SLAVLAND – Lechita

SLAVLAND – Lechita








Origin: Poland
Genre: Folk Black Metal Pagan Black Metal
Label: Eastside Records
Year: 2009

Slavland is the personal band of Belzagor (Lugburz, Swarost, Moonrise) from Poland. He formed them in 2001 and since then he has released 7 full-length albums! “Lechita” is his last work and it is released like most of his latest albums by the Polish label Eastside Records.

Slavland’s music has always been pagan folk black metal. They definitely belong in the underground scene, since they have a very raw sound. Of course through the years their sound evolved and the production is getting much better. Belzagor does everything in this album, except for drums, played by the guest member Mantus. And we are not talking only about the typical metal instruments, but he also sings and performs many traditional and acoustic instruments. He actually is quite talented and he creates beautiful music, especially in the folk melodies. Flutes, whistles, bagpipes, acoustic guitars and other folk instruments are combined with raw pagan black metal, more melodic compared to his early albums. Technically Slavland need much more work, especially in the production of the metal parts. Acoustic parts are very good. What are really weak in Slavland’s music are the clean vocals! They sound to me completely out of tune and they ruin a lot of the beautiful music. At least in this album they are reduced compared to the previous one. I suggest either to remove them at all, or to get a guest singer. Anyway, despite the technical flaws, I always liked their music, since I find “honesty” in their songs. They seem to come directly from Belzagor’s heart, like he had really lived in a pagan past and he is sharing his memories with us. Of course all of the lyrics are in his native language, dealing with pagan themes.

If you are fan of underground folk pagan black metal, you will probably know Slavland. If you don’t know them and you like this kind of music and especially eastern bands (from Poland, Ukraine, etc) you should check them. For me this is their best work so far, but most of their recent albums are also at a very good level. In their myspace page you can find some songs from various albums, including “Lechita”.

dimiarch

Rating:  (7/10)

Links:
Slavland @ Facebook
Slavland @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

ACHERONTAS – Theosis

ACHERONTAS – Theosis








Origin: Greece
Genre: Occult Black Metal
Label: Dark Side Records
Year: 2010

The second full-length album from this productive Hellenic black band is out. They were formed in 2007 and since then they have already 2 albums and 3 split releases. Their debut album “Tat Tvam Asi (Universal Omniscience)” in 2007 left very positive impressions and I was eager to listen to their new work.

In my opinion this album is very different from their debut. It has a more “direct” black metal approach with a much more limited use of synths. In the previous album it was the keyboards that carried out most melodies and atmospheric passages. This time guitars have a very dominant role in Acherontas music. First of all the production is improved and their sound isn’t as raw as it was in their debut. So guitars and bass sound clearer and they are not merged into “one”. The work on riffs and melodic guitar lines is truly remarkable, both in quality and variety, revealing a lot of work behind this album. Fast melodic riffing, rhythmic guitars, acoustic guitars and bass are combined in many different ways in this album keeping the listener always interested. The tempo and style of the songs also vary, from fast aggressive black metal, to atmospheric metal and acoustic / ambient / soundtrack parts, all of them under the band’s occult atmosphere. V.P.9 Acherontas’ vocals are also improved and they are more expressive and “mature”, like the overall sound of the band. Their lyrics and philosophy haven’t changed in general, except that this time they have a more dark vampiric approach without the Sumerian elements they had in their debut. The philosophy behind the band dwells in the core of philosophies of Hekal Tiamat. Also many occult elements in lyrics leads to left hand path black arts as alchemy, Kabalah and necromantical sorcery… Some of the lyrics come from the “Temple of the Vampire”, like the great translation into ancient Hellenic in the song “Legacy of Tiamat”, a slow dark atmospheric track, my favorite of the album.

Theosis” is a very good work and Acherontas seem to have balanced their influences into a more solid sound. I believe though that it would be in favor of the band if the album was a little shorter (it’s almost one hour long) focusing on their best ideas and avoiding some repetition. Anyway I am not complaining; it’s just that the band has raised our expectations a lot! The album is released by Dark Side Records in a digipak version and in a limited A5 digibook version, as well as in a double gatefold vinyl. You can visit their myspace and Facebook pages to get a taste from all of their works.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8,5/10)

Links:
Acherontas @ Facebook
Acherontas @ MySpace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

LLVME – Fogeira de Sueños

LLVME – Fogeira de Sueños








Origin: Spain
Genre: Doom Metal Folk Black Metal Folk Death Metal
Label: My Kingdom Music
Year: 2010

Llvme is a newly formed band from Salamanca, Spain. They exist from 2007, when Nandu, keyboard player of the black metal band Chaotic Hope, decided to create a new band. After the split-up of Chaotic Hope, two of their members joined the band, together with a new guitarist. The new band follows a quite different path from the fast epic black metal style of Chaotic Hope. “Fogeira de Sueños” is their debut album and it was released on April of 2010. They recently got a fifth member, the guitarist Eric from the folk band Elfic.

One thing for sure is that Llvme (“fire” in Leonese language) have a very personal approach and a much different sound from most bands in the folk black metal genre. And this is mainly because the base of their music is doom death metal. So it has a relatively slow and heavy tempo. Of course they also play black metal, adding folk instruments (mainly bagpipes) and beautiful Celtic melodies in their music, as well as violins (from guest members) that create a sad atmosphere. I can also listen to some instrumental progressive metal elements in their music, especially in the second song “Llumeiru De Fueu” which is my favorite! The songwriting is quite complex, since the band has to “marry” all of these different styles and they do it very skillfully. I have to admit though, that I prefer their more folk melodic moments, rather than the slow death metal parts, but that’s only a matter of personal taste. On the other hand though, maybe it is these “unmelodic” parts and the contradiction that help the melodic parts sound even better… Of course there are some great moments in the doom parts, with weird unusual melodies, resulting in a very dark, almost “suffocating” atmosphere. They also use synths in the background with an ambient touch that enrich their sound. The vocals, depending on the music, are either black or death, while there are also a few clean folk ones. The production is satisfying, serving the music for now, but it’s definitely improvable. Their lyrics are inspired by the powers of fire and are written in Leonese language, the native dialect of the Spanish region of Kingdom of Leon, homeland of the band members.

Overal “Fogeira de Sueños” is a very interesting debut album, from a band that seems able to build a strong personal sound. There are really good moments in the songs and I believe they can become even better in the future, especially if they create a more balanced sound, without so many changes between the different genres they play. I think that with more work in the production it’s an easy issue for them to solve. The album is released by the Italian label My Kingdom Music and you can check Llvme’s music in the links below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://www.llvme.com
Llvme @ Facebook
Llvme @ MySpace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

LORD AGHEROS – Of Beauty and Sadness

LORD AGHEROS – Of Beauty and Sadness








Origin: Italy
Genre: Ambient Atmospheric Black Metal Gothic Metal
Label: My Kingdom Music
Year: 2010

Lord Agheros is the personal project of Gerasimos Evangelou from Sicily (of Greek Origin). “Of Beauty and Sadness” is his third album after 2007’s “Hymn” and next year’s “As-a-Sin” and it takes his music a step forward. Already from the second album, Lord Agheros revealed a more orchestral approach in their music, something even more emphasized in this new work. The terms extreme gothic metal or symphonic black metal that could describe their previous works can still be used, but it’s not enough to fully “capture” their overall atmosphere. Their music is definitely synth and piano based, with very slow tempo and many ambient and film-music elements. There are of course distorted guitars and black metal vocals in the songs, but most of the album is instrumental. I am not complaining at all though, since “Of Beauty and Sadness” is a very good work. The album begins with a beautiful muezzin’s calling, while other “unusual” vocals are also used in the songs (childish laughter, tribal songs, whispers, “film dialogues”, etc) helping the band to build a melancholic almost haunted atmosphere. I believe that the title of the album is very suitable for Lord Agheros’ work since they create very sad music with many beautiful melodies.

The production is improved since their previous work and Gerasimos is now equally good in the extreme metal parts (that were a bit weaker in my opinion in his previous albums) and the instrumental parts of his songs. His brutal vocals remain very extreme, but the guitar riffing is more melodic now, fitting perfectly with the enchanting melodies of the piano, keys and acoustic guitars. I must also say that the marriage of these two “natures” is better, since guitars and synths are cooperating in harmony. In two of the songs there are also beautiful female vocals by Barbara Conti, broadening the variety of soundscapes in this album. Lord Agheros is not a typical band; they experiment, moving from one genre to another and they create a unique style of their own. If you like atmospheric dark extreme metal and ambient soundtrack music you should check this band. In their official pages there are songs from all their works.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8,5/10)

Links:
Lord Agheros @ Facebook
Lord Agheros @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

 

Posted in Reviews

SIGTYR – Lagnad (Demo)

SIGTYR – Lagnad








Origin: Norway
Genre: Epic Black Metal Folk Black Metal Viking Metal
Label: Self Released
Year: 2010

Sigtyr is actually a quite old band. They were formed by Odne in 1999 and 3 years later Jan joined the band as a full member with equal contribution to the band. After 11 years and many demos they have never dared (?) to release a full-length album. Sigtyr began as a solo project, but through the years they got a full line-up. Many of their ex-members are now on Mistur and Odne himself has also been on them. After Jan’s decision to start his own band Feigd in 2006, Odne decided to run Sigtyr again as a one man band and this is his first demo since then.

Sigtyr’s music is epic melodic black metal with a few folk touches and their sound is definitely influenced by Windir’s unique music scales. Guitars and synths have equal importance in their melodies and they are at the same sound level in the production. Their music has a somehow symphonic approach thanks to the beautiful orchestrations of the keyboards. There are only 4 songs in the 20min demo, all of them brilliant with really amazing melodies. The compositions have a very melancholic mood with many classical references and sometimes in my opinion they have a dark medieval “church music” feeling. The vocals are typical Viking black metal with many clean choirs in great harmony with the music. I like their sound very much and I believe Sigtyr found the perfect balance in the production, where every instrument is at the right level. “Lagnad” is an excellent demo and I believe that Odne should make the next step and compose a full-length album, since it’s a pity to get only 20 minutes of such brilliant music after 4 years of waiting. By the way their previous demo “Med Sorg Enda Soga” was also very good. I hope that soon enough a label will show interest in their music. Fans of Windir, Cor Scorpii and Mistur should definitely check them on the following links.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.sigtyr.net
Sigtyr @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

JALDABOATH – The Rise of the Heraldic Beasts

JALDABOATH – The Rise of the Heraldic Beasts








Origin: United Kingdom
Genre: Epic Metal Folk Metal
Label: Death to Music Productions Napalm Records
Year: 2010

If you think that the name is the only unusual thing about this band, you couldn’t be more wrong. Behind the knick Jaldaboath is James Fogarty. If this name reminds you anything, he was one of the founding members of The Meads of Asphodel, as well as the man behind Ewigkeit. After leaving from The Meads of Asphodel and ending Ewigkeit, he found two other comrades and in 2007 they formed a band with his name “Jaldaboath”. In the same year he founded the label Death to Music Productions. In 2008 the band released its debut EP “Hark the Herald” that is now sold out. Their Hammering Heraldic Metal (as they call their music) dragged the interest of Napalm Records, but at the last minute the deal was broken due to musical “differences”… So their debut full-length “The Rise of the Heraldic Beasts” is released again by D.T.M. and once again on St. George’s day (23rd of April), like the EP. Finally though the album was re-released by Napalm Records…

Jaldaboath have a very unique sound. Their music is dominated by the use of a Casio keyboard and can be better described as medieval metal. Grand Master Jaldaboath insisted on using this somehow outdated instrument and the result completely vindicates him. The countless medieval melodies and sounds of the keyboards are the band’s trademark for sure, since the guitars and bass have a more rhythmic role. There is a very “jollisome” mood in their songs and they remind me a “metal” version of the music of old classic adventure computer games like Hero’s Quest and King’s Quest! Their lyrics and thematology deal with Templars, Knights, medieval songs and a great dose of humor. I can’t find many similarities with other bands, except maybe with some medieval parts of early Meads of Asphodel, or the moody atmosphere of Alestorm. The vocals range from epic metal, to classic heavy metal and black metal screams. The songs have a very uplifting mood and I find the album very very enjoyable. All compositions are totally separated and recognizable, having very catchy refrains! Their production and sound isn’t one of the most powerful you can find these days, but this totally works for them. The non-polished guitars make the keyboards fitting perfectly in their orchestrations and they actually bring them out in their overall sound. There are totally 10 tracks in this album, 5 new and 5 from the EP. Even if there are many differences between them, they all unite under the intense personality of Jaldaboath’s music.

I really enjoyed The Rise of the Heraldic Beasts” and I find it as a great choice for someone who wants a lighter version of the many portentous medieval bombastic bands around. I could listen to this album for many times in a row and never getting tired of it, thanks to its unique orchestration and inventive medieval melodies of the compositions. The band has also a very strong personality, totally recognizable, something that gives them a lot of points in my eyes (or ears). You can visit the links to get a taste of their music.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
Jaldaboath @ Facebook
Jaldaboath @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

GRIM SKÖLL – The Woods Shall Cry Forever

GRIM SKÖLL – The Woods Shall Cry Forever








Origin: Mexico
Genre: Ambient Pagan Black Metal
Label: Azermedoth Records
Year: 2009

Grim Sköll is the personal project of Baal Taran, who formed the band in 2007. He is also member of many other Mexican bands, like Benatnash, Eidyllion, Dazhbog and Zonei, while he was an ex-member of Ereshkigal. In other words he is deeply involved in the underground Mexican scene. With Grim Sköll he explores his pagan side and this is his second album, after 2008’s debut “The Eleven Rivers of Hverlmir”.

The band’s music is pagan black metal with ambient and symphonic elements. The term symphonic here refers to synth-based compositions (not real orchestras) close to Summoning and Hellveto sound. As you can already understand their music is quite melodic, thanks to the rich layer of keyboards that accompanies their black metal riffing. The production is the typical of this genre, but I believe that acoustic parts could sound more natural. Of course we are talking about an underground release and their sound in general is more than ok, suitable for the music the play. Both guitars and synths are at the same sound level and none of them is in the background. There is a dark epic mood in their music, as well as a feeling of nostalgia and depression. The vocals are extreme black metal screams, fitting perfectly to the songs. I like this kind of music a lot and Grim Sköll are good at it, especially in the parts where their black metal is overloaded with synths. On the contrary, I have to admit that the acoustic ambient parts aren’t at the same level, mainly due to their bad sound. In my opinion the best songs of this album are the fifth “Vanish Light” and the next “The Woods Shall Cry Forever”, with their rich orchestrations, full of great melodies. The lyrics are in English dealing with dark, pagan and nature inspired themes.

Overall, Grim Sköll is a very good band offering us a nice album of orchestral pagan black metal. “The Woods Shall Cry Forever” isn’t something you’ve never heard before, but it is a very well composed album with many great melodies that I definitely enjoyed and I believe most fans of the genre will also like it. If it only was more solid and balanced (less, or better ambient parts and songs) it would be a really great work. It is released by the Mexican label Azermedoth (like their debut) and it is limited to 1000 copies. You can get a taste of their music in their official myspace page.

dimiarch

Rating:  (7,5/10)

Links:
Grim Sköll @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

TRIBE OF NEPTUNE – Gnosis

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Origin: Greece
Genre: Depressive Black Metal Doom Metal
Label: Razorbleed Productions
Year: 2010

Tribe of Neptune is a new band from Thessaloniki, with very little info known about them, since they don’t have any site. Its members are also active with other bands, like Aethyr, Empathy, Shadowcraft and Prometheus, but “Gnosis” is their first work with Tribe of Neptune. It is a full-length album and the band didn’t release any demo before, so this is the first encounter with their music.

This debut album is very interesting and the band has a personal sound. It is definitely an underground release, but with a very good production. It isn’t that easy to “categorize” their music, but I believe the closest description would be depressive doom black metal, with ambient and experimental parts. There are four long songs and the albums lasts for almost 40 minutes. Most of the time they are in slow tempo with deep dark melancholic riffs, accompanied by a melodic layer of synths adding a mystical atmosphere to their music. There are also some outbursts here and there, but nothing too fast. Their instrumental and more experimental parts, where keyboards and acoustic instruments come more into front, are totally enchanting. These “ambient” parts are very different from the typical ones of this genre and very difficult to describe; you should only listen to them… The vocals are both typical black metal screams and epic clean doom ones and Lord Mephisto Draven does and excellent work in both styles. The compositions are really good and Tribe of Neptune will drag you into a very depressive, yet epic world. My favorite song from this album is “Awareness”, even if all of them are in the same great level.

Gnosis” is an unexpectedly good debut from a new Hellenic band and I hope we will hear more from them in the future. It is released by the Greek label Razorbleed Productions and it is limited to 500 copies. The first 100 copies come with a hand-numbered card featuring the amazing front-cover painting by Kain White. Tribe of Neptune is totally recommended to fans of depressive slow underground black metal.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8,5/10)

Links:
-

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews