Album Reviews

  • 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.

  • Den Saakaldte - All Hail Pessimism (2009)

    As they mention in their myspace page, this is sick music for sick individuals, and I can’t agree more. This is something that every true black metal fan should listen and have in their regular playlists.

    This band has truly captured the old feeling of black metal and has managed to improve on it by their use of synthesizers along some their songs, reminding me of Alghazanth’s The polarity axiom and Osiris - Typhon Unmasked.

  • Ironica - Dive (2009)

    This is a CD single that contains 3 versions of the same track, the single edit, the album version and the acoustic version. This band sounds like many other gothic metal bands with the difference that the singer vocal style is more power metal oriented. They also have some great guitar solos that mix very well with the song structure.

    This band has good potential and their sound is very refined. From what I can say about this single, I’ll be definitely waiting for their full length.

  • Wolves In The Throne Room - Malevolent Grain (2009)

    When I first started listening to this album in the first few seconds I said to myself: “Another shitty band trying to sound like ‘true’ black metal that recorded this in their backyard and it’s going to suck”, well let me tell you I was wrong!!! While the recording itself is low quality, it actually adds to the bands general feeling and the feeling of the songs.

    The album starts like a typical low budget recording with some very ‘true’ black metal sounding distorted guitars, but when the vocals start…. they are clean female vocals, that sound really, really depressing.

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