After their ‘decent’ 2003 debut album “Watching in Silence”, Circle II Circle is been in free-fall releasing several uninspired albums and “Consequence of Power” is not the exception to that trend. With very dull songs and a very bland production, “Consequence of Power” is another album that will greatly be un-noticed by the community and fans of Zak Stevens.
As you can imagine, Zak Stevens’s vocals are the best of this otherwise very boring release. Zak delivers a very emotional and solid vocal performance to very dull sounding and repetitive songs, so it’s like sprinkling a turd with 24k gold flakes, making the end-product still not appealing.
From the mind of Samoth (ex-Emperor, ex-Zyklon, etc) we have “Ominous”, the debut full-length release of The Wretched End. Having a band featuring Samoth and Nils Fjellström (ex-Dark Funeral), you know that the music will be intense and very well crafted. In addition to the band’s impressive line-up we have Cosmo (Mindgrinder and Scum), handling vocals and bass guitars.
Playing a very fresh blend of Death Metal with Thrash influences and the occasional Emperor-esque Black Metal hint here and there, The Wretched End brings forth a very solid debut album that immediately showcases the quality of musicians participating in the band. “Ominous” features 12 tracks of relentless music that will please all fans of almost any previous project/band of Samoth.
As one of the most brutal Black Metal assaults of 2010, today we have “Let the Devil In” by the all-mighty Sargeist. Hailing from Finland, this band has gathered cult following with their crushing releases since 1999. The band originally a solo project from Shatraug the mastermind of Horna and countless other bands feature Hoath Torog (on vocals) and Horns (on drums) from Behexen.
Opening with “Empire of Suffering”, Sargeist immediately takes the listener by the throat with a brutal assault of massive drumming, crushing guitar riffing and hellish vocals. Since track one of this album, the band makes you aware that you will crushed to pieces with the music on “Let the Devil In”. The band’s brand of traditional Black Metal is top notch and will surely please all the fans of bands like Gorgoroth, Horna, and such that base their sound on raw brutality mixed with melody and well structured songs.
As one of the most under rated bands of the USA, today we have While Heaven Wept and their very impressive live CD/DVD “Triumph:Tragedy:Transcendence – Live at the Hammer of Doom Festival”. With a career of over 20 years and only three full-length releases, we are usually excited when we can get anything new from this amazing band.
In this release (the audio portion), the band presents seven of their most epic songs and provide amazing renditions of each one of them, especially the older songs that in this release feature Rain Irving on vocals. With half of the “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” album here and some of the band’s ‘greatest hits’, this package features an amazing value for all the countless fans of the band.
Hailing from Germany, today we have Neaera and their crushing Melodic Death Metal that will surely rattle your seat (and windows) once “Forging the Eclipse” starts playing on your stereo. The band’s sound is very brutal in nature and features most of the ‘traditional’ Melodic Death Metal elements but also has a nice modern edge to it, without getting too faggy for us.
After the first few listens we noticed that while “Forging the Eclipse” is a very solid album, it’s very linear in nature and gets repetitive after a few songs. The band’s songwriting abilities are not the best in the scene and even with twelve songs, the album lasts only 39 minutes. The riffing is very brutal and features some nice traditional Death Metal hooks in songs like “Sirens of Black”, but manages to keep an overall melodic tone.
Featuring Derek Kerswill (ex-Unearth, session for Shadows Falls) on drums, today we have Tangents debut album “One Little Light Year”, a very different release to what we are used to getting for promotional materials. Tangents is a duo that plays a very eclectic mix of Alternative Rock, with some Progressive / Post-rock influences and other more ‘mainstream’ elements that makes them very catchy and probably appealing for people that like bands like Coldplay, Muse, etc.
Before you start to think that you need to click on something else to read, just hold on a minute and keep reading since “One Little Light Year” is actually not that bad. If you like bands like Votum, Canadian Fen or even Anathema and similar Progressive Rock/Metal bands, you might find Tangents appealing since they have some catchy songs with interesting guitar passages and atmospheric sections that will grab your attention.
After being undecided about this release for a few weeks now, we have to say that after very careful consideration we can’t really decide if this is great or just something is too watered down in lush keyboard arrangements to hide the underlying mediocrity of the extremely repetitive song structures.
A part of us says that we should love “Rekreatur” since it has a very bombastic sound, crushing vocals and an overall very epic feeling to it. Another part of us says that the underlying guitar work is plain dull and it feels exactly the same after cycling through a few songs, that the whole music sound very overpowered by the growls and the massive keyboard arrangements. But in general, we have to agree that in terms of this being an album that will get you in a better mood, an epic battle mood that is, the band does an excellent job. The sound is massive and it’s something that we can see ourselves headbanging to in a live setting.
A few months after the release of “Heliocentric”, we get “Anthropocentric”, the more aggressive and crushing continuation (and conclusion) to the band’s critique on Christianity started with “Heliocentric”. While The Ocean still incorporates some of their traditional classical instruments in “Anthropocentric”, this release is by far much more aggressive and straight forward than their previous one.
With another 50 minutes of monumental Progressive Sludge/Metal, the band greatly enhances the listening experience of “Heliocentric”, we found ourselves playing both records back to back in order to get the full effect and conceptual message of this very well crafted releases. The band immediately starts with a very crushing track in “Anthropocentric”, often weaving back and forth between pounding riffs with harsh vocals and brilliant clean vocal harmonies and more melodic guitar lines.
The Rimmerfors brothers are back and so is their very elaborate and catchy brand of Swedish Folk music with some hints of Metal influences. Completing the band’s line-up we have three fifths of Pathos / Nostradameus bringing the Metal side of things with solid drumming, a nice bass guitar line, and keyboards.
Being the band’s sophomore release (and second in a two year period), “Eifur” is a very diverse album that will grab the attention of any Folk music fan due to it’s brilliant instrumentation and catchy melodies. Again all the lyrics are in Swedish so most of us will be deprived of actually knowing what the songs are about, but the music alone is enough to hook us into this release.
Prophecy Productions has always been a label associated with top acts in the Neo-Folk / Neo-Classical genres, and with “Whom the Moon a Nightsong Sings”, the label puts together a very comprehensive package of top bands of the genre in the shape of a two CD/LP compilation of exclusive and rare tracks. While some people might call it a money-grabbing attempt from the label, we have to recognize that every single track in this release is of the outmost quality and creates a very cohesive atmosphere around it.
Featuring exclusive songs from bands like Empyrium, Nest, Nebelung, Tenhi, October Falls, Les Discrets, and Dornenreich among others will surely make fans of the bands and the genres immediately acquire this release as a essential addition to their collection. Other might be enticed by ‘rare’ tracks such as “Synen” from Ulver, and “Apres l'Ombre” by Les Discrets. But the most important thing here is the chance of getting a wide variety of bands together in a double release that will serve as a perfect starting point for people looking into the genres.