• Atrum Inritus – Progantus In Vorago (2011)


    Today we have a mysterious Black Metal outfit from Minnesota in the USA. Having formed in 2010, they already have a very mature and crushing sound, unlike many of the scene newcomers making us believe that some of the members have played in different bands before and they are hiding under new pseudonyms. Anyways, “Progantus In Vorago” is an excellent debut album if you like cold and raw Black Metal.

    After the cliché instrumental intro, the band opens with the cavernous and ritualistic “The Chains That Bind”. With a powerful guitar sound and very compact drumming, the band creates the perfect dark atmosphere for the hellish BM snarls provided by Vindicare. Falling deeper into the abyss, “Aegrus Everto” delivers waves of painful vocals with sick guitar riffs, a very well crafted BM song. Up until here, you can hear the quality of Atrum Inritus with their very well crafted songs that perfectly capture a raw Black Metal atmosphere with excellent execution.

  • HEIRS – Hunter (2011)


    Continuing on the hypnotic vibe of their last full-length “Fowl”, HEIRS returns with a three-song sample of what is to come in their next full-length release. In “Hunter”, the band outputs 25 minutes of their very interesting Avant-garde/Post Doom Metal with two new tracks and a cover of Sisters of Mercy’s “Never Land”. While the band’s never been our cup of tea, they surely create very elaborate atmospheric songs that transport the listener.

    First up we have “Hunter”, a six-minute track that constantly grows in momentum keeping the listener on the edge of their seat for the duration. The bass guitar line is pretty solid and nicely accompanies the hypnotic drums. Things get a bit ‘heavier’ in “Symptom”, a track that shows the Sludgier side of the bands sound with nicely distorted guitars and some atmospheric keyboard. The sound of this release is as always very warm and organic, just about right to properly enjoy such music.

  • Austrian Death Machine – Jingle All the Way (2011)


    With a hefty dose of pounding guitars and Arnold Schwarzenegger ridicule, today we have Austrian Death Machine and their latest single “Jingle All the Way”. Featuring three songs of hilarious and very well crafted Metal, As I Lay Dying’s Tim Lambesis is ready for another round of wackiness.

    Opening with “I’m not a Pervert”, the ‘band’ delivers high-octane guitar riffing with crushing vocals and some Arnold-like spoken sections. This song is very well crafted and pretty brutal indeed, it just makes it even better with the funny lyrics. Next on the agenda, the pounding “It’s Turbo time” delivers more devastating guitar riffs and a nice intensity.

  • Black Blade – Welcome into the Warfield (2011)


    While the whole Greece is on total economic meltdown, it is good to see that their Metal production is still intact and there are young and promising bands like Black Blade. In this 3-song demo, the band shows that they have enough creativity to really catch our attention with less than 15 minutes of music. Featuring a healthy combination of Death Metal influences with more traditional sounds, the band achieves maximum catchiness very effectively in these songs.

    Opening with “Warfield”, the band delivers a powerful bass guitar line surrounded by melodic guitar riffs and a ‘discrete’ Death Metal snarl, like the bands in the past used to do (first Sepultura albums, etc). I this short track, the band quickly establish their ability to create simple yet catchy melody and mix elements from different genres, like the Southern/ Heavy Metal section mid-way through the song.

  • Zalem – στίγμα (2011)


    Packaged in a lush cardboard digipack, today we have Zalem’s debut album “στίγμα”. These French post-rockers have gone all out and released a two-disc epic that will surely draw them a lot of attention from the post-rock scene. While we get tons of Post-Rock releases for review, we are particularly drawn to Zalem’s album because of the progressive elements that have been incorporated to the music, making it more engaging and diverse.

    After the warm-up intro “How To Operate Your Brain”, the band fully explodes into a 12-minute cinematic track that features a hefty amount of mood changes. Aptly titled “Missing”, this track will make you realize that you where indeed missing out on some great music if you haven’t heard Zalem before. The string instruments used in this track are excellent and add that extra dimension to the band’s sound, making them sometimes resemble a more progressive version of Tenhi and similar bands.

  • Mhorgl – Heresiarch (2011)


    Delivering waves of technical aggression with an old-school Thrash sound, today we have Australia’s Mhorgl and their devastating third full-length “Heresiarch”. With over 45 minutes of meticulously crafted Thrash/Black Metal, this band is set to make some noise in the scene with their relentless tracks filled with technical nuances that only a handful of bands can pull off. Just imagine Obscura playing Thrash infused songs and you will get a glimpse of what this band is unleashing.

    Starting with the hellish “Inheriting the Mantle of Power”, the band sets the standard very high with crazy guitar riffing, crushing solos and inhuman drumming. The vocals are also very demonic and they have that snarl that perfectly fits the whirlwind sound of the band. Pounding through tracks like “Ophidian Legacy” (featuring killer guitar wizardry and a punchy Southern vibe), “Black World Militia” and “Ravenous Wargod”, the band delivers high-octane music that will max out your heart rate.

  • Schattenlicht – Erinnerung (2011)


    Hailing from Austria, today we have the furious debut of Schattenlicht. Featuring seven tracks of brutal Black Metal with a melodic edge, this debut CD is one of the strongest ones we have received this year and will surely impress even the most pick Black Metal fans. Pairing traditional Black Metal riffing with some more melodic and interestingly crafted sections, this band sounds aggressive and yet intelligent enough but never falling into the cliché’s of the current trend of ‘hipster Black Metal’ bands.

    After a nice momentum building and mysterious intro track “Am Abgrund”, the band blows things wide opening with the hyper-destructive “Ein Blick in die Tiefe”. Immediately reminding us of Horna and similar band, this two person outfit does a great job in crafting powerful and yet simple riffs that make their sound so vicious and crushing. The vocals are straight out of hell and the drums are very well crafted allowing the song to not get drowned by them.

  • Sonata Arctica – Live in Finland (2011)


    Rounding up the year, we are treated with a great live album of one of our favorite bands: Sonata Arctica. In “Live in Finland”, the band delivers a massive package for fans with 2 DVD’s featuring live performances in Finland (of course!!) and two bonus CD’s featuring select tracks from these performances (which is what we are reviewing).

    In the first CD, we have a total of 14 tracks that range from some of the band’s latest tracks from the album “The Days of Grays” to some of their biggest hits like “Paid in Full”. Through this album we get to listen to Tony’s excellent voice shine in the live setting and the band showing their skills when playing each intricate song. Being a live CD, the only drawback is that the crowd interaction is in Suomi, but this can add and authentic feeling for some people.

  • Antipope – House of Harlot (2011)


    Hailing from Finland, today we have Antipope and their very diverse and well crafted third full-length release “House of Harlot”. Mixing almost every genre available to them, the band delivers a very interesting and diverse release that aims to appeal fans of Gothic, Dark, Doom, Heavy and some Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal fans.

    With the opening track “House of Harlot”, we are treated to powerful melodic guitars and atmospheric keyboard, very similar to bands like Ancient Drive and other early 2000’s Gothic/Melodic Metal bands. This quickly changes into some more old-school Gothic music and then it all blends together very nicely. This is just a little taste on how Antipope combines many elements into their own brand of Metal.

  • Streams of Blood – The Descent of the Source of Disorder (2011)


    Hitting you like a 50 pound bag of bricks, today we have Streams of Blood and their devastating full-length release “The Descent of the Source of Disorder”. Featuring eight tracks of supreme Black Metal blasphemy, this German band is ready to blow you away with their monumental riffing attacks. While not the most original stuff in the scene, each track is guaranteed to pierce through your eardrums.

    Wasting no time, “The Sense” quickly delivers guitar assaults and unparalleled brutality. The band nicely resembles Gorgoroth and Horna, but with their own hectic and devastating pace. The drumming is supper fast and the screams are just perfect for this music, not to mention the excellent rhythmical sections. “Deepest Abyss of My Soul”, “Fullmoon Era” and “Chaos Returns” keep up the furious pace with intricate guitar sections and brutal drumming. The crushing riffing is clearly top notch and never seems to get boring.


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