Archive for December, 2011

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

Posted in Review 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

SJD To Continue ANGTORIA Project

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 25th December 2011 by Nico 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 Review 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 Uncategorized 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 Review with tags , , , , , , , , on 20th December 2011 by Nico 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 Review with tags , , , , , , on 20th December 2011 by Nico Davidson

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

cd_cover_small

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

UKEM Records- DISCIPLES OF EXTREMITY Vol.1

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 19th December 2011 by izaforestspirit

Band: Various Artists
Album: UKEM Records – DISCIPLES OF EXTREMITY Vol.1
Release year: 2012
Genre: Extreme Metal/ Black Metal/Death Metal

‘Disciples of Extremity Vol.1’ is the first release from the independent British record label United Kingdom Extreme Metal (UKEM) Records. This is a compilation CD featuring nineteen extreme metal bands which is due to be released on the first anniversary of the creation of the label and is the first of three compilations planned.

The first five tracks are definitely in the death metal category with each band adding its own unique take on the genre. The songs range from the more old-school, Morbid Angel-style growls, drums and guitar riffs demonstrated by Scordatura’s ‘Visceral Disembowelment’ to the deathcore infused Nexilva’s ‘Defile in The Flesh of Innocence’ and the thrashy death metal of Unfathomable Ruination. Foul Body Autopsy’s ‘Left to Rot’ caught my attention due to the skilfully executed thrash metal guitar solos combined with the standard death metal growls.

Dr. Aids marks a change in the style towards more punk influenced metal with a track that makes fun of Katie Price (a.k.a Jordan). Whilst the music itself is not too bad, the lyrics and persistent cries of “bitch”, “slut” along with other insults ruin the song for me. Luckily the next track by Revokation is predominantly death metal despite the occasional switch in vocals from growls to more At the Gates -style shrieks. I have my doubts on how successful this combination is. Gore Sanctum’s brutal death metal is not for the faint hearted, and based on just one track all I can say is that it’s very good but best enjoyed in small doses.

Northern Oak’s melodic intro is a surprise and probably the last thing I expected after several tracks of death metal. Oddly enough, this is also one of the highlights on here with its catchy folk tunes combined with an atmospheric feel and vocals that summon you to listen to their tale. This tranquil atmosphere is then shattered by the ferocity of Eastern Front’s fast paced black metal infused with death metal guitar riffs which makes it one of the best tracks on the compilation.

One of the biggest disappointments on here is Engorgement’s ‘Full Body Prolapse’ where the grindcore (or more accurately gorecore) vocals ruin what could have been a promising death metal track.

Winds of Genocide’s ‘The Arrival of Apokalyptic Armageddon’ features some good guitar riffs – I just wish that the lyrics didn’t sound so cheesy. Humanity Depraved’s ‘Defilement of Purity’ starts off well only to be ruined by the metalcore or should I say deathcore style vocals. Sanhedrin sounds far more promising with its symphonic black metal keyboards and great guitar solos which definitely make their song stand out for all the right reasons.

Bloodshot Dawn’s progressive take on death metal reminds me of current works by Decapitated which makes it an instant hit with the fans of this newly re-formed Polish death metal band. Oblivionized’s grindcore infused technical death metal offers an interesting change to the overall tone of the album, though it’s a bit too bizarre a mix for me to handle. After the previous cacophony, Maelstrom’s melodic take on black metal is a welcoming sound for sore ears and the memorable guitar solos cement its position as one of undisputed the highlights of the album. The final track by Laceration returns to the old school style of death metal which while being good offers little in terms of originality.

Overall this is a very good compilation by a promising independent record label. I would like to wish UKEM Records the very best of luck for the future!

4/5
Iza Raittila

The Porn Issue – My Disguise EP [2010]

Posted in Review on 18th December 2011 by corvusofmorlich

Band: The Porn Issue
Album: My Disguise EP
Release year: 2010
Genre: Funk/Progressive Rock
 

Sounds sexual, doesn't it? YEP!

The EP starts off with rasta speech  – starting the music off with “it’s da feel” before drifting into some smooth, slow chords and drums and tasty single bass notes. A fill leads it into a quick and funky guitar bridge before the bass and drums come in – bouncing everything up perfectly and it all just works so well. Everything is played expertly and it’s just so damn good to listen to. The guitar gets dirtier and goes into a little rocky melody/riff which balances out the funk. My one complaint would be that the guitar sound has too much buzz and distortion and it kinda takes away that professional and tasty sound that they had before – making it sound more like an early demo. It still works though and this balance between that funky clean style and this heavier rock style is well done. The song breaks away and there’s another quote – the same guy reading a bit from the bible, I think – before it goes back to that drifty slow section. The quick guitar comes back followed by the bass and drums which then leads to another dirty guitar bit. There’s a guitar solo next and the tone improves thousandfold for it. The solo is simple, but I really enjoyed it. It’s a really good song and each bit, especially the funky side, is very enjoyable. I must mention that there are no vocals in this song at all, unless you count the samples of speech, which you shouldn’t.

The second song, “Pauper’s Melody” is my absolute favourite off the EP and starts with heavy distorted chugs before going in the completely opposite direction, with swift clean guitars and once again tasty bass. The chugs come back before the previous move is repeated, this time with some vocals. I don’t know why, but I adore the vocals. It might be because of me growing up with music like this or relatives with similar voices, but I can’t stress my love for this song and this band. There’s a definite sad tone to the vocals and it’s conveyed strongly, intentionally or not. The reverb behind them works well and adds to the song, rather than just making the balance sound minging, like too many bands make reverb do nowadays. Everything stops for a couple more chugs before there’s a high up dirty guitar riff which plays over funky and interesting bass and drums. All are played well and, as I keep saying, fit perfectly together. The song then goes into another beautiful vocal section followed by the same dirty guitar as before which abruptly stops for a clean guitar break. The bass and slow cymbals come in. The drums shuffle in and the rest keeps going, making a totally beautiful outro.

Next up we have the song “Use”. The intro is acoustic strums before the song gets heavy. There’s an awesome melody and with the drums using non-triggered double kicks, there’s much to love. The vocals come in after a slow bass melody. These lack the reverb of “Pauper’s Melody” and it does sound a lot lower quality. There’s no duff notes or anything, it just sounds as if the vocals weren’t recorded to the same quality as the rest and there are slight things like volume peaks and drops as the singer has clearly moved toward the mic and back again. The heavy melody and drums come back in for an awesome chorus – double tracked vocals do make this a lot more powerful than the other parts and it makes it all sounds higher in quality. It’s very catchy, but retains that melancholic feel that was a part of the last song. Everything speeds up for a bit with an awesome guitar riff and a lot more double kick work. The vocals are also at a faster pace and again show up issues to do with recording. The last bit before the break is layered up and it shows how good it could have been if the double tracking had been used throughout this section. There’s a slow bridge of clean guitar before the chorus gets smashed back in. This time, there are variations in the vocal melody and ever increasing reverb which slowly backs the vocals out and sounds very good. The last 10 seconds feature a small breakdown that sounds good and fits well, except for the guitar. There’s a timing issue and the use of single notes on it somewhat ruin what could have been a totally chunky and fitting outro.

The penultimate song “My Disguise” is the title song for the EP. The song starts with a sad clean guitar melody with slow paced drums and bass underneath it. The vocals come in and are equally melancholic and are teamed with that same delicious reverb – sounding really good. The song gets heavier and the vocals then, again, sound a little badly recorded with the same volume fluxuations and there’s even a couple of times where the vocals sound a little strained. The feel of the song is conveyed, though.  There’s a small break before distorted vocals repeat “My Disguise” with a final shout of it before the chorus comes back with little double kick flutters and swifter sounding drums. I really like the plays with delay on the guitar in this song, too. A small solo uses this very well around the last minute of the song and that strange sound is captured and fitted well. This fades out a little and the drums and bass lead the song to its end, with the distant guitar trailing off.

The final song is called “Summer is Breathing”, which starts off with the sound of wind and rain, ironically. A dizzying note gets held over it all and acoustic guitars come in underneath it. The acoustic guitars carry the song away from the intro and vocals come in. After a split second, you can hear pops in the mic, which just show that the vocals must have been recorded badly. The vocals here sound the worst out of any others that appear on the EP and despite sections sounding decent – the ones with backing harmonies and drifting repeats in the background – the lead vocals do destroy the feel of the song. The bass, guitar and drums once again sound amazing and the actual music of this song is really good, the chorus especially.

That finishes up the EP. A completely outstanding piece of work most definitely needs a bigger audience. Emotional music, mixed with heavy sections and crazy funk sections is just genius and the sheer amount of talent present is just as impressive. The biggest issue would be the quality of recording. The lack of a pop shield and a decent vocal quality are very nearly deal breakers. However, there are some amazing singing sections over the EP and the bad ones are actually a surprising minority, it’s just that they’re not that forgettable. The guitar tone at the heavy sections could do with meating up. It needs to be trebley and jingly at the funky bits and a bass and mid boost for the heavier bits. However, these are all things that can be fixed with rerecording at a higher quality and not something that you can put against the band. Go listen to them and support them now, because they really deserve it. This is an astounding piece of work and there is so much potential here.

The decision was very hard – I’m absolutely in love with the songwriting and style of this band, but I’m to be reviewing and judging the EP – the actual material produced. I cannot wait to hear what else they bring out in the future and urge all who read this to check them out and support them. The Porn Issue are an absolutely amazing band.

4/5

Reviewed by Jobe Robin (Corvus of Morlich).

Interview: Sproc [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , on 15th December 2011 by Demolithia

Sintech is a side project by members of the well known German band Varg. The band was formed in 2000 and in February 2010 Sintech signed their first deal with the German independent record label Blacksmith Records.
After proudly celebrating its 10th anniversary in May 2010 the band announced the release of their new album “Schlampenfeuer” on 2nd December 2011. Now the vocalist/songwriter, Sproc appears in an interview here at Valkyrian Music:

 (Schecter promophoto by Angelina Bauer)

Listen to your new album, one find the similar aspects as i.e the dutch metalband Carach Angren use?

– I only know one album of Carach Angren, which is “Lammendam” and I must admit, that it definately was an inspiration for one or two songs on the album.
But in a whole, all of the songs on SCHLAMPENFEUER were written in the time between 2006 and 2011, so there’s a lot of different influence in it.

Strangest place you found yourselves in?

– Before a Varg show somewhere in the streets of Krakow. We were just stumbling around, when we found some blood traces on the street that led to a closed car boot. That was pretty weird and frightening.

In the answer to the question above the band “Varg” was mentioned.. “Varg” is the landscape animal in my native county (Värmland, Sweden) What personal connection do you have to the animal “Varg” (Wolf)?

-I see the wolf itself as a symbol for freedom. It’s not that noble animal as it is often described to be, it’s just a symbol for the roughness and simplicity of nature. I just love that image.

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

– Franz Kafka. I guess he’d probably not be one of a talkative kind, but if I’m charming it could end up in an enlightening conversation.

Where would you rather go on tour? With which band?
– I’ve never been touring outside of Europe, so there’s plenty of space left for me to discover. But I guess Japan would be awesome – and disturbing as well. The best band to tour with would be my friends of Eluveitie! We toured with them for two times now and it’s always been a pleasure.

Top 5 albums?
– Tough question! My top 5 albums of alltime:

1. Ulver – Perdition City
2. Korn – Issues
3. The Kovenant – Animatronic
4. Naglfar – Sheol
5. Korn – Korn

Is there any other swedish/scandinavian band than the mentioned  Naglfar you find higly regarded?

– Swedish/Scandinavian Bands I like? Tons of… I already mentioned the incredible “Ulver” from Norway in my Top 5 albums.
But to name some more swedish bands I like: Opeth are brilliant. And I love pushing myself into frenzy by listening to Meshuggah!

The band have had a checkered history concerning line-up..is it stabile now?
– I think the line-up changes are just normal and inevitable. We started Sintech as 13 year old kids and everybody developed in different ways by then. But the current line-up feels pretty perfect now and I think it will last for a while!

Greatest source of inspiration?

– My greatest source of inspiration… life itself of course, people I meet, experiences I make and of course all the music I listen, too. The most important thing in music for me is to listen to all different kinds of music. I don’t care what genre it is, as long as I like it.

www.myspace.com/sintech

www.facebook.com/SintechOfficial

www.facebook.com/VargOfficial

“NEW GIRL ON THE BLOCK” FREE DOWNLOAD SINGLE

Posted in News on 13th December 2011 by Nico Davidson

OUT NOW!

Link: http://soundcloud.com/diva-suicide/new-girl-on-the-block

Diva Suicide’s critically acclaimed debut mini album, “Scars”, came out in 2010 and was mastered at Abbey Road Studios, London by Geoff Pesche (Gun/Therapy/Placebo…). The band have supported the likes of My Passion, Helalyn Flowers and Kory Clarke.

“INFECTIOUS…The quality of the songs should establish Diva Suicide as ones to watch!” KERRANG!

“Diva Suicide have something unique and exciting about them. Watch out for this lot in the coming months” MALCOLM DOME.

“They have the sound, the image and the songs” POWERPLAY (UK).

“A terrific listening experience “ TWIST (Sweden)

After spending most of 2011 writing, their first release comes as a free single download. A song that’ll get you humming along long after you’ve finished listening, vocalist –XS- adds: “It’s an anthem for the anti-X Factor generation”.

Diva Suicide is:

Vocals: -XS-

Bass: DJ Grudge

Drums: Max

Guitars: Andre

Ravenage w/Support @ Hollywood & Vine, Hull [Live Review]

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , on 12th December 2011 by Nico Davidson

Bands: Ravenage, Infernal Creation, Windrider
Location: Hollywood & Vine, Kingston Upon Hull
Date: 10th December

All things come in threes as the saying goes and that was certainly true on the cold Saturday night as three of Hull’ finest metal bands were ready blow the proverbial roof off of Hollywood & Vine. It was also the third time that I would be seeing Infernal Creation, Windrider and Ravenage so the buzz of excitement that was in the air certainly added to my excitement as well.

Windrider opened the proceedings though frontman Elliot was absent from the stage at the beginning of the first songIMG_0007 but he did make himself known when he took to the stage in time for the first vocal section. The bassist Hallam was also absent but a replacement bassist called Greig had took his place for the night – Or at least that’s what I’m assuming anyway. As usual, Windrider performed a tight and mighty sounding set though one parts the fierce roar of the guitars and the keyboard samples did sound to be quite drowned out by the vocals but fortunately it wasn’t the case for the full set. The drum and bass work definitely deserve praise as well. “The Hall Of The Slain” was definitely one of the stronger sounding songs in Windrider’s set. Windrider are definitely a band to see if you’re a fan of the likes of Amon Amarth, Ensiferum and Turisas.

Windrider – The Hall Of The Slain

in  (21)Infernal Creation soon took to the stage after Windrider, bringing their fierce and violent brand of British black metal with them. The tempestuous roar of guitars blasted through the amps like a hurricane as the vocal work of Neiph did much to savagely entertain the crowd. The vehement performance of “The Angel Of Endless Hunger” was definitely a treat to listen to as well, along with the feral sounds of “The Insidious Gospel”. Infernal Creation definitely proved themselves to be one of the finest black metal bands in the abyss that is the British metal underground.

IMG_0151And so then it came to the headlining act for the night, none other than Hull’s very own Ravenage, who earlier this year toured with Nothgard, Celtachor and Infernal Creation as part of the Warhorns Over Aengland tour. Taking to the stage in their Viking outfits, they performed a mighty sounding set, most of which was dominated by majestic IMG_0224sounding songs such as “Winter Ternia”, “Let Vengeance Quell My Agony” and “More Beer” from the new album “Fresh From Fields Of Victory” all of which were simply fantastic. The frontman Glyn did much to show what a great showman he is, including bringing out the old sword – Something which I’d only witnessed once before at a show Ravenage played a few years back in Bridlington. Of course the fun didn’t end there as Ravenage performed a fine rendition of “Viking Dream” from their EP “Hardrada’s Fall” and a fun, folk metal version of “Drunken Sailor” that had everyone dancing. Much to my surprise, they finished the show off with a performance of my favourite Ravenage track “Ravenser”, which sounds better live than the recorded version – The recorded version is still epic though.

The crowd certainly seemed to enjoy the show and so did I. If Ravenage, Infernal Creation or Windrider ever come to your town (or city or village or house or farm), you better make sure you see them because all three put on a damn good show and when they’re all on the same bill, “epic” would be an understatement.

Nico Davidson

Ravenage will be supporting Tyr at Fibbers in York on 18th February. To order your tickets, go to: http://asgardonline.co.uk/asgard_events.html

TRIPTYKON and ONE TAIL ONE HEAD comfirmed for Inferno Festival 2012!

Posted in Festival, News with tags , , , on 10th December 2011 by Demolithia

From Celtic Frost ashes, TRIPTYKON and ONE TAIL ONE HEAD (OTOH) of the new Norwegian black metal scene will play this year’s black Easter celebration! They join the INFERNO 2012 line up with BORKANAGAR, ARCTURUS, TSJUDER, AGALLOCH , ANAAL NATHRAKH, SOLSTAFIR, ABSU, WITCHERY, CHURCH OF MISERY, EINHERJER and VESEN.THE INFERNO METAL FESTIVALhas become a true black Easter tradition for metal fans, bands and music industry from all over the world with nearly 50 concerts every year since the start back in 2001. The festival offers exclusive concerts in unique surroundings with some of the best extreme metal bands and experimental artists in the world, from the new and underground to the legendary giants. At INFERNO you meet up with fellow metalheads for four days of head banging, party, black-metal sightseeing and expos, horror films, art exhibitions and all the unholy treats your dark heart desires.THE INFERNO METAL FESTIVAL invites you all to the annual black Easter gathering of metal, gore and extreme in Oslo, Norway from April 4. -7.april 2012. – Four days and a hell of a lot of bands!


TRIPTYKON:

As Celtic Frost had once arisen from Hellhammer’s ashes, so arises Triptykon from Celtic Frost’s ashes.  Created to further evolve the darkness invoked by its immediate precursors, seminal black/-extreme metal pioneers Hellhammer and Celtic Frost, Triptykon evolved from a Celtic Frost side project initiated by Tom Gabriel Fischer (a.k.a. Tom Gabriel Warrior), the group’s singer, guitarist, and main songwriter. Fischer commented: “Triptykon will sound as close to Celtic Frost as is humanly possible.

The band released its debut album Eparistera Daimones in spring 2010. Both music and lyrics so far disclosed by Triptykon reveal a group immersed in themes such as history, occultism, human disintegration, religious fanaticism and nihilism. Extensive touring followed, and the bands live repertoire is evenly divided between Triptykon’s own music and classic Celtic Frost material. We can’t wait! http://triptykon.net/



ONE TAIL ONE HEAD (OTOH)

The most fertile breeding ground for Norwegian Black Metal has for some time now been situated in Nidaros, and One Tail, One Head is probably the most promising act out of this scene. Consisting of members from highly respected bands like Mare and Celestial Bloodshed One Tail, One Head have two acclaimed demos to their name, and have recently released two EPs on norwegian cult label Terratur Possessions.

One Tail, One Head treads it´s own path, though carrying the torch of esoteric tradition detecting elements from many different sources of sound, despite the simplicity of the music, believing in the power to create and manifest visions by their own premises.  All in the name of death itself and the journey towards the endless light.  One Tail, One Head has been spreading it´s violence and intensity across Europe and have gained notoriety through their intense live rituals combining atmosphere, pure energy and aggression. The future of norwegian black metal? No, this is the end. Tornekrans og svovel! http://onetailonehead.wordpress.com/

TICKETS:
Tickets are sold at Billettservice/www.billettservice.no Phone: + 47 815 33 133
Club night    35€, Day pass    70€, Festival pass     180€  www.infernofestival.net

Damnation Festival 2011 [Live Review]

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , on 8th December 2011 by vmteam

Bands: Cerebral Bore, Xerath, Devin Townsend & more
Location: Leeds University
Date: 5th November 2011

For the uninitiated, Damnation Festival has built a reputation in recent years as being one of the finest events showcasing underground music that the UK has to offer. The festival boasts a great deal of variety, offering everything from extreme metal to post-rock and everything in between.

Upon arrival at the venue, there was some initial confusion as to where the stages were. The Terrorizer and Jagermeister stages were running late, and to add insult to injury one of the most anticipated bands of the day, CEREBRAL BORE, turned up minus their vocalist. The band still managed to pull off a tight set, however, proving how musically talented the band is.

More than making up for the festival’s false start, the mighty XERATH took to the Jagermeister stage to a decent-sized crowd, and proved that they are indeed one of the finest extreme metal bands to come out of the UK. Their unique brand of symphonic death metal suited the large venue, and their incredibly tight riffs won the crowd over.

Next up on the Terrorizer stage were one of the most unique metal bands around – Norway’s  SHINING. Opening with their wonderfully insane ‘Madness and the Damage Done’ from their album ‘Blackjazz’, their unique combination of black metal and jazz completely decimated the brains of everyone present. The energetic cutting guitars combined with the absolutely crazy saxophone and keyboard playing ensured that everyone left with their faces melted!

After a long wait for gear to be changed back over on the main stage, it was finally time for the folk metal legends TURISAS. Despite initially appearing to be out of place on this lineup, Turisas had one of the most enthusiastic crowds of the entire festival. Their set was full of classics such as ‘Holmgard and Beyond’ and ‘Battle Metal’, and the sheer energy of the show, the vocal talents of frontman Mathias Nygard and the dedication of their fans was a joy to behold.

Turisas’ current touring mates CHTHONIC are really starting to break through in the UK. The Taiwanese band may be relatively new to western listeners, but their experience shone through in their incredible Damnation set. It was hard to believe that any band would top Shining, but Chthonic managed it thanks to their brilliant stage presence and powerful original music. Chunky guitar riffs, intense vocals and epic symphonic arrangements all combined with their Taiwanese musical influences provide a musical onslaught which stunned the crowd. It was also great to see bassist Doris Yeh at the merch stand, the band living up to their reputation of being great with the fans.

Next up was an early food break, due to the absence of Polish death metallers DECAPITATED. Whilst their cancellation was disappointing, especially due to the problems faced by CEREBRAL BORE, the only other death metal band of the day, the cause of their absence is understandable and we can only hope to see them play next year.

Finally, as Damnation Festival drew to a close, the one-and-only DEVIN TOWNSEND took to the Jagermeister stage! As usual he entertained the fans before the show started with amusing clips of Ziltoid, but the omniscient alien was soon silenced by Devin’s song ‘Truth’ which set the tone for the rest of the headline set, with fans singing along to every word of his masterful compositions and waving their Ziltoid puppets in the air! The set proved to be a mixture of Ziltoid songs and songs from his four-album series from the Devin Townsend Project, however he decided to end the show with a collection of more ambient songs before playing the classic ‘Vampira’ as an encore – a stunning end to a great festival on our own turf!

Jenny Green & Hallam Smith [Guest Review]

Andraste – The Secret Valley [2011]

Posted in Review on 7th December 2011 by izaforestspirit

Band: Andraste
Album: The Secret Valley
Release year: 2011
Genre: Folk Metal

‘The Secret Valley’ is the debut album from the Manchester based folk metal band Andraste.

The album reveals an Ensiferum influence particularly evident in the vocal styles on ‘Sail Out Fly Away’ well as the catchy, ‘epic’ choruses on tracks such as the opener ‘Jotunheim’ and the guitar intro to ‘Shield Ring’. The use of the whistle in the tracks ‘Honour in This/ The Rights of Man’ and the ultra catchy ‘Enchantress’ reminds me of various Irish folk metal bands especially Waylander.

Highlights include: the aforementioned ‘Enchantress’, which is destined to attract the attention of folk metal fans with its Celtic melodies and good guitar solos infused with an epic chorus; and the battle themed ‘Forsaken Warrior’ which combines the epic elements of Ensiferum with the Celtic sounds of Waylander. Who would have thought that a Nordic-Irish combination would prove to be a winning formula for folk metal?

Overall, ‘The Secret Valley’ is everything that you would expect a folk metal album to be- catchy, epic sounding and best suited for a metal festival in the summer. I just hope that there is a place for Andraste in this overcrowded market.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Nightwish – Imaginaerum [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , on 5th December 2011 by vmteam

Band: Nightwish
Album: Imaginaerum
Release year: 2011
Genre: Symphonic Metal

Here it is: One of the highly anticipated albums of 2011, Nightwish’s new epic. But is it that huge and majestic everyone hoped it would be?

Well, to start right off with the intro [the very first Nightwish ever did on an album] which was a bit disappointing and made me press the skip-button already. I found myself listening to the first actual song on the album which was none other than “Storytime”. The song itself is quite entertaining and Anette Olzon’s voice fits quite well to this positive and poppy track. By the end of some listening sessions of the album I found myself thinking that this one is one of the strongest [tracks] on “Imaginaerum”. “Ghost River” which comes afterwards is nothing special to me although the Child-choir is quite nice, but I’m afraid I have to say that it’s nothing more than nice (to me).

The first highlight of the album comes with “Slow, Love, Slow”, which has a complete Anti-Nightwish-Feeling, something completely different. The song is not only reminiscent of a 30s bar-atmosphere but very Lacrimosa-like with its dark, intensive mix of slow, easy melodies and the guitar solo, I really liked that one and consider it being one of the highlights of the album. “I Want My Tears Back” is something I feel that Tuomas had the feeling “I have to do a metal song with a catchy hook line”. Well, it doesn’t work that well in my opinion as it just feels that he felt forced to do a metal song. It sounds very constructed and unnatural to me although the song is not that bad but again nothing special. “Scaretale” offers some interesting vocal techniques, but the middle “circus” sounding part is again something which was just too long for me and so as a result, I quickly lost interest on it although it’s again quite a cool track with its typical orchestration and the overloaded bombast, but again the last “wow” effect didn’t come up at all. This one would have been better in an Tim Burton movie than on a Nightwish album.

“Arabesque” is an instrumental and it starts with a very promising introduction but after 1:30 it gets boring and sounds more like a Prince of Persia-soundtrack sample when you have a fast action-scene in mind.  Afterwards “Turn Loose The Mermaids” offers a kind of half-ballad with a strong “Blackmore’s Night” feeling throughout it and it also doesn’t have that Nightwish-like sound. Maybe because of this fact, it’s one the better ones on Imaginaerum. “Rest Calm” and “The Crow, The Owl And The Dove” are okay tracks. The Crow, The Owl And The Dove has a little Roxette feeling for me, funny but not Nightwish. Off to the next one, called “Last Ride Of The Day” which is one of the best on “Imaginaerum” with its majestic orchestration, the almost perfect and catchy chorus and its authentic Nightwish feeling.

The longest track on the album is “Song of Myself”. It starts quite promising and stays very strong until about seven minutes in when it turns out to be, in my opinion, a much too long audio drama which would have been nice for two minutes or so, but it lasts until the end of the song. On an album with 75 minutes, having almost ten percent of it narrated is too much and not that fair for the paying fan, in my opinion, although the voices are really cool but then the track itself can’t end with the narration and has to find some kind of climax or something else more intersting.  The last track “Imaginaerum” is a medley composed of the highlights of the previous tracks, played by the huge Orchestra which is like a little deja-vu of the 70 minutes before and is quite cool, showing the strong moments of the main melodies. And that’s it…

Conclusion: Don’t get me wrong: Imaginaerum is a good album for anyone being interested. It’s well-produced and has versatile music, but the problem with this output is that it sounds as Tuomas would have prefered doing something different to this and was just forced to release a metal album under the banner of Nightwish. This is why the untypical songs, orchestrations and sountrack parts are the strongest moments on the album while the more typical sounding metal songs, which you really deserve on a Nightwish CD because they’re metal without doubt, feel really loveless and uninspired. It’s somehow like sitting between the chairs and I quote a friend of mine who summed it up: “For metal, it’s just too uncatchy and for a movie soundtrack it’s just too uninsteresting!” It’s a good piece of music and quite entertaining but for me (and I expected it to be actually) it’s not the “album of the year” nor an “epic masterpiece”. It’s just good, nothing more, nothing less.

3.5/5

Martin Harb [Guest Reviewer – Keyboardist of Visions Of Atlantis]

Austrian Death Machine – Jingle All The Way [2011]

Posted in Review on 5th December 2011 by Pieni

Band: Austrian Death Machine
Album: Jingle All The Way (single)
Release year: 2011
Genre: metalcore

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After “A Very Brutal Christmas” 3 years ago, Austrian Death Machine are back to spice up the season. In case you don’t know who these guys are, they’re a bunch of buddies of Tim Lambesis (As I Lay Dying) making fun of Arnold Schwarzenegger in a metalcore format. So it’s not a coincidence that this 3-track single has the same title of Schwarzenegger’s 1996 movie.

Don’t think that, just because it’s a parody, it lacks quality or dedication. In fact, the song with the funniest title, “Who Told You You Could Eat My Cookies?”, has the guitar solo I like the most in this work, although all the guitar parts here are wonderful – by the fingers of Jason Suecof (Capharnaum), Eyal Levi (Dååth), Mark MacDonald (Mercury Switch) and James Gericke (Death By Stereo).

Lambesis has a little help concerning vocals – not sung but spoken, playing the role of… Ahhnold: Josh Robert Thompson (famous for impersonating celebrities as – you guessed! – Schwarzenegger) on “It’s Turbo Time” and multi-talented Chad Ackerman on “I’m Not A Pervert”.

“It’s Turbo Time” is a metalcore piece in all its glory, while “I’m Not A Pervert” it’s a lot more thrash. And “Who Told You You Could Eat My Cookies” focus on death metal elements. So all this aggressive music styles, performed by a variety of professional artists, combined with a hilarious sense of humour both on lyrics and attitude, could only result in a “must-have” to all metalheads out there this Christmas.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

My Dying Bride – The Barghest O’ Whitby [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , on 5th December 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: My Dying Bride
Album: The Barghest O’ Whitby
Release year: 2011
Genre: Doom Metal

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My Dying Bride – Part of the “Peaceville Three” – have never been commercially successful compared to most metal bands but they always remained one of the most respected and influential bands to ever come ascend from the murky blackness that is the British underground – More specifically, Yorkshire (which is the best part of the UK – both musically and culturally). Anyway, I better stop writing about the geographical origins of the band before I cause another Yorkshire/Lancashire argument. As I was saying, My Dying Bride are definitely one of the most respected metal bands from Britain – Be it due to their status in the underground or the fact that they’re musical geniuses is a reason unknown to me in my current state of excitement. The excitement of course being about the new EP: “The Barghest O’ Whitby”.

Anyone who has ever read a book on Yorkshire folklore will that the barghest is an ominous sign that foretells death of the person who lays eyes upon it or the death of one of their relatives. A grim portent to come face to face with indeed. Well, that is if you believe in folklore and fairy tales. It’s no surprise that the ethereal legends of night fallen depression that are My Dying Bride have based an entire EP on such a grim and macabre legend. If you do think it’s a surprise then where the hell have you been living?!

I’ll admit, the EP being only comprised of one track (“The Barghst O’ Whitby”) did take me by absolute surprise. The first minute or so is composed entirely of the ominous howling of wind creating that unique otherworldly atmosphere. The first guitar section feels like it’s taking you back in time – Not in the sci-fi, let’s change the course of the future kind of way but more in the kind of sense that they sound similar to the riffs that can be heard echoing throughout the “Turn Loose The Swans”. The violin turns the sound awfully cold, much in the way that snow adds that extra chill to a quiet December morning – Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad effect, in fact, it helps enforce the classic My Dying Bride sound. The raw snarling of vocals offered up by frontman Aaran Stainthorpe complete this first section of the track.

For most, it would feel as if the song does drone on but that’s part of the genius hidden within the music. Obviously the song does progress into something a little faster, featuring a cleaner, more Gothesque vocal range provided by Stainthorpe combined with a dark musical sound. The violin, once again, adds that cold and frostbitten [Is frostbitten a term that can be used for doom metal?] sound that gently echoes through the speakers. The bass work, provided by Lena, through out the song, so far has been a pleasantry for the ears as well. The track progresses once more into a new sound, showing a slight use of melodic riffs in the guitar section though not enough to be considered melodic, unfortunately. The drone of music and vocals is almost mystifying, verging on the lines of being a hymn sung by the grimmest of divinity.

One of the guitars slowly fades out leaving only the hollow echo of a string being slowly picked, which also fades away into a void of empty of silence. But fear not, young readers (or listeners when you listen to the EP), for it is not the end just yet as whispered winds and chanting of guitars return with a more melodic sound. The bass and drums add that extra weight to the guitars like depression to the soul – Just to be clear, I mean that positively. The howl just after the vocal section is masterfully placed, reinforcing the concept of the barghest in the song. For lovers of heavier music, you’ll be pleased to know that the EP ends on a violent and aggressive note with the additional roar of thunder at the end.

”The Barghest O’ Whitby” is possibly one of the best releases of 2011. My Dying Bride have done what they do best and created a musical masterpiece that will give Andrew Lloyd Webber a run for his money. While the EP has a very raw edge compared to previous releases, it still echoes the sound of the band’s earlier releases – Something that many bands struggle to do with their new material. “The Barghest O’ Whitby” is definitely one that could rival My Dying bride’s first release “Turn Loose The Swans”. I would seriously advise buying this EP and keep it on repeat for a long, long time.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Whitechapel – Recorrupted [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , on 2nd December 2011 by corvusofmorlich

Band: Whitechapel
Album: Recorrupted EP
Release year: 2011
Genre: Deathcore

Br00t4lz

It all starts off well – industrial noise and distant drums, before a screamed out line that lets out the power of the band.

Chunky triggered bass drum pounds, meaty guitars and a wall of bass smashing through breakdowns every few seconds is probably the best description of the first song. Some old school death metal influences are obvious when you focus on the vocal rhythms and the frequent chaotic drum and guitar sections but, musically, most of the first song hints at the more modern approach to metal –breakdowns and repetition. The riffs are simplistic and nothing much stands out. This definitely isn’t a bad thing, though, as the song was clearly designed to just be one of those that you stick on to smash some things up (and maybe have enough time after to look at some more holes to put in your ear). A decent song, I guess – not normally my thing, but I can appreciate it.

The next song is a cover of “Strength Beyond Strength”. Things picked up for me when this came on, despite me not liking Pantera. The song starts briefly, with a fast riff before everything joins in with immediate vocals. Everything feels a lot faster than in the first song. The changes in rhythm at the end of certain phrases make this song a lot more listenable and varied. The song breaks for a slow guitar riff to be played before there’s a bass drop underneath everything coming in for it all to plod steadily in a totally headbangable/nod-able section, which was sexy as hell. The bass drum is chunky and really punches you in the stomach. The drums pick up with some blast beats, which get totally wasted, because of the disappointing lack of guitar riff variety. There’s a slow, evil solo that comes next, though it’s very simple – too much for me to really call it one – more of just a little melody, but it sounded good. The song then speeds up with a nice flicker of blasts before leading the song out with some nice layered screams. A fantastic cover – totally improved the song for me and it’s probably the best song on the disc. As with most of As I Lay Dying’s release that I reviewed last month, it’s just a shame that it can’t be called the band’s work.

The next song was titled “Breeding Violence (Big Chocolate Remix)”, but I renamed it so I never had to read it again. The song mixes the industrial style dance music with the band’s own genre and it doesn’t sound too different to their original stuff. Okay, there’s a lot more sub bass and there’s a lot of playing with the fact that the song is in stereo, but it’s not too much different – all the music is the same and there, it’s just a little more cut up.

The penultimate song is “This is Exile (Ben Weinman Remix)”, the intro of which is actually good – dark, creepy and atmospheric. This is instantly ruined by a terrible guitar tone – it’s overly fuzzy and distorted, it’s ridiculous! There’s some screams before the drums come in – the low end of EVERYTHING is boosted, giving the song quite a warm coating, with the snare and hi hat sounds cutting through pretty darn well. The song goes quiet for a short break that continues that strange theme that the intro started – children’s voices and whirs in the background. All swiftly fades to let it all jump back in suddenly. This remix totally fits the original song and this new direction together really well, I must say. The second best song on this release.

Lastly, it’s “End of Flesh (Acoustic Version)”. It’s actually quite pleasant to listen, despite the chord sequences being dark. I think the bright and fairly clear tone of the acoustic guitars take the evil side of things away. The playing was quite human – natural buzzing being left in, etc. I really enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t completely perfect – it felt nice to listen to – almost as though it was being played for you. I’m also extremely glad that there wasn’t anything else going on apart from those guitars; I feel as though it would have removed the atmosphere and ‘live’ feeling of the song.

Overall, the same thing that I said about the As I Lay Dying EP applies here – there’s a fair amount of decent stuff here: the cover and the second remix are definitely the best tracks here, but they can’t be completely tied to the band, as it wasn’t entirely their work. The acoustic song worked really well as an outro after the madness that came before it, and it was a good choice to have it on there. It sounded good, too.

Overall, it was similar in terms of its negative attributes, to the AILD EP, but had even less material on it. Granted, it’s not a full album release, but the songs that were good on this were a lot better than the ones that were on the AILD one and that just made the lack of more material a lot worse.

2.5/5

Reviewed by Jobe Robin (Corvus of Morlich)

Band Of The Month [December, 2011]: Collisions

Posted in Band Of The Month with tags , , , on 2nd December 2011 by Nico Davidson

Breaking tradition of a metal band being the Band of the Month, upcoming Hull-based post-hardcore quintet Collisions smashed the other bands in the voting last week and no wonder why. Powerful guitar sections, strong vocals and sick drums mixed in with an EP produced by Lee Rule makes for a damn good band.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t find a picture of the band to go along with this article. So, here’s a pretty video instead! Well, we say video…