ADORNED BROOD – Hammerfeste

ADORNED BROOD – Hammerfeste








Origin: Germany
Genre: Epic Black Metal Folk Pagan Metal
Label: Black Bards
Year: 2010

Pagan folk metallers Adorned Brood are back with a brand new album, their seventh full-length. Formed in 1993 they were one of the first bands from Germany playing this genre. After their first cult releases of folk black metal “Hiltia”, “Wigand” and “Asgard” they moved to a more heavy-rock mood for the next two albums. It was only in their previous release “Noor” that they seemed to return to their more extreme side, having back in their ranks their guitarist Mirko, one of the founding members who left the band after “Asgard”. Mirko has left again the band, so I was curious about their new sound.

Hammerfeste” is a quite different album, but it still retains the characteristic sound of the band. I believe that it is the most solid and balanced work of the band after “Asgard”. The term black metal can’t be used anymore for their music. On the contrary, I think it’s best to describe them as epic pagan heavy folk metal with extreme vocals. Adorned Brood have a very powerful sound and this is their best production by far. Heavy epic riffing with many faster outburst are combined perfectly with Anne’s amazing flutes (the band’s trademark in my opinion). They follow more typical song structures, with bridges and melodic refrains that stick in your head. The more you listen to this album, the bigger the need for endless headbanging… The work in the guitars is really remarkable and they have also added some great solos in their compositions. The orchestrations are very good and everything (including synths and traditional instruments) is sounding crystal clear and at the right level. Vocals (especially in the verse and pre-chorus parts) are very extreme and raw and actually it’s the last remain of their blacker past. On the refrains and bridges they use epic clean vocals and choirs and these are the parts were they sound more heavy metal. Unlike previous albums, their compositions are all in the same style, without many changes from one song to another, but with many changes inside the songs. Their lyrics are in English, except for one traditional song, dealing with battles and North mythological themes.

Adorned Brood were one of my favourite bands back in their beginning and I always like to listen to something new from them. I really miss their more blackish sound, but I have to admit this is their best work the last 10 years. “Hammerfeste” is a very powerful album with some amazing songs that fans of epic folk pagan metal should definitely check. Except for the normal jewel case version, Black Bards Entertainment released it in a limited to 400 copies leather-bag edition, including a patch and an autographed band photo. You can listen to their music in the links below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.adornedbrood.de
Adorned Brood @ Facebook
Adorned Brood @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

DIAMOND EYED PRINCESS – Korlgueläal

DIAMOND EYED PRINCESS – Korlgueläal








Origin: France
Genre: Folk Black Metal Pagan Black Metal
Label: Northern Silence Productions
Year: 2010

Some of you may remember the band with this unusual name from their debut album “Pagan Rite” back in 2001. Actually it was the first and only album of this French band that was formed in 1997. Back then they offered us a very good release of underground folk black metal with a very medieval touch. They used a lot of traditional instruments and they had many instrumental folk parts. Nine years later they finally release their new album and I was very excited to see them signing in Northern Silence Records, because their music was recorded since 2004 and mixed in 2007!

I must admit that the new album “Korlgueläal” is very very different from the debut! The main difference is in the vastly improved production. The band is very far from the underground sound of the past and now everything is more solid, powerful and clear. They sound more epic and aggressive than before, while their compositions are more balanced. The pure medieval instrumental songs are now gone and they have a more epic pagan approach. Guitars are dominant in their sound, while the traditional instruments have a more secondary role, except a few parts where they take the lead and the result is simply amazing, like in my favorite song “Svarn Lak Dral”. Personally, I’d prefer these folk / medieval parts more often in their album. Riffs are both brutal and melodic moving from epic mid tempo to fast aggressive parts (sometimes there is a death metal mood), while the vocals are the typical brutal pagan black metal ones, excellently performed by Darkhyrys. Choir and female vocals are totally absent this time and only a few clean vocals remain! The band has paid a lot of attention to the lyrics and Darkhyrys has also written two fantasy books that someone can download on the band’s official site in order to fully understand the concept of both albums. Anyway all lyrics are in English and you can also read them in the booklet…

Diamond Eyed Princess made a quite impressive return, and they released a very professional album. They seem to take themselves seriously and I hope they offer us more good albums soon. I must definitely comment the amazing artwork and “package” of “Korlgueläal”. Northern Silence released it in a deluxe A5 digibook with 40-pages booklet, containing the concept book II, maps, song illustrations as well as an A3 poster!! Even if it seems quite an expensive layout, they have kept a very reasonable price, something that makes the purchase of this album much more appealing than just downloading it. Either way I fully recommend this album to all fans of the genre. You can get a taste of the band in the following links.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8,5/10)

Links:
http://www.diamondeyedprincess.com
Diamond Eyed Princess @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

SPÜOLUS – Behind the Event Horizon

SPÜOLUS – Behind the Event Horizon








Origin: Hungary
Genre: Black Metal Doom Metal Space Ambient
Label: Kunsthauch
Year: 2010

Spüolus is the new band of Szabo Void from Hungary, who was also behind the underground black metal band Thy Funeral that was put to rest after two demos. Spüolus’ only member sees this band as a mature continuation of Thy Funeral and at the same time as a new beginning. “Behind the Event Horizon” is the band’s debut album and it is released by the Russian label Kunsthauch.

In their official myspace site they describe their music as alien, misanthropic, blackened, funeral, doom metal and I find this description very precise, especially if you also add the genre ambient in the mix. The are four long songs in the album that lasts for almost an hour. All of them are very slow with the typical funeral doom guitar riffing. Synths are very dominant in this work, either accompanying the guitars, either having the leading role in the ambient parts of Spüolus music. They create a very dark atmosphere, the perfect background for Szabo to express his personal perceptions and explore his memories and subconscious, through an esoteric cosmic journey. The vocals are quite variable; from typical black metal screams to clean vocals and some weird spoken parts, all of them mainly in the background. Lyrics are in English, all composed by Szabo Void, who also did the nice artwork of the album, as well as the production, mixing and engineering! In other words, everything. The sound and production serves the music very good, but it remains in underground style. And I believe that some slight improvement could make the result much better.

Overall I believe that it is a balanced album that is mainly based on the atmosphere it creates. Like most albums of this genre, it sounds somehow monotonous and repetitive, but this is the way to slowly build this depressive torturing atmosphere, that the listener can’t escape from. “Behind the Event Horizon” isn’t a work that you will listen to every day, but if you give it a try, it can drug you down to it’s dark alien melancholic mood. If you like this style of music you should definitely check Spüolus. There is a couple of songs you can listen in their myspace page.

dimiarch

Rating:  (7/10)

Links:
Spüolus @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

ODROERIR – Götterlieder II

ODROERIR – Götterlieder II








Origin: Germany
Genre: Folk Pagan Metal
Label: Einheit Produktionen
Year: 2010

Odroerir is a folk metal band formed back in 1998 from Fix, who is also on the band Menhir. Initially they were known as a Menhir side project and they sounded like a “lighter” version of them. In 2002, with a new full line-up, their debut album “Laßt Euch Sagen Aus Alten Tagen…” was released by Ars Metalli and it was instantly sold out! Three years later they return with a very refreshed sound in order to release their second album “Götterlieder” with Einheit Produktionen. Now, five years later, in 2010 they release their new album named “Götterlieder II” again with Einheit Produktionen.

Both “Götterlieder” albums are the band’s effort to set to music the Icelandic saga “Edda”. So they have pretty much the same overall atmosphere. The new album is more acoustic compared to the first one. Odroerir use many traditional instruments, like large and small shawm, flute, mandola, mandolin, tin whistle, cittern, djembe, timpani, horns, cello and violin, either totally acoustic, or in combination with electric guitars and bass. All black and extreme metal elements are totally vanished from their new album, except a few (very few) brutal vocals… They have clean male and female vocals, as well as many “medieval” choirs. All songs are very melodic and the band has done a remarkable work in the vocals. Their folk orchestrations are very unique and rich and they don’t sound like other bands. They have managed to capture the atmosphere of the “pagan” life, traveling us back in time many centuries ago. Maybe it’s the band’s involvement in re-enactment groups that helps them have a deeper and more substantial approach. Their production is very good, much improved since their earlier works. All instruments, both plugged and acoustic are very clear and everything seems at the right level. There are many magical parts in the songs (especially some violin parts and some enchanting melodic vocal lines) and it’s a very relaxing and pleasant album to listen to. “Götterlieder II” lasts for more than an hour and it contains 7 songs, including the 19 minutes closing track “Allvater”, where the band experiments with some amazing guitar solos, something unusual for them! All lyrics are in German of course and you can find them in the detailed booklet.

Overall, “Götterlieder II” is a very balanced work, the most mature of the band. If you don’t know Odroerir, this album is the perfect way to start. I admit I can’t be very objective here, since they were one of my “first loves” in folk pagan metal, but I really believe this is a great album. Of course you can check their official pages and discover their beautiful music on your own.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.odroerir.com
Odroerir @ Facebook
Odroerir @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

MELECHESH – The Epigenesis

MELECHESH – The Epigenesis








Origin: Israel Netherlands
Genre: Folk Black Metal Folk Death Metal Thrash Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Year: 2010

The founders of Mesopotamian black metal are back with their fifth full-length album. Through the years this band has created a “good” name, so they don’t need any introduction. The term black metal isn’t the best to describe them anymore, since the band is constantly changing its style after the second album “Djinn”. They now have a more mainstream sound with a thrash and death metal approach. Of course there are still some black metal elements in their music, but not so often anymore. What hasn’t changed at all, is the “Middle Eastern folk” orientation of their music. On the contrary, it’s more dominant than ever!

The Epigenesis” is a brilliant album! Even if I usually prefer folk music combined with black metal, I must admit that this is the best and most professional work of Melechesh ever. The band managed to compose a middle-eastern folk album with the help of metal instruments. It’s not metal with folk influences, but a metal version of eastern folk music. Mesopotamian and Sumerian myths and legends are becoming alive through Melechesh’s unique compositions. Even if the production and overall sound is much better than before (actually they are perfect!) you can easily recognize their characteristic sound! Oriental scales and tunes are deeply penetrating their music and the whole song structures are built upon them. Most of the time the band plays at mid tempo, with some more atmospheric slower parts, as well as some faster outbursts. Guitars have a heavy and solid sound, while their oriental riffs are really unique! The band had a composing orgasm! So many riffs of the highest quality… The drums remind of ancient desert rituals, while the brilliant use of folk instruments helps the band to create a more authentic dark oriental atmosphere and connects them with the roots of their music.

There is something really magical with this album. Maybe it’s the fact that it was recorded in Constantinopolis (Istanbul), a city with unique surroundings and history! It was a very unusual choice for a studio, but it definitely helped the band to capture an outstanding atmosphere in “The Epigenesis”. What is different from most “folk” metal bands is that the traditional instruments are not used to carry out all the lead folk melodies, but most of the time they are separate from the guitars and they are used in the more atmospheric acoustic parts. Actually they could have removed them at all and still sound more “folk” than most bands of the genre! Ashmedi’s screaming vocals are once again in perfect balance with the music, while their lyrics deal with mythological Sumerian Mesopotamian themes. There are two long instrumental acoustic tracks, where the band reveals a very mystical, almost tribal approach…

The Epigenesis” is totally recommended to every metal fan and it’s a must have for all Melechesh fans and folk metal lovers in general. For me this album is simply PERFECT. It is released by Nuclear Blast and it comes with John Coulthart’s amazing cover artwork and a minimal black booklet with the lyrics. You can get a small taste of the new album in the links below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (10/10)

Links:
http://www.melechesh.com
Melechesh @ Facebook
Melechesh @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

MIZANTROPIA – Along the Lonesome Alleys

MIZANTROPIA – Along the Lonesome Alleys








Origin: Ukraine
Genre: Gothic Metal Melodic Black Metal
Label: Grailight Productions
Year: 2010

Mizantropia is a new (at least in discography) band from Ukraine and this is their debut album. They were formed in 2003, but they never released anything so far. They’ve been through many line-up changes and experimented on various music styles until they finally chose their own personal music path. They found shelter on a new Russian label Grailight Productions, specialized on symphonic black/death metal, with many interesting releases so far…

Along the Lonesome Alleys” is a melodic extreme gothic metal album with female vocals and black metal elements. The sound of the guitars is very sharp, while the use of keyboards is very distinctive. Most of the time synths are accompanying the guitars, enriching their sound, while in a few parts they have a more symphonic role. The band combines typical black metal screams with female clean and sometimes operatic soprano vocals, something very common in this genre, but it works very good on this album. In my opinion Ekaterina has a really enchanting voice and her performance is the highlight of this album. She is great in both vocal styles, very expressive and emotional in her clean vocals and very precise in her soprano ones. She carries out most of the melodic lines, giving Mizantropia an excellent balance between emotion and power. Most of the songs are in the Ukrainian, but there are also a couple of English songs. I really liked this album a lot and there were some moments (like the song “Ghost in the Rain” ), where the band touched perfection, but there were also some indifferent parts. I believe they should compose a more balanced album and focus more on their melodic side, since they are much better there.

Overall Mizantropia made a very promising debut and based on some amazing moments of this album they can make much better things in the future! Anyway “Along the Lonesome Alleys” is a work that fans of the genre should check. They have a very clear sound under a professional production and you can check their music on the links below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8,5/10)

Links:
Mizantropia @ Myspace
Mizantropia @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

SIRIN – Moja Otčina / My Fatherland

SIRIN – My Fatherland








Origin: Slovakia
Genre: Folk Black Metal
Label: Ancient Nation
Year: 2009

Sirin is another one-man band that comes from Slovakia and is a member of U.B.M.R. (Underground Black Metal Resistance) along with Perterricrepus, Karpathia, Concubia Nocte, Igric and Warxath, all of them from Slovakia. SturmWolf formed this band in 2006 and he composes and plays everything since then (he is also session member on Karpathia). In 2006 Sirin released the debut album “The Dawn of Freedom” and in 2007 the very limited split album “Vznesenej Krvi Zrodeny” with Karpathia. Two years later Ancient Nation released the band’s second album “Moja Otčina” with the hope to have better distribution.

Their music has always been underground pagan black metal, deeply influenced by the Slavonic mythology, something reflected also in their name (Sirin is a female mythological creature of Russian legends, with the head and chest of a beautiful woman and the body of a bird, very similar to the Greek Sirens and Harpies). Coming to the music now, the sound is definitely underground, but the production is decent. The riffing is quite melodic and the vocals are typical black metal screams, but not very extreme. The rhythm varies between fast and mid tempo, while the drums could sound more “real”. The characteristic element of “Moja Otčina” is the use of flutes with many epic and folk tunes, combined perfectly with the sound of the guitars, reminding the first works of Ashen Light. I assume though that they are most probably keyboard samples rather than real flutes, but they fit with the overall sound of the band. Lyrics are in the Slovakian language as expected and there are only translations of the song titles in the 4-page booklet. The album lasts for almost an hour and they have also a cover of Temnozor’s song “Werewolf”.

Moja Otčina” is a really enjoyable album of underground folk black metal. Maybe it’s not something new, but it has some really nice folk melodies and the overall songwriting is quite good. Those of you who like the mix of local culture and mythology with black metal, Sirin is a band you should check. You can get a taste of their music on the link below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://bandzone.cz/sirin

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

SLECHTVALK – A Forlorn Throne

SLECHTVALK – A Forlorn Throne








Origin: Netherlands
Genre: Epic Black Metal
Label: Whirlwind Records
Year: 2010

Dutch epic black metallers Slechtvalk return with their fourth full-length album, the first one released from Whirlwind Records. The band was formed in 1999 and signed with Fear Dark Records, a label with many “un-black” and Christian metal bands. Slechtvalk is one of those bands, but if you don’t know it you really can’t tell it from the lyrics, or titles, or thematology. On the contrary, especially on this album, their whole concept is epic viking oriented.

From the first moments of “A Forlorn Throne” the band convinced me that I have to deal with a very good album! The production and the overall sound are much more professional and solid than ever before. The band reveals a more aggressive mood and everything sounds more “evil” and angry. Guitars are very powerful and melodic at the same time, with countless epic riffs attacking your ears, while the battle symphonic synths in the background enrich their compositions, giving a darker touch in the songs. Shamgar’s expressive hateful screaming vocals complete their sound, making the whole album so more solid, aggressive and convincing. There are also guest vocals on 3 songs by Erik Grawsiö from Månegarm. Clean vocals, often used in the past, are still here, somehow darker though, but still adding a lot in the melody of the songs. The band focuses on the deep haunting atmosphere that the amazing cover artwork from Raymond Swanland perfectly depicts. Their lyrics are epic / fantasy oriented and all of them in English.

Slechtvalk is surely a band that deserves the attention of epic war black metal fans. If you don’t know them, “A Forlorn Throne” is the album to start with. Really well-played and perfectly produced, is by far the band’s most ambitious work. It is released in a beautiful digipak with great artwork. You can check the band’s music from this album or from their older works in their official webpages.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8,5/10)

Links:
http://www.slechtvalk.com
Slechtvalk @ Facebook
Slechtvalk @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews