Vesania (Pol) - Rage of Reason

8 de abr de 2009

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Vesania (Pol) - Rage of Reason

Symphonic Black Metal, Poland
Single, Empire Records
January 15th, 2008

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Vesania (Pol) - Firefrost Arcanum

3 de abr de 2009

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Vesania (Pol) - Firefrost Arcanum

I think it's fair to say that Poland have more than their fair share of quality death and black metal bands, and with Vesania boasting members of Behemoth and Vader in their ranks, it's not hard to see where the highly proficient abundance of musical guile comes from on this, their debut album.

This could almost be a lost mid-period Emperor album, if it were not for the slightly less progressive guitar gymnastics, whilst still maintaining the tone of black metal from the farthest reaches of skull crushing, well honed and produced extreme metal soundscapes. This is pretty far from an overindulgent Dimmu-like release, or even an under-cooked Darkthrone-like affair as you can get in 'black' metal, managing to push the album's sonic boundaries into the realms of a more synth-drenched death metal Myrkskog, whilst retaining its ingrown blackened sensibilities. Spattered with atmospheric sections, the album boasts generally long track lengths each taking you on a sonic journey, ranging from face-removing sandblaster sections, to slower, flesh burning monolithic Aeternus-esque destruction. There's a fair bit of Zyklon-like futurism interweaved into the general crushing black/death, with intelligent riffs embedded deep into the song structures, adding a strong sense of dynamics to the fold, which when coupled with the strong but not overpowering usage of synthesizer can (at times) sound really impressive.


Original review at http://www.metalcrypt.com/

Symphonic Black Metal, Poland
Full-length, Empire Records
2003

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Tarot (Fin) - Crows Fly Black

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Tarot (Fin) - Crows Fly Black

Tarot is a band traditions reaching back to the early 80s, and have over the years released numerous albums to much critical praise. But it wasn't until the band's front man, singer and bass player Marco Hietala joined Nightwish things were really made huge for the band. Marco has an amazing and very distinct voice, and thankfully he's been able to combine his work with both Tarot and Nightwish in a satisfactory manner. 2004 saw the release of Tarot's Suffer Our Pleasures, and now the follow-up, Crows Fly Black, is ready.

The genre Tarot operate in is pretty straight forward heavy metal, based around strong riffs, groove and catchy chorus-lines. Suffer Our Pleasures had some excellent songs, but suffered a bit due to lack of variation. Rest assured, Crows Fly Black takes the band to new heights, managing to side-step almost every booby trap put in their way. The album's opener, being the title track, took a while to grow on me, but as soon as I got there I was hooked. Other excellent songs to notice are Traitor, Bleeding Dust, You and Grey, but overall there are no particularly weak moments to mention. One thing I appreciate very much is the band's ability to vary the tempo of the songs, this is a clear improvement from Suffer Our Pleasures. The songs evolve, progress and skip rope hither and thither in between different parts, creating new and exciting moments many times in each song. The production is excellent, Marco's powerful and gritty voice is mixed in perfectly with the hard hitting guitars and bass.

One important thing to note is that this album is a sure grower, I doubt you'll get instantly hooked. But as you start to notice the little things, the guitar licks, the layers of synth in the backgroun and the sometimes almost unnoticeable tempo-changes, I'm pretty sure you'll get around to loving it. Mostly for lovers of Marco's voice, lovers of classic heavy metal or good melodies in general, but I really do recommend it to almost anyone. Give it a chance. This one'll be released the 19th of January, so Tarot has together with Therion's latest given us one hell of a start for the new metal year.

Rating: 85/100

Written by Ole Kristian Mastadøy at http://www.enslavedbymetal.com/

Heavy Metal, Finland
Full-length, King Foo Entertainment
October 27th, 2006

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Raxa - MezoVedic

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Raxa - MezoVedic

If you were interested in Tenochtitlan but found their music to be a bit too much "world music" and not enough metal, I am pleased to inform you that Lefthander's similar project is far more balanced. Even if you've never heard of them, but like bands that mix metal with Pre-Hispanic instrumentation such as Yaotl Mictlan, Ek, and Ch'aska (just to name a few) I think you will find this album to be quite in your taste. And if you haven't heard of those bands, well then do so.

This is one of those albums that for some may take more than one more listen to get into. I know I was a bit reluctant at first. The big difference between Raxa and the bands mentioned earlier is that due to the heavy use of keyboards in order be atmospheric, you may feel sometimes that you're at the freaking dentist's waiting room, or a very strange kind of spa. This is why unless you don't mind the whole atmospheric thing, you may actually have to wait to digest this album.

But once you get over this, the journey can begin. MezoVedic is quite an awesome album. Unlike Tenochtitlan's latest endeavor, Lefthander takes his time with the songs, combining both clean and growling vocals; both heavy riffs and tranquilizing breaks that avoid the cheap, sudden shifts back to the metal to seem heavier than what the music really is. Also, tracks such as "Incumbeni Kadingirra", and "Calm in the Hall of two Truths" combine Lefthander's vocals with female vocals, further enriching the album.

Original review at http://www.metal-archives.com/

Doom Metal / Folk / Ambient, Russia
Full-length, Mystic Empire
April 2008

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Funeral Procession - The Red Vine Litanies

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Funeral Procession - The Red Vine Litanies

Black Metal, Germany
EP, Ván Records
July 7th, 2008

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Paysage d'Hiver - Kristall & Isa

1 de abr de 2009





















Paysage d'Hiver - Kristall & Isa

I couldn't help first commenting on some things said in the review below me, which I know is somewhat unfair because the reviewer will have no chance to reply to mt comments. I honestly think though that it would be ill advised to take advice as to how to interpret the atmosphere of this album from a review that describes parts of this as techno. Everyone can think what they like, but I think that the correct approach is needed to all music to properly and fully enjoy it.

That being said, this music is all about repetition and atmosphere and little about technicality, individual riffs and melodies, or indeed even solely the musical aspect of Paysage d'Hiver. PdH is one of those bands where the concept is either hit or miss, you connect with the musics themes and ideas or you don't (which offers a perfectly fine and legitimate explanation as to why someone would rate this low). I find myself able to connect with the music and the whole aesthetical concept of PdH, and write my review in a way that assumes that the reader may potentially understand the music as well.

The songs are very basic, drumming shows little signs of life besides a droning pound that soon engraves itself into the back of the production. Guitars are a blaze of sound without a discernible shape to them that would lend them the ability to play a distinct melody. Everything drones and repeats quite a bit, and only the vocals and synth provide the variation needed to not make this something that would indeed be boring. All the elements together make this album full enough to be able to convey the emotions and ideas put into it.

The main concepts of course are winter and darkness, and the music provides a platform to meditate on these concepts. If one can understand this link of what the music means in relation to the concept of PdH, then the music will immediately make more sense. One will come to realize that this particular music is music to think and even dream upon. It opens up the imagination and paints landscapes of darkness and snow. That is why the repetition and steady droning of the guitars is essential. It is so that there will be no sudden in jolt to ones thoughts. The only breaks appear in between songs, during which some ambient noises can be heard before fading into the next droning song.

Those familiar only with the ambient work of Wintherr might dismiss this at first, but in essence both styles of PdH ultimately achieve the same end of creating an immense atmosphere. The only difference is that the black metal side of PdH is considerably harder to appreciate at first, becuase it is far less melodic and calm than the ambient works. Highly recommended as music to listen to while relaxing or before sleeping, but not as black metal that is played in the background or in an environment where it is secondary, because this music demands your attention!

Original review at http://metal-archives.com/

Black Metal, Ambient, Switzerland
Demo, Kunsthall Produktionen
2001

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My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire (2009)

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My Dying Bride - For Lies I Sire (2009)

It is the same scenery as before...outside cloudy weather...rain...darkness. Inside everything... nothing...poetry, melancholy and a crying violin from the past. “For lies I Sire”...
Almost three years after the highly acclaimed “A Line Of Deathless Kings” MY DYING BRIDE return with a masterpiece, so different, that seems the band has chosen to follow a different path from now on...the old road...
Influenced by themselves and more specifically by their attempts in the 90’s, this album combines all those elements responsible for the band’s uniqueness in music. To make things clearer, the band decided again to use the sad violin melodies which used to be their trademark in their first albums. Apart from that, there is a clear return to the sound they achieved in “Turn Loose The Swans” as also in “The Angel and The Dark River” album. Aaron’s vocals are clear in most of the time, crying his poetic lyrics as he used to do in the previously mentioned “diamonds”.
Musically, “For Lies I Sire” is two steps back for the band, resulting in a very big step forward! This means that MY DYING BRIDE provide us with an album that could be the physical continuation of a past attempt such as “The Angel...” but at the same time it is so fresh and inspiring, showing the band’s potential.
The production has a more melancholic approach, aiming to compose a sad-not so dark as their past intentions- melodic musical scenery, reaching an almost suffocating mood at some times.
However, there are some parts showing new inspirations (i.e. “Fall In Me”, “Bring Me Victory”), never before attempted by the band to such an extend. Here we meet some continuous melodic riffs combined in harmony with the classic strict and heavy- MY DYING BRIDE-guitar sound, but everything happens inside the doom/death borders the band issued all these years.
Not forget to mention the clear musical references to “As The Flower Withers” album in “A Chapter In Loathing”...MDB death metal...
Succeeding to fill our lives with misery once again, the leading British band did what was supposed to do. Adding another sad chapter in it’s journey book since the late 80’s, “For Lies I Sire” sets the new borders in the genre, adding once again great musical value...Excellence...

Original review at http://www.metal-invader.com/

Experimental/Psychedelic Doom Metal, UK
Full-length, Peaceville Records
March 23rd, 2009

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