• Cruachan – Blood on the Black Robe (2011)


    Five years have passed since “The Morrigan's Call” and Cruachan shows no sign of slowing down, with “Blood on the Black Robe” the band makes a very solid return. As the current Celtic/Folk Metal scene is watered down with releases that sound like the “Braveheart” soundtrack, it is very nice to get one that focuses more on the guitars and aggressiveness of the music.

    I have always liked the band since their 1995 debut “Tuatha Na Gael”, and with every release they show more maturity and refinement in their sound, and now they return to the killer aggressive style from their earlier days. “Blood on the Black Robe” is no exception, the band exploits their guitar driven sound with catchy sections and effective use of Folk elements.

  • Burzum – Fallen (2011)


    Looks like Varg Vikernes was very active writing music in the last few years and delivers the second post-prison Burzum album in two years. With “Fallen”, Varg seems to dig back into the early Burzum material and delivers a very solid and impressive release with some upgrades to the older sound.

    One thing that will come as a huge shock for people expecting pure and raw Black Metal is the use of some clean vocals and humming. While this might seem confusing at first, it actually enhances the mood of the album greatly and makes the harsh vocal sections more grim and meaningful.

  • Havok – Time is up (2011)


    After their solid debut album “Burn”, Havok is back with their crushing Thrash Metal sound with “Time is up”. This new release features 10 tracks and 42 minutes of non-stop Thrash Metal music that will blow your speakers off. Unlike all the copycat bands, Havok is influencing their sound with modern elements and with a crystal clear production that puts them in the same caliber are the greats of the genre Exodus, Forbidden, etc.

    With the opening track aptly titled “Prepare for Attack”, the band unleashes their musical skills with sick tracks that will have you headbanging from the first minute. The guitar riffing is even better than on their “Burn” album, and the catchiness of the songs is unrivaled.

  • The Meads of Asphodel – The Murder of Jesus the Jew (2011)


    As the first release we review of 2011 (for the USA), today we have a very special release: “The Murder of Jesus the Jew” by the ever surprising The Meads of Asphodel. Featuring their unique blend of Black Metal with countless other genres, the band manages to create their most impressive release to date.

    Metatron and company return with their first full-length release since their epic “Damascus Steel” from 2005. “The Murder of Jesus the Jew” plays out in a very theatrical way, depicting in 12 songs the story of Yeshua. As you can expect the band uses their wide range of influences to craft a very unique sounding and appealing release that will blow your mind away (if you’ve never listened to the band).

  • Dusted Angel - Earth Sick Mind (2010)


    Hailing from the USA, today we have one of the dullest and most generic bands we have received in quite a while: Dusted Angel. The band plays Doom/Stoner Metal with almost no sense of originality and creativity, crafting seven songs that will surely be forgotten the moment you stop listening to this album.

    We know that Doom/Stoner Metal are two genres that do not have much to have drastic changes and elements that would make a release be completely out of the ordinary, but when the band just plays very similar riffs over and over and the vibe of the music feels a bit stale and uninspired.

  • Limbonic Art – Phantasmagoria (2010)


    In their two albums after their 2006 reformation, Limbonic Art has managed to tarnish their legacy created by impressive releases such as “Moon in the Scorpio” and “In Abhorrence Dementia”. “Phantasmagoria” is one of said albums, and with this release we can only hope that the band changes their name or goes back to sleep once more.

    In another attempt at creating something ‘impressive’ the ‘band’ fails miserably and creates another sub-par release from what once was from Limbonic Art. “Phantasmagoria” features well over one hour of pointless and direction-less songs that will only cause Black Metal fans to cringe track after track, since this release will give you a headache similar to the ones you get by listening to pure static for 6 hours.

  • Woe – Quiet, Undramatically (2010)


    Featuring half of the Woods of Ypres lineup and everybody of The Green Evening Requiem, today we have Woe and their very impressive second full-length release “Quiet, Undramatically”. The now full band, delivers a crushing 43 minutes of Black Metal with melodic and emotional passages that will surely get a bunch of people yelling Agalloch, Wolves in the Throne Room, etc, rip-offs.

    While the band’s sound does have very little of the Agalloch, WitTR, melodic edge, they do have a hefty amount of aggressiveness and power to their sound, making them a very different band from what we are used to listening to from the Black Metal scene here in the USA. “Quiet, Undramatically” is a brilliant album that is both raw and aggressive, but it also has that certain elements of melody that makes you start ‘pseudo’ headbanging in your seat.

  • Krieg – The Isolationist (2010)


    “The Isolationist” marks the first full-length album after the 2007 revival of USBM band Krieg. Featuring members of a wide variety of Black Metal bands, most notably N. Imperial, we get 11 tracks of an interesting combination of raw Black Metal and some experimental elements that take this release into the ‘Black Metal with weird stuff’ category in our book.

    Opening with a very desolate intro, “No Future” shows a very raw and aggressive side of Black Metal that only a few bands (and Krieg) can pull off and not sound pretentious or that they are trying too hard. The guitar riffing is hellish, N. Imperials screams are brutal and the overall atmosphere of this song will bring unrest to even the calmest person in the world. This is pretty much how the rest of “The Isolationist” will continue to affect the listeners psyche.

  • The Wretched End – Ominous (2010)


    From the mind of Samoth (ex-Emperor, ex-Zyklon, etc) we have “Ominous”, the debut full-length release of The Wretched End. Having a band featuring Samoth and Nils Fjellström (ex-Dark Funeral), you know that the music will be intense and very well crafted. In addition to the band’s impressive line-up we have Cosmo (Mindgrinder and Scum), handling vocals and bass guitars.

    Playing a very fresh blend of Death Metal with Thrash influences and the occasional Emperor-esque Black Metal hint here and there, The Wretched End brings forth a very solid debut album that immediately showcases the quality of musicians participating in the band. “Ominous” features 12 tracks of relentless music that will please all fans of almost any previous project/band of Samoth.

  • October Tide – A Thin Shell (2010)


    Originally a side project of Jonas Renkse and Fred Norrman from Katatonia, October Tide took by surprise the Death/Doom Metal world back in 1997 with their legendary album “Rain without End”. The band disbanded from around 2000 and finally returned in 2009 with only Fred Norman (not anymore with Katatonia) and Tobias Netzell (of In Mourning) on vocals.

    “A Thin Shell” marks the band’s return to the Metal scene and it’s a great comeback album for all of us Death/Doom Metal fans. With seven songs and over 40 minutes of music, this release has all the ingredients to make it a classic of the genre and continue the legacy of October Tide.


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