Archive for Gothic Metal

Cradle of Filth live stream show coming late next month

Posted in Live, Misc., News with tags , , , on 1st September 2020 by izaforestspirit

British extreme Gothic metal outfit Cradle of Filth are the latest band to jump on the live stream bandwagon. They have recently announced that they will be doing a live stream show next month. The event will take place on the so called “Devil’s Night”, the day before Halloween a.k.a. 30th October 2020 at St. Mary’s Church, Colchester Art Centre, England.

The band have recently been working on their new album, the yet to be titled follow up to ‘Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay’. It remains to be seen whether the live stream show will feature any new songs, but the band have revealed that it will include the first appearance from their new keyboard player and backing vocalist.

The streaming times will be as follows:

22.00 (10.00 pm) GMT
23.00 (11.00pm) CEST
18.00 (6.00 pm) EST
15.00 (3.00 pm) PST

Image may contain: 1 person, text

Tickets are on sale now at: https://cradleoffilth.veeps.com/stream/schedule

For more information go to: https://www.facebook.com/cradleoffilth/

https://www.cradleoffilth.com/

Ravenscry – 100

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

Ravenscry
100
Released 15th May 2020
Gothic Metal / Progressive metal
Self-Released

Ravenscry - 100

100’ is the latest album from the Milan-based Italian Gothic metal band Ravenscry. They were formed back in 2008. This is the first studio release to feature their new guitarist Federico Schiavoni, who joined the band in 2017.

So, based on the description, I was expecting this to be another Nightwish type, female fronted band. How wrong could I be? For starters, the vocals are melodic but their singer Giulia Stefani sounds more like Amy Lee (Evanescence) or Silje Wergeland (The Gathering, ex-Octavia Sperati) than any of the Nightwish singers. Secondly there are no symphonic elements. Instead, the guitars are low pitch, distorted and have a progressive metal feel to them. Keyboards are kept to a minimum, with the exception of the opening track ‘Maybe’, where they maintain the balance between the chugging guitars and Ms. Stefani’s angelic singing.

As I’ve mentioned several times in the past, I have never been fond of anything progressive and that is my main issue with this album. I like the vocals but the stop-start, distorted guitar work seems to disrupt the flow on the songs. I think that the symbiosis between the two is not as smooth or as efficient as it should be. They work on some tracks better than others. ‘The Entertainer’ is one of the better ones. Here the guitars take a backseat and the vocals are the main focus on the song. I really like Giulia Stefani’s vocal performance on that particular track. The melodic keyboard outro is a good addition too.

Overall, ‘100’ offers a mixture of progressive and Gothic metal. There is enough variety to keep the listener on his or her toes. Unfortunately the combination of the two might not be to everyone’s taste.

6/10

Iza Raittila

Paradise Lost – Obsidian

Posted in Review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on 10th May 2020 by Pieni

Paradise Lost
“Obsidian”
Gothic metal
Released: 15th May 2020
Via Nuclear Blast 

obsidian

I believe that in all 17 studio albums Paradise Lost have released so far, this is the one with the most accurate title – its songs are deep dark and their refinement pretty clear-cut, just like an obsidian rock. And since we use the word “rock” in a metaphorical sense to describe something strong we can rely on, and “Obsidian” is, in my humble opinion, the strongest record these guys have done in years…

Paradise Lost have always managed to write sorrowful songs that will otherwise bring you elation rather than depression, and just a few seconds into that acoustic intro of “Darker Thoughts” will prove this statement right. Nick Holmes sings in a heartfelt clean pitch here, and as the electric, heavy part kicks in, so does his harsh growl. There are orchestral arrangements in the background throughout the whole song – violins, if my ears got it right – which a sucker for details such as me must point out. And as the two following songs are the ones I already knew from YouTube – the stricken “Fall From Grace” and the homage to The Sisters Of Mercy “Ghosts – it was already clear I was facing a masterpiece. A lot of “old school PL vibe” revamped, which I admit probably helped with the impact it caused on me – but I still think “masterpiece” is the right word.

The keyboard line and guitar work of “The Devil Embraced” are particularly riveting, while “Serenity” bears a more straight-forward and rawer heaviness that turns out quite catchy. And while the melody of “Ending Days” bears the beautiful sadness that I’ve implied before, “Ravenghast”’s nature is gloomier, almost ominous.

Saying “all gothic metal fans” may sound presumptuous, so I’ll stick to “the majority of gothic metal fans” will fall in love with this record; but for those whose lives were touched by “Icon” and/or “Draconian Times”, “Obsidian” will also be a blissful revival of the past.

9/10

Renata “Pieni” Lino

My Dying Bride return with ‘The Ghost of Orion’

Posted in Misc., Studio Report with tags , , on 7th January 2020 by izaforestspirit

Good news for My Dying Bride fans. It’s been five years since the British doom metal group’s last studio effort ‘Feel The Misery’. Now the wait will finally be over soon. The band have recently announced that their long-awaited new album will be called ‘The Ghost of Orion’. This is will be My Dying Bride’s first studio release with Nuclear Blast Records.

Here is an official statement from the band:

A new album for a new era of MY DYING BRIDE with fresh faces and a more accessible style compared to some of their past, highly technical releases. ‘The Ghost of Orion’ features compositions not only of epic proportions but of intimate quality too, from death metal vocals to the pained cries of a vocalist in longing, the L.P. will raise and fall like the beautiful landscape of Yorkshire in which it was recorded. With layer upon layer of guitars both heavy and harmonic, Andrew Craighan has created a rich soundscape that is beautifully epic, enhanced with violins and keys from Shaun MacGowan along with the ominous murmur of cello from acclaimed cellist Jo Quail. And speaking of guest artists, the wondrous voice of Lindy-Fay Hella (WARDRUNA) adds an ethereal beauty to the album. Adding his particular style of drumming this time round is Jeff Singer whose percussion exploits have elevated the bands’ rhythm section to another level aided by the effortlessly stylish Lena Abe on bass guitar. Aaron Stainthorpe delivers a compelling and often disturbing performance with his own particular style of vocals offering sincere eulogies along with the visceral carnage of a soul in pain, with poetic lyrics of a quality not often seen in this genre. This collection of songs is the bands most brilliant yet, honing 30 years of experience into the well crafted offering that is ‘The Ghost of Orion’.”

You can check out the cover art below:

My Dying Bride - The Ghost of Orion

‘The Ghost of Orion’ will be out worldwide on 6th March 2020. There will also be a music video for the first single ‘Our Broken Shore’ coming later this week.

For more details visit:
http://www.mydyingbride.net/
https://www.facebook.com/MyDyingBrideOfficial/

 

 

Lacuna Coil and Eluveitie live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , on 15th December 2019 by izaforestspirit

Infected Rain, Lacuna Coil, Eluveitie
Pakkahuone, Tampere, Finland
14th December 2019

My last gig of 2019! Mid December; still over a week until the holidays start. This is the time of the year when most people are getting ready for the festive season. It is rare to find any decent gigs on at this point in the year. Sometimes you might get lucky though…As soon as I found out that Eluveitie were in town I decided to go. I’ve seen Eluveitie once before, oddly enough at the same venue four years ago. They have had some line-up changes since then and they released one of the best albums I have heard this year.

The show was sold out and the venue was so packed that they had opened up the next door venue, Klubi to create extra space.

First up was a Moldavian metalcore band called Infected Rain. I’m not the biggest fan of metalcore, but I have to admit that vocalist Elena Kataraga aka Lena Scissorhands did a good job of agitating the crowd. They even succeeded in getting a mosh-pit going towards the end of their show.

Then it was Lacuna Coil’s turn. I have never seen them live before. I used to listen to some Lacuna Coil when I was younger but I lost track of them over the years. I couldn’t really get into the newer material but I was happy to hear some of the older songs such as ‘Swamped’, ‘Heaven’s A Lie and their cover of ‘Enjoy The Silence’ live.

Then it was time for the headliners, Eluveitie. Once again they did not disappoint. There are not many folk metal bands out there who are capable of delivering a show this good. A flawless blend of celtic folk instruments, two very different singers with melodic death metal. They played lots of songs from their latest opus ‘Ategnatos’ including ‘Rebirth’ and one of my new favourites ‘The Slumber’ along with a Swiss language version of ‘Call of The Mountains’ and ‘Inis Mona’.

In summary I am glad that I decided to attend the show. I had a great time. I got to see Lacuna Coil live for the first time. Luckily the set included a few tracks which I recognized. Eluveitie were as good as they were the first time that I saw them live. It’s good to see that the line-up change has had a positive effect on the band and I hope that they will return to Finland soon.

Iza Raittila

Lord of The Lost live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , on 22nd February 2019 by izaforestspirit

Rain Diary, Lord of The Lost
Jack The Rooster, Tampere, Finland
21st February 2019

I originally had two live shows planned for this week. Sadly one of them got cancelled and re-scheduled for the autumn. So I will have to wait until September to catch Ozzy Osbourne live in Helsinki. Get well soon Ozzy!!

This brings me to the other gig that I have been looking forward to for weeks – Lord of The Lost. I first discovered them three years ago when they came to Tampere supporting Combichrist. I was totally blown away by their performance and since then I have acquired most of their releases. Their latest album ‘Thornstar’ was one of my top 10 albums of 2018. So, needless to to say I jumped at the opportunity to see them live again. This time they played at a rock pub called Jack The Rooster, one of the few music venues in the city centre that also serves food during the day.

First up was a Finnish dark wave band called Rain Diary. I have seen them live before; just last year when they supported Vlad in Tears. This time they had a much bigger audience – the show was sold out and there was already a sizable crowd gathered when they started their set. It was a good show and enjoyed dancing to their music. 3.5/5

Then it was time for the night’s headliners – Lord of The Lost. The venue was packed by then. Their frontman Chris Harms made some comments about how small the stage was. Apparently it’s been many years since they have played on a stage this small. Luckily it did not affect their performance. They played many songs from ‘Thornstar’ including ‘On This Rock I Will Build My Church’, ‘Haythor’, ‘Loreley’ along with some old crowd-pleasers such ‘Dry The Rain’, ‘Six Feet Underground’, Drag Me To Hell’ and many more. They even did a rather amusing “metal” take on Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’. Fantastic show! 5/5

In summary, it was a really good night and I am glad that I got to see Lord of The Lost live again. As I mentioned at the start of this report the band has been a bit of an obsession of mine lately. I cannot get enough of their music. I would recommend their music to anyone who likes dark rock or Gothic industrial metal.

Iza Raittila

Belle Morte – Game On

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on 15th January 2019 by izaforestspirit

Belle Morte
Game On
Released 11th April 2018
Gothic Metal / Symphonic Metal
Self-Released

Belle Morte - Game On
‘Game On’ is the first EP from the Belorussian Gothic metal artist Belle Morte. This one-woman project was launched in 2015 and all her music is available for streaming and download from the Bandcamp page.

Female-fronted Gothic metal bands are a dime in a dozen these days. It almost seems that everyone wants to become the next Nightwish. Well, not quite everyone. If you’re looking for another Nightwish clone with over-the-top symphonic, Disney soundtrack -style tunes, operatic vocals under the guise of a metal band you have come to the wrong place… Belle Morte has a very melodic, ethereal voice but is not quite as powerful as that of Tarja Turunen or Floor Jansen. So forget the Nightwish comparisons. Her vocal style is more like that of Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation).

The one thing that I enjoyed most about this EP was the keyboards, the sombre sounds of the cello and violin sandwiched neatly between the guitars and drumming. It is impressive just how well all this works together. Devilish Deal is the most prominent example of this. The instrumental arrangements are absolutely beautiful as are the vocals.

Overall, the only issue I have with this EP is that it is too short. ‘Game On’ offers four tracks of beautifully arranged and skillfully executed Gothic/symphonic metal. I cannot wait to hear a full album.

4/5

Iza Raittila

Iza’s Highlights of 2018

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 31st December 2018 by izaforestspirit

It’s that time of the year again! Time for my annual best of list or “highlights” as I prefer to call them. This year I have decided to do just one list rather than two separate ones for metal and non-metal. The main reason for this is that there have not been too many industrial/EBM releases that caught my attention this year. So without further ado, here are my top ten albums of 2018:

1. Powerwolf – The Sacrament of Sin
Genre: Power Metal
Powerwolf - The Sacrament of Sin

The German power metal wolves are back with a new album. And what an album it is!! I honestly cannot get enough of it. It may not be very profound as far as the themes go but it is hell of a lot of fun. Stand-out tracks are ‘Fire & Forgive’, ‘Demons Are A Girl’s Best Friend’ and ‘Nightside of Siberia’.

2. Lord of The Lost – Thornstar
Genre: Dark Rock/Gothic Industrial Metal
Image result for lord of the lost thornstar
I absolutely adore this band. They combine the best of dark rock with Gothic metal and Deathstars-like industrial metal. ‘Thornstar’ has to be their greatest and most complex album to date. In order to fully understand the concept, I would recommend that you download the 21 paged ‘Thornstar backstory’ from the band’s website. It’s a fascinating read that offers some insight into Pangaean history and culture. Alternatively you can simply enjoy music. Stand-out tracks are ‘On This Rock I Will Build My Church’, ‘Haythor’ and ‘Black Halo’.

3. Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

Behemoth are back with their long-awaited new album. As I mentioned in my review, this is not ‘The Satanist part 2’ but rather a mixture of both old and new Behemoth styles. It takes a few listens but once you get into it your patience will be rewarded. Stand-out tracks are ‘Wolves ov Siberia’ and ‘Bartzabel’.

4. Chthonic – Battlefields of Asura
Genre: Melodic Black Metal/Oriental Metal
閃靈 - 政治 / Battlefields of Asura
My favourite oriental metal band are back. Their latest album might not be a memorable as ‘Bú Tik’ but it has its moments. Music-wise it offers more of Chthonic’s unique blend of melodic black metal, death metal and oriental folk music with the addition of some choirs and guest vocals from the Cantopop singer Denise Ho. Stand-out tracks are ‘A Crimson Sky’s Command’ and ‘Millennia’s Faith Undone’.

5. MONO Inc. – Welcome to Hell
Genre: Gothic Rock/Dark Rock
Image result for MONO INC WELCOME TO HELL cover
More Gothic rock…’ Welcome to Hell’ is my favourite MONO Inc. album to date. Their music is essentially melodic hard rock but it also has this wonderful, eerie Gothic feel. Stand-out tracks are ‘Long Live Death’, A Vagabond’s Life’ and Reign of Rats’.

6. Grimner – Vanadrottning
Genre: Folk Metal/Viking Metal
Grimner - Vanadrottning

I had the pleasure of reviewing this album earlier this year. It’s been a long while since I’ve heard any folk metal that was this good. I would recommend this to fans of Finntroll, Ensiferum and Månegarm. Stand-out tracks are ‘Vanadrottning’ and ‘En Fallen Jätte’.

7. Monstrosity – The Passage Of Existence
Genre – Death Metal
Monstrosity - The Passage of Existence
My kind of death metal and my favourite death metal album of 2018. It is hard to pick out a stand-out track since in all honestly I like them all but ‘Kingdom of Fire’ and ‘Maelstrom’ are the ones that stuck in my head the most.

8. Hanzel und Gretyl – Satanik Germanik
Genre: Industrial Metal/Groove Metal/Extreme Metal
Hanzel und Gretyl - Satanik Germanik
‘Satanik Germanik’ is Hanzel und Gretyl’s heaviest and most metal album. As mentioned in my review it is darker and more serious than the material from the “Fukken Über’ era, much like its predecessor ‘Black Forest Metal’. Luckily that does not make it any less fun. Stand-out tracks are ‘I Am Bad Luck’ and the party song ‘Trinken Mit Der Kaizer (Die Bierz From Hell)’

9. Scandroid – The Darkness
Genre: Synthwave
Image result for scandroid the darkness
One of the few electronic releases that made it to my top 10. ‘The Darkness’ is the third album from Klayton (Celldweller/Circle of Dust)’s synthwave project Scandroid. Delightful retro synthesizer tunes, a little guitar and melodic vocals all with a futuristic feel. Stand-out tracks ‘Phoenix’ and ‘Red Planet’.

10. Auger – The Awakening
Genre: Darkwave
Image result for auger the awakening
A new discovery for me. I really enjoyed Auger’s show at Lumous Gothic Festival 2018. This British dark wave duo combine the best of darkwave and Gothic rock. I would recommend their debut album to fans of Blutengel, Gothminister and The Vision Bleak. Stand-out tracks are ‘Monster’ and ‘My Guardian’.

Honourable mentions:

Xentrifuge – Desensitized Parallels, Immortal – Northern Chaos Gods, Psyclon Nine – Icon of The Adversary. All good albums but with only a few outstanding tracks they missed out on a space in my top ten list.
IAMX’s latest album ‘Alive in The New Light’ also came out of the start of this year. While it didn’t make my top ten I did enjoy it, especially the track ‘Mile Deep Hollow’.
Check out the video here:

Best live show of 2018: Helloween live at South Park Festival in Tampere.
Biggest New Discovery: Auger
Most anticipated albums in 2019:
Blutengel – Un:Gott
Blue Stahli – Obsidian
Also hopefully new albums by Helloween and Rammstein.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Iza Raittila

Caelestia – Thanatopsis

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 4th January 2018 by izaforestspirit

Caelestia
Thanatopsis
Released 8th December 2017
Symphonic Gothic Metal /Melodic Death Metal
Released via EMP Group/SPV Europe

Caelestia - Τhanatopsis

Thanatopsis’ is the second album from the Greek symphonic metal band Caelestia. They have been around since 2012 and they have toured with bands such as The Vision Bleak, Arch Enemy and Draconian. This latest opus was mixed and mastered at Fredman Studio, Gothenburg Sweden by Fredrik Nordström.

My knowledge of the Greek metal scene is limited to just two bands: Astarte and Rotting Christ. I’m particularly fond of the latter…This however doesn’t really sound like either of these. What we have here is an interesting fusion of female-fronted Gothic metal with hints of melodic death metal and symphonic elements. Depending on the song, their music can sound very melodic and pleasant e.g. Dancing With The Demons or harsh and aggressive with elements like death metal growls, abrasive drumming and guitars mid-way through Devil’s Game and the opening of  Travel to Eternity.

If it wasn’t for the melodic death metal elements, I would have probably dismissed this as yet another Nightwish clone. Admittedly their female singer Dimitra Talamamtes Vintsou has a similar voice to that of Tarja Turunen but that’s where the similarities end. Their unusual blend of styles is what makes Caelestia stand out. The mixture of symphonic Gothic metal with melodic death metal maybe a little too much for your average Gothic metal fan. Luckily my taste in metal is more diverse than that. I actually like the contrast between the harsh and the melodic sounds and the dual vocal configuration works surprisingly well. The closest thing I can compare this to would be mid-career Therion; melo-death with symphonic elements but without the choir.

In summary Caelestia’s album turned out to be a lot different from what I expected. Their music doesn’t really fit one specific genre but they do a good job of taking the best elements of various styles to create something memorable. So if you’re bored to listening to Nightwish wannabe Gothic metal or melo-death bands still trying to replicate the “Gothenburg”-sound, then I suggest you give ‘Thanatopsis’ a go.

4/5
Iza Raittila

Iza’s Highlights of 2017 part 1: Metal

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on 29th December 2017 by izaforestspirit

2017 is almost over which means that it’s now time for my annual “Best of” or “Highlights” as I prefer to call them. This year’s edition will be in two parts – metal and industrial. So without further ado here are my top ten metal releases of 2017:

1. Kreator – Gods of Violence
Genre: Thrash Metal

godsofviolence_zps28ifmxs8

 

2. Cradle of Filth – Cryptorina: The Seductiveness of Decay
Genre: Extreme Gothic Metal

 

3. Lacrimosa – Testimonium
Genre: Gothic Rock/Symphonic Metal

Image result for lacrimosa testimonium

4. Lord of the Lost – Swan Songs II
Genre: Dark Rock/Gothic Rock/Classical

Image result for lord of the lost swan songs ii cover

5. Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars
Genre: Symphonic Death Metal

Ex Deo - The Immortal Wars

6. Cannibal Corpse – Red Before Black
Genre: Death Metal

7. Mono Inc.- Together Till The End
Genre: Dark Rock/Gothic Metal

Together Till The End

8. Doyle – As We Die
Genre: Heavy Metal

Doyle - As We Die

9. Barathrum – Fanatiko
Genre: Black Metal/Doom Metal

Barathrum - Fanatiko

10. Eisbrecher – Sturmfahrt
Genre: Industrial Metal

EISBRECHER - Sturmfahrt

 

Marilyn Manson’s ‘Heaven Upside Down’ didn’t make my top ten list but it’s still a good album which I would recommend. I haven’t been to too many gigs this year but out of the metal shows I’ve attended my favorite would have to be Destruction live in Tampere.

Biggest New Discovery: Mono Inc.

Most anticipated albums of 2018

New albums by Powerwolf, Devilment and hopefully Behemoth.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for the industrial/other non metal edition coming soon.

Cradle Of Filth – Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 15th September 2017 by Nico Davidson

Cradle of Filth
Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness Of Decay
Released 22nd September 2017
Extreme Gothic Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast

If you’ve never heard of Cradle of Filth, you’ve most likely been living under a rock for God knows how long. Once hailed as the “most successful British metal band since Iron Maiden“, Dani Filth and and the band have proved their worth, despite various line-up changes throughout the years. Now the band are set to release their twelfth studio album: Cryptoriana: The Seductiveness of Decay. A bit of a mouthful, isn’t it?

The atmospheric invoking Exquisite Torments Await opens up the album with its sinister beginning, followed closely by the demoncially possessed guitars and banshee-like wails and guttural growls of Filth himself. Heartbreak and Seance glides in with the graceful sound of tragedy before the remorseless storm of guitars and symphonic sections come raging in as though a hurricane. Achingly Beautiful is a grandiose display of Dani Filth‘s vocals, charging through the tempest of unforgiving musicianship, while Schoolcraft’s narrative vocals bring a whole new dynamic to the track. The choirs and orchestration, however, truly make the song what it is – a dismal, ominous anthem.

Wester Vespertine is a furious blitz upon the ears, weaving Filth‘s, and occasionally Schoolcraft’s, refined vocals with cimmerian melodies and stout riffs. The title track, The Seductiveness of Decay, is a gloomy composition, weaving slow and fast riffs with dispiriting keyboard melodies and Gothic lyricism. Vengeful Spirit creates more of an atmosphere in its beginning, as the prophetic sound of guitar notes ring out, accompanied by Filth‘s voice. When the song comes into its prime, it is essentially a standard day in the office for Cradle Of Filth – agile, cumbersome and melodic. The part of the song that really stands out however is the guest vocal appearance from Liv Kristine, as her vocals soar majestically through the track.

You Will Know The Lion By His Claw is a swift, threatening and unwieldy track, leaving little room for prisoners as it bludgeons its way through, like a hunter chasing his prey. If you had to sum up Cradle‘s current sound with just one song, this would be it. Cryptoriana comes to its closing with Death and The Maiden, a track that is as weighty as it is shadowy, really embodying the sense of dread and darkness that one would expect to find within Victorian Gothic horror.

Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay is at the same level that Cradle‘s classic albums, such as Midian and Dusk… And Her Embrace, stand. It is a demonstration of the band’s current sound and displays their potential to keep writing awe-inspiring music.

4.8/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

Semblant – Lunar Mainifesto

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 27th April 2017 by Nico Davidson

Semblant
Lunar Manifesto
Released on 28th April 2017
Gothic Metal
Released via EMP Label Group

Formed in 2006, Semblant hail from the South American nation of Brazil. After a few line-up changes, they are now considered one of the country’s most important Gothic metal outfits, even going as far as being classified as Brazil’s first vampiric metal act. Lunar Manifesto is the latest in their string of releases.

Incinerate  opens up the album with a demonic assault of fast, heavy and unforgiving riffs that lay siege to the ears. The screamed vocals capitalise on the demonic sound of the track, while the cleaner vocals add a melodic, almost angelic touch to the song. Dark of the Day keeps the vicious heavy riffing of the preceding track while marching at a slower tempo. The contrasting use of vocals entwine themselves almost lyrically with the fury of the music.

What Lies Ahead has a more melodic sound, the guitars and keyboards dancing beautifully together, allowing for more focus on the clean vocals whereas The Shrine sounds very power metalesque in its introduction, before the bestial screams make themselves heard. Bursting Open has a very dramatic opening, focusing on an eerie orchestration and clean vocals that border on spoken word. The rest of the track appears to have lost the momentum found in the previous tracks, sounding less passionate.

Mist Over The Future makes a strong use of stormy guitar riffs and gentler keyboard sections, and the screams and growls are as vehement sounding as can be. Though the drums are cold and calculating, a noticeable difference from the rest of the track. Keyboards are more prominent in  The Hand That Bleeds, creating a cryptic atmosphere whereas the guitars and vocals are more esoteric in their sound. Selfish Liar is the perfect combination of savage, destructive riffs and sorrowful yet creepy keyboards. The vocals on this track are near magical, fitting in well with the song’s composition.

Ode To Rejection mixes ominous keyboards with hypnotic riffs, creating a sombre sound that is reflected in the lyrics., while The Blind Eye bursts in with a near-majestic sound built up by the heavy-hitting guitars and commanding use of vocals. Scarlet Heritage is the album’s ending, finishing the 11 track release with a blistering onslaught of cumbersome guitars and bold vocals. The keyboards weave into the track beautifully, adding beauty to the beast-like nature of the song.

Lunar Manifesto has its good moments and its bad ones. For the avid Gothic metal fan, it is a release that would fit in well into their collection.

3.5/5

Nico Solheim-Davidson

 

20 years of “Diva” – Porto, Portugal

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , on 14th January 2017 by Pieni

Heavenwood, La Chanson Noire
Hard Club, Porto (PT)
30th December 2016
Promoted by Raising Legends

Heavenwood’s debut album “Diva” was released on the 27th of August in 1996. I won’t say it feels like yesterday but it certainly doesn’t feel like 20 years ago either. “They went by quickly”, to quote singer Ernesto Guerra.

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Carlos Monteiro, a.k.a. Charles Sangnoir, and his one-man project La Chanson Noire was invited to open up the night. I was surprised with the choice, but then again, after seeing thrashcore and prog-rock acts playing with Heavenwood before, the “bleak pop” of La Chanson Noire made perfect sense. A piano backed up by some samples and a single voice, playing satirical “cabaret goth” songs. A weird mix, yes, but that’s what makes it interesting. The crowd preferred to stay back, but they were clearly enjoying themselves to songs such as “Familia Chantilly” (chantilly family) or “O Bordel de Lúcifer” (Lucifer’s brothel) – the latter even played by request, although it would surely be played later on.

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www.facebook.com/chansonnoire

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Any proper anniversary show includes the celebratory album performed in full and “Diva” was no different. Hmm… no, that’s not right. I mean, they did play the whole album, in the same order as the studio version, but the feeling they put on it wasn’t like anything I’d ever seen by them. Well, in Vagos it was really close, but let’s face it – nothing like a debut album released 20 years ago to make things a lot more special. It’s funny how I hadn’t heard some of those songs in ages and still knew the lyrics word by word. Ah, the power of good music.

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At some point, Ernesto thanked everybody for their presence and also the past members who helped making that record – Zé, Mário, João and Bruno – and also thr.e one member who departed way too early but is always on their minds, Rui Santos (R.I.P.). Last but not least, roadie and jack-of-all-trades Paulo Magalhães. It felt really good to hear all those names acknowledged out loud, after all these years.

 photo DSC_0644 copy_zps99yi7jb9.jpgAfter the stellar performance of “Diva” the band left the stage to return moments later with “The Arcadia Order”. 2016 also saw the birth of “The Tarot Of The Bohemians” and its songs were the ones the crowd knew the lyrics best, but the enthusiasm was equal, no matter which track/album. Blame Zeus-Sandra couldn’t make her usual appearance at “The High Priestess”, and in no way would I ever discredit her, but Ernesto singing her parts sounded quite exotic and the song got a new dynamic. It was one of those nights when nothing went wrong.

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www.facebook.com/HeavenwoodOfficial

Text & photos by Renata “Pieni” Lino

Devilment – II – The Mephisto Waltzes

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on 12th December 2016 by izaforestspirit

Devilment
II- The Mephisto Waltzes
Released 18th November 2016
Symphonic Gothic Metal/ Groove Metal
Released via Nuclear Blast Records

It’s been two years since the release of Devilment’s debut album ‘The Great and Secret Show’. I’m guessing that most people (myself included) first discovered the band after reading about it being ‘a side-project’ of the Cradle of Filth frontman Dani Filth. The band was formed in 2011 by the guitarist Danny Finch and a group of friends in the town of Ipswich, England. Then a little later Ipswich resident, Dani Filth joined the ranks. Fast forward five years, a few line-up changes and the so called ‘side-project’ has developed into something far more serious. Since the success of their debut album, Devilment has been touring and this year their second opus ‘II – The Mephisto Waltzes’ saw the light of day.

I think that the biggest mistake that anyone can make with Devilment is to compare them to Cradle of Filth. Whilst both of the bands feature Dani Filth on vocals and share a fascination with horror themes, the similarities end there. THIS IS NOT CRADLE OF FILTH. You won’t find too many tales of Victorian Gothic horror here or lyrics such as “Evening minuetto in a castle by the sea.” What you will find though, are several references to horror movies, modern horror literature and art – most notably Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King.  The surrealist artist Salvador Dali is also mentioned in one of the bonus tracks on the limited edition.

Hitchcock Blonde caught my attention even before the album was released thanks to the creepy video. The song itself is an entertaining piece of keyboard-heavy melodic metal with a touch of humour in the lyrics. They even went through the trouble of mentioning the names of the blonde actresses from Hitchcock’s films. Similar things can be said about somewhat Gothic-sounding Dea Della Morte; another song filled with horror film and TV show references . If you are looking for something more profound, perhaps with a touch of dark poetry then Full Dark, No Stars is the track for you. It’s a truly beautiful song which highlights the vocal talents of singer/keyboard player Lauren Francis whose angelic voice provides the perfect contrast to Dani’s harsh vocals.

Not all the songs are melodic and keyboard-driven though, for example Shine on Sophie Moone picks up the pace with the drums and the thrashing guitars glaring in the spotlight. This is by far the heaviest song on here. It is also the most complex one treating the listener to a wide range of styles ranging from the fast and furious, to the melodic via an experimental part in the middle.

In summary, Devilment have clearly had lots of fun composing and recording this album. No matter how dark and sinister the lyrical themes become, the music has a certain playful tone to it. As far as genre definitions go, it’s a total mish-mash – Gothic but not overly theatrical, symphonic but never quite reaching the orchestral let alone operatic level; with hints of groove metal and a slight experimental flavour added in just to keep you on your toes. So if you dare to dance with the devil then it’s time a for a waltz with Devilment!

4/5

Iza Raittila

 

Theatres des Vampires return with new album

Posted in Misc., News, Studio Report with tags , on 28th September 2016 by izaforestspirit

Good news for fans of the Italian vampire themed Gothic metal band Theatres des Vampires. Their new album, the long awaited follow up to ‘Moonlight Waltz’ will be entitled ‘Candyland’.

You can check out the cover art and the track- listing below:

1. Morgana Effect
2. Resurrection Mary
3. Delusional Denial
4. Parasomnia
5. Candyland
6. Your Ragdoll
7. Pierrot Lunaire
8. Photographic
9. Opium Shades
10. Seventh Room
11. Autumn Leaves

‘Candyland’ will hit the on 14th October 2016 via Scarlet Records. There will also be a new music video for ‘Morgana Effect’ coming very soon. 

For information visit: https://www.facebook.com/TheatresDesVampires/

Heavenwood – The Tarot Of The Bohemians

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 6th March 2016 by Pieni

Heavenwood
“The Tarot Of The Bohemians – Part 1”
Gothic metal
Released: 22nd February 2016
Via Raising Legends Records

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For the first time, Heavenwood venture into the land of conceptual albums. That’s not, however, what makes “The Tarot Of The Bohemians – Part 1” their boldest record so far. Heavenwood is one of those bands that manages to reinvent themselves with each release but keep their essence intact, and this time frontman Ricardo Dias enhanced every treat and entwined them with orchestral arrangements, in an exuberant outcome.

Ricardo has always taken care of the clean vocals, but the role of his strong pitch is now as leading as Ernesto Guerra’s growls’. Such balance between them bears a refreshing dynamic. And while featuring female guests is nothing new to them, one song – “The Hanged Man” – solely sung by Blame Zeus-Sandra Oliveira (well, almost solely – there are a few male backing vocals) was quite a surprise. Her deep, firm voice couldn’t fit better in such fused melody.

Speaking of melodies, these are overall heavier. The guitars are somewhat more elaborate – hence the lengthy tracks – and a tad less somber. Still within what can be considered as “gothic metal”, but there’s such a vibrancy to the more melodic parts and such a rage to the most aggressive ones that once again the adjective “bold” comes to mind.

It was the previous record that featured “masterpiece” in its title, but it’s “The Tarot Of The Bohemians” that’s living up to that name.

5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

The Vision Bleak release new EP

Posted in News, Studio Report with tags , on 25th February 2016 by izaforestspirit

The German gothic “horror” metal duo The Vision Bleak have just announced that they will be releasing a new, limited edition EP entitled ‘The Kindred Of The Sunset’. The new EP will feature two new songs from their upcoming album ‘Into The Unknown. This will be a limited edition will available for purchase at the band’s shows and from their online shop at http://en.prophecy.de/shop/.

You can check out the artwork and the tracklisting here:

The Kindred Of The Sunset
The Whine Of The Cemetery Hound
The Sleeping Beauty (Tiamat Cover)
Purification Afterglow

https://www.facebook.com/thevisionbleak.official/

http://www.the-vision-bleak.de/

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

Posted in Uncategorized 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!

Graveshadow – Nocturnal Resurrection

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on 1st December 2015 by izaforestspirit

Graveshadow
Nocturnal Resurrection
Released 15th November 2015
Symphonic Metal with Death Metal elements
Released via Mausoleum Records

‘Nocturnal Resurrection’ is the debut album from the American symphonic metal band Graveshadow. The band was originally formed in 2012 by rhythm guitarist William Walker. This album has been mixed and mastered by Emil “Nightmare” Nodtveit (Deathstars) and it features Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear, Blackwelder) as a guest vocalist on one of the tracks.

Symphonic metal is a genre that I don’t tend to listen to a lot these days. There was a time when I really liked it; the good old days back when Nightwish was at the high-point of their career. Since then there has been the occasional discovery of a hidden gem such as Angtoria’s debut album and Tarja Turunen’s solo work, but generally speaking I no longer find the genre as exciting or memorable as I used to. Let’s see if Graveshadow can change my mind…

After the harmonious keyboard intro, the guitars enter the frame and singer Heather’s powerful vocals ensure that you will not be forgetting Namesake any time soon. Unlike many other female metal vocalists, she doesn’t stick to just one style but prefers to show off an impressive vocal range with both the operatic (read Nightwish, After Forever -style) and death metal growls on offer. Yes, that’s right – death metal growling… the type that Angela Gossow used to do with Arch Enemy. This second style adds a touch of aggression to the beautifully composed symphonic melodies and the catchy guitar tunes.

Speaking of catchy, that’s probably the best way to describe Lycan Lust. This track is less about the keyboards and the emphasis shifts towards the thunderous pace of the thrash metal style, guitar riffs and drums and of course the compelling vocals of Miss Heather Michele. Don’t let the gentle, sweet melodies fool you, for beneath this innocent-looking mask lies a demon that bites. If you want to hear the more tamed, gentle side of Graveshadow then Winter’s Come to Call and Fading are the tracks for you. The Doctor Who -inspired track  Blink starts off as another fantasy themed, symphonic metal song but then develops more of the aggressive feel due to the predominance of the guitars and the harsh vocals.

Overall, this album is bound to attract a lot of attention. That’s not to say that every symphonic or gothic metal fan will like it. It’s not for everyone and if you’re looking for something akin to Within Temptation or current Nightwish, then I’d advise you to steer clear of this. If however, you’re like me – bored with the current state of symphonic metal scene and you’re looking for something experimental and unique then you should give Graveshadow a try.

4/5

Iza Raittila

The Vision Bleak reveal the title and the cover art for new album

Posted in News, Studio Report with tags , , on 3rd November 2015 by izaforestspirit

The German Gothic horror metal duo The Vision Bleak have recently announced that their new album, the follow up to ‘Witching Hour’, will be entitled ‘Into the Unknown’. You can check out the cover art here:

Here’s some comments about it from the band:

“The title pretty much sums up what we have been working on the last couple of months. When we started composing for this we didn’t know where we will be led to and our goal was to be truly honest and don’t think about nor care about anything we’ve done before. We were led into ourselves. The great ambivalence of our true beings. It will be an emotional record.” 

https://www.facebook.com/thevisionbleak.official/timeline