Thursday, February 6, 2014

[2014 - Album Review] SVN EATER by LVCIFYRE

January 21st, 2014 via Dark Descent Records
Slowly being dragged into the abyss doesn't seem like it'd be appealing to some, but when it comes to immersion in music, I'm all for that. LVCIFYRE's SVN EATER is one of many albums that sets the stage for 2014 and does so in an elegant yet sinister fashion. SVN EATER is the follow up album to The Calling Depths and seeks to change the way people think about blackened death metal.

LVCIFYRE begins the album with the longest track, "Night Seas Sorcery", where it all starts at a crawl, and slowly moves into a dissonant, bleak display of black metal, accentuated by atmosphere. The band seeks to slowly immerse the listener in hell fire instead of throwing them in all at once, an approach you don't see too often within these sub-genres. The track gives you a feeling that the group is seeking to conjure up some being from another plane or realm, an element I have found to be missing from a lot of black metal thrown in my direction recently.




"Calicem Obscurum" changes things up by implementing more of the assaulting black metal aspect, with frenzied drumming and the ever familiar black metal riff, but with more of a darkened, cosmic tone. The band manages to keep a blanket of this sort of atmosphere over the course of the entire album, giving it a consistent feel. The vocals dig deeper than your regular style, another indication of the band "summoning" a power from the other side.

The title track is one of my favorites, with the drumming stepping in at the right moment, eviscerating your ears with skill. This is one of my favorite characteristics of black metal, when it is done right of course. I am impressed with how he manages to transition between the two concepts of the album.

SVN EATER has its monumental moments and you'll find new ones with every listen. Even with these moments, some listeners may be turned off by the album immediately, given the fact that you have to listen to this record several times to really get what the band is going for. Even for myself, I had to listen to this half a dozen times to really see how it all worked together and I know I'll be listening to it more after writing this, peeling back layers I haven't even touched upon yet. If this sounds like your kind of music, go on ahead and give it a listen. You shouldn't be disappointed in the slightest.

Rating - 8.9/10

Track List
1. Night Seas Sorcery
2. Calicem Obscurum
3. Liber Lilith
4. Sun Eater
5. In Fornication Waters
6. Nekuomanteion
7. The Fiery Spheres of the Seven
8. Fyre Made Flesh
9. The Sinister Calling

Lineup
T. Kaos - Guitars and Vocals
Menthor - Drums
Cvltvs - Bass
Dictator - Guitars
Wednesday, February 5, 2014

[2014 - Album Review] Elemente by Hangatyr

January 31st, 2014 via TWS Music
Hangatyr bust down the gates of 2014 with their newest and second full length, Elemente. The name and album title immediately intrigued me, considering that it hinted at the notion of being related to Norse mythology. Hangatyr can be interpreted as "Hanged God", which was a name given to Odin during the events related to the World Tree, Yggdrasil. Odin hung himself from the branches of Yggdrasil in attempt to gain the wisdom of the Runes, written letters before the creation of the Latin alphabet that contained the most powerful forces of the cosmos. With a name based on such an interesting piece of mythology, I could already tell that I would fall in love with what this band had to offer.

Elemente can be simply described as melodic black metal, with additions of folk (pagan) metal, that keeps you enticed and mesmerized from start to finish. The title track immediately sets you up in the atmosphere of battle or a strenuous journey that seeks to challenge every fiber of your being. "Die Sprache der Zwölf" soon takes over, demonstrating varying intensities of black metal through the energetic drums and soaring guitars. Silvio takes charge with his gritty and dark vocals, singing primarily in the German language. This track comes to be one of my favorites as the band really brings some of the pagan element to the forefront as the track ends.

                                         

Ali and Tele are another major force in Elemente, providing amazingly beautiful and powerful black metal riffs that seek to make a statement. The transitions they implement between the folk and black metal aspect is to be noted, as they have perfected the formula. When it comes to this style, I favor the more serious approach, instead of the "happy go lucky" nature that some bands go about.

Micha's drumming complete the circle, providing rhythms that feel as though you're galloping into battle. The full effect wouldn't be reached without his efforts, as I don't see any other style really fitting in with the energy that these guys are going for. "Zwischen der Ufern" is a perfect example of this.

Hangatyr brings the best qualities of their labeled sub-genre to the table and provide differing pieces to mix it up and create an interesting record. Although they aren't showcasing anything different or innovative in a sense, they do show their talent and discipline in creating high quality material. I find myself coming back to this record, much like I have with acts such as Valknacht, Falkenbach, and the like. Give this album a shot, you won't regret it.

Rating - 9.1/10

Track List
1. Elemente
2. Die Sprache der Zwölf
3. Eisenwald
4. Zwischen dern Ufern
5. Zersetzung
6. Grimmfrost
7. Gelobt und gejagt
8. Sie vergessen nicht
9. Rückzug

Lineup
Marco - Bass 
Ali - Guitar
Silvio - Vocals
Michael - Drums
Tele - Guitar
Monday, February 3, 2014

[2014 - EP Review] Suspended in Reverie by Júlio Stotz

January 12th, 2014 via Independent Release
It is funny how random finds and submissions bring about some interesting surprises. Suspended In Reverie is a piece that recently made it's way to my speakers, and I have to say that I'm hoping to hear more from this new artist, Júlio Stotz.

Suspended in Reverie is purely instrumental, with a heavy use of piano and guitar. The use of synth is also apparent, but may not be considered a main focus for others. The lack of vocals may be a hit or miss for some listeners, but for myself I find that vocals don't really fit in any part of the composition.

"Essence of Thought" begins the EP with warm and welcoming arms. The track gets more interesting, as more melodies are introduced but those are soon dominated by the ever familiar and powerful guitar. You can tell that Júlio Stotz is more of a keyboardist than guitarist as the guitar doesn't seem to stray too far from simple rhythms. There are a few exceptions in some interesting solos, but they don't last for very long.


                        

Suspended in Reverie is a great listen regardless. The contrasting layers of harsh tones and soft, gentle ambiance please the ears for those that like something different with their drink. "Dreamlike Perceptions" is a perfect example of this with driving guitars, while the piano and synths play a role in creating a mysterious aura underneath. I've never really heard of anything like this before, or at least a groove metal of sorts incorporating softness into its sound.

If you're looking for something familiar but off the beaten path, check this out. I think Júlio Stotz has an interesting idea forming here. Hopefully more music is being written, as there can be a large amount of potential to be had. We shall see in the future.

Rating - 8.6/10

Track List
1. Essence of Thought
2. Dreamlike Perceptions
3. An Der Elbe
4. From a Restive Slumber

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

[2014 - EP Review] Infamy Divine by Perversity

January 7th, 2014 via Lavadome Productions
Perversity aren't new to the scene of death metal but they are new to my ears as this EP ends up being the first I've heard of their music. Since 1995, the band has carried through with demos, albums, lineup changes, pretty much anything you can think of that could tear a band and its idea apart. Through these struggles, they have managed to stay alive and keep trucking on with the help of their latest release, Infamy Divine.

Perversity play a style of brutal death metal (or slam, I can't always tell the difference between the two) with a heavy influence of old school death metal. I'm not too big of a fan of the brutal death sub-genre for the most part but it does have its gems. The old school characteristic had me interested right away, as I absolutely love the musical direction and production associated with it. This can come off as a surprise to some of those who know me for my tastes in progressive metal and its high end production.

Infamy Divine is a mixed bag. At some points in this EP, I feel like the synergy of the different styles and the members is working out great and at other times I'm just indifferent. Luckily for the band, their are more positive moments than negative. "Vermin" kicks things off with high intensity which translates well into the energetic drumming, crunchy guitars, and grotesque vocals. This track definitely isn't the best the band has to offer with this release, which could deter those looking for immediate satisfaction. Luckily I'm one of those folks that listens to the entire release before casting a real first impression.

"Angel of Prostitution" is another straight forward piece lasting more than it should, honestly. It's decent but I just find it overbearing after a certain amount of time. At the end of the song, you'll find a little piano piece being played as a transition to the next piece, "Goddess of Maggots", which plays at the perfect length for what these guys are going for. The band gets heavier and a little more creative with the composition, piquing my interest.

The end of the EP proves to be the strongest, with the two last remaining full tracks "Incest of Flesh" and "Supreme Accusation". The compositions are interesting, creating that atmosphere that old school death metal is known for the most but all the while remaining heavy and hard-hitting to keep you on your toes as intense moments arise.

The ending is a surprise, as it contains the playing of piano (the same as earlier in the EP) alongside synthesizers which get me to do a double take as I wasn't sure what was going on. I'm hoping this ties in with their next release and they implement more sounds of this nature to create more of an atmosphere to help set them apart from other bands doing work of a similar style. I'm hopeful, at least.

If you're looking for a great throwback to the old school charm mixed with brutal death, this could be a great release for you. For myself, I was glad to see something stirring near the end that hinted at good ideas and execution. Perversity have been around for a while but I feel they need some more fine tuning before they can wow me off my feet. We shall see once they release more music in the future.

Rating - 8.3/10

Track List
1. Vermin
2. Angel of Prostitution
3. Goddess of Maggots
4. Incest of Flesh
5. Supreme Accusation
6. Infamous

Lineup
Slavomir "Sly" Koval - Bass
Jozef "Dodi" Kosc - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Juraj "Kazatel" Handzus - Vocals
Peter "Necrocyklo" Jakubik - Drums
Thursday, January 2, 2014

[2014 - Compilation Review] Run After To/Gjinn and Djinn by Run After To

January 7th, 2014 via Shadow Kingdom Records
Ah, doom metal. If you know me personally or read any of my reviews, then you already know I'm a fan of the doom sub-genre. Abrasive drone and funeral doom fancy my tastes the most, but I always love to explore what else is out there.

When it has come to some of the older musings of the sub-genre, I've found a lot to be hit or miss, as it seems like many bands decided to overflow it with psychedelic elements and I get tired of those pretty quickly. As the title suggests, this is more of a compilation review instead of an album review.

Run After To were an 80's Italian heavy/doom metal fusion band that only had two releases, a demo and an EP. These two releases are being released through Shadow Kingdom Records, whom somehow uncovered these treasures and are releasing them to the masses for this year of 2014. Most likely, while you're reading this, you're scratching your head because you've never heard of the band before. You aren't the only one.



This compilation starts off with their 1988 self-titled EP release, which I found odd as this release later contains their 1985 demo. The self-titled EP is a good old chunk of great old school heavy metal fused with that darkened, heavy vibe of doom. The power/heavy metal-esque vocal style is easy to adapt to and surprisingly fits well, considering how dark the instrumentals come off as. These meld quite nicely with the dominant keyboards that are located throughout. I'm not too big of a keyboard fan, but when used right I appreciate that layer of sound they provide. They are very much apparent in the track "My Name Is Man", giving off a psychedelic vibe that isn't so obnoxious to my ears. Luckily, they don't rely on this sound for long. They do somehow incorporate many different elements and compositions to keep it interesting.

Diving into the demo portion of the compilation, you won't find much difference in the two except for the production and a heavier psychedelic rock/metal feel similar to Black Sabbath and other bands of that era. It's funny how the band's sound has changed on different levels over the course of three years, even if they come off as subtle changes at first. The demo is enjoyable, considering it is a bit rough and the band's first effort and it has a charm I quite like. The demo spans over 6 tracks, containing different compositions of their overall sound.

I'm actually very appreciative of this release and it's good to see Shadow Kingdom Records keep some of that old school charm alive by releasing this band's catalog. It won't be for everyone, but for those that appreciate the darkened, groovy heavy metal of the past, this is for you.

Track List
1. Who Cries For The Children (EP)
2. Melancholy (EP)
3. My Name Is Man (EP)
4. Occultism (Demo)
5. Walking On The Rainbow (Demo)
6. Visions (Demo)
7. Melancholy (Demo)
8. Run After To (Demo)
9. Exorcism (Demo)

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