FJOERGYN – Jahreszeiten

FJOERGYN – Jahreszeiten








Origin: Germany
Genre: Avant-garde Metal Melodic Black Metal
Label: Trollzorn - SMP Records
Year: 2009

The third chapter of Fjoergyn’s trilogy is finally out. They come from Germany and particularly from Thuringia, a place with many great bands. So far they have released one album every two years. They were formed in 2003 by Stephan Löscher (also on another great Thuringian band Die Saat) and it took him exactly two years to release the debut “Ernte im Herbst” and two more years for their second work “Sade et Masoch” in 2007. And at the end of 2009 we have this album released by their new label Trollzorn.

If you have listened to their previous albums, then you know that they are not a typical band. Their music is really complex; they move from genre to genre and change their music style with great dexterity. I would say though that the term melodic orchestral black metal could give a first impression. Of course we are talking about a very experimental album from a band that doesn’t chose the safe path, but the result totally vindicates them! There are nine songs in this album that is divided in four parts, one for each of the four seasons (Jahreszeiten means Seasons in English). The untypical song structures make each track merge with the other and all together they form a 53-minute black metal musical entity. And this is the way it should be seen: as a whole album and not separate tracks. It isn’t easy to get the whole picture at first and it needs to be listened more times before it reveals all its greatness. With Fjoergyn’s unique composing skills the band managed to combine epic, folk black metal, with progressive metal, heavy metal, rock, amazing (really amazing) classical passages with an avant-garde theatrical approach. The vocals are once again excellent and match the variety of their music. Typical brutal black / death metal screams, progressive metal vocals, clean epic ones, choirs, operatic ones and whispering vocals follow their music soundscapes, all sang by the band’s founder and mastermind Stephan. He also plays keyboards and guitars and he made the orchestral arrangements, editing and mixing (in other words almost everything)! “Jahreszeiten” has a powerful and solid production and despite the extended use of synths, their music doesn’t sound overloaded and every instrument has the needed “air to breath”, something that allows the correct balance in their complex compositions.

The album is released by the German label Trollzorn (who has announced many more interesting releases this year) in two versions. The first one is a limited to 365 copies metal box (already sold-out) and the other a digipak version. Once again their artwork is quite enigmatic and like both previous works on a white background. If you are open minded this album really deserves your time and since it’s not easy to describe it, the best way to get an idea of what Fjoergyn play is to actually listen to their music. So visit their official pages to listen to various songs from all three albums.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.fjoergyn.de
Fjoergyn @ Facebook
Fjoergyn @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

STREBEN – Wild Enchanted Gardens

STREBEN – Wild Enchanted Gardens








Origin: Italy
Genre: Black Metal Folk Acoustic
Label: Naturmacht Productions
Year: 2009

The debut album from this Italian duo black metal band is out. Streben begun in 2007 with Cristina Hagalaz who is the mastermind of this band since she composes all music and lyrics, sings and plays bass and keyboards. The other member is Valker (also on Cold Empire) who plays the guitars. On 2008 they released the demo “… of Melancholic Elegies and Wanderlust” and on the end of 2009 Naturmacht released their first full-length “Wild Enchanted Gardens”.

The first thing I want to comment is the really beautiful artwork of this album that fits perfectly with the title and concept of this work. The music now is much more brutal than what the artwork implies! After the calm acoustic intro with birds singing sounds and female spoken words, the band enters with very raw black metal and an underground production. The vocals are very extreme, something you wouldn’t expect judging by Cristina’s aetherial appearance. Anyway her black metal screams are very distinctive and they match with the raw guitar sound of Streben. The element of contradiction is also very dominant in their music, where tranquil acoustic dreamlike passages and nature sounds are followed by raw black metal outbursts. There are only 6 songs in the album that lasts for almost 38 minutes. The lyrics are all in English and deal with the effort to break the bonds of reality and seek freedom in other dimensions…

The overall result is good and the band makes a very ambitious effort. There are many good parts in their songs, but there are also some that need improvement. I think they are better in the acoustic parts and they need more work in the marriage of melodic synths in their black metal parts. The songs are mainly in mid tempo creating a melancholic nostalgic atmosphere. The production is ok, but I expect it to be better in future efforts. For a debut album it’s more than good and the beautiful artwork, their aesthetic view and lyrical concept gives them more credits in my eyes. You can check them in their myspace page for your own verdict.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
Streben @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

NAUTHISURUZ – Visions

NAUTHISURUZ – Visions








Origin: Russia
Genre: Experimental Melodic Black Metal Neoclassical
Label: Haarbn Productions
Year: 2009

Nauthisuruz is a very interesting band from Russia. Its two members Casurus and Sequoror founded it in 2006 and since then they have composed 7 albums! So far only two of them have been officially released: the fourth “Sanity Funeral” in CD-r by Rigorism Productions in 2007 and now Haarbn Productions released their fifth album “Visions”. Since it’s actually the first professionally printed album it’s most like a “debut” for the band.

It isn’t easy to categorize their music. There are various influences and many styles in this album. Atmospheric, Neoclassical, experimental symphonic black metal are some of the terms that can give an idea of their music, but then again they are not enough. Half of the album is instrumental and as expected synths have a very important role in their songs. If you are looking for a typical metal album with excellent skills and powerful production, then Nauthisuruz isn’t for you. But if you are looking for something else, where composition and inspiration is your only concern, then you must check them. They offer something different, experimental and personal with a more than decent and very interesting result.

Their music is dominated by the keyboards, which are cooperating perfectly with the guitars and all their beautiful melodies are supported by a good production. Of course it can be improved, but then again for a self produced and computer programmed album, it’s more than enough. There are epic and majestic parts in their music as well as others more calm and atmospheric. They even dare to experiment with some electronic elements and it works very well! Vocals in my opinion aren’t yet at the same level with the album’s melodies. They are brutal, ranging between black and death, with which I totally agree, but something is missing… The overall result can’t be considered too extreme, so I think they can touch a wider range of listeners. Someone could find some references to Summoning’s sound, but Nauthisuruz aren’t that epic and LotR oriented. Their lyrics deal with epic and fantasy themes, but in a more abstract approach. This album must be seen as a full piece, instead of separate tracks. “Visions” has an epic symphonic, mystical atmosphere and its magical aura can “travel” the listener far away… There are many parts in the songs (especially the instrumental parts) where the music is simply enchanting.

I believe Nauthisuruz is a band that deserves your attention. In their official siteyou can download all of their albums (including this one) so you can see for yourself. If you are interested in buying this release I believe the best way is through their label’s page. It comes also with two bonus tracks and a nicely illustrated booklet. If you only want a faster contact with their music you can just visit their mypace page to listen to some of their songs.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8,5/10)

Links:
http://www.nauthisuruz.ru
Nauthisuruz @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

KALEVALA – Кукушкины Дети (The Cuckoo’s Children)

KALEVALA – The Cuckoo's Children








Origin: Russia
Genre: Folk Metal
Label: Metalism Records
Year: 2009

Kalevala is a new Russian band that was founded only in 2007. They have been very active though and they have already released their debut album “Кудель Белоснежного Льна” in 2008 as well as a split live DVD with Manegarm and Alkonost. They soon managed to become well known in the folk metal scene of their country and maybe it’s time for them to gain a larger audience. “Кукушкины Дети – The Cuckoo’s Children” is their second album released by their new label Metalism and it seems to get a better distribution so far.

Many of the band members were also on other Russian bands so most of them are experienced. Their lead singer Kseniya (ex-Butterfly Temple, Nevid) has a very beautiful and characteristic voice and I would say she is the Kalevala trademark. Their music is folk metal with female vocals and many traditional instruments accompanying the guitars, with accordion being the most dominant. Their songs have a very happy mood and a positive energy comes out of their folk melodies. Most of the time their music is up-tempo, but there are also some more slow and melancholic moments that actually sound like ballads. They are far from extreme pagan or black metal that most folk metal bands are related to these days and they are closer to folk rock. Their lyrics deal with mythology and paganism and all songs are in Russian (despite the fact that it is a “difficult” language, I think it fits perfectly with their melodies). “The Cuckoo’s Children” is for sure the best album of the band and one of the best in this genre. The production and sound of the album are close to perfection and they have a very fresh and progressive approach to folk metal. Everything sounds very improved from their debut, especially vocals! The compositions are very innovative with many changes and various influences, skillfully blended into their music.

There are two versions of “The Cuckoo’s Children”: a normal version and a limited digibook version with a bonus song and a bonus video. Both of two versions come with an amazing artwork (different in each version). I totally recommend this album to fans of folk metal/rock. You can visit the links below to listen to their music.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8,5/10)

Links:
http://kalevala-folk.ru
Kalevala @ Myspace
Kalevala @ VK

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

 

Posted in Reviews

ASKIVAL – Eternity

ASKIVAL – Eternity








Origin: United Kingdom
Genre: Epic Black Metal Folk Acoustic
Label: Darker Than Black Records
Year: 2009

Askival was founded in 2006 by its only member Tuagh and after the demo “Alba” he released the debut and only full-length album “Eternity”. Tuagh comes from the island Rùm of Scotland and the band took its name from the highest mountain of the island. After the release of this album, Tuagh abandoned Askival, so it seems that’s all we will ever get from this band.

The music of Askival is epic pagan metal with some Bathory influences. They use many acoustic guitars and there are big parts in the songs where they actually play acoustic folk / epic ambient music. The compositions are very good, while the use of folk instruments and synths enrich their sound and help Tuagh create a unique pagan atmosphere. There are times when you feel you can almost “smell” the nature… The thematology of the album is about ancient Scotland, paganism and nature and their music is in complete harmony with them. Vocals are also very good and except the black metal parts, there are also epic clean ones, whispering vocals, as well as female vocals with the participation of Runahild from Eliwagar on 2 songs. Whenever electric guitars make their appearance they bring a melancholic, but warm feeling in the songs. The sound is not the best you can find, but it really doesn’t matter at all because the pure honest emotion of their music covers everything else.

It is really a pity that this band split up in 2009, but at least this album lasts for more than an hour, so we can get a complete taste of their music. The album is released by Darker Than Black with a very nice booklet designed by Kogaion Art. So if you like epic pagan metal and acoustic folk music, Askival is a very nice choice. You can also visit their myspace and Facebook pages to listen to their music.

(In the beginning of 2012 Askival announced the band is active again and a new album is in process!)

dimiarch

Rating:  (8,5/10)

Links:
Askival @ Facebook
Askival @ MySpace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

ASHAENA – Cei Născuţi Din Pământ

ASHAENA – Cei Născuţi Din Pământ








Origin: Romania
Genre: Pagan Black Metal
Label: Eastside Records
Year: 2009

Ashaena is a new band from Bârlad of Romania. They begun in 2006 as the personal project of Cosmin Hultanu, but eventually they got a full line-up with 6 members. They describe their music as Moldavian pagan metal and actually that’s what they play: pagan metal with folk and black elements honoring their ancestors’ traditions and culture. They also state they are far away from the NS ideology.

Cei Născuţi Din Pământ” (“The Ones Born from the Soil”) is their debut album and I find it quite interesting. Most of the songs of this album were also released as a demo in 2006. Their music is basically epic heavy metal with a pagan folk mood and an underground sound. They don’t have the best production, but it’s more than ok for the atmosphere of their music. There are 9 songs in the album plus 9 interludes in between them. Some parts of their songs are very good and others need improvement. The song structures are somehow loose and you can find many different music styles in this album: epic metal, pagan black metal, acoustic, folk, ambient… Most of the time their music is from slow to mid tempo, with a few faster and more aggressive outbursts, though never becoming too extreme. They are not afraid to experiment and they are far away from a typical pagan metal band. On the other hand there are many things that need improvement. The most obvious of them is the clean vocals, that very often sound almost out of tune, while the brutal ones are ok. Of course this epic style of singing is based more on the feeling and less on the accuracy, but they still need improvement.

Overall Ashaena make an honest effort showing their respect to their country and their roots. All lyrics deal with themes influenced by the Romanian folklore and are sung in their native language. With some sound improvements and a more balanced songwriting they can do much better things in the future. I see this release more like an official demo than a debut album. You can check them on their Facebook and myspace pages.

dimiarch

Rating:  (7,5/10)

Links:
Ashaena @ Facebook
Ashaena @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

UNHOLY MATRIMONY – Croire, Décroître

UNHOLY MATRIMONY – Croire, Décroître








Origin: Switzerland
Genre: Black Metal Melodic Black Metal
Label: Deepsend Records
Year: 2009

Unholy Matrimony is the third personal project of Vladimir Cochet, the man behind Mirrorthrone and Weeping Birth. With this band he explores his black metal side and he has already released 2 albums before the new one. He begun in 2000 and the first album “Love & Death” was out on 2002, followed by “Misologie” next year. Both works presented very melodic, yet melancholic, fast black metal with synths. I liked both albums very much and my only objection was the continuous blast beating and fake sound of the ultra-fast drumming.

Croire, Décroître” comes out 6 years after the last album and many things have changed… Unholy Matrimony sound darker, blacker and heavier than before. The tempo is slowed down and the production is unbelievably solid and powerful! They drums sound perfect and Vladimir’s improvement in them is more than obvious. Synths are now very discreet (maybe totally absent, I am not sure) and guitars do an amazing work generating many different soundscapes through various distortions and styles. At first I found this album less melodic than its predecessors, but the more spins I gave it the more I was dragged into it. The unusual song structures make them sound more complex than most progressive metal bands. But this seemingly random sequence in each composition is resulting in a very solid album, with a unique and very intense personality. Every single note, every single riff has a musical melodic quality that I cannot explain. He doesn’t use easy catchy melodies, but everything sounds so melodic! I am confused…

The lyrics are in French and in my opinion this language fits with the dark desperate atmosphere of the songs. Except for his black metal vocals where he sometimes uses some weird distortion filters, there are also some choirs. Despite the differences compare to his previous albums you can still understand it’s the same band thanks to the very special melodic sound they have. There are 8 tracks in this album, but it sounds like a big continuous song since beginning and ending of each song isn’t that obvious. Anyway the album lasts for 57 minutes and my personal opinion is that it would be better if it was a little shorter, since it demands your full attention and in the end it exhausts you…

Vladimir is a very skilled and gifted musician, able to have three different bands, all with a distinctive sound and to release 3 great albums in one year, one with each band. I totally recommend this album. You will be surprised by this dark progressive black metal opus… It is released by the American label Deepsend Records in a special double-wallet version. In his official pages you can get a taste of all of his albums and also links to his other bands as well.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.unholymatrimony.com
Unholy Matrimony @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

ARCKANUM – ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ

ARCKANUM – ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ








Origin: Sweden
Genre: Black Metal
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Year: 2009

Arckanum is a very old Swedish black metal band with its roots back in 1992. It is the personal project of Shamaatae who composes everything, sings and plays all instruments. He was very productive until 1998 and Arckanum became a “cult” name in the underground circles. Their first 3 albums “Fran Marder” 1995, “Kostogher” 1997 and “Kampen” 1998 were soon sold out and they hit prices over 100$ each in ebay! After 1998 and for 10 years the band released only EPs and split albums, but in 2008 they returned with their fourth full-length “Antikosmos” and now they are back for good with “ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ”.

The closest term to describe Arckanum’s music is pagan black metal, but since Shamaatae has different beliefs than paganism (he is Chaos-Gnostic Satanist) the term pagan shouldn’t be used. This album is a dedication to the Old Norse giant Þjazi and winter legends of that time. The eleven songs of this album (equal to the 11 underworld rivers) start with the letter Þ and added all together give the album title “ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ”. The first noticeable change in this album is the very powerful production and the sharpest sound of the guitars. This is by far the best production the band ever had. Arckanum offer us old school black metal with simple song structures and riffs that stick in your mind. The natural sound of the guitars dominates their music and compositions balance between rhythmic and more melodic parts, all based totally on the guitar riffs. Shamaatae’s characteristic vocals are screaming the lyrics in ancient Swedish language, completing the raw power of this album. The songs move from mid to fast tempo with cold esoteric melodies and a few dark ambient experimental parts.

For me “ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ” is the best Arckanum album for many years now. I can’t compare it though with the 3 first albums, especially with my favorite “Kampen”, basically due to emotional connection. The album is released in a digipak with a dark charcoal painting (probably depicting Þjazi) and the band logo embossed in the front cover. You can check their Facebook page for samples.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8,5/10)

Links:
Arckanum @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews