• The Hourglass – Through Darkness and Light (2014)


    Hailing from Romania, today we have The Hourglass and their majestic Symphonic/Gothic Metal release “Through Darkness and Light”. With countless bands in this genre, it is quite hard to find standout bands and releases, but The Hourglass managed to surface from the pile and claimed our attention for more than several hours – a feat considering the amount of CD’s we review every week.

    Avoiding any filler intro track, the band gets down to business with the lush “Dying Star”, a song that is quite dynamic and features some interesting electronic elements thrown into the mix. This track reminds us a bit of a mixture of Nemesea and Edenbridge. The band’s vocalist Alma Vomastek delivers an incredible performance with her excellent vocal talents. As the band delivers bombastic songs like “Rise” and “Away”, our attentions are greatly focused on the ballad “Dare”. In this very dramatic song we greatly appreciate the band’s intricate songwriting skills that perfectly outline every single element in their sound.

  • Mastabah – I Hate You (2014)


    Arriving as one of the most brutal releases we have received in 2014, today we have Mastabah and their devastating “I Hate You”. Pouncing on the listener with brutal blast beats and crushing vocals, this release can be compared to a more chaotic Anaal Nathrakh rooted in Death Metal foundations.

    Blasting things wide open with the incisive “Shackles of the Past”, the band is very serious about making their point of being super brutal. The crushing drumming is perfectly produced and shines through the heaps of growls, shrieks and relentless riffing. The band goes back and forth between insane brutality levels and Death Metal grooviness in tracks like “Spectacle of Human Existence” and the excellent “Deck of Life and Death”.

  • Midnight Sorrow – At First (2014)


    Hailing from France, today we have a new entry into the Symphonic/Gothic Metal category with Midnight Sorrow and their debut EP, “At First”. Delivering over 15 minutes of well-crafted traditional Symphonic Gothic Metal, the band can easily rival the likes of Edenbridge, Xandria, Delain, etc. with their very direct and easy going music.

    As it is usual to open with an instrumental track, “Crystal Drops” sets a very magical atmosphere and generates expectation for the listener to keep reading. In a very bombastic manner, “Waterfall” instantly delivers and intense opening with fast guitars and very lush instrumentations. Maureen’s vocals are quite potent and very fitting to the music, she reminds us of Helena Iren Michaelsen from Imperia/Trail of Tears fame.

  • Destitution - Beware the Fury of the Patient Man (2014)


    With the Netherlands being a huge supplier of female-fronted Metal bands, it is always quite refreshing to hear bands trying different genres. Desitution delivers ten tracks of old-school Thrash Metal with modern production values and the original attitude of the 80’s. Featuring a very retro sound and packaging, this digipack is one solid debut release.

    Instantly channeling their inner Kreator, “Mr. Greedy” opens the release with solid vocals and excellent guitar leads. The vocals have that very distinct Thrash ring to them that allows them to fully take command of each song. Not being slackers, Destitution delivers plenty of songs over 3:30 minutes long, with some of them even clocking 5 or more minutes. This allows the tracks to fully develop by themselves and features a wide variety of guitars leads and melodic sections like “Criticize”, “”Vigilante” and “Alcathrash”.

  • Kvity Znedolenykh Berehiv – Za Nebokray Mriy (2014)


    Being huge fans of any variants of Death/Doom Metal, when we received Kvity Znedolenykh Berehiv - (Kvity - for short) demo release “Za Nebokray Mriy” (aka “Beyond the Horizon of Dreams”) we instantly put it on our stereo system. Featuring two songs of monumental atmospheric Death/Doom Metal, this release will intoxicate you with sadness and melancholy for the 20 minutes it runs for. Both songs deliver elements from the genre greats like Saturnus, (old) Anathema, My Dying Bride, Lethian Dreams. Morgion, etc., making them quite awesome.

    Opening with “У обіймах (Тихі води)”, the release sets a very dramatic and engaging tone. Merciless weeping guitars surrounded by heavy growls and bleak atmospheric elements. This one-man band provides an excellent rendition of melancholy through music thanks to its lush keyboards/piano arrangements. Clocking in at nine and a half minutes, this track reminds us of Draconian minus the female vocals with some Forest of Shadows influences.

  • NovaReign – Reign of the Infinite Sun (2014)


    Hailing from the USA, where we do not have a lot of Power/Progressive Metal bands, today we have Power/Progressive Metal California outfit NovaReign and their first demo release. With “Reign of the Infinite Sun”, the band delivers four very promising tracks that with a little more work could be outstanding.

    Opening with the exciting “Call on the Storm”, the band showcases excellent musicianship and technical proficiency. The thing that brings down the experience is the not-there-yet vocals of David Marquez. While his range has potential, it still needs to be definitely worked on. As the epic riffs, tight drumming, and proficient guitar work continues on tracks like “Crimson Shield” and “Beyond the Cold”, we also noticed that for a demo in 2014, the production is a bit flat. A better job when mixing should do the trick and elevate the band’s sound.

  • Chemical Way – U.F.NO! (2013)


    Playful Thrash/Crossover Canadian mongers deliver their debut EP release titled “U.F.NO!”. Featuring five tracks full of attitude and catchy riffing, Chemical Way is ready to compete with bands like Municipal Waste and Suicidal Tendencies for the Thrash/Crossover crown.

    Taking us back in time to the early 90’s with its riffing, “E.H.P.S.C.A” blows things wide open with a furious pace and intense drumming. In terms of production, we can only wish that albums back in the day sounded as good as this one, since we can fully appreciate every little cymbal and the imperfections in some of the vocals. Keeping the retro vibe alive, “You’re Erased!” delivers a playful movie intro and a very chaotic song structure.

  • Siege – Decay of Flesh (2014)


    Pummeling its way from Italy, today we have Death Metal juggernauts Siege and their debut full-length release “Decay of Flesh”. Featuring 14 tracks and around 44 minutes of neck-snapping Death Metal, this Italian band does a great job in mixing Swedish and American ‘old school’ Death Metal influences with a forward thinking and modern direction. Whether you prefer a chugging riffing galore or more atmospheric and carefully crafted details, this release has it all.

    Things start pretty straightforward with the punishing “In Memore”, “The Massacre Begins” and “Decay of Flesh”. As the band goes into their “Legend of the Iced Earth Knights”, the music gets more elaborate and atmospheric. The DM foundation is ever present, but the riffing and melodic passages are richer and more exciting, like on our favorite “The Banishment”. Atmospheric pieces like “The Coming of Draugen” really elevate this release making it quite enjoyable and diverse.

  • Cold Colours – MMXIV (2014)


    Hailing from the USA, today we have Atmospheric Death/Doom Metal outfit Cold Colours and their three songs EP “MMXIV”. With a distinctive European sound, this band reminds us of a slower and gloomier version of Swallow The Sun, My Dying Bride, and Frailty mixed in with some Thorns of The Carrion and (older) Eternal Tears of Sorrow influences. If the name-dropping was not enough for you to pick a copy of this, we will surely convince you by the end of this review.

    Opening with the bleak “Heathen”, the band instantly paints a very desolate melodic atmosphere with great pace and weeping guitars. This opening is indeed quite doomy and yet unconventional for what we usually get from Doom bands. The singing is a mixture of growls and screams that works quite well with the pace of the music. After warming you up with a solid opener, the band goes full Doom on the crushing “From This Pain”. Again, the riffing is brilliant and nicely outlined by very solid drumming. The tempo changes are brilliant and deliver a truly intense rollercoaster-like experience.


Recent Image Galleries