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SABATAN (Spa) “Fire Angel”. CD ’05. 12 tracks. 61 min. Self-financed.
Formed in 95’ and after struggling in the underground scene for years, this Spanish band is at least able to release its debut album. Here we deal with straightforward and traditional Heavy Metal inspired mainly by Judas Priest and old Iron Maiden. Singer Miguel Corte Real has a good vocal range, but I found his clear vocals lack a little of power. Sabatan have capacities in the song-writing department and know how to play real Heavy Metal, however there is nothing awesome in this album. They can be heavy, effective, straight in the face, but there is not this little plus to outstrip them from the other bands. So for the moment they offer a nice CD full of good old Heavy Metal that is pleasant for Metal ears. The production is very decent for a self-release. (P)

SACRED STEEL (Ger) “Live Blessings”. DCD'05 97 min. Massacre.
It’s time for their first official live recording. They play the best tunes from their five albums (“Tonight The Witches Ride”, “Carnage Rules The Fields Of Death”, “True Iron Force Of Iron Glory”, “Master Of Thy Fate”, “The Rites Of Sacrifice”, “Metal is War”, “Blood On My Steel”…), without forgetting the fucking classics that are “Wargods Of Metal”, “Slaughter Prophecy” or “Heavy Metal To The End” which is definitely one of the best Metal hymns written in the nineties. I would just have preferred “Lust For Blood” instead of the average “Stormhammer”. That is really a live album of authentic Metal tunes, with the deep roots in the American Metal (Heavy, Power, Speed and early Death at times) of the eighties. The DVD includes the concert plus some bonus : tracks recorded live in 97-98 in the bootleg way, plus an hilarious parody (more of Metal and alcohol spirit) of the “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene from the stupid movie “Wayne’s World”. If you don’t know Sacred Steel, “Live Blessings” will be the good choice to start with them, considering the nice price that this release, and there is value for money ! The band is currently recording their new album (to be out at the end of ’06) with producer Harris John.(P)
SACRILEGIOUS IMPALEMENT (Fin) "S/T" MCD'08. 4 tracks, 25 min. Blasphemous Underground.
This is the first work of this pretty new combo from Finland and the less we can say is that this MCD is a fucking crushing material. Just imagine that you're mixing the best from Darkthrone, the best from Horna and from Sorhin then you get Sacrilegious Impalement. The tunes are both obscure and malign with nocturnal vocals and abrasive riffs. The four hymns are nothing less than pure hate and darkness through a quality production that sound old school. Sacrilegious Impalement is able of writing sinister and furious parts without playing at full speed tempo but prefers to concentrate on real madness. This is a worth piece of nihilist Black Metal.

 

SATAN (UK) "Live In The Act". DoLP 05. 13 tracks. TPL.
This is the release of the 1983 live recording at the Dynamo Club in Holland. The audience is receptive, and it apparently seems that Holland was the country where there were the most loyal and devoted Metalheads to Satan. It won't be a revelation to say that Satan era '83 was one of the best bands from the NWOBHM. But it's obvious they were very inspired and had a big ability for penning songs that are hard-hitting right between the eyes. The music is forceful, crushes your bones, and is able to haunt your mind. Brian Ross is a vocalist hero, all the conviction that he put when singing allowed him to create magnificent vocals. Theirs songs have become magical rituals and Satan was a solid root for the coming waves of Thrash/Death/Black Metal. The sound of this live double album is not high quality, but I don't mind because it's a real live with all that you can expect from an amazing metal band. "Live In The Act" is the perfect chapter completing an awesome studio chapter titled "Court In The Act". (P)

 

SATANIC FUNERAL (Usa) "Night Of The Goat" CD'07. 10 tracks, 33 min. Non Compos Mentis.
Members from Vrolok, Mord decided to join their forces to pay tribute of old brutal Death/Black Metal from the 90's. The obvious influences are Beherit, early Impaled Nazarene and Von, the band even cover Beherit "Unholy Pagan Fire". Thence this record has a very crude production, I'd even say a shitty production with rather ugly guitar gain and poor drum sound. Actually I don't see any interest in this release as so many bands had always recorded Beherit like album without any success. There's nothing new here, it's just about playing the same riffs that appeared in classic and "cult" albums from the 90's, so where the point ? The band members should really focus on their main band than playing in thousand of combos of average interest.
SATANIC WARMASTER (Fin) "Revelation" MCD'07. 4 tracks, 22 min. No Colours.
Satanic Warmaster is an extremely productive combo and even though some of the materials are not top quality, the Finish combo hold the black flag high and proud. This new MCD is probably yet one of the best release from Satanic Warmaster. The 4 tunes are simply majestic grim black Metal with a real black aura within the compositions. Each song is perfectly constructed to annihilate any piece of hope and to prey the grand master of darkness. The work of vocals is also to be pointed here, as the raspy voice is powerful. Actually this mini album reminds a lot of the early "Black Katharsis" both musically and in quality. The last tune "The Sign of The Master" sounds a lot like a Bathory tune, "Chariot Of Fire" actually. Nevertheless, this MCD brings you back to the glorious days of awesome Black Metal, with real anger and satanic feeling. Excellent !

SATHANAS (Usa) "Flesh For The Veil" MCD'07. 6 tracks, 23 min. Pagan.
Are you fed up with all the Eastern D.M bands sounding like Vader and recording nothing but pure speed tunes without any anger ? Are you looking for a great and old school Death Metal combo that could remind you the early untamed and aggression of Possessed or Morbid Angel ? Thence you might jump to this MCD as Sathanas is a fucking old band from USA that hasn't betrayed their root and play diabolic Death Metal with a strong Thrash Metal touch. The 6 tunes unleash chaos and antichristian riffs, smashing your face with their utterly evil vocals and malignant bass sound. They smell like old fucking rotten corpses, grinding your soul with devastating solis. Listen to the pounding "Reign Of The Antichrist" song with the tormenting main guitar riff. This is definitely one hell of a great Death Metal release !

 

SAURON (USA) "Thrash Assault" CD'06. 7 tracks, 28 min. Blackened Moon.
"Thrash Assault" !! with such a title we can easily guess this band plays old school Thrash Metal. Is their music worth headbanging at least ? Actually yes at 200 %, even though this band plays nothing but 80's Thrash Metal in the vein of early Sodom, Kreator with a bunch of Dark Angel influences, that is not really original, they know how to sound root and untamed. The song structure is extremely efficient, really pounding Metal, full of speed guitar riffs without any resting time. The work on guitars and vocals are the highlight points of this release, as the singer has a rough voice. The drumming is a bit below what could be expected in such a band, as drum much be crunching in Thrash Metal combo. Anyway, that's a worth release to check !!!! They end the CD with a "Total Death" cover taken from a rehearsal take.

SAURON (Hol) "The Channeling Void" CD'07. 8 tracks, 45 min. Carnal.
This third release proves that Sauron is now a serious band that stands for a B.M music without any compromise. The 8 hellish blasphemes unleashed here are without any doubts something of pure aggressiveness and fast riffing. Indeed, for start to end Sauron plays deliberately with a savage rhythm, using the blast beats on every song, which sometimes deserve them a bit actually. Sauron sounds like a mix between early Dark Funeral and Waitan, and more precisely they play what Dark Funeral should have played now if they hadn't wimped out. Their compositions are fuelled with hatred and ultra thundering vocals melted with a storming guitar wall. The clear and crystal production really helps this release to get good points here even though their music isn't that much fresh.

 

SAVIOURS (Usa) "Into Abaddon" CD'08. 7 tracks, 40 min. Kemado.
I've never heard of this combo before and saw that this is their second effort and behind a pretty unappealing cover and inlay card design a jewel is hidden. Indeed, if you get forget the art work and play the CD you'll listen to something really excellent. The 7 tracks from this American combo unveil Doom Metal with an epic touch. The opening track will immediately reminds you early Black Sabbath with a massive, detuned and modern sound. Thence all along this opus you'll cross the epic side through staccato guitar riffs that are close to Manilla Road and even some Pentagram's ideas. The production is tight and crystal clear but the guitar and drum haven a kind of old fashioned sound. The band has a groovy and rock feeling in their touch, something playing in the backyard of Motorhead in the vocals. I'd point the way of writing tunes that is extremely professional and exciting. According to me, this band could perfectly fit to I Hate Records. Forget the cover and buy this awesome material !!!!!
SAXON (Uk) "The Eagle Has Landed III". DCD 2006. 32 tracks. 142 min. Steamhammer/SPV.
The third part of the eagle has come now ! Excepted for three classic songs ("Wheels Of Steel", "Crusader" and "Never Surrender"), the CD one contains old eighties classics that were not on the two previous part, such as the killer tunes that are "Warrior", "To Hell And Back" or "This Town Rocks", and anthems like "And The Bands Played On", "Suzie Hold On" or "Stallions Of The Highway" which are great stuff by the way ! Disc two contains songs from 1990 to 2004, including many tracks from the "Lionheart" album (eight tracks actually!) which is an excellent album. But it's a pity to get only one song from the "Unleash The Beast" masterpiece album, because "Bloodletter" or "The Thin Red Line" are really missing here (oh well, you can't always get that you wish). Except for this minor complaint, everything is perfect and "The Eagle Has Landed III" is the live album of the year. Great Heavy Metal played on stage with energy by a legendary band. SAXON rocks the nations, Saxon rules ! (P)

SAXON (UK) "Into The Labyrinth" CD'08. 13 tracks, 50 min. SPV.
Despite a pretty cool cover, you'll discover that this new Saxon isn't that much exiting and even pretty lame. Indeed, yet the opening track is a very floppy tune, with background synth giving a symphonic touch to Saxon's music. But this is not the worst element here, as many riffs are really tastless and lack of strenght. The second tune is more promising, and starts a bit like "Solid Balls Of Rock" song, with the typical Hard Rock riffs Saxon's use to playing. But once again this track is very inferior to "Lionheart" album and is far from being an opportunity to buy this album. All the following tracks are in the same vein and realy, really lack of power, of balls actually. I feel like listening to a second range of NWOBHM from the end 80's. Honestly speaking Saxon is an excellent band and can record much better tracks than the aweful "Valley Of The Kings" that here and there sounds like a Hard FM tune. Some tunes save that album from being a pure failure such as "Demon Sweeny Tood"or "Crime OF Passion" but we're very far from the crushing ideas from "Lionheart".
SCALD (Rus) "Will Of The Gods Is Great Power". LP'02. 7 tracks. Kyrck Prod.
"Will…" was originally released in ’96 as a CD, but I didn’t had the chance to find it. Kyrck Prod re-released it on vinyl somewhere in 2001 or 2002. At last, I got it this year through a Greek mail-order. What a fantastic strike when I played the LP for the first time ! Obviously Scald is influenced by Bathory’s "Hammerheart" with hints of Adramelch’s "Irae Melanox", but they have definitely their own style. We are dealing with epic Metal here, although this Russian band is Doomier than the two bands named above. The combination of a talented musicianship and a tremendous vocalist has given this jewel album. An unforgettable experience of travelling in the old pagan times in seven parts, with the magnificence of "Night Sky", the dark majesty of "Sepulchral Bonfire", the ritual "A Tumulus", the ultimate ode "In The Open Sea", the captivating power of "Eternal Stone", the bewitching magic of "Ragnaradi Eve", and short acoustic outro "Bilfrost". Really an unique album taking you in the hall of a Metal valhalla ! The sad info is that vocalist Agyl died in September ’97, with for consequence the demise of Scald. (P)
SCORPIONS (Ger) "Hour I" CD'07. 12 tracks, 49 min. Sony/BMW.
Wow, reviewing a band that's active since the end of the 60's is not that much easy, furthermore this band had a huge influence in the early Heavy Metal scene with classics now. I can't believe these dudes are nearly 60 and are still playing, for sure they'll never record anymore crushing tunes such as "Catch Your Train" but after a first listen to this album I was please to re discover Scorpions as the last album I had was "Crazy World". Thence, the 12 songs of "Hour I" are melodic Hard Rock, full of melodies you could find in "Crazy World" or "Savage Amusement". This so typical mid tempo Scorpions tune that nearly reach the ballade but still is into the Hard Rock field. The perfect example of this description could be "We Were Born To Fly". Unfortunately Scorpions have also recorded very boring and sleeping tune such as "The Future Never Dies" that sounds like a crappy Queen tune, indeed Klaus vocals is very similar to Freddy Mercury here. Strangely enough the band has included modern way of writing guitar riffs with staccato ideas such as is "You're Lovin' Me To Death" or "321" that didn't convince me at all. Finally all the tunes are slow or mid tempo, and I really miss the faster tunes from this legendary band such as "Dynamite". If you have a cabriolet put your stereo at maximum and wait for chicks ! There's a additional DVD with the digi pack edition that features interviews and backstage videos of less interest.
SEPTICFLESH (Gre) “Communion” CD’08. 9 tracks, 38 min. Season Of Mist.
The first time I discovered this album was during their promotional tour and I was blown anyway by the quality, the intensity and the darkness displayed live. So, I was very anxious to rediscover the same intensity through the album at home and I wasn’t disappointed at all. This album is one of the darkest and the most powerful release from 2008. All the compositions are both compact and like a punch in face without forgetting the haunting atmosphere. Indeed, Septicflesh spent a long time on creating lugubrious and oppressing feeling such as in “We, The God” or “Communion”. For instance, These songs sound like a song-track of an Horror movie, bringing the listener to a fearful land, an ugly view of abysses where Septicflesh stands as triumphant. “Communion” album has kept the early satanic side of Black Metal and added some symphonic touches, cries, samples to their art in order to get something fresh but still evil. The band is such a master into their art that everything is close to perfection to unveil their nightmarish orchestra. This is probably one of the best dark Black Metal album since Aeternus’ early MCD. An mandatory release !!!
SERPENTCULT (Bel) "Trident Nor Fire" MCD'07, 4 tracks. I Hate.
A slight influence from Black Sabbath, melted with more modern Doom approaches you could find in Confessor and Cathedral, that's the content of this new MCD. Here the female low vocal of Michelle is mixed with detuned guitars and pummeling drum. The female vocals bring a lot of originality in this combo as most Doom Metal bands have male voice. She gives a new color to their melancholic hymns. Actually I feel like listening to Confessor with a woman behind the microphone. Serpentcult found the accurate sound to get a modern Doom Metal while keeping in mind the old legends that branded this style. The songs are fucking slow and oppressing ! The single bad note is this band lacks of variations within the writing department. Note they cover "Rainbow Demon" from Uriah Heep.
SHELLSHOCK / DARK ANGEL (USA) "The Demos". LP 05. 12 tracks. West Coast Rocker.
I guess it's a bootleg as I don't see Dark Angel officially re-releasing their two demos, as it's not the Thrash Metal they are known for. A-side is the 1983 "Into The Inferno" demo (recorded under their first name Shellshock). They were quite good about playing Heavy Metal. There are enjoyable tunes such as "Gonna Burn", "Hammer Away" or "Road Warrior". B-side is the 1984 "Hells On Its Knees" demo. The mutation was in process with "We Have Arrived" and "Hells On Its Knees" (later appearing on their debut album). The other three tracks (of which two are re-recorded ones) are speedy Heavy Metal. The only disappointing thing is that there isn't any info sheet with lines about the beginning, old pics, old flyers. The packaging could have been better, but it's nice to listen now to these demos on a vinyl. (P)
SHINING (Swe) "V – Halmstad" CD' 07. 6 tracks, 42 min. Osmose.
Despite all the rather childish gossips that were around the singer and Shining's events I wouldn't have thought this band could have "come back" with such an original and possessing album. "Halmstad" is like a sound track for a suicide ritual bringing your soul to the deepest abyss of depressiveness and melancholy. While many bands are just standing on their root and main song corpus, Shining explores new wild lands, some kind of gloomy musical territories where no live dwells. At the same time they let behind them the classic Suicidal Black Metal marks to a more evolved and varied music combining piano, acoustic guitars, chanting deathly vocals with more "standard" Metal hymn. "Besvikelsens Dystra Monotoni" is perhaps the closed tune to the previous releases even though the end of the song reaches some untamed veils of darkness. This is definitely one hell of an original album standing against all the releases you could have experienced so far.
SICK (Belarus) "Satanism, Sickness, Solitude" CD'08. 9 tracks, 40 min. Spkiefarm.
Sick comes from Belarus, the country that suffered from Tchernobyl in the 80's. I point this as while listening to the new combo one can feel that these guys weren't that far from the nuclear plant : Sick plays a very….sick Black Metal with post modern and industrial touches through their compositions. The opening track displays a slow tempo, melancholic Black Metal that could bring you images of early Katatonia's stuffs, melted with early Thorns. Indeed, all along the record the Belarus band uses depressive Doom riffs as Thorns were doing in their beginning. Misery is friend with Sick, and the band evolves hand to hand with such a feeling, a tune like "Alone" shows all the despair and suicidal side of the combo. The result is very interesting as compositions carry a great bunch a dark emotion, nevertheless many songs sound alike and a second album in the exact vein would be usless.
SIEBENSÜNDEN / TERATOLOGEN (Swe) "Split" CD'07. 2 tracks, 44 min. I Hate.
These two bands are totally news for me and are into a musical range Franang zine hardly reviews. Thence this CD contains two 20 min long tracks for each band. The two songs are alike, after a long introduction the music finally starts with a kind of doomish depressive music that is not so much easy to describe. In one hand, this song is a bit like a Metal answer to Stalaagh, with high pitched howling speeches. The bands play a lot with sick and madness atmospheres to create the unique song; that's very weird actually. I really didn't get into the vocal that sounds like a children crying…
SILVA NIGRA (Czech) "Epocha". CD'07. 11 tracks, 47 min. Ashen.
"Epocha" is yet the 4th album from those Czech Black Metal band. The 8 tracks from this release respect the standards of Black Metal, Silva Nigra are old school and play row Black Metal with a cruel and necro touch. The production is both enough clear to get power and grim, wicked. This atmosphere is increased with a crude vocal that reminds of Kill while the core of the music is a mix between Darkthrone and Satanic Warmaster. Songs like ""Na Pamatku Veci Ztracenych" or ""Epocha Era" perfectly represent the influence of the Czech band. The result is very convincing and lays no room for synth, female vocals and stuffs like that. Here we've "true" and sick Black Metal.
SKID ROW (Usa) "Revolutions Per Minute" CD'06. 12 tracks, 40 min. SPV.
Wow, the last time I listened to a Skid Row material was when I was 12 or 13 through their debut album with "Slave To the Grind" and I was absolutely not impressed with them "girlish" Metal. So listening to a new release now seem really strange to me as I never care about them but let's go as years passes and I'm older now to experience that band. Well, I feel like Skid Row changed a lot since their 2nd materials with the "new" singer that took place of Sebastian Bach. That singer reminds me a bit of Rage's singer in the way of delivering some part of the lyrics. According to me "Revolution Per Minutes" would the be typical release you'd like to listen to in a bikers pub drinking some beers, with women rocking on chairs and body built guys playing pool. Skid Row music is rooted in the 80's Hard Rock/ Rock American way, with rocking riffs and riding vocals. If you're waiting for something brutal and straight in the head switch to another band, but if you like this kind of glam / rock feeling, sometimes close to Twisted Sister then you'll love this record.

SLAYER MAGAZINE (Nor) "N 1 A 5". 528 pages, written in French
I think that's it's the first time a Metal fanzine is reprinted as a real book gathering old informations that were captured 20 years ago. And the book we're dealing is about the early days of one of the most (if not the most) popular extreme fanzine in the world : Slayer Magazine. Jon Metalion started his activities as a kid who was seeking for informations about the combos that freaked him. The 528 pages are an archive of the five early printed fanzines, actually these first steps were more about informations, short biographies on bands and their next releases (remember the period of time was between '84 and '87) than real interviews. This shows the very hard work to collect news, get in touch with bands and finally get answers back for interviews. Even tough the naïve view of the kid Jon can be seen all along these 5 editions, we see his Metal fanatism. At the same time we can discover his visionary musical feeling, as he was the first to support Mayhem, Darkthrone and Bathory while they were nothing in the scene. An excellent book to read.
SLUGATOR (fin) "Circle Of Death" CD'06. 8 tracks, 36 min. Time Before Time.
Woaw, that's a great discovering in the world of underground Death Metal and old school stuffs. Slugator brings back all the 90's elements that gave D.M its letters of patent nobility : morbid guitar sounds, pounding drumming and fearfully song structures. Musically I feel like listening to unreleased materials from Grave or Asphyx. You know the typical Swedish D.M, so much powerful, full of early Thrash Metal ideas but turn in the D.M mixture. When it comes to the guitar and drums production, I'd say they perfectly fit to this kind of D.M, both raw and tight, a bit like early Dismember. According to me the only draw back of Slugator are the vocals that are much too low growling, but that's a matter of taste. Anyway, that's a great release for sure !
SODOM (Ger) "Sodom" CD'06. 11 tracks, 43 min. SPV.
Sodom has always been in the top of my favourite German bands since they released this awesome MLP "In The Sign Of Evil". Since then I've been waiting for each of their release and even through "Red Code" and "Til Death Do us Unit" were total crap Sodom came back in my Metal heart with "M 16". But how does "Sodom" sound now ? Well the introduction tune starts in an original way, as Tom's whispering lyrics with a fearful riffs at the background, it nearly sounds as if we were listening to a Black Metal release introduction. The following tune "Wanted Dead" is nothing but the typical ripping Sodom's song we are waiting for, full of speed, with aggressive vocals and pure fucking Thrash interludes. Your neck can rest for few minutes of "Buried In The Justice Ground" mid tempo tune that reminds me a lot Tank's material, while the trio is assaulting you through another fast Thrash hymn "City Of God". This album is well balanced between mid tempo tunes and harsh Metal fight actually. Guitarist Bernemann found some crushing German Metal riffs, you know this kind of straight in your head riffs. He also lights with his solos such as in "City Of God", now Sodom can play real Heavy Metal solos as Kreator's do. Finally, this album is a positive discovering, full of great Metal riffs to bang head with beers. Hail the Lords Of Depravity
SODOM (Ger) "The Final Sign Of Evil" CD'07. 12 tracks, 55min. SVP.
Wow !! Who would have ever imagined that Sodom could have recorded a new album with the original line up from 1984 ???!!! Fuck, Tom, Grave Violator and Witchhunter finally decided to gather themselve in a studio and give us what should have been done in 1984 ! Actually "In The Sign Of Evil" only contained 5 tracks and was a MLP, but the reality was different ! The band recorded 12 tracks back then, all of the quality of the classic, which means fucking primitive and raw Black/Thrash Metal, full of satanic atmospheres and pounding Metal ! Their tunes are fucking close to Venom but with a very more lugubrious approach. The opening tracks "The Sign Of Sodom" is fucking doom for instance ! Thence, now in 2007, this original line up decided to give a second live to this full-length re-recording all of the songs but in a more professional approach. And bloody mary, the result is astonishing, we can finally listen to never release tunes like "Bloody Corpse", "Sons Of Hell", "Where Angels Die", "Hatred OF The Gods", "Ashes To Ashes" and "Defloration". Sodom tries to re-captive the naïve feeling that is in "In The Sign Of Evil" and partially successes in !
SOLEFERNUS (Czech) "Hysteria In coma" CD'05. 10 tracks, 34 min. Shindy.
The label sent me a CD that's a bit out dated as it was released in 2005. Honestly I never heard of this band nor their release so far but you'll understand why when reading the review. Solfernus plays a kind of ultra speed Black Metal that is always melted with the new wave of 200% tempo Death Metal, with classic grim vocals. Even though this CD has a powerful production that you can turn the volume to maximum and feel the intensity of the drumming, the compositions will never brand your soul as they sound much too common. Just listen to tune like "In Bondage Of Blind Desire" that is a barren attempt at playing in a violent way, where do you want to go with such a mechanical drumming ? This release is tasteless and very standard. I'm crestfallen when listening to the pathetic Slayer cover "The Antichrist" that is nothing but a point to sell more albums….
SOMBRES FORETS (Can) "Quintescence" CD'06. 7 tracks, 52 min. Sepulchral.
Surfing on the depressive wave, another combo jumped on the whirlwind and explains us who desperate and sad this lad can be. Here we're facing 7 tracks highly influenced by Xasthur, Shining and a little bit of Abyssic Hate through the high pitched screaming vocal. Objectively this CD is nothing but another release among the oooh so many of this genre you can find in any distro list. The only mind behind this combo just stole all the key elements from the mentioned bands without bringing any personal touch.
SPACE EATER (Serbia) "Merciful Angel" CD'07. 10 tracks, 40 min. I Hate.
That's the first time I listen to a real Thrash Metal act from Serbia that's heavily influeced from the 80's Bay Area scene. The first noticeable point of this combo is the vocal. Indeed after few minutes we can definitely feel a John Cyriis' children here. The singer is very close to Agent Steel's vocalist both in this high pitch heavy voice than in his way of singing. This point is really a highlight for such a small band as we have a fucking talented front man here. Now, what about the music ? Once again the comparison with the 80's US scene is ubiquitous. Space Eater is a fine mix between Heathen, Nuclear Assault and Agent Steel !! The tunes are both really aggressive through crushing artwork but they also carry this old school melodic feeling we could find in the previously mentioned bands. Honestly if this release would have been printed in the 80's, Space Eater would have turned to an awesome combo. Get this masterpiece if you consider yourself as a Thrash Metal fan !
SPARTA (Uk) "Same". LP'06. 7 tracks. Hades Paradise / High Roller.
The spirit of early NWOBHM is still alive. This LP features the five tracks from their ’81 demo, one track from their ’80 7’’ single and one track appearing on “Scene Of The Crime” ’81 compilation LP. The band can be seen as an heavier version of Def Leppard. They bring a lot of energy and dynamism into their music, which brings them at the borderline between Heavy rock and Heavy Metal, as show it songs like “Rock Don’t Roll” or “Lords Of Time”. When Sparta speeds up the tempos (“Fast Lane”, “Tonight”), they are close to the Battleaxe camp. All of the 7 tracks have captivating rhythms with shining guitarworks. Dead good bands never rest in silence in the grave. (P)
SPEARHEAD (UK) "Deathless Steel Command" CD'06. 10 tracks, 30 min. Invictus.
Spearhead is a totally new band for me and I've to admit they blown me away. The concept of this record is established on 1st World War. The 10 tracks are about pondering and necro Black Metal. Spearhead perfectly mixes the brutality of the War Metal scene through some grinding tempos, with the cruelest part of the Black Metal scene (i.e. : "The Glorious Dead"), including an extremely morbid vocal. Furthermore, the guitarists can play some solos that is so seldom in B.M releases. In one hand "Deathless.." is very Black Metal oriented with some typical riffs (i.e. : "Violated Purity") and in the other they seem to blend some 80's Thrash Metal scene ideas in the guitar gain and some riffs. Actually I feel the same listening to "In The Sign Of Evil" and this release, both of them have this ho so nocturnal and untamed feeling, needless to say Spearhead are not a pure Thrash Metal combo. Ripping composition through a blackest atmosphere that's what Spearhead is about and they fucking kick ass ! Get it !
SPEARHEAD (UK) "Decrowning The Irenarch" CD'07. 11 tracks, 37 min. Invictus.
The second album from Spearhead shows many changes in the musical direction. First of all, the Black Metal side of their compositions has totally disappear to a more violent Death Metal approach. Secondly, the materials have hugely been improved. First of all the production is now terribly strong and unveils a more sophisticated music. Secondly the musical direction is now more into the early Angel Corpse vein than Black Metal, with ultra violent and fast ripping tunes. The brilland song writing and the ability in executing straight in the head and technical riffs show now a real potential for this combo. They can now compete with bands such as Angel Corpse, Revenge or Morbid Angel. The vocals department have also been increased, the vocals sound even more cruel and drastic. This is fucking big step between the first and this record !
SPEAR OF LONGINUS (Austr) "Nothing Is Forever, And Forever Is Nothing" CD'06, 13 tracks, 40 min. Blazing.
Listening to SOL's release is a unique experience and this is the kind of "love/hate us" band, thence reviewing it is a fucking pain in ass. This band is so strange that I don't think words are enough to describe their materials. Nevertheless the 13 tracks of " Nothing..." are some kind of Black Metal hymns written by insane and mad metalheads melting the psychotic illness with the old school glorious years. Tunes such as "Sumer Gods" or "Brothers Wyrd" smell like early Thrash Metal sound melted with some kind of primitive Black Metal ideas. What is strange is that the second tune from this release uses exactly the same riffs than D666 from "Eternal Glory Of War" but with a slower tempo. Obviously the release is delivered with a very crispy production, over gained guitars but the result sounds great. Actually this kind of production is exactly what SOL needs to play their weird Metal. The more I listen to this release the more I feel a kind of Punk influence, or should I say of Sadistik Exekution's influence. I'd say these two bands are very uncommon.
STERBEND (Ger) "Dwelling Lifeless" CD'06. 10 tracks, 75 min. No Colours.
Do you miss the majestic 90's Burzum area when Varg was releasing "Det Som Engang Var" and Forgotten Woods were following his path with their rawer materials ? Then get into Sterbend debut full-length featuring members from Nyktalgia. "Dweeling Lifeless" is in the very same way of the Norwegian reference with misanthropic, cold and untamed B.M. The German band uses the same receipt : high pitch screams, depressing mid tempo parts mixed with fast drumming ethereal B.M riffs, simple but efficient guitar solis. Some would say this band is nothing but a copy cat of the original, for others Sterbend will recall the 90's B.M area. The production is rather good far such kind of B.M release.
STILLBORN (Pol )"Manifesto De Blasfemia" CD'07. 11 tracks, 36 min. Pagan.
"Manifesto De Blasfemia" is "only" the second album from these Pagan Death Metal maniacs but what an album !!! Every department has increased since their "Satanas El Grande". First of all, the production is so fucking powerful, the mix between bass/drum and thundering guitars is excellent and delivers all the anger in this release. Secondly, the writing process is much better, the songs are smother and more crushing than previously. The band indeed seemed to have spent time in the creating and arrangement of each song as they are really quality Death Metal. The bestiality and satanic side of this Metal range are perfectly delivered here through tunes such as the furious "Seed Of Doom" or the warlike "Nekromassakr". There's not many D.M releases that could compete such brutality and savageness here !
STORMHUNTER (Ger) "Crime And Punishment" CD'11. 10 tracks, 47 min. Emanes Metal.
Stormhunter is German band that officiates in the Power Metal field and this relased is their second effort. It's pretty interesting to know that one of the axes is held by a female and there's no bass player in the combo. The opening riff immediately brings you in the Stormhunter's world where staccato guitars are melteed with melodic riffs. Actually the first tune is highly influenced by epic's Running Wild stuffs, the whole album is alike. All the songs contain a great bunch of strength and straight headbanging riffs that are pretty well penned. Stormhunter reminds me a bit a kind of mix between Running Wild, Skullview and Metal Inquisitor, but we can heasily feel the German root in every of the compositions. The only drow back would be the uninspired ultra fast staccato riffs such as the opening riff of "Robot Age" that sounds as a kind of hammesterfall. But ecepted for this detail there's really something in this release !
STORMING DARKNESS (Russia) "Sin-thesis" CD'08. 9 tracks, 38 min. Knightmare.
I've never listened to this combo so far, but Storming Darkness is a pretty fine discovering. Obviously the band plays Black Metal, but instead of being a Darkthrone or DSO copy cat they're more into traditional B.M veins such as early Taake and Sorhin. Indeed, the cores of compositions will immediataley remind you the same kind of structures than the mentioned bands."Sin-thesis" can write memorable songs such as "Black Night Of Soul" through sinister melodic riffs, grim vocals and speed drumming. The chainsaws have a kind of disonnant gain that comes from the way of playing each riff. They could have increased the release including more variation in songs and more tempo changes but nevertheless it could be an accurate purchase for many B.M maniacs.
STORMTROOPER (Usa) "Armies Of The Night". CD'05. 18 tracks. 59 minutes. Metal For Muthas.
This is the official re-release of 1985 MLP, and damned, it was a fucking good one ! After the "Reaper" intro with its horror mood, arrives the eruption of four crushing tracks bringing brilliant powerful Metal (the memorable "Armies Of The Night", the shining "Steamroller", the assault of "Search And Destroy", the wild rage of "The Beast Within"). Lyrically, the band mainly deals with horror movies. Musically, if you want an idea, they are a little close to Abattoir's first album and early Savage Grace, although Stormtrooper is more Power Metal than Speed Metal like the two outfits mentioned above. As five tracks are not enough to fill a CD, what about the bonustracks ? First, the alternate 1984 versions of the five tracks (or demo days if you prefer) which are very interesting in a documentary point, but which don't beat the '85 recording. Second, the four tracks of the 1988 demo, during the last years of the band. They changed the style and played Heavy rock influenced by AC/DC and old Motley Crue. That sounds unreal, can I believe it ? But the songs are okay, especially "Rock On Rebel" that still kept the power of the old days. At the end of the disc, there are four keyboard soundtracks that Damien Black did in 1997 for an horror movie called "Coroner's Camera", they have a nice atmosphere of terror and morbidity. The booklet is very informative with vocalist Damien Black telling the full story of Stormtrooper. This release is the testimony of a band that was great. And the armies are still haunting the night... (P)
STORMWITCH (Ger) "Stronger Than Heaven" . CD '05. 12 tracks. 62 min. Battle Cry.
Their 1986 album was their last masterpiece, beautiful dark Heavy Metal played with a black magic spirit. The lyrics were dedicated to vampire, werewolf, witch or ghost. Killer opener "Rats In The Attic" is an ultimate hammer ! "Eternia", "Stronger Than Heaven" and "Allies Of The Dark" are travels in rolling thunders with catchy melodies. And what to say about the wonderful "Slave To Moonlight", "Ravenlord" or the fantastic epic "Jonathan's Diary" ? Instrumental closer "Dorian Gray" is memorable, I think Oscar Wilde should have been proud of this tribute. Nothing to throw away, eight great pieces by the masters of black romantic. This release comes with four live tracks from 1984 (they were never recorded on their classic three LPs) : "Children Of The Night", "Buried Alive", "Long Boats On The Horizon" and "Beware The Demons", in the typical early Stormwitch style. It adds interest in getting this CD (especially for the possessed tune that is "Beware The Demons"), although the live sound is average. (P)
STUTTHOF (Gre) "And Cosmos From Ashes To Dust/Through The Dark Age We Are Dreaming" CD'06. 10 tracks, 77 min. Blazing.
This is the edition including the demo from Worship, the bandname before Stutthof. So, the 6 first tracks from "And Cosmos..." are about majestic B.M in the vein of their previous 7EP. I mentioned to keep an eye on this band while releasing their vinyl, and I was right. This band really stands against the common and average B.M combos you can listen to here and there. Stutthof gives a noble side to their art, through some synth and female back ground vocals. Their music is both symphonic and brutal, in the way that the synth are dropped here and there, while the classic Metal instruments and vocals are at the front side of the songs. Actually I feel like listening to an old and forgotten release from the 90's Scandinavian B.M when the music was thrilling and frightening. The Worship songs are of less interest as it's a kind of raw B.M without the memorable touch from Stutthof. A excellent release !
SUBROSA (Usa) "Strega" CD'08. 11 tracks, 41 min. I Hate.
Reviewing albums could be a real pain in ass when you don't know what to say about the material, not because it's bad but simply the band is going on lands you're not used to listen to and that's exactly what's happening here with Sub Rosa. Thence, in all honesty I don't think this will be the best review of this album but let's have a try. First of all, Sub Rosa features a female as guitarist and vocalist, some electrics violin here and there. The main core of the music could be labeled as a meeting between bat cave gothic music and 70's Doom stuff through ethereal atmospheres. Indeed, the band dropped here and there strange sounds through keys within they rather heavy and low music sometimes influenced by Deep Purple, Hendrix and Led Zeppelin (i.e. "Straga" song) sometime through more gothic ideas such as "Christine". The guitars and bass are detuned and sound very macabre and low, with a strong 60's touch. I find the songs a bit too long for my taste, but this combo can bring you original moments if you're open mind.
SUPERCHRIST (USA) "Headbanger" CD'07. 10 tracks, 37 min. Rock Saviour.
For those who know Superchrist they are aware that despite an appealing band name, this combo fucking rocks ! The new release that's unleashed under an Iron Pegasus's sub label is simply excellent. The 10 tracks smell like whisky, leather, spikes and 80's Hard Rock. The vintage touch is fully part of the tunes, both in the vocals that sound like a mix between Venom and Carnivore, in the guitar riffs that are between Mötorhead and Saxon and in the pure Heavy Metal lyrics. Superchrist can also write some kind of Doom/Heavy Metal hymns with pondering introductions such as in "Bloody Hell". The raspy, alcoholic vocals of Chris Black are really the high light of this album. Thus said, it doesn't mean the other instruments suck !! Tunes really rock like in the best materials from Mötorhead, and have a certain melodies through the main chorus. Production wise the band has a pretty clear sound that sounds really early 80's, but with a sharp guitar gain. This is really the album to listen to with a beer-pack and naked chicks.
SUPERCHRIST (USA) "Defenders Of The Filth" CD'09. 10 tracks, 31 min. Auto Prod.
"Stay Black", the opening track yet announces that band hasn't wipped out to play funky music. The three first minutes are pure 80's Hard Rock in the hardest way, through fast riffing, harsh and full of whisky vocals followed by the galloping drum. The next track, "Evil Essence", keeps on the rocking on, with a fucking old school opening riff. The whole album is established on the 80's Uk legendary band, walking on their steps but with a Superchrist's like way of doing the stuff. The band really knows how to write headbanging riffs that smell whisky and N.W.O.B.H.M. You could find some connections with other combos from this time such as Saxon, Diamond Head and Satan here and there. Obviously the band says a big fuck off the the modern trend and sound to play their music rooted in the early days of Hard Rock but with a curshing sound and production. Even though this album hasn't as many killer tracks as in "Headbangers" (that was their strongest album so far), "Defenders Of The Filth" won't betray any Superchrist's fans. Buy this record to Forgotten Wisdom Prod or fucck off. Distributor contact http://www.forgottenwisdomprod.com/

SVARTI LOGHIN (Swe) "Empty World" CD'08. 6 tracks, 44 min. ATMF
"Empty Wolrd" is another Depressive Black Metal combo offering 6 tracks of underground Black Metal through mid tempo parts and scorned vocals. The Suicidal trend was rather exciting through the pioneer releases, but now the followers are more boring than anything else and it's the matter with Svarti Loghin. Sure, they follow the path of Shining and Forgotten Tomb through high-pitched screams, slow tempos guitar riffs and haunting drumming. The survey of this release is ok without anything special. I mean the band can play tunes but nothing stands against the standards of this kind of B.M and a tune like "Inned Desolation" that clocks nearly 8 min is bound to fail: the riffs are poor, the song is stuck into averageness. There's nothing exciting here.
SVARTSYN (Swe) "Timeless Reign". CD'07. 7 tracks, 41 min. Carnal.
Svartsyn is probably one of the most under rated Black Metal combo from Sweden. While Arckanum or Malign are rather well known, this band isn't on the top list of the mentioned bands even though they started in the early days of the movement (1993). Despite many efforts such as the EAL double LP re edition this band doesn't get the support they deserve as they're still faithful to their art and refuse any concession. "Timeless Reign" is the six full length from this Swedish trio, and once again their effort is excellent. The seven deadly tracks have be written with a strong vitriol touch, an incredible dark faith that was part of the early Black Metal days. Tune such as "Sanctus Satanas" perfectly melted the typical Swedish melodic side with nocturnal and haunting guitar riffs. The mid growling vocals really create a devilish atmosphere, while twisted guitars blend here and there will turn mankind mad. Svartsyn can melt brutal yet devastating riffs with a sinister black flame dancing on walls. The production is tighter than in the previous releases. Excellent material.
SVARTTHRON (Lithuania) "Bearer Of The Crimson Flame" CD'08. 7 tracks, 43 min. Inferna Profundus.
This release caught my attention thanks to the wonderful cover album. Indeed, even though that Viking covers are too common within the B.M scene, this one is really, really wonderful and as a real aura. I've never experienced this combo before and I was waiting for a kind of Enslaved like B.M but actually this Lithuanian band is more into ambient Black Metal. It's really obvious they've listened to a lot of Shining "Within Deep Dark Chamber", "Ansgt II" and early Green Carnation. Once you know the influences, the 7 tracks haven't any more mysterious side to you as they follow the steps of the mentioned band including here and there fast "classic B.M parts" such as "Of Malignity Carven". These fast parts are really average, lacks of thrilling riffs while the scorned vocals lacks of deepness. In fact, the band isn't that much bad in creating moody, and slow tempo ambient music, but their main problem is that they always use the same pattern. Thus said, 3 tracks would have been enough.
SVYATOGOR (Ukr) "With Wolfish Stalk And By Wings Of Black" CD'07. 9 track, 33 min .Blazing.
This album has been released in 2005 as self release, then in 2007 Blazing Records gives the album a new promotion. This band consists of a member from Nocturnal Mortum and they play a kind of blackened Death Metal with strong pagan touches. The album is pretty rough and straight in the head, with almost mid tempo Death Metal parts including many twisted solos. The guitar and drum mix remind a lot RAC bands or Pagan NS combos. Actually this band is a bit the Death Metal answer to Nocturnal Mortum and the result is convincing. Indeed, the raspy and grim vocals melted with a crude but powerful guitar sound help a lot the album to stand against standard D.M releases. Obviously the lyrics are in Ukrainian but the inlay card contains translated texts.
TANK (Uk) "War Of Attrition Live - Expanded Version". CD '06. 18 tracks, 76 min. Maniacal.
"War Of Attrition" was released in 2000 through an unserious British label that didn't care at all about distribution. Maniacal gave it a decent re-release and added seven bonus tracks. This CD is split in five parts : the first one is of the eight tracks recorded live at Dortmund (Germany) in 1981. Judging by the atmosphere and the power unleashed by the band, it seems it was an awesome concert where TANK played their classic bombs ("Schellshcok", "Run Like Hell", "Don't Walk Away", "Stormtrooper" ...). Second one is of three demos tracks from 1980 (the original demo had five tracks) presenting first raw versions of "Shellshcok", "Run Like Hell" and "Blood, Guts And Beer". Third one is of three tracks recorded for a radio session, including "Hammer On" and "Heavy Artillery". Fourth one is two tracks recorded live in Holland in 1982. The last part is of two demos tracks with the arrival on guitars of Mick Tucker and Cliff Evans ("Too Tired To Wait For Love" and "Man Who Never Was" that the band will record for the "Honour And Blood" LP). So, as you can see it, if you worship the early days of Tank, this CD is mandatory. (P)
TARANIS (Bel) "Taranis" CD'07. 9 tracks, 41 min. Iron Pegasus.
Taranis is a pretty new combo from Flanders (Belgium), which mustn't be confused with the Polish B.M band that released a demo in 1994. This Taranis is lead be a single Metalhead and is established on old school and root of Black Metal. The 9 tracks are about mid tempo rocking Black Metal with strong influences from the masters such as Bathory, Venom and Celtic Frost melted with a Greek way of playing. Indeed, the tunes from this release remind me a lot of early Greek Black Metal scene, especially the vocals. The result is fucking convincing and bring a great bunch of truly old school Metal with a certain quality. I really like songs such as "The Chain…" or "Lost Fatherland". The band has an epic concept, not in the music but in the lyrics department. A very great discovering !
TENEBROUS (USA) "Opus Magnum" CD'09. 10 tracks, 44 min. Forever Plagued.
"Opus Magnum" is the first full length from Tenebrous, a duo band from USA including an ex Demoncy's member. The band officiates in a kind of evolved B.M that could be described as a mix between the second Emperor album and early Demoncy. The compositions alternated between fast, straight B.M with cruel and evil riffs (i.e.: "Wallachia Weywoden" or "Monoliths Of Thule") and between more mid tempo gloom stuffs ("Ars Moriendi", "Lord Of The Black Stone"). The whole album is rather well done, excepted for the opening tune that is really too much into the Emperor veins and lacks of personality. But strangely all the other tunes don't sound the same (for the better). The CD contains two instrumental tracks (Magisterium" and "Solemnity Of Ages"). Actually, I more or less felt like listening to a kind of fast Demoncy.
TERRORAMA (Swe) "Omnipotence" CD'08. 8 tracks, 29 min. Nuclear War Now!
Terrorama strikes back with a second and crushing old school Metal opus !! The album is pretty short (hardly half an hour) but really brings its bunch of maniac Death Metal compositions. Terrorama aims at playing something that sounds different from the common D.M combos and wishes to stay linked with the old and traditional Metal. Thus said, the 8 tracks won't betray any hope if you're a Death Metal fans and enjoy the real deadly sound. The band has been one step further in the rough sound and unpolished materials through very raspy and direct vocals, while the chainsaw would bring you back images of Vulcano and Holocausto. We can definitely say that Terrorama stands against the average scene and knows how to play their art. For instance, the last track "The Self Exorcism" is a real masterpiece through the changing of tempos and the modulation of melodies. A very great stuff to end the year 2008.
TERROR THRONE (Usa) "World On It's Knees" CD'08. 8 tracks, 39 min. Sempiternal.
This combo comes from Chicago where excellent bands such as Scepter, Usurper, Cianide are established but unfortunately if the mentioned bands have excellent recordings it's not the same with Terror Throne. After few minutes of pretty unoriginal Black Metal we can felt a clumsy way of playing, creating songs and ugly vocals. Everything is so average in the 8 tracks and sounds as if the material was recorded in hurry. A completely useless, lame Black Metal release.
THE AUSTRASIAN GOAT (Fra) "Same" CD'07. 9 tracks, 43 min. I Hate.
Welcome in the land of no return and annihilation of mankind. The 9 tracks presented here are Funeral Doom Black Metal in its very meaning through extremely oppressing songs and skinned vocals. The French lad has directly being influenced by Shining, Nortt and Xasthur to create his 43 min of lugubrious and haunting chant. The dark atmosphere is pushed to its paroxysm through only synth music such as in "Silence Is Weapon". This release is a painting of a black soul, longing for his death, tortured by his flesh that is not rotten yet, while the demons have yet invaded his head. The atmosphere in this album is terribly well exploited to get something unique and terrific. Beware, the songs need a specific mood to be listen to.
THE BOTTLE DOOM LAZY BAND (Fra) "The Beast Must Die" MLP'07. 4 tracks, 46 min. Emanes Metal.
This MLP is the re-release of the debut band demo and as you can read there're "only" 4 tracks, each of them nearly clocking 15 min. The band was created as a tribute to 70's Doom Metal scene and combos such as Black Sabbath, St Vitus and Candlemass. This MLP will prove this band is really excellent. The band is caught in the 70's psychedelic Doom, nearly hippy stuffs melted with a stoner rock touch. Indeed, the 4 tunes from "The Beast Must Die" sound like as been recorded in the 70's with a fucking heavy guitar gain, haunting drumming and gorgeous low vocals. TBDLB can create very depressing and melancholic riffs through their art, and a tune such as "Howlin' Bottle Doom" is the perfect definition of what the French combo is able. I'd point to vocals' work that is very great here, sometimes sounding like an old man vocals summoning the darkness. Actually the length of each tune doesn’t desecrate their compositions as the band takes the listener to another world, a travel to the unknown. I can hardly imagine the potential of the band considering this is "just" a demo, an excellent work !!!!
THE BOTTLE DOOM LAZY BAND (Fra) "Blood For The Boodking" CD'08. 7 trakcs, 47 min. EmanesMetal.
Finally, here's the first full-length from the Psychadelic Doom combo from our kingdom. The new tracks assesert the band into Stoner and fucking heavy Doom Metal genre. They've slowed their compositions and can create such impressingly low tracks that could nearly compete with Thergothon !!!! If you need a proof for this statement just get into their "Blood Fro The Blooking" track, it's impressing. But beyong this ablity of playing at a slow pace, TBDLB have talents to write Doom mateirals that could remind you of St Vitus. Of course, listening to such kind of particular Doom Metal isn't everyone business, but if you like this genre the band can't disappoint you as they found the exact songs and gain for their instruments. Get trapped into a long voyage back to the temple of Doom.
THE DEAD (Usa) "Start Killing" CD'06. 16 tracks, 55 min. Dark Forest.
16 tracks for an hour record, that's too much songs !! Anyway, this band plays something pretty strange. Actually this is not their music that is weird, but the result of the different influences. Imagine a mix between Necrophagia, Macabre and Tankard then you more or less get The Dead music. Some songs are rather ok Death/Thrash Metal (i.e. "The Horny and The Horned") while other are completely ridiculous ("Pet Sematary" a kind of post punk/gothic stupid tune). I really can't get into this typically American concept.

THE FROST (Croatia) "Damned And Forgotten" CD'06. 8 tracks, 42 min. Nerbilous.
That CD is a compilation of the 2 previous demo "Damned And Forgotten" and "In Conspiracy With Nature". The inlay card states that it's the last time The Frost plays with a drum machine as they found a drummer. Well, the 8 tracks are about underground B.M, in the 90's Polish way, but I'd say in the average Polish way. Their tunes are raw and rough, with haunting and humming vocals, melting shrilling guitars. The atmosphere goes from pure B.M hate to some melancholic ideas. The result is rather so-so, and even bad through i.e. : "In The Name Of Eternal Darkness" that sounds so cliché.
THE FROST & BLACK FIRE (Croatia/Col) "Between Ice And Fire/Illucescrit Mortis Jesu" CD'08. 11 tracks, 54 min. Nerbilous.
The Frost is opening the split CD with 5 tracks of Black Metal in the vein of Infinity / Inferi. This seems to be a one man project with a really drummer. Following the step of the Dutch band, The Frost plays a raw Black Metal through raspy vocals, without any compromise. They dropped of the futile elements to create some utterly sick and devastating through "rather" simple" but efficient riffs. Furthermore the production is powerful and clear. The drumming parts are very strong and display something of quality. When it comes to Black Fire, they also play Black Metal but with a lower level than the previous combo. The inlay card starts about a drummer, but I feel like there's a drum machine. Their 5 tracks (plus an intro) are about crude Black Metal, with a rehearsal sound and weak guitar gain. The ideas developed in the tunes are far from being original and convincing. Actually the poor drumming destroys the few interest we could find in songs. There's really nothing appealing here.
THE GATES OF SLUMBER (USA) "Suffer No Guilt" CD'06. 10 tracks, 75 min. I Hate.
Actually I've never experienced this band and I would say it's almost the same for all the Doom productions from I Hate, but this label is able to find real jewel so I'm always excited to listen to their promo materials when they reach the mail box. So, here we've a American band playing Doom Metal. The Gates… are into early Doom Metal, played in the St Vitus, Black Sabbath way with a half Doom half Heavy Metal vocals. The American band has 2 different sides while for instance the first track is rather Heavy Metal with strong Doom touch, the second one is the typical St Vitus like track, played with a deadly slow tempo, moaning vocals and cavernous guitar parts. The singer is not enough strong in the Heavy parts but he's rather efficient in the slow Doom delivering way of the lyrics. The production lacks a bit of power, but excepted for that The Gates is a pretty good Doom band, not the best release in the genre but it's worth to be listened to.
THE GATES OF SLUMBER (Usa) "Conqueror" CD'08. 8tracks, 63 min. I Hate.
The third effort from this American band is a way better than their second album in many respects. First of all, the production department has increased a lot giving a new touch, indeed now the release offers a quality sound and strong guitar gain. Secondly the song writing is a way superior to the previous release. This time all the songs clock around 8 min excepted for the last tune that's a 16 min song divided in 4 parts. The band moved toward an Epic Doom Metal where some Solitude Aeternus's influences sometimes dance behind the curtains (i.e. "One Of The Liar"). One the other hand T.G.O.S can also write fast tracks that are the edge of Heavy and Doom Metal through the glorious and shining "Children Of Satan" that bring you back to the 80's or the excited "The Machine". The work of each musician shows that they're now "professional" and can come with crushing hymns. This is really an awesome album without "fill up" song or boring part. I'd advise this release to all the Metal fans who aren't experienced with Doom !!!

THE PURITAN (Fin) "The Puritan" MLP'06. 5 tracks. I Hate.
Do you miss Winter or Thergothon ?? Then have a look to that release from I Hate Records. The 5 tracks from "The Puritan" are Doom Metal in its slower way. The opening tune of this MLP is an impressing slow song, reaching a forlorn mood where no live dwells. Obvious the band detuned guitars and drum, and plays them in a dawdling way that nearly sounds as if the members were dead. Once you know that you can imagine the heavy, lugubrious atmosphere the band can create in your room with your stereo at maximum volume, the walls are vibrating under each bass guitar note. This feeling is emphasizes by the lack of vocal or should I say they're so few you can count the sentences on that release. The result is pretty unique as very few band can handle such a tempo, but according to me the band would have needed variations in their guitar lines. Nevertheless, that's a worth MLP to buy if you like that kind of Doom.

 

THE STONE (Serbia) "Magla" CD'06. 6 tracks, 44 min. Folter.
Folter's signed this great Serbian combo, you may have yet read a review of their previous EP in the paper zine edition. First of all "Magla" means "the fog" in Serbian, and that title sums up pretty well the feeling of this release. Thence, the 6 tracks from this album are about strong and powerful B.M, with an ubiquitous Czech touch in their compositions. Actually the vocals and the background keys remind me a bit of early Czech Inferno opus, you know this lugubrious yet thrilling B.M, that has a cold and winter like atmosphere. The winter like feeling is a little faded away in The Stone's album through some brutal and fast parts such as in "Magla" tune. The result of this 6 tunes are really convincing, this band came with a not so original B.M but they've recorded some catching hymns.
THE STONE (Serbia) "Heke Rane Krvare Vecno" CD'07. 10 tracks, 45 min. Grom.
Here we've the re-release of the first The Stone album that was named "Some Wounds Bleed Forever" under The Stone To Flesh in 2000 with the 2004 two tracks 7EP. I won't spend so much time describing this combo as they're nothing be a third zone band. Actually the early days of this band were far from being exciting as they played some kind of very trendy Black Metal melted with Death Metal touches and some Dimmu Borgir ideas here and there. The vocals are boring and completely impersonal while the drumming lacks of power. This re-release is definitely not useful in your collection.
THE TRUE ENDLESS (Ita) "1888 – From Hell" CD'08. 8 tracks, 53 min. Aphelion.
According to the flyer it's supposed to be a double CD album (one CD's a live but I only received the album). "1888" is a concept album based upon Jack The Ripper's story, actually the title album reminds a famous movie (not really original) . So, we've pure Black Metal here with all the classic elements this music needs : fast riffing, blasphemous vocals and pondering drumming. The whole material sounds a bit like traditional Black Metal with here and there clear low vocals, some obscure parts such as in "The Essence Of Me" containing enough melancholic riffs. The production and guitar gain are pretty powerful. Actually the recipe to get a good album is here, but there's a serious lack of memorable riffs, tunes. Ok, the songs are well written, but don't stand again all the previous B.M albums and it won't be considered as a milestone release. I don't think this release will stand time.

THORON (Swe) "Return To Dust" CD'06. 9 tracks, 39 min. No Colours.
Thoron plays a really exciting Black/Thrash Metal with a strong feeling coming from the 80's and combos such as early Sodom, Protector and Piledriver. They sound terribly Black Metal, in the way that they're closer to Scandinavian Metal scene than 80's Thrash stuffs, but their materials sounds like old rotten chainsaw. They emphasis the dirt and old school side through crushing compositions, but I'll point the great production for that kind of material. Here and there the vocals remind me a bit of Thor's Hammer. According to me the only draw back from that release is the use of a drum machine, it doesn't destroy the musical side, but a real drummer would have given more power. Check it if you're into denim and leather stuffs.
THORNFIRE (Chile) "Exacerbated Gnostic Manifestation" CD'07. 10 tracks, 46 min. Ibex Moon.
Never heard of this Chilean combo so far, but guess what ? They play brutal D.M. Indeed like their mates Mortem. The ten tracks of this CD are about solid brutal D.M in the way the members can perfectly show technical parts in the riffing through a clear production. Actually they're in the right vein of Krisum or Rebaelium or Abominator. Now when it comes to the interest of this album my view is really mixed. First of all, they don’t bring any personal touch, it's just about playing brutal D.M like many other bands do. Secondly where are the solos in their music ? All along the album I have only heard about 5 second solo that is not enough. So, this release won't brand the Death Metal scene for sure and so many bands have recorded much more exciting albums before.
THORNSPAWN / ENSHADOWED (Usa/Gre) “6 Black Candles, 6 Rotting Hearts, 6 Sacrifices For Satan”. 10 tracks, 41 min. Zyklon-b.
The split begins with 5 tracks from Enshadowed offering cruel Black Metal. The compositions are pretty close to Darkthrone, with an emphasis on speed tempos. Indeed, Enshadowed is very influenced by early Scandinavian Black Metal, through brutal and antichristian materials. The productions is rather blur, with buzzing guitar gain that sound a like being recorded in a rehearsal room. There’s a very limited interest in their materials as it’s nothing less than a copy cat of Darkthrone on a fast level, without any original ideas. Thornspawn follows with 5 tunes of, once again, really brutal Black Metal that sometimes reach the War Metal side of this genre. Influences from Sarcofago, Angelcorpse and Blasphemy are deadly obvious here. Thornspawn is typically the love/hate band, as either you’ll find their materials crunching if you like pure brutality for the sake of it either you’ll find this combo extremely boring and limited in their compositions. Actually I never understood why this band has been signed as they can’t offer any variations in their art, all songs sound alike. Furthermore, I’d compare them to typical unappealing brutal D.M combos. You know it’s just brutal, there’s a real lack of atmosphere and even feeling in such a band. I’ve never get into Thornspawn and this split won’t change my mind.

THRASHER DEATH (Pol) "Slaver" CD'11. 16 tracks, 63 min. I Hate.
I Hate Records exhumed old materials from an 80's Thrash Metal combo from Poland that is probably unknown to most of you (and me). Thrasher Death was active at the same time than Merciless Death, Kat, Hammer and Turbo. The CD gathers all their materials : the 7 first tracks being a professional '88 demo "Woman Die", then antoher '87 4 tracks demo "You Must Die", 3 unreleased tracks from '86 and a final live tune. The opening demo is really convincing as it offers old school brutal and sick Thrash Metal with a strong satanic touch. Songs such as "Ave Destrucion" or "Black Angel" are crushing stuffs that are midway between early Slayer/Exodus and a slight of Blood Feast or even German Poison (mainly in the vocals). Even though the songs are far from being original nor of high quality compositions, they have their headbanging and savage moments. The professional recording helps a lot to give convincing compositions. Then I quickly lost interest in the following tracks as they've a rehearsal sound (the drum sound is really ulgy here) and honestly speaking the band always used the same pattern to write their songs. It was probably very exiting to listen to the combo in the end of 80's as they came from behind the Iron Curtain, but I didn't find anything exiting listening to their old and out dated demos now.
THRONEUM / REVELATION OF DOOM (Pol/POL ) "Total
Regression !" CD'07. 13 tracks, 37 min. Pagan.

This split record offers 2 new songs from each band and plenty covers. Throneum opens the split with 2 new tracks in the right vein of what they played before. The introduction track "Exhibition Of Abomination" is a mid pace old school Death Metal hymn directly influenced by Hellhammer with the pounding guitar riffs. The following title is a short but fast material from these Polish and once again the Hellhamer touch is definitely present. Then Throneum covers Destruction through "Tormentor", "We Are Satan's Generation"/Impaled Nazarene, "Execute Them All"/Unleashed, "Darkness" from Morgoth. All the covers are extremely well executed and carry the 90's feeling for sure. We now reach Revelation Of Doom, a band I've never heard before. So here again this band presents us 2 of their songs. Here again ROD is into early Death Metal with a raspy vocal and a strong old school touch. Actually both bands are in the same vein. Then 5 good covers of Hellhammer "The Third OF The Scorns", "Need To Live" Terrorizer, "Witching Metal" Sodom, "Unholy Existence" Pandemonium, "Gods Of War" Blasphemy. I don't know why these bands decided to cover so much songs for their split as actually there're 9 covers of 13 tracks.
THRUSTOR (Usa) "Night Of Fire" CD'08. 12 tracks, 41 min. Emanes Metal.
Some of you might remember Scepter that featured in Metal Massacre vol. 4 with "Taken By Force" song which later would became Agent Steel. Thence, what we have here is Scepter featuring Phil and Paul Sardo as member. This band recorded "Night Of Fire" in 1999 through Black Bastola Records, and now Emanes Metal re-released it with 2 bonus tracks ("Scepter" and "Baptized In Blood" from '83 demo) that are included on the promo CD and a new cover. So Thrustor plays a kind of Speed Metal that is more or less rotten into the 80's but with a much more modern sound. The compositions alternates between some average modern Thrash Metal stuffs without anything memorable such as "Nausea" and excellent gloomy Speed/Thrash Metal tunes such as "The Omen", "Lighting War" that will immediately remind you the 80's and the awesome guitar/drum parts. The quality and skill are obvious here through songs such as "Fire At will" or the progressive "Temporary Confusion". Ciirys vocals are sometimes a like bit too cross-over for my taste, but they fucking sound old school. Finally this release is pretty captivating as the tunes are strong and powerful if you don't except a second Agent Steel, we are miles away from that !
THUNKRAFT (Ukr) "The Banner OF Victory" CD'06. 7 tracks, 37 min. Blazing.
Another really strange album to review that is once again completely out of my Metal knowledge ! So, let's try to be simple, Thunderkraft plays a kind of industrial D.M ,with low grunting vocals, plenty guitars harmonics and back ground keys à la new Samael. Their Metal sound extremely modern both in the sound and the compositions, some of them are rather interesting such as "North Inside". But honestly this is not the kind of release I'll play night and day even though the production kicks ass. Strangely there're some members from Nokturnal Mortum and Astrophaes.

THUNDERTALE (Lit) "Milzinai" CD'08. 12 trakcs, 56 min.Atra.
The info sheet informed about a Lithuanian Heavy Metal combo and looking at the cover I thought that this release could be cool. Actually not at all, after listening to the 2 first tracks, Thundertale is a complete desaster : crappy happy Metal riffs, pseudo epic parts and a really powerless vocal. In fact, I feel like listening to all this fucking staccato melodic Power Metal. The band has also added background flute that hasn't any interest. Forget this combo.
TOKYO DRAGONS (Swe) "Come On Baby" MCD'06. 7 tracks, 24 min. Escapy Music.
This brand new combo from the USA plays a punchy Rock and Roll music melted with glam rock stuffs such as Mötley Crüe. The 5 songs from this MCD typically sounds American, the very old way of playing from the 80's but with a modern touch. They've a punk touch here and there, especially in the way they play drum and arrange their guitar gain. I also found connection with Mötorhead, Tank and Girlschool in Tokyo Dragons tunes, listen to the main riffs from "This Means War" and you'll understand my view. So, Tokyo Dragons offers a great bunch of catchy riffs, using the classic Metal clichés in their music but they rock. Sometimes I find their riffs not enough catchy in comparison to what the previous mentioned bands did in their records, but T.G are cool to listen to. Greasy guitars, rocking singer and punk like drumming that's their receipt. Check the funny video clip "Come on Baby" on the CD.
TTITAN STEELE (Ger) "The Force" CD'07. 9 tracks, 40 min. Pure Steel.
First of all don't confuse this album name with the awesome "The Force" from Onslaught. Secondly, this band is the remaining of Ritual Steel after the departure of the drummer who left with all rights. The first thing that's noticeable with this band is the pretty unique voice of Sascha Maurer, midway between traditional Power Metal and more modern symphonic Heavy Metal combos. So "The Force" is a kind of mix between traditional Power Metal from the 80's with strong touches from the US scene melted with a more modern Heavy Metal style that is not so much my cup of tea. Indeed, the band sometime sounds like Symphony X or Hammerfall and that's not really a good point. But on the other hand they're able of writing fucking great mid tempo Power Metal tunes like "Titan Steele" with pounding galloping parts or "Take What Fate Brings" which is a strong track. But horrible galloping and standard riffs like in "Soulmates" tune might be forgotten. That sounds so predictable and unoriginal. I think this band could really kick ass if they drop all the "let's be a Heavy Metal band with happy riffs" ideas
TOTEM (USA) "Same" MCD'07. 3 tracks, 21 min. I Hate.
Another discovery from the mighty Swedish label and this time it's a Doom Metal band. The 3 tracks unveil 60's-70's psycho Doom Metal with this old school American vibe. The vocals are done by a woman and she increases the melancholic touch with her low delivering lyrics voice, even though she's a female, she doesn't use high pitched tones. The mix of detuned guitar, organ synth, dense bass guitar lines really reminds us the post Woodstock feeling and early Led Zeppelin releases. This mini CD conveys the occult Doom Metal touch from the early 70's underground release you could find back then. I'm amazed with the quality of their compositions, I mean this kind of music could sound terribly boring nowadays, but Totem successes in sounding fresh and professional. A real travel in time !
TRANCELIKE VOID (Bel) "Destroying Something Beautiful" CD08. 7 tracks, 41 min. ATMF.
Following the steps from Shining and Nortt the Belgium one-man solo band played Depressive Black Metal through one hour. Considering that now this kind of Black Metal is a mainstream music, and that only the early releases were interesting as they brought new ideas within the scene, Trancelike arrives a bit too late. Furthermore, we now know that Suicidal Black Metal is efficient on a single recipe and all the bands in this vein use the same method, and thence can only copy what was done before. Indeed, even though the compositions convey a bit of depressiveness and sad mood there's a serious lake of creativeness in "Destroying Something Beautiful", both on guitar parts and vocals. This album turns very boring and sleepy as nothing is happening here.
TRAUMATIC VOYAGE (Ger) "Khiaoscuro" CD'08. 10 tracks, 77 min. Merciless.
Traumatic Voyage is for sure a band that is completely unknown in the underground scene even though this album is their sixth release. "Khiaoscuro" is the last album from the combo and has been re-released by Merciless. Taking these information, we can say that Traumatic Voyage is an obscure band both in their attitude and music, the main concept on this solo project is suicide and depression through utterly dark and twisted music. The 10 tracks are a kind of dark Black Metal with many samples and lamenting tones, a unique voyage to the land of no-return. The main feeling of this release is degeneracy of human soul, close to end his life every minutes. Some desperate vocals alternate with furious and anguish ones, while female sentences appear here and there. Actually the world of Traumatic Voyage is very special, tainted with oppressing visions and fearful ghosts through rather long songs including plenty variations. Even though this release is very effective, "Khiaoscuro" isn't as strong as their first opus, but in the other hand so many bands released suicidal albums now that Traumatic Voyage is one among the others.
TRAUMATIC VOYAGE (Ger) "Cogito Ergo Sum" CD'09. 10 tracks, 77 min. Merciless.
Here's another re-release from Traumtic Voyage, this time we're dealing with their third album that was unleashed in 1996. The one man behind this project was very disturbed; it seems his music acted like chemical on him. The 10 tracks are still in the same vein than the previous album reviewed here, which means uncomfortable and nihilistic Black Metal melted with a sick atmosphere. The lad has created a unique universe where he's the master of pain and agony. Song like "Jenseit Des Fleisches" is an excellent piece of depressive Black Metal that really stands against the entire Suicidal wave. The tracks aren't that much slow tempo, but more in the classic B.M tempos. The original parts here are the samples droped here and there, the hight pitched vocals and the guitar gain. Unfortunately the band uses a drum machine, that isn't a good point. Nevertheless this re-release is a worth discovering if you've never experienced this combo so far.
TRIST (Ger) "Hin-Fort" DCD'07. 7 tracks, 120 min. Cold Dimension.
Trist is a side project from Aran/Tristan from Lunar Aurora. First of all I'd point the packaging of this release as something unique, the album comes in a marvelous digi pack including 2 CDs, one with an one hour single title and the other contains 6 tracks. The first CD displays a long track that starts like ambient music with clear vocals, then after 15 min the Metal instrument comes in through a fast atmospheric B.M that immediately reminds me "Filosofem" without any vocals. The second disc keeps on with the weird music that is midway between atmospheric B.M (that is hardly used here), Indus music and ambient feeling. The tunes are really less long but still convey a gloomy and fearful atmosphere. Trist is a travel into an annihilated land, without any hope nor happiness. The synthesizers are oppressing your mind and you fell like an endless fall into the abyss. The result is terribly efficient, this kind of CD unveils all its power if you listen to it in a dark room with candles dancing on the walls. Excellent work !
TRONUS ABYSS (Ita) "Vuoto Spazio Trionfo" CD'09. 13 tracks, 61 min. ATMF.
For those who never heard of this combo before and who are a bit fed up with classic B.M releasses they should experience Tronus Abyss for sure. The 13 tracks are very a disturnbing voyage to land of experiental noises and weird sounds in which electro in melted with slow depressevie Metal and industrial ideas. That's not so easy to describe such an original album, but you could imagine a knid of melting pot with Arcturus, Penitente, Puissance and Void Of Silence. Thus said, the musical spectre is a wide as possible as T.A doesn't care of any borderline and any limits. We go directly to the inner cells of members, in their deepest troubles. The challenge to record this art is huge, but Tronus Abyss are master in their kingdom.

TROUBLE (Usa) "Simple Mind Condition" CD'07. 11 tracks, 46 min. Escapy.
After the average come back of Confessor I feared that Trouble wouldn't strike hard with their new opus as they have been inactive for 12 years now. The four first tracks are pleasing Doom Metal that lick Stoner music fields with detuned guitars, low drumming and rocking parts. Trouble uses rather energic riffs in their compositions and rock for sure such as in the early track that's greatly open the CD. Then the fifth song is a pretty boring ballade that reminds me some of the Gun's And Roses stuff. The sound and production of the album is more massive more American than in their previous records and we can feel the recording technology has improved in an impressing way. The lead guitar still has a major part in the mood of their tunes and is generously used. Even though this album recalls their early materials the tunes can't hold the listener's excitation from the ballade to "Simple Mind Conditions" track as the three tracks lack of crushing riffs and variations. But just after this eight tune, the band returns to much more powerful Doom Metal with strong melancholic and psychedelic parts such as in the excellent "Ride the Sky" that reminds you Trouble are Black Sabbath's child. A very good return of this nearly cult Doom Metal band.
TYMAH (Hun) "Loquitur Cum Algo Sathanas" CD'08. 7 tracks, 46 min. No Colours.
The band labels themselves as "True Carpathian Black Metal", this release is their second effort but what an effort !! The 7 tracks symbolize the 7 gates, to which the listener must stand the trails represented by speeches with Satan. First of all, what is really impressing with Tymah is their musical evolution has increased both in the composition department and in the anger of delivering their materials. The tracks are really smooth and powerful without any boring parts. The intensity of their Black Metal is perfect from song to song with enough variations to avoid sounding like pure Darkthrone copy as many combos do. The vocals are somewhat a mix between Varg Vickerness and Absurd's one, a mi shrieking, mid tonsil growling. Songs like "Satan Utjan" or "Stix" are in the pure Northern Black Metal vein of the 90's. Thence even though the band uses recipe that's been recorded so many times before, Tymah success in recording a strong Black Metal release dedicated to Dead (for those who may remember him). Check this release
TYPE O NEGATIVE (USA) "Dead Again". 10 tracks, 78 min. Steamhammer.
Yeah great a new release from Peter Steele's and Co. I listen to that release with a pretty anxious feeling as I saw his Carnage band live at Wacken and freaked it !!! T.O.P keep on delivering their old fashioned Gothic/Metal music, but beware here Gothic Metal must be read in that way "80's Gothic/Metal" as this band perfectly mixes the Metal aggressiveness with the old school Gothic Rock feeling sometimes reaching the Punk 70's area such as in the main riff of "Dead Again" song. Actually "Dead Again" is really the album gathering all the Metal influences from Doom ideas to 80's Thrash Metal riffs, crossing the Punk attitude such as in the vocals of "Tripping A blind Man". This band terribly sounds American, I mean this is absolutely the kind of band that couldn't come from Europe as their elements are so varied and linked to each other. Love it or hate but have a try and judge by yourself !
TYRANT (Uk) “Days At The Farm – The Anthology”. LP'06. 9 tracks. Steel Legacy.
We're not delaying with the most Tyrant well know known American band, but the British one. They were different from the others bands of the NWOBHM, because TYRANT played powerful epic Metal. This vinyl release includes the two tracks from the ’83 7’’ single, the six tracks from the ’81 demo, and one unreleased track recorded live. Tyrant offers great Heavy anthems (“We’ve Surrounded”, “Take It To The Dragon”), unleashing galloping guitars for the savage ride (“Shadows Of The Night”, “Hold Back The Lightning”). “Clash Of The Titans” is a monster of power, and “Eyes Of A Stranger” is a majestic piece. The way of playing of axemen Jim Merrit and Gary Atkins is excellent. The tremendous vocals of Mark Kelser sometimes reminds of Tim Baker (Cirith Ungol). They broke up in 1984. If epic Metal is one of your tastes, be sure to grab one of the 500 copies, because Tyrant’s material is fucking killer ! (P)

TYRANT'S REIGN (Usa) "Same". CD '05. 11 tracks. 57 min. Self-financed.
The American legend is back ! In fact, there 's no new song on this album. This is remastered the recordings from '88 and '89, that were never officially released (except for two songs whose their previous versions appear on the very expensive and hard-to-find '87 EP). This band plays killer Speed Metal that is awesome and unique, as I don't remember of an other band reaching this level of power, rage and savage rides. Top notch material to break the bones and to bang the head. But Speed Metal is not the only thing here, because some tracks go in a thrashier direction, whose the roots are to be found in albums like Metallica's "Kill 'Em All", Testament's "The Legacy" and even Slayer's "Show No Mercy". Whatever it is Speed or Thrash, the result remains the same : pure metallic devastation unleashed by five talented musicians. Just listen to great fucking songs as "Thrashing Metal Manicas", "Kill Or Be Killed", "Tyrant's Reign" or "Jack The Ripper", you will understand the sense of my words. (P)

UNCREATION DAWN (Fin) "Death's Tyranny" CD'06. 10 tracks, 59 min. Northern Heritage.
Northern Heritage is not the kind of label sending thousands of promotional CDs all around the world, so I might consider it as a privilege. I've always being captivated by the releases from this Finish lad as most of his productions are unique and of quality. I was experienced with U.D through the re edition of their demo tapes and was rather in the need to listen to more stuffs. Thence "Death's Tyranny" is what I would call the perfect grim Black Metal release with a strong sick touch à la Darkthrone. Indeed, the 10 tracks are about tormented and twisted B.M that have a kind of Black/Death sound and song arrangement. The scolding vocals help a lot to reach this feeling, while the songs are rather mid tempo. Actually that could have been an album from Darkthrone if they didn't wimp out, it sounds a bit like "Panzerfaust" melted with "Total Death" with a totally underground production (which doesn't mean shitty one!!). They really reach the atmosphere of the 2nd B.M wave, pure uncompromising and utterly chaotic music.
UNLEASHED (Swe) "Midvinterblot" CD'06. 15 tracks, 46 min. SPV.
Unleashed came back to their root with "Sworn Allegiance" as this record got many memorable tracks that reminded me their early materials. Thence, the next full-length was yet a competition for Unleashed as we know that all bands can't record each time their best album. "Midvinterblot" is a famous painting of a Viking king sacrifice painted by Carl Larson in 1915, thence you can once again see link between Unleashed and Asatru mythology. So, the 15 tunes from "Midvinterblot" are very traditional Unleashed songs, with the ho so awesome Johnny Hedlund vocals. Actually for me Unleashed means this typical mid growling vocal, very scolding and low one. The whole album is played pretty fast, with some excellent furious full speed parts like in "Triumph Of Genocide" melted with fast staccato riffs. The opening tracks is rather impressing very ultra heavy Death Metal riffs, then all of a sudden you can get a typical Heavy Metal solo that really is a great part here. I won't detail each tune one by one as there's something to discover in every one. Unleashed once again proved they can write excellent tunes, and even though I read some "so-so" reviews about this release, I think "Midvinterblot" contains some kicking D.M hymns like the mid tempo "The Witch".

URFAUST (Hol) "Drei Ei Rituale Jenseits Des Kosmos" MCD'08. 3 tracks, 20 min. Debemur Morti
For those who have never experienced this band and this MCD let's me introduce you to Urfaust. The band comes from Netherlands and the band name come from Goethe book project "Faust". Thus said, you'll like to know they're into an ambient version of Suicidal Black Metal. Indeed, the 30 min here are a kind of cross between Shining and Abruptum. The vocals are completely insane, sounding like a tortured man from the Inquisition. The music side isn't that much happy either. You'll go through weird noise, depravity feeling and morbid guitar riffs. The drumming is counting the few minutes you'll get before dying. This band is completely sick and disturbing, we're in the land of madness here and psychotic music period !!! The result is very well done as the atmosphere created smell like a dead corpse haunting the chapel. Welcome to Urfaust asylum !!!

URGEHAL (Nor) "Goatcraft Torment" CD'06. 10 tracks, 51 min. Agonia.
"This is Satanic Black Metal"' that's the way the album starts ! Urgehal show you they can play cruel and sadistic Black Metal in it's purest way. They crush everything on their way through a very radical and darkthonish B.M like in "Antireligous" and this typical 90's B.M song structure. Most of the album is play in a very fast way, always furious, full of anger and anti Christian hate. Urgehal want to give life to pure Norwegian B.M through each of their release, and they increase in every of them, so that one is probably the most established album from this band. "Goatcraft Torment" is a call for morbid souls to awaken from their tombstone, the wind of terror and cold mist is spread in the graveyard, while Urgehal are chanting their infamous deathly palms.
URNA (Ita) "Sepulcrum MMVI" CD'06. 9 tracks, 69 min. Aeternitas Tenebrarum Music Foundation.
This band is labelled as playing "experimental funeral Doom Black Metal". Well, this kind of Metal is rather difficult to play as most of the bands turn into something completely boring and even sleeping. Thence, Urna experiences this kind of obscure and macabre Metal, delivering extremely slow tempo compositions, melted with dark keys at the background to reach a disturbing atmosphere and insane feeling. The lyrics are delivered through haunting, mid growling vocals at the background. My view is a bit mixed when it comes to the result, in one hand the band can create a real feeling but in the other hand I was fed up after one tune and I don't think I could handle listening to one hour of this kind of Metal as there's not enough variations.

URNA (Ita) "Iter Ad Lucem" CD'09. 6 tracks, 45 min. ATMF.
I wasn't that much appealed by the previous material, as it was a bit boring in the end, so let's say what their new effort can offer. The second opus is still in the Funeral Doom Black Metal filed with an incredible slow step all along the tracks. Taking influcuences from Thergotton to Shining, the band have incorporated another dimension in their art : the ethereal one through oppressing background synth and haunting vocals. All the compositions nearly clock 10 minutes which gives the listener time to get into the funeral trip, immerging themselves into the innself and tortured souls. I definitelty find this release more interesting than the previous one, but listening to such album means being in a dark room, with candles and esoteric smells. This innovative album is for any Nortt and Shining fans.

URSKUMUG (Latvia) "Am Nodr" CD'06. 8 tracks, 42 min. Ledo Takas.
The info sheet advises Urskumug as playing tribal B.M as the band concept goes back far deeper in time, where "pagan" turns into "pre-pagan". Now, when it comes to the music, Urskumug are into Nordic B.M, sometime reminding me some of Helheim's ideas melted with Enslaved song structures but with some very Eastern way of sounding. The production is rather thin, even though really sounds Eastern a bit like Skyforger. Most of the tunes are full speed tempo such as 4th songs applying the violent ideas from tradition B.M. Actually even thought the band comes with an original concept, there's nothing that much news or thrilling in this release.


UTLAGR (Can) "1066 – Blood And Iron In Hasting" CD'07. 10 tracks, 49 min. Sepulchral.
As you can read on the title album, this band is heavily influenced by eleventh century Normans, and obviously musically the play a very epic Black Metal. The 10 tracks from "1066" are heavily influenced with Scandinavian Viking Black Metal combos such as Helheim and Enslaved. The core of their songs is rather melodic and razor sharp in the fastest parts. Ultagr is a band able of mixing both the rough and aggressive Black Metal concept with more melodic ideas coming from the early Swedish B.M scene. Then in one hand we've rather polished songs, pretty smooth and in the other hand the Canadian band has kept the extreme side of B.M. We can feel the band has worked a lot on the song writing department and in the arrangements of each tune, and the result is here. We have a quality BM, not really original, but at least it's well done. The only draw back would be the use of a drum machine.

VELVET CACCON (Usa) "Dextronaut" DCD 11 tracks, 105 min. Full Moon.
This is a re-release from an old album for this band with a second additional CD. The first CD is about Suicidal Black Metal with a very muddle production and nearly impossible to ear vocals. The songs are established on a noisy and crude guitar wall playing so kind of very tradition hypnotic riffs, while the drumming is at the back ground rather weak when it comes to the power this instrument might have in "normal" release. Behind these instruments you can hardly hear an high pitched sorcerer vocal, that doesn't seem to be so strong too actually. The result reminds me of "Suicidal In Dark Serenity" from Xasthur. I've to admit that their minimalist depressive B.M didn't appeal me that much as all the songs sound alike. The 2nd CD contains "only" 3 long tracks (nearly half an hour per tune) of ambient sound a bit like Stalaggh that bored me to death and made me sleep after 30 seconds. The shame of this re-release is there's no booklet !

 

VENOM (Uk) "Metal Black". 14 tracks, 57 min. Castle/Sanctuary.
Six years after "Resurrection", Venom deliver their third attack since their comeback in ’96. There are good and bad point in this album. Let’s begin by the worst : how can a legendary band like Venom plays nineties pseudo aggressive Metal as "House Of Pain", "Death And Dying", "Darkest Realm", "Lucifer Rising" and "Blessed Dead" that are nothing but crap ! So, from the 14 tracks, there're still only 9 interesting tracks remaining : four quite good brutal kick ass stuffs ("A Good Day To Die", "Assassin", "Hours Of Darkness", "Sleep When I’m Dead"), three effective black magic that rock ("Burn In Hell", "Regé Satanas", "Maleficarum"), and two highlights of massive devastation ("Antechrist", "Metal Black"). When it comes to the musicianship (if we can use this word in the case of this band), Cronos still gets the voice and the venomous bass, Antton is still a better drummer than Abaddon, Mykvs did a good job although Mantas’ guitar is missing in the best tracks. The good thing is Venom has kept the spirit of the old days, but the songs are not as memorable as in their heydays. As a result, it’s an ok album that is enjoyable to play in the stereo. Note that a 7’’ single limited to 500 copies is also released, including "Antechrist" and "Metal Black", the two best tracks of this album. (P)

VICTIMIZER (Dk) "The Final Assault" CD'07. 10 tracks, 41 min. Hells Headbangers.
Some of you may remember the review that featured in a Franang zine paper edition about the "Unholy Banner Of War" tape ? Then finally a full length from the Danish Thrash Metalheads has been out. Victimizer has always been into retro 80's Thrash Metal and combos such as early Sodom, Destruction and Kreator for sure, "The Final Assault" proves it ! The 10 tracks are nothing less than fucking violent and fast old school Thrash Mtal played with a really fury and anger. A tune like "Circle Of Annihilation" is full of energy and excellent catchy riffs. This band here and there reminds me of Guillotine from Sweden, you know the bloody ripping guitar riffs blended in a friendly thrash vitriol. That's a real shame the band splits as this material has some memorable ideas ! Get it if you're into 80's Thrash Metal !!!
VIOLENT HELL ASSAULT (V/A) "3 Way Split". 12 tracks, 40 min. Frater.
This split gathers Violent Attack "Chainsaw Slaughter" from Paraguay, Mahdyhell "Spiting Fire" from Colombia, and Assault "Nuclear War Metal from Chile. Violent Attack is a pretty fair band playing descent German old school Thrash Metal sounding a lot like early Destruction both in the lyrics and the music. The production is rather gather for such a combo, sounding both "clear" and raw that perfectly fits to this Thrash stuff. I'd point out the very Sarcafogo like "Chainsaw Slaughter" tune. Mahdyhell is really less captivating as the vocals are a kind of very weak Shmier high pitched screams, while the guitar parts are a bit too basic. This band also plays a very Destruction like music, without any south American infgluences, but honestly these weak singer destroy everything. Finally "Assault" is the most brutal band, laying in the traditional South American Thrash/Death Metal scene with some low growling, crude guitar gain. They sometimes reach War Metal scene and bands such as Blasphemy, Sarcofago, through grinding part. Assault has some potential but as many Southern band they needs professional gear to get a crushing sound.

VOLKOLAK (Russia) "Hail To The God Of The Sun" CD'07. 10 tracks, 48 min. Blazing.
Another Eastern re-release from Blazing Production, this time the album was out in 2004. First of all I'll introduce you to a lesson in history to understand the album. Back in 9th century Swedish and Norwegian Viking went to Novgoroth and Eastern territories that are now Ukraine, Russia and Baltic countries, they established trading places and king Rurik took area around Kiev. Rus' named comes from the name of Viking according to Greek and Salve. As far as I understood the concept of this album, the band pays tribute to the early days of this period. The 10 tracks are acoustic music, with clear vocals, flutes and tribal drumming. To make a long story short they're a kind of Russian acoustic Ulver's album. The content of the lyrics are very pagan, praising god of sun, Veles, Viking and natural elements. The results is very original as the Russian sang colors a lot the music. A video track features as a bonus, it's a kind of video clip during a pagan feast where the band is dressed in pseudo Viking tunic. Now when it comes to historical side of their tunics and music, none of the elements featuring in this video can stand to archeological findings (Viking hadn't any iron arm protections, drinking horns are not archeological real, swords haven't Viking shape and so on…). So, let's consider this album on an entertaining level.
VORTEX OF END (Fra) "In Satan And Plutonium We trust" CD' 07. 9 tracks, 37 min. Ahriman.
What a fucking stupid and childish album title!!! The musical program here is as stupid as the album tile. Fuck lame grinding Metal that's supposed to sound like early Impaled Nazarene and Blasphemy but they'll never reach a single touch of the all majestic terror the mentioned bands were able. The guitar sound is slack, the drum sounds like a playschool toy and the vocals are hilarious. Forget this crap
VULCANO/NIFELHEIM (Bra/Swe) "Thunder Metal" CD'08. 5 tracks, 19 min. I Hate.
In 2006 I Hate unleashed what was the best split EP of the year gathering two extremely great combos. This 7EP was limited to 1000 copies and got sold out immediately. So, I Hate Records has given a new chance for Metal fans publishing the same EP as MCD with an additional Nifelheim track "Insulter Of Jesus Christ". The opening one being Vulcano, the oldest Black/Death Metal band from Brazil playing pure old school Metal through "The Evil Always Return" and "Suffered Souls". This Brazilian band is simply awesome and can write crushing tunes that will remind you the glorious era of South American Death / Thrash scene. Nifelheim closed the split with tracks in the perfect vein of Nifelheim. Except nothing but furious and devastating Black Metal. The band offers two exclusive tracks that are "Raging Flames" and "Sepulchral Fornication" that are majestic tunes !!! The last one "Insulter Of Jesus Christ" features their last album "Envoy Of Lucifer" but with Jon Nödtveit guitar parts. This little detail gives even more interest and "price" for any extreme Metal fans. Buy this edition or fuck off !!!
VULCANO (Bra) “Tales From The Black Book” CD’05. 13 tracks, 43 min. I Hate Records.
Argh, fuck, fuck, fuck the new Vulcano is a masterpiece !! I can’t believe that after 14 years of silence Vulcano came back with such an album. Can you at least remember the killer stuffs such as “Bloody Vengeance” or “Anthropophagy” ? So, the 13 tracks of these tales are nothing but amazing Black/Death Metal in the 80’s Brazilian scene, including this untamed guitar sound, the harsh drumming, and the deep dark vocals coming from the underworld. Actually their new tunes are a perfect coming back of this so strong Brazilian scene, just listen to tunes such as “Face Of Terror” which gathers early Thrash Metal riffs, or the rock and roll one “Devote To The Devil”. Of course, Vulcano hasn’t forgotten the grinding drum parts that gave the trademark of bands such as Sarcofago or Mutilator. Don’t miss this jewel if you consider yourself as part of the underground Metal scene !!!!
VULPECULA (Usa) "In Dusk Apparition" CD'06. 5 tracks, 32 min. Invictus.
Some album reviews could be done in 2 words : "buy it" as they're nothing but killer stuffs. I could do that with Vulpecula, but I'll go in deeper details as this band really deserves it ! Thence, Vulpecula's discography goes back in the '94 with Chuck Keller and Christ from the amazing Order From Chaos and Nepenthe bands. They recorded a milestone 7EP "Phoenix of the Creation" in '96. We're now in '06 and Invictus Production has just unleashed the long awaited full length that was recorded in '96 but never released before. Vulpecula has always been in the dark side of the blackened Death Metal, unveiling the shadow of nightmare through with gloomy and emotional songs. They perfectly melt the most obscure sides of Metal with the tormenting D.M chainsaw, through offending song. The vocals sound like a mix between loneliness and haunting, humming deathgrunt. Actually Vulpecula can mesmerise you through their very unique way of playing and inventing D.M (listen to "Major Tom", how many bands can compete them ?). According to me Vulpecula embodies the perfect original band in the sea of untalented release. Simply awesome !!!!!
WALL OF SLEEP (Hun) "…And Hell Followed With Him" CD' 07. 8 tracks, 39 min. I Hate.
Another finding from the Swedish label, this time they sought in Hungary to find another high quality Doom Metal combo named Wall Of Sleep. This band has yet recorded 2 albums previously that didn't get great promotion over the world. Let's hope that with I Hate this band will finally get the support they deserve. Indeed, the 8 tracks of "…And Hell…" are Doom Metal in the pure traditional vein taking inspiration from St Vitus and Trouble they wrote heavy and sad excellent tunes. While tune like "Crusade" really reminds some Black Sabbath hymns, they band can create its own material without copying the original and know how to write groovy and memorable riffs. The vocals stand a little bit against conventional Doom vocals in one hand due to the language accent probably but on the other hand I really got into his way of delivering lyrics. We've here some fucking talented musicians from an old Eastern country that really needs support all over the world.
No cover
WALLS OF JERICHO (Usa) “Redemption” MCD’08. 5 tracks, 23 min.
I’ve never heard of this band before and looking on Internet I saw the same band name playing a kind of Hardcore Slayerish music (a kind of very shitty stuff !!). This is the same band but their music is so different here. As I didn’t get any info sheet nor cover with this EP, let’s start introducing “Redemption”. Here there’s no brutal or Hard Core ideas anymore, their music direction have drastically changed, turning at 180°. Actually their new MCD is a kind of ethereal Metal in the vein of Theatre Of Tragedy, The Gathering with floating guitars and harmonious female vocals. The tunes are all based on the creation of a resting atmosphere, with “light guitar” riffs and calm drumming. The result isn’t that bad at all and offers some great moments if you want to concentrate on something else while listening to music. But there’s two questions : why does the band did such a drastic musical change and how can it be considered as “serious” from a fan base ?
WALPURGISNACHT (Hol) "Die Derwart Gaen En Keeren Niet" CD'05. 10 tracks. Folter.
That Dutch band displays a rather classic B.M album with Dutch lyrics which is a bit original in a certain way, even though that doesn't bring anything thrilling. I'd say that everything you can listen to in this release has been done thousands of time by so many average bands that this release turns to be a pretty poor materials. The guitar lines are so boring that you can yet guess what's gonna happen, while the high pitched donald duck vocals got on my nerve after 2 min. Honestly there's nothing exiting, nor B.M here.
WARCRY.US (Usa) "Forbidden Evil". CD '06. 13 tracks, '60 min. Self-financed.
Another return of a 80's band, but that's not a problem at all when quality is here. The band re-recorded old songs, and if you don't know them, it's not too late to experience their dark power Metal that is heavier than hell. Play the CD loud in your stereo and get burnt while listening hellish anthems as "The Executioner", "Rip You To Shreds" or "Wicked Warlock". Their energy is captured to invoke the dark Metal forces. Warcry was born in 1983, that means in their heavy side, there had influences such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and Angel Witch. This is an obvious fact in their '83 "Trilogy Of Terror" demo (which is the great bonus tracks on this edition) that sounds like power Metal but with a doomier approach. The recent recordings kept the dark side but tends towards a really powerful Metal that is a steamroller killing everything on its road. "Forbidden Evil" is real (and I insist on the word real here) power Metal played with genius. A CD that will remain one of the best release from 2006. (P)

WICCA (Ger) "Splended Deed" CD'2008. 10 tracks, 40 min. Nerbilous.
Receiving promos from Korea is pretty rare and receiving a re-edition of 80's German Thrash Metal from over there is even rarest ! Wicca was active in the early 80's Thrash Metal scene with combos such as Assassin, Violent Force and so on. They released "Splended Deed" in 1989, nearly a the end of the Thrash wave. Basically Kreator influenced them for the heaviest parts such as in the opening tune, but also by some hard-core ideas. Actually 1989 was the year when Thrash Metal was turning really boring and uninspired. You could found many combos melting Hard Core ideas and Crossover stuffs in the vocals, which is the matter with Wicca. For instance a tune like "Splended Deed" is at the borderline line between cool Thrash song and shitty Crossover shit. Unfortunately if the band hadn't blended so much of these elements, they could have been a bit more interesting. I don't think this re-release was really a need, considering this combo was completely unknown in the 80's, so who'll care about them 20 years later ?
WITCHBURNER (Ger) "Final Detonation" CD'05, 12 tracks, Undercover.
Some of you may known this German Thrash Metal head from their previous releases LP and various EsP. With songs such as "Thrash Til Death", "Alcohol Patrol" or "Master Of Hell" it's not really difficult to guess this band is into 80's Thrash Metal music. I'll review this album on two different levels. First of all if you're freak of new wave of German Thrash albums such as Desaster, Witchburner, Guillotine, Gehennah who praise the glory years of Destruction, Sodom, Exhumer and co "Final Detonation" is the perfect release to you as they came with mad thrashing riffs, typical high pitched vocals Schmier. Now, if you want to really listen to old school releases without falling into the clichés this German combo offers you, you might seek for better albums. Indeed, without spitting on this range of Metal, I feel like many of theses kind of 80's tributes sound alike and sometimes much too flat in comparison to high light stuffs such as "Darkness Descent", "Torment In Fire". Witchburner is the cool release to listen to with a beer and bang heads.
WOLF'S HUNGER (Serbia) "Osveta u Krvi" CD'07. 11 tracks, 41 min. Grom
Wow the first feeling on that release is : where the fuck the band recorded such an awful drum ? It sounds as if the drummer is playing on a toy drum. The info sheet advises about Black / Thrash Metal, well this is a very glorious description for this band. What I heard on that release is a band that's trying to play some tunes with a clumsy way of doing it, hasty way of writing the tracks and a real lack of coherence within the tunes. I won't evoke the ugly vocals. Well, go back to your rehearsal room, play hard and come back when you'll be able to write something that doesn't sound like a 12-year teenagers band.
WOLFSLAIR (Dk) "Ateulv" MCD'09. 4 tracks, 20 min. Nocturnal Woodlands.
Even though this MCD was recorded in 2006, I got the CD a few weks ago only. Anyway, this young Danish is heavily influenced by the early Black/Death Metal scene and combos such as Beherit and Blasphemy. The 4 tracks are nothing less than 4 insults to christianity through ugly and sick riffs. The goat vocals summon the darkness and aim to opeing the gates of hell. The production isn't top notch but actually this increase the insane side of their art. Now considering the amount of combos playing the same kind of stuff, Wolfslair isn't bad in their domain and even if they don't stand against the others they are of a certain interest.

WOODTEMPLE (Ger) "Voices Of Pagan Mountains" CD'06. 6 tracks, 48 min. No Colours.
Welcome to the 4th Woodtemple record, that actually only includes 4 real tunes as there's an intro and an outro. Actually "Voices.." really sounds like some of the epic Graveland releases such as "Immortal Pride", meaning mid tempo pagan and epic compositions, with background male vocals. Woodtemple also uses the same kind of atmosphere than the Polish band through crude vocals and background guitars that have a raw gain and a bit "un-tuned" sound. I feel it a bit useless to produce albums that sound like Graveland these days as yet Rob is invading us with some many of his compositions, so at the end tapping in the same vein turns slowly fades it away.

 

ZARATHUSTRA (Ger) "In Hora Mortis" CD'07. 7 tracks, 47 min. Agonia.
Do you want Black Metal ? Thence get the new "In Hora Mortis" release from Zarathustra as those German lads have released a very descent album here. They finely blended melodies within straight and obscure riffs such as the interlude in "Periculum Mortis" which sometime remind me of the Swedish bands like Dawn. Zarathustra knows the way to write excellent and thundering Black Metal hymns, including all the traditional rules like the typical up tempo drumming ("Souls Ejaculation"). The band has really increased since their early materials, the vocals are extremely roaring and scolding, the drumming is fucking tight, while the chainsaws act like razor blade. Songs such as "Crown OF Creation" conveys all the blasting elements for a crushing and fast B.M title, without sounding boring. Zarathrustra is one of the very few German B.M band to watch over !