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

ODIOUS – Mirror of Vibrations

ODIOUS – Mirror of Vibrations








Origin: Egypt
Genre: Folk Black Metal
Label: Sleaszy Rider Records
Year: 2007

Another hidden treasure of folk oriental black metal, coming from the most unexpected place. Odious is the first Egyptian band of the genre and “Mirror of Vibrations” is their first full-length after the promising demo “Summoned by Night” in 2003.

Odious’ music is fully penetrated by ancient Egyptian traditions and atmosphere. Folk oriental instruments and tunes transfer you to this glorious land. Images of eastern culture and occultism are projected through their music under a black metal filter. Pyramids, sphinxes, pharaohs and mummies are awakening in your mind for 51 minutes. Black metal guitars and vocals are combined with Egyptian acoustic instruments in a very original and professional way. Their sound in the blacker parts could be better, but we shouldn’t forget that it’s only their debut and that they come from a country without experience in metal. The compositions are totally built on the oriental scales that they seem to master. Their specialty is the acoustic folk instruments that they manage to merge perfectly with the accompanying (most of the time) guitars. Their black metal is definitely based on keyboards and melodies and much less in strength and aggression. All of the songs are full of interesting ideas with many changes in tempo, power and atmosphere, while the totally acoustic oriental parts are simply enchanting!

Someone could compare them to Melechesh, since it’s the closest sound to them, but they also have many differences. They are much more melodic, with a lighter sound and with eastern folk tunes totally dominating their music. It’s really a very good effort with an amazing, melodic and original result that definitely deserves the attention of folk black metal fans. It is released by the Greek label Sleaszy Rider and it’s not a hard to find cd. Now the band prepares their second album, which is to be released by the same label. Find below the links to their official Facebook and myspace pages.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
Odious @ Facebook
Odious @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

KAWIR – Ophiolatreia

KAWIR – Ophiolatreia








Origin: Greece
Genre: Pagan Black Metal
Label: Those Opposed Records
Year: 2008

After 2005 comeback with “Arai” Kawir return with their new work “Ophiolatreia” (snake worship). Released in a very beautiful colored digipak, this is their most professional and solid work so far.

Nine songs-hymns to ancient Hellenic gods with a duration of almost one hour of excellent Greek pagan black metal. All compositions are big, with very nice melodies and feeling, creating a unique atmosphere, reviving this great lost civilization. I believe they manage to express perfectly their beliefs through their music offering us a very original result, creating a style of their own!

Even though there are many changes in the sound, the feeling is still pure “Kawir”. One great difference is in the vocals. Porphyrion is doing an excellent job, and he is the best vocalist the band ever had. Vocals are both black and clean with many “deep” recitations, with the absence this time of female ones… Lyrics are in ancient Hellenic, which adds a lot to the feeling and context of the songs, but it’s a pity that foreign listeners won’t be able to get all the beauty of them…

About the music now, it’s pagan black metal with faster and slower parts. There are many keyboards accompanying perfectly the guitars, as well as some acoustic guitars and traditional instruments, but in a limited use. The music is raw, yet very melodic and “majestic” with variety in rhythm and intensity. The songwriting is solid, full of new and original ideas, without boring or weaker parts. Overall, I believe it’s their best album so far (if I remove the emotional connection with their debut) and by far one of my personal favorites of 2008! You can get a taste on their Facebook / myspace official profiles.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
Kawir @ Facebook
Kawir @ MySpace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

SVARTSOT – Ravnenes Saga

SVARTSOT – Ravnenes Saga








Origin: Denmark
Genre: Folk Death Metal
Label: Napalm Records
Year: 2007

A new chapter in the rich folk metal history begun. Svartsot come from Denmark and they release a very good debut. Their black death metal songs are fully inspired by Celtic music and the guitars are built upon folk tunes, scales and rhythms. The extended use of flutes and whistles seems to be their trademark and it’s done by perfectly skilled musicians. All the instruments are heard clearly and have equal importance on the compositions. The orchestrations are very convincing, and unlike other bands they don’t sound like adding traditional instruments on an already finished metal song…

The vocals are mainly death growls, but there are also the usual Viking “drunken” choirs. All the compositions are very interesting having a “happy” folk mood, that sometimes makes you wanna drink tons of beer and start dancing up and down! The sound reminds of bands like Finntroll and Trollfest, but they definitely have their own identity, something that made Napalm Records offer them a contract. I am sure all the fans of this genre will adore Svartsot and their inspired “Ravnenes Saga”. If they manage to remain at this high level, or get even better in their future releases, then I believe their name will stay for many years in the folk metal scene. You can check on your own their official pages.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://www.svartsot.dk
Svartsot @ Facebook
Svartsot @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews