Album Reviews

  • Immortal - Northern Chaos Gods (2018)

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    Finally returning after all the legal battles with Abbath over the band's name and legacy, today we have Immortal and their latest frosty release "Northern Chaos Gods". Unleashing eight tracks and 42 minutes of traditional Immortal-style Black Metal, Demonaz and company keep the flame alive with superbly catchy tracks filled with an unstoppable barrage of riffs.

    Starting strong with a powerful album title track, Immortal sets sails on their melodic icy journey with the brilliant "Gates To Blashyrkh" track, which immediately brings back memories from their "Battles of the North" era. The album's production is top notch, with songs like "Grim and Dark", sounding like a million bucks, everything down to the smallest detail makes the band's music have their timeless sound and with a modern edge to it. Handling all guitar duties, Demonaz unleashes a wide array of killer riffs on songs like "Called to Ice" and the exhilarating "Where Mountains Rise". By also handling the vocals, Demonaz shows he is the main engine and heart and soul behind Immortal.

  • Mountaineer - Passages (2018)

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    After catching everybody by surprise with their dreamy 2017 debut, “Sirens & Slumber”, Bay Area’s Mountaineer returns with a more mature and equally aurally pleasing release titled “Passages”. Divided into two four-track sections, this album further expands the band’s dreamy Post-Metal/Post-Rock/Shoegaze sound.

    The first movement, “Hymnal”, opens with the very moody and dreamy “Passage I”. The band sets a very light and emotional opening that quickly escalates into Post-Metal territories with lush guitar riffs and the visceral raspy screams of vocalist Miguel Meza. The battle between dreamy and crushing passages reaches its climax as “Passage III” intertwines both styles very skillfully and “Passage IV” slowly winds down a very emotionally intense first part of this release.

  • Powerwolf - The Sacrament Of Sin (2018)

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    Unleashing one of the most epic releases of 2018, today we have Germany’s Powerwolf and their killer release “The Sacrament of Sin”. While widely known in Europe, and not so very much in the USA, this outfit delivers epic Power Metal in the vein of Sabaton but with themes around werewolves, dark myths and religion with a humorous twist. For the non-converted, this release features the band’s quintessential energy and vibe that will rock your core and make you an instant fan.

    Opening with “Fire & Forgive”, the band sets an epic mood thanks to their magical choir arrangements and killer guitar work. Not wasting any time, the band’s vocalist Attila Dorn leads this outfit with very dynamic vocal melodies and a high-octane vibe, as we can hear in the catchy “Demons are a Girl’s Best Friend” and “Killers with the Cross”.

  • Nervosa - Downfall of Mankind (2018)

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    Unleashing one of the most ravaging Thrash Metal releases of the last few years, today we have Brazilian Nervosa and their third full-length release “Downfall of Mankind”. With extremely punishing brutality, the band unleashes over 45 minutes of demoralizing music. Rapidly climbing the ranks of the genre, this trio is poised to make a run to the top with the extreme quality and intensity behind this release. If you are a Thrash Metal fan, this is definitely one of the most brutal releases of 2018 that you don’t want to miss.

    Opening with “Horrordome”, right after an intro, the band goes for the yugular with intense riffs, bestial drumming and crushing vocal onslaughts by Fernanda Lira and Prika Amaral. As far as violent and intense opening tracks, it can’t get any better than this one. Settling into their crushing intensity and ravaging musicianship, we are treated to demoralizing tracks like “Never Forget, Never Repeat” and “Enslave”. There is a magical clarity into the album’s crystal clear production, which allows you to enjoy every single detail, from the complex drum patterns to the ripping guitar leads from tracks like “Bleeding”, “Vultures” and the chunky “Kill the Silence”.

  • Burial in the Sky - Creatio Et Hominus (2018)

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    Unleashing one of the most inventive and catchy Progressive/Technical Death Metal releases of 2018, today we have Burial in the Sky and their sophomore release “Creatio Et Hominus”. Filled with lush instrumental passages and highly crafty pummeling sections, this release perfectly balances the best of two worlds to deliver seven expertly crafted tracks that will keep you entertained for hours at a time.

    Opening with the dreamy jazzy sax of “Nexus”, the band sets a mysterious tone while intoxicating the listener with their atmospheric intro. This peaceful mood quickly changes into growls and crushing drumming with “Tesla”. This track reminds us of a mixture of Cynic and Fallujah, as the moody bass guitar line perfectly contrasts the aggressive guitar riffs and blistering solos. Perfectly dancing between lush atmospheric passages into more technical brutality, the band tiptoes through tracks like “Nautilus’ Cage” and the playful “The Pivotal Flame”.

  • Eye of Solitude - Slaves to Solitude (2018)

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    Fronted by Daniel Neagoe (Clouds, Shape of Despair), today we have Funeral Doom outfit Eye of Solitude and their latest opus “Slaves to Solitude”. Just fresh from their North American West Coast mini-tour, this band unleashes one of the most misery inducing Funeral Doom releases of the last few years. Up with Mournful Congregation, Clouds, and Shape of Despair, this band creates uniquely melancholic crushing songs that will extinguish your will to live.

    The album kicks off with the dreamy “The Blind Earth”, a song that takes a while to build up, but once it reaches the 7 minute mark it becomes increasingly punishing. Daniel’s inhuman growls perfectly complement the bleak and desolate atmosphere created. With Mark Antoniades and Steffan Gough handling the guitar dutties, tracks like “Still Descending” perfectly deliver that brilliant Doomy sound of weeping guitars and well-timed heavy riffs.

  • Varsovie - Coups et Blessures (2018)

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    Hailing from France, today we have dark post-punk/rock outfit Varsovie and their latest full-length release “Coups et Blessures”. Filled with moody songs and superbly catchy and somber arrangements, this release is definitely one of the ‘non-metal’ highlights we have heard in 2018. Recommended for fans of bands like Spiritual Front and similar outfits, Varsovie does a great job delivering a hard rocking release that is captivating and engaging.

    Opening with the bluntness of “Coups et Blessures”, the band sets a very lively tone with catchy percussions and interesting guitar leads. The mood is quite somber and yet very raw, allowing emotions to easily flow through brilliant tracks like “Revers de l’aube” and our favorite “Va dire à Sparte”. While not even close to Metal music, these last two tracks feature some very powerful and engaging riffs that make them quite memorable and perfectly fitting for the band’s overall attitude.

  • Selbst - Secular Compendium (2018)

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    Featuring remastered versions of their demo tape, “Veritas filia temporis” and two other splits, “Secular Compendium” showcases Selbst’s early days and how they have evolved to become one of the most savage Black Metal artists to ever come out of South America. Clocking in at 53 minutes, this limited release will rock your socks off and provide more insight into the band’s musical journey, not to be missed by any BM fans.

    Opening with the dense riffing of “Veritas Filia Temporis I”, this album kicks off a demoralizing Black Metal journey with razor sharp guitars and an oppressive atmosphere. While staying true to their punishing nature, the band also showcases excellent melodic passages that remind us of bands like Dissection and many 90’s European BM outfits. “Veritas Filia Temporis II” continues the onslaught with hellish vocals and a somber and yet piercing atmosphere.

  • Ihsahn – Àmr (2018)

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    Delicately balancing between Progressive and Extreme Metal, today we have the legendary Ihsahn and his seventh full-length release “Àmr”. For over 43 minutes, the master deliver some very unique and forward thinking music that stills retains the hunger and incisiveness of Ihsahn’s earlier work with Emperor while exploring newer and more complex musical directions.

    Unleashing an incisive array of keyboards and harsh screams, the album perfectly kicks off with the hectic “Lend Me the Eyes of the Millennia”. This track follows more of Ihsahn’s early work structures, but with a modern and cutthroat edge that no other band has in Extreme Metal. The album’s first single, “Arcana Imperii” with a perfect blend of funky tempo changes and playful drumming that leads to dramatic vocal arrangements and crafty instrumentation. We highly enjoyed the moody clean vocals that give the song a more accessible (to non-extreme metal fans) side while enjoying Ihsahn’s brilliant song writing skills.

  • Black Mare & Offret – Alone Among Mirrors (2018)

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    We are not big on reviewing split releases, but when we saw Black Mare and Offret put into one release, we got quite curious. Unleashing two very hypnotic and highly atmospheric tracks, this 7 inch vinyl and digital release transports the listeners into very carefully crafted worlds. For fans of experimental and highly atmospheric music, this is one release you don’t want to miss.

    Opening with Black Mare’s “Woman the Throne”, Sera Timms crafts a very somber and Doomy atmosphere with minimalistic riffs and enthralling vocal arrangements. This track nicely flows, slowly intoxicating the listener with the incisive guitar work and ritualistic drumming. Creating a very dark and dense atmosphere, the six minute duration of this track will feel like a lot longer – in a good way.

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