Τετάρτη, 14 Μαΐου 2008

Melencolia Estatica - Letum (2008)
Aeternitas Tenebrarum Music Foundation

This is the follow-up to their previous slef-titled album & debut which left me with a very good impression.Letum is again a very good effort by Climaxia (yeap,the mainwoman of the band).With an improved production in terms of warmth and an organic feel 'Letum' hits off strongly with an Ulver inspired song that sets the mood convincingly. The melodies have an authentic nineties black metal feeling, an era rightfully revered by many. Now I'm not a guy that dwells in the past but it made me feel a bit nostalgic. Melencolia Estatica avoids clichés gracefully and therefore keeps it relevant. The melancholic mood is preserved throughout the album even though the blast-beat is the dominant rhythmic backbone. 'Letum' carefully balances between emotive parts and high-speed aggression. The result is an emotionally engaging black metal album of high quality.

8,5/10

Fen - Ancient Sorrow (EP,2007)
Northern Silence

Ancient Sorrow is the debut EP from atmospheric black metallers Fen. Mixing aspects of folk, ambient, black metal and prog the band create music that expresses loss, sorrow, exaltation and a sense of ancient pride, sounding like a cross between Rush and Mayhem. There are three tracks, the first, Desolation Embraced, an eight minute brooding track that follows a simple arrangement through epic guitar riffs and gentle keyboards. The harsh vocals utter their bile fuelled words across the uplifting melodies. The second track, The Gales Scream of Loss, is a rousing similar track, with a clean choir-like backing tethered to the tormented darker vocal deployment. Finally, Under the Endless Sky, clocking in at 12 minutes, is a step up in gear, and the rapid drum work is the only real difference to the otherwise still prevailing atmospheres of the previous track.With Ancient Sorrow Fen have created something dark and evil yet, at the same time, something majestic. Opening track “Desolation Embraced” is nearly nine minutes of experimentation with darkness. Surreal vocals layered over epic guitars and an atmospheric drum beat create this weird and wonderful maelstrom.Clean arpeggios (love it), distorted riffs,sometimes leaning more toward a whispered sort of grunt and discrete atmospheric keyboard passages following the pace of a kicking bass/drum duo. The heaviness mentioned comes from these last two elements, especially noticeable in the over-prominent bass drum sound.

8/10
In Vain - The Latter Rain (2007)
Indie Recordings

Four years into the making, In vain is ready to unleash their debut “The Latter Rain” to the world. From the point of not knowing anything about this new experimental extreme progressive metal act, I now am filled with desire to explore their creative paths to a full extent. Six full time members and fourteen guest musicians have created a unique product which will leave marks in the current international extreme metal scene. To tag In Vain as being “newcomers” is a blatant understatement as The Latter Rain is remarkably professional composed and produced.The Latter Rain consists of 10 tracks, clocking in on more than an hour of total playing time. What we're dealing with here is extreme metal with a great deal of melody, atmosphere and growing ability, music that has a complexity so grave that there's no chance you can pass judgements after just a couple of spins...It is customary at some point in a review to construct a frame of reference by naming some well-known representatives of a certain genre with which the band in question shares musical inclinations or directions, but with 'The Latter Rain' that would be a waste of time, as too much is happening to label everything specifically. Suffice to say that during the more that sixty minutes duration of this record, there is no dull moment to be found. It is not every day that something as good as 'The Latter Rain' is released!

8,5/10

Κυριακή, 27 Απριλίου 2008

Virgin Black - Requiem-Fortissimo (2008)
The End Records

This is the second of Virgin Black's Requiem trilogy. Last year saw the release of "Mezzo Forte", with Pianissimo still to come. "Pianissimo" means quiet, "mezzo forte" is medium-loud and "fortissimo" is loud. That means this CD will be the most intense of the three.Definitely heavier than its predecessor, Requiem - Fortissimo is another landmark for Virgin Black. Singer and mastermind Rowan London left his clean vocals home on this one. Growling from the first second to the last, this might take listeners by surprise. But true to himself, Rowan showcases once more that he is one of the best singers out there, managing to bring emotion, melancholy, and variation to his growls. At times, it sounds like Satan is in the house and can become quite disturbing if you are unprepared for this kind of vocals. Plus Rowan's vocals are often coupled with disturbing background vocals, either male or female. If I had to rename this album, this one would be called "Land of the Dead". It's so dark, it feels like we are projected into a twilight world where the dead are talking to the living.Virgin Black is one of the best Gothic/Doom bands of our days!

8,5/10

Σάββατο, 26 Απριλίου 2008

Tiamat - Amanethes (2008)
Nuclear Blast

Tiamat was one of those bands that started out death/doom and really got the whole doom vibe hyped up in the early nineties, then became gay as shit gothic, gained a bunch of fans and lost a whole lot more (or less, who knows).Amanethes is the first record in 5 years and nobody really expected that Johan Edlund and Co would tie in with the class of an “Astral Sleep” record. Well “Amanethes” doesn’t sound like “Astral Sleep” at all, it rather sounds like a best of Tiamat and every single Band influence can clearly be heard out!From the Hippie sounding ballad rock song “Meliae” with nice soulful guitar solos over to the typical 80ties rock song “Summertime is gone“, to the evil rock and goth song “The Temple of the crescent moon”, Tiamat shows the listener that they have great skills in mixing different styles without sounding boring or immature.With “Amanethes”, a mixture of the best Tiamat has ever created, they will target a lot of the older Fans but they will also get the attention of the rest of the music world!

8/10

Children Of Bodom - Blooddrunk (2008)
Spinefarm Records

Children of Bodom's 2005 album "Are You Dead Yet?" was successful in bringing the band greater exposure in North America. However, it also created a rift between fans who preferred their older neo-classical style (I was one of them as well) and those who were attracted to the heavier, yet simpler, industrial song structures of "Are You Dead Yet?" Now, at the dawn of their sixth studio release, "Blooddrunk," we see Alexi Laiho and company attempting to please old and new fans alike. Surprisingly, it works.My hopes for this record were not particularly high, and I was honestly expecting another one in the vein of Are You Dead Yet?, if not worse. This may not be a return to their former creative prowess, but it is certainly much better than their last effort and harks back to classic Bodom at certain times. Unoriginal as the formula may be by now, Blooddrunk still sees the guys putting out a better-than-average release, with Alexi and Janne’s guitar and keyboard virtuosity as delicious and hooky as ever.Overall, "Blooddrunk" serves up one strong all killer, no filler dish of in-your-face melodic death-thrash metal.Welcome back guys!

8/10

Παρασκευή, 29 Φεβρουαρίου 2008

Alcest - Souvenirs D’un Autre Monde (2007)
Prophecy Productions

This first full-length album balances these two sounds in a series of five slow-moving, majestic compositions. The songs are shot through with field recordings, children playing, the ocean, on low volume, as if heard half-asleep. The whole thing is meant to describe Neige’s fantasy world, a place he visits in dream.A simple description of what is going around here could be the marriage of Black Metal riffing a la EMPYRIUM, AGALLOCH or OCTOBER FALLS with fairish vocals, calming waterish drumming. The music has nothing to do with Black Metal but you can easily see that its composer surely is listening to thus music; note also the Neige is also a member of PESTE NOIRE a very good and different I could say Black Metal horde from France. "Souvenirs D’Un Autre Monde" has a dispersion of acoustic relaxing guitars and a female voice like you are close to a Nereid. Everything is colored white, the color of brightness, of happiness.Truly beautiful MUSIC!

8/10