Twenty years have passed since the band’s iconic release “Clouds” first saw the light of day and very little of that band remains today. With “The Scarred People”, Tiamat continues their never ending transformation delivering eleven very catchy tunes that still manage to turn people’s heads. Which each song the band delivers enigmatic catchy melodies that will surely draw the attention of most Gothic Rock/Metal fans.
Opening with a pair of catchy tunes like “The Scarred People” and “Winter Dawn”, the band immediately establishes their very atmospheric approach to this release. Johan Edlund’s vocals are as good as always, and his contributions in the keyboards really make up for 70% of the band’s unique and enigmatic sound. Things really start getting emotional in the brilliant “Radiant Star”, one of our favorite tracks of this release. In this song the tempo is very mellow and the mood is set very melancholic to fully create one of the best Gothic ballads we have heard in quite a while.
Celebrating their 25 years in the Metal music scene, today we received a copy of Atrocity’s epic DVD/CD set “Die Gottlosen Jahre”. Featuring 300 minutes of video content, this two DVD package delivers one of the most in-depth and comprehensive documentaries about Metal music with a particular focus on Atrocity’s revolutionary trajectory since the early days of German Thrash/Death Metal to their latest incursion into the Ethno/Folk of “After The Storm”.
The documentary DVD lasts around 3 hours and features a plethora of interviews with the main players of the Metal scene during the times Atrocity was revolutionizing and breaking boundaries. Starting since the good old days of tape trading when Atrocity first came into the picture, it is quite interesting how they interview people that have been there for the band since the very beginning and have some of the craziest stories about them.
Delivering her second solo release for Napalm Records, today we have Liv Kristine with “Libertine”. Utilizing her ‘gap’ year between Leaves’ Eyes releases, Lik Kristine and company (husband Alex Krull and Thorsten Bauer, both band mates from Leaves’ Eyes), manage to squeeze in eleven tracks of catchy Pop/Alternative Rock music that showcases Liv’s sweet vocals and knack for keeping busy writing songs all year round.
Opening with the very mellow and folk-ish “Interlude”, this release is off to a very solid start, unlike her previous 2010 effort “Skintight”. The power ballad “Silence” is a clear example of why most Metal heads that like female fronted metal love Liv Kristine, her vocals are angelic and with a simple combination of piano/cello/whatever string instrument, they are greatly highlighted and sound like a million dollars. Featuring very powerful and engaging guitarwork, we have to give a nod to the very entertaining but somewhat repetitive “Panic”.
Finally we get a release that is a bit different than almost everybody else that tries to copy somebody. With Chaosweaver’s sophomore release “Enter the Realm of the Doppelganger”, we are treated to nine tracks of excellent Symphonic Metal with Black Metal and Industrial elements. Keeping the atmosphere above all things, the band nicely crafts excellent songs that are quite a musical experience.
The highly dramatic opener “A Read Dawn Rises” is a clear example of a beautifully crafted track that delivers emotions and a great sense of harmony. This is the perfect lead-up for the explosive “Wings of Chaos”. In this track the guitars open up a riffing onslaught while the atmospheric synths fill the atmosphere. Not sounding like Dimmu Borgir, or any other Symphonic Metal band, Chaosweaver has a bigger and more grandiose cinematic feeling. With a very classical feeling “Maelstrom of Black Light” nicely keeps the experience rolling with catchy riffing and an excellent tempo.
Delivering high-intensity old-school Thrash Metal, today we have Canada’s latest export Mortillery and their debut album “Murder Death Kill”. As a full package that includes the typical Thrash Metal outfit, Mortillery is one of those bands that try to keep the past alive with some kickass songs featuring excellent musical abilities.
Reminding us of Kreator with the excellent opener “Murder Death Kill”, this Canadians start their release with a huge bang. It is ridiculous to think that this band formed in 2009 and they are this good already. The track delivers awesome guitar skills paired with very crunchy drums. The girl on bass guitar also does a great job in keeping things bounded together with the pulsating bass line. Filled with catchy riffs and even better solos, “Sacrifice”, “Evil Remains”, and “Fritzls Cellar” further cement the band’s old-school roots and provide great headbanging passages.
After a four year absence, now we get the second release in the same amount of years from Vintersorg. “Orkan” continues the same predictable and highly typical path that Vintersorg has taken, providing just very few flashes of brilliant, and a whole lot more of the same. If you are a die-hard Vintersorg fan this release will be sweet music to your ears, but if you have been annoyed by the lack of creativity of the last release, then you will surely not like this one either.
The traditional Vintersorg vocal melodies nicely adorn the opener “Istid”. Here, the combination of growls and clean vocals are very well layered at first, and then used to near perfection as we are all used to, in bands like Borknagar and everything else that Vintersorg has been involved in. The fancy synth work is very typical and the riffing is as powerful as always. The progressive elements in the music make it quite enjoyable to hear, particularly on tracks like “Polarnatten”, “Myren”, and “Orkan”. The playfulness of “Myren” is something that we had missed from the band in the last release. We have to say that this is our favorite song in this release, and the only one we really liked too.
What do you get when you mix Falkenbach with Moonsorrow and Candlemass? Ereb Altor is the answer. Mixing Viking Metal elements with some Doom, this Swedish band has been constantly releasing albums since 2008 with a few tweaks in-between but nothing really revolutionary. In “Gastrike”, the band delivers seven tracks of catchy guitar-driven tunes that ultimately feel a bit repetitive and quite dull in some points.
Leading with the atmospheric opening section to “The Gathering of Witches”, Ereb Altor nicely transitions into some power riffs and typical Viking Metal elements bordering on the Black Metal side of things. There is a rawness to the band’s sound that is quite nice, but sometimes makes the music feel a bit convoluted. “Dance of Darkness” moves a bit into Doom territory, but the guitars nicely shift back and forth between Black Metal and Doom Metal.
The nautical Funeral Doom Metalheads are back with another deep sea exploration titled “The Giant”. Ahab and their self-branded ‘nautik’ Funeral Doom Metal have released two previous releases and with this latest one they seem to be achieving total domination of the oceans when it comes to Doom Metal. With six soul crushing tracks clocking around 60 minutes, this is one hell of a ride through the seas with tuned down guitars and very moody sections, just like the doctor ordered.
Opening with a jazzy and very well paced intro, “Further South” nicely sets the mood for a very mellow release. There is no need for real ‘traditional’ Doom riffs until the second half of this eight minute track begins, and we totally love it. The clean vocals are outstanding and they nicely contrast the deep growls. The monolithic “Aeons Elapse” nicely builds up with heavy riffs and very well crafted drums. This track is one of those rollercoaster rides with plenty of chug-and-go sections. The clean vocals again provide a very regal sound to the band’s music.
Being suckers for sappy Black Metal with high levels of keyboards and catchy melodies, we are pretty delighted to have found Nachtblut’s latest release “Dogma” in our review queue. Hailing from Germany, this band plays a more dramatic and industrial version of Siebenbürgen’s, Graveworms’s and Agathodaimon’s dabbles in the realm of Symphonic Black Metal. Nachtblut managed to keep our attentions on their music for the 50 minutes this release lasted... every single time we played it.
The album title track “Dogma” quickly sneaks up on the listener with powerful guitar riffs, hellish vocals and very cool keyboards. There is nothing complex about this song, but the rather simple and direct approach of the track makes it very engaging. The band keeps building on their sound on “Der Weg Ist Das Ziel”, where they add more double-kick sections and a more dramatic synth orchestration background. The same applies to the circus-like “Ich Trinke Blut”.
The legendary Candlemass is back with what they say it will be their last album… ever. “Psalms for the Dead” marks the band’s 11th studio full-length release and closes the chapter on the band’s very influential career. Having influenced tons of bands over the years, it is quite sad to hear that Candlemass is going away, but at least they do so with an impressive and monumental release, instead of a pathetic sad little album or even worst… a best-of compilation release.
Opening with the crushing riffs of “Prophet”, the band delivers a powerful and firm first track that sets the mood for the whole release. The epic keyboards and excellent vocal melodies nicely make this song very catchy and dynamic, but ultimately it’s the riffing that sells the track. The very interesting atmospheric elements make their way into “The Sound of Dying Demons”, giving this track a very eerie and creepy feeling, and when paired with the cavernous riffs, it is plain brilliant.