Limited to a short run of 62 CD-R copies, Frozen Ocean presents us with their 2009 EP titled: “Steamworks: Hibernation”. With a behemoth 30+ minutes song, this release is a good stepping stone into understanding the band’s evolution and how Vaarwel’s skills have been changing over time. With a constant stream of releases Frozen Ocean is one of the most active bands we have heard of, so it is nice to hear a bit more from their musical origins.
Immediately starting with some droning percussions, the album has that unsettling vibe with a martial touch to it. The atmosphere is quite heavy and tense as it slowly builds up. The ritualistic percussions are quite interesting and give it a different vibe to what we have heard in the past from Frozen Ocean. As the song mellows out around the 20th minute, some of the tension gets released and we can finally move over from the edge of our seat.
One-man Danish Dark Ambient project Sagntid brings forth their 2-song demo/promo from back in 2009. In this highly haunting and minimalist release, Sagntid delivers excellent Ambient music that will send chills through your spine the moment the album starts warming up. With a very minimalistic approach, this is the kind of stuff you want to play on a long winter night.
The first track in this release is a nearly 19 minute exploration into darkness. Filled with great atmospheric passages, Sagntid paints lush landscapes with very few elements creating a bleak and desolate feeling. We particularly love how musicians from Scandinavia can perfectly express their vast and desolate landscapes of their northern territories through music and this song is the perfect example of this.
Today we have Septic Christ and their killer debut full-length release titled “Infected Existence”. Delivering an eight track dose of Bay Area sounding Thrash Metal, this Germany band manages to capture the essence of real old-school Thrash and brings it into a more modern and clean sounding stage. “Infected Existence” is one of those releases that feature brilliant riffing from beginning to end and every track should be heard at least one million times to be fully digested and enjoyed.
The album title track delivers the first dosage of killer riffs, reminding us a bit of old Metalica in the pre-“Black Album” era. For a two and a half minute long track, this is one hell of an opener. The tempo changing “W.D.W.F” mixes interesting ‘slow’ sections with the typical Thrash speed ups. The vocals of Bobby Shortleg are pretty solid, but the solos and riffs of JxNothing take the cake in this release. The bass guitar abuse on “Walk” make this sound very devastating and feature an excellent opening section before all hell breaks loose.
Today we have the special ‘special edition’ of Lacrimosa’s “Sehnsucht” album released in North America by End of Light Records. This special ‘special edition’ features the regular special edition of this release with the slightly different songs and a full extra CD with some remixes and older songs. This edition features the ‘color’ version of the artwork and the full booklet filled with pictures and the lyrics of the songs.
“Sehnsucht” has always been one of our least favorite albums of the band due to the somewhat considerable difference to their previous more conceptual releases. However, in terms of experimentation and musical maturity, this release is indeed the best the band has ever recorded so far. This release features a more ‘free-flowing’ approach and the music is very well composed, but lacks the whole ‘experience’ of a conceptual release with many different moods that progress over time.
With a truly unique sound that borders around chaotic or plain genius, Klaki Avatara delivers four tracks of very solid Folk/Symphonic Metal. Multi-instrumentalist Hell:I0:Kabbalus from Aborym fame manages to craft very interesting tracks in this fine EP titled “Mantra for the End of Times”. During this album the mood changes from ethereal choirs to crazy aggressive parts and deranged vocals.
Seemingly random, the music in this release is executed to perfection in order to create a very chaotic feeling that many bands fail miserably at, but Kalki Avatara pulls-off graciously. Opening with “Mankind Collapses”, this door serves as a perfect introduction to the crazy world of the band. The over the top keyboards paired with the insane vocals and the aggressive riffs make this song very similar to creations of such bands like Transcending Bizarre? and such.
Featuring Armanen of Kult ov Azazel on guitars and vocals, and VJS (Kult ov Azazel, Nightbringer,etc) on bass and drums, today we have Tenebrous and their soul crushing release “Opus Magnum”. Filled with hate and destruction, the 10 tracks presented in this release feature a hectic and diabolical Black Metal sound with a USBM edge to it.
Not for the weak of mind and soul, “Opus Magnum” delivers its first aural assault with “What Death Has Fallen”. In this very hectic and destructive song, we can immediately hear the band’s pure aggression channeled through shrieks of pain, distorted guitars and bestial drumming. This is in fact the way most of the album goes with a few very interesting changes in the pace of some songs. “Wallachia Weywoden” is a clear example of some nice slow-downs with brutal sections galore.
Deliver nine blows of pure rawness, today we have Incursus and their very devastating (and well crafted) debut full-length release “Eternal Funeral Trance”. Featuring VJS of Kult ov Azazel, Nightbringer, etc., Incursus has a great sound for such a ‘young’ band, but with his pedigree it is something to be fully expected. The vocalist Horidus (ex-Demoncy and ex-Legions of Astaroth) it is also a fundamental part for this release to work the way it does due to his hellish shrieks.
Opening with a very cool intro, the album fully explodes with “A Ravenous Despair”. In this track the band delivers waves of crushing riffs and blasting drums, all of these perfectly complemented by Horidus vocals. With the true Black Metal sound behind them, Incursus delivers a top notch opening track that will be greatly appreciated by all fans of the genre. In the following aural assaults “When Death Enthrones Our Darkness”, “Phantasmagoria” and “Evil Comes Forth”, the band has a similar feeling to other greats of the genre like Deathspell Omega, Katharsis, Sargeist, etc.
Released in 2009, “Killing Raping Burning / The Devil’s Advocate” marks the now defunct Lord Foul’s last release. Featuring the band’s only two demos we can hear some of their strengths and a lot of their weaknesses, which probably led to their demise. Fan of raw and low-fi Black Metal will surely get a kick out of this release, but does not feature enough elements to really grab your attention for the whole 20 minutes it lasts.
In the first ‘half’ of the album we have the six real songs of the “Killing, Raping Burning” demo. In these songs we have a few spoken/movie section intros that remind us of the good old Mortician stuff. The songs however, are very random in nature. The drums are going fast, the distorted guitars are pretty odd and repetitive and the vocals just seem to not lead anywhere. We can’t really say that we found much here other than a ‘kvlt’ sound with no substance.
Hailing from Pennsylvania, today we have Forgotten Legacy and their 2009 demo “The Oracle”. If you are a fan of old-school American Power/Heavy Metal you will find this release very enjoyable.
Featuring 5 songs, the band quickly gathers momentum with the opening track “2012”. In this song we are treated to very effective riffs and powerful vocals. The production is evidently weak, but this does not diminish the abilities presented by the band. The song is very catchy, the riffs are well crafted and the drumming is very effective.
Finalized before their 2009 split, Polish Deep-pression treat us (or torment us, however you want to see it) with their fourth full-length release “4: Void of a Morning”. With a very experimental style, “Void of a Morning” feels like a soundtrack to acid trips gone wrong and has a very hypnotic feel to it, almost rending us into a catatonic state.
After a very traditional intro, with “Night Struggle” sets a very disturbing atmosphere with dissonant guitar licks, creepy spoken vocals, and a mind numbing (in a good way) droning feeling. While the interludes between tracks don’t help much to continue the atmosphere and flow of the album, they do provide a nice (and very short) breather between the longer 9+ minutes tracks. The rest of the tracks follow a similar atmospheric elements and spoken lyrics approach, but each one has their own creepiness to them.