- Published on Friday, 17 May 2013 10:54
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 99
Satan – Life Sentence
Satan is a UK metal band from the NWOBHM era and “Life Sentence” is their third overall album and their first since 1987.
With a name like Satan, these guys were bound to catch my attention as a young kid in the 80s. I remember seeing "Court in the Act" while flipping through an old black and white all-text catalog from metal mail order store Metal Disc. I never came across an actual copy of the album during the 80s, which, as an obsessive compulsive collector of metal (and eventually rare metal) made "Court in the Act" one of my Holy Grail albums. Once the internet came along I was finally able to pick up a copy of the album on CD from eBay. I would still like to find a copy on vinyl if anyone knows where I can find a copy.
When I heard that Satan were getting back together and ready to release a new album I got pretty excited. When I got the promo I was beside myself.
“Life Sentence” is like a time machine that transports me back thirty years so I can relive the NWOBHM experience. Not to liken the band to dinosaurs, but this is like going to Jurassic Park and getting to see something that hasn’t walked the earth in years. The production quality is more contemporary, but these songs are still well-crafted New Wave of British Heavy Metal. I gotta throw some horns! \m/
I was a little worried “Life Sentence” was going to be a weak attempt at a cash-grab based on the band’s nostalgia factor, but no, Brian Ross is back on vocals and this is some quality material. I am well pleased.
Oh dear. Did I just praise and hail Satan? I think I did. Make sure to check these guys out. Here is the track “Siege Mentality.”
Stone Magnum – Stone Magnum
Stone Magnum is a doom metal band from Indiana and this is their self-titled first album.
Stone Magnum has a real easy sound to describe; ever heard of Black Sabbath? Well, this is not too far off that mark. The music on “Stone Magnum” is traditional doom that ranges from oppressively slow to somewhat up-tempo. The vocals are sung fairly clean and at times even resemble the Ozzman a little bit. For a professed doom metal fan, these songs are pretty easy to enjoy.
The production sound on “Stone Magnum” is middle of the road; it isn’t ultra-clean and punchy, but neither is it overly muddy or poorly mixed. I don’t know whether this was recorded analog or digital, but it has that warm and slightly fuzzy analog sound associated with early Sabbath and doom albums. If they are going for that old-school Sabbath production sound, I’d say they nailed it.
After weighing all the positives and negatives about this album I’m still trying to decide how much I like Stone Magnum. They have a fair number of qualities that I am enjoying, but something about them is keeping me from going all-in on this album. I think the singer’s voice can be annoying sometimes, while being great at other points. This is certainly a head above a lot of the other traditional doom metal albums coming out these days, but I think they need a little more work before they become great. At this point I’d still probably reach for some Count Raven over Stone Magnum. That could change with time.
Check out the track “Fallen Priest.”
Nuclear - Apatrida
Nuclear is a Chilean thrash metal band and “Apatrida” is their recent five-track EP. The band also has four previous full-length albums and two live albums.
This is my first taste of Nuclear and so far I like what I hear. The production is quite clear and in your face, so I’m inclined to continue listening. These guys sound heavily influenced by 80s thrash. The singer makes me think of a genetic splicing of Tony Foresta from Municipal Waste and Mille from Kreator.
“Apatrida” is only five tracks long, but it was long enough for me to decide that I dig what these guys are doing. I would be hard-pressed to provide an example of a more pure form of thrash metal. These songs combine just the right mix of metal and punk and result in a South American thrashterpiece. If these songs don’t get you acting like a maniac in the pit, nothing will.
I’m definitely going to look into checking out Nuclear’s back catalog. For the rest of you, I suggest giving a listen below to the track “My Own Anarchy.” Mosh it up!
Pantheon – Intervention
Pantheon is a thrash metal band from York, England and “Intervention” is their second EP. I spent a day in York a few years ago, that is one cool British town. London was cool, but I loved York. I’m not religious, but that York Minster cathedral was pretty bad-ass looking. Granted, Westminster Abbey in London blew my mind like nothing else ever. The history there is mind boggling. When presented with King Edward’s Chair, where British sovereigns have been seated for their coronation for the last 700 YEARS, I had to sit down and just take it all in. We just don’t have history like that here. But yeah, York is cool too.
The production on “Intervention” is a little soft and quiet, I needed to really crank the volume to hear it properly, but once I found a good level it sounds good enough.
Pantheon plays thrash, but I’ve got to say, I’m also feeling a strong NWOBHM influence here too. This is not thrash like the last review, Nuclear, this is like older than old-school. This sounds more like Diamond Head than Slayer.
Alas, there are only four tracks on “Intervention”, so after a brief seventeen-plus minutes I reached the end. While my time with the EP was brief, I will say that I loved all seventeen minutes that they gave me. Pantheon blends a nice bit of that old pre-Metallica sound with a more modern thrash style to make a sound that while not entirely unique, is certainly under-utilized by thrash bands today. I like what you’re doing lads, and I hope to hear more.
Check these guys out. Here is the track “Voice of Hate.”
- Published on Wednesday, 15 May 2013 11:47
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 77
Trials – In the Shadow of Swords
Trials are a thrash/groove band from Chicago and “In the Shadow of Swords” is their second album.
Trials is the surprise of the day. I never heard their first album, “Witness to the Downfall”, so today was my first time hearing this band, and I’ve gotta tell ya, I was mightily impressed with the band from the very first song.
The production quality on this album is absolutely perfect. The drums are loud and thumping, the guitars are clear and punchy and the vocals are likewise clear and easily heard. I can’t overstate how much I love to hear a band I’ve never heard before and find that the production sounds this amazing. It definitely gets the band off on the right foot.
The songs are fairly heavy in a thrash-meets-Machine Head sort of way. The vocals generally range from clean to a rough-edged pseudo-harsh. The vocals get harsh like Trivium vocals get harsh; they have an edge but are still very discernible. There is even a fair bit of melody in the vocals (also like Trivium) which sort of lends a commercial viability to the album. These guys are definitely not shooting to be in the middle of the pack. Well, from what I am hearing, they could certainly climb to the top of the metal heap.
As I continue listening to “In the Shadow of Swords” I have to keep picking my jaw up off the floor. This is one of those discoveries that makes writing reviews satisfying; there’s nothing quite like coming across a band you’ve never heard that just blows you away. This is a must hear album. Check out the track “All the Promises” below.
Forlorn Path – Man’s Last Portrait
Forlorn path is a blackened death/doom band from New Jersey and “Man’s Last Portrait” is their full-length debut.
I started listening to Forlorn Path before looking at their bio sheet and I was surprised to learn these guys are from Jersey. “Man’s Last Portrait” has such a European sound that I was shocked and a little proud that these guys live only a couple hours away from here. Well done, sirs.
The music on “Man’s Last Portrait” seems to go back and forth between a faster black metal style with higher screechy vocals, and a slower death-doom sound with slower and deeper vocals. In my experience most bands tend to stick to one or the other, but having such an extreme dynamic range certainly keeps things interesting and left me wondering what they would do next. I had to keep listening to find out.
I’m constantly surprised and impressed with how nice the production sounds on recordings by unsigned bands. The production on “Man’s Last Portrait” is so much better than that on many albums I receive from bands with labels. It’s albums like this one that make me stricter on other bands regarding the sound quality of their music. If you can make an album that sounds like this without any label support, there is no reason to have shitty sounding albums anymore. Kudos to Forlorn Path for raising the bar.
“Man’s Last Portrait” is worth the time to give it a listen. Check out the track “Words Only Wind Can Speak.”
Scent of Death – Of Martyrs’s Agony and Hate
Scent of Death is a technical death metal band from Spain and “Of Martyrs’s Agony and Hate” is the band’s second album. I’m no English major, but isn’t there one too many “s” in that Martyrs’s? I’d say it must be a typo but it is that way on the album cover. Right, moving on…
Speaking of the album cover, looking at the logo and artwork for the album I was fully expecting some low-budget shitty wall of noise death metal album, and was going to skip over the album. I decided to at least play a few seconds first, and what I heard kept me listening.
The production is quite good for a death metal album. This is not surprising for a technical death metal album, but at the time I hit play I wasn’t aware that was what was waiting for me. The separation of all the various instrumental work is quite well done and combined with the obviously talented musicianship makes for a pleasing and punishing experience.
The vocals are deep and harsh and don’t vary all that much. This style of vocal tends to get lost in the music (at least to my old and deaf ears) but with the excellent mixing job on this album the vocals actually stand out fairly well.
Despite the extra consonant “Of Martyrs’s Agony and Hate” turned out to be a pretty impressive listen. Give the band a listen and see if you agree. Here is “Awakening of the Liar.”
Cultes Des Ghoules – Henbane
Cultes Des Ghoules is a black metal band from Poland and “Henbane” is their second album.
Much like Scent of Death, I went into this album expecting to listen for a minute and move along. Like I need another raw and shitty sounding black metal band? Well, I had the raw part right; the production on “Henbane” is very rough sounding. I am glad, though, that it does not suffer from excessive atmosphere, and that is the production’s saving grace. The music sounds rough, but at least I can hear it.
The music itself is not typical of what I expect to hear from raw black metal, so that also contributed to my letting the music continue to play. I’m not exactly sure how to describe that difference, other than just to say…it’s different than typical black metal. With raw sounding black metal I expect music that is mostly a fuzzed out wall of noise that adds to the atmosphere but not much else. Such is not the case with “Henbane”; there is some cool musicianship and riffing going on here.
The vocals are generally harsh and evil. This is no surprise as Cultes Des Ghoules is black metal at its most Satanic. There are some vocals on the album which are not entirely harsh. The vocal style seems to change a little from track to track.
I don’t see “Henbane” winning any awards or anything, but if one is in a particularly misanthropic mood these songs just might hold some appeal. Check out the track “Festival of Devotion.”
- Published on Tuesday, 14 May 2013 10:43
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 107
Devil – Gather the Sinners
Devil is a doom metal band from Norway and “Gather the Sinners” is their second album.
With a name like Devil one might expect to hear some really extreme black or death metal; I mean come on, is there a band name more metal than this? Yet “Gather the Sinners” is actually a lot more laid-back sounding. Devil plays in the stoner-retro-doom style that far too many other bands are picking up these days. I like the style, but when it stinks of a trend it turns me off a little. Regardless, I was already a fan of Devil coming into this album. I previously picked up, and enjoyed, the band’s 2011 release, “Time to Repent.”
In the midst of any musical trend there are those who are true purveyors of a sound (the few) and there are the mediocre tag-alongs (the many) who hope to get noticed by attaching themselves to the latest sound. I have heard far too many pseudo-doom albums of late where a muddy analog production and some detuned guitars were supposed to impress me.
Devil, aside from a cool name and album art, stand out from the many and impress me with their simple-yet-effective approach to retro doom. The riffs are simple and heavy; the vocals are clean-ish, melodic and style-appropriate. Yet somehow they manage to gain my approval where many others have failed. I’m at a bit of a loss to explain it; I like what I like, and I like Devil.
Make sure to check these guys out. Here is the track “Southern Sun.”
Sidious – Ascension to the Throne ov Self
Sidious is a symphonic black metal band from the UK and “Ascension to the Throne ov Self” is the band’s 4-track debut EP.
The first thing to catch my notice about this EP was the solid production sound. As busy as I have been lately I have gotten way behind schedule on reviews, and as such I’ve begun skipping over horrible sounding albums to get to ones that sound worth my time. Sidious made the cut. The second thing I noticed was that two of the band’s members are also in another band I like, the death-doom band Eye of Solitude.
I could tell right away that I was going to like this EP because they used “ov” in place of “of” and that is a really super metal thing to do. I joke. I had to do that with my Twitter account name, so I can’t really talk can I?
The music on “Ascension to the Throne ov Self” is dark, complex and well played. I have no complaints about the music. The vocals aren’t too terrible either, but they are perhaps a little too breathy. As such they don’t have much dynamic range and before long I find myself wandering over to see what the guitars are doing. The vocals are done well, but a little more variety in the range would make a big difference in the overall appeal of this EP.
Now before you jump up and tell me there is a second vocal style at play on tracks three and four, let me acknowledge that I am aware of this, and say that if there had been more of that in the first two tracks, I wouldn’t have even thought to make the comment. It was just an observation anyway; I still think this is a pretty good EP. You should check it out.
Here is the track “Insurmountable Mass.”
Cryptik Howling – Synthetic Ascension Design
Cryptik Howling is a Canadian melodic black metal band and “Synthetic Ascension Design” is their third album.
Since I’m being pickier these days about what gets reviewed, I had to listen to Cryptik Howling a little more before deciding to include them. The production on “Synthetic Ascension Design”, while not bad, does feel a little less than what it could be. However, as it turns out, it is the production that made me decide to include the band.
You see, while the production isn’t going to be confused with the latest Dimmu Borgir album, it does sound far better than so many black metal bands that heap on way too much atmosphere. The keyboards add plenty of atmospherics without making the whole mix sound like I am hearing it from miles away, and that means a lot to me. The best part is the vocals; where far too many black metal bands saturate the vocals in reverb and effects, these vocals actually sound practically naked and I love how well they stand out from the music.
Stylistically these songs are competent and come across as well executed. That is all well and good, but if not for the production, these songs could easily have gotten lost in the hordes of other black metal albums released each year. The production was the key here, and now I have taken notice of Cryptik Howling.
Check out the song “Insect.”
Vigilance – Queen of the Midnight Fire
Vigilance is a Slovenian speed metal band and “Queen of the Midnight Fire” is their full-length debut. Last year I reviewed their EP “Steeds of Time” and I enjoyed that quite a bit, so I have high expectations for this album.
The production quality on the album is fairly clear sounding, but it does have a very dated 80s sound. That can be either good or band depending on what you want out of an album. The production certainly fits the style of music, and it doesn’t hinder enjoyment of the songs. My only real concern is that it might turn off younger listeners who might prefer a more modern sound. But what the hell, with all the retro metal stuff going on I guess this would fit right in.
“Queen of the Midnight Fire”, like “Steeds of Time” before it, sounds heavily influenced by both early 80s speed metal and the NWOBHM. While the big metal trend right now seems to be retro-doom, there is also a smaller set of bands carrying a torch for this style. Some bands that come to mind include White Wizzard, Cauldron and Enforcer. Vigilance fits right in with this crowd, and with the possible exception of White Wizzard, blows them away.
Vigilance continues to impress me, and as such, I will continue to support them. Make sure to give them a listen. Here is the track “Under Sulphurous Skies.”
Mortal Form – The Reckoning
Mortal Form is a death/thrash band from the Netherlands and “The Reckoning” is their third album.
“The Reckoning” takes its music from the book of thrash, while the vocals sound like death dug up from the local lich yard. Combined the two elements, along with a bright production, make for an immediately enjoyable listen.
The thrash-infused music comes across clear and dare I say, almost happy sounding. The gruff death vox reign that in a little while also contrasting nicely. The vocals don’t have a lot of range, but the music makes up for this and the mixing job helps play up the vocals good qualities.
This kind of reminds me of what death metal was like before melo-death came along and made death metal too technical and over-produced. While heavy, the sound is light and unencumbered; I don’t feel buried under layers and layers of multi-tracking. They probably used layers of multi-tracking (who doesn’t?) but it doesn’t sound as oppressively dense as a lot of death metal.
The more I listen to this album, the more I like it. It’s a bit of a sleeper in that sense, but it really grew on me the more I heard it. I definitely recommend checking out Mortal Form. Here is the track “At Fever Pitch.”
- Published on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 10:21
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 133
Atrocity – Okkult
Atrocity is a…well, they were…yeah, but then they became…only now they are…well, let’s just say nailing down a particular style for Atrocity is like hitting a moving target. “Okkult” is the German band’s twelfth album, and this time around I suppose you might call this symphonic death metal. The band started out in death metal, moved on to a gothic/industrial sound, then more-gothic-less-industrial, and now they seem to be coming back ‘round to death metal. One thing that’s for certain, you can’t say these guys don’t evolve their sound.
I am going to avoid comparing “Okkult” with other albums from the band’s prolific past and focus simply on what they have going on right now. As this is the band’s twelfth album, I am not surprised that both the production and songwriting sound polished and seasoned.
The songs on “Okkult” are fairly epic in scale and execution, though perhaps not quite so grandiose as a Dimmu Borgir album. On a Dimmu album the sound is so massive it sounds like a demon host taking up instruments; Atrocity, while at times grand in scale, still maintains a close-up in-your-face element in their sound. This helps make the symphonic areas really pop when they come along.
I wouldn’t say I’m surprised about how good “Okkult” sounds; I’ve enjoyed Atrocity’s music for years. Rather I am pleased to find that the band still creates good music while managing to remain relevant even twelve albums into their career. A lot of bands, if they even make it to their twelfth album, are just spinning their wheels and collecting a paycheck. Kudos to Atrocity for always evolving.
Check out the video for the track “Pandæmonium.”
Romero – Take the Potion
Romero is a hard rock/stoner metal band from Madison, Wisconsin and “Take the Potion” is the band’s full-length debut. They also have a 2010 EP by the same name and a pair of singles.
I am, as I state endlessly, a big fan of doom metal, and while Romero is not exactly doom metal (though there are moments that seem to cross over), stoner and doom often hold hands and make friendly, so I’m usually pretty open to anything that even sets one foot into doom territory. I feel like there’s a bit o’ sludge going on here as well.
I like what Romero has going on with “Take the Potion.” There are sonic peaks and valleys that range from relatively quiet to thunderously loud. The instrumental work is of a quality that any long instrumental breaks bring an interesting life of their own, rather than leaving my mind to start wandering until the vocals come back. The vocals tend to range between a sort-of clean and a bark, both of which sound good and work great with the music.
I am really glad these guys contacted me. I was very surprised and happy by how much I enjoyed “Take the Potion.” I highly recommend giving these guys a listen. And Romero make it real easy, because they posted the whole album as one track on YouTube…at least I hope it was the band. I got that impression from the poster’s name. Anyway, check it out below.
In the Silence – A Fair Dream Gone Mad
In the Silence is a progressive metal band from Sacramento, California and “A Fair Dream Gone Mad” is their first album. I feel like this album is one of those unfortunates that have been kicked around the calendar a few times due to scheduling mishaps on my end, so my apologies if this took a while to get posted.
As I mentioned yesterday with Surgeon, progressive metal is not often my cup of tea. That’s because there are so many shredders out there looking to be the next Dream Theater that musicianship often trumps songwriting, and honestly I get bored real easy. I’m happy to say that, like Surgeon, In the Silence doesn’t fall into that category of progressive bands that bore me. On the contrary, I rather enjoy what they’ve got going on. To my ears, this is more like Opeth’s “Damnation” meets any number of Katatonia albums. It has a progressive nature, but is also…like…super…chill. Yet it remains heavy enough to earn its metal badge too.
The production is very clean, atmospheric and ethereal sounding, also like a Katatonia album. Listening to this album makes me want to throw up a hammock in the back yard, put on some headphones and reflect upon life. That sounds peaceful, which I could certainly use after the last few months.
Check these guys out. Here is the track “Ever Closer.”
Entropia – Vesper
Entropia is a post-metal/black/sludge band from Poland and “Vesper” is their full-length debut.
The first thing I noticed when I popped in “Vesper” was the sound quality is pretty fucking awful. I could barely hear the music and had to turn the volume almost all the way up to hear what was going on. That’s never a fun way to start a listening experience.
Once I found a comfortable listening level, the music was actually pretty cool. I’ve never been a fan of Neurosis and like-minded bands, but in this case the post-metal combined with shoegaze makes for an interesting listen. The harsh vocals…they are ok I suppose, but given the shimmering wall of music, I think the vocals would be better served if they stood out from the mix a little more. As it is I tend to sort of ignore the vocals to focus on the intricacies of the music. The vocals are like an afterthought.
I’m certain that there are those who will eat this album up and sing its praises, and I can agree with those people up to a point. Musically this is a very cool album. But with the poor production and throw-away vocals, I’m not completely sold on the album.
Check out the track “Gauss.”
Magister Templi – Lucifer Leviathan Logos
Magister Templi is a heavy/doom metal band from Norway and “Lucifer Leviathan Logos” is the band’s full-length debut.
When I saw the band name and album title I was all set to spin up what I expected would be some raw and evil black metal. Wrong! Well, half-wrong anyway. The lyrical content is definitely occult-themed, but black metal this is not. The music on “Lucifer Leviathan Logos” is a pretty even mixture of 80s Mercyful Fate style metal and doom metal.
The production sounds slightly muddy, but for the most part I am content with the sound quality. One of my biggest complaints about vocals tends to be that the vocals get buried in the mix and can’t be heard well. In the case of Magister Templi, I feel like the vocals could actually come down a little. Maybe a little less reverb on them as well.
First impressions aside, I like what these guys are doing. There is sort of an old-school Ghost sound, but it is more heavy than Ghost. Ghost goes uber-melodic on the vocals which makes it slightly creepy when they talk about Satan. Magister Templi would never be confused with Ghost, but the lyrical topics and musical time period they conjure seem to be similar. Magister Templi’s vocalist, Abraxas d’Ruckus, sings clean and melodic, but sounds more like a cross between pre-Messiah Candlemass and Deathmaster from Doomsword.
For a first album this is pretty cool. I like doomy sound and the cool riffs. I’d like to hear at least a slightly improved sound quality on the second album, but the thing to take away from this is that I want to hear a second album.
Here is the track “Master of the Temple.”
- Published on Monday, 06 May 2013 10:54
- Written by George Washburn
- Hits: 114
Cathedral – The Last Spire
Cathedral, the legendary UK doom metal band, has returned with their tenth and final album, “The Last Spire.”
I covered Cathedral not too long ago in a 365 Days of Metal video when I talked about their 1995 third album, “The Carnival Bizarre.” That was, and is, my favorite album from the band. I’ve been an on-again, off-again fan of Cathedral over the years; I took a break from Cathedral in the late 90s when their material seemed a little too weird for my tastes, but returned to the band in the early 2000s.
There really isn’t any other band quite like Cathedral. With the heavy-as-hell music, Lee Dorrian’s distinct vocals and the beautiful album artwork of Dave Patchett, there is certainly no mistaking Cathedral for anyone else.
I suppose I am glad they let us all know ahead of time that this would be the last album. This gives us time to adjust to the idea and savor the flavor of one last Cathedral release. If they had told us after the album was released, I might have found myself thinking “Oh, come on, just one more album!” This ties things up nicely.
Maybe I’ve got a crappy sounding promo version of the album, but I really thought that the production on their farewell album would be monumental and awe-inspiring. The reality is that it sounds slightly muffled and muddy. I suppose that makes sense in a way, but I was really hoping for something…more…in the production department.
Ultimately the songs are what matter most, and I am enjoying them mightily. Perhaps my enjoyment is partly heightened by the bittersweet knowledge that this is my last first time with Cathedral, but I’m not going to throw them a good review just because of who they are; they have earned their legendary status and “The Last Spire” is a fitting eulogy for these doom masters. I think fans of Cathedral will be pleased.
Check out the track “Tower of Silence” below:
Surgeon – Chemical Reign
Surgeon is a progressive metal trio from Philadelphia and “Chemical Reign” is their second album.
I’m not generally a huge fan of progressive metal; a lot of it sounds the same to me. There are certainly a few bands in the style that I enjoy, but regardless, when I see a bio sheet that says prog metal I tend to begin writing them off in my mind. I can only say the same things over and over again so many times before I want to destroy something.” Yes, you play very nicely…yes, the production is very good too…no, the songs aren’t all that interesting when you look past the wanking.”
Surgeon, however, are not typical of what I would call progressive metal. Honestly, if the label hadn’t been lobbed at me by the bio, I may not have even gone there at all. To be fair, the bio also says the band “merges into the realms of epic, classic doom.” I wouldn’t say I really hear much in the way of doom in Surgeon’s sound, but I suppose if you took some epic doom ala Doomsword and mixed it with prog metal it might be akin to what I am hearing now.
I have to say I’m pretty surprised to hear a band this interesting coming out of Philly. Not that I have anything against Philly (other than the Flyers, Go Caps!) I’m actually quite fond of Philadelphia. Perhaps I should say I’m surprised that Surgeon is American. With so many American bands tending towards shitty metalcore it is nice to hear something new and refreshing from my homeland. Now before you get all self-righteous, I am perfectly aware there are many great American underground and extreme metal bands that are making headway on re-claiming our metal throne, but you have to admit they are struggling against a tidal wave of shit bands.
Surgeon is a nice surprise that I am enjoying immensely. I highly recommend checking out “Chemical Reign” when it is released in a couple weeks.
Old Forest - Tales of the Sussex Weald ; Part 3 (Andredsweald)
“Tales of the Sussex Weald ; Part 3 (Andredsweald)” is the second album from UK black metal band Old Forest. It appears this album was first released in 2011, so I’m assuming this is a re-release or something.
Normally I’m a real stickler for a nice sounding production, but sometimes a band pulls off a rough sounding production in such a good way that I actually find myself enjoying the lack of clarity. Old Forest pull off just such a feat with this album. They actually combine a very rough sounding guitar/drum combination with some cleaner sections that include keyboards and chanting. The vocals kind of straddle the line between the two; they are harsh and not overly clear sounding, but they are placed pretty well in the mix, so it works.
“Tales of the Sussex Weald ; Part 3 (Andredsweald)” is actually rather surprising and interesting if you can get past the initial revulsion of the sound quality. I hear so many shitty black metal bands that my knee-jerk reaction was to skip to the next band, but upon closer inspection the raw sound of this album is actually very calculated and the songs are really much better than the typical fare in this production style. The fact that they blend their black metal with some doom elements makes me like them even more.
This album certainly won’t be for everyone, but I think there is definitely an audience that will really enjoy these songs. Check out the track “At the Black Priory.”
Sacrilegious Impalement – III – Lux Infera
Sacrilegious Impalement is a Finnish black metal band and “III – Lux Infera” is their third album.
Sacrilegious Impalement pull off a slightly cleaner production than Old Forest, but their black metal is a lot more traditional sounding, which ultimately is not as interesting as something different. They may lose a few points for originality, but they make them up again in execution.
The more I listen to this album, the more I think of “Nemesis Divina”-era Satyricon. I think “Nemesis Divina” has a bigger sounding production, but style-wise, and particularly with the vocals, I hear a definite similarity. Perhaps that is why I am leaning towards liking this album.
If you are looking for something new and innovative on the black metal scene, then keep on looking. However, if you prefer your black metal in the old-school style with a cold and raw production, and don’t mind a little Satyricon-worship, you just may be a fan of Sacrilegious Impalement.
Check out the track “Down for Grim Lord.”