you want to check what the early Tampa D.M scene was about you've to listen to the official re-release from Massacre. The CD gathers the two first demos plus many bonus live materials. "Tyrants Of Death" starts with the second demo that is amazing, a great mix between the most aggressive Thrash possible and the early D.M ideas. You can't go without listening to the atomic D.M hymns such as "From Beyond", "Cryptic Realm" or "Clanger OF War". Rick Rozz way of playing was one of the tightest of this scene. The 1st demo contains only 3 tracks that are "Aggressive Tyrant", "Death In Hell" (a masterpiece), and "Mutilated". The sound is not as good as in the 2nd demo, but it's worth to hear. Finally the CD finishes with 5 live tunes from Rock City gig 25/05/86 in Tampa. A really great piece of Metal for sure !
MEDIEVAL STEEL (USA) "The Dungeon Tapes". CD 05. 9 tracks. 37 min. Self-financed.
At last, an official CD from this cult band. It contains the four tracks of the '84 EP, two tracks from the '87 demo, the remaining two other demo tracks being re-recorded in 2004 with the addition of a new one. Medieval Steel is epic Metal at its best, the band having a great song-writing ability and offers only brilliant songs. The '84 EP is a total masterpiece that is under-rated or not very well-known. But "Medieval Steel" and "Warlords" are two memorable anthems to steel that you have to discover before dying. Pure magic steel ! The four tracks of the '87 demo are excellent too, but a little inferior to the EP. The good news is the 2004 new track "Ghost From The Battlefield" is in the continuity of the EP ! A fucking hope, isn't it ? But the fact is Medieval Steel doesn't belong to any trends, and I guess it is difficult for them to find a decent deal with a suitable records label. In the wait of their first official album (if this event will ever happen...), the spirit and the music of their steel lives on ! (P)
MELENCHOLIA ESTATICA (Ita) "Letum" CD'08. 5 tracks, 37 tracks. ATMF.
This is the second album from a solo project handled by a woman (Climaxia - what a stupid name !), who plays the guitars (vocal being done by a male). The album is divided into 5 tracks (from "Letum I" to "Letum V"). Musically the tracks of this release are highly influenced by 90's Norwegian B.M and Burzum / Dartkthrone without being a total copycat with a slight Katatonia's touch. The music from this band is established upon the core of the early B.M scene, but also includes some personal elements in the art through ethereal acoustic guitar work, slow drumming (done by a drum machine) such as in the end of the opening tune. M.E's Black Metal has a powerful side through fast paced riffs, but also a depressive side, even dramatic here and there in the arrangements and in the mood of the release. The work on guitars is really well done and shows some potential, while the male vocals are a fine mix with female guitar's way of playing. A nice discovery !

MEMORY DRIVEN (Usa) "Relative Obscurity" CD'09. 11 tracks, 61 min. I Hate.

Memory Driven is a totally new combo for me and this record is their first full length. They're labelled as Doom Metal band but as this range is pretty large Memory Driven doesn't take influences from Black Sabbath or Candlemass. Actually the 11 tracks are closer to Progressive Rock with modern "Pop" lines in the vocals. I'd rather call them as a heavy rock band with more accessible songs (or unaccessible if you're seeking for "truly" depressive mood). Honestly speaking I'm not so much fan of these kind of bands that are at the edge of Metal scene and part of rock scene too. The way of singing won't grab my while the tunes are way too standard and "soft". The band really lacks of more powerful lines as the album tends being a bit boring at the end.

MENACE (Ita) "Quake Metal". MCD'05. 6 tracks. 23 min. Self-financed.
What a fucking surprise is this first official recording by this new band ! These Italian Metalheads well understood the roots of Metal and play Heavy Speed Metal in its purest form. Musically, you got the feeling of a meeting between Exciter’s "Heavy Metal Maniac" and old Judas Priest. The vocalist remind me a young Rob Halford, and even to a young King Diamond when going in the high notes. Opener "Metal Avalanche" is a devastating anthem. "Hittin’ In Head" is a fast crusher, and more madness follows with "Evilness". "Messenger From Hell" brings power and rage, a mix that makes it memorable. "Redeemer" is a heavy tune delivered with a real conviction, the kind of heavy song you would like to hear more often in these days. Final track « Bloodstained Razor » unleashes evil speed metal with a great energy. No fillers, just six outstanding tracks ! The production is limited due to a restricted budget, but it didn’t stop the band to show all their potential. This MCD rules supreme ! If next time Menace releases a full album of the same quality in all the songs, no doubts they will enter the kingdom of Heavy Speed Metal. (P)

 

MESSIAH (Swi) "Powerthrash/The Infernal Thrashing" CD'06. 15 tracks. 52 min. Iron Pegasus.
This CD is the re-release of the two first demo tapes from a pretty great Thrash Metal band from the 80's that never received the feedback they deserved. It's pretty funny to review materials that were released in '85, as it's not really objective to give his own views 20 years after !! Anyway, the CD starts with an excellent powerful Thrash Metal song, "Powerthrash" taken from their 2nd demo "Powerthrash". This song is fucking amazing and gathers everything I love in this genre : speed guitar riffs, hammering drums and wild vocals. Actually the other tunes from this demo are not as captivating, but still are devastating Thrash Metal. They had a very personal way of sounding, even though in the 80's. The demo ends with a very Slayerish tune "Antichrist". The 6 final tracks are from "The Infernal Thrashing" are a bit different from the previous demo. Much more aggressive and untamed. The vocals have a fucking fierce touch, with the guitars riffs are ripping. This is typical Thrash Metal from the 80's, love it or fuck off !!! The original demo had 2 extra live songs, "Pure Aggressor" and "Total Maniac" from live 12/85 in Switzerland that feature on this re-edition. An excellent item for Thrash fans ! Note the sound is good rehearsal one !

MESSIAH'S KISS (Ger) "Dragonheart" CD'07. 11 tracks, 42 min. Steamhammer.
Ho no, another happy Power Metal band ripping all riffs from the old legends from the 80's ! I really can't understand how so many kids are fans of this kind of Metal as according to me all the songs and albums sound alike. If you like Stratovarius, Edguy, Hammerfall and so on run and buy that release but if you're into Metal avoid it !

 

METAL INQUISITOR (GER) "Doomsday For The Heretic". LP '05. 12 tracks. Hellion.
I yet did a review of that album which featured in the 10th issue, but here's the point of view of Patrick : Second album from this outfit which has become my favourite German Metal band since 1998. Their music is what I call real Metal played with balls. Blumi keeps his skill to create and to play killer riffs. I won't describe each track, because some have NWOBHM influences, some Bay Area influences, some has old Mercyful Fate influences, others have old Polish Metal influences, and another have old German Metal influences... Thence this record is varied. But don't misread me and think it's a jukebox, as each track sounds 100% Metal Inquisitor. They are the proof that a band can play Metal rooted in the eighties with a large panel of influences and can achieve to get its own personality. There is no fillers and no weak track, each song shreds and bangs your head. I will just precise they did a good job by covering Judas Priest's "Invader", and the bonustrack is a live recording of "Take Revenge". They again unleash a monstrous album. All power to them ! (P)

 

MIND PROPAGANDA (Ukr) "The First Strike" CD'06. 7 tracks, 40 min. Blazing.
The inlay card of this release is fucking minimalist : a white lay out with an infinite symbol drawn in ! Wow, where's the point buying a CD if there's no lyrics, band information and so on ? Well, the CD doesn't bring more interest than the inlay car : we've a fast Black Metal with a drum machine beating time. In fact, this release is nothing less than another album from Ukraine that sounds like many other eastern albums. Some fast flutes have been added here and there that turn great. Excepted from that, I don't think "The First Strike" will remain in Metal heads in the future.
MINHYRIATH (Swi) “Gondolyn” CD’08. 10 tracks, 34 min. Black Tower.
Minhyriath is a solo band from Switzerland and is another band taking influences from Tolkien both through their cover and lyrics. This band from Switzerland offers Pagan Metal in the vein of Bran Barr and Heol Telwein. Thence once you know that you can expected mid tempo Metal songs melted with traditional folk instruments such as bombard, whistles and clear sang. The connection with the French combos is very obvious both through the uses of growling vocals that sound alike and song structures. Sometimes I feel like listening to new tunes from them, but actually not. When it comes to the production, there’s a rather good sound and a bunch of power in the recording process. The main complain will come from the lack of variations within songs and between each song too. Four tunes would have been enough as the band bits its tail in compositions.
MINOTAUR (Ger) "God May Show You Mercy…We Will Not". CD'09. 11 tracks, 39 min. I Hate.
Minotaur was one of the second, if not the third range, of German Thrash Metal bands that popped up by the mid of 80's. They released their debut album "Power Of Darkness" that had some enjoyable moments but was much more into underground than the pioneers. Twenty years latter as the Thrash Metal scene is strongely coming back with many reformation, Minotaur decided to produce their second awaited album (yeah they're still some fans and we fuck you !). But can Minotaur still Thrash now ? The answer is yes, yes and yes again !!! The 10 tunes of "God May Show Mercy….We Will Not" are pretty good German Thrash in the pure vein of the 80's but with a more modern and powerful sound. What lacked in "Power Of Darkness" (a good production) is the high light of this album. You'll find typical Kreator like interlude in a tune like "It's War". Many riffs seem to directly come from the 80's as if they were frozen in beers !!! The album is an endless violence from starting to the end, giving great headbanging moments and tunes like "Into Oblivion" or "Full Speed Ahead" are very effiscient. Sure, they haven't the same feeling and talent than Kreator, but they Thrash til death !!! The album ends with a cool WASP cover "Animal"
MISERY'S OMEN (Austr) "Hope Dies" CD'08. 10 tracks, 54 min. Worship Him.
Let me briefly introduce you to Misery's Omen first : this band features members from Ghastly and Stargazer/Cauldron Black Ram/Portal, and "Hope Dies" is their first full length. Then reading to this background we can yet assert this band has a fucking potential and features talented members. The 9 gloomy tracks from this release will prove you the Australian Metalheads can not only play Death/Black Metal but excellent depressive Doom Metal too. The opening 11 minutes track immediately brings you to a no return land of despair, an abysmal fall into your deepest part of soul to end very an emotional solo. This band goes further into the depressiveness and suicidal ideas than Shining or Forgotten Tomb, including to brutal parts in their compositions. Indeed, M.O isn't only slowing down tempo to get a lugubrious feeling. Some of their tunes sound like twisted and mad Death Metal hymns, that are here and there close to Stargazer or Portal. Celestial chants of death are calling you.
MOB RULES (Ger) "Ethnolution A.D." CD'06. 12 tracks, 51 min. SPV.
Wow a band using a Black Sabbath album as band name ? I was waiting for a kind of Doom stuff or some Heavy Metal from the 80s, but the cover didn't appeal me at all. So, I was pretty curious to discover this unknown band to me, and I happen to know this release is their 5th record. Well, after very few minutes I got bored to death with their so cheap and kitsch Power Metal, playing without any energy and ho so standard riffs. Actually I felt like have listened to their album thousands of times before earring any notes. Forget that release.
MOONSPELL (Por) "Under Satanae" CD'08. 10 tracks, 50 min. SPV
Moonspell has decided to give a new life to their early materials and re-recorded tunes from two early demos and their first MCD released by Adipocere back in 1994. I don't know the reason to publish such songs so long after, as the band changed their musically direction, but perhaps they need to cash in a bit more. Actually, when these tunes were released I was far from being convinced by their pseudo dark, vampyric approach and grandiose way of writing tunes as the compositions were fucking lame and basic. I mean there were many others combos in the early 1990 that deserved a record deal in the Dark Metal field back then, but Moonspell got the opportunity to record their tunes through Adipocere. Actually even though the production is really amazing here, giving another dimension to early Moonspell the quality isn't here, and I won't be fool enough to jump in the marketing wagon to buy this record. Only for Moonspell's fans.
MOR (Serbia) "Hram krvi I Praznine" CD'09. 7 tracks, 43 min. Forgotten Wisdom.
While listening to this album, memories from the early 90's Eastern Black Metal productions came to my mind. The time when Graveland, Infernum, WAR SS than later Maniac Butcher, Inferno, Nhaavah, Kohort, Inferno were releasing their first demo announced the birth of a new Eastern scene invading the whole Europe with new sound, a new way of playing and original arrangements. The result of this was sometimes due to the lack of means, but behind that they are some talented musicians opening the Slavic gates. Thence, while listening to the new Mor releases all these memories perfectly fits to the album reviewed here. You've the typical Eastern pattern, the mid howling mid growling vocals, background under produced drumming and homemade guitar riff that are both pretty untamed but still included some dark melodies such as in the opening track. The perfect exemple of this statement would be forth track. The whole album respects the codes early combos established 15 years ago, which means that you'll probably find many connections with early Inferno, Lucifugum and Infernum. A worth underground production.

MORBID ANGEL (Usa) "Altars Of Madness". CD'06. 51 audio min + 44 min of video. Earache.
First questions coming in my mind are : is it a need to release once more this album ? Who does not have this Death Metal masterpiece ? Because not only this 1989 LP is legendary, but it contains everything you are waiting for a Death Metal record (brutality, madness, evil melodies, haunting tracks...), and to my eyes it remains the jewel number one in that kind of Metal. The ten tracks are a perfect example of my words, all are strong and you won't find a weak one. It's great art with an architecture established on savagery, primal violence, precision and masterly construction. As in the first CD release, you get the three bonustracks that are little different mixes of "Maze Of Torment", "Chapel Of Ghouls" and "Blasphemy". But what is the difference with the first pressing ? Well, if you shouldn't know to read, it's not a CD but a dual disc which means, when you turn the disc (mind you, I am generous to teach you this), you have a dvd side including the ten tracks played live at Nottingham in November '89, filmed on the band's first European tour and that is at the same time than their first official DVD : it's about 44 minutes of magic video. So now, you have the answer if you must buy this disc or die like a faggot. Plus you will find in the booklet Trey's notes and some old promo pictures. (P)

 

MORBID INSULTER (Swe) “Thundering Evil” MLP’08. 5 tracks. I Hate.
I Hate has signed this new combo for their debut mini LP which will only be released on vinyl ! Morbid Insulter is a completely unknown band to me, but looking at the cover and band pictures on the backside of the cover we can easily guess they’re playing raw Black Metal. The 5 crushing tunes are in the pure Swedish raw B.M vein following paths of Kill, Nifelheim and Bestial Mockery. There’s an obvious Nifelheim’s feeling within the compositions, especially in the guitar lines, “Breaking The Cross” could have been a Nifelheim’s tracks. The vocals are a bit more Death Metal like than Nifelheim, a way more haunting and low. We can yet feel a real potential in this young band as their material is very well written and shows skilled fine riffs and accurate feeling. The highlight tune is “Take Me To Hell” that carries a bunch of satanic hunger nda savage furiousness. Once again, it’s an excellent discovering from I Hate Records.
MORBID SAINT (Usa) “Spectrum Of Death – Destruction System”. CD’05. 16 tracks. 65 min. Keltic.
Surprisingly, their underrated “Spectrum Of Death” 1988 album re-release as a CD. Musically, Morbid Saint sounds like a mix between old Dark Angel and old Kreator, which means their Thrash Metal is fast, intense, violent, delivered with the spirit of evil brutality. Back in the past, I founded that their album was impressive, and my thoughts haven’t changed today as songs like “Damien”, “Beyond The Gates Of Hell” or “Assassin” have passed the test of time still staying great killer tracks ! There's no fillers, the release is about thirty minutes of total musical rage with bleeding vocals. As bonustracks, you get the eight tracks of the “Destruction System” 1992 demo. Four years later, the material is a little less impressive, but the band still kills, keeping brutality and an intense rage, with a progression in the guitar’s solis department. Morbid Saint deserved more than just one LP. They were unlucky as many other bands, but at least, they left their legacy with a great album. (P)

MORTAL SIN (Aust) "An Absence Of Faith" CD'07. 10 tracks, 47 min. Armageddon.
"An Absence Of Faith" can be considered as the real come back album from this excellent combo as their previous "Out Of the Darkness" MCD hadn't any new tracks. Well, coming back in the scene and recording an album as excellent as "Mayhemic Destruction" 20 years after shouldn't be an easy task and for those who attended to a Mortal Sin's show the last past years they know how this band can still fucking kick ass. Thence, "An Absence Of Faith" is an album of modern Thrash Metal including more melodic parts and progressive ideas than previously. The band used some ideas from "Face Of Despair " but re visited them all with a new approach and a much tighter way of playing. Actually tunes such as "Tears Of Redemption" is the perfect example of how Mortal Sin now sounds, they mixed old school ideas with some melodic Thrash Metal touches and drop here and there heavy mid tempo rhythmic. The high light of this band in the 80's was the excellent vocals from Mat Maurer, and here again he really shines. Mat unique vocals give something very personal and straight in the head to Mortal Sin. Above these comments Mortal Sin also came with fucking crushing Thrash Metal hymns such as the speed "Rise Or Fall" or "Say Your Prayers". Thence to sum up this album, we can say that it's more melodic and less speed than the debut, but the result and quality are here !!!!
MORTURUS INFRADAEMONI (Ger) "Daemon Qui Facit Terram" CD'07. 50 min. Cold Dimensions.
This new combo gathers members from Lunar Aurora in their ranks, as they decided to stop their parts with the mentioned band to concentrate their energy on others musical activities. Thence, basically M.I is about B.M in a very Norwegian way. Thus said, the atmosphere and the song structures are influenced by Setherial's early works with a very grim and scolding vocal melted with some of the new Swedish bands (i.e. Ondskapt, Waitan…). Actually the key elements of this band is the atmosphere they're able to create, a very sick and nocturnal feeling, a kind of veil of darkness surrounding any empty space. Song such as "Oneris Et Actura" is the typical massive B.M hymns, conveying both mysteries and malignant riffs. Even though this kind of album has been released thousands time before, M.I is pretty good in their task and release a captivating album.
MOTÖRHEAD (Uk) "Kiss Of Death" CD'06. 12 tracks, 45 min. SPV.
I guess the writing process of this release might have been an hard task after publishing such an awesome album that "Inferno" was, as the previous release gathered such power. So, what about "Kiss Of Death" ? Well, the opening track, "Sucker", is another blasting and fast tune that could have perfectly feature in "Inferno". Then the speed slow down a bit for the other tunes from "Kiss Of Death", returning to a rather energic Rock and roll melted with Hard Rock music we're in use to with Motörhead. Actually this release is not as Metal as "Inferno" and has a much rock and roll touches, but fuck they've such anger and crushing riffs (i.e. : the opening riff from "Devil I Know"). I'm really impressed by Mikki Dee's way of drumming, he perfectly fits in Motörhead for sure, his strong sticks melted with the heavy riffs of Campbell really rip everything apart. I'd point the Lemmy's like ballad "God Was Never On your Side" that is simply majestic, this tune reminds me of "1914". All in all, even if "Kiss Of Death" is less Heavy Metal, but contains a great bunch of aggressiveness, pondering riff like in "Living In The Past". A fucking great release anyway !

MOTÖRHEAD (Uk) "Motörizer" CD'08. 11 tracks, 39 min. SPV.
Two years after "Kiss Of Death" Motörhead is back to crush some necks with fucking Heavy Metal. The 11 songs from "Motörized" may sound pretty similar to the previous album, as the band's touch is now a standard if you're seeking for a Motörhead's album. The opening track is a fucking speed and heavy one with extremely good and typical Motörhead's like riffs but what a pleasure. The following tunes are more in the heavy rock vein ("When The Eagle Screams") or even bluesy ("One Short Life") while some other tracks are still in the fast vein ("Rock Out", "Buried Alive"). The most impressing side of this band is how tight they are, I mean every tune are close to perfection both lyricwise and compositions wise. There's so much power in the way they wrote materials that the trio seems to be be the perfect match for a Heavy Metal lesson. You'll find many images from the past discogrpaphy all along the compositions of this "Motörized" as if the band buried out ideas from the 80's. While many bands from the 70's completely wimped out or sucks Motörhead look like being stronger that ever. The production is increably efficient. Cameron Webb (the produced) did an awesome job. Buy, buy, buy !!!!
MURK (Ita) "Unholy Presences" CD'08. 7 tracks, 40 min. No Colours.
Italian Black Metal scene has never been that much exiting excepted for excellent combos such as Mortuary Drape, Altar Of Perversion and Bulldozer. Actually most of B.M bands coming from this country are nothing less than copy cat of Darkthrone or Shining, Murk is also part of them. Their first opus is about old school underground Black Metal à la Judas Iscariot/Darkthone with a Graveland like vocals. The vocal is probably the element that stands against traditional voices, as they sound like a raven shriek. The main core of "Unholy Presences" is thence about standard Black Metal played with a certain skill, the tunes are pretty smooth and well arranged as they use the "conventional" song writing here. There's a slight monotonous feeling in compositions but actually I feel like something is missing. I mean in 2008, we're waiting either for excellent grim Black Metal with crushing riffs either something pretty fresh/new, this release hasn't any of them.
NARGAROTH (Ger) "Semper Fidelis" CD'07. 12 tracks, 80 min. No Colours.
Actually this album was recorded in 2001 and intended to be release as a Farwell to the scene. "Semper Fidelis" means "always faithful" and we can consider these two words are the core of the album of Nargaroth. Indeed, the 12 tracks are nothing less than pure Black Metal with a crude production and very raw guitar structures. Most of the songs are really long and remind a lot the early work of this combo, being hugely influenced by Burzum and Judas Iscariot. The depressive and misanthropic feeling is still the main key of Kanwulf's art in songs such as "Artefucked", "Der Leiermann" which once again show the image of Varg Vickerness dancing on the whole. Strangely enough the more Nargaroth records albums the more songs sound like Krieg. These two bands tend to be confused when listening to their music as production and vocals are very close. The conclusion is this album contains some very occult and angry moments but the length of the releases is an enemy of "Semper Fidelis" as songs such as "Der Satan Ist's" or "Semper Fi" are useless.
NARGAROTH (Ger) "Dead-Ication" 2008. Double DVD. No Colours.
Very few Black Metal DVDs can be labeled as milestone videos and documents, and the opportunity for Nargaroth doing a double DVD through No Colours could have been a rather intelligent way to spread one man band ideas but…. Let's start with a short description – one DVD is about live performances around Europe and the other is a (lame) rehearsal for Mexican gig. The live video are really tasteless showing a clown, a complete dick head named Kanwulf with average musicians. But the best moment is the hours of rehearsal you can attend while they're practicing a single song with such a poor drummer and guitarist. I mean fuck this band is supposed to be part of the scene since 10 years and the musicians can't even play an ultra simple song !!! Then you'll see Mr Kanwulf with a pure D.M cloth (short – tennis shoes !!) proud of getting an American car (who the fuck will care about this ???!!!). Finally, Mr Kanwulf will show all his spikes for gigs while in the everyday live he's dressed like a looser. The few respect one could have for this combo vanished after this DVD. Patethic !!
NASTROND (Swe) "Muspellz Synir" CD'08. 14 tracks, 55 min. Debemur.
"Muspells Synir" points the "return" of this mystic band to the scene just after their split with Myrkr. Nastrond has always been a unique band playing their own version of Black Metal through twisted and mentally ill compositions that can't be handed by anyone. The fourth chapter is in the same musical philosophy than their previous work but this time they went one step further. Not only the disease and wicked feeling are part of their materials but now Nastrond blend a huge heavy and oppressing touch in tracks such as "Die Sense De Die Schwarze Herbstzeitlose Mächt" or "Fenrir Prophesy". Sinister flames dance on the wall while Nastrond is playing their ritualistic Black Metal, chanting for His glory in tunes that sound like a trance (i.e. "Defiance Of The Transient"). Occult and misery take all their senses here in a deathly atmosphere. One can also find decrepitude and prime evil that are unleashed in tracks such as "Dark Fyres". Evolution of Metal music has always gone to the heaviest material possible, Nastrond has done their work now ! Buy ! Buy ! Buy !
NAZXUL (Austr) "Black Seed" CD'06. 10 tracks, 50 min. Asphyxiate.
I remember that I bought their "Totem" record when it was released but thought the band was dead now. So "Black Seed" is the re-release of their '98 EP with the addition of 2 live tunes from their previous tour. If you've never heard of this band, and if you're into weird and mad band playing B.M you must check this combo. They are a kind of very sombre, nocturnal B.M mixed with some occult concept. This band is bloody interesting both music wise and lyric wise, there's a kind of mysterious side in their music through the whispering vocals and the background synth. Keyboards develop a malignant atmosphere in their songs. Songs like "Black Seed Sown" or "Under The Sign Of Life's Living End" are among the strongest stuffs from this opus. I guess that if Nazxul would have been from Scandinavia they'd have more success. The CD ends with their 94 demo that is more common B.M Watch out for this great release !!!
NEBIROS (Ger) "Kara Satana" CD'08. 10 tracks, 37 min. No Colours.
I've never heard of this combo before, but I saw that they released 2 albums at once, this one and "Komando666" through Fallen Angel Records that is pretty weird as usually a band promote only one album. So, the 10 tracks from this full length are about nacre Black Metal with a strong 90's touch. In one hand they remind me a bit of Blasphemy and early Impaled Nazarene through the savage and uncompromising way of playing their Black Metal. Actually this is more Death/Black Metal than pure Scandinavian stuff. We can fell the "fuck off" attitude both in the production and in the guitar gain. They also have a slight Beherit touch in the guitar lines (i.e. "Testamen"). The vocals are very sick and wild, while the compositions don't offer any rest time. This album is full of blasphemic and satanic images all along the 10 tracks. Even though the result isn't that much original, this band is very convincing in their art.

NECROS CHRISTOS (Ger) "Triune Impurity Rites" CD'07. 23 tracks, 60 min. Sepulchral Voice.
In the 80's Dark Angel sang "Darkness Descends" and now in 2007 we can really say that darkness is descending with such a release. The 23 tracks of this album are divided in 3 mysterious musical cults. Each of them brings a part of darkness and rotten corpse to yours speakers. The ultra doomy way of playing melted with the underworld deathly vocals is nothing but a funeral ceremony. The band praise for last rites of Christianity through some lugubrious hymns not that much often reached. According to me, Necros Christos is one of the most original extreme band from these days as they destroy all the conventional speed and brutality of many B.M combos to mid paced, fearful tunes. They remind me a bit a kind of mix between Aeternus early MCD and debut of Deinonychus, both in the way of approaching song writing and the "freshness" of their materials. Listen to the morbid solis of "Black Mass Desecration" or mad with these twisted ideas from "Deathless In Spiritual Evil". Even though that 60 min are a bit too much, this release is awesome.

 

NECROMANTIA (Gre) "The Sound Of Lucifer Storming Heaven" CD'07. 8 tracks, 42 min. Dockyard 1.
Seven years after the release of "Malice" Necromantia strikes back. Yet their "Scarlet Evil, Witching Black" was a master piece of dark and evil Metal. This pretty famous combo (that only uses bass guitars as the core of their materials) has worked a lot to deliver the eight new tracks. The result is extremely convincing and reminds a lot the glorious "Scarlet…." era where mid tempo bass lines are melted with gloomy and nightmarish synthesisers. Their music paint an horrific theatre in which "The Magnus" pulls the strings of his puppets and brings them to the graveyard, who will survive this opus ? Tunes like "Knights Of The Black And White Eagle" and "Les Litanies De Satan" fully represent the madness behind compositions, and terrible sound tracks to prepare listener for an endless trip to inferno. One of the best release from end of 2007.
NECRO MESSIAH (Ita) "Antikerical Terroistik Death Squad" CD'07. 10 tracks, 29 min. Blasphemous Underground.
Do you want total nightmare ? Yes we want total nightmare ! Do you want fuck necro Metal ? Yes we want fucking necro Metal !!! Necro Messiah blended vitriol on their early Sodom/Kreator albums and melted them with some Gospel Of The Horns materials before recording this album. The 10 tracks smell like old fucking root Metal, using the most savage part of the 80's Thrash Metal and mixed them with the anti religious side of Black Metal. The result is a fucking devastating old school album, with a real fury and power in songs. Tune such as "Christ-Crunching Black Metal" is deathly Metal, while for instance "Terror Squad" is heavily influenced from the speed tempos of early Kreator and Whiplash. There's a total blasphemous side in every song, the band definitely plays a satanic music with strong influences from the Thrash scene.
NECROPLASMA (Swe) "My Hearse, My Redemption" CD'08. 9 tracks, 42 min. Satanic Propaganda.
This release was unleashed in 2002 as a vinyl under Sombre Records banner with a different cover. This new edition is a pretty poor one as there's no lyrics, no additional pictures, no title tracks, just a single page booklet. There's no bonus tracks too, the only interest in to get this album on CD format. Thus said, this album is in the traditional cruel Black Metal with a raw production. The 9 tracks are straight in the head without any compromises through a blur production. The drum has really a sick and underground sound that increases the necro side of their materials. Actually this album sounds much more like a demo tape than a really album recorded in a studio. All the songs are played really fast storming your mind. We can easily feel this combo comes from Sweden as they've this typical Northern touch and could reminds their mates such as Kill. Musically this album is excellent if you enjoy this kind of brutal and insane Black Metal.
NEFANDUS (Swe) "Death Holy Death" CD'09. 8 tracks, 36 min. Left Light Emanations.
Who can recall the excellent debut album, "The Nightwinds Carried Our Names" that was released in 1996 ? Thence, 13 years latter, the band finally unleashed their second full length. I don’t know if that's really serious and if we can stand by such a band that releases an album every 10 years but let's go. First of all, the design of the CD booklet is of excellent quality glossy cardboard with accurate design. What about the music ? Welcome to my nightmare, a land where no live dwells. The 8 tracks are furious Black Metal with an inch of Death Metal in the vocals. These vocals sound very hateful, spitting on the holy cross while the guitars play disturbed harmonics in the right vein of the Orthodox Swedish B.M stuffs. Here and there, Nefandus sounds a bit like the latter Abigor's materials, using in a very personal way their instruments. "Behind The Red Lotus" could be title that sums up the album, taking influences both from Dissection and Abigor then mixed them in the Nefandus' bottle. The songs are written in vitriol, bite your soul till death. We're dealing with an excellent B.M release.
NEMESIS (Ire) "Nemesis" MCD'06. 5 tracks, 25 min. Self Production.
I was expecting some kind of boring B.M but what a fucking surprise this CD is ! Just imagine fucking old school great Heavy Metal in the vein of the 80's NWOBHM !!! The 5 tunes are crushing and epic Heavy Metal hymns with great solos and tight rhythmic ! The singer is far from being a gay with his voice, he reminds me of the greatest English bands such as early Iron Maiden in the song structures while the singer could reminds a bit of Doom English bans such as Pagan Altar melted with Cloven Hoof. Actually the way of singing is very mature, and solid. You can feel this lad has hugely been influenced by bands from the United Kingdom and knows how to properly deliver lyrics with strength and balls. There's an Epic touch in their release both in the melodic ideas that would remind of battle hymn through staccato guitar lines and low tone vocals. The lyrics also deal with ancient Pagan battles from Ireland. I'm fucking impressed by this great old school Heavy Metal release, the best words can't be written, so buy this MCD before it's too late !
NERLICH (Fin) "Defabricated Process" CD'07. 8 tracks, 40 min. Old School Metal.
Here we've young playing Death Metal in the classic way, with kind of ripping guitar riffs, heavy drum work and in deep death growls. The 8 compositions could remind many of the 90's D.M releases from the glorious era, in which you could find insane harmonics, mid paced gloomy tempos and many Thrash like accelerations. The content of this release could be the perfect old school like D.M material if it was unleashed in the early 90's. Nevertheless this band knows how to deliver pure D.M and how to crush your head. Here and there this band is a bit close to Sinister. Get into some tradition song structures such as "Entity Of Sickness" or the high speed tempo "Mask Of Faceless"
NIFLHEIM (Can) "Neurasthénie" CD'06. 7 tracks, 50 min. Sepulchral.
How can a band choose Niflheim as band name while the Swedish band Nifelheim is established since nearly 20 years and plays awesome Black Metal ? Well, the 7 tracks from this release are nothing but a lame attempt at playing depressive Black Metal in the vein of the Shining's clowns or mid tempo Burzum's stuff. The result could prevent you from listening to Black Metal as this band is useless and extremely boring. You'll find nothing but boredom and amateurish music and production here.
NIRNAETH (Fra) "Thrown Athwart The Darkness" CD'06, 9 track, 33 min. Great Dane.
"Thrown…." is the first full length from the French band that comes from northern part of France. Nirnaeth has listened to all the commercial B.M releases before recording their stuff with bands such as Enthroned, Marduk, Immortal, Setherial and so on melted with the classic Vader's stuffs like. Thence, once you've this kind of information either you'll switch to another album as all the CD is nothing but music you've ever heard for too long through many other releases either you'll kill to get more as the production is pretty sharp. As for myself I found this release extremely boring, lacking of inspiration both in the vocals that sound like any other average B.M combo, the guitar sound is tasteless and the compositions are insipid (i.e. "We'll Be Victorious", how can a band record such useless tune in 2006 !!!).
NONEUCLID (Ger) "The Crawling Chaos" CD'08. 7 tracks, 42 min. Merciless.
Noneuclid is a band including 3 members from Dark Fortress who wanted to show how skilled they are with their instruments. The 7 tracks from this release are well….let's say weird Death/Thrash Metal with a strong progressive touch. In one hand they remind me some kind of later Voivod melted with late Emperor way of writing tunes. The vocals change from raspy Thrash one to strange clear voice without getting the anger of aggressive Thrash. Actually this clear vocal really got on my nerves at the end as the mix with technical and fast parts doesn't fit at all. This combo some kind reminds me of what the very later 80's Thrash Metal bands were doing while this movement was fading away, all the bands came with fucking strange and unappealing technical albums.
NON OPUS DEI (Pol) "The Quintessence" CD'06, 13 tracks, 47 min. Pagan.
I read thrilling reviews about that release on Pagan Records web site, so I was expecting some kind of very memorable album from N.O.D. Well, "The Quintessence" is about original Black Metal in the way they're not in the traditional Scandinavian B.M or the raw Polish 90's stuffs. This Polish band is more a kind of mid tempo, sometime progressive sometime more conventional B.M with some avant-garde parts such as in "Kelejny Obrot Kota". Combos such as early Borknagar, Arcturus second's release or even Blut Aus Nord's materials have probably been an influence for the most progressive guitar lines. For sure they are creative and give another color to Black Metal, a kind of new vision of this range, through almost mid tempo composition, with raspy vocals. According to me the vocals could have been better and the band could have found more enjoyable riffs as some songs sound alike all along the album. Anyway, check it if you're open minded B.M fan.
NORDAFROST (Ger) “Back To The Shores Of Grey” CD’08. 9 tracks, 47 min. Heavy Horses.
The second full length of this German Black Metal is really promising. First of all, the production is both sharp and powerful with a very great guitar gain that is midway between Black and Death Metal. Nordaforst sounds typical German Black Metal, but with a strong emphasis on song-writing quality. We can here and there feel the Swedish Black Metal influence within tunes such as the strong “Cursed Despot” that offers really great moment melting mid tempo parts with faster tempos without wimping out. Indeed, we can see that Dissection has been an influence for Nordafrost. The work on vocals helps a lot in the quality of their art, as there are raspy and hungry. In some way this combo sometimes reminds me of Ungod through their slower parts. This is definitely a great material from Germany, played by skilled musicians
NORDISK VELDE (Ger) "In Manch' Dunkler Nacht" CD'06. 10 tracks, 35 min. Christhunt.
I've never heard of this band before, but I've to admit they're rather interesting in their art. They play a grim and cold B.M that has this typical rough German touch you could found in Ungod or even in early Absurd. I think their lyrics in German help a lot to get this hateful side in their compositions. Musically most of their tunes are mid tempo, or even slow tempo to reach a moody B.M, rather solemn and oppressing. They've also developed a kind of dirty side through gain guitar and bass lines.
NUCLEAR DESECRATION (Usa) "Desecrated Temple Of Impurity" CD'08. 9 tracks, 30 min. Gasmask.
A Chris Moyen like cover, black and white design, 9 tracks clocking 30 min here are all the keys for War Metal. The first full length of Nuclear Desecration follows Sarcofago's step with a cruel, demoniac Black/Death Metal. While many bands jumped in the trend playing ultra fast War Metal, with sometime nothing less to offer than pure brutality, the Californian band comes with something more rooted in the 80's and more similar to Sarcofago than for instance Black Witchery. Some of their tunes are mid tempo and convey a very lugubrious touch such as in "Rites Of Bloodshed" or partly in "Nuclearwhore". These way of writing tunes bring "freshness" in this Metal genre that tends to be nothing less than copycat. But we can admit the compositions of Nuclear Desecration are excellent macabre, nuclear Metal, ripping the angels apart through devastating chainsaw riffs. The powerful production is another great point in this release and helps a lot the materials to sound straighter in the head. A recommended album for all nostalgic fans of Sarcofago.
NUNSLAUGHTER (Usa) "Hex" CD'07. 17 tracks, 31 min. Hells Headbangers.
I won't sum up the number of albums and 7EP NS did so far, but "Hex" is their 2007 full length and fucking kicks ass. The opening tracks is a fast NS Death Metal tune with a kind of early Impaled Nazarene like song structure. The 17 tracks are rather short (most of them running less than 2 min), but what songs ! The 90's ugly and unpolished D.M touch is still flooding NS's member veins. The vocals of Don of The Dead are fucking raspy and yell at the devils one. Songs like "Ogrish"; "Lucifer" or "No Place For The Cross" are short but effective D.M tracks conveying the real D.M feeling. I really got into "Hex" tune that is extremely powerful and really Thrash. All in all, this new opus is once again extremely good, so don't get fooled by shitty pseudo D.M combos, and buy the picture LP edition that is awesome !
OCTOBER FALLS (Fin) "The Streams Of The End" MCD'07. 4 tracks, 22 min. Debemur Morti.
This MCD is the perfect material to listen to when snow is falling and sky darken by the end of the day. The 4 tracks of forlorn Metal, with desperate trace of Black Metal melted with a Doom tempo. October Falls MCD is painting cold and endless desolate territories through their music, the tunes are very slow tempo and dark. While listening to this album one can easily feel the hardness of winter in northern Finland, where no live dwells and temperatures go down to earth. Mikko Lehto, the only lad behind this project, uses long and thrilling songs to create his own world, his own vision of how things should be. Musically October Falls sometime sounds a bit like October Tide. A descend material from Finland.
OCTOBER FALLS (Fin) "The Womb Of Primordial Nature" CD'08. 4 tracks, 38 min. Debemur.
After a very promising MCD the band returns with their first full length. There're only 4 tracks named "one to four" but they're each clocking 10 min. While the previous Metal was more "pagan" music with acoustic elements, "The Womb…" is more directed into Katatonia's lands. Indeed, the whole album has taken a new path, bringing songs into land of Dark and emotional Metal with mid tempo and a kind of symphonic touch such as in the second tune. The solitude and cold feeling are still very part of the album through nightly parts. Actually after a while this release reminds me a kind of mix between early Katatonia for the creeping mid tempo parts, Ulver through the acoustic ones and a bit Primordial in the interludes. So, with such references you can imagine this band plays a quality Metal with a strong emphasis on the harmonies. . The beautiful is melted to the suffering here.
OLD WAINDS (Rus) "Death Nord Kult" CD'08. 8 tracks, 36 min. Debemur Morti.
This combo comes from Murmansk, the famous Russia town that led soldiers dying in submarine deep in a cold waters. Once you know that and even though there's no links between Old Wainds and these dead soldiers, you can expect a cruel side in such a release. The 8 tracks combine here the cold and freazing Russian feeling through very aggressive tunes. Even though the band is rooted in old school Black Metal (we can definitely see connections with early Gorgoroth and Darkthone through many ideas), Old Wainds uses a lot the retro thrashing riffs in a much more tortured way than most bands. Beware, I'm not spkeaing old Bay Area Thrash riffs here, but more some kind of blackened thrash riffs such as in "Bloodstained". Obvioulsy the band writes Russian lyrics to increases the cold side of their music, as the Eastern language sounds really barbaric in such music. The result is really of excellent quality and in some respects the band also reminds me of the excellent Czech band Avenger. Check this release, it's impossible to be disappointed.
ONIRIK (Por) "Spectre" CD'07. 9 tracks, 43 min. Nightmare.
Onirik is a one man band Black Metal project. Musically it's a tortured version of Black Metal, with a siren like background guitar and shrieks here and there. The drum seems to be done through a drum machine. The mix of instruments is ugly, the vocals hides all the music. Now, when it comes to the interest of this release, it reaches zero as the sound is fucking horrible, the compositions sound all alike. It sounds much more like a children project than anything serious.
ORDENDA (Bul) "Back In The Grave" CD'06. 6 tracks, 45 min. No Colours
Not many bands come from Bulgaria, I don't know if it's due to the lack of financial means or lack of interest in Metal. So, Orenda's field is into traditional B.M played in the Norwegian way, very influenced by Darkthrone, Judas Iscariot and Nargaroth. They have the traditional twisted riffs that convert you to the darkest ideologies. Their songs are rather long, displaying the same riffs played on and on to get to typical mad feeling, and sick atmosphere. The vocals are very row and seem to come from the underworld. The arrangements and the songs are quality B.M, without any hole in their tunes. The only draw back would be the lack of originality, as Orenda plays a great B.M without being outstanding. You can find some very intense tunes in many other previous B.M albums.
ORENDA (Bul) "The Funeral" CD'07. 4 tracks, 34 min. No Colours.
Only one year after the release of their debut album Orenda strike back with another full length containing 4 new tracks. This time, their style is a bit more personal and doesn't sound so much like Norwegian B.M. I'd say they slide a bit more into the depressive field with extremely long and melancholic tunes. The use of very long and repetitive riffs gives a suicidal mood to their hymns, or at least a pretty depressing one. The vocals are also extremely monotonous and carry the bells of hell with them. The only draw back with this new opus is the lack of variation within the riffs. Actually the 4 songs seem like a very long song. As the album isn't very long, the result is really interesting and bring more pain than you could even expect : the shortest the better !!!!
PAGAN ALTAR (UK) "Lords Of Hypocrisy". CD 05. 9 tracks, 51 min. Oracle Productions.
This is the second CD from this British Heavy Doom legend. It would have been a real shame if the jewels created by this band who was here at the beginning of the NWOBHM stayed on some lost tapes. It's not easy to describe their music in a review because Pagan Altar is unique. Let's give some information saying it's dark, melodic, captivating, mystic, and still original after more than twenty years passed before they recorded it officially. That's Metal magic destined to stay eternal. As in the first CD, Terry Jones' vocals again sounds like this strange cross between Ozzy Osbourne and Mark Shelton. But the conclusion remains the same : there is no word to tell how fucking brilliant the music played by Pagan Altar is. Genius is rare, and you won't often get an album like this one in your records collection. (P)

PAGAN ALTAR (UK) "Judgement Of The Dead". LP 05. 8 tracks. Black Widow.
This is the official vinyl release from the 1982 recordings that was supposed to be Pagan Altar first LP, but it didn't happen at the time. A real shame, because this band would have gain the recognition they deserve. The obscure Pagan Altar is the master of Heavy Doom with occult atmospheres. The musicianship is one of the high level I have ever heard, but I guess the fact they were often on stage at the beginning of their career is one of the reasons. Truth is they are very talented in what they pen and play. When you listen to their songs, you really can feel the doom invading your soul. Since I discovered them with the "Vol 1" CD, Pagan Altar has become my favourite Doom band. With this LP comes a 48 pages book explaining the Pagan Altar's story and all the mystery behind this band. If you don't know them, but bands like Black Sabbath, Pentagram or Angel Witch are in your tastes, don't fear to discover the genius of Pagan Altar ! (P)

 

PAGAN RITES (Swe) "Pagan Metal" 9 tracks, 34 min. No Label.
These 9 tracks are collection of different tunes that should appear on many 7EP and also be gathered on a CD. The more I listen to Pagan Rites, Autopsy Torment and Devil Lee Rot the less I can find differences between each band and some of their tunes could fit to any of these combos. Pagan Rites is perhaps a bit more linked to the old school B.M than the other bands, sounding rather dark and frightening through some mid tempo tracks such as "Unholy Ancient War". The vocals are still fucking grim and ripping, while the chainsaws are rather crude. The high line track of the CD is probably "Pagan Metal" that sums up so well the concept of this Swedish band : raw Black/Thrash Metal. Fans of raw Black and roll Metal will feast the arrival of any Pagan Rites's stuffs as they're pretty crushing in their art.

PALE DIVINE (Usa) "Cemetery Earth" CD'07. 10 tracks, 61 min. I Hate
"Cemetery Earth" is yet the third release of this American trio, and as the two previous releases had great reviews I was wondering what could Pale Divine offer us. Thence the hour of this CD is about great Doom Metal in the vein of St Vitus and Trouble, which means slow Doom Metal with oppressing parts such as in "The Traveler", but can also perform faster Heavy / Doom tunes such as the excellent "Fire And Ice" that really sounds like a Candlemass tune by the way. The chanting vocals of Grieg Diener play a great role in the epic direction of the band. His vocals could remind Trouble's one here and then, you know this low and rocking clear voice ! Some tight solos are blended here and there, with a warm guitar gain. So Pale Divine is in the traditional vein of Doom Metal, I could mention hundreds of bands as influence, but the most important is that these American Doomer come with a private way of interpreting this musical range. Check this release for sure !!!
PEST (Swe) "Rest In Morbid Darkness" CD'08. 9 tracks, 50 min. Season Of Mist.
With the changing label from No Colours to Season Of Mist one could think the studio budget would explode and would give a very polish Black Metal release. Not at all !!!! This release has a demo/rehearsal production, in its cruder way than reminds me a lot the early Nifelheim's album. The music is completely necro, insane and cursed; we can feel that Pest dropped their melodious side they have in they debut album for something cruder with twisted interlude à la Nifelheim (i.e. "Blessed By Hellfire"). The nine hymns are of pure violence and blasphemy, with a mad touch and uncontrolled way of delivering the riffs. Thence if you're looking for something primitive and raw this CD is perfect. The only bad point is that this release sounds too much like Nifelheim actually, but in the other hand "Rest In Morbid Darkness" stands against all the previous Pest's materials.
POISON (Ger) "Further Down Into the Abyss" CD'06. 12 tracks, 71 min. Iron Pegasus.
I'm not the kind of Metalhead who sucks band cock, but Poison is one of the few underground band that was above many others. First of all, they really deserved credit back in the 90's with their astonishing and revolutionary Black/Thrash Metal. These lads from Germany came with something unique, a kind of completely sick dark Thrash Metal, that sometime reaches the borderline of D.M and sometime of B.M. They were fucking bestial and satanic, just imagine a mix between early Slayer, Bathory and Venom. I think that could be the best review to describe their music to someone who never heard of them. So, Poison released only one full length "Into The Abyss" in 1993 that is fucking hard to find, but what masterpiece. The 12 songs from this CD are taken back from their early demo tape "Into The Abyss" and different live sessions and rehearsals. Argh, just listen to the furious "Lurking Fear" or "Alive (Undead)" live version, you're blown away. These Metalheads were genius, the Thrashing riffs sound so dark and untamed, the vocals so wild and the drumming is nothing but hammer. Actually this band mixed the 80's Bay Area ideas with more Europe riffing conception and the result is amazing. Even though the CD only contains raw tunes, the sound is rather good for rehearsal and live gigs. Buy, buy, buy or fuck off you're dead !

PRIMAL DAWN (Ire) "Zealot" MCD'06. 4 tracks, 16 min. Auto Prod.
Is the Irish Metal scene turning into violent stuffs suddenly ? I was in used to listened to typical Irish sound through Primordial, Cruachan, Waylander then all of a sudden Sol Axis stroke with a blasting Black/Death Metal and now Primal Dawn is following them. The 4 tracks from "Zealot" are about brutal Black/Death Metal, that sometimes reach the border line of War Metal scene with some grinding tempos, furious scolding vocals and chaotic guitar riffs. There's something in their sound that reminds me Thrash Metal, even though with are far from 80's scene. Primal Dawn is a bloody bulldozer, hammering your ears till death, there's not even a slice of melodious idea here !! Fans of brutal stuff rush to this MCD and support this Irish band; they deserve it !
PROFANATICA (Usa) "Profanatitas De Domonatia" CD'07. 10 tracks, 40 min. Hells Headbangers.
Finally Paul Lednay awakes his demonic baby, his own Damien that shacked the Metal planet in the early 1990 with their cruel Black Death Metal. Profanatica is back, and after so many delays, promised for a full length since ages that was supposed to be released on sooo many labels; "Profanatitas De Domonatia" is finally released ! Thus American band gave us a bone to lick in 2002 through a 7EP that was extremely disappointing, but now things changed. Yet the first tune reminds you this fucking blasphemous Death/Black Metal from the early days of this movement. Profanatica is not looking for melodies, cool riffs and grim atmosphere. No it's simply a huge musical chaos, something extremely raw and evil. Lednay vocals are ugly, terrible and terrific, like a demon chanting for his glory. We can feel the mentally insane lads behind the compositions, feasting for his return through excellent songs like "A Fallen God, Dethrone In Heaven" or "Pallid Savior". Profanatica uses exactly the same receipt than their early materials and it's fucking efficient. Forget all the so called depressing bands and brutal B.M faggots. Profanatica are the king of hell, the supremacist in violent music, period ! This is an album to get in discography among Sadistik Exekution, Beherit, and Archgoat. Buy it or fuck off !
QRUJHUK (Korea) "Triumph Of The Glorious Blasphemy" CD'06. 9 tracks, 42 min. Nerbilous.
Ok, the single member from Infinite Hatred has decided to release plenty solo projects all as bad possible. This time he changed the name, but forgot to evolve musically through the production, after Infinite Hatred fear Qrujhuk. What will be his next crap ?
RAM (Swe) "Forced Entry" CD'05. 10 tracks, 45 min. Black Path.
I discovered this band at Wacken as a German guy I hanged with had a patch of Ram and I asked him if it was a good band, he answered me "they kick ass". Thence, as soon as I returned home I was seeking on the net for their label and asked for a promo CD and here we are. The German guy was right, this band is fucking brilliant, but what are they fucking playing ? Well, even though they come from Sweden they terribly sound like Judas Priest's twin guitars, this very British way of sounding you know. They songs are both accurate and tight as all the 80's N.W.O.B.H.M did (Saxon, Maiden, Satan, Blitzkrieg and so on). The singer reminds me a lot Blumi from Metal Inquisitor, this pretty unique way of singing that is sooo rooted in the Heavy Metal marks. Here and there I found some similarity with Halford. The vocalist Oscar real did a great job here, bringing a powerful voice and colour to each song, and branded them with a vintage touch for sure. Actually the first song "Shadowman" isn't that much appealing, but all the other tunes are real of great quality, just check the second one "Sudden Impact" that is a mix between classic Heavy Metal with a typical Tipton's solo melted with Power Metal. Last but not least, the drummer hammers his drum kit with a skilled way. I'd point the production that is perfect for this kind of release, both clear and strong. Son of Oz and Spitefire have recorded a jewel here !
RAVENSTHORN (USA) "The Haunted House Of The Possessed". DLP 05. 18 tracks. Hellion.
US Power Metal strikes again ! Explosive rhythmic, ripping guitar-work, possessed like high-pitched vocals are in the program. You are on line with a blitzkrieg coming from the depths of the dark. The lyrics deal with horror and occultism. Their metal is traditional, but contains the demon's fire and unleashes hell through the speakers of your stereo. It's always a pleasure to discover a band like this one that is in the shadow of the so-called scene. Disc 1 is "Hauntings And Possessions" the 2004 album and disc 2 is "House Of The Damned" the 2002 album. They show the band would be able to create a gorgeous album in the future, because they have a real potential by hearing the very good material of their first two records. (P)
REIGN IN BLOOD (Ger) "End All Spiritual Sacred Lies !" MCD'07. 4 tracks, 19 min. Miriquid.
Wow what could we expect from a band using a Slayer title album ? First of all it's not 80's Thrash Metal at all, but more savage Black Metal and it's far from competing with any of the Ancient glorious Thrash scene. The 4 tunes display an angry and excited Black Metal full of speed riffs and aggressive rhythmics. Thus said, the main key of this release if for sure the high pitched vocals that remind me of Deinonychus and a little bit of early Katatonia. Reign In Blood is heavily influenced by the Scandinavian B.M scene for sure, but I'd rather compare them with the second B.M zone than anything else. Indeed, even though the production fits to their style, their songs lacks of memorable riffs, crushing breaks. Once the MCD is finished you can hardly remember a single riff, and it's a real shame here. The tunes sound all alike and nothing stands against the previous riffs. This combo hardly needs to find more exiting riffs otherwise they'll be part of the forgotten releases in few weeks.
REPUGNANT (Swe) "Epitome Of Darkness" CD'06. 10 tracks, 44 min. Soulseller.
Woaw, when listening to this release, I feel like coming back in the 90's Swedish D.M area, when all the bands were fucking awesome, playing mad and evil D.M, with such an obscure feeling !! So, for those who know this combo may know Repugnant has yet released a great MLP "Hecatomb" and guitar player was also playing in Revokation that did an excellent demo tape. Anyway, the 10 tracks from "Epitome Of Darkness" are nothing but pure fucking D.M in the Swedish vein, completely insane and ripping, here and there we can feel the early Morbid Angel's touch ("Voices Of The Dead"). The roaring vocals are some of the highlight point of this band, even though we mustn't forget to mention the work on guitars and drum. I'm fucking freak of their guitar sound reminding me of early Entombed/Dismember. If you're into Kaamos and all that kind of D.M you have to buy this release because this is really a masterpiece of D.M. I wish more bands would be able to deliver such quality Metal !!!!
RESISTANCE (Fra) "Bang Your Fucking Skull" CD'08. 10 tracks, 46 min; Emanes Metal.
Here we've something pretty seldom coming from France : 80's Thrash Metal !! So we're dealing with new and fresh combo releasing their first full length on a new and dynamic French label !! The 10 tracks from this album are about German like Thrash Metal in the vein of the underground 80's scene melted with some epic ideas. The songs smell like beer and sweat, they're trapped into the vintage production and die-hard feeling of pure Metal from the underworld. Resistance is based in the eastern part of France and we can easily feel influences from the German combos in every song, in the way of delivering the riffs and also in the pretty blur production. Here it's the only negative point on this production as it lacks a bit of power but this is far from destroying their music. The French combo knows how to get a catchy tune, with a singer that sometimes reminds me of Big Boos from Root. You know this kind of low and "male" strong vocals. The guitar and drum parts are also really great if you consider the band is rather young. Finally the band covers Manilla Road, "Necropolis" with a real class and talent. Resistance have a potential and according to me their second full length will seriously kicks some asses. Buy the LP edition that contains a poster !!!
REVELATION OF DOOM (Pol) "Shemhamforash" CD'07. 9 tracks, 37 min. Pagan.
Revelation Of Doom has yet been reviewed in the paper Franang zine format as a split with Throneum. Actually "Shemhamforash" is the second full length from this devastating Death Metal band. The 9 tracks of ROD are hugely influenced by the most extreme bands from the scene, while listening to this release we feel like Blasphemy and Immolation met here to record this opus. The 9 tracks are fucking brutal but also convey a large part of darkness and malevolent sickness within the atmosphere of the album. The raspy vocals unleash a total storm over the tracks through wicked lyrics. If you're into real and brutal Death Metal, and if you're fed up with conventional Vader or traditional US bands, check this fresh but devastating satanic combo !
RIDE FOR REVENGE (Fin) "The King Of Snakes" CD'07. 10 tracks, 34 min. Northern Heritage.
Wow this band is incredibly original ! While many bands tried to following the Xasthur path or the DSO way some guys in Finland decided to come back to the root of the extreme music, detune their instruments and re invent this style. "The Kind Of Snake" is a travel into the deepest whirlwinds of darkness and madness. The core of their tunes is like a trance in which you'll turn mad if you're looking for any rationality. Imagine this band like a mix between Thergothon, early Beherit and Archgoat with an obscure voice echoing the chant of mankind death. Ride For Revenge will be one of the heaviest and slowest Black Metal combo for sure and one of the weirdest when it comes to song structures. Check this release but you can't stay the same
after !

RIMFROST (Swe) "A Frozen World Unknown" CD'06. 5 track, 38 min. No Colours.
Wow, that's a fucking great discovering !!! I'm sometimes wondering why Sweden can offer so many great releases these days being Death Metal, Black Metal or simply Heavy stuffs… Anyway, Rimfrost is about quality Black Metal played in a very intelligent way and a bloody nocturnal feeling. Just imagine a mix between some late Immortal songs, Meggido's way of playing and early Hades technique. So, know you can understand why I love so much that record and I find it crushing. Rimforst's found the way to play aggressive songs without using the stupid blast beast, I'd even say they have a kind of very melancholic way of delivering tunes. Beware, I'm not talking about shitty melancholy that is about crying on a tombstone to show how depressive you are, they convey a strong and hateful way of being melancholic through mid tempo guitar lines ! Actually I feel like Rimfrost sounds like if Immortal wouldn't have wimp out, these Swedish dudes have really written something unique and strong in this over-saturated and boring B.M scene. Can't you feel the anger through "At The Mighty Halls They'll Walk" ? Awesome.

 

RISE AND SHINE (USA) “Empty Hand”. 10 tracks, 47 min. CD’11. I Hate.
I happened to know that “Empty Hand” is the fourth album of these Swedish doomsters, but unfortunately I’ve never heard any of their previous release. Even though the band is hailing from Sweden they’re very few similarities with their other mattes from overthere. Indeed, this band isn’t really influenced by Candlemass, Grand Magus or Funeral. The root of “Empty Hand” is much more in the 70’s stuffs like Pentagram, Trouble or The Obsessed. The songs are pretty calm, with a strong 70’s groove and old school harmonies (i.e. : listen to “In The Arms Of Death”). The female vocals done by Josabeth Leidi gives a smooth touch and a kind of sweetness, even though her vocals are not high pitched. Actually I feel like their music seems to perfectly feeling to bikers and old heavy metal heads. But don’t get me wrong, we’re not dealing with out dated music !!


RISING DUST (Fra) "1" LP'08. 7 tracks, 44 min. Emanes Metal.
Once again this album is the re-release from "1" album that was unleashed under Final Chapter Records as a CD-album. I've never heard this band before and despite a rather average cover design this album hides some quality Doom Metal materials. After reading song titles such as "Hell Of Witchfinder", "Doom Revelation" or "Ride With The Dragon" and listening to the whole stuff we can definitely assume this French combo is rotted into 80's Doom Metal music. Indeed, they follow the step of The Obsessed, Trouble and Count Raven for sure, delivering talentuous Doom Metal hymn with a strong 70's influences both in the sound and in the vocals. Actually, what is pretty impressing is that they can write tunes with a "rather" modern production that sounds like something buried since the 70's. For instance "Don't Burn The Witch" carries all the standards of a great 70's Doom track, while the vocals are a bit raspy. A new MLP is scheduled through Emanes Metal Records and I'm pretty anxious to know how new tracks from this great combos might sound, but don't wait and see get this LP while !!!!


RISING DUST (Fra) "Taste Of Fire" MCD'08. 4 tracks, 22 min. EmanesMetal.
After the re-release of their debut album EmanesMetal records kept the deal with the French Doom combo and unleashed a 4 tracks mini album which features 2 new tracks ("Song For The Glory" and "Rock Suicde") plus 2 covers : Forever My Queen" from Pentagram and "Iron Horse/Born To Lose" from Motörhead. The opening track is really an excellent work of pure 70's Doom Metal conveying all the old school feeling and energy you could expect from this scene. The song is really well written, without any gap nor boring riff. The covers are also really convincing in the way they sound Rising Dust-like, especially the Motörhead tune. It's a shame there're only 2 new tracks from this French combo, because they've a great potentiel when it comes to writing 70's Doom Metal mateials. Rising Dust is rotten in this kind of Metal from riffs to productions and vocals !
RITUAL STEEL (GER) "Blitz Invasion". LP '05. 9 tracks. Hellion.
This review comes a little late, but this LP deserves some lines. One of the first things I noticed in the first listenings is that the musicianship improved. As consequences, the band gained more effectiveness and power in their epic Metal. In addition they tend to have their full identity which is a plus to be distinctive from other bands. This album is epic, heavy, powerful, melodic, it is the four most important ingredients for that kind of Metal. But when they are played with the fire of passion, the result is a killer album. There is a track called "La Division De Fer", and Sascha Maurer sings it entirely in French language. He has a strong accent, but he did a good job to be understandable. You will also find a bonus track with the live version of "Liquid Steel" (studio version was the b-side of their 2001 7'' single). This record is un-trendy and an present for those which still have the flame burning for Metal. (P)
ROOT (Czech) "Casilda" MCD'07. 5 tracks, 26 min. Shindy.
Wow, fuck I've been fan of this band since their early LP and really think this band is extremely original as they can astonished and surprised you with any of their works. Well, that MCD let me speechless and for sure surprised me. Let's me explain you : the 5 tracks here are a Jimy Hendrix' cover "Little Wing", a Beatle's cover ("Strawbery Fields") and old tune from "The Temple In The Underworld" album that is "Casilda's" played with 3 cellos and a drum, followed with the same tune as stringed quintet version. These two different versions are completely useless according to me. Finally the MCD ends with a new song "Human" that is definitely the most interesting tune from "Casilda", even though this is far from being the better Root's tune. So, the result is extremely disappointing for such a band and rather hopeless, who cares to know that Root can plays Hendrix or Beatle covers ?
ROOT (Czech) "Daemon Viam Invenient" CD'07. 13 tracks, 49 min. Shindy.
After the very disappointing MCD, I feared that Root was lost for ever. No way, the 13 fucking blasting tunes from this excellent and original combo are nothing less than killer. Root has always been a surprising band, playing Metal with a personal touch and a unique approach. From the classic "Hell Symphony" to the weird "Kärgeräs" Root is nearly impossible to foresee. The best way to describe this release would be to say that Root play original Dark Metal, with the typical low clear vocal from Big Boss, through powerful and avantgardish compositions. Here and there I found some influences from Master's Hammer such as in tune like "Human". On the other hand, Big Boss has kept some ideas from the early days of the band through ultra fast and Black Metal tracks like "Who're They ?". Thence this album contains more much variation than in "Black Seal" for instance. Finally, this album is really another jewel from this awesome band and offers something not so common in the Metal scene : quality and originality.
ROOT (Czech) "Hell Symphony" CD'08. 15 tracks, 59 min. I Hate.
I Hate Records took up the opportunity to re-release this excellent album as a CD format with 5 bonus tracks, while the vinyl edition has also been reprinted through Kneel Before The Master's Throne Records in 2007. For those who know this band and this release yet, I'll invite them to order this edition that contains 2 studio bonus tracks ("The Oath" and "Satan's March") and 3 live tunes taken from different shows. Reviewing this awesome album 18 years after the first offical release would be pretty easy, and saying that this album was ahead in time isn't a secret. Indeed, Big Boss's low vocal, the darkness created through the guitar riffs and the hellish drumming were completely new and original back in the early 90. This album had a complete satanic and obscure atmopshere you could find in Acheron's demo. Thence, the Czech band's second release was something new and fresh and still is. Not many combos are able of such album melting ugly Thrash riffs, with Death/Black Metal ideas. The darkness and blackness are realy part of this opus (i.e. "Lucifer" or "Adtaroth"). Listen to "Leviathan" carrefuly and you'll find the early B.M riffs there were so much used by Norwegian combos and bands such as Judas Iscariot later ! The album is a full chapter of darkness.

ROOT (Czech) "Zjeveni" CD09. 16 tracks, 54 min and "The Temple Oif The Underworld". CD'09. 15 tracks, 61 min I Hate Records.
Here we have a new re editon from this exceptional Czech combo. Indeed, Root started 20 years ago with various demos and got the Western Europe Metalheads attention during the 90's B.M wave thanks to Vikcerness as he stated Root was one of his influence and took several ideas from them. "Zjeveni" was the first full length of the combo offering a rough Death Metal colored by a strong satanic imagerie, obscure riffs and straight production. Root's first album was pretty original and different from the others 90's albums, bringing some "fresh" ideas through very dark and satanic compositions. The band kept on their career and recorded their third album "The Temple Of The Underwold" that would assert the Root's trademark as well with the previous opus "Hell Symphony". Indeed, "The Temple…" is much more obscure and frightening than the the previous materials as Big Boss' voice (vocals) alternates between harsh and clear sang. These vocals did a great part in the way of Root recorded their music turning this band into something unique and excellent. Root was the perfect links between the 80's Thash Metal combos that were slow fading away and the new Black/death satanic trend. All the three first albums have been re edited by I Hate Records, with many bonus tracks and better sound. I'll highly recommand to listen to the whole discography of this combo and buy these 3 new productions because Root can astonishes you for sure !
ROOT (Czech) "The Book" CD'08. 15 tracks, 63 min. I Hate.
This is the second re-release of Root's album from the Swedish label I Hate Records, and according to their web site they'll reprint all the back catalogue from this legendary Czech band in future. But let's speak about "The Book", the album that concerns this review. "The Book" was originally released by Red Black in 1999 and contained 11 trakcs. It was a turning point in Root's career, just after "Kärgeräs" that sounded very epic and in the complete opposition to what Root was used to playing. Indeed, the album was keeping on in the "Kärgeräs" epic vein, but with strongest arrangements and atmpsohere. For the second time, the band was blending some kind of Bathory's like epic touch in their music, without sounding Viking or Scandinavian. That's the highest advantage of this release, Big Boss and Co. successed in recording something new, atmospheric but without betraying themsleve or being a Quorthon's copy cat. Their 11 original tracks are something unique when in comes to dark feeling, haunting vocals without using blast beats. I Hate Recorded added 4 bonus tracks on this re-release : 2 demo versions of "Lykorian", one of "Corabeu" and a pre production of "The Curse". The band has never been largely welcomed in Western Europe, and still is pretty confidential, that's a real shame. Let's hope that will be a new opportunity for Root.

RUINS (Austr) "Cauldron" CD'09. 7 tracks, 40 min. Debemur Morti.
"Cauldron" is the second effort from this combo from Tasmania, as I haven't heard the previous album I won't do any comparison between each album. The 7 tracks displayed here in the Scandinavian B.M vein, through occult vocals, strong dark melodies that could remind many of the Swedish B.M bands and some D.M elements. "Cauldron" is a hateful pact with darkness, invoking an untamed wildneress. Stronglely enough there aren't any sign of the famous Aussy scene, as the combo is playing more "traditional" B.M with an inch of DM that could reminds some ideas of early Vader (i.e. "Hanged After Being Blinded"). The song quality is obvious here, and some original ideas are part of the materials, but nevertheless this release isn't the most original album recorded. Anyway, if you're into harsh but listenable B.M, with an emphasis of dynamic riffs Ruins is for you.