Album Reviews

  • Sonata Arctica - Talviyö (2019)

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    Unleashing their latest lively effort, today we have Sonata Arctica and their 10th full-length release “Talviyö”. The band’s characteristic Power Metal sound gets a certain Pop/Rock edge in this very entertaining release. Feature eleven tracks and nearly one hour of music, these Finns keep things interesting with a wide variety of moods, allowing listeners to be fully challenged and rewarded by their music.

    Leading with the dreamy “Message from the Sun”, the angelic choirs and subtle keyboards nicely lead into a catchy Power Metal onslaught. As always, Tony Kakko’s vocals nicely harmonize the very ethereal music in this release. With a certain funky Psych Rock influences in the opening of “Whirlwind”, the band unleashes their characteristic catchiness in this lovely piece. “Cold” is one of our favorite tracks in this release thanks to its darker and more dramatic edge, contrasting with the throbbing bass guitar line and powerful guitars.

  • Netherbird - Into The Vast Uncharted (2019)

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    Unleashing one hell of a lush and bombastic Melodic Black Metal release, today we have Sweden’s Netherbird and their fifth full-length release “Into the Vast Uncharted”. With a very dynamic sound that incorporates influences from bands like Dissection, Siebenbürgen , (early) Illnath, and (early) Naglfar, this release will satisfy that urge for old-school Melodic Black Metal.

    Wasting no time, “Saturnine Ancestry” opens with a high octane onslaught of killer riffs, intense drumming and lush guitar leads to fully set the mood for this brilliant release. After their amazing 2016 release, “The Grander Voyage”, the band continues to crush the competition with dramatic compositions like “Harvest the Stars” and the mellow “Mercury Skies”. Showcasing their unparalleled ability to slowly build up to head banging orgies, “Lunar Pendulum” is one of those tracks that you can listen to it 20 times and still find joy in its intricacies.

  • Prag 83 - Énouement (2019)

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    We find ourselves again reviewing a magical 7” EP that came our way through Nordvis Produktion. Prag 83 is a German entity that delivers enigmatic Folk music in the vein of Hexvessel, King Dude, Antimatter, etc. with some mid-career Katatonia influences.

    The EP starts with “Circle”, a very somber song that reminds us of Antimatter with a lounge feeling. The guitars are quite enigmatic and the overall mood quite mellow and a bit creepy, in a good way. This is the type of dark Folk music we truly enjoy, particularly when it is nicely executed and simple, this is, there are not too many over the top elements added just for the sake of being more ‘authentic’.

  • Bhleg & Nechochwen - Split (2019)

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    We rarely review Split releases and EP’s, but with this one we had to make an exception. Featuring two extraordinary Folk Metal artists, Nordvis Produkt unleashes one hell of a split release that will captivate the listener. One band hailing from Sweden, the other from North America, however there is an unwritten cohesion behind both band’s approach at making lush and engaging songs.

    Side A of this split contains “Sorlande Sky”, a 7 minute song that expertly crafts a very intense and misty atmosphere. The harsh screams are nicely contrasted by dreamy clean vocals and as the song delivers punishing riffs and fast drumming. The track ends on a very hypnotic note and it seems to very nicely bleed into Side B’s music.

  • Imperium Dekadenz - When We Are Forgotten (2019)

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    Delivering a hefty dose of melody, melancholy and atmosphere, today we have German duo Imperium Dekadenz and their latest release “When We Are Forgotten”. Invoking the early days of Vried and Thyrfing, we are treated to one hell of a Black Metal release that will have you headbanging from start to finish.

    The release opens with the grandiose album title track, gaining momentum as the layered guitars craft a punishing and yet very melodic atmosphere. Horaz vocals have a slight Immortal-esque edge, allowing them to perfectly complement the intensity of the music, as “Bis Ich Bin” demonstrates. The band’s ability to switch gears and unleash their melodic brilliance in dramatic interludes or more somber tracks like “My Solace I (Choirs Of Solitude)” makes them one of the more exciting bands in the scene these days.

  • Aureole - Alunar (2019)

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    Originally unleashed back in 2014, “Alunar” marks the debut of one-man Atmospheric/Ambient Black Metal entity Aureole. Delivering over 43 minutes of bone chilling atmospheric music, this release creates a very cavernous vibe that will send shivers down your spine. Brilliantly crafted for those who are patient and like things to slowly evolve and unravel, this release is ready to take you on a sidereal journey.

    The album kicks off with the haunting “I: Citadel Alunar”, a track that slowly builds up momentum with its mellow riffs and hellish screams. Perfectly mixing dramatic synths with tense drone-ish moments, this track creates a chilling vibe. In tracks like “II: The Voice of Nebular Flame” and “III: The Senility of the Hourglass”patience rewards the listener with slow and intricate build-ups and crafty transitions.

  • Dold Vorde Ens Navn - Gjengangere i hjertets mørke (2019)

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    Featuring members and ex-members of bands like Satyricon, Ulver, Dødheimsgard and Ved Buens Ende, Dold Vorde Ens Navn is a Norwegian super band playing some truly unique retro Black Metal. Featuring four tracks and around 20 minutes of music, “Gjengangere i hjertets morke” has that raw old-school vibe of Norwegian Black Metal from the 90’s and its brilliant naivety.

    Opening with the bizarreness of “Den Ensomme Dod”, we are reminded of the days of Ved Buens Ende and Fleurety. The guitars are powerful and the Norwegian BM core is there, but the odd clean vocals and funky tempos allow the song to create a very unique and haunting atmosphere. The band’s Black Metal pedigree is clearly present as “Drukkenskapens Kirkegard” unleashes its fury.

  • Visions of Atlantis - Wanderers (2019)

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    Opening with “Renegades - A Lost Generation”, we get a Wintersun-esque oriental-influenced opening that transforms into a full on headbanging jam. The band’s style is as catchy as always, but quite different. The dramatic keyboards and catchy riffs are quite engaging and powerful. Mixing in some clean vocals and epic chorus sections, “Tornado” continues with a high-octane vibe and very polished melodic arrangements. With “Himmel Und Feuer” the band keeps up the lively atmosphere with yet another hyper catchy tune that will be stuck in your head for days to come. Just think of a mixture of Laibach, Wintersun and hints of VNV Nation mixed together.

    The album starts very strong with the lush “Release My Symphony”, the longest and most dramatic song in this release. We particularly love the mood changes throughout the song and the very engaging chorus section. Having a certain early Nightwish vibe, the album is designed to highlight the masterful orchestrations and vocals. As tracks like “Heroes of the Dawn” and “A Journey to Remember” make their way, the band nicely plays with the level of intensity of the music, allowing listeners to settle into the journey brought forth in this release.

  • Equilibrium - Renegades (2019)

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    German Melodic Metal outfit Equilibrium is poised to take fans by surprise with their latest release “Renegades”. Featuring a very lively and catchy sound, this album delivers over 40 minutes of highly melodic music that is very far from their Epic Folk Metal days, but still commands attention and glory. With more electronic and even Industrial elements thrown into the mix, this album is superb on its own, but it might turn off the band’s earlier fans.

    Opening with “Renegades - A Lost Generation”, we get a Wintersun-esque oriental-influenced opening that transforms into a full on headbanging jam. The band’s style is as catchy as always, but quite different. The dramatic keyboards and catchy riffs are quite engaging and powerful. Mixing in some clean vocals and epic chorus sections, “Tornado” continues with a high-octane vibe and very polished melodic arrangements. With “Himmel Und Feuer” the band keeps up the lively atmosphere with yet another hyper catchy tune that will be stuck in your head for days to come. Just think of a mixture of Laibach, Wintersun and hints of VNV Nation mixed together.

  • Theatre of Tragedy - Remixed (2019)

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    It has been nearly ten years since Theatre of Tragedy ceased to exist, but they still find themselves in our regular playlist. During their career, the band changed styles multiple times and released seven full-length releases that for the most part were pretty good. In “Remixed” we get a nice selection of the band’s hits, remixed by artists like Das Ich and VNV Nation. While this definitely will not be the cup of tea of fans of the earlier style of the band, it should appeal to fans of their Industrial/Electronic phase.

    The album kicks off with a weird remix of “And When He Falleth” by Das Ich. The tempo is oddly shifted and sounds a bit odd, something that fans of this great song will definitely not like. Das Ich does a bit of a better job in adding some spunk to “Black As The Devil Painteth”, making it somewhat enjoyable. We find Icon Of Coil’s remix of “Lorelei” quite catchy and enjoyable, so we decided to keep listening to the full album.

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