Interview with Liv Kristine (2023)

On the eve of the release of Liv Kristine’s “River of Diamonds”, we managed to score a conversation with Liv to discuss the new album and all the work and effort that went into it. In this candid conversation we also talk about her future plans and the life events that led to this release.

Liv Kristine - River of Diamonds (2023)


After some years out of the spotlight, legendary vocalist Liv Kristine is finally back with a full-length release that is as lively and engaging as any of her previous works. While her 2021 EP “Have Courage Dear Heart” was a nice teaser, “River of Diamonds” fully expands on its dynamics and delivers one hell of a catchy, raw, and heartfelt release. If you have been a fan of any of her work with either Theatre of Tragedy, Leaves’ Eyes, or her solo releases, you know that this album will feature tons of excellent vocal melodies and superb songwriting.

The release kicks off with the lush “Our Immortal Day” and Liv’s enchanting vocals immediately come front and center. Particularly when dueting with Østen Bergøy, this opener is bombastic and quite exciting as it gives off some ToT “Aegis” vibes and we love it. This release also has a more raw and personal side to lyrics, particularly on strong songs like “No Makeup”, “Gravity” and “Maligana”, both tracks that showcase a new side of Liv and her personal growth.

Mork - Dypet (2023)


As the brainchild of Thomas Eriksen, Mork is one of those well polished bands that perfectly blends melody and catchiness with traditional Norwegian Black Metal. With “Dypet”, the band’s sixth full-length release we get 47 minutes spread out in eight tracks filled with sinister melodies and a very dark and eerie vibe, exactly what the doctor ordered for a cold and rainy day.

The release sets a dark and melancholic tune with the opener “Indre demoner” and it nicely transitions into typical Mork melodic madness with “Forført av kulden” and “Svik”. Keeping the band as a one-man outfit, the music is well honed into their signature style and every detail is quite polished to create a signature experience that the earlier releases have delivered, but with a slight forward push into darker territories.

Orphans of Dusk - Spleen (2023)


Hailing from New Zealand and Australia, today we have a very unique and exciting debut release titled “Spleen”, from the outfit Orphans of Dusk. Featuring a very interesting old-school Gothic/Doom Metal sound, this band delivers nine tracks and nearly one hour of well crafted and completely Doomy music. If you are a fan of End of Green, Yearning, Type O Negative, and similar outfit, this release will appeal to you.

The album starts creating a somber and mysterious atmosphere, with a certain theatrical and very gothy edge. The riffing onslaught really begins with the tuned-down beginning of “Wasted Hero” and Chris G’s deep and enigmatic vocals. Like a mixture of Michelle Darkness (End of Green) and Peter Steele, his vocals are quite engaging as they morph between clean and harsh in songs like the extremely catchy “I’m Going To Haunt You (When I Die)” and “Aurora Australis”.

Elysion - Bring Out Your Dead (2023)


It has been a while since we heard from Elysion and their superbly catchy Gothic/Alternative Metal. As their first full-length release in nine years, “Bring Out Your Dead” keeps the band’s liveliness and incorporates a more modern and polish sound to create ten excellent and engaging songs. If you like late 2000’s Gothic/Alternative Metal bands like Unsun, Xandria, etc. you will definitely enjoy this release.

The release opens with the catchy “Blink Of An Eye” and its engaging guitar riffs alongside Christianna enchanting vocals. The band’s sound is quite dynamic and diverse, making songs like “Crossing Over”, “Far Away”, and “Buried Alive” showcase excellent songwriting skills alongside a knack for melody and somber atmospheres. While the band’s sound still has that late 2000’s Gothic Metal style, the additional atmospheric and electronic elements keep things fresh and engaging, as we can hear in “As The Flowers Wither” and “This Time”.

Ov Sulfur - The Burden Ov Faith (2023)


It is quite interesting how over the years Deathcore bands have managed to evolve and blend elements of Black/Death and even Symphonic Metal into their music, while keeping their signature breakdowns and overall intensity. Hailing from the USA, Ov Sulfur is the incarnation of one of those evolved bands featuring a crushing sound that also leaves room for atmosphere and melody. Comparable to bands like Lorna Shore, Carnifex, White Chappel, etc. this up and coming band is ready to destroy you with their well crafted music.

Opening with the intense “Stained In Rot” the band fully unleashes their sheer brutality on this one, while incorporating those atmospheric elements alongside punishing breakdowns. With the following two tracks, “Befouler” and “Unraveling”, the band adds a few guests on vocals to show range and showcase some of their additional creativity, keeping things interesting and fresh. We particularly loved the crafty “Death Ov Circumstance” and its engaging atmospherics intertwined with powerful guitar riffs and awesome drumming.

Marianas Rest - Auer (2023)


As a great complement and alternative to bands like Insomnium, Omnium Gatherum, and similar outfits, Marianas Rest has taken the scene by surprise with their highly melancholic and Doomy Melodic Death Metal. With “Auer” the band continues to deliver waves of atmosphere and bleakness in eight expertly crafted tracks. If you are a fan of melancholy, atmosphere, and heavy Death/Doom vibes, this is a release you can’t miss out on.

Opening with the album title track, we get a piercing mid-tempo track with punishing vocals and crafty guitars. The band really warms up as “Diseased” and “Light Reveals Our Wounds”, as we get more familiar melodic riffs and the atmospheric keyboards of Aapo Koivisto (Omnium Gatherum). We particularly enjoy how subtle and yet effective the atmosphere is, perfectly pairing with Jaakko Mäntymaa’s mixture of spoken and harsh vocals.

Ihsahn - Fascination Street Sessions (2023)


Keeping up with his 2020 tradition of releasing focused EP’s, today we have Ihsahn and his latest opus “Fascination Street Sessions”. As a three song EP, this release nicely showcases his music in a more direct and less cluttered way, allowing the listener to enjoy each track to its fullest, being able to digest all the magical details that Ihsahn puts into his music. We are starting to like this approach to releasing new music, but are running out of space in our shelves thanks to all the different versions you can acquire.

In terms of the actual music, the release opens with “The Observer”, a very engaging and traditional Ihshan sounding music, perfectly blending complexly layered guitars and lush arrangements. Balancing both Extreme Metal and its crafty progressive elements, this opening track is quite engaging and dynamic. With a similar approach, “Contorted Monuments” nicely adds atmospheric elements to simple and yet super catchy guitars, with some excellent leads thrown into the mix.

Luteøks - Barely True Norwegian Black Metal (2023)


Black Metal parody bands is something that one does not usually encounter, so it was quite interesting to hear Luteøks and their debut release: “Barely True Norwegian Black Metal”. Upon doing more research on the band and the release, we found out that the label, Nordic Mission, is an ‘extreme Christian Metal’ label and all members of Luteøks are also members of Grave Declaration, a fully Christian Metal band. However, moving that aside since we don’t care one bit, the music is actually really good and with plenty of familiar influences.

After a pummeling Old Man’s Child-esque intro with “Dritfjell”, the band fires up their old-school Norwegian BM chops with the very familiar opening minutes of “Sekken”. Every connoisseur of the genre will immediately pick up the familiar sounds the band manages to blend in together, particularly the Dimmu Borgir-esque nature of “Langbortistan” and its playful antics. We believe that some of the parody aspects might get lost in translation as almost all lyrics are in Norwegian.

Entropia - Total (2023)


Creating a totally unique and extremely well crafted intricate atmosphere, today we have Poland’s Entropia and their latest opus “Total”. Intelligently blending elements from Black, Sludge, and Post-Metal with avant-garde weirneds, the band unleashes five tracks and nearly 50 minutes of excellent music. If you are a fan of bands like Code, Ephel Duath, and Mord'A'Stigmata to name a few, you will love this release.

Opening with the crafty tempo changes of “Retox”, the band sets a very playful and yet intricate tone with lush atmospherics, masterfully layered guitars and intricate drumming. Weaving back and forth brutal onslaughts, the screams fit perfectly with this contrasting musical style as tracks like “Mania” and “Orbit” demonstrate. The band’s ability to merge dissonance with avant-garde weirdness is quite masterful.


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