Archive for Hunter’s Moon Records

Broken Mirrors – Strong Enough [2010]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , on 27th July 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Broken Mirrors
Album: Strong Enough
Release year: 2010
Genre: Melodic Death Metal/Thrash Metal

Broken Mirrors, whom formed back in 2007, are apart of the unsung French metal scene. Combining melodic death metal with thrash metal, the band have been on a roll since forming, despite line-up changes. 2010 saw the release of their EP “Strong Enough”, which features two original tracks that are due to appear on their next full-length album and two punk covers.

The first track of the EP is the title track “Strong Enough”. The intro is completely synth orientated until the sound of eerie, melodic guitars with soft drums, which isn’t the kind of intro that is expected – Already ruining the atmosphere and EP. The track, luckily, does become heavier though staying slow-paced with the synth section reappearing which sounds like something heard on a Zelda game. The tempo does increase a fair bit later in the track though the song does keep switching between synth medleys and guitar riffs, which takes some getting used to. The vocals sound to be leaning more towards a black metal or metalcore effect as opposed to a death metal style. The guitar solo is mediocre though does show potential for the track to improve though the synth solo that follows doesn’t give the track much justice. Already, the EP is off to a, at most, mediocre start.

”Holding The Trigger” is melodic and average paced to begin with though brilliantly composed and beasty. The vocals have more bite to them and the synth sections do well to bring a different sound to the song. The drums are beefy and heavy. “Holding The Trigger” feels and sounds so much more aggressive, the way a thrash/death metal track should be. The voice overs in the middle with the sci-fi sounding synth add a very unique sound to the EP as well. The listener can certainly hear the death metal and thrash influences and elements on this track. The guitar solo is melodic and gentle yet like a raging lion at the same time. “Holding The Trigger” is certainly an improvement.

The last two songs on the EP are the previously mentioned punk covers. The first of these covers is “The Kids Aren’t Alright”, originally performed by The Offspring. It contains an old-skool punk feel to it yet bringing in a modern, beck-breaking metal sound, brilliantly mixing old and new together. The vocals are raw and full of angst, pretty much dominating the track. Broken Mirrors have certainly made this one sound like one of their own songs. The second cover and last song on the EP is “Anarchy In The UK” – A song originally performed by the infamous punk pioneers known as Sex Pistols. The synth parts don’t seem to fit in well with the other instruments. The vocals have a very punk touch to them, which would make the occasional listener to metal mistake this song for a punk version of the cover. The guitars have a lot of bite to them, whilst the drums just seem typically punk.

Despite the mediocre beginning and some dodgy synth riffs, “Strong Enough” is a decent release and a good example of what can be expected of the French metal scene. Broken Mirrors do show quite a bit of potential to be well-known on the international metal scene, they just need to work on the synth sections mainly.

3.5/5

Nico Davidson

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Artania – Night Shall Crown Ye [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 26th July 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Artania
Album: Night Shall Crown Ye
Release year: 2011
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal

Russia is known for its cold and cruel winter and its old, bloodthirsty leader Stalin, both of which have shaped Russia into the perfect grim environment for any black metal musician looking for bleak and nihilistic inspiration for their music. The grim environment has done more than just provide inspiration however as it has been the breeding grounds for many underground black metal bands in Russia. In 2007, Artania was born from said breeding ground, with a more black-death metal sound. After several line-up changes, they soon developed a unique blend of symphonic black metal complete with Russian lyrics. “Night Shall Crown Ye” is Artania’s debut album, released originally on May 31st through Graillight Productions in the band’s native Russia but is now available for digital release exclusively through Hunter’s Moon Records.

The air raid sirens of “Alchemic Dream (Demonic Mantra)” begin the album. The symphonic orientated riffs soon follow complete with angsty drums and violent guitar sections. The vocals are a combination of beasty and scary – Probably due to the Russian lyrics they’re screaming. The drum work is very precise and technical, showing great intellectual playing from the drummer. The whispered section is somewhat eerily haunting. The only downside to “Alchemic Dream” is that it doesn’t seem as aggressive as a black metal track usually is – This could be a result of the emphasis on the orchestration or perhaps a fault on the producer’s behalf.

The title track “Night Shall Crown Ye” begins more slow paced with a slightly progressive sound echoing from the drum work. The pace slowly and ever so slightly increases, building up for the appearance of the vocals. To begin with, the vocals are more along the lines of death metal as opposed to black metal. The Russian lyrics help give the track that certain grim touch that very few black metal bands today can pull off. Another key element about the track is the lack of orchestration when compared to the guitars and drums and the use of female vocals is simply enchanting, for lack of a better word. “Mysteries of Order of Priorate Zion” is an aggressive and barbaric track at the start. The vocals have become more hateful and rage-fuelled. There is more use of symphonic elements compared to “Night Shall Crown Ye”, adding a very Gothic sound to it. A big downfall for “Mysteries of Order of Priorate Zion” is that it doesn’t seem as heavy as it’s meant to be.

The acoustic beginning of “Liturgy in Black Colors” greets the listener unexpectedly. Fortunately for those whom don’t enjoy acoustic guitars, the sound of electric guitars soon blasts through. There is more use of orchestration as well as more black metal screams, which is always a good thing for black metal fans. During the second half of the track, the acoustic guitar appears again, which puts a sudden halt to the energy of the track and the vocals seem to be more demonic, more violent and more spiteful, sounding almost like the blood curdling screams of Abaddon. “San-Grinyol (Theatre Of Death” continues from where the previous track finished, bringing in more use of acoustic instrumentation to begin with before the savagery of the electric guitars and drums breaks in. “San-Grinyol” is clearly more brutal than the previous four tracks and is possibly one of the best on the album so far. The guitar solo is well composed though slightly short.

The assaulting drum work and guitar riffs of “Fogs Of Witches Heath” tears through next, bringing raw, untamed energy and aggression with them. The vocals are more bloodthirsty and savage in their sound, which is both terrifying and awesome. The combination of female vocals and piano medleys is immense, especially when when the track turns heavy again with the female vocals working alongside the harsher vocals, in true beauty and the beast fashion. “Towards Northern Wind” brings a calmer approach to the album whilst retaining a certain element of heaviness at the same time. Disappointingly, there is a lack in the use of orchestration, save for the introduction and the middle section. During one part of the second half, the vocals sound very raspy, which is a great effect for both the album and the track. “Thirteenth Sign Of Nostradamus” can only be described as hauntingly Gothic to begin with before the melodic guitar work kicks in followed by the raw sounding vocals. The whole track seems to be more passionate and energetic than the rest of the album which says a lot considering how energetic the previous tracks are.

The album finishes with “Secrets Of The Moon”, which is another track to feature an acoustic beginning. The female voiceover in Russian adds a very creepy sound which is soon fought off by the sudden – and unexpected – increase of heaviness. The track remains consistent in its brutal aggressiveness. The drum work is intelligent and the guitar sections are immense. “Secrets Of The Moon” is possibly the most brilliant way to end the album.

It’s hard to believe that “Night Shall Crown Ye” is the debut album of Artania, as the album has such a mature sound to it, anyone would think its Artania’s third or fourth album. The sound is unique, brilliant and definitely worth a listen, even if some parts of the album are a let down. Clearly, Russia is a country filled with talented musicians and Artania’s “Night Shall Crown Ye” is evidence of this.

4/5

Nico Davidson