• Foret D'Orient – Essedvm (2011)


    With a very interesting combination of atmospheric and folk elements with brutal Black Metal, Foret D’Orient delivers us their first EP called “Essedvm”. In this release the band instantly reminded us of the early Dismal Euphony releases, a feat that no band has done to date. Featuring six brilliantly crafted tracks, this Italian band delivers just the right amount of melody and atmosphere to offset the Black Metal side of things and create very emotional and powerful songs.

    With a lush and epic opening track with “Campo Di Marte”, the band really generates expectation in the listener. The acoustic sections are very well introduced and nicely help in the build-up process. “Sagitta” wastes no time and delivers powerful riffing accompanied with hellish vocals, this song nicely evolves into a more melodic territories as the song progresses. The use of the harp in this song is very eerie and works wonderfully when paired with some whispers, just to fully explode into powerful riffs and harsh vocals. This hypnotic atmosphere is what we usually yearn for, and this band excels at it, too bad the song ends somewhat abruptly.

  • Empyrean Plague – Imprint Evidence Destiny (2011)


    Hailing from Canada, today we have Empyrean Plague and their very well crafted Melodic Death/Black Metal that will surely grab your attention immediately. “Imprint Evidence Destiny” delivers seven aural assaults that very creatively combine Melodic Death/Black Metal with Folk and Viking Metal elements; this creates a very rich palette of sounds that even after a considerable amount of listens you will not be able to fully discover this release.

    With oozing melody, the band opens the album with the 7 minute epic “Deciphering The Norse Code”. The guitar work is excellent and has that semi-rough feeling that only young bands usually have. The vocals are powerful but never overly done giving that nice contrast to the music. The bass guitar is very present and nicely balanced in the mix as well. “Imprint Evidence Destiny” continues in a similar fashion with super catchy melodic sections and very effective ‘speed ups’. The drumming is also very good and both songs (and the rest) have a wide variety of different patterns.

  • Grave Siesta – Grave Siesta (2011)


    Making its way from Finland, today we have Grave Siesta and their self-titled debut full-length release. In this album the band cruises through 45 minutes of very unique and diverse sounding Doom Metal that seems to not take any particular shape, but sounds crunchy enough to be noticed. The band formed in 2010, and with a couple of demos under their belt they unleash this very solid freshman effort that will surely get them some attention.

    With a hefty dosage or Stoner Rock, Psychedelic Rock and a Doom Metal core, the band opens this release with the punishing “Work Enslaves”. In this track the guitars immediately pop-out and the typical Finish-sounding vocals appear. The bands vocalist Taito Halonen sounds very similar to M Mystons from the Finish Rock outfit Mystons. There are some screams that definitely sound different but fail to make an impression in this track. “Barbaric” has a more traditional Doom feeling to it and delivers more excellently crafted guitar riffs. The vocals again shine thanks to the Southern feeling to them, greatly enhancing the gritty sound of the song.

  • Demonic Death Judge – The Descent (2011)


    Rounding up the promo package we received from Inverse Records, today we have Demonic Death Judge and their highly entertaining mixture of Sludge Metal with Black Metal. Before you start frowning in disgust, you actually have to give this band a chance and listen to their very original musical approach. The only band we can think that plays something in this alley is Glorior Belli on their last album “The Great Southern Darkness”.

    Opening with “Nepal”, the band fully explodes into some crunchy riffing and very hellish vocals. While this combination might sound odd at first, it slowly grows on you. The guitar work is very traditional Sludge/Southern inspired and the atmosphere feels this way, but the vocals gravitate towards another area. There are some very good acoustic melodies thrown into the mix that makes this song even more appealing.

  • Herem – II (2011)


    Delivering six crushing Death/Doom Metal tracks, today we have Herem and their very well crafted second full-length release titled “II”. For around 45 minutes the band delivers excruciatingly painful and devastating music unlike any other band these days. Mixing a beefy Death/Doom sound with some Sludge influences and some experimental elements, the band reminded us a bit like Frothy Days Longing, an American band that played a similar style and was also led by a female growler.

    Opening with the hypnotic “Heavens”, the 90’s Death/Doom sound is immediately present and while the growls sound a bit different than you typical ones, Valendis Suomalainen does one hell of a job in sounding very brutal and powerful. The riffing is very powerful and the production perfectly accentuates the distorted guitars. The experimentally ethereal entrance to “Earth” generates a very interesting atmosphere that is nicely ‘culminated’ with powerful riffs and some very deep and disturbing (in a good way) growls.

  • Aenaon – Cendres et Sang (2011)


    After delivering two impressive EP’s: Phenomenon and A Parallel Zoetrope, Aenaon finally signed with Code666 to release their debut full-length “Cendres et Sang”. In this very impressive freshman release, the band makes use of their superior ability in crafting interesting and unique sounding Black Metal songs and deliver 10 tracks of majestic music that many veteran bands wish they would have in them.

    Since the Jazzy opener “Kafkaesque”, you know you are in for a treat and a very unique album. This intro nicely blends with the second track “Suncord” and when the riffing starts we are immediately reminded of bands like Farsot and similar creative-Black Metal acts. The melodic aspect of the band’s sound is what makes them so special, particularly in the intricate passages crafted in the middle of this track that feature a hefty Jazz influence.

  • Saturnian Mist - Gnostikoi Ha-Shaitan (2011)


    With a very peculiar ear-raping Black Metal sound, Saturnian Mist delivers their debut full-length release titled “Gnostikoi Ha-Shaitan”. The band pummels through eight tracks of putrefied Black Metal that at first will make you want to turn it off, but once you warm up to it, you will find it very refreshing and somewhat different to all other BM releases.

    Firing up the riffing machine since the opening track “The Regicide”, the band delivers very crunchy guitars (somewhat similar to some Sludge albums) that are nicely utilized to transmit hellish Black Metal sounds. The pounding bass guitar is pretty well mixed in-between to add more rawness and brutality to the music. The vocals are more like growls than your average BM snarl, but the weirdest part is the Hardcore-ish sound they have to them.

  • Ave Maria – Chapter I (2011)


    With a very interesting (and disturbing) cover, today we have Ave Maria and their debut full-length release “Chapter I”. This Black Metal duo from Germany delivers around 49 minutes of very psychotic Black Metal that while not extremely original, it is creepy enough to send chills through our spine.

    Taking from older Norwegian bands and their very raw-yet-clear sound, the Black Metal presented in “Chapter I” is top notch and very effective. The band creates a very eerie atmosphere only with crafty guitar work and hellish vocals. The production is very clean giving this release a very organic Black Metal sound that we can totally picture the band perfectly playing these nine songs live.

  • Evergrey – A Decade and a Half (2011)


    Ever since the release of their debut album “The Dark Discovery” back in 1998, Evergrey has been one of the best bands in their genre and with their newest incursion “Glorious Collision” they have widen the gap between them and any other band. With “A Decade and a Half”, the band presents a double-CD release filled with most of their greatest songs and a few live versions that keep things interesting.

    As one of our friends pointed out, if you really wanted a ‘greatest hits’ release of the band, it should have been 8 CD’s long and feature every single album they have released in their years of existence. However, we can’t really have that, but this double-CD has enough to please most of the fans of the band. Kicking off with “The Masterplan”, the band delivers their characteristic guitar work and excellent vocals of Tom Englund. As the future has shown (in “Glorious Collision”) the band’s sound centers around Englund’s efforts and everybody else can be easily replaced.

  • Black Skies – On the Winds of Time (2011)


    Hailing from the USA, we have another Sludge band that sounds exactly like everybody else and that it is making its debut full-length statement with “On the Winds of Time”. So why should we not say this is total crap and skip to the next album we have to review? Well, because there is just a little something that makes them a bit interesting to listen to.

    Combining a very organic sound, this record sounds like it was recorded during a rehearsal in a live fashion. The guitars are crunchy, but not over produced and neither over stylized that you can’t really make this sounds in a natural way. The drums are very raw, and while basic and amateurish sounding at times, they sound legit and fit very well with the music.


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