Author Archive

Agon – Hollowed Lake

Posted in Experimental, Metal with tags , , on 6th December 2018 by izaforestspirit

Agon
Hollowed Lake
Released 21st October 2018
Atmospheric Black Metal
Self-Released

Agon - Hollowed Lake

‘Hollowed Lake’ is the debut album from the American atmospheric black metal artist Agon. The project is the brainchild of solo musician and vocalist Andre Basora, based in Miami, Florida.

Miami is hardly the place that you would typically associate with black metal. It offers a sharp contrast to the grim and frostbitten northern landscapes where the genre first became popular. Straight from the start of the opening track My Yearning Heart you get a sense of the haunting atmosphere. If I were to imagine a setting which would fit this kind of music, it would be a dark forest on a stormy autumn night. The guitars sound raw, abrasive with an eerie feel and the bleak keyboard only adds to the gloomy ambiance. The vocals are fairly sporadic, coarse sounding rasps and yet they are still clear enough for you to follow the lyrics. Tunnel of Desolation is a bit of an acquired taste – if you are a fan of avantgarde metal with lots of distorted guitar noise then this is the song for you. Personally speaking that track gave me a headache and I would rather skip it.

Luckily what follows is more atmospheric black metal. We are still roaming through the dark forests, desperately searching for shelter from the ongoing storm. There is constant sense of fear and dread of what might be lurking in the shadows. The title track also caught my attention mainly due to the shift in style from black metal to early Burzum-esque dark ambient in the first half before returning to raw and eerie black metal for the remainder of the song.

In summary, ‘Hollowed Lake’ is a decent black metal album which succeeds in creating an eerie atmosphere whilst offering enough variety to keep the listener interested. However, at times it feels as though the avantgarde elements have been taken a bit too far, making the music disjointed.

3/5
Iza Raittila

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HATE enter the studio

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , on 4th December 2018 by izaforestspirit

The Polish death metal band HATE are about to enter the studio to start working on their new album, the follow up to ‘Tremendum’. Not all the details have been announced yet but for now the new album has been given the working title ‘Salve Ignis’. Production and other finishing touches will be done at Hertz Studio, Poland.

The official release date is yet to be determined but so far it is scheduled to come out in the summer 2019. This will be the band’s first work with Metal Blade Records.

In the meantime here are a few preview demos of the new songs:

 

For more updates:
https://www.facebook.com/HATEOFFICIAL

 

Children of Bodom reveal new album details

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , , on 30th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

Children of Bodom have recently announced that their new album, the follow up to ‘I Worship Chaos’, will be called ‘Hexed’.

Check out the track-listing and cover art below:

1. The Road
2. Under Grass and Clover
3. Glass Houses
4. Hecate’s Nightmare
5. Kick in the Spleen
6. Platitudes and Barren Words
7. Hexed
8. Relapse (The Nature of My Crime)
9. Say Never Look Back
10. Soon Departed
11. Knuckleduster
12. I Worship Chaos (live)
13. Morrigan (live)
14. Knuckleduster (remix)

Children of Bodom - Hexed

‘Hexed’ is scheduled to hit the shops worldwide on 8th March 2019 via Nuclear Blast Records. This will be the band’s first album with their new rhythm guitarist Daniel Freyberg who joined the band in 2016 replacing Roope Latvala.

For more details visit:

https://www.facebook.com/childrenofbodom

http://www.cobhc.com/site/

Monstrosity – The Passage of Existence

Posted in Metal with tags , on 27th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

Monstrosity
The Passage of Existence
Released 7th September 2018
Death Metal
Released via Metal Blade Records

Monstrosity - The Passage of Existence

It’s been a while since I have reviewed a death metal album. The truth is there has not been too many death metal releases that have caught my attention this year. Monstrosity is a relatively new discovery for me, but their particular brand of death metal is fairly similar to some of the bands I like. For those who are unfamiliar with them, they are an American death metal act based in Florida and they have been a part of the death metal scene since 1990. Oh, and their original line-up included George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher on vocals before he joined Cannibal Corpse.

Death metal has a variety of different styles and sub-categories ranging in pace, technical guitar work and brutality levels. Personally my favourite variety is death metal with a slight thrash metal tinge with some technical but not overly complex guitar work, ideally medium to fast paced and brutal. Luckily for me that is exactly the type of death metal that Monstrosity play.

Kingdom of Fire caught my attention thanks to the unholy brew of the ferocious guitar riffs, trash metal undertones, ferocious growling and aggressive drums. The melodic guitar interlude offers the listener a chance to catch a breath before the next onslaught takes place. In general, this album is very guitar-driven, combining technical rhythm guitar riffs with blast beats for a more refined sound. Maelstrom is a good example of this style. There is just the right amount of variety and technical precision in the guitars to make it sound fresh but not too complex. Also, I have to emphasize the term “technical” as opposed to progressive. I can’t stand anything progressive in metal. Too much guitar masturbation is never a good thing. Luckily there is no danger of that on here.

In summary, ‘The Passage of Existence’ is exactly my kind of death metal. There is not a single song here that I dislike. This is without a doubt my favourite death metal release of the year. Last year I enjoyed the new Immolation and Cannibal Corpse. In 2018 it is all about Monstrosity.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Huoripukki and Goatsodomy live

Posted in Gig, Grindcore, Live, Metal with tags , , , , on 25th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

Warfare Noise, Huoripukki, Goatsodomy
Varjobaari, Tampere, Finland
24th November 2018

Just when I think that I will not be attending any more live shows this year, something new pops up unexpectedly. Varjobaari, a small pub in one of the largest districts of Tampere, was the venue for a night of extreme metal with three Finnish underground bands performing. This was my first time at the venue and I was unfamiliar with the bands but the names and the descriptions of the music sounded intriguing so I decided to check them out.

Warfare Noise were up first. They are a fairly new band with only a few self-released demos. The best way I can describe their sound would be a mixture of grindcore and black metal with an emphasis on the grindcore. I’m not the biggest fan of grindcore but I have to admit that the drum work was really good. 2.5/5

Huoripukki were the main band I wanted to see. I haven’t heard their music prior to the show but I liked their name, it means “whoremonger” in Finnish. Anyway theirs was the most energetic show of the night. They played good mix of blackened death metal and to a lesser extent thrash metal. There was no space to form a moshpit but more than enough for some headbanging. 4/5

Last up was a black metal outfit called Goatsodomy. They played raw black metal which is not the easiest stuff to play live. They started out a little later than scheduled and I only stuck around to hear a few songs so there is not a hell of a lot that I can say about their show. What I heard was raw, minimalistic black metal which seemed a bit one-dimensional at times. 2.5/5

Overall I am glad that I took the time to attend the gig. I liked the venue and Huoripukki were entertaining to watch. It’s good to see that Finnish underground extreme metal scene is alive and well.

Iza Raittila

Thorium – Thorium

Posted in Metal with tags , , , , on 17th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

Thorium
Thorium
Released 9th November 2018
Heavy Metal/Melodic Power Metal
Released via Rock N’ Growl Records

Thorium - Thorium

‘Thorium’ is the debut album from the Belgian heavy metal band of the same name. Thorium was formed two years ago and their line-up includes former members of Ostrogoth.

Just in case the connection to the band Ostrogoth was not obvious, this album includes a song called Ostrogoth. It’s an entertaining, albeit a little cheesy, piece of melodic power metal with powerful vocals and good guitar work. I like how they managed to get the guitars to mimic the sound of galloping horses towards the latter half of the track. Watch out, the Ostrogoths are coming!! Some of the songs reminded me of early works of Helloween, mostly due to the pace and the similarities in the vocal style.

There are also elements of traditional heavy metal and thrash metal on here. This is evident in tracks such as Godspeed with its catchy chorus as well as more varied but no less cheerful-sounding guitar melodies. They continue with the same mixture of heavy metal and power metal for the rest of the album. The final track Four by Number, Four by Fate is one of those that listeners are either going to love or hate. It definitely stands out on here for numerous reasons. Let’s start with the length – it’s just short of sixteen minutes which is very long even for a ballad. The style is a mish-mash of everything ranging from acoustic guitar instrument parts, progressive guitar riffs, power metal, heavy metal to some thrash metal thrown in just to keep you on your toes. Personally I think this might have worked better if it was broken up into two separate tracks.

Overall, Thorium’s debut album has a lot of things going for it. They have created a good balance of catchy and melodic heavy metal with enough variety to keep the listener entertained. I think that fans of power metal and heavy metal will enjoy it, especially those who are into Helloween and Iron Maiden.

3.5/5
Iza Raittila

Hypocrisy and Kataklysm live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , , on 11th November 2018 by izaforestspirit

The Spirit, Hypocrisy, Kataklysm
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
10th November 2018

This time I opted for an evening of melodic death metal. My exposure to Hypocrisy’s music is limited a handful of songs from their old albums but I am fan of Peter Tägtgren’s other side projects so I figured it was about time that I checked out his main band. Similar things apply to Kataklysm – I discovered them via their singer Maurizio Iacono’s side project Ex Deo. Out of the two bands I am more familiar with Kataklysm, particularly their mid-career works such as ‘Epic (The Poetry of War)’ and ‘Shadows & Dust’.

First up was a German melodic black metal band called The Spirit. I have never heard of them before but I really enjoyed their show. Their music reminded me of Dissection and Taake. 4/5

Hypocrisy drew in a sizable crowd and rightfully so because they put on one hell of a show. They started off slow with the first song but then they really got going. Mr Tägtgren is quite the show-man and these guys did a good job of entertaining the audience. I stayed clear of the mosh-pit but I did do a fair amount of head-banging. The only thing that could have made their show better is if they had played ‘Osculum Obscenum’ but I guess you can’t have everything. 4/5

This was Kataklysm’s first time in Finland and I guess that if you like their current style you probably would have enjoyed their show. They played a lot of tracks from their recent albums which I am not particularly fond of. I actually prefer their older material. Luckily they played ‘Shadows & Dust’ which was the only highlight of the performance for me. This was not what I expected and I was left feeling a little disappointed. 2.5/5

Overall, it was a fun night out but I did not enjoy all the performances as much as I thought I would. The Spirit were surprisingly good and probably the best show of the night. Hypocrisy also put on a good show. As for Kataklysm, I do not like their latest album and I was really hoping to hear more old stuff. Maybe the next time I will check out Ex Deo live instead.

Iza Raittila