MÖRKER – Höstmakter

MÖRKER – Höstmakter








Origin: Sweden
Genre: Pagan Black Metal
Label: Northern Silence Productions
Year: 2008

After their debut EP “Den Sista Utfärden” in 2005 playing pagan black metal in the vein of Dimmu Borgir’s first works and their first full-length “Skuggornas Rike” in 2006, where they had a more personal sound, Mörker (Darkness in English) return with their new album “Höstmakter”.

Their sound of this Swedish band has evolved a lot compared to their previous works. They are still in the general category of pagan black metal, but there are many differences. Their music is much more mainstream, more melodic and with a great technical skills’ improvement. Guitars have the lead role in the songs with many changes, rhythmic parts, melodic parts, acoustic parts, etc. and even some solos! The vocals have an “evil” tone and the lyrics in their native language deal with the Swedish nature, darkness, autumn and winter… Some of the songs have also a more epic mood, especially in the melodies of the guitars. Another great element in the band’s sound is the very clever use of synths (especially of piano), that completes the songs adding up to their melody.

It is obvious that this time the composition took more time and effort and the songs have a much more personal sound. The production is also much better and the band has a crystal clear and powerful sound, while the cd is released by Northern Silence both in jewel case and in a wonderful A5 digipak. Fans of the genre should check them without hesitation.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://www.morker.se
Mörker @ Myspace
Mörker @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

WAYLANDER – Honour Amongst Chaos

WAYLANDER – Honour Amongst Chaos








Origin: Ireland
Genre: Epic Death Metal Folk Black Metal
Label: Listenable Records
Year: 2008

After a long period of silence Waylander return from the past with a fresh new album! For those who don’t remember Waylander is an Irish band formed back in 1993 and one of the first bands that combined Celtic music with extreme metal. The result of their efforts was the impressive and original (for the time it was released) debut “Reawakening Pride Once Lost” in 1998, a unique mixture of tin whistles, Celtic folk tunes and black metal. Three years later the band released it’s second album “The Light, The Dark and the Endless Knot”, where the folk elements and the whistles where reduced, to a more slow death metal mood (that I didn’t like). Since 2001 nothing!

So I was happy when I learnt about the band’s comeback and their plans to release a new album. After many delays the album is finally released and the first encouraging sign is the great epic artwork by the best of his genre Kris Verwimp. It’s very obvious from the beginning that the folk Celtic tunes and traditional instruments are back for good this time. There are many line-up changes, but their sound is more close to their debut. Their music is Celtic metal mixed with black-death, even though few songs are pure epic black-death, without any folk elements (and they are weaker in my opinion).

The songs are interesting and most of the folk orchestrations are very good, while the production is really great, much clearer and strong than their previous releases. Even though “Honour Amongst Chaos” has all the “ingredients” for a great album, it somehow lacks of originality and personality (especially if you have listened to many albums of this genre), something that I hope the band will regain in its future releases. You can check them to get your own verdict at the links below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (7/10)

Links:
http://www.clanwaylander.com
Waylander @ Facebook
Waylander @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

KAMPFAR – Heimgang

KAMPFAR - Heimgang








Origin: Norway
Genre: Pagan Black Metal
Label: Napalm Records
Year: 2008

At the end of Semptember the fourth full-length album of Kampfar hits the stores! This great band seems to have completely awakened since it’s their second album in the last 2 years after their long 7 years absence. Even though it’s 13 years since their first release, in my ears nothing has changed, concerning the feeling and the quality of the band, and this is a good thing since Kampfar are of the best in their genre.

Their pagan folklore black metal is very characteristic and they have inspired countless bands with their unique “forest” metal. The flame of the band is still burning and these 10 new songs continue where there last album “Kvass” ended. Their music is like always based on the brilliant riffs and folkish scales on the melodies of the guitars. It’s pure black metal sound without traditional instruments or synths, but with a more melodic pagan approach. Dolk’s unique vocals are another trademark of Kampfar, always passionate and distinctive. Most of the songs are at their usual mid-speed tempo, except fοr the last song “Vandring”, that is very different from the whole album; it’s very slow like a black metal “ballad”, something new and interesting…

“Heimgang” is a great album by a “cult” band that won’t disappoint their fans. Τhe songs could easily be on a previous Kampfar album, cause despite the improvements in the production, their overall sound and feeling remains the same. Maybe the only real difference is that the guitar lines are more dominant this time and it seems that a lot of effort has been put on it. And if someone finds this negative, or accuses the band for repetition, this is far from reality, since all the songs are excellent, full of new melodic ideas and far from repeating themselves. Totally recommended!

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.kampfar.com
Kampfar @ Myspace
Kampfar @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

SVARTAHRID – Malicious Pride

SVARTAHRID - Malicious Pride








Origin: Norway
Genre: Epic Black Metal
Label: Soulseller Records
Year: 2008

The new album of Svartahrid is released. The first step to their comeback was taken last year with “Sadness and Wrath” and now their fourth work is available. There are no surprises in the music path they continue to follow, or in their overall sound, but the improvements in their composition and production quality are obvious!

The Norwegian trio presents 48 minutes of aggressive epic norge black metal. The tempo is at mid and high speed most of the time, but nothing too extreme… Their songs follow the usual epic riffing, changing to more melodic parts combined with discrete keys. In my opinion the composition quality of the songs (especially in their melodic parts) is very high, and this makes the album stand above their previous work. The vocals are really “enraged” full of passion and expression, while the lyrics are half English and half Norwegian.

“Malicious Pride” is totally their most complete work, with very full and solid sound that seems to exceed the underground standards. I am sure it’s going to fully satisfy their fans, since despite the differences (improvements in my opinion) it’s still 100% Svartahrid. Ιf you’ve never heard of them but you are into epic black metal (without majestic keys and choirs) you should check them. You can get a taste in their myspace profile.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
Svartahrid @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

ANCESTORS BLOOD – Return of the Ancient Ones

ANCESTORS BLOOD – Return of the Ancient Ones








Origin: Finland
Genre: Orchestral Black Metal Pagan Black Metal
Label: Hammermark Art
Year: 2008

A great new epic pagan band rises from Finland. They were formed in 2002 and after many demos they managed to release their first full-length in April 2008. The band’s members are also in many other groups like Kadotus, Black Blood, Demon Child and more, but this project has a more melodic approach than all the aforementioned bands.

Their black metal is definitely raw and with a somehow underground sound, but it’s also very melodic with great synths making it more “easy to listen”. The production is more than ok, the guitars are very well played, the vocals at the right level and even though there are many synths nothing gets covered in the background. “Return of the Ancient Ones” deals with the typical pagan themes (epic, nature, anti-Christianity) and all the lyrics are in English. The vocals are raw and they sound more like screams, but the contrast they make with their melodic music is just excellent! The compositions are really brilliant, full of feeling and melancholic melodies and the synths are innovative with amazing orchestrations.

It is an excellent debut from a rather unknown (so far) band, which really deserves some attention. All of the songs are very epic with really breathtaking melodies and at some times they could almost be described as “symphonic”. If you are into more underground sounds, or if you’d like to explore the genre, I believe Ancestors Blood worth a try. Of course there is nothing better than a personal contact with their music on the links below. Since there has to be a grade, always compared to the other more underground releases of the genre…

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
Ancestors Blood @ Facebook
Ancestors Blood @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

ATHOS – Crossing the River of Charon

ATHOS – Crossing the River of Charon








Origin: Greece
Genre: Black Metal Pagan Black Metal
Label: Candarian Demon Productions
Year: 2008

This is the second and much improved full-length album of the Greek black metallers Athos. Kerveros is the only member of Athos and he composes and performs all music in this album, except a few guest vocals. This work is released only one year after their debut “The Awakening of Athos”, but it has significant differences with its predecessor.

Athos’ music was typical black metal, influenced by bands like old Burzum and old Naer Mataron. In this album though, the synths are reduced (if not absent) and the sound is clearer, with guitars and vocals being in the front. “Crossing the River of Charon” is a very balanced work with the same quality from the beginning ’till the end and it’s the first time they manage to do so. Actually this is their first album that was worked as a full-length, since their debut was in fact a demo, re-released with 2 bonus songs.

Their black metal is mainly in fast tempo, with a few “calmer” parts and the ideas on the guitar riffing, even though aggressive, are at the same time melodic with a sense of melancholy. The lyrics deal with dark concepts of Hellenic mythology and history. All vocals are typical black metal screams, but the lyrics are in Hellenic language, something that fits their concept perfectly and gives them a more personal identity. In their last song “Plutonas” (that works as an outro) they use original ancient lyrics by “Orphic Hymns” and this song is much darker, slower and melodic, adding also some female vocals!

The compositions of the songs are in a very good level compared to their previous release and the only thing that is missing, in my opinion, is a bigger variety in the music. Anyway the album is actually good and they are a great hope for the underground Greek pagan black metal scene. You can listen to their music on the links below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://athosblackmetal.blogspot.gr
Athos @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

FIMBULVET – Der Ruf in Goldene Hallen

FIMBULVET – Der Ruf in Goldene Hallen








Origin: Germany
Genre: Epic Black Metal Pagan Black Metal
Label: Eichenthron
Year: 2008

A surprisingly beautiful album for fans of epic pagan black metal comes from the Germans Fimbulvet. Another band from Thuringia (that is creating a very remarkable stage) Fimbulvet was founded in 2003. After their demo “Gjallarhorn” in 2004, they released their debut “Ewiger Winter” in 2006. So they return in 2008 with their second and much improved album “Der Ruf in Goldene Hallen”.

Melodic heathen black metal is what Fimbulvet offer us, and they are really good at it! Balancing perfectly between melody and aggression, they composed one of the best albums of the genre… They don’t use keyboards in their music, but they have countless ideas on guitars, both on epic riffing and lead melodic lines. They manage to set the perfect pagan black metal background just with guitars, bass and drums and they complete their sound with the excellent vocals of Stephan. He sings both with brutal pagan vocals and with epic clean ones full of passion, creating the perfect dialogue between brutality and emotion. I believe he is one of the best singers in this genre and one of the reasons that “Der Ruf in Goldene Hallen” touches perfection. There is also a guest appearance with Natalie from Odroerir singing with her beautiful female vocals in the song “Heidenherz”, one of the best in the album.

The work in the compositions is amazing and all songs have enchanting melodies and refrains, under a professional production. Compared to their debut the biggest improvement of the band is in their sound. This time they have found the right balance between all instruments and vocals. Even though they only use the typical “metal” instruments plus some acoustic guitars, they manage to sound very solid in a genre that is usually overcrowded by synths… All the lyrics are in German and they deal with pagan mythological themes.

This album is released only in digipak version from Eichenthron (a rather unknown label, that did a very professional release) with very beautiful artwork and it’s limited to 1000 pieces. If you like bands like Menhir, Gernotshagen, etc, this band definitely deserves your attention. You can get a taste of their beautiful music on their official pages below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.fimbulvet.com
Fimbulvet @ Facebook
Fimbulvet @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

LE GRAND GUIGNOL – The Great Maddening

LE GRAND GUIGNOL – The Great Maddening








Origin: Luxemburg
Genre: Avant-garde Metal Symphonic Black Metal
Label: Maddening Media
Year: 2007

What a great pleasure is it to listen to such amazing works from bands you’d never expect! “The Great Maddening” is an album that was prepared for many years now by the band Vindsval. Vindsval are from Luxemburg and they are active since 1997, even though they existed since 1996, but with another name (Dregath). In 1999 they released their symphonic black metal debut “Imperium Grotesque” with the label “Skaldic Art Productions”. They were to release their second album in the same label, but the label quit… So they kept the songs and the artwork and released it a couple of years later under a new name and a new label.

Le Grand Guignol’s music has evolved a lot since 1999. Most of their musicians are session members of Falkenbach and participating in their studio albums! Except for the obvious improvement in the technical skills, the sound and the orchestrations are much enriched. Symphonic black metal mixed with avant-garde piano and violins, generating an orgiastic atmosphere: something like a carnival’s military marching, a blood-bathed puppet show, or a circus waltz… It’s very difficult to describe the weird feelings their music generates. There were some “hints” in their previous works, but this time the result is simply brilliant. Insane piano interludes and bizarre violins followed by unusual choirs in the background, build the setting for the great maddening, a title that fits their music perfectly. Their melodic black metal isn’t very raw and actually the term extreme metal with black vocals describes their music with more accuracy.

What make this album so unique are its wonderful orchestrations. Classical piano interludes and violins are used in an unusual innovative way creating a strange atmosphere of grotesque aristocratic grandeur, a post-war theatrical nostalgia. Thankfully the new label “Maddening Media” finally releases this CD, with another great work by Kris Verwimp in the artwork. The only thing that keeps me for giving them 10, is that even if the first 5 songs deserve it, the rest are at a slightly lower level. I really hope it won’t take them that much time for their next album. If you want to listen to them visit their official pages below.

 dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.legrandguignol.com
Le Grand Guignol @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews