Diablo Swing Orchestra – Sing-Along Songs For The Damned & Delirious (2009)

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When I first heard “The Butcher's Ballroom” back in 2006, I was blown away by the very interesting and at the same time very bizarre combination of musical genres that this album presents. The overall atmosphere created by that album is heavily intoxicating like a siren’s chant or the devil’s whisper.

Fast-forward three years into the future and the Swedes behind the Diablo Swing Orchestra are back with their second album that will surely establish them as one of the premiere Avant-garde Metal bands of all time. “Sing-Along Songs…” is a brilliant album that had me hooked on it since the first time I heard the CD.

Ethereal Collapse – Breaching The Citadel (2006)

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When I first received this band’s ‘promo’ package with a burned CD-R and a hand written information sheet, I was about to discard this release instantly since I have not received something like this in several years. However I decided to play the CD on my car on the way to a party one night and I was blown away because of what I heard.

I was almost not able to get out of the car in order to finish listening to the brilliant mix of Melodic Death Metal and Trash Metal that this band has managed to put on their first full-length album. The music was that good, since it’s a perfect balance of both genres and it’s completely unpredictable.

Ethereal Collapse – Categories (2008)

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Recorded two years after their great debut full-length “Breaching The Citadel” was released, Ethereal Collapse is back with “Categories” a 3 song EP that takes off where their last album left.

And if you have not read the review of their full-length album, then I’ll give you the jist of it: the album kicks ass, plain and simple. The band’s second effort is pretty good, but it’s probably lost the WOW factor since after listening to the first you have very high expectations of whatever the band releases next.

Sonata Arctica – The Days Of Grays (2009)

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Sonata Arctica is a band that has been constantly changing since its formation back in 1999 and have consistently released quality album no matter what changes they make to their sound.

“The Days Of Grays” is the band’s latest release and it’s very bombastic and emotional in nature, Tony Kakko is probably one of the best metal singers these days, and in this album he has another killer performance that will surely satisfy all of the band’s fans. His vocal range is amazing as always and his ability to transfer emotions into the lyrics and music is unrivaled.

Syrach – A Dark Burial (2009)

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Hailing from Norway this band plays some kind of mix of Doom Metal and Death Metal. The overall sound of the band is very old school as you cannot find any elements of modern metal in their music, and while sometimes this is a good thing it does not work too well for Syrach.

“A Dark Burial” presents us with 6 tracks of ‘slow’ death metal that will bore you until the albums best song “A Mourner’s Kiss”. I was lost and found my self checking how long did the song had left for the first three tracks, then got to the best song, and again into the same droning trance that was about to put me to sleep.

Ahab – The Divinity Of Oceans (2009)

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After their killer debut “The Call of the Wretched Sea” I had been waiting impatiently for the bands next album and luckily I got their latest opus “The Divinity Of Oceans” in the mail a few weeks ago.

I must say I have never been a huge fan of Funeral Doom Metal, because I think is really boring, when I heard Ahab’s debut I could not claim this at all, the band’s debut was very heavy and slow in nature, but the band is very skillful at creating intricate and complex songs that last for what it seems a few minutes but in fact they are pretty long.

Echoes Of Eternity – As Shadows Burn (2009)

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While many people decided to trash Echoes Of Eternity debut album “The Forgotten Goddess”, I was very surprised why a band would get trashed by attempting a very interesting mixture of musical genres (Gothic and Progressive Metal) and achieving a very good debut album.

The riffs on the band’s debut album were not the most original or complicated out there, also they were pretty repetitive but they still managed to get the job done in creating an original sound for a band that was breaking into the scene.

Canis Dirus – A Somber Wind From A Distant Shore (2009)

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Ambient Raw Black Metal newcomers Canis Dirus hail from Minnesota, USA, yeah you read correctly from the USA. This two man band is probably one of the best new bands of the genre hailing from the USA besides Wolves Of The Throne Room.

Invoking the old Burzum sound as well as the insane vocals of Bethlehem’s first albums “A Somber Wind From A Distant Shore” is a very solid release that features a very primitive and raw sound that will send shivers down to anybody’s spine after listening to it in the dark or better yet in the woods.

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