Author Archive

Hadal – December

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 9th January 2021 by izaforestspirit

Hadal
December
Released: 5th December 2020
Doom Metal / Death Metal
Released via Planet K Records

Hadal - December

My first review of 2021. I do not normally review doom metal for the simple reason it has never been my favorite metal genre. Not even close. In fact the only doom metal band I listen to occasionally is My Dying Bride. Despite this I decided to give Hadal’s new album a go based on the description of it being a mixture of doom, Gothic and death metal. The Trieste-based, Italian doom metal quintet have been active since 2009 and this is their second album.

So, what we have here is primarily a doom metal album. All the classic hallmarks of the genre are present: a slower, bass-heavy, low-tuned guitar work, melancholic vocals and depressive lyrics. No violins but the music and vocal style bears some similarity to My Dying Bride. If only their singer had the same vocal range as Aaron Stainthorpe… Not quite, but he is doing a pretty good job. There is a hint of death metal audible in the growling vocals at the start of Dark Water, one of the more varied songs on here. I like the contrast between the two vocal styles and the gradual shift between the harsh to the melodic. The low-tuned guitar riffs are still present but at least this is not as ponderous as some of the other tracks on here. Similar things can be said about Without A Word, another song with a hint of death metal in the vocals and some of the guitar riffs.

The rest of the album offers a more varied pace. It’s still slow but the occasional death metal parts are a welcome addition. Speaking of variety, the closing track Stormcrow has some of the most diverse guitar work on the record, happily merging doom, death, Gothic and even thrash metal elements.

Overall, Hadal are not re-inventing the wheel here. Their style does not offer anything dramatically new to the genre. Having said that I reckon that fans of My Dying Bride and early Paradise Lost might enjoy it.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Iza’s Highlights of 2020

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated with tags , , , , , , on 31st December 2020 by izaforestspirit

What a strange year… One of the worst in recent history. 2020 will go down in history as the year of the Covid 19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. A year of lockdowns, cancellations, quarantines, sickness and death. Yet despite all this hardship, 2020 was also a year during which some great music was created. So as we look to a better and healthier 2021, let’s look back at some of the good stuff that came out this year. Here are my highlights of 2020:

1. Marilyn Manson – We Are Chaos
Genre: Alternative Rock

MARILYN MANSON | We are chaos - Nuclear Blast
  • Just when I think that Marilyn Manson’s well of creativity has run dry after the last two studio efforts, he returned with what is quite possibly his strongest album in decades. As written in my review ‘We Are Chaos’ “sounds like the spiritual little brother of Mechanical Animals”. Favorite tracks: ‘Half-Way & One Step Forward’, ‘Don’t Chase The Dead’ and the title track.

    2. Vader – Solitude in Madness
    Genre: Death Metal
Vader - Solitude in Madness
  • If you are planning to check out some death metal this year I would strongly recommend giving ‘Solitude In Madness’ a listen. Classic Vader doing what they do best. If you like death metal with thrash metal tinge (aka death-thrash metal) then this is the album for you. Favorite tracks: ‘Shock And Awe’, ‘Emptiness’ and ‘Into Oblivion’.

    3. Carach Angren – Frackensteina Strataemontanus
    Genre:Symphonic Black Metal

Carach Angren - Franckensteina Strataemontanus
  • A new discovery for me. A friend of mine recommended this band to me and after watching some of their videos I was hooked. I’m surprised that it took me this long to find out about them. They are similar to bands such as Dimmu Borgir (old stuff), Cradle of Filth and Chthonic. This symphonic horror masterpiece is my favorite symphonic black metal album of 2020. Favorite tracks: ‘Monster’, ‘Operation Compass’ and ‘Like a Conscious Parasite I Roam’.

    4. Apocalyptica – Cell 0
    Genre: Symphonic Heavy Metal
Apocalyptica - Cell-0
  • Apocalyptica have gone back to basics with this album. ‘Cello 0’ is predominantly instrumental except for the final track. Heavy metal cellos and drum work never sounded so good. Favorite tracks: ‘Ashes of The Modern World’ and ‘Fire & Ice’.

    5. Mono Inc. – The Book of Fire
    Genre: Gothic Rock / Gothic Metal

Mono Inc. - The Book Of Fire (2020, CD) | Discogs
  • I cannot get enough of Mono Inc and their ultra catchy Gothic Metal. ‘The Book of Fire’ came out at the start of the year and I still haven’t got bored of it. I would recommend it to fans of Gothic metal and dark rock. Favorite tracks: ‘Louder Than Hell’, ‘Warriors’ and ‘Shining Light’ (feat. Tilo Wolff from Lacrimosa).

    6. Heimataerde – Eigengrab
    Genre: Aggrotech / Medieval Folk-electronica / Industrial Metal

Out of Line Shop Heimataerde - Eigengrab - 2CD Out of Line Shop
  • Not too many industrial or electronica releases caught my attention this year. There were some good EPs and Suicide Commando’s reworked version of ‘Mindstrip’ known as ‘Mindstrip Redux’. One album that did earn a spot in my top 10 however, is the latest work from the German medieval folk electronica band Heimataerde. The physical version comes with an audio book of a Gothic horror story called ‘Krak Megalon’ on which the songs are based on. If you’re a non-German speaker you will be pleased to know that there is an English version read by Candia McKormack (Inkubus Sukkubus’ available for download and on Youtube. Favorite tracks ‘Kind Der Nacht’, ‘Bei meiner Ehr’’ and ‘Tanz’.

    7. Fjøsnisse – Unleashed Hymns
    Genre: Black Metal

    It’s been a surprisingly good year for black metal. Carach Angren wasn’t my only new discovery. Another band I go into this year was the Norwegian black metal artist Fjøsnisse. Imagine a keyboardless old Dimmu Borgir mixed with Kampfar and you will have a pretty good idea of what ‘Unleashed Hymns’ sounds like. Favorite tracks: ‘The Nine Lords’ and ‘The Wanderer’.

    8. Amduscia – Existe
    Genre: Aggrotech / Electro-Industrial

Amduscia - Existe (2020, CD) | Discogs
  • More electronica. This time it is the Mexican Aggrotech trio Amduscia. Even during the lockdown I had lots of fun dancing to this trance-infused electro-industrial opus. Favorite tracks: ‘Existe’, ‘Muerte Sin Control’.

    9. Lord of The Lost – Swan Songs III
    Genre: Dark Rock, Gothic metal / Symphonic Metal
Swan Songs III | Lord Of The Lost
  • Another successful classic ensemble album from the German dark rockers Lord of The Lost. The only reason why this is so low down on my list is that to me this one was not as memorable as ‘Swan Songs II’. Having said that it’s still a very good album. Favorite tracks ‘Dying on The Moon (feat. Joy Frost)’ and ‘One Ton Heart’.

    10. Auger – Insurgence
    Genre: Darkwave / Industrial Rock

INSURGENCE | Auger | darkTunes
  • The only darkwave entry on my list. The British duo Auger sound like a mixture of Gothminister, Blutengel and Depeche Mode. This album came out during the first lockdown in the United Kingdom. That did not stop these guys from promoting it from the comfort of their homes. Favorite tracks: ‘Insurgence’, ‘November Angel’ and ‘Tell Me I’m Wrong (ft. Imogen Evans)’. If you are interested, check out my interview with Auger https://valkyrianmusic.com/2020/06/29/interview-with-auger/

Metallica and The San Francisco Symphony – S&M2 also came out this year. I really enjoyed it but I decided not include it in my top 10 list as I do not feature live albums. If you are a longtime fan of Metallica and you liked the first S&M album, then I would strongly recommend it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0m6smR-M2qg&list=OLAK5uy_kk8e2nZ8vPfY6sYvVAQByjHit_3QdoJQw
Other honorable mentions: Behemoth – A Forest
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYZdaYobCSU
VV (Ville Valo) – Gothica Fennica vol.1

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kTHdAgxLCg&list=RD5JprzAIKzoc&index=3
and Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuzyA5gDa4E

Concerts were a rarity this year. I am very glad that I got to attend the ones that were not cancelled. So instead of gigs I have decided to include my favorite live streams of 2020:

  1. Behemoth – In Absentia Dei
  2. Metallica – All Within My Hands Helping Hands Charity live stream
  3. Lacrimosa – World Wide livestream
  4. Two Witches – Lockdown Live
  5. Auger – Christmas Live stream

Most anticipated albums of 2021:
New albums from Cradle of Filth, Bodom After Midnight, Suicide Commando and Blutengel plus hopefully many more.

Happy New Year Everyone! Here’s to a better, healthier 2021!

Iza Raittila

Finsternis – The Old Tongue

Posted in Review with tags , , , on 27th December 2020 by izaforestspirit

Finsternis
The Old Tongue
Released 25th September 2020
Melodic Black Metal/Atmospheric Black Metal
Self-Released

‘The Old Tongue’ is the debut EP from the Alabama-based American melodic black metal band Finsternis. The band was formed in 2018 and it features two members and one former guitarist from the melodic death metal band Curse The Flesh. This EP and their other demos are available from their official Bandcamp page.

It never ceases to amaze me as to which odd corners of the world might spout out some decent-sounding black metal music. This time it’s Mobile, Alabama in the United States of America. I cannot say that I have heard of it before and it is definitely not a place that I would think of as being associated with the genre. Based on the three songs on this EP it sounds like one of their primary influences is Swedish black metal, particularly old Marduk and to some extent Dissection.

All three songs are fairly similar in structure with only a handful of nuance differences to tell them apart. The opener We Unholy Few draws you in with a slow, eerie intro before the aggressive guitars enter the fold. The vocals are pretty much the usual coarse-sounding, distorted shrieks normally associated with the genre. Then, as the song progresses, they balance things out with some melodic parts towards the end. I liked the atmospheric guitar passages on Of Burden and Lament, which is quite possibly best track on the whole EP.

Overall, it’s hard to judge a band based on just three tracks. ‘The Old Tongue’ is a promising melodic black metal EP which I would recommend to fans of the aforementioned bands. They managed to create the right kind of dark atmosphere and the production is remarkably good. I look forward to hearing a full length album from these guys.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Garagedays – Something Black

Posted in Review with tags , , on 17th December 2020 by izaforestspirit

Garagedays
Something Black
Released 13th November 2020
Heavy Metal
Released via El Puerto Records

Garagedays - Something Black

‘Something Black’ is the new album from the Austrian heavy metal band Garagedays. The band was created back in 2005 by vocalist and rhythm guitarist Marco Kern. In the past they have supported bands such as Exodus, Grave Digger, Rotting Christ and U.D.O. This release was mixed and mastered by Andy Laroque who is known from his work with King Diamond. The music style is similar to that of Metallica and Motörhead.

We’re off to a good start with Back In Line, a guitar-centric and energetic heavy metal song filled with catchy riff work. I can understand why this has been compared to Metallica. Both the guitar styles and to a lesser extent the vocals are similar to Metallica’s mid-career work, particularly the black album and ‘Reload’. Then there is thrash metal -style title track with the most memorable chorus and some of the most lively, thunderous guitar passages on the album. This one is definitely for headbanging. Some of the songs have a hint of groove in the guitar tones, especially audible on tracks such as And Again.

They maintain the same tone and style for the majority of the record with the notable exceptions of the ballads My Own Way and To My Soul. In these two the pace slows down and there is a greater emphasis on the melodic vocals. While these are not my favorite tracks on here, they are not out of place and I can see why they deserve a spot on the album.

In summary, ‘Something Black’ is an enjoyable heavy metal album. The style is nothing groundbreaking or new but it demonstrates that Garagedays are skilled musicians who know how to produce memorable songs.

7/10

Iza Raittila

Mork announces new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , on 12th December 2020 by izaforestspirit

Time for some black metal news. If you are fan of the Norwegian black metal scene, particularly bands such as Darkthrone and Taake, there is a very good chance that you might also enjoy Mork. The one man project was launched back in 2004 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Thomas Eriksen. His first album ‘Isebakke’ came out in 2013.

This year saw the release of his latest EP ‘Pesta’ via Peaceville Records. Check out the title track here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFtzp3vH37Y&list=OLAK5uy_mgvk-Of-B8o39u306OzqdG9zJ5_7Hz7CY&index=1

Since then he has been busy in the studio working on Morke’s fifth album ‘Katedralen’. The cover art has been created by the French artist David Thiérrée and the record features guest performances Nocturno Culto (Darkthrone), Dolk (Kampfar) and Eero Pöyry (Skepticism).
The track-list will be as follows:

1 Dodsmarsjen
2 Svartmalt
3 Arv
4 Evig Intens Smerte
5 Det Siste Gode I Meg
6 Fodt Til A Herske
7 Lysbaereren
8 De Fortapte Sjelers Katedral

Mork - Katedralen

‘Katedralen’ will be available in both physical and digital formats on 5th March 2021 via Peaceville Records.

For more information go to:
https://www.facebook.com/MORKOFFICIAL
https://www.morkisebakke.no/

Nox Rocks II Lucia Metal Party livestream this weekend

Posted in Gig, Misc., News with tags , , , , , , , , on 8th December 2020 by izaforestspirit

The Swedish broadcasting media & production company Nox Rocks Live Events have teamed up with Stagedip, King2Music Records and Kingart Music Management to bring you a unique live stream experience called Nox Rocks II Lucia Metal Party. The event will be streamed worldwide live via the Nox Rocks website on 12th December – 13th December 2020 (Lucia Night) and it is scheduled to run for a grand total of 6 hours, 6 minutes and six seconds.

The line-up features a number of well renowned Swedish hard rock and metal artists including Europe, Hammerfall, Therion along with international artists such as King Diamond, Pretty Maids, Rainbow, Manowar and many others.

Italian Trulli

For tickets and more information visit: http://www.noxrocks.nu/
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/495643994747327

Vörst – Roots of a Frostbitten Land

Posted in Review with tags , on 1st December 2020 by izaforestspirit
 Vörst
 Roots of a Frostbitten Land
 Released 4th October 2020
 Raw Black Metal
 Self-Released
Vörst - From the Roots of a Frostbitten Land

‘Roots of a Frostbitten Land’ is the first EP from the Texas-based, American black metal artist Vörst. What an interesting location, and definitely not one that you would typically associate with black metal… The project was launched last year and the artist claims to have been brought up in the mountains by a family of “deathtrolls”. Right, this is going to be fun!

So after a few listens I can safely state that this belongs in the raw black metal category. It really sounds like it was recorded in someone’s basement to an audience consisting of the artist’s cat or dog and a possible sacrificial goat. The vocals, if I can even call them vocals, are grim as hell. They sound more like a wolf howling. My guess is that he was trying to sound like Abbath (ex-Immortal) but with only limited success. There is not much that I can say about the drums as they are mostly in the background, with the notable exception of Inside Satan’s Abyss where they add more variety to the song. The guitar work is gritty and unrefined but ultimately the best part of the music. I liked the guitar parts on City Witch, one of the more memorable tracks on here.

Overall, raw metal not meant to be pleasant to listen to. This is pretty much much what I expected to hear based on the description. Hardly a masterpiece but not an entire disaster for an artist allegedly raised by trolls.

5/10

Iza Raittila

Moonspell reveal new album details

Posted in Uncategorized on 21st November 2020 by izaforestspirit

The Portuguese Gothic band band Moonspell have recently announced that their new album, the follow-up to ‘1755’, will be called ‘Hermitage’. The album cover was designed by the Latvian artist Arthur Berzinsh.

Here’s the cover and track-listing:

Moonspell - Hermitage
  1. The Greater Good
  2. Common Prayers
  3. All or Nothing
  4. Hermitage
  5. Entitlement
  6. Solitarian
  7. The Hermit Saints
  8. Apophthegmata
  9. Without Rule
  10. City Quitter (Outro)

‘Hermitage’ will see the light of day on 26th February 2021 via Napalm Records in both physical and digital formats. The band have also made a video for the first single ‘The Greater Good’. Check it out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nv-zHPEkZ4c&fbclid=IwAR0XCOrlE4VPav5-2fwkd_C-ccklJIH5jIEz_sf5Fha5QDRfcTrV3b46GEA

For further information go to: https://www.facebook.com/moonspellband

https://www.moonspell.com/

Peter Tägtgren leaves Lindemann project

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , , on 18th November 2020 by izaforestspirit

Till Lindemann and Peter Tägtgren have decided to end their partnership on the industrial metal project Lindemann after seven years and two successful albums. The Rammstein front-man Till Lindemann has retained rights to the Lindemann name and plans to continue project with a possible new line-up.

Lindemann was formed in 2013 as a collaboration between Till Lindemann (Rammstein) and Peter Tägtgren (Pain, Hypocrisy). Their last album ‘F & M’ was released last year. Their final work as a duo will be a live DVD of their show in Moscow 2020 which is expected to hit the shops in the spring 2021.

For more information visit: https://lindemann.band/

https://www.facebook.com/Lindemann/

Sorceress of Sin – Mirrored Revenge

Posted in Review with tags , on 13th November 2020 by izaforestspirit

Sorceress of Sin
Mirrored Revenge
Released 27th November 2020
Melodic Power Metal
Self-Released

Mirrored Revenge

‘Mirrored Revenge’ is the the debut album from a new addition to the British melodic power metal scene – Sorceress of Sin. The line-up includes singer, songwriter Lisa Skinner, her husband Paul Skinner on drums, guitarist Constantine Kanakis, bassist Topher O’Meagher (ex-Gehitka) and Tom Maclean (bass orchestrations). Their sound has been compared to the likes of Firewind, Helloween and Iron Maiden.

The main focus of this album appears to be the guitar work and Lisa Skinner’s powerful vocals. She has a good vocal range hitting the high notes with relative ease. So if you are fan of power metal with strong vocals, then this is the album for you. Luckily the vocals are not operatic and music is guitar- rather than keyboard-centric; otherwise this review would be riddled with Nightwish comparisons. There are keyboards but they are mostly in the background. The pace is varied but mostly energetic with the exception of one slower ballad-esque track Echoes of Existance. Speaking of that track, playing this was one of those moments that really reminded me of old Nightwish, mostly due to the vocals.

The rest of the album sounds much more uplifting, energetic and more importantly more like Iron Maiden than Nightwish. The title track, for instance, is packed with aggressive guitar work and dynamic vocals. Watch out, this vixen might have some virtue but she sure can bite! I also liked Aradia, another uplifting track with brisk guitar work and soaring vocals. Then there is fast and aggressive-sounding closing track Empyre of Stones – one of my favorites on here due to the catchy guitar riffs and powerful vocals. What a fun way to end the album on a high note. If you are not headbanging by this point, then you clearly do not like heavy metal.

Overall, ‘Mirrored Revenge’ was a pleasure to review. I didn’t enjoy the ballad but the rest of the album was definitely entertaining. Some power metal has the tendency to become cheesy after a few listens, this is not the case here. I would recommend it to fans of Iron Maiden and Helloween.

8/10

Iza Raittila





 

Bodom After Midnight enter the studio

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , , , , , on 11th November 2020 by izaforestspirit

Good news for Children of Bodom fans. When the band split up last year, their front-man Alexi Laiho formed a new band called Bodom After Midnight with rhythm guitarist Daniel Freyberg (also ex-Children of Bodom), drummer Waltteri Väyrynen (Paradise Lost) and bassist Mitja Toivonen (Santa Cruz).

Now after a handful of small but successful shows in their native Finland the quartet have entered Finnox studio in Helsinki to record their debut album. The latest update is that the drum work is complete. The album has no title nor has there been any mention of whether there will keyboard player joining the line-up. They have yet to announce when the new album will be released but it will most likely not happen until 2021.

Photo by Mika Jussila
Image may contain: 1 person, indoor

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/pg/bodomaftermidnightofficial/

Battering Ram release new single

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , on 8th November 2020 by izaforestspirit

Swedish hard rockers Battering Ram have recently released their new single ‘Pieces’ on Spotify. ‘Pieces’ is the second single from their self titled debut album which came out back in January this year. Here is the cover:

The band are relatively new to the hard rock and metal scene and yet they have already made a name for themselves, growing in popularity thanks to streaming platforms. Their sound has been likened to that of Mustasch and Corroded.

Check out ‘Pisces’ on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5ZE8smCT2oR50Kq9yLZ3GW?si=vJjXVibATMGmucX9qNtcwQ

For more details visit:

https://www.facebook.com/BatteringRamOfficial/

Rob Zombie reveals new album details

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , on 31st October 2020 by izaforestspirit

Happy Halloween everyone! Here is some exciting news for fans of the American industrial rock band Rob Zombie. It’s been six years since their last studio effort, the downright bizarre but entertaining ‘The Electric Warlock Acid Witch Satanic Orgy Celebration Dispenser’. Now they are back and the long wait for new music will soon be over.

The font-man and film director Rob Zombie has recently announced that the new album will be entitled ‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’.
Check out the cover art and track-listing below:

Tracklist:

  1. Expanding the Head of Zed
  2. The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)
  3. The Ballad of Sleazy Rider
  4. Hovering Over the Dull Earth
  5. Shadow of the Cemetery Man
  6. A Brief Static Hum and Then the Radio Blared
  7. 18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks and a One-Way Ticket On the Ghost Train
  8. The Eternal Struggles of the Howling Man
  9. The Much Talked of Metamorphosis
  10. The Satanic Rites of Blacula
  11. Shower of Stones
  12. Shake Your Ass-Smoke Your Grass
  13. Boom-Boom-Boom
  14. What You Gonna Do with That Gun Mama?
  15. Get Loose
  16. The Serenity of Witches
  17. Crow Killer Blues

‘The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy’ will be out in both digital and physical formats on 12th March 2021 via Nuclear Blast Records. In the meantime you can check out their new video for song ‘The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition)’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0WULTU6zl2E

For more information visit: https://robzombie.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RobZombie

For more information visit: https://robzombie.com/
https://www.facebook.com/RobZombie

DevilDriver -Dealing With Demons I

Posted in Review with tags , , on 27th October 2020 by izaforestspirit

DevilDriver
Dealing With Demons I
Released 2nd October 2020
Groove Metal /Melodic Death Metal
Released via Napalm Records

DevilDriver - Dealing With Demons, Volume I

Groove metal has never really been one of my favorite metal genres. To be honest with the exception of one old Machine Head album, the only groove metal band you will find in my music collection is Devildriver. I’ve been following their career since the self-titled debut album, which, despite its many faults, gave us ‘I Could Care Less’ and helped to bring frontman Dez Fafara some recognition within the metal scene. I actually first discovered him via his first band, the cringe-worthy nu-metal outfit Coal Chamber. Yes, I too went through a very brief nu-metal phase as a teenager and Coal Chamber’s ‘Chamber Music’ remains a guilty pleasure of mine… Anyway, Devildriver is a better and much more serious band that I’m not embarrassed to like. They are really good live and they have produced a few memorable albums over the years. This brings me to the newest studio effort ‘Dealing With Demons I’, part one of a two album concept.

Despite the profound lyrical themes reflecting Fafara’s personal experience of social anxiety and agoraphobia, Keep Away From Me seems like an odd choice for an opening track. It’s rather slow to start with and I really did not like the droning guitar riffs and slow drumming in the intro. That is something you would expect to hear from a doom metal band, not Devildriver. Luckily it gets better later on – past the first minute mark and the groove metal riffs enter the fold. It’s still slow but at least it finally got going. So not the best start to the album…Luckily the next few tracks are better. The vicious-sounding Nest of Vipers may not the best song on the song on here but it features a varied paced and some good groove metal guitar riffs.

For me the real album highlights are: Iona with its haunting, down toned riffs and equally creepy growls and Wishing – a classic DevilDriver song with a memorable chorus and the best guitar parts on the whole record. The latter is without a doubt my favorite and the song that I’ve played the most. You Give Me A Reason To Drink (feat. Simon Blade Fafara), deserves a mention just because I really struggled to tell the two vocalists apart. Simon Blade Fafara sounds a hell of a lot like his father. I cannot fault the guitar work though.

In summary ‘Dealing With Demons I’ takes a few listens to get into. I would compare this to mood swings, here are the highs and then there are lows. I really liked some of the tracks, the others grew on me after a while but some never did. Considering that this the first of a two part album concept, I think that it shows some promise but it could be better. Bring on part 2!

6/10

Iza Raittila

Forn Kadr – Mystic Arcane Lands

Posted in Review with tags , , on 21st October 2020 by izaforestspirit

Forn Kadr
Mystic Arcane Lands
Released 9th June 2020
Atmospheric Folk Metal/ Atmospheric Black Metal
Self-Released

‘Mystic Arcane Lands’ is the new EP from British atmospheric black metal duo Forn Kaldr. The band was formed in 2017 by guitarist/drummer Kaldr and bassist Robin Green. Their music is instrumental and it is influenced by nature, mythologies and bands such as Amon Amarth and Caladan Brood. All their releases are available from their Bandcamp page.

Atmospheric and melodic are the key words that come to mind when listening to this album. I actually had some trouble telling the first two songs apart. They sound so alike that had it not been for me checking the Bandcamp page, I would have assumed that this was one very long song. The title track stands out due to the ambient-style keyboard intro. The intro and some of the guitar patterns reminded me of the Australian post-black metal artist Calea Dreaming, whose work I reviewed last year. The song is well structured offering a varied pace with each instrument contributing to the atmosphere, especially the guitars. If there was a soundtrack for a walk in the woods on a cold autumn night, this would be it. The keyboard mimics the sound of raindrops falling, a calm moment before stormy weather resumes. Then the seasons change in the aptly named The Last Breath of Winter. No keyboards, the drums remain in the background and all the focus is on the atmospheric guitar passages.

In all honesty, there is not much in the vein of black metal on here. Only the final, bonus track A Forgotten Age has a black metal tinge to it due to the raw guitar riffs. It has the right kind of eerie atmosphere to it as well.

Overall, ‘Mystic Arcane Lands’ is for some those who enjoy atmospheric metal. If you are fan of black metal instrumentals, then there is a chance that you might like it too. I found it relaxing and suitable on an autumn evening at home but not particularly memorable or stimulating.

7/10
Iza Raittila

The 69 Eyes live in Tampere 2020

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , on 11th October 2020 by izaforestspirit

The 69 Eyes
Sorsaklubi, Tampere-Talo, Tampere, Finland
10th October 2020

With everything that has happened this year, I was not sure if this show was going to take place at all. The original date for this was meant to be 10 April 2020 as announced already last year. Then by March the worldwide pandemic had spread across Europe and every country went into lockdown. This show was one of thousands of events that ended up either cancelled or postponed. The new date was set for the autumn. A lot has changed since then. Every country had a slightly different strategy on how to tackle the new challenges, yet some things were the same. Face masks are a common sight in public places and social distancing has become the way we do things around here. While healthcare professionals worldwide continue searching for a vaccine, all we can do is follow the new rules, do our best to stay safe and live as normally as we can under the circumstances.

Live streams have become very popular. I have seen several since the lockdown began. Some were excellent, such as Behemoth’s professionally made and visually stunning ‘In Absentia Dei’, others not so impressive but still entertaining. None though are any match for a real live show. I still kept my ticket for the re-scheduled The 69 Eyes show in hope that it might still happen. Luckily a new set of security measures and guidelines was introduced for small scale events in Finland, which meant that the show was given a green light. The new social distancing regulations stated that the venue, Sorsaklubi (the smaller hall inside the Tampere-Talo) was only allowed to be filled to less than half of its normal capacity. In addition to this, the hall was divided into sections with limited seating and a specific number of people allowed to stand in each row in order to allow for social distancing. Face masks were strongly advised, everyone was instructed to keep a 2 meter distance from one another and there was hand sanitizer available in every corner. I arrived there with my mask on well in advance and I did my best to maintain a safe distance from the rest of the crowd.

This was obviously a completely different experience from the last gig I attended before the lockdown. This time there were no support bands and the Helsinki Vampires were only on for a solid hour and a half. Not the longest of sets but it was definitely long enough to enjoy. Once the band started playing, I felt relieved and oddly calm. They played many fan favorites including Gothic Girl, Brandon Lee and The Chair, new hits such as Two Horns Up along with some oldies such as Wasting The Dawn and Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams. The mask stayed on and I kept my distance but I still managed to dance a little.


In summary, I’m really glad that despite the new challenges caused by the ongoing pandemic this show was allowed to happen. It was worth spending over two hours in a face mask to see The 69 Eyes live again. It was a great show in spite of all the adversity. With all the hardship, panic and fear going in the world sometimes the perfect tonic is music. So, masks on, hand sanitizer at the ready, social distance away and get ready to Goth’n’Roll!

Iza Raittila

Fjøssnisse – Unleashed Hymns

Posted in Review with tags , on 5th October 2020 by izaforestspirit

Fjøsnisse
Unleashed Hymns
Released 3rd September 2020
Black Metal
Self Released

‘Unleashed Hymns’ is the second album from the Norwegian artist Fjøsnisse. The one-man project was launched last year by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Anders Vada. This album plus most of his releases are available on Bandcamp.

It’s been a while since I reviewed any black metal… With the exception of the new album from symphonic black metallers Carach Angren, the last black metal album that got my attention was the new Mgła which came out last year. As soon as I read the description I did not need any more reasons to check this out. “Black metal with thrash metal elements” sounds pretty good to me. Also some of my favorite black metal bands are from Norway so this had the potential to be very good.

After a few listens, there are two main things that can say about this album. First of all, this is a good example of very well executed Norwegian black metal. Secondly I really like it. It is definitely my kind of black metal. The first couple of tracks made of think of ‘Enthrone Darkness Triumphant’ -era Dimmu Borgir minus the keyboards. Despite the grim vocals, reasonably fast pace, thrash metal style abrasive riffs and relentless drumming there is actually a fair bit of ambiance and melody on here. The track The Nine Lords for instance, contains a melodic guitar section towards the latter half of the song. It reminded me of the pagan black metal band Kampfar. All the tracks have a very balanced amount of both melodic and harsh elements with smooth transitions in the guitar passages. Then there is the beautifully eerie and frostbitten instrumental The Wanderer, the closing song to what has been a very enjoyable album.

In summary, there is a lot to like on ‘Unleashed Hymns’ if are into black metal. This is particularly for those who enjoyed the bands that emerged as part of the Norwegian black metal scene in the 1990s. A few decades later Fjøsnisse is continuing with the legacy.

Iza Raittila

8/10

Burton C. Bell leaves Fear Factory

Posted in Misc., News with tags , , , on 30th September 2020 by izaforestspirit

Burton C. Bell has recently announced that he has parted ways with Fear Factory. The statement was made following a series of legal disputes with guitarist Dino Cazares and two former members of the band regarding rights to the Fear Factory name. Tensions between the band members began when Dino Cazares started a crowd-funding campaign to raise funds for the band’s new album. Here is an extract from an official statement from Mr. Bell’s official website:

The past several years have been profoundly agonizing, with these members bleeding my passion with depraved deceit. As a direct consequence of their greed, these three have dragged me through the unjust, judicial system, resulting in the legal attrition that has financially crippled me. In the end, these three members have taken possession of my principal livelihood. However, they will never take my 30-year legacy as the beating heart of the machine. A legacy that no other member, past or present, can ever claim.”

Image may contain: 1 person, close-up

Fear Factory was formed in Los Angeles, California, The USA in 1989 and Burton C. Bell joined the group the following year. He has been involved with the band throughout their career. Now guitarist Dino Cazres, the only original member left in Fear Factory, has announced that the band will continue as a two piece. Their last album ‘Genexus’ was released back in 2015 via Nuclear Blast Records.

Burton C. Bell’s new alternative rock band Ascension of The Watchers have a new album called ‘APOCRYPHA’ coming on 9th October 2020 via Dissonance Records.

For further information go to: https://www.burtoncbell.com/
https://www.facebook.com/fearfactory
http://www.fearfactory.com/

Marilyn Manson – We Are Chaos

Posted in Review with tags , on 25th September 2020 by izaforestspirit

Marilyn Manson
We Are Chaos
Released 11th September 2020
Alternative Rock
Released via Loma Vista

MARILYN MANSON | We are chaos - Nuclear Blast

So here we are in the autumn of 2020- a terrible year for many people and one that we all probably wish would be over soon. The pandemic is still causing havoc with our lives. While we do our best to cope with the new challenges sometimes the best remedy for stress and anxiety is a suitable distraction. I for one, have used this time to revisit some of the things that used to bring my joy when I was younger be it books, films and of course music. However bad 2020 has been, it has also witnessed the birth of some really good new music. This brings me to the latest album from Marilyn Manson, a band who’s career I have been following since my early teens. I was pretty much ready to give up on them after ‘Eat Me, Drink Me’. The two albums that followed were unmemorable and I had serious doubts whether Brian Warner was cable of writing decent songs . Then ‘The Pale Emperor’ came along and I was pleasantly surprised as to how much I liked it. Three years ago he repeated the success with ‘Heaven Upside Down’. Now this year he is back with ‘We Are Chaos’ featuring the country musician Shooter Jennings along with a variety of session musicians.

The CD version comes with a copy of a painting by Marilyn Manson, which suits of the overall sombre tone of the album. It’s a bit of a slow start with the opener Red Black And Blue. Personally I found the speech at the beginning a little off-putting and I was almost tempted to skip the song completely. It is good that I didn’t though, as song itself is decent but hardly one of the highlights of the album. Luckily the title track is much better. I cannot get enough of the chorus and the emotional yet haunting vocals. I already liked it when I first saw the video and even after a few listens it still hasn’t lost it’s appeal. Now that’s more like it. Half-Way & One Step Forward also got my attention thanks to the melancholic piano intro and the creepy vocals. I also really liked Don’t Chase The Dead, another great alternative rock track that captures the right balance of a haunting atmosphere and dancefloor-friendly melodies. There are many moments that reminded me of Marilyn Manson’s ‘Mechanical Animals’ era. In many ways the songs on here contain the same vibe as that album, which just happens to be one of my favorites.

In summary, ‘We Are Chaos’ is a surprisingly accessible album that gets better with every listen. Each song is packed with emotion and there is certain melancholic vibe present throughout. It sounds like the spiritual little brother of ‘Mechanical Animals’, the next phase of Marilyn Manson’s evolution as an artist and his best work in years.

8/10

Iza Raittila

Crushing Force – Remnants of Devastation

Posted in Review with tags , , on 21st September 2020 by izaforestspirit

Crushing Force
Remnants of Devastation
Released 25th July 2020
Melodic Death Metal
Self-Released

Crushing Force - Remnants of Devastation

’Remnants of Devastation’ is the debut EP from the New York based melodic death metal band Crushing Force. The band was originally a one man project of Bill Rotach (Desekrator, ex-Nazgül) created in 2016 with the aim of making instrumental music for video games. One of the tracks, ‘Inferior Humans’ features a sound clip of Fawkes from the video game Fallout 3.

Now I have never played Fallout 3 and I am not really into video games, so I cannot comment on how well this would work as a soundtrack. What I can say, is a few things about is the music itself. The EP is full of shredding guitar riffs along with a few well constructed melodic guitar parts. Mr. Rotach is clearly a skilled guitarist and guitars are definitely the main focus of the EP. The aforementioned Inferior Humans is the most aggressive song in here with crushing guitars and savage drums hammering away. At the other end of the spectrum, we have songs like the title track which is more thrash metal -esque and melodic in nature.

Overall, this is a well made EP from a promising melodic death metal artist. The lyrical themes and the overall tone of the music would not be out of place in a post-apocalyptic landscape. As to how well it works as a soundtrack, I guess that’s up to the gamers to decide.

7/10

Iza Raittila