Archive for December, 2011

Seelenmord – …And We Will Find Only Solitude – Part 1 [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 30th December 2011 by underthenorthernstar

Band: Seelenmord
Album: …And We Will Find Only Solitude – Part 1
Release year: 2011
Genre: Black Metal

Seelenmord is an Argentinian Black Metal project consisting of two members – Daniel and Enrique (no second names given). They have just released their debut EP, “…And We Will Find Only Solitude – Part 1,” and plan to record and release several more for free via mediafire and other file sharing sites.

First off, I have to say that the first thing my Mother said upon hearing “The World Cries in Rain” was that the chord progression reminded her “of Abba.” How Kvlt is she.  The songs, underneath a layer of brutality and “rawness,” do have fairly musical chord progressions, and enjoyable melodies. That said, they do not detract from the overall intensity of the record, far from it; it adds a layer of complexity that provides a challenge to the listener: peel away the layers and find your reward. The group’s guitar work doesn’t exactly leap into devastatingly melts-your-face-like-corpsepaint-on-a-hot-day territory, but such is the nature of Black Metal. The songs are less technical proficiency and more the capture of an atmosphere – that said, the addition of a full minute of wind sounds on either end of the EP seems slightly pretentious. Thankfully, that is easy to overlook, because the brutality is upped to a maximum with punishing blastbeats, tremolo riffs and utterly indecipherable vocals, particularly evident on standout track “Hunters.”

When most people think of “Melodic Black Metal,” they’ll think of bands like Dimmu Borgir, but comparing such a band with the brutality of Seelenmord is like comparing the holocaust with sticking a frog in the microwave. The production values are understandably low – the EP is self-financed – but that lends towards the rawness that the group is trying to achieve. However, this does mean that much is lost with regard to recording quality (not that that would matter for a black metal release). I feel that the drums and vocals could have been mixed a bit higher than they are, as it is, the vocals seem like an addition to the actual music, rather than part of it, and the drums could certainly have done with being clearer.  But brutality is achieved outstandingly.

I really like this release. It’s brutal and it’s awesome. Sure, it’s not been polished or refined, but it’s well written and filled with an underground spirit. It’s definitely worth a look, for all you grim warriors out there who just can’t get enough Norwegian black metal churching-burning anthems on cassette tapes. Can’t wait for the next EP.

4.1/5

Alasdair Dunn of Norderobring

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SJD To Continue ANGTORIA Project

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 25th December 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

On Christmas Eve, Sarah Jezebel Deva announced that she and Chris Rehn [Co-founding member & co-song writer of Angtoria] will be continuing from where Angtoria left off some five years ago. According to the update, the project will follow in the same vein as “God Has A Plan For Us All”. The full update reads as followed:

Chris Rehn & Sarah Jezebel Deva, both founding members & songwriters of the band Angtoria, will be continuing where Angtoria left off some 5 years ago. The music will continue in the same vein as “God Has A Plan For Us All”, blending the world of epic IMG_4433orchestral music with metal, HOWEVER!, we sadly have to change the name due to reasons beyond our control. Writing for the new album will start in January and of course, we will update you with the new name & our progress.

In other SJD related news, Sarah also announced that she will be working with her former band, Cradle of Filth, on the orchestral album “Midnight In The Labyrinth”. Sarah stated the following in her the update on her official Facebook:

In 2008, I parted ways with COF, to pursue a life in Australia, bum some Kangaroos & to go it alone as a solo musician. I know a lot of fans were disappointed with the departure & until now, when ever a fan asks “Will you ever work with COF again”?, the answer has been NO!! Well, last week, Mr Filth sent me an email & after many chats, I have decided to take him up on his offer to participate on the new Orchestral album “Midnight In The Labyrinth”

For more updates and news about Sarah Jezebel Deva, head on over to her official Facebook page. Don’t forget that SJD will be touring the UK again in May. Dates will be announced in January. SJD’s latest album “The Corruption Of Mercy” is also available through Listenable Records.

Don’t forget to read our interview with SJD’s bassist, Ablaz, by clicking here.

Photo by David Taylor.

Skin The Pig – Article XIX [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 23rd December 2011 by underthenorthernstar

Band: Skin The Pig
Album: Article XIX
Release year: 2011
Genre: Progressive Sludge Metal/Metalcore

Skin The Pig are a Manchester-based six-piece who play a mixture of Progressive Metal and Hardcore. Formed in 2000, they have since released their latest effort “Article XIX” in March 2011 and have been hailed by fans and critics alike.

It is apparent from the very outset that the album is incredibly well produced, the sound clarity being excellent and mix being just right. This is particularly apparent in the drumming, which sounds like it’s been recorded onto water a la Metalocalypse, and is clearer than polished mountain air. The guitar work sounds just as excellent whether the task is an ambient, clean passage, a crushing, chugging riff or a swooping solo. The vocals are handled brilliantly. There’s nothing to be asked for in the production department at all.

The songwriting ability of Skin The Pig is, for the most part, excellent. The beautiful ambient passages and grooving, sludgy riffs are a joy to listen to. However, it is a frustration for your humble reviewer whenever they incorporate their “Hardcore” edge into the songs. In some cases, it works, but, for example, the use of a breakdown at the end of “I Rise, You Fall” seems completely unnecessary. I can’t help feeling that the songs would be improved by scaling back on the use of fairly unoriginal Metalcore elements in favour of their more progressive approach. I’m sure the style will appeal to many, and if you like Metalcore more than anything else in the whole world then this album will be great for giving you that bit of musical variation. That said, the use of the Metalcore sound is justified on “Yet Nameless”, as the contrast emphasises the solo work and the groove of the more sludgy parts. The songs on which a more Mastodon-like sound is incorporated are the more enjoyable, from my point of view, as they feel so much more like the band is showing off its real talent. And although I can’t help feeling reminded of Bullet for My Valentine for the first three minutes of “Room 121,” the lyrical content is resolutely great.

However, it must be said that the musicianship is Phenomenal. The band has more talent than a greedy ancient Egyptian tax collector. The soloing is incredible, particularly on tracks like “In Loving Memory” and “Factory Factory,” and the drumming on “No Man’s Land” is eargasmic.  The way that the band play as a whole makes me think that they must be a brilliant band to see live, and that is something I certainly plan on doing.

I think that Article XIX is a solid album by a great band. I hope to hear more of them in the future, and I know that there will be hundreds of fans of this style, and it really is a great example. Definitely check it out if you’ve always dreamt that one day Lamb of God would meet Mastodon, get to know them and eventually have a screaming child together.

3.9/5

Alasdair Dunn of Norderobring

Hybr1d 3rror- F1n4l 3rror

Posted in Alternative, Industrial on 22nd December 2011 by izaforestspirit

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Band: Hybr1d 3rror
Album: F1n4l 3rror
Release year: 2011
Genre: Industrial/ Harsh EBM/

F1n4l 3rror is the 4th album from this industrial artist. Like all of Hybr1d 3rror’s releases this one is available to download for free from his Sound Cloud page and has been promoted via both Facebook and Vampire Freaks.

The first track ‘Todesstrafe (Hybr1d D4nc3 M1x)’ features the signature mix of ambient, atmospheric melodies and eletronica which sets the scene for the rest of the album. The instrumental version of ‘World of Violence’ is more dance-floor orientated and reminds me of the works of other Aggrotech artists, namely Grendel and C-Lekktor.

The title track ‘F1n4l 3rror’ continues with the formula set by ‘Todesstrafe(Hybr1d D4nc3 M1x’ with the addition of some industrial sounds which give it a somewhat ‘raw’ feel. Luckily for HyBr1d 3rror, the rawness of the song only adds to its appeal setting it apart from a sea of polished EBM songs created solely for the dance floor. ‘A Limited Resource’ has the perfect balance of ambience and a catchy synth tunes. Same can be said for ‘From Birth to Death’.

The undisputed highlight of the album is the ultra catchy ‘Nightmares’ which is infectiously addictive and has enormous potential as a club anthem. Other highlights include the vocalized version of ‘World of Violence’ and war themed ‘Eine Ursache für Krieg’. These two demonstrate HyBr1d 3rror’s willingness to experiment and add new dimensions to his music be it vocals or film samples. Hopefully this is something he will continue to do in the future.

The album also features a newly revised (Re +Dominated) version of the title track from the first album ‘Domination Process’ which seems like the perfect way to end the album. Overall this is a very good release.
4/5
Iza Raittila

Interview: K [2011]

Posted in Interview on 21st December 2011 by Demolithia

In 2007 -K- (voc, bass) and -M- (voc, guitars) decided to set their burning souls free and founded ARROGANZ. In the dirty depths of Cottbus, Germany, they undertook -L- for drumming and started up to exhale their infernal visions. After rehearsing their first couple of songs, they started to play some underground-gigs and small festivals. And in August 2010 ARROGANZ invaded Blacksmith Studios to record their Debut-Album “Dark And Deathless”, which has been released in April 2011. To promote the hate, ARROGANZ joined the Death Infernal Tour of Swedish Death Metal masters DEMONICAL in May 2011.

The founder,vokiller/bassplayer “K” talk about some things here in Valkyrian Music:

Earlier this year you guys went on the Death Infernaltour with the highly regarded deathmetal act Demonical..
Strangest place you found yourselves in?

– There were a lot of strange places on tour. I`ve no idea which one was the strangest… But we don`t care about that stuff, because every place we find ourselves in is going to be a strange one afterwards. HAHA…
Where would you rather go on tour?

– We wanna play as much as we can and at any place. Of course there are some interesting places, for example in southern America… you always hear crazy stories from the crowds down there. But we gonna do it step by step, you know.
With which band?
– Deströyer 666 would be one of my favourites. But there are so many bands that we wanna play with… It doesn`t make sense to list them all.

If you got the chance meeting a historical person..Whom would that be, and why?

– I think it would be an artist. Maybe Chuck Schuldiner, or Jimi Hendrix… just for jamming, talking about music and have some drinks.

Top 5 albums?

– That’s hard to say. My playlist changes constantly… A current list could be as follows:

Urfaust – Der freiwillge Bettler
Aura Noir – Hades Rise
Bolt Thrower – Those Once Loyal
Triptykon – Eparistera Daimones
Necros Christos – Doom Of The Occult

When I met you in Stockhom in May 2011, the drummer “T” mentioned something about the supreme deathmetal act – Vomitory..
Any other bands/musicians you value..?

– Additional to the others I mentioned before, there are bands like Asphyx, Celtic Frost, Darkthrone, Demonical, The Devils Blood, Dissection, Death, Destruction, Grave, Hellhammer, Hail Of Bullets, Interment, Immortal, Kreator, Master, Motörhead, Nifelheim, Sodom, Carpathian Forest, Taake, Shining and many more….

Arroganz was formed in 2007..what did you do before that? (In which bands were you members)

– “M” and I formed our very first band when we were 14 or 15 years old. We started with very primitive Black Metal stuff… One of our first covers we played was for example “Sluts of Hell” from the Blood and Vomit – Album from Nattefrost… still KILLER!!! But at this time we had no band name or even gigs. After a while we quit to rehearse and jammed with some other musicians or played in other projects for a while. But “M” and I never quit writing songs and assembling ideas for our own band. The name ARROGANZ was certain years before the band was finally found. In the winter of 2007/2008 we felt ready to unleash our demons and found ARROGANZ…

Favourite drink(s)?

– Grasovka (Vodka from Poland) with apple-juice, or Jacky-Coke.

Mention some things you always bring on tour?

– Weed and apples.

What are you guys planning for 2012?

– Next year in summer we will go in the studio again to record our second full-length. The first songs are written and we will spend the next months to work on the new album. But we`ll also play some weekend-gigs. In January we are on tour with DER WEG EINER FREIHEIT for example. Some Open Airs are planned.

Any last words to the readers?

– We are ARROGANZ, we chose the path of no turning back!!!

… Praise the Kult or fuck off!!!
-K-/ARROGANZ
www.hellishhordes.com
www.facebook.com/hellishhordes
www.myspace.com/arroganz

Lost Effect – Salvation Of One

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , on 20th December 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Lost Effect
Album: Salvation Of One EP
Release year: N/A
Genre: Melodic Metal/Femme Metal/Yorkshire Metal

Hailing from the historic city of York (well, near York), come female fronted melodic metallers Lost Effect. Formed in 2008, the Yorkshire quintet have grown to fame in the North Yorkshire area, supporting acts such as Cryptic Age and Morpheus Rising. Following the departure of former frontwoman Beth Parkinson, Emily Burt joined the band in September. Since then, Lost Effect have gone to record their new upcoming EP “Salvation Of One”.

The first track of the EP is none other than the title track “Salvation Of One”. While Lost Effect have a modern sound, I was surprised to hear a hint of classic metal influences in Steven’s guitar work. The keyboard melodies by Dave work wonders alongside the guitar riffs. The biggest shock I found with this track was the eerie similarities between Emily’s vocals and those of Cristina Scabbia. Dave’s vocal work reinforces the Lacuna Coil-like sound of the vocal sections.

“Whispers” is the longest track of the EP, featuring a very symphonic sounding introduction, similar to that of bands such as Epica and After Forever. The bass work is damn powerful with its strength being reinforced by the hypnotic drum work of Pete. The ‘beauty and the beast’ vocals create a very Gothic sound but the song retains its metal sound. The EP comes to its grand finale with “Martyr”, bringing the thunder back after the softer melodic intro section. Though being a heavier track, there is still a sweet use of melodic riffs that blend well with Emily’s vocals. However, I will admit that I found some of the guitar work towards the end a tad bland.

It’s always nice to see more female fronted metal bands appearing on the metal scene, especially in the UK. Though I don’t think “nice” is the correct word to use for Lost Effect. “Salvation Of One” is one of the best releases to come out of the British metal scene. Though the vocal work is similar to that of Lacuna Coil, Lost effect have done well retain their own unique sound considering how many influences the members have. Epica, Lacuna Coil and maybe Within Temptation fans should definitely give “Salvation Of One” a listen.

4.8/5

Nico Davidson

Don’t forget, Lost Effect are playing the Valkyrian Music Birthday Bash 25th February @ Hollywood & Vine, Hull. Entry is free.

Ravenage – Fresh From Fields Of Victory [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 20th December 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Ravenage
Album: Fresh From Fields Of Victory
Release year: 2011
Genre: Viking Metal/Folk Metal/Melodic Death Metal/Yorkshire Metal

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If were to see Ravenage at a show, you’d think that they’d just walked into the venue from ye olde dark ages but it would be a mistake to think that they’re just another run-of-the-mill costumed band with mediocre talent. Since forming in ‘07 out of the ashes of Heathen Foray, Ravenage have gone to to accomplish great feats such as supporting Skyclad and Hecate Enthroned, as well as touring Portugal, Ireland and the UK along with playing the unsigned stage at Bloodstock as well. It’s been three years since the release of their EP “Hardrada’s Fall” but this year has seen the latest chapter in the Ravenage saga written, recorded and released. I am of course talking about the band’s debut full-length release “Fresh From Fields Of Victory”.

The album starts with the majestic orchestrated track “Invictus Arminius”. While at the first I was confused to as why a band labelled as “viking metal” would write a song with an apparent Latin name, it soon became clear that it’s a reference to Arminius, the Roman-raised Germanic general who led the Germanic tribes into victory at the Battle of Teutoborg Forest. Enough of the history though, one thing that truly sticks out about this track is the amount of emotion it stirs. At first instils a strong feeling of grandeur and heroicness before creating a solemn sense of loss. But that grand sense of heroicness makes a truly great return before the track finishes.

”Triumph In The Trees” takes the album down a more metal dominated route. The vocal work provided by “Windrider” and Glyn is definitely one of the finer points of the song. The keyboards are another strong point throughout the track, though I do feel that they don’t do the first vocal section any justice. Beginning with the sound of horses and conversation, comes the epic track “Northbound”, based on Bernard Cornwell’s books. Musically, there’s a slight hint of a Windrider sound though the sound is mostly Ravenage-dominated. The guitar work offered up by Dagstyrr and Einar progresses extremely well throughout the entire song, mixing it up well with the rest of the music and the vocals. The lyrics show a very strong influence of Cornwell’s “Alfred The Great” series, particularly from the third book “Lords of the North”.

The title track, “Fresh From Fields Of Victory” runs through a similar vein to “Triumph In The Trees”. The keyboard sections add in that orchestrated sound that has become an important piece in Ravenage’s music and the guitars keep that aggressive fire flowing through the music. The acoustic section with the flutes adds a more cam yet folky feel to the music. “Shieldwalls Collide” adds a certain eerie grandeur to the album with its organ introduction, an odd reminder of Manowar’s “Army Of The Dead” though I’m not sure if that was the intention. The bass work from Ragnar sticks out the most, keeping the guitars sounding more powerful while the vocals are most fierce. I think this is the best track of the album.

“Winterternia” is a song I became acquainted with earlier this month when Ravenage performed it at their show at Hollywood & Vine and in all honesty, I enjoy it from beginning to end. The guitar work and the keyboard melodies meld well together like tin and copper being smelted together in the process of creating bronze. One thing that did take me by surprise was the genius use of female vocals – Obviously, I hadn’t heard any female vocals when I heard this song live so it was certainly a nice surprise. “Let Vengeance Quell My Agony” brings back that slight hint of a Windrider sound – Noticeable in the keyboard riffs. The vocals lead the music like a metallic Caesar leading his army against the Gauls. Okay, maybe that’s not quite the correct metaphor to use but I hope you get the picture. The guitar solo is one of the stronger points of the song without a doubt and the cleaner vocals add a certain folky feel that echoes the Windrider sound again.

Nearing the end comes a blast from the past. “The Corpse Hall” was featured on the first Ravenage release “The Ravenage”. The introduction is haunting in a weird sort of way, mixing a certain almost-Gothic sound with a barbaric Viking Meta sound which I find to be a massive improvement from the older version. One other thing I did notice in this newer version is the improvement of the sound quality, so for those who like a clean sound quality, the newer version will be much easier on those delicate ears.

What folk metal band would be complete without a good ol’ drinking song? Certainly not Ravenage with their sing-along drinking anthem “More Beer!”. It starts out with a typical sounding pub conversation between Glyn and Windrider. The two words “More beer” signal in the folky jig of guitars. I found the vocal and piano combination to be disappointing as the vocals seemed to be weak sounding. The chorus is far too catchy and I can imagine it being sung in my head for weeks to come now, especially in the pub. The keyboard sections sound slightly Turisas-meet-Korpiklaani while the guitars have that get up and go crazy feel to them.

Without a doubt, Ravenage’s sound has evolved since Hardrada’s Fall. The composition values are much stronger in my opinion and the songs certainly are Vikingtastic but the one issue I have with the album is the Windrider sound in some of the songs. “Fresh From Fields Of Victory” is truly fine piece of musical craftsmanship and is a must have for fans of Tyr, Turisas and Ensiferum.

4.7/5

Nico Davidson

Don’t forget that Ravenage are supporting Faronese Viking Metallers TYR in February 2012. To order your tickets, proceed to: http://asgardonline.co.uk/asgard_events.html