Archive for Black Metal

Darkthrone – Arctic Thunder

Posted in CD, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 16th October 2016 by izaforestspirit

Arctic Thunder
Released 14th October 2016
Blackened Heavy Metal
Released via Peaceville Records

The Norwegian metal duo Darkthrone doesn’t need much of an introduction. Their early albums such as ‘A Blaze in the Northern Sky’ are regarded as classics of the black metal genre. Also, let’s not forget their drummer Fenriz’s witty comments and his passion of underground music. They’re one of those bands who isn’t afraid to alter their style and experiment with something new. Since the start of their career they have gone through various transformations ranging from death metal to black metal followed by experimentation with punk and heavy metal music. Personally I lost track of them after ‘The Cult is Alive’ album back in 2006. Then recently I heard their new song ‘Tundra Leech’ on Youtube and I decided to give them another go.

First up is the familiar, eerie sounding Tundra Leech – the track which convinced me to obtain a copy of this album. It’s great to hear Nocturno Culto’s haunting voice again, sounding just as grim as he did in the band’s early days of black metal. Nocturno Culto is singing on all the tracks on here which is really good in my opinion. I’ve always preferred his harsh and creepy vocal style to Fenriz’s hooting clear vocals. As for the music, the guitars have this old school feel to them as if they were trying to replicate similar riff patterns as they used in the 90s. By ‘old school’ I mean a mixture of old school black metal with a slight thrash metal tinge audible in the guitars.

In other words it’s still very grim-sounding but it’s way too fast and too catchy to be considered “true” and “kvlt” black metal any more. Boreal Fiends stands out due the melodic instrumental intro at the start; slowly drawing you closer into the deep dark forest with the grim guitars, drums and Nocturno Culto’s haunting howls as your only guides. Then there’s Inbred Vermin, a bit of an oddity, which sees the band play around with some heavy metal and (dare-I-say-it?)…Motörhead-esque guitar patterns mid-track, neatly sandwiched between frostbitten, ultra-haunting howls and black metal guitar riffs. These guys clearly enjoy both these styles, so why not combine those two? And why not? Who says that Motörhead doesn’t go well with Hellhammer or Celtic Frost? Also why stop there when you can also add some thrash metal into the mix? That pretty much sums up what the managed to achieve rather successfully with the title track.

Overall this ‘Arctic Thunder’ sees Darkthrone revisiting their roots – the sounds that have influenced them in the early days and putting a new spin on it. It’s got the same eerie and cold atmosphere as their highly regarded black metal albums, but it’s not restricted to one specific metal genre. The closest thing I can think of to describe their current sound would be something like ‘blackened heavy metal’. Luckily I’m not any kind black metal purist, so grim and frostbitten ‘blackened heavy metal’ sounds just as good to me.

Iza Raittila


Neige et Noirceur – Les Ténèbres Modernes

Posted in Metal with tags , , on 26th May 2016 by izaforestspirit

Neige et Noirceur
Les Ténèbres Modernes
Released 24th June 2016
Raw Black Metal/Ambient
Released via Sepulchral Productions

Neige et Noirceur (French for ‘Snow and Blackness’) is a French Canadian raw black metal project which was formed by the singer and multi-instrumentalist Zifond in 2005. It’s part of the growing Quebequois black metal scene or “le métal noir québécois” as it is known as within the francophone metal community. His latest effort ‘Les Ténèbres Modernes’ is a concept album about World War I and it features Schimaera (Industrie Chimère Noire, Portal, Profound Lore) on guest vocals.

The opener Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum sets the scene with its haunting guitars and grim vocals. It’s an interesting mixture of raw black metal similar to Burzum with some ambient and atmospheric elements such as keyboards and operatic-style choir samples at the start. Yet this is actually one of the slower and more melodic tracks on here. What follows is a barrage of nihilistic, harsh and eerie raw black metal that’s as bleak as its subject matter. Even the dark ambient parts such as the keyboard intro to La Saison des Morts or the end of Ciel d’Acier have that ghastly tinge, making the listener feel like one of the survivours of a battle, walking through a desolate field littered with blood and dead bodies.

Then there’s Felgrau – an instrumental which is mostly dark ambient with the only “metal” element being the faint sound of a distorted guitar in the background. Perhaps this marks the point when the battle has ended and the rain has started to wash away the blood from the trenches…The avantgarde-style, ambient final track Adieux acts as a good summary of the overall theme with the sounds of gunfire, bomb blasts, radio broadcast, alarm sirens and absolutely no black metal elements at all.

Overall, to say that I’ve enjoyed this album would an inaccurate assumption. One does not enjoy raw black metal but rather it is something to get engrossed into and admire. It’s just as grim and nihilistic as I expected it to be. Even when sang in French, a supposedly more melodic language, it sounds harsh and bleak.

Iza Raittila

Abbath – Abbath

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 19th February 2016 by izaforestspirit

Released 22nd January 2016
Black Metal
Released via Season of Mist

The ex-Immortal frontman Abbath is back with a new album, his debut release under his own moniker after parting ways with his former band members. He is joined by two other musicians, bassist King (God Seed, Ov Hell, ex-Gorgoroth) and drummer Creature aka Kevin Foley (ex-Benighted, live drums for Sepultura and Decapitated). The album includes a cover of Judas Priest’s ‘Riding on the Wind’ and an old Immortal track.

Straight from the start we’re greeted by a barrage of thrashing guitar riffs, Creature’s relentless pummeling drums and of course Abbath’s signature black metal vocals. So far, so grim and frostbitten, which is exactly what I expected this music to be. Winterbane sounds as though it was a leftover from one of last two Immortal albums, possibly ‘Sons of Northern Darkness’. Other parts made me think of Abbath’s currently dormant project I.

The pace tends to vary, shifting between the aggressive and intense,”blackened heavy metal” war anthems like Count Your Dead; the ferocious acid rain of guitars that is Fenrir Hunts to the more melodic, mid-career Bathory-style Viking black metal tracks like Root of the Mountain. On the whole, it’s the subtle details that make certain tracks stand out more than others. This is one of those albums that requires a few listens in order to be fully appreciated.

In summary, this is a fairly decent black metal album. My only issue with it is that it doesn’t offer anything distinctively different to what Abbath has done before. Only time will tell how this band will develop in the future.


Iza Raittila

New Vesania video ‘Notion’

Posted in Metal, News with tags , , on 11th February 2016 by izaforestspirit

The Polish symphonic black metal band Vesania have released a new video for the track ‘Notion’ from their fourth album ‘Deus Ex Machina’ which was released back in 2014 via Metal Blade Records.

Here’s a statement about the video from their singer and guitarist Orion (also in Behemoth):

“This video we made for ‘Notion’ is not a typical music video clip. It’s more of a motion picture, and it’s over 6 minutes long, so get ready for lots of details. It’s a cinematic variation based on the idea behind the song. It tells a story of a follower, a story of being fascinated and making things you dream of, real for yourself. Becoming what you once called an idol for yourself. And then, the perspective changes once you reach this new different point of view. You realize you have more power than you can handle and at the same time, the art you create is just a way of fighting things you’re too weak to fight anywhere else. There’s a deceit in being the audience and the actor at once.

Check it the clip here:

Iza’s Highlights of 2015 (part 2: Metal)

Posted in Metal, Misc., Rock with tags , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2015 by izaforestspirit

Metal music has been close to my heart since I discovered the genre as a teenager. This year many of the bands that I grew up listening to have released some new material. Although this section of my highlights is entitled “metal”, my top 10 list also features two rock albums which didn’t fit the industrial category. So here are my favourite albums of 2015:

1. Lindemann – Skills in Pills
Genre: Industrial Metal

Prior to writing the first part I wasn’t sure whether I should stick this in the industrial or the metal section. In the end I went with metal because I’ve always regarded both Rammstein and Pain as metal, so naturally a collaboration between Mr. Lindemann and Mr. Tägtgren belongs in that category too. I can’t think of any better way of describing this album than how I summarized it in my review: “It takes you on a journey during which you will experience a whole range of emotions including fear, laughter and disgust.” Best tracks: ‘Fish On’, ‘Praise Abort’ and ‘Yukon’.

2. My Dying Bride – Feel the Misery
Genre: Gothic Doom Metal

The second entry on my list couldn’t be much more different than the first. Whereas ‘Skills in Pills’ was fun to listen to, making me dance and laugh along to the outrageous lyrics, ‘Feel the Misery’ is true its namesake. There’s nothing uplifting about this album, just eight beautifully crafted songs of doom and gloom. In short, it’s a classic case of My Dying Bride doing what they do best. Best tracks: ‘And My Father Left Forever’, ‘Feel the Misery’ and ‘I Celebrate Your Skin’.

3. Cradle of Filth – Hammer of the Witches
Genre: Extreme Gothic Metal

At the time when I reviewed this album, I gave it a very conservative rating of 3.5/5. Since then I have listened to it on numerous occasions and I’ve grown to appreciate it. If I were to do the same review today I would probably rate it much higher. ‘Hammer of the Witches’ is easily Cradle of Filth’s best album in years. The best tracks are ‘Blackest Magick in Practice’, ‘Enshrined in Crematoria’ and ‘The Right Wing of the Garden Triptych’.

4. Apocalyptica – Shadowmaker
Genre: Symphonic Heavy Metal

This was a tough album to review mostly because it’s so distinctively different to anything that Apocalyptica has ever done before. As with the new Cradle of Filth, it took me a few listens to fully appreciate it. The cello sounds were an instant hit but Franky Perez’s vocals are not the easiest thing to get used to. Luckily I discovered that once you do become accustomed to it, you will be rewarded for your patience. Best tracks: ‘Shadowmaker’, ‘Cold Blood’ and ‘Riot Lights’.

5. Lacrimosa – Hoffnung
Genre: Gothic Rock/Gothic Metal

Lacrimosa is one of my favourite bands. Their music isn’t the easiest to classify. I and many other people I know have always regarded them as Gothic rock, but if you ask anyone from the Goth scene they are viewed as Gothic metal. ‘Unlike its predecessor ‘Revolution’, which had a lot of metal influences, Hoffnung’ marks a return to the symphonic and orchestral style of Lacrimosa whilst still retaining the Gothic elements. Best tracks: ‘Unterwelt’, ‘Die Unbekannte Farbe’ and ‘Thunder and Lightning’.

6. Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor
Genre: Alternative Rock

Whilst Lacrimosa’s classification as “metal” may be subject to debate, this one is definitely not metal. However since Marilyn Manson’s latest album has nothing in common with industrial music I decided that it was better suited for the “metal edition”. ‘The Pale Emperor’ isn’t a masterpiece like ‘Antichrist Superstar’, but it’s the best album I’ve heard by him since ‘Eat Me Drink Me’. Best tracks: ‘The Third Day of a Seven Day Binge’, ‘Deep Six’ and ‘Cupid Carries a Gun’.

7. Children of Bodom – I Worship Chaos
Genre: Melodic Death Metal/Power Metal

I Worship Chaos’ is another solid effort from the world-famous Finnish extreme metal band. I must admit that I was apprehensive when I heard some of the previews on Youtube. Luckily after getting my hands on a physical copy and listening to it in full, I’m happy to report that it’s better and more memorable than their previous work ‘Halo of Blood’. Best tracks: ‘Morrigan’, ‘Horns’ and ‘I Worship Chaos’.

8. Melechesh – Enki
Genre: Black Metal

I only discovered Melechesh recently after reading one of the reviews on this album. I like their unique style and the mixture of middle eastern folk music elements with black metal. It’s also a great way to learn about Sumerian mythology. Best tracks: ‘Tempest Temper Enlil Enraged’, ‘Lost Tribes (feat. Max Cavalera) and ‘Metatron and Man’.

9. Nile – What Should Not Be Unearthed
Genre: Technical Death Metal

For those who don’t know death metal is one of my favourite metal sub-genres. Nile is one of the bands that I grew up listening to. I briefly lost track of them after the mediocre ‘Ithyphallic’ album but after reading a review of this album I decided to give them another go. I’m glad that I did. It’s great to see that these guys haven’t mellowed down or changed their style drastically. Best tracks: ‘Evil to Cast Out Evil’ and ‘In the Name of Amun’.

10. Ranger – Where Evil Dwells
Genre: Speed Metal

I don’t know much about speed metal. The chances are had it not been for Ranger’s highly entertaining performance at Radio City South Park festival, I wouldn’t have paid any attention to this album. Their debut ‘Where Evil Dwells’ treats you to seven tracks of ultra fast and energetic speed metal. A must for fans of the likes of Exciter and Witchburner.

Best New Discovery of 2015: Helloween (not new but new to me!)

Best live show: Cradle of Filth live in Helsinki

Most Anticipated Albums of 2016:

The Vision Bleak – Into the Unknown

And who knows… maybe we will finally get a new Metallica album?

Happy New Year Everyone!

Rotting Christ reveal title and track-listing for new album

Posted in Metal, Misc., News, Uncategorized with tags , , on 10th December 2015 by izaforestspirit

The Greek black metal band Rotting Christ have recently announced that their new album, the long awaited follow up to ‘Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy’ will be entitled ‘Rituals’. You can check out the cover art below:


This new opus is scheduled to be released on 12th February 2016 via Season of the Mist Records. The track-listing will be as follows:

1. In Nomine Dei Nostri
2. Ze Nigmar
3. Elthe Kyrie
4. Apage Satana
5. Les Litanies De Satan (Fleurs du mal)
6. For A Voice Like Thunder
7. Komx Om Pax
8. Devadevam
9. Thou Thanatou
10. The Four Horsemen

Check out the link below to stream one of the new songs ‘Elthe Kyrie’ on Soundcloud:

Kampfar reveal the title and cover art for new album ‘Profan’

Posted in Metal, News, Studio Report with tags , on 22nd October 2015 by izaforestspirit

It’s only been a year since their previous opus ‘Djevelmakt’ hit the shops and the Norwegian pagan metal band Kampfar have already finished working on the follow up. Their new album will be entitled ‘Profan’ and it is scheduled to be released on 13th November 2015 via Indie Recordings. Here is the cover:

The band has also released one new song ‘Icons’ on their Soundcloud page. You can listen to it here:

For more information check out: