WYRD – Kalivägi

WYRD – Kalivägi








Origin: Finland
Genre: Pagan Black Metal
Label: Naga Productions
Year: 2009

Another release from Wyrd, their 8th full-length album is out! Wyrd is a two men’s band from Finland that was founded back in 1998. Tomi Kalliola “Narqath” is actually the mastermind of the band, since he plays all instruments in “Kalivägi”. His bandmate “Wircki” helped him only in the compositions and lyrics this time. Narqath, who was also behind some cult underground epic black metal bands like Hin Onde, Oath of Cirion, Valar, Hellkult, is also a member of Azaghal (Fin). It seems though that Wyrd is his main project.

At the first steps of the band, they were moving into the paths of raw underground epic black metal. With the release of “Heathen” in 2001, Wyrd managed to built a very personal sound, with the addition of acoustic and folk elements and a much more emotional approach. Later though they added even more elements, some more melodic mainstream riffing, “flirting” with doom, gothic and rock! So, when a new release was out, I never knew what I would listen to, since the band jumped from one style to another! Even though I like experimentation in music, I definitely prefer their pagan black metal side. Luckily enough “Kalivägi” is by far their best album after a long time and the band returns to its epic pagan black metal sound that I loved them for.

Of course their sound is changed from the early years, but the music moves on the scales they introduced in “Heathen” and “Huldrafolk”. Slow epic black metal riffing combined with raw brutal vocals and few clean ones. Keyboards and acoustic guitars follow the music in the background enriching their sound. Their melodies create a bitter nostalgic atmosphere, full of anger and sorrow for the destruction of pagan cultures by Christianity. Even though their music is melancholic, there is warmth in it, like there is still hope… All lyrics are in Finnish and unluckily there is no translation in the booklet, or any other official info for the thematology of the album, so you can only look at these weird “gooses” in the cover and imagine whatever you want…

The production and the overall sound are more contemporary, with some of the newer influences being merged into the compositions. I believe that this album will satisfy most of Wyrd’s fans, especially the older ones. It contains 6 great songs (all at the same style this time) without any fillers and the album lasts for almost 40 minutes. “Kalivägi” is released by the Czech label Naga Productions and you can listen to their music in their official myspace page.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
Wyrd @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

FFERYLLT – Dance of Druids

FFERYLLT – Dance of Druids








Origin: Russia
Genre: Folk Black Metal Folk Metal
Label: Stygian Crypt Productions
Year: 2009

Fferyllt is a very interesting new band from Russia, with a very strange to pronounce or even write name. Even though the band begun in 2003, it is 2007 when Fferyllt became a full band. Except for a demo “A Celtic Tale” in 2006, the band hadn’t released anything else until now, where they offer us their debut “Dance of Druids”, released by Stygian Crypt.

Diarmaid (Dmitry Eliseev) is the founder of the band and also its frontman, since he composes all music and performs keyboards, drum-machine, acoustic guitars, bodhran and mouth harp! Fferyllt’s music can be described as folk black metal, but it’s far from the typical examples. Their music is very variable and a big credit for this goes to their excellent female singer Astrid (Joona Zelenskaya). She has a very beautiful voice and she can sing perfectly both in Celtic style as well as in operatic vocals (that is her strong point). Most of the songs are in slow and mid tempo, where melody has the first role. Some of the songs have only female vocals and a calmer orchestration, while others are a bit into the extreme side, with faster riffing and the addition of black metal vocals.

The album has a folk Celtic mood, with many traditional instruments and synths that create a pagan medieval atmosphere. The lyrics are mainly in English, even though there are a couple of songs in Russian. Northern European paganism, Asatru, Celts and Druidism are their main subjects that they manage to dress perfectly with their music. “Dance of Druids” is a very well composed album, since all the songs are great and at the same level, even though of different style. The idea of mixing epic folk metal with operatic vocals works really great for the band. Except for the amazing vocals, all other band members are also good, since everything is very well played, with a great balance between the different instruments. The only think I’d like to see improved are the drum machine and the production, so that everything will be more natural, since some instruments don’t sound that “real”.

Fans of Falkenbach, Ensiferum, Folkearth, etc. should definitely invest on this band. Fferyllt have also made two great covers on “LAI LAI HEI” (Ensiferum) and “Inis Mona” (Eluveitie) and these 2 songs close this great album. You can check their music on the band’s official sites below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.fferyllt.net
Fferyllt @ Facebook
Fferyllt @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

WOLFCHANT – Determined Damnation

WOLFCHANT – Determined Damnation








Origin: Germany
Genre: Epic Death Metal Pagan Black Metal
Label: Massacre Records
Year: 2009

The time for the third album from the German pagan black / death metallers Wolfchant has come. The band was formed in 2003 and after 2 self-released demos they signed to CCP where they released their first 2 albums “Bloody Tales of Disgraced Lands” in 2005 and “A Pagan Storm” in 2007. Now they signed in a much bigger label, Massacre Records and their new work is available.

I like very much this genre, but I have to admit that Wolfchant is not one of my favorite bands, even though I have all their works (except the second demo). So, I wasn’t expecting something special from this new work “Determined Damnation”, despite the fact their previous album was improved. They play a mixture of melodic pagan black metal and epic death metal, with some heavy and power metal influences in the guitars, as well as some folk touches. They use black metal vocals and few rare clean vox and choirs in the refrains and they have all the typical characteristics of the genre, but something is missing in the compositions. Since the band emphasizes more in the melodic side and not in the atmosphere or the aggression of the songs, I expected something better, at least in the melodies of the refrains. The lyrics deal with epic themes and are mostly in English, but there also some songs in German.

Of course there are many good moments in the songs, but that’s not enough to make a great album. I believe they can compose more original and inspired songs, since they seem able to do so. The production is ok and the CD is released both in standard version and in limited digipak with 2 bonus tracks. You can get a taste on their myspace or Facebook page and I hope you have a different opinion than mine.

dimiarch

Rating:  (7/10)

Links:
Wolfchant @ Facebook
Wolfchant @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

ALESTORM – Black Sails at Midnight

ALESTORM – Black Sails at Midnight








Origin: United Kingdom
Genre: Folk Metal
Label: Napalm Records
Year: 2009

Second attack from the Scottish pirate metallers Alestorm. After their successful debut “Captain Morgan’s Revenge” in 2008, they released the EP “Leviathan” and the split “Black Sails over Europe” with Týr and Heidevolk. At the first days of June their new full-length album “Black Sails at Midnight” will be available from Napalm Records again.

Compared to their previous works, there are no real surprises or innovations. They continue to play heavy / power metal enriched by many folk instruments (like accordion) and keyboards. They manage to create a very happy and epic atmosphere, the perfect soundtrack for any pirate movie! The keyboards are more dominant this time and I believe that the band gave a bigger emphasis on the melodies of the songs. They also use many choir vocals in their refrains, having quite a majestic and bombastic mood. And if in their debut, they tried mainly to “establish” their personal sound, this time they were more confident and the songs are better. There is more work in the compositions, especially in the melodies of the refrains, as well as better orchestrations with a perfect production.

Of course there is no need to mention the lyrical themes of the songs… The band has once again great cover artwork by Ingo Romling. “Black Sails over Europe” contains also two songs from their EP, the songs “Leviathan” and “Wolves of the Sea (Pirates of the Sea cover)” a cover from previous year’s Denmark’s Eurovision song! The addition of some Celtic tunes and instruments works great for the band. If I had to pick one song, that would be by far the fourth track “Keelhauled”, a really uplifting song!

If you were a fan or Running Wild and you like a more epic and contemporary version of pirate metal, Alestorm is by far the best offer around! The album will be released both in normal version and in a limited 8-panel deluxe digipak edition, including bonus DVD (Wacken Open Air 200Smilie: 8). You can also check their official pages to see if they are for you.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.alestorm.net
Alestorm @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

FEN – The Malediction Fields

FEN – The Malediction Fields








Origin: United Kingdom
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal Post Metal
Label: Aural Music Code 666 Records
Year: 2009

Finally the debut album of Fen is out! The band comes from The Fens (a region in eastern England, where they took their name from) and they were formed in 2006. After their very promising EP “Ancient Sorrow” that was released by Northern Silence in 2007, they moved to Code666 for their new work. I was really looking forward to listen to this release and thankfully the time has come.

Already from their first work the band showed its will to experiment and explore different genres of music in their sound. And if their time was limited back then, now they offer us almost an hour of music. The general term atmospheric black metal isn’t enough to describe them, but on the other hand it’s the closest I can think of. Fen definitely have their roots into black metal, something more obvious in the guitar riffs and their screaming vocals. They want to create a very melancholic atmosphere and in order to express their emotions better, they often move into other genres, like acoustic music and post rock (something we have also seen in the EP).

“The Malediction Fields” is a very dark and emotional album, containing 8 long songs. They move into slow and mid tempo rhythms with many changes in the songs. Except for the “angry” black metal vocals there also clean ones and some choirs (that need improvement), offering a more sorrowful “crying” feeling in their melancholic atmosphere. They use many keyboards in their melodies, enriching their sound and adding to the sad mood of their songs. Their songwriting is very solid and everything comes natural, making the barriers between the genres to disappear. The overall quality of the album is very good, but I believe that they can improve more, since there are some moments in the songs that are really brilliant, while others aren’t at the same level. Of course we shouldn’t forget that it’s only a debut!

The CD is released in a beautiful digipak and this time the production is very good and professional. Their sound is something between underground and mainstream and they have found the right balance, like they did with the different elements in their music. Fans of Agalloch, Ulver should definitely check them. If you are into atmospheric experimental black metal you have nothing to lose by visiting their Facebook and myspace profiles for samples.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
Fen @ Facebook
Fen @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

ADOR DORATH – Bestiari

ADOR DORATH – Bestiari








Origin: Czech Republic
Genre: Gothic Metal Symphonic Black Metal
Label: Shindy Productions
Year: 2008

Ador Dorath is one of the most underestimated bands in the symphonic black / extreme gothic metal genre. I believe that they remain unknown to the masses, only because of their origin and the bad distribution they have, something that I don’t see changing soon… Anyway, let’s take things from the beginning. It was 1997 when this band was formed and it took them five years to release their great (but somehow amateur) debut “Adon Nin Edeleth Ador Dorath”. Three years later in 2005 they released their sophomore effort “Symbols” and now in the end of 2008 / beginning of 2009 they released their masterpiece “Bestiari”.

From the first moments of this album it’s becoming clear that we have to do with a professional work. The production really kicks ass! Their music is very symphonic, with complex keyboards, mixed with twisted screaming growls, operatic female vocals, enraged guitars and lunatic drums. The result is breathtaking: an endless attack of riffs and melodies with an unbelievable variety in rhythm and power! They are very gifted and skilled musicians, both in composition and performance, while their singer Anna Neuwirthova can easily be compared with the top “divas” of the Gothic genre. Their orchestrations are totally solid with many classical music references, helped by the fact they have a violoncello player in their line-up! Coming to the compositions, Ador Dorath made an excellent work creating 11 brilliant songs, the one better than the other. There are great melodies in each track, especially in the synths and in the female vocals, without any boring parts or “fillers”. The last song “Postscriptum” is a totally breathtaking slow song with almost crying operatic male and ethnic female vocals that can cause serious goose bumps. All lyrics are in English and the CD is released in an unusual digipak with ”silver” coating both in the cover and in the one side of the booklet!

If you like extreme symphonic Gothic black metal you must check immediately this band. You can listen to some songs following the links below. If you like them (I’ll be surprised if you don’t) you can try to get their albums on their label’s page (shindy productions), or through e-bay, since I haven’t seen them anywhere else so far. I really hope all the best for this great band because they are many levels above the crap that is promoted in this genre.

dimiarch

Rating:  (10/10)

Links:
http://adordorath.com
Ador Dorath @ Bandzone
Ador Dorath @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

BLACKGUARD – Profugus Mortis

BLACKGUARD – Profugus Mortis








Origin: Canada
Genre: Melodic Death Metal Symphonic Black Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Year: 2009

Blackguard is the new offer from Nuclear Blast. This Canadian band was formed in 2001 under the name Profugus Mortis and released its debut album “So it Begins” in 2007 and the EP “Another Round” next year. Later, they participated on a contest run by the myspace team of Nuclear Blast and they were the winners among 3.000 other bands!!! They changed their name to Blackguard (for legal reasons) and here they are releasing their first album “Profugus Mortis” under this new name!

Since I have listened to their debut, I can definitely say that they have made many steps forward with this release. They play symphonic melodic black-death metal with some folk elements. They have a professional crystal clear production and an amazingly solid sound. Their songs are always up-tempo with great riffs, ultra fast guitar solos and melodic keyboards. I think they are something between early Children of Bodom and Ensiferum, being skillful musicians and creating a very epic and folk atmosphere. All compositions have a typical structure, with bridge, melodic refrains and solos. Blackguard seem to have many ideas and they managed to express them through their songs and especially through the guitar lines that seems to be their strong “card”, both in riffs and solos. All of the vocals are black-death screams that try to compete the power and intensity of the songs, that most of the time are at the same bombastic level. This lack of variety in the “power of their sound” is in my opinion the only negative of Blackguard’s music, but I have to admit that they managed to improve it a lot, since their debut was becoming tiring at sometimes, due to the same high speed all the time.

This time the band removed the quite beautiful violins they used on “So it Begins” and replaced them with some folk instruments here and there, but mainly with a more symphonic mood and an overdose of solos! I am not sure which of the two “versions” of the band I prefer, but I welcome the fact they refreshed their sound and I hope they will repeat it in the future. It is most likely that fans of this genre will love this album, but none is better judge than your own ears. So follow the links below to their official Facebook and myspace pages.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
Blackguard @ Facebook
Blackguard @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

RAVENTALE – Long Passed Days

RAVENTALE – Long Passed Days








Origin: Ukraine
Genre: Doom Metal Epic Black Metal
Label: BadMoodMan Music
Year: 2008

This is the second album by this new Ukrainian band, after their debut “On A Crystal Swing” in 2006. Astaroth created this band in 2005 and he plays everything on Raventale, since it’s his personal project. In their debut the band had a black metal oriented sound, while this time the music changed a lot.

Black metal elements are still obvious, but many doom metal influences are also added. A slow heavy tempo is dominant in the whole album and sorrowful keyboards accompany the sad riffing of the guitars. There are only few vocals in the songs and most of them sound rather like spoken words, all in black metal style, but not very extreme. Lyrics deal about nature and epic themes and are performed in the Ukrainian language. The result is a very dark, atmospheric album that has at the same time a warm, epic mood. The orchestrations are actually very good, with a rich sound, helped by the excellent use of synths that sometimes sound very symphonic and majestic… On the other hand, guitars have a more simple “structure” moving on dark doom scales and rhythms. This work is based on emotions and feelings, created by simple, but beautiful melodies, resulting in a lonely depressing atmosphere. Raventale make also an interesting cover on Anathema’s “Sunset of the Age”, which sounds like one with the rest of the album!

“Long Passed Days” is a very well produced album, with dark epic compositions that might interest both fans of doom and epic black metal. Even though it is not a work that will offer something totally new and original, it has a certain quality and an unusual charm, which made it stay many days in my play-list. You can visit their official pages to listen to some of their songs and judge for yourselves.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
Raventale @ Facebook
Raventale @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews