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  • Earth Burnt Black – Harrowing Catharsis (2011)

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    With a very interesting and rich sound, today we have Earth Burnt Black’s debut full-length “Harrowing Catharsis”. The band pretty much throws everything in the frying pan and delivers a very well tasty dish of well crafted and different sounding music with a nice and clear production on top of it. These types of albums are the ones we wait for at Infernal Masquerade since the combine so many different things and still manage to sound very well and powerful.

    The “Intro” track immediately gives you the feeling that this will be a Doom Metal release, but this quickly changes in the next song. “The March” features hard rocking guitars and clean vocals to start, clearly breaking away from what is expected from the intro. However, not long enough the Doom and Grooviness come back and the band delivers interesting brutal sections with both growls and screams mixed in between some more clean vocals. While this might sound completely chaotic, it actually works very well with the melodic aspect of the song.

  • Lapis Lazuli – A Justified Loss (2011)

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    Cranking out their second full-length release in 2011, today we have Lapis Lazuli and “A Justified Loss”. In this release the band delivers over 43 minutes of high-octane Symphonic/Gothic Metal graced by the beautiful vocals of Frida Eurenius. If you are a fan of Visions of Atlantis, Epica, Sirenia, and Xandria, you will love this release.

    After the traditional instrumental opener “Facing Demons”, the band comes at us with the bombastic “Leaving Scars”. In this song the keyboards are cranked up to 11 and provide a lush background to Frida’s vocals. While the band’s approach to the genre is very typical and traditional, the songs presented in “A Justified Loss” are very entertaining and demand a high-replay count in order to fully digest them.

  • Case in Theory – Cinematic (2011)

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    With a very well defined Progressive Rock sound, Case in Theory really makes an impact with the 11compositions presented in this very professionally crafted release. “Cinematic” marks the full-length debut of this band and its atmospheric/melodic approach to music, very similar to 3’s “The Ghost you gave to me”. Funded through kickstarter.com, this release packs a lot of punch and hopefully lands the band a label deal.

    Opening with the emotional “Mavericks”, the band showcases very ethereal and well crafted atmospheric elements. The guitar work is very engaging and the backing vocals nicely build up momentum, culminating in the hypnotic song “The Night”. In the second song of the release, the vocals of Jonathan Posadas add an extra dimension to the melodic aspect of this album. Paired with the atmospheric rock guitars and some progressive elements, this song is the perfect indicator of things to come.

  • Medicated – Ways to Make You Fall (2010)

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    It is very interesting to receive albums made in 2010 (for 2010) nowadays and to notice the slight differences in the genres and how they have evolved since then. Today we have Finland’s Medicated and their Melodic Death Metal EP titled “Ways to Make You Fall”. In this four song release we can nicely notice how Melodic Death Metal was highly influenced by bands like Scar Symmetry and older Amoral, but since then it has kind of switched into a more clean vocal harmony driven genre.

    In “Ways to Make You Fall”, the band delivers a hefty amount of harsh screams paired with melodic and catchy chorus sections, just exactly like Scar Symmetry and similar bands where doing back then. The band has a very strong core and the guitarists deliver excellent riffs and melodic sections that sound like they come from any ‘big name’ band. The opener “Ways to Make You Fall” delivers a hectic pace with catchy riffing. The super catchy chorus section is very well crafted and immediately has you headbanging to it, thus achieving what any good Melodic DM song has to do.

  • Black Skies – On the Winds of Time (2011)

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    Hailing from the USA, we have another Sludge band that sounds exactly like everybody else and that it is making its debut full-length statement with “On the Winds of Time”. So why should we not say this is total crap and skip to the next album we have to review? Well, because there is just a little something that makes them a bit interesting to listen to.

    Combining a very organic sound, this record sounds like it was recorded during a rehearsal in a live fashion. The guitars are crunchy, but not over produced and neither over stylized that you can’t really make this sounds in a natural way. The drums are very raw, and while basic and amateurish sounding at times, they sound legit and fit very well with the music.

  • Cairn – Raise the Cairn (2011)

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    Hailing from the USA, today we have a one-man band named Cairn and their debut album “Raise the Cairn”. With a heavy vibe of Primordial meets Forest of Shadows, this short but sweet EP will be enough to rattle your cage and make you want more. Featuring five tracks and around 23 minutes of music, this solo self-exploratory release is one of the most interesting and less vanilla sounding we have received in 2011.

    Opening with an acoustic section, “Magnapinna Rex, Pt I: Solstiseraph” enshrouds the listener in a mysterious cloud of powerful riffing and nice calm sections. Like we mentioned before, this particular song reminded us of Primordial instantly with this nice folk-ish and aggressive approach to music. The shrieks are very powerful and nicely accompany the guitar work. The bass guitar line is pretty active and melodic, somewhat contrasting with the rest and making it more evident. The song is nicely followed by the acoustic track “Far Passage”.

  • Vesperian Sorrow – Stormwinds of Ages (2012)

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    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.

  • Mouth of the Serpent – Manifest (2011)

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    Making its way out of our very crowded promo queue, today we have Mouth of the Serpent’s latest release “Manifest”. Playing Deathcore, this band from California provides six high-octane tracks that will surely have you moshing for hours. The band delivers pretty solid riffs and interesting tempo changes, but ultimately ends up sounding a lot like The Black Dahlia Murder, etc, etc. While there is nothing wrong with that if you are a fan of the genre, this release does get a bit cyclical and ends up sounding very similar.

    After the typical atmospheric opener “Caraven”, the band delivers the powerful “Cisterna”. In this track, the band makes use of their excellent guitar skills and massive drumming to achieve a very brutal sound, the growls are excellent but the screams get a bit annoying sometimes. The brutality continues with “Entheogen”, a track that could easily pass as Technical/Progressive Death Metal if it wasn’t for the very typical Deathcore structure.

  • Fallen Divine - The Binding Cycle (2011)

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    As 2011 winds down and big labels are saving their ‘big’ releases of the opening of 2012, it is very nice to hear fantastic self-released albums like Fallen Divine’s “The Binding Cycle”. Hailing from Norway, this band is ready to conquer the Metal world with crazy-fast guitars, demonic vocals, crafty drumming, and very intricate and skillful compositions. We are very surprised this band has not been picked up by any label yet.

    Immediately showing of their skills with “Dissension”, the band quickly delivers waves of powerful riffs, aggressive vocals and a pounding bass guitar line. The drumming keeps all things together in a very tight manner and nicely changes tempos several times during the song. The atmospheric keyboards give this already awesome track a bit more of flair and epicness. The ethereal atmospheric passage is nicely adorned by great guitar work and a pulsating bass guitar section. Pretty much this is the band’s formula for success and they greatly present it in different shapes through this release.

  • Bradley Tatum – It’s a Beautiful World (2011)

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    Arriving from the Grunge capital of the world: Seattle, WA, today we have Bradley Tatum’s “It’s a Beautiful World” release. Featuring an ensemble of 13 tracks that range from Electro Punk to Gothic Rock, this release has at least something for everybody into any of these genres. We particularly enjoyed the catchy beats and the deep Gothic-sounding vocals.

    First off, the production of this release is probably not the best, but it gives that extra originally and rawness to the material that one would get by listening to Bradley Tatum perform live at some open-mic night. With a high catchiness factor, the trippy Electro opener “Under the Storm Clouds” features nice vocal effects and solid distorted guitars. Not letting things get dull, Bradley Tatum delivers very different compositions in the following tracks “The Others”, “The Human Experiment” and “It’s a Beautiful World”.

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