Album Reviews

  • Isole - Silent Ruins (2009)

    This Swedish band was known as Forlon until 2005 when they switched names and apparently their luck changed since they released their first full length under this name in 2005. While I’m not a big fan of epic doom metal, this release packs 54 minutes of pretty solid music. Sometimes it reminds me of Solstice or even Candlemass, yes the band is this good, and this release better than their 2008 effort.

  • Crimfall - As the Path Unfolds (2009)

    After their self released Burning Winds demo, I was anxiously expecting their full length album. This band formed in 2007, and they got a deal right after their previously mentioned demo and there is big reason why, their music is a perfectly constructed blend of symphonic, viking, folk and progressive metal.

    The band members come from different bands in the musical scene and have an ample background in making music over the years. No wonder Napalm Records snatched them so quickly and gave them a recording contract.

  • Lunatica - New Shores (2009)

    I’ve been following this Swiss band since their 2001 debut Atlantis, and while they have been taking almost 3 years in between releases, they are worth the wait. This band’s latest album is a new stepping stone in their musical evolution.

    New Shores marks the bands entrance into more commercial sound since most of the songs here are typical power metal ballads, while they are not bad musically they are just something that I would not imagine Lunatica doing in 2001.

  • Autumn - Altitude (2009)

    Autumn is one of my favorite bands coming from the Netherlands, Solar Wake from their Summer’s End album is in my top 30 songs of all time. After hearing that Nienke de Jong left the band in 2008 for health reasons, I was eagerly waiting to see how they sound with their new vocalist.

    While the new singers vocals are a great fit for Autumn’s gothic metal style, this album marks their progression into a more gothic rock style since their music has a more mainstream feeling and I would not be amazed if they reach the popularity levels that bands like Lacuna Coil and Within Temptation have.

  • IXXI - Elect Darkness (2009)

    IXXI sound is very traditional of the current progression of many black metal bands, since they combine elements of black metal with trash metal with perfection. Most of the song have catchy melodies while being aggressive, it kind of reminds me of Satyricon when they released Volcano, however I prefer this album.

    The harsh vocals are almost identical to Satyr’s vocals and provide a perfect match for the sound of the band. The guitar riffs are strong and repetitive but never dull, the drums are perfectly executed and typical of a black metal release.

  • Sirenia - The 13th Floor (2009)

    After making us wait 2 years after their last full length release this Norwegian band comes back in full strength with The 13th Floor.

    Sirenia continues with their unique gothic metal style, and while this album sounds very similar to Nine Destinies and a Downfall, it improves on that album taking the band’s sound to a more mature level.

    The female vocals are top of great quality providing a different sound to other bands in the genre. The male grunts courtesy of Morten Veland are more rare than in previous releases but they are still present and well used.

  • Ablaze In Hatred - The Quietude Plains (2009)

    Finland is clearly taking over the world of metal with some great quality bands in many different genres and Ablaze In Hatred is one of them. This band plays a brilliant doom metal that is full of melancholy through out the whole album.

    I’ve been following this bands evolution since their 2005 demo, and they have not disappointed me in any of their releases. The Quietude Plains marks their maturity in making music by creating an album that has no flaws in any aspect of it. From beginning to end I can’t stop listening to it or even desiring that the current song playing is over.

  • Forgotten Suns - Innergy (2009)

    There are hundreds of bands playing progressive metal these days, and Forgotten Suns are one of them. While the album is not bad by any means it just seems like I’ve heard this one before in many other progressive metal releases.

    While all the musicians excel at their instruments, it’s really hard to create a good progressive metal album, since all the elements have to blend perfectly with each other. And this album lacks that in some songs, while in some other moments they are pretty good by progressive metal standards.

  • Mournful Congregation - The June Frost (2009)

    This Australian band always lures me into their depressive atmosphere as soon as I started listening to their albums, and The June Frost is no exception. Released 4 years after their last full length album, it was well worth the wait.

    The album consists of 4 super tracks that take you into the depths of depression and don’t let go. At least one of the track always tries to break the Guiness world record of the longest song ever composed and here they clock one at 17 minutes, which is a tradition of funeral doom bands as well.

  • Blut Aus Nord...Memoria Vetusta II - Dialogue with the Stars (2009)

    When you listen to Blut Aus Nord you can count on listening to a band that has the same musical style since they where conceived. However their style, while primitive, is more mature in this release than their previous albums.

    If you like fast paced harsh black metal this is the album for you, however they do have some nice instrumental interludes in their songs and also some calm parts that sound better than the majority of the album.

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