Archive for Gothic Metal

Wretched Soul replace headliners at Bridgaard Metal Fest

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 27th February 2014 by Nico Davidson

BRIDGAARDMETALFEST

Thrash metal tyrants Wretched Soul have replaced Finnish progressive maestros Constantine at the Bridgaard Metal Fest. Wretched Soul will be joined by the likes of pirate metallers Red Rum (as seen at Warhorns Festival 2013), Scottish death metallers Exile The Traitor and Gothic doom coven Edenfall, as well as Alice In Thunderland, Bharghest, Satanic Malfunctions, Apnoea and acoustic metal solo act Liam White.

Tickets for this all-day event are priced at the low price of a fiver and are available online from this location and will be taking place at Basement (Formerly Shades Nightclub) in Bridlington. The event is all-ages but valid ID will be required for the bar. This will also be Wretched Soul’s only northern show before they support black metal legends Hecate Enthroned in July as well as Bharghest’s final show before Valkyrian Festival in November.

Wretched Soul online:

http://wretchedsoul.net
http://facebook.com/wretchedsouluk

 

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Morguenstern – Sepulchral Burden

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 2nd February 2014 by Pieni

Morguenstern
“Sepulchral Burden”
Dark/gothic metal
Released on 22nd January 2014
Via GlobMetal Records

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Morguenstern is a Russian dark/gothic metal band – in lack of a better genre. Despite the English title, they sing in their native language, but don’t let that discourage you (in case you don’t speak Russian, that is). Even if you can’t sing along properly, you’ll admit that it suits the music: horror is the lyrical theme (“zombies, vampires and cemeteries”, says the press release) and Morgana sounds quite creepy and ominous when singing in Russian.

She’s also in charge of the keyboards, to which she adds that same level of creepiness – you feel like you’re watching one of those black & white horror movies, where an ugly monster is about to snarl at you from the shadows – but sometimes those keys also take you to a more industrial atmosphere, although still in a dark way. Like “Последний путь” (last journey) or “Кровь” (blood), songs that I can totally imagine a bunch of goths dancing to.

“Идем со мной” is one of the most somber tracks, so I guess the “come with me” which the title means isn’t a very nice ride. The song itself, though, is one of the best.

“Sepulchral Burden” has several guest singers, the highlight being the title-track “Тяжесть могильная” with Alex Raymar from Desert. “До свидания” (farewell) is my second choice, but I’m not sure who the male vocals belong to.

All in all, I believe whoever has a thing for music which would play at an Adams Familiy party – meaning sinister but brisk at the same time – should try this out.

4 / 5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

EXCLUSIVE STREAM: Wolves by Edenfall

Posted in Misc. with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 22nd December 2013 by Nico Davidson

Gothic doom metallers Edenfall have recently been working on their second album Under Sultry Moons and Velvet Skies. The guys – and gal – in Edenfall have been kind enough to let us stream Wolves, which is taken from the album. You can listen to the song down below.

Under Sultry Moons and Velvet Skies was recorded at Recorded at Batcave Studios, Cheltenham (England) and Sonic Forge Studios in Cardiff (Wales). The album will be released via Ravenheart Music but the release date is still to be confirmed. Artwork, as seen above, was made by Becca Dancer.

Edenfall online:

http://edenfallband.co.uk
http://facebook.com/edenfallmusic

Aonia announce plans to record new EP entitled Sunchaser

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 8th December 2013 by Nico Davidson

Midlandic mythic metal septet Aonia are currently cloistered away, writing and recording their next release – a six-track mini album of just over half an hour – which is planned for release on 5th April of 2014.

In a contrast to their dark, horror-inspired first release, City of Shadows, the new ‘mini-album’, entitled Sunchaser is a mixture of the uplifting – and the angry. Aonia’s new material sees the band dipping their toes further into progressive and power metal waters, with more prominent and intricate keyboards, as well as featuring dual lead coloratura soprano vocals. Co-vocalist Mel remarks:

Adding (co-vocalist) Jo to the band has given the music a whole new depth and life and I’m so excited by it. We’ve sung together for years – classically – so we’re really comfortable with each other. Having the opportunities for harmonies and contrasts really adds something special to the music. (Guitarist) James has taken on a more prominent role with backing vocals as well, so having the tenor to balance against keeps the vocals and the music cohesive. (Bassist) Gary and (drummer) Tony keep getting tighter and tighter, trying new, adventurous and creative ideas. Finally, (guitarist) Slick can shred like a cheese grater strapped to a chainsaw and Tim’s keys add so much drama and emphasis to the music. I am so overwhelmed by how much our music has evolved since we’ve started preparing this release, while still keeping the heart of Aonia sacred.

Having joined in January of 2012, bassist Gary considers his time in Aonia:

Having a done a lot of gigs in the last 2 years, it will be nice to have some time to reflect on the songs as individual parts and hear them as they will sound in their purest form. I am also looking forward to getting the latest songs created by the new line up out there to as many people as possible. Also, it is fantastic that we are all going to be contributing to the artwork – although I imagine my bass playing skills are definitely stronger than my drawing skills!

Guitarist James is also looking forward to the final product – and this is his first recording experience, as he wasn’t in the band when City of Shadows was recorded:

Having been in the band for 3 years now, I’ve seen virtually all of the various line-up changes. I can honestly say that we as a band have never felt so secure and comfortable with each other and I’m so excited by our future – now more than ever! And I’ll be selling something that I actually wrote too, which in itself is exciting!

Keyboardist Tim also comments:

As the newest member of the band, I have been struck by the great atmosphere and rapport there is between us. The songs have such energy and we have an awesome live sound with Mel and Jo‘s vocals giving us a melodic and harmonic edge that you don’t get in other bands. The musicianship in the band is awesome and I hope I can do the songs justice – I can’t wait to finish the new EP and to play them to our fans – at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about!

Vocal recordings, along with the final mixing, will be done by Simon Cliffe of Coventry Recording Studios, who has recorded bands such as Beholder and Internal Conflict. A release party is being planned at the Frog & Nightgown, Worksop on the 5th April, 2014.

Aonia online:

http://aonia.co.uk
http://facebook.com/aoniauk

 

Lost Effect return to studio; confirmed to support Breed 77 at local show

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 19th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Gothic melodic metallers Lost Effect have recently returned to the studio to record their follow up to their critically acclaimed Embrace The Silence EP. The band are aiming to release the currently untitled record sometime in 2014.

Lost Effect have also announced that they will be returning to their local scene in York for a show where they bill be supporting Breed 77 at Fibbers on 25 November, later this year. Tickets are available for £10 from this location.

Lost Effect online:

http://losteffect.co.uk

http://facebook.com/losteffect

 

Crematory to release boxset and new single

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 3rd October 2013 by Pieni

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German metal-goths Crematory will release a cardboard boxset with their first 10 studio albums. It will be called “Inception” and it should hit the stores on November 22nd.

On the same day, a digital single for the new track “Shadowmaker” will also be released, as an advance of the band’s upcoming album “Antiserum”, scheduled for release in February 2014.

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They have a few shows booked in their homecountry:
04.10. CH-Luzern – Konzertzentrum Schüür
19.10. D-Straubing – Metal Invasion Festival
01.11. D-Berlin – K17
02.11. D-Dresden – Strasse E
15.11. D-Nürnberg – Rockfabrik
16.11. D-Affalter – Zur Linde

www.spv.de

Paradise Lost unveil new track titled Gothic 2013

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 3rd October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Yorkshire’s own Gothic-doom lords Paradise Lost are currently premiering their newest track, Gothic 2013, which is slab of darkness taken from their upcoming release Tragic Illusion 25 (The Rarities). The aforementioned album will be released on Monday 21st October.  the new track can be streamed below.

All tracks found on the compilation are previously released rarities — except the new track Loneliness Remains, newly recorded Gothic 2013 and Our Saviour 2013. These three tracks will also appear on a 10” Vinyl (CM Distro Europe exclusive white Vinyl; limited to 100 copies) that includes a CD booklet and CD insert.
Nick Holmes comments on Gothic 2013:

When the opportunity came up for us to re-record Gothic, we were really pleased because it meant that we could finally do the song justice (production wise) and Simon Efemey had the chance to give it his polish. Gothic has often been considered a bench mark in our early career and it was good to revisit it.

Paradise Lost online:

http://paradiselost.co.uk
http://facebook.com/paradiselostofficial
http://twitter.com/officialpl

Burn Thy Enemy release first official video

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 27th August 2013 by Nico Davidson

Gothic metal band Burn Thy Enemy have released their first official video. The lyric video for Bring On The Violence was produced by Rooke House Productions and can be viewed below.

In related news and as exclusively announced via MetalDivas.comBurn Thy Enemy have replaced Nya at this year’s Valkyrian Festival.

Burn Thy Enemy online:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/BURN-THY-ENEMY/194694665115?fref=ts

Paradise Lost celebrate 25th anniversary with special guests Lacuna Coil

Posted in Featured, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 21st May 2013 by Nico Davidson

Thirteen albums into Paradise Lost‘s 25 year career, namedropping is pointless. The only band they can and should be held up against for comparison and consideration is… Well… Paradise Lost.

With a career dating back to 1988, and their official recording debut in 1990 (Lost Paradise), the band has been riding and rollercoaster of highs and lows. Guitarist Aaron Aedy remembers the early days:

I remember our first rehearsal at Studio X in the Dean Clough complex of Halifax, it was Saturday March 26th between the hours of one and four pm. We had a few ideas flying around and managed to write our first opus ‘Blood-filled-eyes’ and start our 2nd ‘Plains of Desolation’, I can only describe these songs as unique.

Afterwards we all went to the pub after to celebrate. Three and a half months later we were playing live, supporting Acid Reign and Re-Animator at the legendary Frog and Toad Night Club in Bradford. We had a 30 minute slot and only 15 minutes of music so we played one song twice, attempted a Sodom cover we hadn’t even learned and Nick [Holmes, vocals] did his stand up for the rest of it.

Throughout their career, Paradise Lost have not only created and defined genres and styles, but almost immediately transcended them. From the crawling, harrowing doom of their 1990 debut Lost Paradise, to the electronic flourishes prevalent in 1997’s One Second, 1999’s Host and 2007’s comeback to the heavier side of metal In Requiem and the latest opus Tragic Idol in 2012, their sound has continued to evolve vastly, but haunting melody and dark rock power has remained at the very core of their identity.

In 1991 the band released Gothic, not so much an album title as the definition for an entire genre, while the influence 1995’s huge-selling masterpiece Draconian Times – the missing link between Metallica and the Sisters of Mercy – echoes loudly in today’s scene, with the likes of Cradle of Filth, Nightwish and HIM owing a huge debt to their knack for injecting heavy rock with their trademark dark sheen.

Now it’s time to celebrate 25 years of glamour and gloom with four anniversary shows in October to which the band have invited their friends Lacuna Coil. Another, very special guest, will be announced shortly for those dates.

Paradise Lost anniversary shows:

Oct 30th – Wolverhampton – Wulfrun Hall (www.wolvescivic.co.uk)
Oct 31st – Glasgow – ABC (www.ticketweb.co.uk)
Nov 1st – Manchester – Ritz (www.kililive.com)
Nov 3rd – London – Roundhouse (www.kililive.com)

Tickets go on pre-sale Wednesday 22nd May and general sale Friday 24th May and a special VIP package is available to buy (limited to 25 per venue) which includes:

  • An exclusive deluxe box containing 2 engraved beer glasses featuring all the bands album titles and crown of thorns logo.
  • Exclusive VIP Only T-Shirt with artwork from the forthcoming Tragic Illusion album.
  • A 180 gram vinyl copy of the reissued landmark Gothic, personally signed by all the band members.
  • Crown of Thorns Tote Bag
  • VIP lanyard and laminate allowing you access to the show
  • Early access to the show
  • Meet and greet with the band
  • Photo opportunity with the band (please bring your own camera)

Nick had this to say about the forthcoming anniversary shows:

25 years IS a long time, on the surface we may look ramshackled, but playing music for so many years has kept us young in our hearts and I truly believe that a youthful spirit is one of the greatest things you can’t buy in a pub.

We have written many albums, played many concerts; we are older and not really any wiser, but there is a strong possibility we may play a song you thought we never would. So please come along and join the celebrations with us, including our biggest UK headline show to date!

Lacuna Coil’s frontwoman Cristina adds:

Paradise Lost were in between the bands that strongly influenced me as a singer, when I started my career with Lacuna Coil, so it is just awesome for me to realise we’ll share the stage with them on this upcoming tour.

I am sure that the dark vibe coming from the stage will totally embrace old school and new fans making it an event you absolutely CAN’T miss! Boy, I can’t wait!

Stay tuned for more exciting anniversary announcements including a special audio surprise for fans!

Paradise Lost online:

http://www.paradiselost.co.uk
http://facebook.com/paradiselostofficial

Lacuna Coil online:

http://www.lacunacoil.it
http://www.twitter.com/lacuna_coil
http://www.myspace.com/lacunacoil
http://www.youtube.com/lacunacoil
http://www.facebook.com/lacunacoil

Sirenia release first trailer for Perils of the Deep Blue

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 20th May 2013 by Nico Davidson

The upcoming new Sirenia record is titled Perils Of The Deep Blue and will be out on June 28th via Nuclear Blast Records.

The band completed the first trailer with impressions from the studio and some cool information. Watch the trailer below:

The tracklist of the ltd. digipak edition – including two bonus tracks – reads as follows:
01. Ducere Me In Lucem
02. Seven Widows Weep
03. My Destiny Coming To Pass
04. Ditt Endelikt
05. Cold Caress
06. Darkling
07. Decadence
08. Stille Kom Døden
09. The Funeral March
10. Profound Scars
11. A Blizzard Is Storming

Bonus:
12. Chains
13. Blue Colleen

Regarding his thoughts on the new album, vocalist and guitarist Morten Veland comments:

The entire band and all the people we are working with are absolutely ecstatic about it! This album takes Sirenia to the next level and brings many new sides of us to the table. There’s typical tried and tested Sirenia stuff but also approaches that you’ve never heard from us before. I think I’ve never felt so good about an album throughout my entire career. I mean, I love them all, but this one is something special. It’s the result of two and a half years of blood, sweat and tears. I’ve literally put my heart and soul into this record, so I am very curious to see what our fans as well as the press will think about it!

Perils Of The Deep Blue was produced by the mastermind himself, while the mixing and mastering was done by Endre Kirkesolain Dub Studios, Oslo. Veland also states:

The writing process has been going on for about two years. I always have ideas for new stuff, so I started writing even before we had released our previous album The Enigma Of Life. Most of it has been recorded in my own studio. I love to work there as I always feel inspired – plus we can take our time with whatever we do, for there is no time pressure. Just like for all of our previous albums, we also dropped by Sound Suite Studios in France – a great place that feels like home, too. This time we recorded the Marseille choir there that one can always hear on our records, as well as some of my acoustic guitar parts.

The album artwork was originally painted by Anne Stokes – though it wasn’t intentionally created to be used as such, as Morten explains:

I came across the artwork on the Internet and immediately fell in love with it for obvious reasons – it’s no secret that I’ve always been fascinated by Greek mythology and sirens. So we got in touch with Anne and luckily she granted us the permits to use it for the record. I actually drew the inspiration for the album title Perils Of The Deep Blue from the artwork. In my opinion, it’s the perfect Sirenia cover – there was no way we could have let that opportunity slip away!

Sirenia online:

http://sirenia.no
http://facebook.com/sirenia
http://nuclearblast.de/sirenia
http://www.twitter.com/sireniaofficial
http://www.lastfm.de/music/sirenia
http://www.myspace.com/sirenia

Azylya–Sweet Cerebral Destruction

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 18th January 2013 by Nico Davidson

Azylya
Sweet Cerebral Destruction
Released January 2013
Gothic Metal
Released via Wormholedeath Records

Azylya’s story begins in 2007 when vocalist Jamie-Lee (then aged 14) wrote the story of a young girl who was abused by her father and was abandoned in an asylum. It wasn’t until 2009 when the story took form in music as Jamie-Lee formed the band that is now Azylya. Sweet Cerebral Destruction is the band’s second album.

The album is an ocean of differing sounds and pieces of music, with the vocals of Jamie-Lee navigated ever so careful along the waves of tragic keyboards and lycanthropic guitars. There’s a certain darkness that creeps out from each track like fog inching its way up from the ocean. The keyboards are what impress me most, resonating their siren-like song out above the rest of the instruments on each track and creating a powerful and captivating gothic sensation. There’s a few tracks that have a prominent sound such as Incest and Azylya.

The story that’s told throughout the lyrics is beautiful narrated during each track, portraying a nocturnal shade of poetic stylings that only Poe could achieve – Something that is emphasised by the carefully crafted musicianship of the band. The beauty and beast vocals contrast dramatically compared to other bands but still achieve the same effect: an unyielding union of two powerful vocalists.]

I’m surprised that Azylya haven’t got more exposure. Sweet Cerebral Destruction embodies all the strong points of Europe’s symphonic and gothic metal scenes – dramatic and tragic orchestration and keys, dark and brooding guitars and melodic vocal work. Sweet Cerebral Destruction is a sign of things to come from Azylya and I’m definitely looking forward to them.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Azylya will be playing The Dames Of Darkness Festival later this year with bands like Delain and Visions Of Atlantis. For more details, click here.

 

Myrah – My Deliverance

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 11th August 2012 by izaforestspirit

Myrah
My Deliverance
Released: September 2012
Gothic Metal/Melodic Metal
Released via Inverse Records

‘My Deliverance’ is the second album from the Swedish gothic metal band Myrah. It is the follow up to their 2010 debut ‘Six Feet Down’ and has been compared to the likes of Sentenced and Amorphis.

Aside from the children’s music-box style ‘Intro’ the majority album bears a fairly strong resemblance to the Paradise Lost with hints of Katatonia and current Amorphis. Take ‘Illusions’ for instance, guitar melodies and overall vocal style have clearly been inspired by the aforementioned bands. Luckily for Myrah, I happen to like most of the bands that have influenced them. Then there’s the melancholic tracks like the aptly named ‘Sorrow & Tears’ where the keyboards help to maintain the sombre atmosphere.

What caught my attention the most was the melodic voice of the singer and how well it works with the band’s depressing lyrics particularly on the title track ‘My Deliverance’ and ‘As Memories Fade Away’. I’m guessing that’s where the Sentenced comparison stems from since Myrah’s overall style is much softer than that of the pioneers of ‘Finnish funeral metal’ – mostly due to the keyboards. There’s also a touch My Dying Bride-esque gothic doom metal in here. Then again it’s not all slow and keyboard centered; as tracks like ‘A New Dawn’ show that the guitar riffs also have a part in Myrah’s sound providing a contrast to the melodic vocals.

4/5 – An excellent example of melancholic gothic metal. I recommend this to fans of Amorphis, Paradise Lost and Sentenced.

Iza Raittila

HDE to support Exodus Calling

Posted in News with tags , , on 2nd June 2012 by Nico Davidson

Bristolian gothic metal outfit Her Dark Embrace have been confirmed to support Exodus Calling later this year, after winning the fans votes. Once we find out the dates, we’ll be sure to let you know.

Are you ready to feel Her Dark Embrace?

Posted in News with tags , , on 19th March 2012 by Nico Davidson

We just received news from the lovely yet dark-minded Bristolian Will Brookes, that British Gothic Metal outfit Her Dark Embrace have a fully established line-up and will be ready for shows later this year.

Her Dark Embrace (HDE for short) have been a rising force on social networking site Facebook. The full statement from the band can be read here.

And don’t worry, they’ll soon be spreading the darkness at a gig near you.

Nya – Self-Titled

Posted in Alternative, CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 4th March 2012 by Nico Davidson

Band: Nya
Album: Nya (Self-Titled)
Genre: Alt. Metal
Release Date: 2011
Label: Self Released

Nya’s self-titled EP has been sitting in my office for a while, waiting to be reviewed and I’m finally getting round to it. The band, according to the several reviews I’ve read of them, are a mix of modern metal, alternative and rock. Sadly, I’ve not found much in terms of the band’s history – unless you include the fact that this British quintet hail from South East England.

Beginning the EP comes the alternative-meets-nu-metal riffs of Face The Music. The vocals of frontwoman Anezka Piska sound eerily familiar, though I’m unable to place where I may heard them. The drums provide a soft, industrialesque flavour to the music, reinforcing the alternative sound of the well crafted riffs. The chorus is quite catchy and will stay with you like a timeless melody. Better Off This Way tears through the speakers with a very alternative flare to the riffs and keyboards. The vocals take up a slight Lacuna Coil sound in the verses, bringing to mind some seriously Gothic metal sounds.

The semi-death metal riffs of The Beckoning tear their through next like scissors cutting through paper with a powerful use of male and female vocals, creating some memorable verses. The guitars in the latter half sound too alternative for the song, especially compared to vicious riffs that screamed with a certain power in the beginning. The EP ends with Fall Of Man, a track that has a certain hint of Slipknot-meets-Korn to the riffs while the drums, in certain sections, sound quite tribal. The awe-inspiring use of male and female vocals echo quite well through the song, adding a quite unique sound to the track while some of the guitar parts lay down some catchy, melodic riffs.

I’m always a skeptic when it comes to alternative music being mixed with metal but Nya are a band I can quite easily forgive for what I normally consider an unholy union of genres. Nya did more than just a good job of mixing two different genres. The riffs have been clearly crafted with both talent and musical genius while the vocals offer up a powerful sound. If melodic yet aggressive riffs, insane drumming and larger than life vocals are what you crave in your daily diet of metal, look no further than Nya.

4.6/5

Nico Davidson

Incassum – In Vain [2008]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 22nd November 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Incassum
Album: In Vain
Release year: 2008
Genre: Melodic Metal/Gothic Metal

Incassum are a five piece female-fronted melodic Gothic metal outfit hailing from Manchester. They’ve supported big acts such as Blaze Bayley [Former Iron Maiden frontman], Breed 77 and others. The band have also headlined their own shows at venues such as Manchester Academy. 2008 saw the release of their EP “In Vain”.

The EP takes up a dark and tense beginning in the form of “The Beckoning”. Before the vocals are heard, the guitars display a beautiful use of melodic riffs that are combined an intelligent use of drum work. The guitars create a very tense, dramatic and atmospheric feel that is usually only achieved by keyboards. The vocals do take the listener by surprise. The vocals are along the lines of death metal and black metal, so definitely a bonus for fans of Astarte and Arch Enemy. In true Gothic metal style, there is a use of clean, harmonic vocals as well, though not overly operatic as is the stereotype with Gothic metal these days. Musically, the track is like a raging bull charging its way through the crowds at the “Running of the Bulls”.

“History Repeats” hits the listener like a mortar hitting a tank, beginning with a catchy, face-melting riff followed by a powerful vocal section. The drums offer up a deliciously rhythmic taster of what’s to come during in the rest of the track. The guitars tease the listener, keeping their attention while the vocal sections progress into a happy medium of harsh and clean. The most hypnotic and enchanting aspect of the track is the solo. “Space To Breathe” takes the listener down a heavier, brutal path with a masterful combination of clean female vocals and harsher male vocals. The guitars conjure together a well-constructed wall of musical genius and the drums force upon the listener an assault of metallic proportions. “So Red” ambushes the listener’s ears with a delicate guitar intro which is joined by strong yet gentle vocals and a calm drum section. The song hints at heavier progressions though the real heaviness doesn’t occur until the second half of the song.

“All These Lies” starts with drums and bass – Not the techno/dance music kind either – before a crash of thunderous guitars shred their way through the track. The clean vocals are powerful, strong and oddly more impressive than the growls – Which are still pretty beastly. The drums fit their placement well, keeping everything tight. The use of backing growls fits in perfectly with the cleaner vocal style as well, adding a certain beauty and the beast effect to the music. The breakdown – Well, I’m assuming it to be a breakdown since I have difficulty recognising one – does throw the track off a little. The EP comes to a melodic end with the title track “In Vain”. The melodic-styled intro lulls the listener into a calm state of mind before unleashing a raging storm of metal that sounds like a combination of death metal and speed metal – Not that there’s anything wrong with that! The drums certainly add that extra special vitamin known as pure brutality to the song while the contrasting vocal styles keep the track diverse – on a vocal level at least. The guitars are intelligently structured and awe-inspiring like the metal version of the pyramids. After a massacre of aggressive solo work, the track sadly comes to a slow, melodic end.

”In Vain” is definitely not your typical Gothic metal release – In fact, it’s probably better than your typical Gothic metal release. The music shows strong elements of death, black and speed metal while the vocals portray a more Arch Enemy meets Astarte meets Evanescence sound. Each part of the EP has had a lot of thought and work put into it. Its hard to believe that “In Vain” is their only release!

4.7/5

Nico Davidson

Incassum will be touring with Spires later this month. See below for dates:

24/11 NEWCASTLE TRILLIANS – FREE ENTRY!
25/11 BRADFORD RIOS
26/11 HULL RINGSIDE
27/11 GRIMSBY YARDBIRDS
30/11 KINGSTON THE PEEL
01/12 READING FACE BAR
02/12 DERBY OLD BELL
04/12 MANCHESTER ALTER EGO + ‘SWORN TO OATH’

Ancestral Legacy – Nightmare Diaries [2010]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 27th October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Ancestral Legacy
Album: Nightmare Diaries
Release year: 2010
Genre: Gothic Metal/Symphonic Metal

Ancestral Legacy, originally known as Permafrost, are a Norwegian Gothic metal band currently signed to Femme Metal Record. While not receiving massive commercial success, the band have enjoy much success in the international metal underground. “Nightmare Diaries” is the latest chapter in their long lasting saga.

The first track, “Out Of The Dark And Into The Light”, begins with a clean, melodic intro which is soon joined by an aggressive fast-paced onslaught of guitars and drums. The vocals, which are calm and soothing, don’t work well with the fast pace of the drums causing a certain amount of discontent in the music. The harsher vocals work better with the fast tempo. The riffs are well written for the most part though in sections they don’t agree, musically, with the drums. There is only one section where the female vocals sound right and that’s towards the end when the drums have slowed down.

“Separate Worlds” blasts its way next with a heavy mixture of growls, drums and guitars as the intro. The female vocals are quite weak on this one though that might be due to the music and other vocals overpowering them. The drums are precise and tight, as to be expected. This track would be more akin to death metal as opposed to any form of Gothic or symphonic metal due to the heavy lack of soft parts and lack of keyboards. “Chosen Destiny” has an interesting introduction, being composed of acoustic and electric guitars. The female vocals are much more powerful on this track, adding a sense of mystique to the music whilst enchanting the listener like sweet aroma. Even the death metalesque growls don’t break the spell cast by the female vocals. Musically, the track is solid, especially in terms of the acoustic sections.

”Perhaps In Death” has a beautiful mix of guitars, drums and piano at the beginning that only becomes more tantalising to the ears with the introduction of the female vocals. As the song progresses, the guitars turn slightly melodic adding a mysterious touch to the song. The slow, light introduction of “Trapped Within The Wind” lulls the listener into a calm, relaxed state as the female vocals conjure you soothing images. One key thing about this song is the lack of harsh vocals, which adds to its calming atmosphere. “Done” has a more sinister yet majestic sound introduction. The first form of vocal work is the low guttural growl which is soon followed by the female vocals. For the most part, the guitars are barely audible compared to the vocals, which is a crying shame. The voice over towards the end adds a certain feel to the music as well.

”Still” is another track to start with a calm introductory section mixed with the soothing element of the female vocals. For the most part, the song retains its serene feeling. The guitars do add a violent element to the music in certain parts as does the harsher vocal work. The sound samples of a baby crying add a very dark and eerie sound to the song, the kind that sends chills up the listener’s spine. “Tomorrow’s Chance” starts with an intro that is more attune to hard rock rather than metal – Until the rough vocal work comes into action. The guitar work is tight and well composed though the drums and keyboard sections seem to be lacking the same energy as the guitars. the female vocals have some good parts as well.

”…My Departed” could easily be described as melodic death metal – though the riffs aren’t quite heavy enough to be death metal. The vocal work switches beautifully between harsh and soft, in true beauty and the beast fashion. The voice overs in the second part of the song add some emotion to the song and the album. The album comes to a finale with “The Shadow Of The Cross”, which is perhaps the only thing that has come close to Gothic sounding on the whole album. The growls are the first vocals to make themselves heard, barely blending with the music. The female vocals do a better job of blending in with the music fortunately. Musically, the song sounds great with the keyboard sections adding that extra dark sound to the song.

”Nightmare Diaries” is hardly a Gothic metal album or a symphonic metal album for that matter. It’s more along the lines of being melodic metal, however, this doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable album for the most part. The sound quality isn’t perfect but if the listener can get past that, then they’ll really enjoy this album.

3.5/5

Nico Davidson

UNEARTH – Darkness in the Light [2011]

Posted in 'Core with tags , , , on 13th August 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: UNEARTH
Album: Darkness in the Light
Release year: 2011
Genre: Melodic Metalcore

It’s hard not to detect the Machine Head influence when listening to this album. Not only does the opening track ‘Watch it Burn’ feature Machine Head style- guitar riffs it also has “burn your eyes” in the lyrics. Shame they had to add the yelping backing vocals which ruin an otherwise catchy and well composed track.

‘Last Wish’ suffers from a similar problem. It starts off well, the guitar solos are good but once again the backing vocals ruin the effect. Luckily the album has a few hidden gems – ‘Arise the War Cry’ is quite possibly the best track on here with a great intro and several catchy guitar solos. At times I almost forgot that this is a Metalcore album.

‘Equinox’ offers an interesting change in style. I really wasn’t expecting to hear a piano on here. The intro is surprisingly melodic and it’s not until the vocals kick in half-way through the song that you realise this is still Unearth and not some gothic metal band.

Overall this isn’t too bad and I’m actually surprised to say this.

Iza

3.5 /5

Artania – Night Shall Crown Ye [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 26th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Artania
Album: Night Shall Crown Ye
Release year: 2011
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Russia is known for its cold and cruel winter and its old, bloodthirsty leader Stalin, both of which have shaped Russia into the perfect grim environment for any black metal musician looking for bleak and nihilistic inspiration for their music. The grim environment has done more than just provide inspiration however as it has been the breeding grounds for many underground black metal bands in Russia. In 2007, Artania was born from said breeding ground, with a more black-death metal sound. After several line-up changes, they soon developed a unique blend of symphonic black metal complete with Russian lyrics. “Night Shall Crown Ye” is Artania’s debut album, released originally on May 31st through Graillight Productions in the band’s native Russia but is now available for digital release exclusively through Hunter’s Moon Records.

The air raid sirens of “Alchemic Dream (Demonic Mantra)” begin the album. The symphonic orientated riffs soon follow complete with angsty drums and violent guitar sections. The vocals are a combination of beasty and scary – Probably due to the Russian lyrics they’re screaming. The drum work is very precise and technical, showing great intellectual playing from the drummer. The whispered section is somewhat eerily haunting. The only downside to “Alchemic Dream” is that it doesn’t seem as aggressive as a black metal track usually is – This could be a result of the emphasis on the orchestration or perhaps a fault on the producer’s behalf.

The title track “Night Shall Crown Ye” begins more slow paced with a slightly progressive sound echoing from the drum work. The pace slowly and ever so slightly increases, building up for the appearance of the vocals. To begin with, the vocals are more along the lines of death metal as opposed to black metal. The Russian lyrics help give the track that certain grim touch that very few black metal bands today can pull off. Another key element about the track is the lack of orchestration when compared to the guitars and drums and the use of female vocals is simply enchanting, for lack of a better word. “Mysteries of Order of Priorate Zion” is an aggressive and barbaric track at the start. The vocals have become more hateful and rage-fuelled. There is more use of symphonic elements compared to “Night Shall Crown Ye”, adding a very Gothic sound to it. A big downfall for “Mysteries of Order of Priorate Zion” is that it doesn’t seem as heavy as it’s meant to be.

The acoustic beginning of “Liturgy in Black Colors” greets the listener unexpectedly. Fortunately for those whom don’t enjoy acoustic guitars, the sound of electric guitars soon blasts through. There is more use of orchestration as well as more black metal screams, which is always a good thing for black metal fans. During the second half of the track, the acoustic guitar appears again, which puts a sudden halt to the energy of the track and the vocals seem to be more demonic, more violent and more spiteful, sounding almost like the blood curdling screams of Abaddon. “San-Grinyol (Theatre Of Death” continues from where the previous track finished, bringing in more use of acoustic instrumentation to begin with before the savagery of the electric guitars and drums breaks in. “San-Grinyol” is clearly more brutal than the previous four tracks and is possibly one of the best on the album so far. The guitar solo is well composed though slightly short.

The assaulting drum work and guitar riffs of “Fogs Of Witches Heath” tears through next, bringing raw, untamed energy and aggression with them. The vocals are more bloodthirsty and savage in their sound, which is both terrifying and awesome. The combination of female vocals and piano medleys is immense, especially when when the track turns heavy again with the female vocals working alongside the harsher vocals, in true beauty and the beast fashion. “Towards Northern Wind” brings a calmer approach to the album whilst retaining a certain element of heaviness at the same time. Disappointingly, there is a lack in the use of orchestration, save for the introduction and the middle section. During one part of the second half, the vocals sound very raspy, which is a great effect for both the album and the track. “Thirteenth Sign Of Nostradamus” can only be described as hauntingly Gothic to begin with before the melodic guitar work kicks in followed by the raw sounding vocals. The whole track seems to be more passionate and energetic than the rest of the album which says a lot considering how energetic the previous tracks are.

The album finishes with “Secrets Of The Moon”, which is another track to feature an acoustic beginning. The female voiceover in Russian adds a very creepy sound which is soon fought off by the sudden – and unexpected – increase of heaviness. The track remains consistent in its brutal aggressiveness. The drum work is intelligent and the guitar sections are immense. “Secrets Of The Moon” is possibly the most brilliant way to end the album.

It’s hard to believe that “Night Shall Crown Ye” is the debut album of Artania, as the album has such a mature sound to it, anyone would think its Artania’s third or fourth album. The sound is unique, brilliant and definitely worth a listen, even if some parts of the album are a let down. Clearly, Russia is a country filled with talented musicians and Artania’s “Night Shall Crown Ye” is evidence of this.

4/5

Nico Davidson

Blackthorn – Gossamer Witchcraft [2010]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 26th July 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Blackthorn
Album: Gossamer Witchcraft
Release year: 2010
Genre: Extreme Metal/Gothic Metal/Black Metal

It’s not often that one hears of an all-female extreme metal band from Russia, let alone any kind of metal band from Russia, as most of the exposure for metal seems to be in European nations such as Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Scandinavia along with some emerging from the US. However, Blackthorn, made up of five lovely ladies, whom hail from Russia, have been a force not to be messed with in the Russian metal scene, combining gothic and black metal into something new. Their debut album “Gossamer Witchcraft” will be the album to determine their success on the international metal scene.

”Immortelle for a Hollow Grave”, the shortest track on the album, offers up a very mystifying atmosphere with the use of whispers and a haunting piano medley. “Edenbeast” seems to carry on from where “Immortelle for a Hollow Grave” finishes, bringing with it a violent guitar riff and fast-paced orchestration. The drums are machine-like in their playing, yet more brutal and heavy than a drum machine could ever be. The vocals leave something to be desired as their operatic styling doesn’t seem to work along side the aggression of the guitars. The guitar solo is just amazing – Whoever said that a woman can’t solo is clearly wrong. The gothic orchestration of “Necromance” follows after, before the orchestration is wiped away by the guitars. The vocals are different to begin with, favouring good ol’ fashioned death metal grunts and growls but the operatically styled vocals can be heard on this track yet they seem to work with the savagery of the track this time. “Necromance”, put simply, is like a more extreme version of an Epica track.

”The Moon Emerged From Behind Clouds” begins with a faster tempo compared to the two last tracks. The brutality continues on this one as well, fortunately enough for those who enjoy the elements of extreme metal. The soprano vocals are simply memorising and enchanting. The riffs seem to have a bit more melody whilst the drums still have that machine-like precision to them. Classical meets gothic in the form of “Saturnia” during its introduction. The guitar riff that follows has a very death metal sound to it, whilst the drums appear to be lacking slightly in power. The keyboard  and vocal sections add a hint of beauty of the beasty violence of the guitars and drums.

“Blackthorn Winter” is another song with a gothic-turns-brutal introduction. Everything, except for the keyboards and vocals, seems faster, more violent and more angry. In some sections, it sounds as if the vocals are struggling to keep up with the tempo of the music. The best thing about the track would have to be energy and passion that just burst out at the listener. “The Blackness I Prowl” has an interesting beginning, being composed of dark orchestration and what could possibly be the sound of a howling wolf. The vocals are so powerful yet so haunting at the same time. The voice over about half way through adds a very horror film-like touch to the track as well. An interesting thing about “The Blackness I prowl” is the emphasis on the orchestration as opposed to the shredding guitars and pounding drums.

The title track “Gossamer Witchcraft” has a good introduction – Combining dark orchestration with narration. There is more emphasis on the orchestration throughout the song, with the guitars having a minor part in comparison though they do appear frequently through the track, fortunately enough for those who enjoy the face-melting riffs. Though the soprano vocals are featured through the track, there does seem to be more work done by the narration and voice overs which is somewhat of a let down but the guitar solo does heavily make up for the let down!

”Will-o-the-wisp” combined orchestration, acoustic guitars, soprano vocals and distorted riffs into a masterpiece of a track. Oddly enough though, it seems vaguely familiar in the eerie déjà vu kind of sense. “The Cobweb Veils Fall Down With Grace” acts as an interlude before the final two songs, bringing a terrifying essence to the album with its dark and melancholy piano medley. The final two tracks are the Russian language editions of “Necromance” and “The Moon Emerged From Behind Clouds”. They are a lot more exciting with Russian lyrics, bringing a sense of despair and horror with them.

Blackthorn certainly are different to most female fronted bands. They are more aggressive and violent in the music and more dramatic and haunting in the vocals – In fact, in terms of heaviness and brutality, they put a lot of male-dominated bands in the extreme metal scene to shame. “Gossamer Witchcraft” is a mammoth of a testament to the skill, talent and musical genius of Blackthorn. It’s a great addition to any extreme and gothic metal fan’s collection and clearly has the potential to be amongst the top metal albums of the century.

5/5

Nico Davidson

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