• Grey November – The Fall of the House of Usher (2011)


    All the way from France, today we have Grey November and their latest full-length release “The Fall of the House of Usher”. This two person band commanded by multi-instrumentalist Cédric Seyssiecq delivers a much needed dose of Funeral Doom Metal with some Gothic Doom elements filled with melancholy and despair, just perfect for the cold winter months.

    Opening with the 12 minute epic “Pendant Toute Une Journée D'automne”, this song nicely evolves from a Funeral Doom piece into a more powerful Gothic Doom track. Featuring the angelic vocals of Marieke Delanghe, this song nicely builds up expectation for what is next to come in this release. Continuing with a mixture of Shape of Despair and Elend, “Roderick Usher” provides atmospheric keyboards accompanied by ethereal female vocals and some creepy spoken male sections. A few riffs here and there nicely bring this song down to Doom territory.

  • AbsentiA – Our Bleeding Sun (2011)


    As a late contender for ‘self-produced’ album of the year 2011, today we have AbsentiA and their monumental “Our Bleeding Sun”. With a sound that easily rivals Dimmu Borgir and other similar bands, this little ‘unknown’ band from Spain makes a huge ruckus with the nine superb tracks featured in this release. Being fans of Melodic (insert_whatever) Metal ourselves, AbsentiA does an excellent job in incorporation melody, aggression and heaps of surprises into their sound.

    After opening with the Dimmu Borgir-esque intro “All this Hell”, the band quickly delivers the first high-intensity track with “The end of the Line”. Featuring a healthy mixture of powerful riffs with perfectly timed keyboards and crushing vocals, the band has a very powerful and yet melodic sound, something that is unusual for unsigned bands. With “Inferno” giving a Dissection vibe, the band delivers another powerful track that is nicely adorned by a very effective melodic passage with a nicely crafted solo and enchanting female vocals.

  • Skaur – Skaur (2011)


    After releasing 10 demos and two splits, Skaur finally decides to unleash upon the world their first self-titled full-length release, and it is an excellent one we might say. While almost everything in Black Metal has been played or done before, Skaur manages to sneak by with six very interesting tracks that incorporate many of the traditional aspects of the genre, but have their own particular elements that make them stand out from the rest of the BM albums we get.

    Since the opener “Fullmaanesang” the band sets a furious pace with perfectly crafted melodic elements (like the bass guitar line) and some very powerful acoustic passages. This combination allows the band’s sound to be more devastating since it keeps you at the edge of your seat waiting for what is coming next. The riffing on track like “Nordnorsk Svartmetall” is pretty standard for BM, but the drum patterns nicely break the ‘traditional’ schemes the genre has and makes the songs more dynamic. The band also whips out some eerie clean vocals that out of nowhere give extra depth to an already interesting sound.

  • Inverted – Point of Crossing (2011)


    Arriving all the way from Italy, today we have Inverted’s debut full-length release “Point of Crossing” strictly for old school Death Metal fans. In the 10 tracks featured on this CD, fans of the genre will find plenty of meaty riffs and powerful growls. Not reinventing the wheel or anything, Inverted does a great job in crafting songs that are both engaging and very appealing for moshpit induced craziness.

    With the brutal opening track “Disgrace”, the band quickly sets the pace for a very hectic and crushing release. The riffing is very traditional and the drumming is top notch, making the vocals shine very nicely in the middle of things. The bass guitar is pretty well balanced into the mix and nicely crafted. While this is music to any DM fan ears, it is also something that has been done one million times before and Inverted does little to improve or carve their name in the genre.

  • Black Blade – Welcome into the Warfield (2011)


    While the whole Greece is on total economic meltdown, it is good to see that their Metal production is still intact and there are young and promising bands like Black Blade. In this 3-song demo, the band shows that they have enough creativity to really catch our attention with less than 15 minutes of music. Featuring a healthy combination of Death Metal influences with more traditional sounds, the band achieves maximum catchiness very effectively in these songs.

    Opening with “Warfield”, the band delivers a powerful bass guitar line surrounded by melodic guitar riffs and a ‘discrete’ Death Metal snarl, like the bands in the past used to do (first Sepultura albums, etc). I this short track, the band quickly establish their ability to create simple yet catchy melody and mix elements from different genres, like the Southern/ Heavy Metal section mid-way through the song.

  • Human Sculpture – Our World / Torn Down (2011)


    Out of the hundreds of bands that come out of Finland every year it is very hard to differentiate the very good ones from the good ones (apparently there are very few shitty bands in that country!). Human Sculpture is one of the very good ones indeed and with their three song EP “Our World / Torn Down”, they deliver 15 minutes of intense Melodic Death Metal combined with some Thrash and Modern Metal influences.

    Sounding a bit like Kalmah combined with Exodus and some Gojira influences; “Deconstruction” delivers hard hitting riffs and very powerful drums. The dual screams approach is very powerful and packs a lot of power, making the songs very aggressive and yet melodic and well crafted. The riffing assault in this song is top notch and the Modern Metal influences are very nicely incorporated into things and do not sound annoying at all.

  • Vomitron – No NES for the Wicked (2011)


    Just as other people have indicated in the past, once we received a CD with a band named Vomitron and a semi-naked chick in the cover we expected the worst. However, we were quite surprised to hear that almost all tracks in this release are of extreme musical quality and very carefully crafted. Transforming old Nintento music into Metal tunes, Vomitron’s mastermind Peter Rutcho showcases his excellent musical abilities and delivers some of the best re-interpretations of these songs we have ever heard.

    Opening with a filler intro, the first real song of this release is an epic interpretation of the “Contra” theme. Showing Power Metal and Progressive Metal elements, this song will immediately get you psyched about the tracks to follow in this excellent release. “Blaster Master” is a nice combination of powerful riffing and trippy keyboard sections, a very enjoyable track for fans of futuristic Power/Progressive Metal. The song that almost everybody will be waiting for has to be “The Legend of Zelda” theme, and Vomitron does an amazing rendition thanks to Peter’s great guitar skills.

  • Eskeype – Legacy of Truth (2010)


    All the way from Switzerland today we have a band called Eskeype (is this pronounced Skype?), and their very catchy mixture of Groove Metal and Thrash Metal with some hints of a few other genres mixed in-between. For 13 tracks the band gives us a very in your face approach with hectic drumming, catchy and powerful riffing and aggressive vocals that will exhaust even the most active mosher from our readers.

    Immediately after a very dynamic prologue, the band delivers waves of powerful riffs and aggressive vocals with the first two tracks “The Chronicle’s Origin Part One” and part two. In these two tracks the band quickly demonstrates their ability to craft very catchy guitar sections and pair them with crushing vocals. The melodic passages are excellent and the use of violins (a la Dark Lunacy) is just excellent, giving them a nice Melodic edge to their music.

  • Meden Agan – Erevos Aenaon (2011)


    As one of the most professional sounding self-released album we have received in 2011, Meden Agan’s “Erevos Aenaon” can easily compete with any big-budget Gothic/Symphonic Metal album this year. With such a rich sound and excellent production, Meden Agan is ready to make a run at the spotlight and they sure have a good shot thanks to this excellent release.

    Opening with “Black Sky”, the band immediately establishes its bombastic sound thanks to heavy keyboard use, pounding guitars, and angelic female vocals. The band’s female vocalist, Iliana Tsakiraki, delivers a very emotional performance that is greatly (and sometimes annoyingly) enhanced by extreme vocal layering. Her voice is very good and has some hints of Amberian Dawn and similar bands, not too sweet and not overly done like many classically trained singers come across.

  • Acelsia – Quietude (2011)


    Making its way from Norway to our little corner of the world, today we have Acelsia’s latest EP titled “Quietude”. In this four-song EP the band shows their very effective approach to mixing Gothic and Doom Metal influences with some hints of Rock. Lead by the enchanting vocals of Malene Markussen, the band delivers 18 minutes of pure melancholic music that will move you one way or another.

    Opening with powerful riffs on “All these Years”, the band nicely transitions with enchanting female vocals and well constructed Doom-like riffs. While the band’s sound is not fully depressive or as down-tempo as regular Gothic Doom, you can still feel the melancholy behind the hearfelt songs presented in this release. “Happiness Prevails” opens with some weaping guitars and quickly transforms, this skill is probably Acelsia’s most interesting feature since the songs morph from one direction to another very seamlessly and effectively.


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