Archive for Femme Metal Records

Ancestral Legacy – Nightmare Diaries [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 27th October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Ancestral Legacy
Album: Nightmare Diaries
Release year: 2010
Genre: Gothic Metal/Symphonic Metal

Ancestral Legacy, originally known as Permafrost, are a Norwegian Gothic metal band currently signed to Femme Metal Record. While not receiving massive commercial success, the band have enjoy much success in the international metal underground. “Nightmare Diaries” is the latest chapter in their long lasting saga.

The first track, “Out Of The Dark And Into The Light”, begins with a clean, melodic intro which is soon joined by an aggressive fast-paced onslaught of guitars and drums. The vocals, which are calm and soothing, don’t work well with the fast pace of the drums causing a certain amount of discontent in the music. The harsher vocals work better with the fast tempo. The riffs are well written for the most part though in sections they don’t agree, musically, with the drums. There is only one section where the female vocals sound right and that’s towards the end when the drums have slowed down.

“Separate Worlds” blasts its way next with a heavy mixture of growls, drums and guitars as the intro. The female vocals are quite weak on this one though that might be due to the music and other vocals overpowering them. The drums are precise and tight, as to be expected. This track would be more akin to death metal as opposed to any form of Gothic or symphonic metal due to the heavy lack of soft parts and lack of keyboards. “Chosen Destiny” has an interesting introduction, being composed of acoustic and electric guitars. The female vocals are much more powerful on this track, adding a sense of mystique to the music whilst enchanting the listener like sweet aroma. Even the death metalesque growls don’t break the spell cast by the female vocals. Musically, the track is solid, especially in terms of the acoustic sections.

”Perhaps In Death” has a beautiful mix of guitars, drums and piano at the beginning that only becomes more tantalising to the ears with the introduction of the female vocals. As the song progresses, the guitars turn slightly melodic adding a mysterious touch to the song. The slow, light introduction of “Trapped Within The Wind” lulls the listener into a calm, relaxed state as the female vocals conjure you soothing images. One key thing about this song is the lack of harsh vocals, which adds to its calming atmosphere. “Done” has a more sinister yet majestic sound introduction. The first form of vocal work is the low guttural growl which is soon followed by the female vocals. For the most part, the guitars are barely audible compared to the vocals, which is a crying shame. The voice over towards the end adds a certain feel to the music as well.

”Still” is another track to start with a calm introductory section mixed with the soothing element of the female vocals. For the most part, the song retains its serene feeling. The guitars do add a violent element to the music in certain parts as does the harsher vocal work. The sound samples of a baby crying add a very dark and eerie sound to the song, the kind that sends chills up the listener’s spine. “Tomorrow’s Chance” starts with an intro that is more attune to hard rock rather than metal – Until the rough vocal work comes into action. The guitar work is tight and well composed though the drums and keyboard sections seem to be lacking the same energy as the guitars. the female vocals have some good parts as well.

”…My Departed” could easily be described as melodic death metal – though the riffs aren’t quite heavy enough to be death metal. The vocal work switches beautifully between harsh and soft, in true beauty and the beast fashion. The voice overs in the second part of the song add some emotion to the song and the album. The album comes to a finale with “The Shadow Of The Cross”, which is perhaps the only thing that has come close to Gothic sounding on the whole album. The growls are the first vocals to make themselves heard, barely blending with the music. The female vocals do a better job of blending in with the music fortunately. Musically, the song sounds great with the keyboard sections adding that extra dark sound to the song.

”Nightmare Diaries” is hardly a Gothic metal album or a symphonic metal album for that matter. It’s more along the lines of being melodic metal, however, this doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable album for the most part. The sound quality isn’t perfect but if the listener can get past that, then they’ll really enjoy this album.

3.5/5

Nico Davidson

Soulgrind – The Tuoni Pathway [2010]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on 13th October 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Soulgrind
Album: The Tuoni Pathway
Release year: 2010
Genre: Black Metal/Pagan Metal

soulgrind_enter

Soulgrind are one of many bands on the Finnish metal scene, though their members have each played with other well known bands such as Nightwish and Finntroll. Soulgrind’s most recent album “The Tuoni Pathway” was released via Femme Metal Records.

“The Call of the Dancing Waters” begins the album with an atmospheric piano medley though the overdriven guitar that plays along side it ruins it slightly. The track takes a heavy turn soon after, improving upon the overdriven guitar fortunately. The vocals sound weak compared to the music, almost as if they’re not suited for the genre. The piano medleys are the one thing that stick out the most about this song.

”Rain Before The Dawn” follows after. The introduction is quite interesting, being composed of various sounds on a synth, which blend in well with the guitar riffs. The vocals are still lacking in strength which is unfortunate. The use of aggressive vocals doesn’t quite work with the music on this track in certain sections which is disappointing since they’re impressive. Musically, this song is good as the riffs are well composed. “March Butterfly” starts with a wondrous blend of piano, guitars and drums which fades into just drums and synths when the vocals first make themselves heard, dampening the energy of the song. The growls make an appearance again, fortunately, helping add a bit of energy back into the song. The female vocals sound slightly stronger as well.

The heavier styling of “Song Of Tomorrow” comes next, bringing a semi-black metal sound with it. The semi-growls are the first form of vocals to be heard, adding a touch of aggression to the song whilst the mediocre sound of the female vocals adds a subtle calmness to the song. The guitars feel like they want to be heavier and the drums seem quite soft. The piano sections are the only sections of the song that there’s no flaw with. “My Sweet Thought Of Death” gradually fades with a sound that isn’t as dark as what would be expected, considering the title of the track. The female vocals sound similar to those of Sarah Jezebel Deva’s, though not as strong. The guitar work is lacking in any form of energy, passion or technical composition, with the keyboard sections being heard more than the rest of the instrumentation.

“Tulikannel” has a raw, angsty guitar introduction, combined with harsh, violent growls. The cleaner vocals are pretty weak, for the most part and opposing the heavy instrumentation. There also seems to be a massive overuse of the double bass pedals throughout the vast majority of the track. “Among The Graves” has a symphonic heavy intro that is soon accompanied by the heavier work of the guitars and drums. The aggressive growls are powerful and rage-fuelled, while the cleaner vocals struggle to match the power of the growls. The drums are well played, very precise. The guitars certainly play some interesting parts as well.

Towards the end of the album comes “Farewell To Misery”, a bland track to begin with as the piano and symphonic sections don’t offer much excitement in their playing. The clean vocals are partially out of key, not match the music at all. The track seems very symphonic orientated with little emphasis on the guitars. The more aggressive death metal styled vocals are the only part of this song that are really worth mentioning.

The album finishes off “Vuoret La Metsanmaa”, which starts with an okay guitar section topped with the sound of thunder. The clean vocals sound very Russian in their accent, which is interesting to say the band are Finnish. The guitar section stays the same throughout the vast majority of the song, barely changing at all, leaving the listener tempted to press the stop button and on the few parts when the guitar riffs change, the track doesn’t seem to become anything special . There are some symphonic elements though these don’t improve the track that much.

To say that Soulgrind is composed of ex-members of bands such as Finntroll and Nightwish, “The Tuoni” Pathway” is a weak album with only a few highlights. Perhaps it’s the varying styles of the musicians that has made the album weak, if so, then they’ll have to seriously put their heads together and work on a way for their styles to gel together as opposed to clashing like dogs fighting over a bone.

2/5

Nico Davidson