Album Reviews

  • Hellsaw – Cold (2009)

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    This Austrian band plays a very unique blend of Black Metal. It’s harsh, melodic and sometimes even groovy. The combination of styles makes “Cold” a very entertaining album to listen to. I must admit that I was moving my head up and down with most of the songs of this album, since they provide a prefect combination of brutality and melody that I rarely hear from Black Metal bands.

    “Cold” is the band’s third full length album and it show how they have been evolving since playing mainly harsh Black Metal to a more balances but equally aggressive style. Musically this band has a lot to offer, this two man outfit manages to create a cold and depressive atmosphere only rellying on distorted guitars and blast beats that rival any other band of the genre.

  • Leaves’ Eyes – We Came With The Northern Winds / En Saga I Belgia (2009)

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    This double CD live album from the German and Leaves’ Eyes will be a nice addition for all die hard fans of the band, as well as people starting to get into the band’s music. It provides a great variety of songs from all of their previous releases. The audio was taken from their performance at the Metal Female Voices Fest in 2007. And while the production was delayed, it was well worth the wait.

    Leaves’ Eyes is pretty much Atrocity + Liv Kristine, but their music is a Nordic inspired Gothic Metal, that is mainly characterized by Liv’s beautiful voice. But this does not mean the music is not good, since the band members have been creating excellent music in Atrocity for years. And Atrocity is known to experiment within the realms of metal and beyond.

  • Samael – Above (2009)

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    After their brutal single “Illumination” this album is even a step up from that. Samael is back and with a vengeance since they sound as heavy as in their beginning, but mixing some of their newer stuff as well. The opening track “Under One Flag” blows you away, and it sets the tone for this album.

    The drumming here is very fast paced and brutal, even for Samael, and it would blow away many black metal bands as well. I can probably compare it to good old Mysticum. But you can see that while it has some ‘real’ drums it’s heavily helped by a drum machine. But in no way this is bad, since it provides the perfect base for the songs of this album.

  • Stille Volk - Nueit De Sabbat (2009)

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    I've been listening to Stille Volk since the 1997, and they have most of the time releases good albums (except [Ex-uvies]). They are very consistent with their Medieval Folk style, and they don’t have any traces of Metal anymore, but still makes for a nice and different thing to listen.

    This two man band provides a great variety of wind and string instruments that are perfectly complemented with Patrick's vocals and several bagpipes. All songs are very consistent of the style of Stille Volk and will surely please all their fans. All instruments from what I can tell are very well played and they mix together perfectly.

  • Kekal - Audible Minority (2008)

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    I've been listening to Kekal since their early Black Metal origins to their transformation into Avant-Garde Metal. I've never been a big fan of their newer releases, however you can see some brilliance behind their music. "Audible Minority" was released on-line for free, and an official label release came to light in December 2008. I'm not an expert in Avangarde Music, but I can still find releases that I like and ones that I don’t.

    Kekal's latest release is one that after listening for several times, I'm not able to get into it. There are many elements floating around that do not fit well as a whole. Many of the samples are just annoying in my opinion, and the vocals just make them worse. While there are some nice jazzy parts, they just suddenly transform into a drone noises and the magic is lost. The only song I liked was "Against", all the rest have nice parts but nothing else.

  • Black Sun Aeon - Darkness Walks Besides Me (2009)

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    I first heard of this band when I got a CD sampler from Stay Heavy Records during Tuska 2008. Black Sun Aeon is one of many projects from Tuomas Saukkonen, and like all of this projects, it's brilliant. Having 'formed' just in 2008 this album showcases the musical creativity of Tuomas. The release is dark and heavy, a perfect combination of Death and Doom Metal.

    This album also features an array of guest vocalists that give different dimensions to this album. It was great to hear Tomi Koivusaari from Amorphis growling again (in Chapter 4), Ville from Moonsorrow (Chapters 5 and 7) and Mynni from Sotajumala in 3 songs. The guest vocalists provide their powerful vocals to an already great combination of clean and harsh vocals provided by Tuomas and Mikko.

  • Tracedawn - Tracedawn (2008)

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    I was blown away by this band's first release. Their sound is so well defined and technically amazing. Every track of this album has been greatly constructed and shows a high level of musicianship. And amazingly enough most band members are under 21 years old!

    The band's sound has some resemblance to Into Eternity, but it has a more symphonic sound to it. The vocals are a very well balanced mix of clean and harsh vocals that don't get too annoying or sound bad at all.

  • Turmion Katilot – U.S.C.H (2008)

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    I've never heard of this band before I walked inside of Tavastia during the first night of the club shows that occured during Tuska 2008. And after their set was done, I was one more fan of this band.

    While their stage costumes made me believe they where going to play some type of grind/gore music, it was the opposite. Suddenly some beats started going on the background and I was in for quite an experience.

    Turmion Katilot's musical style is industrial metal, and in this release they feature some of the catchiest beats they have made until now.

  • Blackguard – Profugus Mortis (2009)

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    The Canadians of Blackguard used to be called Profugus Mortis until they won a Nuclear Blast contest on myspace and got a record deal with them. I must say that I’m impressed with this band evolution from a symphonic black metal to a more Folk/Black metal band.  While they still maintain they black metal vocals, the music has been greatly revamped with folk influences giving the band a more dynamic sound and removing them from the ‘symphonic black metal’ clone band category.

    The only thing I’m disappointed they removed was the violin that separated them from other symphonic black metal bands. Other that this all their bombastic keyboards layered on top of excellent drum and guitar tracks gives this band an edge over any band from North America that plays this genre, and puts them in a competitive level against European bands that are masters of the trade.

  • The Eyes Of A Traitor – A Clear Perception (2009)

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    The Eyes Of A Traitor is one of the few bands that is truly trying to find their own unique sound and not trying to copy anybody. Every song here features different styles and elements that make me wonder what they are trying to achieve. “A Clear Perception” is a very interesting album feature ten very different tracks, that would attract many different types of listeners.

    While their main ‘sytle’ I would say it’s metalcore, but they have different elements in many songs that make me re-consider this. Some songs are leaning more to death metal, and they some other res just weird. Some songs feature weird samples/keyboards either at the beginning or the end, and then they are forgotten, to suddenly reappear again.

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