Arriving from the most powerful Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal band from Finland, today we have “The Three-faced Pilgrim”. Featuring six tracks of majestic BM filled with crushing guitars and eerie atmospheric elements, Alghazanth continues to improve upon their legacy with another masterful release. Bearing a few line-up adjustments, the band keeps their lush Symphonic/Melodic Black Metal in place with some of the most exciting songs we have heard in 2013.
Opening with the devastating “In Your Midnight Orchard”, we have a raw BM with awesome atmospheric highlights. The band has been perfecting their craft for a few years now, and with this release they take it to a whole new level of brutality. Just picture Horna with keyboards and Alghazanth is what you get. The melodic riffing is another aspect of the band that shows their true craft when it comes to songs like “To The Pear of High” and “Promethean Permutation”, both filled with excellent melodic riffs that seamlessly change tempos between aggressive and hyper-blast mode.
Symphonic Black Metal
After gaining quite a boost on outside of Taiwan popularity with “Takasago Army”, Chthonic returns with another very intense and equally interesting release. With “Bú-Tik” the band continues with their very thematic lyrical context and their majestic music that mixes Melodic/Symphonic Black/Death Metal elements with lush arrangements and authentic instrumentation. Proving that their last album was not a fluke, “Bú-Tik” continues with their musical intensity, and delivers ten tracks of top-notch quality.
The album opens with the very dramatic “Arising Armament”, a lush instrumental intro with a very tense vibe. The band’s musical magic continues with the powerful “Supreme Pain for the Tyrant”, a very aggressive yet atmospheric and catchy track. The vocals of Freddy Lim are impressive, and add that extra level of intensity to the music. “Sail into the Sunset’s Fire” keeps things rolling with blistering drumming and excellent riffing, a highly underrated skill from the band if you ask us. Featuring some excellent solos, this track is one of the best of the album.
Being huge suckers for Symphonic Black Metal, we got excited when we received the debut full-length release of Totengeflüster titled “Vom Seelensterben”. After several listens we still have mixed feelings about this release, one the one hand, there are some awesome songs, on the other hand, there are some totally filler self-masturbation ‘orchestral’ passages that should just be discarded. This release might have been better served as an EP, since as a whole it has less impact on the listener.
Opening with the traditional dramatic orchestration, the album finally kicks into gear with “Ein Traumgespints”, a fierce track that reminded us of the aggression put forth by bands like Anorexia Nervosa. The singing is superb and highly aggressive, the riffs are pretty solid and the overall aural experience is quite filling. There are some obvious Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth-esque elements inserted into the music, on tracks like “Ein Monolog im Mondschein”, but we can deal with them as long as they are not overdone.
Holy shit! Who brought Cradle of Filth (circa 1996) back from the dead!. With a very familiar sound, today we have Old Corpse Road their debut full-length release “'Tis Witching Hour... As Spectres We Haunt This Kingdom”. Sounding eerily similar to CoF on their “Vempire or Dark Faerytales in Phallustein”/”Dusk…and Her Embrace” era, today we have this British band with a very explosive sound with some Folk elements thrown in to keep things a bit fresh.
Surrounded in a shroud of mysterious atmospheric elements, the opener “’Tis Witching Hour” delivers the chilling deep spoken vocal sections that we all used to love from CoF. The keyboards are extremely epic (just like on “Dusk…and Her Embrace”) and nicely set the mood for the brutal “The Cauld Lad Of Hylton”. In a very CoF-esque vibe, the band quickly delivers massive drumming sections and killer shrieks/growls combo sections. This is exact déjà vu of what CoF used to do back in the day, and we think it is awesome.
As the first promo of 2013 we received at Infernal Masquerade, we are quite surprised that we immediately have an early candidate for Symphonic Black Metal release of the year 2013. Saille makes a furious return with “Ritu”, an opus in melodic aggression that reminded us of the days when Dimmu Borgir was not ridiculously overproduced and of bands like Vesperian Sorrow, that keep the flame of Symphonic BM alive. With nine tracks presented in this release, this outfit from Belgium delivers one of the most impressive sophomore releases we have ever heard.
Opening with the bombastic “Blood Libel”, the band immediately unleashes their furious Black Metal riffing and killer drumming. The band’s sound reminded us a bit of Anorexia Nervosa and their balls to the wall style. The lush keyboards greatly enhance this vicious track, creating a very eerie atmosphere. In a very maquiavelic style, “Subcutaneous Terror” delivers a very catchy mixture of creepy slow passages and brutal aggressive sections with sick guitar solos. This song reminded us when Dimmu Borgir in their “Enthroned Darkness Triumphant” era.
Finally we get a release that is a bit different than almost everybody else that tries to copy somebody. With Chaosweaver’s sophomore release “Enter the Realm of the Doppelganger”, we are treated to nine tracks of excellent Symphonic Metal with Black Metal and Industrial elements. Keeping the atmosphere above all things, the band nicely crafts excellent songs that are quite a musical experience.
The highly dramatic opener “A Read Dawn Rises” is a clear example of a beautifully crafted track that delivers emotions and a great sense of harmony. This is the perfect lead-up for the explosive “Wings of Chaos”. In this track the guitars open up a riffing onslaught while the atmospheric synths fill the atmosphere. Not sounding like Dimmu Borgir, or any other Symphonic Metal band, Chaosweaver has a bigger and more grandiose cinematic feeling. With a very classical feeling “Maelstrom of Black Light” nicely keeps the experience rolling with catchy riffing and an excellent tempo.
Making its way from France, today we have Winterburst and their very impressive debut release “The Mind Cave”. With a very bombastic Symphonic Black Metal sound, the band delivers nearly 70 minutes of high-octane music that resembles the greats of the genre: Dimmu Borgir. Focusing on delivering the catchiest and most effective songs, the band delivers intense riffing and drumming with a high dosage of orchestrations and choir arrangements.
Opening with the highly dramatic “A Mirror’s Game”, this release immediately blows you away with the production quality behind it. The choirs are amazing and the immediate riffing intensity is excellent. The vocals sound a bit like Shagrath making them very fitting for the massive sound that Winterburst has. Changing between shrieks, growls and clean sections, the band’s vocalist Vorender is as versatile as they come. The power of Kyll’s guitars is felt immediately and on tracks like “The Mind Cave”, they pound away relentlessly. We particularly enjoy this track due to its intricate orchestrations as well.
Just when you thought you have heard every single Symphonic Black Metal band under the sun (or moon), a ‘new’ one pops out. Releasing their debut album “Descensus Ad Inferos”, today we have Greece’s Erevos. Playing a mean Symphonic Black Metal, this band delivers a very powerful and commanding debut release. Featuring tons of lush atmospheric landscapes, powerful guitars and very ghoulish vocals, this band will surely turn some heads in the scene.
Opening with thick atmospheric keyboards, “Adou Katavasis” announces the band’s very complex and well developed sound. The production behind this release is excellent since allows everything to sound very clearly and massive. The combination of keyboards and guitars is very melodic and makes this opening track very catchy and engaging. Things remain as brutal with “The Omnipotence of the Judges”, a song that reminds us very much of Anorexia Nervosa and their hyper-brutal melodic songs.
Five years have passed since the release of “Regenesis Creation”, and finally Vesperian Sorrow is back with another monumental album of aggressive Symphonic Black Metal that will put all other band’s to shame. In “Stormwinds of Ages” the band delivers around 60 minutes of excellently crafted songs and a superb production that will blow you away and incite you to play it as loud as you can (we did). Having enough time to craft the 11 tracks of this release has helped the band achieve a near perfect album that features plenty of guest appearances and the hectic sound that the band is very characteristic for.
While every band in the USA is running to the next big trends like Deathcore, Metalcore, Cascadian Hipster Black Metal, Vesperian Sorrow continues perfecting unaffected by all the trendy crap in this country. Having toured all over the world, the band’s sound speaks for itself and with more tweaking since “Regenesis Creation” this album showcases the maturity of the band’s sound and musical abilities.
Finally returning after 5 years since the band’s last full-length release “Second Skin of Harlequin”, today we have Denmark’s Illnath and their characteristic Melodic Black Metal. With several lineup changes, “Third Act in the Theatre of Madness” showcases the band’s new female growler Mona Beck and session drummer Reno Killerich. Now signed to Pitch Black Records, the band shows that they are back stronger than ever and with the ten tracks presented in this release, they mean serious business.
“Third Act” opens the album in a very traditional manner, with some keyboards, a pounding bass guitar line and tight drumming. The first surprise comes when Mona starts singing since she does not sound like your typical female growler. As a regular reader of Infernal Masquerade you might be aware that we are tired of this gimmick, but for Illnath, the female growler works perfectly. Just like a more aggressive version Angela Gossow, Mona brings a new level of brutality to the band’s sound.