Archive for Black Metal

Darkthrone – Old Star

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 5th July 2019 by izaforestspirit

Darkthrone
Old Star
Released 31st May 2019
Black Metal/Blackened Heavy Metal/Doom Metal
Released via Peaceville Records
Darkthrone - Old Star

My favorite Norwegian black metal duo are back with a new album. It is hard to keep track of all their releases. The one thing that I have always admired about them is that they do not follow any specific trend unlike many other bands in the extreme metal scene. Like where other black metal bands aim to shock, pile on more corpse-paint and act all grim and satanic; Darkthrone just do what they have always done. They play the style that suits them and they do not do live shows. If they release a music video, it might be a cartoon or just clips of Nocturno Culto or Fenriz hanging around in the woods or jamming the studio. Oh and they haven’t worn corpse-paint since the mid-1990s.

I enjoyed their previous studio effort ‘Arctic Thunder’, so I have high hopes for this one. These guys are no strangers when it comes to experimenting with other music genres. Even though Darkthrone are best known for the early black metal works, if you re-visit their discography you will find everything ranging from death metal, black metal to Motörhead-style heavy metal, speed metal to crust punk. Their latest piece of work bears some similarity to its predecessor ‘Arctic Thunder’, only this time there are some doom metal parts added to the mix.

Take the Alp Man for instance. It’s probably my least favorite track on here and one of the slower ones. It is a little too doom metal -inspired for my liking. While I have no problem with the odd droning guitar riff and slow drumming, this one just doesn’t seem to get going at all. It might have worked for bands like Tiamat or even Entombed in the past, it’s a little too slow for Darkthrone. Luckily the rest of the songs are much more to my liking. Overall, my favourite song is the opener I Muffle Your Inner Choir. I really like Nocturno Culto’s rocking guitar riffs on Duke of Gloat. The drum work on it is pretty good too. Then there is The Hardship of The Scots with its unique blend of doom metal, heavy metal and black-thrash metal to illustrate the other end of the spectrum. It took a while to get going, and I particularly enjoyed the rhythm guitar passage towards the latter half of the song.

In summary, ‘Old Star’ is another solid album from the Norwegian black metal duo. It has its flaws but overall I am pleased to say that it was worth the wait. I’m not sure what to call this style… “Blackened heavy, death metal with hints of doom metal…” To hell with genre categorization! It’s Darkthrone, doing what they do best. Rock on!

4/5

Iza Raittila

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Gravefields – Embrace The Void

Posted in Metal with tags , , on 23rd June 2019 by izaforestspirit

Gravefields
Embrace The Void
Released 7th June 2019
Death Metal/Blackened Death Metal
Released via Redefining Darkness Records

Gravefields - Embrace the Void

Embrace The Void’ is the debut album from death metal duo Gravefields. The band was originally known as Dirtyprotest and they have been around since 2006. They released one album under that name two years ago before re-emerging again as Gravefields. Throughout this time there hasn’t been any changes to the line-up. Gravefields comprises Irish multi-instrumentalist Alan Hurley and French vocalist known as DM.

It took me a few listens to fully get into this album and it turned out to be far more complex than I expected. I thought this was going to be your standard Death, Morbid Angel, Dismember (insert old-school death metal band name here)_____ -style death metal but that’s not the case. In addition to the pummeling drums, bulldozing blast-beat guitar riffs and growls, there is also some elements of black metal. The record is a mixture of the two styles. For example Sulphur Injection is a vicious piece of fast-paced death metal packed with aggressive blast-beats and ferocious growls. So far, so very typical death metal…

Then halfway through the album, things change. You get to Mind Leech and the black metal parts start to creep their way in. For a brief period, the growling becomes shouting and the guitars slow down a little, adapting a more medium pace with the occasional melodic guitar part. It actually reminded me of old Marduk at times. These guys never really slow down but songs like this one add some variety to their sound. Void also caught my attention due to the multi-faceted guitar structures and variation in pace, combining the best parts of both black and death metal.

In summary, ‘Embrace The Void’ is a well executed blackened death metal opus which ought to please fans of both genres. There is a lot more to this than just nine tracks of solid, fast blast-beats and growling, which is refreshing to hear.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Darkthrone reveal new album details

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , , , on 22nd March 2019 by izaforestspirit

The Norwegian black metal duo Darkthrone have announced that their new album, the follow up to ‘Arctic Thunder’ will called ‘Old Star’. Here is what  their drummer Fenriz had to say about it:

“All in all it is our most 80s album so far and our most metal one to date with drum sound typical for the 80s USA/German market and damned lyrics, which are all written by me. We feel that OLD STAR is the big brother of ARCTIC THUNDER. More solid and with even better riffs.”

Check out the cover art below:

Darkthrone - Old Star

‘Old Star’ will be out on 31st May 2019 via Peaceville Records.

For more details visit:

https://www.facebook.com/Darkthrone-101075189934422/

https://darkthrone.lnk.to/OldStarFA

Fallen Tyrant – Children of A Nuclear Dawn

Posted in Metal with tags on 18th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Fallen Tyrant
Children of a Nuclear Dawn
Released 19th November 2018
Black Metal
Released via Bleeding Heart Nihilist Productions

Fallen Tyrant - Children of a Nuclear Dawn

‘Children of a Nuclear Dawn’ is the second album from the German black metal band Fallen Tyrant. The band started out as a solo project of bassist/vocalist Mithras back in 2008, then two more members joined two years later.

This is one of those cases where the cover and the song titles are a good indication of what you can expect from the music. The vocals are ultra creepy, angry shouts and the music is equally aggressive and eerie-sounding. So far so typical for raw black metal. At least that is what I thought after the first track, but then things changed… Approximately half-way through Shifting Tides Along the Rhine the song took an unexpected turn and things went a little haywire. I am somewhat accustomed to fast, thunderous guitar riffs and blast beats but the distorted bass tunes took me a while to get used to. But that is still nothing compared to what happened next. Suddenly the pace changed and they switched from fast raw black metal to some jazz-esque guitar jamming session! The only thing missing up to that point is the sound of a saxophone playing the background… Luckily it doesn’t last long and what follows is more fast paced black metal.

There are a few melodic parts on here such as the title track with its acoustic guitar intro and less vicious-sounding guitar riffs. This is one of the more consistent songs on the album. The long instrumental part towards the end is one of highlights on here thanks to the guitar work. If only the other songs were as well composed and consistent as that one. For example, what the hell is going on with the vocals in the second half of Death Code: World Manifest ?? It sounds like a completely different band and the music switches from black metal to something akin to Motörhead then to black metal again. Very strange and not in a good way either…

Overall, ‘Children of a Nuclear Dawn’ left me feeling a little confused as to what Fallen Tyrant were trying to achieve with this record. It feels disjointed, almost as though they had too many ideas to squeeze into one album. The songs seem too long and needlessly complicated.

2.5/5

Iza Raittila

Helheim unveil new album details

Posted in Metal, Misc., News with tags , , on 15th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Good news for fans of Viking black metal. If you are into bands such as Enslaved, Kampfar or Taake then there is a good chance that you will also like the Norwegian black metal group Helheim.

Their latest album ‘Rignir’ is scheduled to hit the shops on 26th April 2019 via Dark Essence Records. The title means “rain” in Norwegian and it is inspired by the climate in the band’s home city of Bergen.

You can see the cover and the track-listing below:

1. Rignir
2. Kaldr
3. Hagl
4. Snjóva
5. Ísuð
6. Vindarblástr
7. Stormviðri
8. Vetrarmegin

Helheim - Rignir

The album release will be followed by an European tour with record label mates Madder Mortem as support. Here is the full schedule:

Apr 12  Kvarteret , Bergen, NO
Apr 21 Dark Easter Metal Meeting , Münich, DE (Helheim only)
Apr 25 Quantic Club , Bucharest, RO
Apr 26 Flying Circus , Cluj Napoca, RO
APR 27 Vörös-Kék Yuk, Budapest, HU
APR 28 Nova Chmelnice , Prague, CZ
APR 29 Backstage, Paris, FR
MAY 01 The Underworld , London, UK
May 02: Logo, Hamburg, DE
MAY 03 Konfus, Esbjerg, DK
MAY 04 Skullcrusher, Dresden, DE

In the meantime you can watch their latest video for the new single ‘Kaldr’.

For more details go to:

http://www.helheim.com/
https://www.facebook.com/helheimnorway

Apocalypse – Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

Posted in Metal with tags , on 10th March 2019 by izaforestspirit

Apocalypse
Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum
Released December 2018 (original version) / January 2019 (re-press)
Epic Black Metal
Self-Released

Apocalypse - Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum

‘Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum’ is the debut album from the Italian, one-man black metal project Apocalypse. It was originally set up in 2015 as a full band playing power metal but the line-up did not last too long. After numerous line-up changes and rehearsals the founding member, multi-instrumentalist Erymanthon, made a decision to continue Apocalypse as a solo project drawing inspiration from black metal – particularly Bathory.

It’s pretty hard to miss the Bathory influence on this album. Starting with the cover art which looks remarkably similar to that of Bathory’s ‘Blood Fire Death’ album. Even the band name is written in the same font as Bathory. Also Erymanthon adapts a similar vocal style to Quorthon’s. The music itself is pretty much what I expected it to be from the description. I am not too comfortable using the term “epic black metal”; instead I would class this as atmospheric black metal with hints of thrash metal in guitars. There is an ongoing theme of war and battle scenes (as you would expect from the title) but there are no direct references to Vikings or Norse mythology. The pace varies depending on the song with the slowest being Chant of Glory Eternal which features an acoustic guitar and ballad-style clear vocals.

Soldiers of Rome has a definite thrash metal tinge to it due to the guitar work. It starts off slow with some acoustic guitar in the intro, then it gradually builds up the pace with some thrashing riffs and a few groove parts midway through the song. It reminded me of Bathory’s ‘Shores in Flames’. Erymanthon has a good vocal range and he seems to be fairly comfortable performing both the harsh black metal shouts and the clear vocals.

In summary ‘Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum’ is clearly a labour of love created in admiration and with the intention of paying homage to Bathory. In that Apocalypse has definitely succeeded. This album feels like a continuation of what Quorthon started.

4/5

Iza Raittila

At The Gates and Behemoth live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , , , , on 31st January 2019 by izaforestspirit

Wolves In The Throne Room, At The Gates, Behemoth
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
30th January 2019

My first gig of 2019! I have been waiting for a long time for a chance to see Behemoth again. The last time I saw them live was Tuska Open Air 2012 on their first tour shortly after their front-man Nergal’s recovery from leukemia. I have kept up to date with all their releases and news and last year I could not believe my luck when I discovered that they are coming to my home town.

The venue was sold out on the night and the there was already a sizable crowd right from the start. I could not really get into the first band – Wolves In The Throne Room. Their sound can be described as a mixture of atmospheric black metal and dark ambient. Some of the songs they played were incredibly slow and more ambient than black metal. While this kind of music might be fine to listen to at home, it’s not really something that I want to hear live 2.5/5

I guess that most people who are into melodic death metal are familiar with At The Gates. They are after all one of the forefathers of the genre with some genre-defining releases to boot. This was not the first time that I have seen them live and I hope that it will not be my last. They had a few issues with their performances. First, their vocalist Tomas got the name of the city wrong, a minor mistake which he spent the rest of the night apologizing for. The other issue they had turned out to be more serious – a broken drum set.


It took some time to fix the problem but luckily they managed to sort it out in time to play a few more songs. A very good show overall despite the setbacks. 4/5

Finally came the moment I have been waiting seven years for. Behemoth started their set a little later than planned but it was definitely worth the extra time. They had an impressive amount of visuals and various props all contributing to a wonderful performance. They played some of the hits such as ‘Decade of Therion’(my personal favourite), ‘Chant For Eschaton 2000’, ‘Slaves Shall Serve’, ‘Lucifer’ along with lots of songs from the new album including ‘Bartzabel’ and ‘Wolves of Siberia. What a fantastic show! It was even better than the last time that I saw them live. 5/5

In summary, the only band I did not enjoy watching live was Wolves In The Throne Room. It was a little too slow for my liking. At The Gates managed to overcome their technical problem and put on a great show. Behemoth were everything that I hoped for and more. I absolutely loved their show. This was their first time in Tampere and I really hope that they came back again in the future.

Iza Raittila