Monday, April 14, 2014

Fresh flesh from Bandcamp - Part 3

Ifing: Against This Weald (Blood Music)

Longtime friends Fritz Petersen and Tim Wicklund formed Ifing in 2010. The band's name is taken from the great river in Norse mythology which separates the realms of the gods and giants (taken from the Bandcamp page). Given the circumstances and the fact one of my all time favorite band, Moonsorrow, was mentioned in their biography I was beyond stoked about this brand new band. Another positive thing was that Blood Music had signed them in their roster, they can do no wrong in their signings. 

How about the music? The Stream which is available on Blood Music's Bandcamp site displays all the elements why you need to hear and own this album: it has a perfect balance between folk and pagan black metal. There are pipes and flutes, blastbeats and to my ear that manly, rich and authentic pagan metal atmosphere. Fortunately these guys take their time on carving the best riffs and setting the mood on the songs as there were supposedly no great constraints from the label, allowing the closing song, Realms Forged, to linger over 18 minutes. Personally I simply love this monumental song as it keeps you focused during its entire duration and take you from one emotion to another.

If you love Moonsorrow or late Windir, I am pretty certain you can jump on this without hesitation. The only gripe I have is that the total duration of the album is only 35+ minutes, but that doesn't take away the fact that the music is awesome and looking at my playcount the replay value is highly elevated.

Woman Is The Earth: Depths (Init Records)

Woman Is The Earth (I simply adore this nameplay) hails from Black Hills, South Dakota and has been formed in 2007. I was introduced to them by a friend from Last.Fm music network a few years back and lately been listening to them a lot. Especially finding their own Bandcamp page and label's, Init Records, has given me the opportunity to support the band directly. 

Depths is the third full-length in their career and published by Init Records. I would probably label it under EP as the duration is just over 24 minutes, but like I have stated before it doesn't really matter as long as the music is this awesome. There are several comparisons to Wolves In The Throne Room in their music and I feel they are justified but I can still find elements clearly separating the bands from each other. WITE offers you atmospheric black metal where the main focus is entire flow of the song concentrating on furious riffing and painting the atmosphere. While the songs are within ten minute mark, they offer plenty of variation and breaks which is one of the reasons you want to return to this album. 

Lluvia: Eternidad Solemne Promo (Fallen Empire Records)


Lluvia is project of Lord Vast (ex-Wylve) and stand for rain in Spanish. They are signed on Fallen Empire Records and since they so graciously offer their discography on name your price on Bandcamp, I decided to jump on this offer. It didn't take long for me to realize I'd be spending some quality time with this band in the weeks to come as it hit my sweet spot hard: everything I have come to love in atmospheric black metal are there: the lengthy songs, the furious tremolo riffing, raw and passionate vocals, that logo which is unreadable, the black and white and cover art, the completely absurd (and usually unpronounceable) band member name and lastly amazing music.

Los Ultimos Rayos Del Sol (translated The last rays of the sun) is taken from the upcoming LP Eternidad Solemne and gives you a stellar preview and a stormwarning from Mexico. The song picks up almost immediately and for the first nine times pretty much destroys you completely and while you are done, there's a five minute Burzumish outro which leaves you wandering in the winter night forest alone. Highly recommended for fans of atmospheric black metal.

Lvthn: Adversarialism Demo (Fallen Empire Records)

Lvthn is another great discovery from Fallen Empire Records roster. Not much information is available from this act from Belgium, but I didn't find them on Facebook and they stated that Adversarialism was recorded already a year ago but now it has been given a proper vinyl treatment.

Musically Lvthn plays straightforward and fast black metal with a subtle hint of death metal. What appeals me the most is the great riffing both songs offer: they twist your neck, pump blood back into your veins and carve that air-guitarist from deep within. It is like an oncoming blizzard that swallows you whole and once you are grasping for that last breath of fresh air, you will find redemption in the final hour.

Eos: L'Avalé Demo (Fallen Empire Records)

EOS hails from Québec, Canada and ends my journey on Fallen Empire Records this time. L'Avalé is the demo first demo and they participated in the sampler "SVN OKKLT" which can be downloaded here. Not much information is offered about this mysterious band other than the letters G.. K. and V. as band members.

L'Avalé offers 33 minutes of raw and atmospheric black metal. These guys take their time and build songs slowly from medium paced to full blast and focus on building what seem to be fragile soundscapes at first only to be later destroyed by full scale black metal attack. The songs offer plenty of variation and subtle moments and the shadow play between different moods keep the listener focused and intrigued. Somehow I find similarities in production and vocals to Peste Noire and that is never a bad thing. Highly recommended for open-minded black metal enthusiasts.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Fresh flesh from Bandcamp - Part 2

Woods Of Desolation: As The Stars (Northern Silence Productions)

Those familiar with Woods Of Desolation before might have connected the dots that I love this band. Hell, I even named my blog after their previous masterpiece, Torn Beyond Reason. The wait for the new release has been really agonizing for me and finally the day arrived when my limited edition package dropped in the mail as I refused to listen to it before that. The sole member of the band, D., has written the material for this album and with this release he has joined forces with Vlad (Drudkh) on drums, Luke Mills (Drowning The Light, Nazxul and Pestilential Shadows to name a few) on bass and Old (Drohtnung) on vocals.

First thing you notice is the shogazey and highpitched tone of the guitar making the album lighter and airier than the previous effort. I recall reading an article that D. has been listening to a lot of shoegaze lately and you can definitely hear that progression in the sound. The overall production is true to its roots as it is neither too polished nor overproduced. With Tim Yatras concentrating now on Germ and Autumn's Dawn the vocal duties in this album fall for Old. I am not familiar with his previous work, but to me his contribution on this album is decent to say the least. The tone of this voice suits the music, but on emotional level it doesn't connect so powerfully as on the previous album. Maybe that is a result of my current state of mind, I don't know. However, I am liking the album more and more with each listen, but still I am missing Tim's desperate shrieks and heartbreaking howls from time to time.

All in all the album is pretty consistent from start to finish featuring seven songs and clocking 35 minutes. As times goes by I am pretty sure I am going to form a deeper understanding and opinion about it, but for now I am rating it very good but not a masterpiece. My love for this band doesn't wither nonetheless and friends of atmospheric black metal can jump on this beauty without hesitation.

Thou: Heathen (Gilead Media)

I came across with Thou about a couple of years ago, when my urge for sludge and doom metal was infinite. They have been around for about ten years now and have released three full lengths and numerous EPs and splits since making them really productive. Heathen is their fourth major release and saw daylight about a month ago. While I was reading the reviews and the feedback from the fans and webzines, I noticed that Heathen was valued very dearly and has been even nominated album of the year countless times.

Thou's sound is heavy, ugly and distorted. Bryan Funck's absolutely snotty and tormented trademark vocals could be the factor making you love or hate this band. It may take some time to get used to it, but if you familiar with likes of Indian or Lord Mantis, you will have no problems accepting it. Musically the songs are long, heavy and mid-tempo focusing on building that massive, tortured and repressive atmosphere. There are parts where acoustic guitars are introduced and short interludes between the colossal songs giving the listener some time to breathe before the onslaught continues. The total playtime is 75 minutes, so it is more than a handful. It takes time to be fully swallowed by Heathen, but I am totally getting the praise and the prestige these guys enjoy. Recommended for sludge and doom fans and for those who want to test their boundaries.

The Great Old Ones: Tekeli-Li (Les Acteurs de l'Ombre Productions)

If you have read my blog before, you may recall me ranting about their cover of Björk's Bachelorette a year
back. Now the French black metallers The Great Old Ones are back with their sophomore album, Tekeli-Li, which is due for release on 16 April. The preorders are now up on their Bandcamp page for mere 5 euros and I jumped on this offer immediately as you get the two tracks upon purchase to keep you pumped and content waiting for the full release.

Both tracks Antarctica and The Elder Things are solid in my books and offer a fresh intake on ambient black metal with versatile songwriting offering blast beasts, wailing guitars, progressive elements and somber atmosphere. There is not much I can complain and I am pretty certain these guys will get more acknowledgement and fans with this release.

Svartidauði : The Synthesis Of Whore And Beast

Svartidauði is Icelandic for "Black Death", this is not an overstatement but also valid for their music. Svartidauði was formed already back in 2002, but their debut album Flesh Cathedral didn't see daylight until in 2012 and it pretty much floored me upon release. Now the black death spreads again from the fjords with the release of their ominous EP The Synthesis Of Whore and Beast.

Venus Illegitima is the other half of the two-track EP and can be purchased from the above link. This track embodies all the great elements this band has to offer: pulsating and catchy riffing, malicious vocals, furious drumming hanging in poisonous and gnarly atmosphere. Fans of atmospheric black metal can jump on this without hesitation and it is highly recommended for any fan of darker metal.

These Are They: 1871 (Self-released)

These Are They is death metal from Chicago featuring members of Novembers Doom, ex-Laceration and ex-Hurtlocker among others. The band has been formed in 2008 and their discography features two full lengths and one EP prior to this release. Since I am a huge fan of Novembers Doom, I jumped on this band immediately when I heard Mr. Kuhr is delivering the misery behind the mic .

1871 is a three-track EP after four years' silence and can be purchased digitally only on their Bandcamp page. Despite their pretty awkward sounding name, These Are They deliver straightforward, honest and quality death metal where Paul shines with his strong and imperative vocals, it seems like the recent tremendous make-over in his life has only done him good. There are no weak points in the musicianship either, each band member contribute their part flawlessly leaving me hungry for the new release. Recommended for fans of Novembers Doom, but also others into traditional death metal.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Fresh flesh from Bandcamp - Part 1

Wildernessking: The Devil Within (EP) 2014

Wildernessking is a young and extremely talented bunch of young lads from Cape Town, South Africa. I am not that familiar with South African metal scene, but what these guys have to offer is a real treat. I still recall stumbling into them when Angry Metal Guy was ranting about their debut album The Writing Of Gods in the Sand back in 2012. I ordered the album almost immediately after AMG's review and am happy I did. After 10+ spins the album is still revealing something new and exciting.

Although these guys are new to the scene (the band was formed in 2011), they bring something fresh and out-of-the-box thinking black metal. While the lyrics deals with nature, death and infinity, the approach in music is a combination of soft toned riffing and ferocious drumming and almost screamo-styled ferocious and passionate vocals. I think it would be fair to say, they are a lovechild of Enslaved, Deafheaven and Wolves In The Throne Room. The guys are currently getting ready to record their sophomore album and at least for me the tension is running high. Their entire discography is up for grabs from their Bandcamp and can be warmly recommended for any fan of atmospheric or progressive metal.

Autumn's Dawn: Autumn's Dawn (EP) 2014

Autumn's Dawn is a brand new depressive black metal project from Sorrow (ex-Austere, ex-Woods Of Desolation, ex-Grey Waters and Germ) and Anguish. Those familiar with Sorrow's previous work can jump on this album immediately, all the familiar Austere elements shine through marvelously: crisp and emotional guitar leads, raw production and above all bleak and melancholic atmosphere.

The streaming track The Death Of Hope gives you a glimpse of what they have to offer and emotionally this track suits me like a glove. The mid-paced tempo, wailing guitar and raw & passionate vocals take me on a misty path in the black woods where rain is gently caressing my face and while my footsteps are filled with despair, redemption is just a heartbeat away.

Autumn's Dawn self-titled EP is scheduled for release 21 April 2014, but the EP is now ready for preorder from Eisenwald's Bandcamp and for a lousy 5 euro will make your spring a lot more bearable and hungry for debut album.

Predatory Light: MMXIV (Demo) 2014

Predatory Light is a black/doom metal outfit from Santa Fe, New Mexico US and MMXIV is their first demo. Homework reveals that it features members from Ash Borer, ex-Alrunes and ex-Drought. The music is based on relentless and distorted transcendental black metal riffing, but the dark and heavy doom elements add value and another dimension to their sound. It will be interesting to see, what these guys have to offer in the future but for the time being I am sold and will keep on eye on their career. Finally it is always interesting to see, how the power of underground music is never to be underestimated: the cassette version is already sold out from their webstore although the demo was released only a month ago. This restores some of my faith to humanity.

Adora Vivos: Toward the Empyrean (EP) 2013

If you are still gutted about untimely and tragic passing of David Gold in 2011 as I am (RIP David), you'll be glad to hear that apart from the obvious Thrawsunblat carrying their legacy, Adora Vivos from Rochester, Minnesota US is another great band to ease your pain. The band features members from Amiensus and Dread Veil among others and offers a fresh and power intake of progressive doom metal.

There is a lot to like about this EP, first of all the baritone sounding deep clean vocals are the reason why I compared them to Woods Of Ypres. Aside from that Toward The Empyrean offers great production, excellent vocal harmonies, perfectly layered clean and harsh vocals and most of all simply good and addictive songs. I am totally blown away from the quality of this recording and recommend it any progressive metal fan.

██████Demo 2013

Wedonthavename or simply ██████ is a black metal / screamo / atmospheric outfit from Plzeň, Czech republic. I kept seeing them pop-up on my friend's charts and was puzzled what the heck those back boxes mean. A few minutes and googles after I found out it their way of blacking out their name, since they don't have one and then it all started to make sense. This young and talented band was founded in 2011 and the demo features four songs (parts), which represent the personal feelings of some band members (taken from their Facebook page).

For me the music matters and these guys are offering an interesting mix of genres. The vocals are extremely in-your-face, powerful and demanding yet true to their purpose. The musicianship is a mix of tortured tremolo guitars which remind of Ash Borer / Fell Voices and great drumming which reminds of Deafheaven from time to time. Altogether everything just fits and the wholeness holds together beautifully and makes my neck sore but my mind and body ready for another assault. The entire demo is available from the Bandcamp for mere 50 CZK which is less than 2 euro. If you are a fan of any of the mentioned band or fan of atmospheric and experimental black metal this demo is warmly recommended.

Monday, March 10, 2014


Due to various reasons and unforeseen events, I have been neglecting my readers and failed to post my TOP5 picks for the last year. It's March already, so I am running out of excuses but I am hoping to redeem myself with this post and sticking to a plan where I will promise myself to follow more or less frequent plan to post updates.

Ranking the TOP5 albums has been extremely difficult for me, but I promised myself to follow the rules of my scorecard. Funnily though returning to my scorecard a month later only proves that the ranking could have changed but I don't care: these following five albums kill me each and every time.

5th place: Omnium Gatherum: Beyond (Lifeforce Records)

New World Shadows was one of the biggest surprises for me in 2011 and Omnium Gatherum continues where they left off. I cannot help but wander the creative force of Markus Vanhala and bow down to the master. The melodies, the riffing and the songwriting are simply beautiful. It's one of those albums I cannot seem to get enough. The best melodic death metal album of 2013 hands down and a must-have for everyone into this genre.

Watch the official video for The Unknowing below:

Killing Cuts: In The Rim, Nightwalkers, The Unknowing, Living In Me

Points: 38/40

4th place: Mourning Beloveth: Formless (Grau Records)

One word for this album: Mr. Frank Brennan! His clean vocals are absolutely spot on and his performance is one of the most passionate and emotional I have heard all year. Take Dead Channel, Nothing Has A Centre or Transmissions and you are forced to reckon he is simply on fire. His counterpart Mr. Darren Moore adds balance to the vocals and the slow pace of the songs give them plenty of space to grow and depth. I am addicted to the closer of the album, Transmissions, as it ends the album on a high note. It might take quite many years for these Irish men to return, but their entire discography is stellar and will keep me warm.

Watch the official video for Theories Of Old Bones below:

Killing Cuts: Dead Channel, Nothing Has A Centre and Transmissions

Points: 38/40

3rd place: Caladan Brood: Echoes Of Battle (Northern Silence Productions)

This album floored upon first listen. The soundscape follows the Summoning laden path of atmospheric black metal, but these guys make it their own. I am absolutely loving the orchestrations, midi sound files, the choirs and the versatility of the songs due various vocal styles. The album is not perfect, but it is pretty damn close! Echoes Of Battle makes me want to quit my day job, liquidize everything and move to the cabin up in the mountains, grow the longest beard I can and respect the laws of nature.

Killing Cuts: Echoes Of Battle, Wild Autumn Wind, Book Of The Fallen

Points: 38/40

2nd place: Hamferð: Evst (Tutl Records)

If you don't know these guys before, now is the time! This album was something I waited for quite some time and when it finally arrived I shed a few tears upon first listen. This album awakes such strong emotions in me that sometimes I need to avoid overplaying it as it has the capability of draining me. All comes down to the superb and spine chilling vocal performance of Jón Aldará. His clean vocals offer the goosebumps of the year together with Mr. Brennan from Mourning Beloveth.

Although I post a lot black metal, death and doom, it doesn't stray me away from the fact that I have and always will respect amazing vocal performance no matter what the genre. Evst is a storm warning of what these guys are capable of and I hope they make it big.

Watch the promo video for Deyðir varðar below:

Killing Cuts: Evst, Deyðir varðar, Ytst

Points: 39/40

Album Of The Year: Àrsaidh: Roots (Darker Than Black Records)

Maybe I should have lived in another century or maybe my soul belongs to pagan times, but from the first time I heard Àrsaidh I knew the bond has been made. The groundbreaking factor for me was the perfect balance of folk elements, orchestrations and atmosphere. Everything seems to blend together beautifully and especially the flute/pipe/bagpipe arrangements were the final nail in the coffin for me. The reason I love this album so much is probably cause this is the kind of music I would make or wish I could be able to create: long, epic tunes carrying the will of free spirit, respecting the law of nature and folklore, proudly conveying the power of soul and creativity.

Listening to Roots transports me immediately the foggy meadows of Scotland where I am proud to defend the heritage and nature of my land from whatever danger approaches from sea or from the mountain. I will stand fast and hold my ground.

Killing Cuts: The entire masterpiece

Points: 40/40

Monday, February 10, 2014


I have been struggling with my top 10 list for some time now. I have been switching places and using all kinds of methods while trying to figure out how the heck I can get these albums sorted out in some kind of order. Finally I came up with a solution: I prepared a scorecard and decided to use different categories to break down the albums: replay value, no skipping, songwriting, atmosphere and uncanniness. When I added them all together, I got the maximum points of 40. This helped me a lot (the little perfectionist I am) and one album scored the perfect 40 points and I then suddenly realized the issue has been solved.

However, since so many great metal albums were released last year, I decided to raise five more albums to the limelight. What struck me even more that I was so passionate and wanton with my ratings that all the top 15 albums scored between 36 and 40 points. Thus I had to raise those albums higher where some of the criteria received full score. In the end this all means that many placings in my list are totally interchangeable, but the top 5 have been pretty solid for some time.

10th place Altar Of Plagues: Teethed Glory & Injury (Profound Lore Productions)

Altar Of Plagues left the scene with truly unique offering. Teethed Glory & Injury is built of black industrial soundscape where distorted guitars and humming electronic sounds join forces with post-black metal and even hints of post-rock. Haters gonna hate as they say, but as I really didn't see this coming I have to give the guys credit where it's due. Special hats off to the album art.

Killing cuts: God Alone, Twelve Was Ruin, A Remedy and A Fever

Points: 37/40

9th place Vallendusk: Black Clouds Gathering (Pest Productions)

This was a no-brainer for me: from the first I heard this album I loved it. It seems to end up on heavy rotation every three to four weeks, so I knew it needed to make my TOP 10. The airy atmosphere, the outstanding guitar work and the impeccable songwriting makes this album a keeper and one the biggest surprises in 2013.

Killing Cuts: To Wander and Beyond, Fragments Of Light, Shades Of Grey

Points: 37/40

8th place Oranssi Pazuzu: Valonielu (Svart Records)

This album grew with each listen and there is something haunting about how it combines psychedelic rock and post-black metal. Some songs are straightforward and dynamic, where some built the atmosphere slowly before bursting into furious riffing and relentless headbanging.

Killing Cuts: Vino Verso, Tyhjä Temppeli, Ympyrä On Viiva Tomussa

Points: 37/40

7th place Deafheaven: Sunbather (Deathwish Inc.)

This was one of my most anticipated albums and first listen I was impressed but not floored. With repeated listens the long tunes carry the album beautifully, but for some reason the post-rockish interludes I normally tend to skip which is the reason it didn't make the TOP 5 cut.

Killing Cuts: Dream House, Vertigo, The Pecan Tree

Points: 38/40

6th place Ulcerate: Vermis (Relapse Records)

Beyond the shadow of a doubt the drumming album of the year: Jamie Saint Merat is unstoppable and unbelievable. There is really nothing I can complain about this album, the only reason for dropping out of TOP 5 is the replay value as it crushes me more and more every listen I need too much time to recuperate which is time off listening to new awesome music.

Killing cuts: Vermis, Await Rescission, Weight Of Emptiness, Cessation

Points: 38/40

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I have been struggling with my top 10 list for some time now. I have been switching places and using all kinds of methods while trying to figure out how the heck I can get these albums sorted out in some kind of order. Finally I came up with a solution: I prepared a scorecard and decided to use different categories to break down the albums: replay value, no skipping, songwriting, atmosphere and uncanniness. When I added them all together, I got the maximum points of 40. This helped me a lot (the little perfectionist I am) and one album scored the perfect 40 points and I then suddenly realized the issue has been solved.

However, since so many great metal albums were released last year, I decided to raise five more albums to the limelight. What struck me even more that I was so passionate and wanton with my ratings that all the top 15 albums scored between 36 and 40 points. Thus I had to raise those albums higher where some of the criteria received full score. In the end this all means that many placings in my list are totally interchangeable, but the top 5 have been pretty solid for some time.

15th place Hell: Curse & Chapter (Nuclear Blast)

An infernal passage into the roots of old school heavy metal. Theatrical and over-the-top vocals topped with great riffing, stellar songs and instant headbanging classics for that beer infested metal night with friends.
Killing cuts: Darkhangel, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Land Of The Living Dead
Points: 36/40

14th place Orphaned Land: All Is One (Century Media Records)

An outstanding mix of Middle-Eastern rhythms, impeccable guitar work, memorable melodies, catchy songs and an airy and mystical atmosphere disconnecting from the reality.
Killing Cuts: All Is One, Brother, Through Fire And Water, As I Stare At The Ocean Alone
Points: 36/40

13th place Light Bearer: Silver Tongue (Halo Of Flies)

Enormous, passionate, touching and crushing journey through a whirlpool of emotions.
Killing Cuts: Beautiful Is This Burden, Aggressor & Usurper, Silver Tongue
Points: 36/40

12th place Atlantean Kodex: The White Goddess (Cruz Del Sur Music)

The perfect sing-along album for that metalhead born in the 70's: passionate vocals, great songwriting and epic songs in its true meaning. Makes you want to start forging your own sword, drink ale from a dead animal's horn and raid villages.
Killing Cuts: Sol Invictus, Heresiarch, Twelve Stars and an Azure Gown
Points 36/40

11th place Eye Of Solitude: Canto III (Kaotoxin Records)

Desperation wrapped in gloomy, depressive and suffocating mould. Perfectly built atmosphere and great balance between utterly hopeless and oppressive growls and haunting keyboards and orchestrations.
Killing Cuts: Act I: Between Two Worlds (Occularis Infernum), Act III: He Who Willingly Suffers
Points: 37/40

Thursday, January 23, 2014

TBR Awards 2013: Uncanny surprises

Time has sadly run out of year 2013, but there are still plenty of crushing, melting, outstanding and ripping releases out there that I have not had the pleasure of hearing due to various reasons like lack of time, work commitments, household chores and so on. However, I have decided to put last year to rest and post fifteen albums that rocked my world and melted my guts. However, before I do that I decided to give you six uncanny surprises that that proven with repeated listens that they could pretty much enter my TOP 15 any day.

6. Grieving Age: Merely the Fleshless We and the Awed Obsequy (Solitude Productions)
(Death Doom Metal, Saudi Arabia)

I am not going to pretend that I was familiar with these guys before, cause I weren't. This is yet another link I clicked through a recommendation of a valued musician and another win. Grieving Age hails from Saudi Arabia, which is not too familiar with its metal scene and which I, unfortunately, do not know. While doing my homework I found out that there are only ten or so active metal bands listed from Saudi Arabia, but it could be there are more, I don't know. 

Grieving Age has been active since 2003 and their sophomore album carries the name monster Merely the Fleshless We and the Awed Obsequy. When I listened to first track on the album, I wasn't sure what was expecting me. To my surprise there are practically no Middle Eastern melodies or twists present on the album, because I for one surely expected that. That is not by any means a downside to it, it's just that such exotic and remote locality is surely bound to enrich their sound somehow I was thinking. What you get is topnotch, well produced and well crafted doom metal with death metal like vocals. The songs are extremely long-winded, burdensome and slow. It takes some attention and dedication to be fully mesmerized by these guys, but given the perfect surroundings like a cold, rainy and windy autumn night or a strenuous day at work with your brains ready to pop out pressing play on MTFWATAO might just be fix you need.

There are only five compositions on the album, but the entire album's duration is more than 105 minutes! Yes, that is nearly two hours of music, so the path you are about to embark is long and exhausting. The track names are so long and flamboyant that you will need a dictionary to find out what the heck is going on. Don't let those aspects fool you, there is a lot to like about this album. First of all, the production is heavy, clear and dynamic supporting the music swimmingly. Secondly the atmosphere is dark, moody and sturdy. Finally there are enough good ideas to keep the epic songs together and the listener focused. I have to admit though that sometimes it feels like you've just entered a big, massive black hole and you are just swirling in the pitch black darkness stranded, helpless and abandoned. Once the passage is over, you redeem yourself and feel rejuvenated: Till the Forlorn Opprobrious Malady Thrives Amongst the Stridulous Indigents We!

Stream the album here:

5. Inquisition: Obscure Verses for the Multiverse (Season Of Mist)
(Black Metal, Colombia)

I still remember when I first heard about Inquisition, it was only in 2011 when their previous album, Ominous Doctrines of the Perpetual Mystical Macrocosm was released and getting year-end positions and ass-kicking reviews in the media. I wasn't too familiar with black metal (and am still taking babysteps), but I decided to check what all the fuzz is about.

The following captivates the band's style pretty much perfectly: Inquisition's style of Black Metal involves slow, deep and dark riffing combined with sudden tempo changes to faster sections based around blast beats and high-speed riffing; at times adding melodic solos. The classic Inquisition sound involves the combination of old school Thrash Metal-influenced riffs with darker and more chaotic Black Metal, primarily involving fast, tremolo picked minor-key guitar riffs, thus creating the trademark "Inquisition sound" (source What makes me cheer for these guys is the sheer dedication and immediate emotion the music gives you. To me their music is immediate fix for frustration or that extra push while working out, you cannot go wrong with all that blastbeat drumming. Speaking of Inquisition, you have to mention Dagon's monotonous and nasal vocal style that is reminiscent of Abbath from Immortal. That could piss off some of you, but the power lies in the ensemble and the ability to create durable and versatile atmosphere using only guitar and drums. Not many bands are able to pull that off 

The unholy duality of Dagon and Incubus (drums) has been slaying since 2002 and the results are pretty impeccable. Sadly I am not that familiar with the backcatalogue, but according to my research they have managed to put six stellar albums in their career so far. I am lucky to witness them live for the second time as they enter the stage on SteelFest in spring 2014 in Finland. I have my ticket and hotel reservation, so I am pumped and ready to go!

Stream the album below:

4. Nails: Abandon All Life (Southern Lord Records)
(Grindcore / Powerviolence, US)

Here's another band to enter my list that is pretty far from my normal comfort zone. Short, angry and punky, those aren't usually my cup of tea, but Nails (among others) has proved me wrong. Even the fact that a song could be like 23 seconds long and the entire album lasts only less than 20 minutes doesn't make me stray away from it. Trickery and hoax you say? This is powerviolence, a music style I knew literally nothing. The wikipedia defines it as raw and dissonant subgenre of hardcore punk and its style is closely related to thrashcore and grindcore. Sounds a bit too terminological?  Fair enough, but that sums up the music pretty well and powerviolence bears the mark of being socio-politically charged and iconoclastic. These guys aren't singing what's good about the world, they are pointing out the wrongs and the bads and give the finger to the government whenever needed.

I cannot imagine what it would feel to witness Nails live, but that is something I intend to do this summer as they have been added to the billing in Tuska Open Air. Luckily they should only need a twenty minute or half an hour slot as the music is so fierce, consuming and utterly devastating that the energy is bound to blast the roof of the tent (assuming they will play there) to kingdom come. Abandon All Life is packed with humongous riffs, neck-breaking energy and could set itself any peaceful, well-behaving house dad into testosterone pumping, sweating missile ready to explode in search of that outer body experience. Handle with care.

Stream the album below:

3. Fell Voices: Regnum Saturni (Analog Worship / Gilead Media)
(Black Metal, US)

One of the most memorable and uncanniest gigs I attend last year was Fell Voices and Ash Borer playing in club PRKL, Helsinki. To be completely honest, I went there to see Ash Borer but Fell Voices was a hidden bonus, a diamond in the rough I wanted to see too. The gig was everything I expected and more and made me so goddamn proud to be supporting the underground metal scene. There were only fifty or sixty similar thinking metalheads present, but the bands didn't seem to mind it. In fact over half of the crowd left buying the reasonable priced vinyls, CDs or t-shirts, so I am hoping they will return one day. My perfect evening ended with having a pic taken with K. from Ash Borer, simply perfect!

Fell Voices originates from Santa Cruz, California and Regnum Saturni is the third full length in their career. The album consists of only three songs, but since the running time is one hour we have another monster in our hands. At first I wasn't too keen on the album and almost dropped it from my powerplay list. Luckily I returned to it some six weeks ago and ever since that playcount and replay value has been increasing. Fell Voices' style could be described as spacey, transcendental and atmospheric black metal. The songs can take up to three or four minutes to have full force, but then the relentless drumming and merciless riffing takes over. To a layman the long and epic compositions that could run over 20 minutes could sound repetitive or boring, but once to pay attention to the texture and dynamic, you'll find out the thread. The drummer Mike is also in charge of vocal duties and doesn't really sing nor growl, he's more like distribution channel of emotions where the distant shouting or passionate cries fill in the missing blanks. It takes some time to get used to it, but once you are hooked there is no turning back. In fact they leave you wanting for more and there is some devilish plan urging you to return to the album spin after spin.

Stream the album below (pay what you will) and support the band:

2. Cloud Rat: Moksha (Halo Of Flies)
(Grindcore, US)

I still recall back in the 80's when I first listened to Détente's Recognize No Authority with my best friend, those punkish and absolutely murderous vocals floored the teenage boy completely. To my big surprise I experienced the exact same feeling over 25 years later when I pushed play on Moksha. I have absolutely no freaking idea what Madison Marshall's diet consists of, but she is violent, angry and absolutely authoritative. I haven't heard such passion and emotions in vocals for a long time and every time I return to the album I feel like being back in the army and have to stand up right and keep my stomach in.

Cloud Rat has only been active for three years and they originate from Mount Pleasant, Michigan. The line-up is Adrian (Drums), Rorik (Guitars) and Madison (Vocals) and Moksha is their sophomore album with approximately half an hour's running time. The entire album is like a oncoming avalanche or unstoppable bulldozer or hypnotizing tsunami: there is no way of stopping it. It will consume you, it will devour you and it will mutilate your guts. Moksha will violate your soul, tear out your soul and break your neck into bone splinters: it is the perfect album to fight oppression or loneliness or the cure for anger management. I am sold and surrender to its power over and over again.

Stream the entire album below:

1. Satan: Life Sentence (Listenable Records)

Satan plays heavy metal, would you believe that? Actually I was a bit surprised that I googled less than ten bands with that name. Apparently the record labels have probably cut down the number of Satan bands, cause I reckon the promotion would get tricky if the fans buy different Satan you're talking about. This Satan I am talking about hails from Newcastle, UK and has been formed in 1979 already. To my embarrassment it took almost 35 years for me to find them, but it's never too late and I am certain Satan is no exception to the rule: there are many 70's or 80's metal bands I still haven't heard of. Luckily it is easy to rectify that: when such awesome band comes along: see their tour schedule, go and see their gigs, buy their merchandise and go crazy!

Life Sentence is only the third album in the band's career and during the years they have been active under two separate names: Blind Fury and Pariah. Prior to knowing the band plays New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) I would have guess they play old school death metal. To my big surprise they are able to combine many of my favorite traditional heavy metal bands together and still sounding unique. The guitars are galloping Maiden style, the vocals are crisp and powerful Angel Witch style and there's an old school atmosphere à la Diamond Head, but they still sound Satan. Even the album was released in April 2013, the soundscape and atmosphere suggests it could have easily been 1987. There is instant headbanging likability in the songs and the replay value is spectacular: it only seems to get better with each listen. In the end what seals the deal for me is the absolutely superb songwriting. There is actually no bad song in the entire album, in fact there are several earworms and eargasms. Take Time To Die, Siege Of Mentality, Incantations or Testimony and you are forced to admit they all kick ass.

The biggest surprise was finding out this week Satan is playing Helsinki in April: bloody hell! This is something I need to witness and the anticipation of this gig milestone is already tingling my body. This is why I attend the gigs in the first place, they awake such strong emotions and send me flying backwards. I am ready, but I have to keep my body leashed.

Stream the album below:

Monday, January 13, 2014

5,000 pageviews broken!

When I started by musicblog more or less two years ago in January 2012, I had only one goal: to be able to express the feeling listening to music gives me and share my thoughts about it with you. I knew that some of my friends thought I am a show-off that needed to prove something or that my writing abilities would be somehow extraordinary. I am not different from you, nor do I possess the ability to make you like exactly same music as I do, this is not my objective. My desire and intention is to promote the bands and musicians, who do not necessarily receive much limelight, have millions of dollars or get to the headlines, but have that undying passion to create something, to leave their own footprint to society and to express the full scale of their emotions by composing music. The people I am talking about are musicians that stay awake at night writing songs while you sleep comfy, lock inside their apartment when creativity strikes, loan money from their parents or relatives to buy that first guitar, write the lyrics in the bathroom wall or abandon themselves in the middle of the woods to embrace nature.  

My thrive for music started a long time ago, when I was 13 years old and received my first cassette, Twisted Sister's Come Out And Play. I can still remember the feeling I had when I tore up the package and opened the expandable booklet with Dee Snider crawling out, eyeballing me: the feeling was immense and memorable and it had a true feeling of danger, excitement and rebellion in my teenager's eyes. From that moment on I was hooked on music and knew that heavy metal is my thing. I have never been a bad boy: I have always done my homework, eaten my veggies, received good grades and stayed out of trouble. However I knew pretty early on that there is dark, empowering and absorbing side in me that feeds from heavy metal music. Music has the power to convey all my emotions and over the years I have been able to find comfort, express my hatred, embrace loss or solitude and solidify triumph by listening to tunes.

Internet and the change in the distribution models of music both legitimate and pirate (iTunes, Amazon, Torrents, PirateBays, Blogspots etc.) over the last twenty years have introduced new tools for me to be able to track, find and connect to new bands easily. On the other hand the music industry has suffered some major setbacks with digital music revolution: the sales have dropped down from the golden years and if you buy digital copies you are more or less labelled as a traitor or impostor: you have to have a physical copy or you are nothing. I tend to agree, but then again the world is not the same anymore. I listen to several hundreds of bands actively, so I have made the decision that I simply cannot afford to own each album in physical copy because my financials would not support it. Secondly all the room in my apartment would ran out and finally I don't want to support producing anymore plastic than this planet can tolerate. I don't judge you from doing so, but since I listen to mostly from portable player or sitting by my computer, I have decided to support the new and upcoming underground bands via Bandcamp. The business model they have created is appealing both to the artist and the fan. I am happy to be able to support the artist directly and giving money without greedy middlemen. In return I get topnotch quality rips in FLAC or ALAC and am able to enjoy the music pretty much as the artist intended and what's best, with good conscience. 

Last.Fm music network blew my mind when I joined it in 2010 through a recommendation from my friend. Why hadn't I heard of this absolutely fantastic site before? This is pretty much everything I need to further expand my taste in music and to get to know to hundreds, thousands of bands I have missed out before or didn't even know they existed and to share my opinions with other musiclovers around the world. There are upsides and downsides to every story and I tend to refrain myself from not pissing off other users, but sometimes reading the comments in the song's shoutbox can get pretty boring and repetitive: "Epic", "<3" or "I marry to this song" but then again that is more better way to express your emotions than by referring to a particular song. Another bible I use every day is Metal Archives a network of the people, by the people and for the people. There are currently 94,764 enlisted metal bands so if you want to get crazy, look no further. Naturally this list has bands from all genres of metal you can think of and many of them have never performed live or intend to do so. This is a network to familiarize yourself to what people can do and you will be amazed how professional, profound and comprehensive it is.

My day starts with music and it ends with music. I have arranged that I am able to listen to it while I am working, cooking, working out, driving, walking, cycling or going to the sauna. I simply cannot function if music is not present in my life. My current intake in music is about six to ten hours per working day and during weekends it can be even more. One thing I do not recommend is sitting by the computer, having drinks and keeping your credit card'll end up spending your lunch money on Bandcamp!

I got carried away: guilty as charged, but I just wanted to give a little insight in my music fan-ism and explain why music is so important to me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart and thank you for your feedback and comments. Words cannot express what it means to matter to someone, to be able to contribute and to be able to co-exist in this humongous global network of music lovers. With a humble bow I exit into the frosty and moonlit night. 


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Album Of The Month, December 2013

Eye Of Solitude: Canto III (Kaotoxin Records)
(Death Doom Metal, UK)

I can still vividly recall when I first heard Mourning Beloveth's The Sullen Sulcus. That sent me flying backwards and made me question all my power metal years: why have I spent my years listening to this happy, double bass battle music, when there is dark, epic music that crushes your soul and makes you feel alive? The Sullen Sulcus embodied the essence of doom to me and ever since that day I have been a sucker for fantastic death doom metal. Even today that album never ceases to amaze me and whenever I return to it I am ready declare doom to rule over the world.

It was about six weeks ago when I was browsing Angry Metal Guy's reviews and bumped into Eye Of Solitude. Canto III received a lot of praise and a rating of 4,5/5. My eyes popped out: what the hell is this Eye Of Solitude and why haven't I heard of them before? Pretty soon I found them on Kaotoxin's Bandcamp (I have mentioned that I love Bandcamp, haven't I?) and I eagerly pressed play. The very first song Act I: Between Two Worlds (Occularis Infernum) floored me completely! Bloody hell, this is exactly how I want my death doom to sound like: painful melodies, beautiful keyboards, soul crushing deep growls and haunting atmosphere. Once the spoken part in Italian started, the song was lifted to another level and I was already travelling to Rome fighting against the demons in the cold, grey marble hall filled with possessed priests and wounded angels.

Eye Of Solitude formed in London back in 2010 and according to Last.Fm are inspired by bands like Anathema, My Dying Bride and Draconian. Canto III is the third full length in band's career, so they have been quite productive. I cannot speak for the entire discography yet, but the megapack I just received today includes the sophomore record, Sui Caedere, which is up next on my playlist. I hear contemporary influences from Saturnus and Evadne, but to me their music is a dark and melodic journey filled with utter hopelessness and distress. The songs are long & epic and they are packed with emotions that will crush your heart and drain your soul. Due to the absolutely stunning and utterly murderous vocals of Daniel Neagoe they are able to reach almost similar sobbing depths on Act IV: The Pathway Had Been Lost as Chile's finest folk doom duo Uaral, which sadly disbanded in 2013. 

Canto III is packed with a spectrum of sorrowful and depressive emotions that you need to hear if you love death doom metal. You won't be getting happy or radio-friendly one liner choruses and it doesn't make you jump for joy. Doom is all about letting go of your inner fears, embracing mortality and accepting solitude and distress in the circle of life. It may not suit everybody, but for a delicate and sensitive person like me it's all I need after a long and stressful day at work. 

Stream the album here and support this excellent band!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Slaying debuts relased in 2013 pt. 3

Below I am mentioning briefly some debut albums that have grabbed my attention based on my homework on numerous reviews and/or recommendations on websites, Last.Fm, music networks, musicblogs, Bandcamp and webzine's year-end lists. Seems like when my all-time favorites retire or wither away, there are plenty of newcomers to carry the flame.

Caves Of Glass: Caves Of Glass (Little League Records)
(Post-metal, US)

I need to copy this from the Bandcamp as it describes the music exactly: This self-titled work is their only release to date, and it's one to be treasured. Caves of Glass bring you crushing, atmostpheric post-metal at it's finest. Booming drums, intricate bass melodies and crushingly low-end guitar come together to create this self titled release's unique and diverse sound. For fans of artists such as Deafheaven, MONO, Cloudkicker and Pelican.

Stream & support (pay what you will) here:

Goatess: Goatess (Svart Records)
(Doom/Stoner Metal, Sweden)

Ex-Count Raven and current Lord Vicar singer Chritus' new project will please any fans of traditional doom: great vocals, epic & well-crafted songs and contemporary 70's atmosphere.

Listen to Alpha Omega below:

Magister Templi: Lucifer Leviathan Logos (Cruz Del Sur Music)
(Heavy/Doom Metal, Norway)

There is something imminently likable about the sound, the vocals and the atmosphere Magister Templi is offering. A combination of heavy and doom metal wrapped in occult fiction topped with subtle fumes of Pagan Altar, Mercyful Fate and Atlantean Kodex.

Stream & support here:

Magic Circle: Magic Circle (Unsigned/Independent)
(Doom Metal, US)

How in the hell are these guys still unsigned? A perfect combination of Black Sabbath, Solitude Aeturnus and Orchid. Excellent vocals, catchy songs and fitting atmosphere, a band to watch out in the future. Singer Brendan Radigan is active in Stone Dagger too, a killer new heavy metal band.

Stream the entire album here:

Entropia: Vesper (Unsigned/Independent)
(Black/ Progressive Post-Metal, Poland)

Found this by accident as I was browsing through year-end lists and these guys took me by surprise! A blend of different genres that holds together beautifully due to strong musicianship and maturity in songwriting.

Stream & support (pay what you will) here:

Lord Dying: Lord Dying (Relapse Records)
(Sludge/Stone Metal, US)

Bumped into these guys via Bandcamp (my ultimate playground and the reason I am pretty broke) and found out the hype about these guys is very much justified.

Stream & support here:

Gutslit: Skewered in the Sewer (Transcending Obscurity India)
(Brutal Death Metal, India)

Dirty, distorted and guttural death metal from the sewers of Mumbai. Not necessarily powerplay material, but the guys keep it short, brutal and real. The result is 29 minutes of headbanging to other than chicken Tikka.

Stream & support here:

Nephren-Ka: The Fall Of Omnius (Kaotoxin Records)
(Death Metal, France)

Nephren-Ka is more or less Nile's European counterpart, but equally brutal and awesome. Lyrics are based on Frank Herbert's epic saga Dune from 1965, which is world's best-selling science fiction novel.

Stream & support here:

Wędrujący Wiatr: Tam, gdzie miesiąc opłakuje świt
(Black Metal, Poland)

I am not too familiar with the Polish metal scene, other than the obvious Vader, Behemoth, Hate, Mgla, Decapitated, Graveland, Vesania, Plaga and Crionics but Wędrujący Wiatr (Wandering Wind) is rocking my boat just right: atmospheric black metal about Polish folklore, nature and legends. The production is a bit muddy and vague, but the music makes up for it.

Listen to the title track below:

Monday, January 6, 2014

Slaying debuts to come out in 2013 pt. 2

Below I am mentioning briefly some debut albums that have grabbed my attention based on my homework on numerous reviews and/or recommendations on websites, Last.Fm, music networks, musicblogs, Bandcamp and webzine's year-end lists. Seems like when my all-time favorites retire or wither away, there are plenty of newcomers to carry the flame.

Ellende: Ellende (Talheim Records)
(Ambient Post-Black Metal, Austria)

Atmospheric black metal with some modern twists for the fans of experimental black metal.

Stream & support below:

Torture Chain: Mutilating Astral Entities (Razors and Medicine)
(Black Metal, US)

Long-awaited black metal debut from one of the most interesting underground US black metal bands.

Stream the entire album here:

Carpe Noctem: In Terra Profugus (Code666 Records)
(Black Metal, Iceland)

Iceland is one of the most interesting countries to produce topnotch black metal, Carpe Noctem is no exception and annihilates mercilessly.

Stream & support below:

Grave Upheaval: Untitled (Nuclear War Productions)
(Death metal, Australia)

Absolutely gloom, raw, distorted and utterly horrifying caveman death metal from the lungs of hell.

Stream & support below:

Gravecode Nebula: Sempiternal Void (Baneful Genesis Records)
(Black/Doom Metal, US)

Blackened doom devouring all sunlight and hope from one of the most unexpected cities to produce metal (Salt Lake City).

Stream & support here:

Usnea: Usnea (Orca Wolf Records)
(Black/Doom Metal, US)

Another fine combination of black and doom from Portland, which have yet to failed me in producing kick-ass metal.

Stream & support below:

Power Trip: Manifest Decimation (Southern Lord Recordings)
(Crossover / Hardcore / Thrash metal, US)

Crushing riffs, merciless sound and relentless energy that will have you headbanging and mosh-pitting until the little fat beach boy in you wear outs.

Stream & support below: