• Memoria – Death Calls The Islands (2011)


    If Moonsorrow, Primordial, and Ulver had a genetically engineered (and somewhat defective) son, it would most likely sound like Memoria from Australia. In their latest release “Death Calls The Islands”, the band delivers a few well-crafted tracks that will surely grab your attention, and a few others that will make you scratch your head. The band’s interesting combination of influences also does them in, since the songs get a bit repetitive and dull after a while, something that in our opinion also happens to Moonsorrow.

    In the opener “The Dogs Smell Blood”, the band immediately lifts a wall of distorted guitars that reminds us of a mixture of Moonsorrow and Primordial, but it does get a bit dull after the sixth track. The production also allows this element to overshadow the vocals in particular, frustrating us after a while. The clean vocal are and excellent hybrid between Garm and Vortex, but they are not exploited correctly. The Emperor-esque “Claw At The Pine” keeps things interesting, but it also sounds a little too much like Emperor from their Anthems-era.

  • Closed Room – White Bed Sheet (2011)


    As one of the weirdest but also very interesting releases we have received in 2012, today we have Closed Room and their promotional EP titled “White Bed Sheet”. This Belarus band features three very different and equally intoxicating tracks that range between Trip-Hop to Post Black Metal. With similarities to bands like Ulver and Amesoeurs, this is indeed one very difficult band to categorize.

    Opening with the atmospheric and very trippy “White Bed Sheet”, the band delivers a very Ulver-like song that has a very powerful atmosphere and excellent vocals. The jazzy female vocals nicely hypnotize the listener while the atmospheric beats work their magic in creating a very dense mood. We are not huge fans of Trip-Hop, but this song is brilliant.

  • Fanthrash – Duality of Things (2011)


    The Thrash Metal revival up to date has been mostly from USA bands, but today we have one of Poland’s ‘first’ Thrash Metal bands, Fanthrash, returning from a 10 year hiatus and delivering a pretty solid ‘debut’ full-length titled “Duality of Things”. Featuring twelve tracks of high-intensity Thrashtastic music, this band has a hearty old-school vibe that perfectly blends with a few more modern and experimental elements.

    After the instrumental opener, “Allocation of The Soul” brings solid riffing and very firm singing, none of that high-pitched bullshit that many Thrash bands call singing. With a few unconventional tempo changes, this is not your typical Thrash Metal song, but neither is Fanthrash your typical run of the mill band. With some serious Death-like opening vibe, “Forced” delivers a pretty good dosage of riffs and intricate drumming sections, making this a very diverse and highly entertaining song.

  • Wall of the Eyeless – Through Emptiness (2011)


    Delivering their first demo “Through Emptiness”, today we have the incredible Swedish/Russian collaboration named Wall of the Eyeless. Mixing Death Metal with some Doom and melodic passages, this two-person band delivers quite an interesting release. With four tracks covering around 24 minutes of music, this demo is one of the most promising ones we have received in quite a while.

    Opening with “The Hands”, the band starts with a very typical Death Metal piece that features a few hints of melodic sections at first, and then it explodes into an excellent Doom-ish atmospheric section after the 3:30 mark. We love that the production is a bit raw and it allows the guitars to sound very crunchy. Things open in a more melodic fashion in “Do We Belong Here?”, a track that is more dramatic and quite crushing. The vocals are pretty solid, and the acoustic passages in this track are excellently crafted.

  • Winter Haze – Silent Deception (2011)


    Today we have Italy’s Winter Haze delivering an exciting Symphonic Metal EP release titled “Silent Deception”. Featuring four tracks, this EP showcases a very mature and interesting band that can write and execute superbly melodic songs. The band’s biggest asset besides their musical skills is the sweet and unique voice of Giorgia Marra and its powerful range, making them immediately a force to be reckoned in this very crowded genre.

    Opening with a jazzy sax intro to the track “Cross the Sea”, this release sets the mood very effectively. The guitar work is pretty standard and very catchy, allowing Giorgia’s vocals to shine very nicely. Mixing clean male vocals and grunts with the classically trained female vocals is far from revolutionary, but when done right (like here) it is very effective and powerful. This track also has some nice vocal layering that gives it a very professional and dramatic edge.

  • AK-11 – Legendary, Demonic & Invincible (2011)


    Featuring six tracks of blistering Black Metal, today we have Australia’s AK-11 and their EP/Demo “Legendary, Demonic & Invincible”. In this release, the band delivers very powerful music that will surely please any BM fan due to the solid song writing and hellish vocals. The band’s originality level is not too high, but as a first release it shows great promise.

    Opening with the furiously paced “The Cleansing Stream”, the riffing starts off with a bang. The typical BM riffing is furious and it is nicely accompanied with hectic drumming. The vocals are pretty brutal, but sound a bit gargled thanks to the production. The song is fairly straightforward, but pretty intense for an opener. Switching to Russian language, “Vechnyi ogon’” and “Slava Rossii” deliver high-octane action with a few intricate melodic passages.

  • Heimdalls Wacht – Nichtorte (2012)


    Highly melodic and equally melancholic are the first words that come through our mind when thinking about Heimdalls Wacht’s latest release “Nichtorte”. With a heavy emphasis on the melodic side of things, Germany’s Heimdalls Wacht delivers a good dose of Pagan Black Metal in the 12 tracks presented on this release, good enough to be one of the best we’ve heard in quite a while.

    After the traditional intro, the riffing onslaught begins with “Maelstrom”, a very Black Metal oriented track with catchy sections. The drumming is very fast paced, but the ethereal atmospheric elements here and there are what makes this track standout. Things finally start to move into darker and more melancholic territories with songs like “Ignis fatuus” and “Die Einsamkeit des Gestaltenwandlers”. The melody achieve by the songs powerful riffs is amazing and completely destructive.

  • Et Moriemur – Cupio Disolvi (2011)


    Keeping the quality Death/Doom Metal flag alive, today we have Et Moriemur and their debut full-length “Cupio Disolvi”. This Czech band delivers nine melancholic tracks that narrate nine different stories of people that took their own life. With the band’s highly melancholic and emotional sound, “Cupio Disolvi” not only transmits depressive feelings via the lyrics, but also with such beautifully crafted emotional music.

    “Deliverance” opens this release with a slight folk edge that feels a bit weird for the concept of the release, but the song soon starts warming up. The growls are great and the overall pace of this song is very well crafted to provide an interesting ride. With 2 minutes remaining on the track, the band goes into a passage that reminded us a bit of Lacrimosa but with manlier clean vocals and some excellent Doom weeping guitars.

  • Edge of Paradise – Mask (2011)


    Delivering one of the most diverse, chaotic, and yet very interesting albums we have received this year, today we have Edge of Paradise and their debut full-length “Mask”. In this release the band features influences from anywhere between Industrial, Heavy Metal, Gothic Metal, Shred Metal and tons of things in between. If you are not confused by now, then you can’t really be prepared to open the bag full of surprises that “Mask” is.

    Opening with some dub step/Static X intro, “Falling Down” delivers the first punch in a 9 track rollercoaster ride through almost all genres of Metal. This opening track does a great job to set the stage for a very weird and diverse release that is very catchy and strongly lead by the band’s charismatic vocalist: Margarita Monet. Her vocals are quite unique in Metal since she is all over the place and has a lot of raw power behind her. “Tall of the gun” steers you into a different direction with a more Modern/commercial Metal with very heavy guitars.

  • Murw – Kanker (2011)


    After releasing a few demos and a split album in a span of 14 years, we finally have Murw stepping up to the full-length arena with “Kanker”. In this very interesting release, the band delivers 37 minutes of a highly melancholic combination of Doom Metal with some Death/Black Metal elements. Mostly driven by powerful guitar riffs, “Kanker” is a very well-crafted release that deserves attention.

    Opening with the crushing “Kanker”, this release sets sail with the heaviest and most ‘Black Metal’ track in the whole album. The raw power behind the riffs and crushing vocals is very dominating, reminding us of older Death/Doom bands from the 90’s. At around 7 minutes long, this song nicely evolves into some Doom-ish melodic passages with weeping guitars and a nice overall atmosphere. Keeping things in ‘Doom mode’, “Als Sneeuw Voor de Zon” sounds like something that Mournful Congregation or Shape of Despair could have crafted.


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