• Eisregen – Rostrot (2011)


    Completely deranged and always surprising people (as well as pissing them off), Eisregen delivers their latest creation titled “Rostrot”. In this crazy album we have 10 very unique songs that focus a bit more on the ‘melodic’ side of Eisregen and fit more to our personal taste than their previous release. If you like the contrast the band makes between the demonic vocals and aggressive lyrics with keyboard sections and funky melodies, this is the album you have been waiting for since “Krebskolonie” came out back in 1998 (our personal favorite).

    The opener “Erlösung” delivers a mood setting piano/spoken words track that is nicely offset by the hectic “Schakal: Ode an die Streubombe”. Pounding drums and heavy guitars makes this song a very typical Eisregen piece and a nice contrast from the opening and following tracks. The rhythm of “Madenreich” is pretty weird and feels like something we would find in an Indie-Rock album but it works very well with the clean vocals. The deranged approach to music that Eisregen has makes this song work wonderfully.

  • Cairn – Raise the Cairn (2011)


    Hailing from the USA, today we have a one-man band named Cairn and their debut album “Raise the Cairn”. With a heavy vibe of Primordial meets Forest of Shadows, this short but sweet EP will be enough to rattle your cage and make you want more. Featuring five tracks and around 23 minutes of music, this solo self-exploratory release is one of the most interesting and less vanilla sounding we have received in 2011.

    Opening with an acoustic section, “Magnapinna Rex, Pt I: Solstiseraph” enshrouds the listener in a mysterious cloud of powerful riffing and nice calm sections. Like we mentioned before, this particular song reminded us of Primordial instantly with this nice folk-ish and aggressive approach to music. The shrieks are very powerful and nicely accompany the guitar work. The bass guitar line is pretty active and melodic, somewhat contrasting with the rest and making it more evident. The song is nicely followed by the acoustic track “Far Passage”.

  • Transatlantic – More Never Is Enough: Live In Manchester & Tilburg 2010 (2011)


    If Neal Morse’s Testimony 2 – Live in Los Angeles DVD’s where not enough for a dosage of excellent prog, the same promo package we got included Transatlantic’s “More Never Is Enough: Live In Manchester & Tilburg 2010” DVD portion of the release, for another 3+ hours of orgasm-inducing musical experience.

    The live DVD portion of this release features the complete Tilburg concert in all its glory and with seven professional cameras rolling. It also showcases the full band with the extra addition of Daniel Gildenlöw from Pain of Salvation. If you are a big fan of the band’s music and their latest release “The Whirlwind”, the first DVD shows the band playing this release in its entirety.

  • Neal Morse – Testimony 2 – Live in Los Angeles (2011)


    After being lost in the post-office oblivion for a few months, today we received a promo package containing the DVD portion of this 3CD/2DVD package that has been highly coveted by prog fans since it came out in November. Featuring around 3 hours of live material, Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Eric Brenton, Rick Altizer, Mark Leniger, Nathan Girard and Nathan Brenton play some very intricate and exciting progressive music that has a very natural and free-flowing nature that only the best in the scene can achieve.

    As a first thing to notice is that there is quite a lot of ‘praise and Jesus-stuff’ in this release to the point of being a bit annoying, but the music makes it quite bearable and when not focusing on the lyrics everything played in this release  is excellent. Every since 2002 Neal has focused more on the spiritual side of things and this is very prevalent through the release. Nothing wrong with this and we are not against it, but we don’t really like it rubbed that much on our faces, especially on top of fantastic music.

  • Al-Namrood - Astfhl Al Tha'r (2009)


    Playing very basic and raw Black Metal, today we have all the way from Saudi Arabia Al-Namrood and their debut album “Astfhl Al Tha’r”. While anybody would agree that the band’s Black Metal is very basic, the cool thing about it is the Middle Eastern influences on it reflected in the keyboards and atmosphere generated through this release.

    Opening with “A’hd al Jahiliyah”, the band’s hellish vocals take the spotlight and then the keyboards start to seep into your brain. The music is raw and simple, the percussions are very basic but the atmosphere is just completely different to what we are used to. This does get a bit annoying at times due to the high-repetition of sections in this trac, but it is also very cool indeed. The
    Doom-ier approach in “Ebadt al Basahr” and the considerably better drums make this song a big improvement from the first one. The Middle Eastern influences are also very evident in this track.

  • Abbey ov Thelema – A Fragment ov the Great Work (2011)


    Making its way from Slovakia, today we have a very interesting release in the realm of Avant-garde/experimental Black Metal. “A Fragment ov the Great Work” marks the debut of Abbey ov Thelema a two person project that leaves no stone unturned and delivers a very promising album. Taking from the greats Arcturus and Blut as Nord, the band pummels through eight tracks of pure madness and aural aggression.

    Opening with organs on the intro “Left Hand Path”, the band quickly escalates things on “The One Who Walks the Left-Hand Path”. Mixing perfectly balanced atmospheric passages with aggressive Black Metal shrieks and commanding riffs, Abbey ov Thelema makes a strong impression immediately. The psychedelic synths are pretty deranged but great sounding and make the band’s songs be very appealing. There are plenty of melodic passages and crazy atmospheric interludes, like on “Unearthly Theophagia ov a Nonexistent Deity”, “Black Absinth Drunk While Analyzing the Writings ov Nietzsche” and “The Hidden Wisdom & Clandestine Legacy ov the Black Arts”, enough to satisfy the most demanding listeners.

  • Mouth of the Serpent – Manifest (2011)


    Making its way out of our very crowded promo queue, today we have Mouth of the Serpent’s latest release “Manifest”. Playing Deathcore, this band from California provides six high-octane tracks that will surely have you moshing for hours. The band delivers pretty solid riffs and interesting tempo changes, but ultimately ends up sounding a lot like The Black Dahlia Murder, etc, etc. While there is nothing wrong with that if you are a fan of the genre, this release does get a bit cyclical and ends up sounding very similar.

    After the typical atmospheric opener “Caraven”, the band delivers the powerful “Cisterna”. In this track, the band makes use of their excellent guitar skills and massive drumming to achieve a very brutal sound, the growls are excellent but the screams get a bit annoying sometimes. The brutality continues with “Entheogen”, a track that could easily pass as Technical/Progressive Death Metal if it wasn’t for the very typical Deathcore structure.

  • Öxxö Xööx – Rëvëürt (2011)


    With a very interesting and even their own language, today we have one of France’s most interesting and experimental bands: Öxxö Xööx and their latest release “Rëvëürt”. With almost 80 minutes of genre-bending music, this album delivers nine tracks of excellently crafted Avant-garde Music with Doom metal influences incorporating grand organs, harpsichords and string ensembles.

    For people that believe they’ve heard it all, “Rëvëürt” will surely surprise you and will take you into a journey through the unknown. With the opener “Ägörth” the band delivers a monumental track featuring Doom-like structures with eerie passages and a very theatrical edge, similar to what Elend used to do but with a heavier edge.

  • Fallen Divine - The Binding Cycle (2011)


    As 2011 winds down and big labels are saving their ‘big’ releases of the opening of 2012, it is very nice to hear fantastic self-released albums like Fallen Divine’s “The Binding Cycle”. Hailing from Norway, this band is ready to conquer the Metal world with crazy-fast guitars, demonic vocals, crafty drumming, and very intricate and skillful compositions. We are very surprised this band has not been picked up by any label yet.

    Immediately showing of their skills with “Dissension”, the band quickly delivers waves of powerful riffs, aggressive vocals and a pounding bass guitar line. The drumming keeps all things together in a very tight manner and nicely changes tempos several times during the song. The atmospheric keyboards give this already awesome track a bit more of flair and epicness. The ethereal atmospheric passage is nicely adorned by great guitar work and a pulsating bass guitar section. Pretty much this is the band’s formula for success and they greatly present it in different shapes through this release.

  • Bradley Tatum – It’s a Beautiful World (2011)


    Arriving from the Grunge capital of the world: Seattle, WA, today we have Bradley Tatum’s “It’s a Beautiful World” release. Featuring an ensemble of 13 tracks that range from Electro Punk to Gothic Rock, this release has at least something for everybody into any of these genres. We particularly enjoyed the catchy beats and the deep Gothic-sounding vocals.

    First off, the production of this release is probably not the best, but it gives that extra originally and rawness to the material that one would get by listening to Bradley Tatum perform live at some open-mic night. With a high catchiness factor, the trippy Electro opener “Under the Storm Clouds” features nice vocal effects and solid distorted guitars. Not letting things get dull, Bradley Tatum delivers very different compositions in the following tracks “The Others”, “The Human Experiment” and “It’s a Beautiful World”.


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