Archive for True Norwegian Black Metal

Taake – Noregs Vaapen [2011]

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

Band: Taake
Album: Noregs Vaapen
Release year: 2011
Genre: Black Metal

Noregs Vaapen is the fifth studio by Norway’s legendary Taake. The album is said to refine the band’s True Norwegian Black Metal sound and incorporate some new elements as well including black’n’roll grooves. Hoest, the mastermind of Taake, has invited his live line-up [Thurzur, V’gandr, Aindiachai and Gjermund] to contribute on some of the tracks and it was been stated that there is guest appearances from the likes of Demonaz [Immortal], Attila Csihar [Mayhem] and Nocturno Culto [Darkthrone] as well as others.

The first track of the album is “Fra Vadested til Vaandesmed”, which has Nocturno Culto accompanying Hoest on vocals and Bjoernar Nilsen [Vulture Industries] on the mellotron. The intro starts with a face ripping guitar section that only gets heavier when the drums soon come in. Hoest’s vocals are on top form, which is obviously to be expected. His trademark melodies can be heard clearly, incorporated in his riffs, making the track more interesting. Culto’s vocals are devilishly grim and guttural sounding, though they don’t hold a candle to Hoest’s vocal work on the track. The mellotron section towards the end is soul piercing and icy. A great addition to the song though very unpredictable.

”Orkan”, which only features Hoest on all instruments, starts with a grim yet mid-paced intro, a sort of crescendo to building up for the entry of the vocals. The drum work is astounding, adding a very edgy and violent sound to the song. Like the previous track, Hoest’s vocals are on top form – and it’s certainly good to just hear his vocals. The guitar work, however, is the most entertaining aspect of this track as it features Hoest’s trademark work and some black’n’roll grooves as well, enough to keep the listener hooked.

The third song of the album is “Nordbundet”, features Attila [Mayhem] doing vocal work alongside Hoest and Lava [ex-Taake] doing some guitar work. The guitar riffs are raw and somewhat terrifying while the drums tight and well played. The vocal work is impressive and entices the listener to keep the track playing. The guitar solo provided by Lava is brilliant though it is definitely not what you’d expect to hear on this album. “Du Ville Ville Vesteland”, which features vocal work from Demonaz and V’gandr as well as guitar solos from Aindiachai and Gjermund, begins with a sinister guitar and drums section which progresses into something just as violent as sounding with a hint of melody before reverting back to the original riff. The three differing vocals add a truly unique sound to the track and they add emphasis to the aggressiveness of the music. The softer guitar medley towards the end sounds somewhat like an old western medley but yet it works well with the track which is the really odd part. The two guitar solos are brilliantly delivered as well.

”Myr”, featuring Thurzur and Gjermund, as well as Nilsen and Skagg [Deathcult], takes a break-neck speed approach to the music in the beginning, sending out a vicious guitar riff mixed with barbaric drums. There is a slower section further in as the music progresses which allows for a voiceover which adds a different sound to the music. The song reverts back to its fast tempo as the vocals burst in. There’s a use of white trash styled banjo that’s provided by Gjermund. It takes the listener by surprise as it blends well with the rest of the track and the vocals – Kind of like a hillbilly rendition of black metal.

“Helvetesmakt” takes a slower approach compared to “Myr”, featuring vocal work from Nilsen and some mandolin work from Gjermund. The vocals are top notch, being the most brutal aspect of the song. The guitars are grim and bloodthirsty sounding whilst also cold and unmerciful in their sound. The mandolin brings about a strange and mystifying atmosphere that few bands – let alone black metal bands – ever successfully create. This is certainly the greatest piece on the album. The final track, which is also the longest, comes in the form of “Dei Vil Alltid Klaga Og Kyta”. It features vocal work from Skagg and guitar solos from Thurzur and Gjermund. The intro begins in true black metal style but not as generic sounding. The vocals near enough destroy the guitars in terms of loudness and aggressiveness. As the track progresses on it becomes more ingeniously composed and played. The change of tempos throughout the song keep the interest of the listener and Skagg’s vocals keep the track sounding fresh, as do the guitar solos.

”Noregs Vaapen” has been described as one of the most anticipated black metal releases of this year and no wonder why. Taake have done more than just refine their True Norwegian Black Metal sound, they’re refined the entire genre. Each track is so masterfully composed, you’d think it was crafted by the gods. “Noregs Vaapen” is a testament to the fact that black metal isn’t dead and it will no doubt be near enough impossible for Taake to top this release.

5/5

Nico Davidson

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Sulphur – Thorns In Existence [2010]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 19th June 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: Sulphur
Album: Thorns in Existence
Release year: 2011
Genre: Blackened Death Metal

Sulphur, who formed from the ashes of nineties black metal band “Taakeriket” and are made up of ex-members of Gorgoroth, Aeternus and Enslaved, have been a fierce, dominating force to be reckoned with in the Norwegian metal scene. Following a few years of laying dormant, Sulphur are back and fiercer than ever with “Thorns In Existence”.

”Revelations” begins with an eerie yet cheesy keyboard introduction, the kind that would be heard in a low-budget horror film. The guitars and drums, while greatly composed, are lighter and more melodic than expected. “True Father Of Lies” follows after, continuing from where “Revelations” finished. The guitars are less melodic and focus more on violent riffs, whilst the drums favour an aggressive approach as well. The vocals are ruthless and unrelenting, keeping the track beastly and heavy. A huge improvement from the first track “Revelations”, though the keyboard section on this track has a hint of cheesiness.

“The Purifying Flame” begins with a very creepy set of sound effects which are soon replaced by ferocious guitar riff and a brutalising drum pattern. The vocals, again are ruthless sounding, unrelenting in their aggression throughout most of the track. The strained whisper-like vocals combined with the slow guitar riff bring a new dynamic to the track. The guitar solo is most impressive, blending well with the stream of double bass pedal. The next track, “Hunting Sickening Seas” starts with a slow, brutalising and shockingly good intro. The vocals have more of a death element which mixes in well with the slow intro. There is a use of clean vocals on the track which gives it more a creepy sound. The acoustic section about half way through the track is a surprise yet a welcome break in between the storm of guitars, vocals and drums.

“Luna Noctiluca” follows after with a slow-paced, brutal and melodic guitar and drums section. The tempo increases with the introduction of the vocals. There is a contrast of clean vocals and screams, which works well with the music. The guitar solo is certainly a highlight of the track and perhaps one of the most enjoyable things about the album. “Into Nothingness” fades its way next. Even after the faded intro, the track seems weak and soft. In some sections, the vocals sound odd and the drums are semi-audible. in the same way it began, it fades out, making way for “Inverted Visions of Eternal Salvation”. It begins with a half-muted intro which soon turns beasty and aggressive. The drum work is intelligent, whilst the guitars are masterfully played and composed. The vocals are still going strong, working well with the synth sections. The track ends on a very creepy note.

“Ravner Beiter I Banesår”, which roughly translated means “Ravens pastures in his death-wounds”, blasts its way next, turning up the level of violence and brutality. The vocals are more slow-paced compared to the guitars and drums, though just as beastly and savage. There are some melodic riff use in one or two sections of the track, which is a pleaser for those who prefer melody over brutality. The track ends with a dramatic symphonic section. “Throne of Illusion” is the second to last track, beginning with a ghastly synth riff, similar to one found in a previous track. The guitars and drums that follow are nothing short of violent, savage and barbaric. The vocals have the bloodthirsty sound to them, as is to be expected. The breakdown towards the end is extremely unexpected however brings a whole new level to both the track and the album.

“A Crimson Line” is the final track of the album. The introductory riff is similar to one found on a Lamb of God album, only with more bite. The brutality and melody contrasts and blends brilliantly and the vocals are still going stronger, perhaps stronger than what they have been for the rest of the album. The use of keyboards and drums only on part of the track is just pure genius. “A Crimson Line” is certainly one of the best tracks on the album.

It’s easy to see why Sulphur have been a dominating force in the Norwegian metal scene. “Thorns In Existence” combines the best of black metal and death metal and mixed in a vast amount of musical genius and talent. This is certainly one of the best albums to come out of Norway since the early days of the Norwegian black metal scene.

5/5

Nico Davidson

DEMONAZ – March of the Norse [2011]

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 31st March 2011 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Band: DEMONAZ
Album: March of the Norse
Release Year: 2011
Genre: Black Metal

DEMONAZ is the solo project of former Immortal guitarist Demonaz Doom Occulta. The debut album is “March of the Norse”, which is due or release 1st April.

“Northern Hymn” is the first track of the album, composed of acoustic guitar riffs and a haunting choir, setting a very tense atmosphere. “All Blackened Sky” comes blasting next, starting with a heavy and brutal guitar riff which is combined with heavy pounding drums. The vocals have a very rough Dimmu Borgir sound to them. The riffs throughout the track repeat themselves, which adds a certain simplistic brilliance to the track. The guitar riffs also have a slightly melodic touch to them. The guitar solo isn’t great but it’s not exactly bad. The title track “March of the Norse” is next. It’s intro riff has a Trivium-gone-black metal sound. The vocals don’t sound powerful on this track, with them being almost over-powered by the guitars and drums. In certain parts of the track, the bass can be heard clearly over the sound of distorted guitars.

The next track is “A Son of the Sword”. Beginning with a brutal intro, which is soon accompanied by a melodic riff, this track all ready sounds to be one of the best tracks on the album. The vocals sound much, much stronger – Matching the guitars and drums for brutality and power. The guitar solo is good, near to perfection. The track ends on a faded out yet brutal note. “Where Gods Once Rode” bursts in next, with a melodic intro which could easily be mistaken for a power metal riff. The vocals are still going strong and the guitar riffs seem to have taken on a more melodic sound for this track. The bass can be heard clearly in sections but the drums seem to be lacking in power and heaviness. There is a use of haunting choir-like vocals when the track turns softer, giving the track a more melancholy sound.

“Under Great Fires” starts with a brutal mix of guitars, drums and vocals.  The track turns melodic for a while before turning soft, though the vocals still stay brutal. The heaviness returns to the track eventually, though the guitars and drums begin to overpower the vocals. The guitar solo is sheer brilliance. After the solo, the vocals come back stronger than before. Disappointingly, the track finishes with an acoustic guitar section. The next track is “Over The Mountains” which enters the fray with a heavy intro riff. The vocals sound too strong for the guitars to compete with in terms of heaviness and brutality. There is a mixture o melodic and brutal riffs throughout the track, giving it a brilliant sound. The track finishes on a faded, melodic note. “Ode To Battle” comes next, composed entirely of choir-like vocals and acoustic guitars – Though the acoustic guitar sounds stronger than the vocals.

“Legends Of Fire And Ice” comes next, bringing a level of brutality and heaviness back to the album with a guitar and drum intro. The vocals sound somewhat raspier than what they have been on the previous tracks. There’s a use of choir-like vocals alongside the main vocals, which adds a very epic element to the track and the guitar solo is mind blowing. This track is clearly the best track on the album. The album finishes on the extra track: “Dying Sun” which begins with a slow yet brutal guitar intro. In sections, the drums leave much to be desired, though the guitars keep things interesting. With each development during in the track, it seems like the vocals will jump in at any moment but unfortunately they don’t.

“March Of The Norse” is undoubtedly one of the best albums that is going to come out of the Norwegian Black Metal for along time. There are parts which have room for improvement but Demonaz clearly hasn’t lost his ability to write black metal anthems. It is, however, strange hearing him perform vocals rather than guitar – Though with this album he could give a lot of vocalists in the black metal scene a run for their money.

4/5

Nico Davidson