Album Reviews

  • Hatesphere – To The Nines (2009)


    Hatesphere comes from Denmark with an interesting release. They mix Trash Metal with some very pronounced Metalcore influences. While this is a considerable step up from their previous release, it has something missing. The music is ok but very repetitive and the vocals have been considerably improved.

    This release is very good for a few songs, but after that it gets pretty dull and all interest is lost. I will admit that the music is very well made and the powerful guitars go along the elaborate drumming. The problem that I have with this release is that is good enough for 3 songs and the rest all sound the same. If you like your music to all sound the same then you will love this album.

  • Fejd – Storm (2009)


    Fejd provides us with a very solid debut album. This Swedish band plays folk music, with almost no elements of metal, so don’t expect distorted guitars or anything like that. The most ‘metal’ aspect of the band is probably the drumming. The bands music incorporates a wide variety of medieval instruments and they all blend to perfection, creating an album very rich in different sounds.

    While I’m no expert in folk music, I can appreciate a good album when I hear one. You can clearly listen to the Hurdy-gurdie, bag pipes, and violin among several other instruments. The fusion of instruments is done to perfection creating very cohesive folk melodies that will have all the fan of medieval music dancing and chanting along the vocals.

  • The Bullet Monks – Weapons Of Mass Destruction (2009)


    I’m always surprised with the albums that come out of Napalm Records, since they have a wide variety of bands that play almost every genre in metal. The Bullet Monks play hard rock with some metal influences. This German band has a very interesting sound that will make anybody want to ride a Harley and hit the road.

    “Weapons Of Mass Destruction” is the perfect album to be listening to in a dive bar while drinking away your problems. The overall rock and roll feel of this album, with some great guitar work will have everybody asking for more.

  • Adagio – Archangels In Black (2009)


    After Adagaio’s great first two releases they have fallen into an identity crisis. They have been experimenting with several different styles of music, but failing to create decent release. “Archangels In Black” represent another attempt at creating different sounding release, but their repetitive heavy sounding guitars make this release another miss from this French band.

    Adagio’s original Progressive Power metal is still present in some songs, and there are many great moments in this album, but they are drowned by the repetitive heavy guitars, and some growls / harsh vocals here and there. The drumming style has changed a bit, but you can still hear the brilliant tempo changes and the intensity from before. There are also changes that accommodate the slower style of music, but in general they are still pretty good.

  • Hellsaw – Cold (2009)


    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)


    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)


    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)


    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)


    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)


    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.


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