Epica – “Omega”

Epica – “Omega” (Nuclear Blast) Well, was it worth the wait? Five years after “The Holographic Principal” and a well-earned rest, but unexpectedly delayed like the rest of world by Covid comes “Omega”,  the eighth studio album by Dutch symphonic metal band Epica. Thankfully not titled on some fatalistic theme of the pandemic but according to founder rhythm guitarist (gruff) vocalist Mark Jansen on the ‘…Omega Point theory, dealing about the scientific speculation and spiritual view that we are, fated to spiral towards one point of divine unification…as humanity, we were drifting apart like competition…’, this 12-track release is a… Continue reading

Evergrey – “Escape Of The Phoenix”

Evergrey – “Escape Of The Phoenix” (AFM Records) Formed in the mid 90s in Gothenburg, where that city’s melodic death touch added plenty of heaviness to the prog power of Evergrey, some 12 albums later and “Escape Of The Phoenix” continues to shine the light of this incredible Swedish band, whose presence has been felt across the world from the stages of Sweden Rock to Download to Prog Power! Like many releases over the year, there’s no doubt the pandemic has played its part in influencing the melancholia of the material, but knowing the measure of founder vocalist guitarist Tom… Continue reading

Einherjer – “North Star”

Einherjer – “North Star” (Napalm Records) Returning to Napalm Records after 25 years since releasing their 1995 debut “Dragons Of The North”, Einherjer are definitely one of Norway’s most eclectic bands out there. Across eight prior releases, they’ve incorporated black, folk and even symphonic aspects into their viking metal – not forgetting thrash when founders Frode Glesnes (vocals, guitars, bass) and Gerhard Storesund (drums, keyboards) formed Battered during the band’s hiatus in 2004. However, the passion for all things Norse has remained constant and fierce in this band so whatever the mood, all songs invoke the viking spirit either in… Continue reading

Slough Of Despair – “Catacombs Of Terror”

Slough Of Despair – “Catacombs Of Terror” (Chaos Records / Personal Records) Amply living up to their wretched name, Slough Of Despair was formed only a couple of years ago when guitarist Panos Lampropoulos (ex-Ordeal, Age of Sorrow, Chamber of Malevolence, Mallediction, ex-Chthonian Alchemy, ex-Necrorgasm, ex-Devathorn (live)) left his previous band. Recruiting experienced and talented musicians around him, including vocalist Kostas Velnias (Aeon Dust, Serpent’s Order, Withering Skies, ex-Horror Lord, ex-Nipenthis (live), ex-Odin’s Court, ex-Night of the Dark Ages) and drummer Dimitris Sakkas (Blessed, Feeble, Horrorgraphy, Humanity Zero, Inhibitions, Misanthropy Apotheosis, Skarz, ex-Buried Emotion, ex-Heathendom), Slough Of Despair recorded this… Continue reading

Moonspell – “Hermitage”

Moonspell – “Hermitage” (Napalm Records) Nearing their 30th anniversary, Portugal’s best known – and loved – gothic metal band Moonspell issue their 13th release in closing the circle on their careers as musicians. Gone are the days of promotional spiel, industry ratings and public accolades even though there have been many, not in the least their crowning achievement of being the first Portuguese metal band to have a record certified gold. These days, for founder vocalist Fernando Ribeiro and Moonspell, there are greater things, indeed the only things that now matter in the form of the music and their fans’… Continue reading

Autumn’s Child – “Angel’s Gate”

Autumn’s Child – “Angel’s Gate” (AOR Heaven) Autumn’s Child is something of a Swedish supergroup, comprising members from Last Autumn’s Dream, H.E.A.T, Moon Safari, Eclipse and Heartbreak Radio – although that should come as little surprise to vocalist Mikael Erlandsson, who was already in the super group Secret Service between 2006 and 2018, while co-founding Last Autumn’s Dream with guitarist Andy Malecek (Fair Warning) along with Ian Haugland, Mic Michaeli and John Leven of Europe fame at the time! After releasing 14 albums and touring Japan, Germany and England, Erlandsson took a break in 2018 and shortly after, formed Autumn’s Child, releasing their self-titled debut just… Continue reading

Xeper – “Ad Numen Satanae”

Xeper – “Ad Numen Satanae” (Soulseller Records) Formed in 2007 in Treviso, Italy by guitarist Guh.Lu, best known as former member of international bands such as Setherial, Impiety and currently the bass player of Gorgoroth, Xeper have released 3 prior full-length albums, along with a split release and a compilation. Continuing their journey into full black metal darkness, “Ad Numen Satanae” also features Maelstrom (Ilemauzar, Lūmenwood, Nexus, Sanzu, Silent Knight, Ur Draugr, Wardaemonic, Incantation (live), Morphica (live), DeathFuckingCunt, ex-Avantgard, ex-Beyond Terror Beyond Grace, ex-The Fourth Eye, ex-Impact Winter, ex-Divine Codex (live), ex-Impiety (live), ex-Xenobiotic (live), ex-Obscenium (live)) on vocals and V. Einride (Whoredom Rife) on drums,… Continue reading

Valdaudr – “Drapsdalen”

Valdaudr – “Drapsdalen” (Soulseller Records) If your blood lust is still craving original black metal from the days of Darkthrone, Gehenna (Norway) and Dissection, while tantalisingly mixed with an epic pagan twist of Enslaved, then Valdaudr is for you! An amalgamation of the duo’s names of Osvald (vocals) and Daudr (an old Norse twist on Død), who plays guitars and bass, Valdaudr is completed by drummer Rune Nesse (Taake, Orkan), who also handled the mix on this incredible debut. Although a new project, the roots of Valdaudr actually go back to the turn of the century, when Død (Blood Red… Continue reading

BLURR THROWER ”Les Voûtes”

BLURR THROWER ”Les Voûtes” (Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions) The first time I saw this band’s name I couldn’t help thinking that it could be something along the line of Lawnmower Deth. But as I started to listen to the music I realized that this was much more serious than that. I don’t have to mention it again that I am quite the Francophile, do I? This French black metal band is more on the atmospheric side, if you consider claustrophobic atmospheric. There is a really eerie feeling to this that appeals to me. Listening to it I feel like… Continue reading

JOURS PÂLES “Eclosion”

JOURS PÂLES “Eclosion” (Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions) You can say that you like black metal and yet not say what black metal you like. Back in the day it was a lot easier to like metal. You either liked heavy metal or you liked extreme metal. Nowadays you really have to get down to sub-genres to describe what kind of metal you like. So to say that I like black metal is to say nothing really. But I do like black metal, every kind of black metal. From Necro to blackgaze to everything else. JOURS PÂLES play a melancholic… Continue reading