SILENTIUM – AR “The Ancients’ Wisdom / The Eternal Circle Of Life”

SILENTIUM – AR
“The Ancients’ Wisdom / The Eternal Circle Of Life”
(Casus Belli Musica /OMS Records)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again and again. I’m not much of fan of compilations and split records. But I’m no worse than I can listen to them and pass judgment on them. This one features two bands that are if I’m correctly informed the debut albums for two Ukrainian darkwave/ambient projects. Continue reading

STANDING OVATION “The Antikythera Mechanism”

STANDING OVATION
“The Antikythera Mechanism”
(Inverse)
OK, here’s another with a band name that you could ridicule if the album is anything but good. But as I said earlier, there is nothing wrong with being confident. As long as you can back it all up with some really great metal I’m the first to applaud. With an album title like that I for one got my hopes up that this is going to be a really great slab of metal. It did start out promising. But I’m not sure how to react to this. Continue reading

SULPHUR AEON “Swallowed By The Ocean’s Tide”

SULPHUR AEON
“Swallowed By The Ocean’s Tide”
(FDA Rekotz)
don’t know too much about this band but judging from the promo photo and album art work this could be the long lost follow up to Dissection’s second album. But then again this could be just about anything. Whatever it might turn out to be I got a good feeling about this record. I wasn’t too far off. This is an album that has that same feel that “Storm Of The Light’s Bane” had. Continue reading

2 WOLVES “Men Of Honour”

2 WOLVES
“Men Of Honour”
(Inverse)
2 Wolves sounds like it could be anything from goth to death metal. I like wolves as animals. There is something very cool about them that strike a chord in me. Hopefully 2 Wolves will do so too. I got a good feeling about this album being just what I need right now. If the intro is anything to go by this will be an album that will challenge Amon Amarth to the Viking throne. I can’t start telling you how much I love Amon Amarth. Continue reading

WITCHCRAFT “Hegyek felettem”

WITCHCRAFT
“Hegyek felettem”
(Neverheard)
OK it is starting to get too confusing with all the WITCHCRAFTs around the world. This is neither the Swedish one that is more 70s hardrock nor the Russian progressive gothic metal band that I’ve interviewed. This is a Hungarian black metal band that makes me think of early Darkthrone/Burzum aesthetically. Musically it too moves in that Darkthrone realm. This is primitive and raw and very basic black metal. The one that Darkthrone and Burzum made so great in the 90s. Continue reading

WÖMIT ANGEL “Sodomatik Rites Of I.N.R.I”

WÖMIT ANGEL
“Sodomatik Rites Of I.N.R.I”
(Inverse)
Don’t know why but I somehow get an Impiety/Barathum feeling about this band. That this is going to be thrash metal with a great deal of death and blackness to balance out serious side of things. Not that it’s going to be ludicrous in the Lawnmower Deth school but more fun in a party kind of sense (if you can imagine that when it comes to extreme metal). And I was right. This is primitive and raw blackish thrash metal done the basic way. Continue reading

Shakra – “Powerplay”

Shakra – “Powerplay” (AFM Records)

What a stupendous way to kick off the New Year – Shakra’s “Powerplay” is like a blast of hot passionate energy cutting thru the winter cold big time! This is the 9th album for these Swiss rockers and I believe the 2nd with their Indian vocalist John Prakesh, but man, have they come together in the last coupla years and the songs on “Powerplay” attest to that: gravelly rock dawg vocals, kicking rock riffola and big rhythm definitely amp up ass grabbing songs like ‘Life Is Now’, ‘Wonderful Life’ and ‘Don’t Keep Me Hanging’. Even better are the passionate melodies from the vocal harmonies to the superb guitar work and solos, making this a superb all around package that will definitely garner Shakra some international recognition! Continue reading

Enshadowed – “Magic Chaos Psychedelia”

Enshadowed – “Magic Chaos Psychedelia” (Pulverised Records)

Although formed in 1998, Greece’s Enshadowed have been sporadic in their releases, this being their 3rd full length album in six years. Despite this they appear to be a fine band in the black / death vein and ironically seem perfectly timed to reappear alongside the likes of Behemoth, Belphegor etc. Similar in style, “Magic Chaos Psychedelia” is a veritable barrage of neo black metal graced by blast beats and Golgotha’s chaotic Nemtheanga like vocals whilst the guitars alternate between evil Marduk-esque metallic riffing and techno death soloing on booming songs like ‘Black Holes, Death Planets’, ‘Surrealistic Shade Of Color Black’ and ‘Inner Psy-Trip’. I guess this maturity and professionalism must’ve come from performing a lot of live shows with bands like Mayhem, Dodheimsgard, Impaled Nazarene, Dark Funeral, Arkhon Infaustus and many underground bands. Completed by superb production from the band and Septic Flesh skinsman Fotis Bernado, “Magic Chaos Psychedelia” enjoys a progressive, open sound that allows Enshadowed’s music and typically anti-religious lyrics to be worshiped to the max by the masses! Continue reading

My Reflection – “Dreamland Drowning”

My Reflection – “Dreamland Drowning” (Inverse Records)

Despite seemingly looking like Evanescence clones, Finland’s My Reflection are a much heavier, metalized version although with alt / rock elements. Graced by Jenni Räikkönen’s soft femme vocals the rest of the band pile in symphonic melodies while chucking in nu metal samples, male metal core screams and keyboard effects on songs like ‘Crossroads’, ‘Let The Rain Come Down’ and ‘Farewell’. Rather than having one defined sound, the band opt for versatility while using Räikkönen’s voice as the common factor from which to execute their dextrous, energetic musicianship. Seemingly aimed at the US market where bands like System Of A Down, My Ruin and 3 Doors Down rule, My Reflection have a tough market to break into as a youthful foreign import. Then again, they may be content to be worthy contenders providing a much needed stop gap for this type of music in their home market, given their obvious musical talent, generically appealing sound and undoubted passion to pursue it. Continue reading

Guardians – “Guardians”

Guardians – “Guardians” (www.facebook.com/guardiansuk)

Merseyside isn’t renowned for it’s happy clappy social environs, yet it’s spawned the likes of The Beatles and now Guardians. Whilst I wouldn’t put these young alt rockers quite in the same league yet, what is clear about Guardians is their brand of modern, uplifting rock. Songs like ‘Follow Your Heart’, ‘Red Eyes’ and ‘Make It Out Alive’ are soaked in melodies from cool guitar licks to harmony vocals but all set within a punchy rock framework: metal it ain’t, but catchy it certainly is! From Brad Don’s soulful vocals to the RATM like guitars that funk, rage and rock to that tight rhythm, Guardians are kicking it big time with the mainstream British press, poised for national recognition. Continue reading