SVAFNIR – The Heathen Chapters

SVAFNIR – The Heathen Chapters








Origin: Germany
Genre: Folk Acoustic Pagan Black Metal
Label: Galgenstrang Produktionen
Year: 2008

Svafnir is a one-man band from Germany. Alexander Suplie does everything in this project that exists from 2004. After two demos and two self released mini albums “Pfad des Nebels” in 2006 and “Aufbruch” in 2007, their first officially distributed full-length “The Heathen Chapters” is released by Galgenstrang Produktionen.

“The Heathen Chapters” contains the complete album “Aufbruch” re-mastered (the 7 first songs) and 5 new songs. Svafnir’s music in “Aufbruch” is mainly acoustic folk, based totally on guitars and whispered vocals. There are also a few pagan black metal parts in 2 songs, where the acoustic guitars are mixed with electric ones and screaming vocals (not very good to be fair, neither the clean nor the black ones). I like these two songs though and I believe that with a better production and vocals Svafnir can create excellent pagan black metal. In the 5 new songs all black metal influences are gone and the music is totally acoustic, with the addition though of some electric guitars. After listening many times to this album I definitely got into it… Its simplicity is enchanting, showing honest, true and inspired intentions behind it. There is a pagan nostalgic atmosphere in their music and a relaxing tranquil feeling, like when you are sitting under the forest trees and listen to the sounds of nature.

Svafnir’s first album and demos were pagan black metal, but “The Heathen Chapters” has a different approach. I don’t know what Alexander will do in the future, but I have to admit that his acoustic guitars are some of the best I‘ve listened in a long period of time and his melodies are magical. So I hope he will continue mixing pagan metal and acoustic music like in “Aufbruch”, since he is good in both styles and variety works always better for me. This band came totally out of nowhere, but I believe they deserve your attention. The CD is released with a beautifully illustrated booklet.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
-

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

COR SCORPII – Monument

COR SCORPII – Monument








Origin: Norway
Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Label: Descent Productions
Year: 2008

After the death of Valfar some members of Windir formed Vreid, a band that had nothing to do with Windir’s unique Viking black metal. Some of them though formed this much more unknown band, that tries to continue Valfar’s legacy, being in the same genre. Do they manage it?

The band was formed in 2004 and next year they released their first 4-track sold out demo that left many promises. And now they strike back with their debut full-length “Monument”. The album begins with a classical piece in the background, like it’s been played from a used and half-ruined vinyl. And after one minute the main song begins! YES. This is music! Windir are back. Amazing guitar lines based on classical music and folk tunes, with unparalleled composing brilliance! This album continues where “Arntor” ended, Windir’s best work in my opinion. The sound of Cor Scorpii is much more solid and the production excellent. Guitars have by far the leading role, while keyboards help the melodies and add a lot in the construction of this “full” sound. Thomas S. Øvstedal’s screams are very passionate and expressive, fitting perfectly the music, while there are also a few clean vocals by a guest vocalist, that I would prefer to be more… Maybe next time.

All of the songs are very melodic, yet fierce and full of power, especially in the parts with singing. I never expected something that good in this “Sognametal” genre, even though I hoped for it! For me it is better than the last 2 Windir albums, but since words usually don’t mean much, you better take a look on their official pages and let the music speak.

dimiarch

Rating:  (10/10)

Links:
http://www.corscorpii.net
Cor Scorpii @ Facebook
Cor Scorpii @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

JANVS – Vega

JANVS – Vega








Origin: Italy
Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Label: ATMF Aeternitas Tenebrarum Music Foundation
Year: 2008

Janvs is another amazing band coming from the Italian black metal scene. They were formed in 2003 and in 2004 they released “Nigredo”, a very limited and quickly sold out album (only 88 copies), but it was in 2007 when they released their first widely spread album “Fvlgvres” by the Italian label ATMF. It was a surprisingly good work of excellent emotional black metal with a great inspiration in dark melancholic melodies.

“Vega” is their new work and my personal favorite of the band. They took the term melodic black metal a step forward. Their dark, sorrowful, esoteric music cannot of course be contained inside the term black metal. The band experiments in many other genres too: doom, progressive, acoustic, rock and amazing clean male vocals are only few of the elements of this musical achievement. Passionate guitars with an excellent production change from electric to acoustic and black metal outbursts are followed by enchanting melancholic slower melodies. This is a very “progressive” album that you never get bored, since you can’t expect what is coming next!

All of Janvs’ members participate also in other Italian bands, which explains their great musical skills. Apart from it, what is most amazing in this work is the compositions of the songs, being at the same time complex (in the essence) and simple (in the result). I mean that despite the so many genres and changes in their songwriting, the final sound is very solid and pleasant to listen, without becoming boring, or tiring. Their inspiration was at very high levels on “Vega” with an excellent sense for sad and depressive melody, reaching its peak on the same titled 6th song! Band’s singer (Matteo “Vinctor” Barelli) made a remarkable performance in the whole album (and especially in this song, with the help of a guest singer Riccardo Morello). All of the lyrics are in the beautiful Italian language and there are translations in the booklet.

If you are open minded when it comes to melodic black metal, you can’t ignore Janvs – it’s a one-way road to adore them! “Vega” is one of my personal favorites of 2008 (stuck on my player for a long time) and I highly recommend it. The cd comes with a beautiful artistically booklet, fitting the band’s sound. In their myspace page you can listen to songs of both their last two albums.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.janvs.it
Janvs @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

TROLLFEST – Villanden

TROLLFEST – Villanden








Origin: Norway
Genre: Folk Extreme Metal
Label: Twilight Vertrieb
Year: 2008

“These Norwegians are crazy…” like Obelix would say! This is the third album from this weird band that exists from 2003. Those of you who have listened to their debut “Willkommen Folk Tell Drekka Fest!” in 2005 or “Brakebein” in 2006, might think you expect what you will listen in this album. NOT!

Trollfest’s music was always folk black metal with very fast riffs, extreme vocals and happy, drinking, troll, folk melodies. They sounded like a faster and more “funny” version of Finntroll, using the characteristic Norwegian traditional instruments, accordion, whistles, etc. But this time they decided to change their influences. This group of drunken trolls left the middle-earth battles and together with their grenade-like duck (!! see artwork) decided to travel to the Balkan and Middle-Eastern lands. From the very beginning they mix their humppa metal with Balkan and oriental melodies in a very unique result! Whether you see this effort as a parody of the folk scene, or as a “serious” effort, Trollfest are undoubtedly very good at what they do!

They have managed to merge traditional eastern music with their black metal, by using oriental scales in their guitar lines, together with local folk instruments. They are definitely very skillful musicians and their sound is crystal clear. They still use very aggressive black vocals, as well as some choirs in the refrains. They have also maintained their personal sound, even though they totally changed their folk music’s origin. Their orchestrations are really very rich and it’s really too hard to count how many different instruments they use! Unluckily they have invented a weird language of their own, so the lyrics aren’t understandable, but I bet they must be amusing…

Overall “Villanden”is a very enjoyable album (I captured myself too many times smiling with pleasure when listening to their songs), composed under the influence of gallons of beer. Sometimes they sound like a super extreme version of Emir Kusturica’s music. Their cd is released by Twilight Vertrieb, and except from the hilarious cover artwork, the booklet comes with some very weird retro photo collage of the band members (I shouldn’t forget to mention that they include a photo of ducks in every page of this collage)! If you don’t take metal always too seriously and you are interested in happy troll metal, you should definitely check Trollfest, because their music is actually very good!

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
www.trollfest.com
Trollfest @ Myspace
Trollfest @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

LORD AGHEROS – As-a-Sin

LORD AGHEROS – As-a-Sin








Origin: Italy
Genre: Ambient Atmospheric Black Metal Gothic Metal
Label: My Kingdom Music
Year: 2008

Lord Agheros is quite an unknown band from Sicily, Italy. It’s another one man’s band and the musician behind it, Evangelou Gerassimos, comes from Greece. The band exists from 1999, but it was just 2007 that they self-released their debut album “Hymn”. One year later (autumn 200Smilie: 8) My Kingdom Music released their second album “As-a-Sin”.

Lord Agheros music can be described as extreme Gothic metal, or symphonic melodic black metal with many ambient influences. The vocals, which are definitely extreme, along with some guitars in the background from time to time, are the only black metal elements in their music. The whole result is very melodic, with many synths and acoustic passages. The songs have a slow tempo and the mood is very melancholic and nostalgic, with a Gothic renaissance atmosphere. The production (especially when guitars make their appearance) isn’t very good, but the ambient soundtrack-like parts are ok. A very sad piano gives a dark atmosphere to the music, creating a sorrowful haunting feeling. I would say that the more quiet symphonic parts (with some Mediterranean elements and scales) are more often than the extreme metal parts and Lord Agheros are much better in their melodic side, compared to their black one. Anyway the combination of these two faces is what gives the band its identity and attracts my interest.

Even though the band is new and unknown I believe it deserves a chance. I give “Hymn” this big rating mainly due to their really beautiful melodies, ignoring some problems in the sound that I expect to be improved in the future. If you like a very melodic enchanting form of extreme metal with many ambient/soundtrack elements, Lord Agheros can be for you. Anyway the final judge is your ear.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
Lord Agheros @ Facebook
Lord Agheros @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

IM NEBEL – Vitriol

IM NEBEL – Vitriol








Origin: Georgia
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Label: Haarbn Productions
Year: 2008

Im Nebel is a new band, formed in 2006, from Georgia, a country without any glorious past in the black metal scene. They play melodic symphonic black metal and compared to the countless mediocre releases of this genre, I believe they have something to say and that they deserve a chance!

“Vitriol” is the band’s first effort and it’s more than a decent debut. Their symphonic black metal is indeed very melodic and sometimes maybe it’s better to call it melodic extreme metal. Synths have a vital role in their songs and they are used either to accompany the guitars, or to “dress” the compositions with really beautiful piano melodies; Helen made an amazing job. There is a huge variety in the songs, from fast black metal, to symphonic metal, acoustic avant-garde passages, clean male vocals, all of them in high quality. The album is only 34 minutes long, but it is so “full” of ideas and melodies, that it seems longer. All of their compositions are enchanting, especially if you like a “lighter” version of symphonic black metal.

Lyrics are in English and they seem to deal with esoteric search and individualism and, unlike most bands from eastern lands, they use this language very poetically. Except for the excellent synths, what I enjoyed most in this album is the amazing vocals, especially the clean ones. Michael Lenz is very expressive and his almost “operatic” vocals give Im Nebel something special. Most of their refrains are enchanting and the band seems to have a great fluency in composing brilliant melodies. I hope they get the attention they deserve and to create more albums in the future. If I could find another band to compare them, it would be Enid, without the folk aesthetics and with a more solid production.

Their sound is very good for this genre and Haarbn Productions released this album in a beautiful digibook with 12-page booklet limited to 500 copies. You can visit their myspace page to listen to some of their songs. I prefer not to “rate” albums (after all it’s only a personal opinion), but I have to… So I did, taking always into consideration that this is the debut album from a Georgian black metal band!

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.imnebel.com
Im Nebel @ Myspace
Im Nebel @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

OBSCURITY – Várar

OBSCURITY – Várar








Origin: Germany
Genre: Epic Black Metal Epic Death Metal Viking Metal
Label: Trollzorn - SMP Records
Year: 2009

The fourth full-length work from this German epic black metal band will be out on 06 of March. After their debut “Bergish Land” in 2000, in 2003 they returned with “Thurisaz” via Twilight and in 2007 they signed in Massacre to release their third album “Schlachten & Legenden”. It was obvious that the band tried to get a better distribution and get out of the “underground” territories. Let’s see if this fourth album can make it.

The album begins very aggressive, revealing the intentions of Obscurity. Epic melodic black metal in the vein of Amon Amarth is what you should expect from this work. They have a very full and solid sound under a great production. Epic riffing is the dominant element in their songs, while the black/death vocals follow the guitar lines. All of the songs have big refrains, where the band sounds a bit more melodic, but they never use clean vocals or choirs. Their lyrics deal with epic legends and battles and all of the songs, except “Battle Metal” are in German. Vocals are very expressive, full of passion, aggression and epic tone, fitting perfectly with the very powerful orchestration. They usually play in fast and mid-tempo, without many variations inside the songs… I believe that this is the most “complete” work of the band, without any changes from their previous albums, but with an overall improvement. The only thing I’d like to see from the band is a bigger variety in the rhythm and power of the compositions, since after while the songs become a little monotonous.

The album is really well played and professionally produced, so if you are a fun of epic black metal you should really give ’em a listen. Trollzorn / SMP will release “Várar” in a beautiful digipak version and you can check their sound in the links below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://www.obscurity-online.de
Obscurity @ Facebook
Obscurity @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

FOLKEARTH – Fatherland

FOLKEARTH – Fatherland








Origin: Various
Genre: Epic Black Metal Folk Metal Viking Metal
Label: Stygian Crypt Productions
Year: 2008

Another release by this “international” band, which has been very active lately! After “Fathers of Victory” and the acoustic “Songs of Yore” earlier in 2008 it’s time for their third release “Fatherland” in the same year. This is their sixth full-length album in their characteristic sound, released once again by the Russian label Stygian Crypt.

This time it has 11 musicians from 7 different countries, including Hellas (Luresia, Marios Koutsoukos, Polydeykis and Hildr Valkyrie), who put for a while their bands aside and created “Fatherland”. The album begins with an acoustic hymn “Hymn to Zeus” composed and performed totally by Hildr Valkyrie. In the other songs they return to their usual Viking folk metal, so electric guitars are back again, as well as black /death vocals. Their songs are full of traditional instruments, acoustic guitars, folk tunes, extreme metal outbursts and a great variety of vocals styles and many singers as always. Concerning vocals, in this album clean male and female vocals are much more often than the harsh ones…

Despite the many interesting melodies and ideas in their compositions, the result isn’t very balanced, since their epic metal has many differences from song to song. If you look at each song it’s good at its genre, but there isn’t this link that will connect them into a solid album. Of course this is something expected when you have so many musicians and composers and furthermore when they are not playing all together. Each of them contributes only in some of the songs (others participate in more, others only in a few). I believe it’s better to see each Folkearth album as a collection of compositions from Viking folk metal musicians around the world and not as a band. The sound and the production aren’t the “clearest” you could meet in this genre and it has an underground, almost live, feeling.

Anyway, “Fatherland” won’t disappoint the fans of the band, but on the other hand it hasn’t something new to add to their previous efforts. If you don’t know the band, expect to listen to average Viking folk metal songs, with many influences from epic metal and many acoustic parts. You can visit their official pages for some songs and details about purchasing their albums.

dimiarch

Rating:  (7/10)

Links:
http://metalmaniacs.bigcartel.com/artist/folkearth-folkodia
Folkearth @ Myspace
Folkearth @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews