IM NEBEL – Vitriol

IM NEBEL – Vitriol








Origin: Georgia
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Label: Haarbn Productions
Year: 2008

Im Nebel is a new band, formed in 2006, from Georgia, a country without any glorious past in the black metal scene. They play melodic symphonic black metal and compared to the countless mediocre releases of this genre, I believe they have something to say and that they deserve a chance!

“Vitriol” is the band’s first effort and it’s more than a decent debut. Their symphonic black metal is indeed very melodic and sometimes maybe it’s better to call it melodic extreme metal. Synths have a vital role in their songs and they are used either to accompany the guitars, or to “dress” the compositions with really beautiful piano melodies; Helen made an amazing job. There is a huge variety in the songs, from fast black metal, to symphonic metal, acoustic avant-garde passages, clean male vocals, all of them in high quality. The album is only 34 minutes long, but it is so “full” of ideas and melodies, that it seems longer. All of their compositions are enchanting, especially if you like a “lighter” version of symphonic black metal.

Lyrics are in English and they seem to deal with esoteric search and individualism and, unlike most bands from eastern lands, they use this language very poetically. Except for the excellent synths, what I enjoyed most in this album is the amazing vocals, especially the clean ones. Michael Lenz is very expressive and his almost “operatic” vocals give Im Nebel something special. Most of their refrains are enchanting and the band seems to have a great fluency in composing brilliant melodies. I hope they get the attention they deserve and to create more albums in the future. If I could find another band to compare them, it would be Enid, without the folk aesthetics and with a more solid production.

Their sound is very good for this genre and Haarbn Productions released this album in a beautiful digibook with 12-page booklet limited to 500 copies. You can visit their myspace page to listen to some of their songs. I prefer not to “rate” albums (after all it’s only a personal opinion), but I have to… So I did, taking always into consideration that this is the debut album from a Georgian black metal band!

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.imnebel.com
Im Nebel @ Myspace
Im Nebel @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

OBSCURITY – Várar

OBSCURITY – Várar








Origin: Germany
Genre: Epic Black Metal Epic Death Metal Viking Metal
Label: Trollzorn - SMP Records
Year: 2009

The fourth full-length work from this German epic black metal band will be out on 06 of March. After their debut “Bergish Land” in 2000, in 2003 they returned with “Thurisaz” via Twilight and in 2007 they signed in Massacre to release their third album “Schlachten & Legenden”. It was obvious that the band tried to get a better distribution and get out of the “underground” territories. Let’s see if this fourth album can make it.

The album begins very aggressive, revealing the intentions of Obscurity. Epic melodic black metal in the vein of Amon Amarth is what you should expect from this work. They have a very full and solid sound under a great production. Epic riffing is the dominant element in their songs, while the black/death vocals follow the guitar lines. All of the songs have big refrains, where the band sounds a bit more melodic, but they never use clean vocals or choirs. Their lyrics deal with epic legends and battles and all of the songs, except “Battle Metal” are in German. Vocals are very expressive, full of passion, aggression and epic tone, fitting perfectly with the very powerful orchestration. They usually play in fast and mid-tempo, without many variations inside the songs… I believe that this is the most “complete” work of the band, without any changes from their previous albums, but with an overall improvement. The only thing I’d like to see from the band is a bigger variety in the rhythm and power of the compositions, since after while the songs become a little monotonous.

The album is really well played and professionally produced, so if you are a fun of epic black metal you should really give ’em a listen. Trollzorn / SMP will release “Várar” in a beautiful digipak version and you can check their sound in the links below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://www.obscurity-online.de
Obscurity @ Facebook
Obscurity @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

FOLKEARTH – Fatherland

FOLKEARTH – Fatherland








Origin: Various
Genre: Epic Black Metal Folk Metal Viking Metal
Label: Stygian Crypt Productions
Year: 2008

Another release by this “international” band, which has been very active lately! After “Fathers of Victory” and the acoustic “Songs of Yore” earlier in 2008 it’s time for their third release “Fatherland” in the same year. This is their sixth full-length album in their characteristic sound, released once again by the Russian label Stygian Crypt.

This time it has 11 musicians from 7 different countries, including Hellas (Luresia, Marios Koutsoukos, Polydeykis and Hildr Valkyrie), who put for a while their bands aside and created “Fatherland”. The album begins with an acoustic hymn “Hymn to Zeus” composed and performed totally by Hildr Valkyrie. In the other songs they return to their usual Viking folk metal, so electric guitars are back again, as well as black /death vocals. Their songs are full of traditional instruments, acoustic guitars, folk tunes, extreme metal outbursts and a great variety of vocals styles and many singers as always. Concerning vocals, in this album clean male and female vocals are much more often than the harsh ones…

Despite the many interesting melodies and ideas in their compositions, the result isn’t very balanced, since their epic metal has many differences from song to song. If you look at each song it’s good at its genre, but there isn’t this link that will connect them into a solid album. Of course this is something expected when you have so many musicians and composers and furthermore when they are not playing all together. Each of them contributes only in some of the songs (others participate in more, others only in a few). I believe it’s better to see each Folkearth album as a collection of compositions from Viking folk metal musicians around the world and not as a band. The sound and the production aren’t the “clearest” you could meet in this genre and it has an underground, almost live, feeling.

Anyway, “Fatherland” won’t disappoint the fans of the band, but on the other hand it hasn’t something new to add to their previous efforts. If you don’t know the band, expect to listen to average Viking folk metal songs, with many influences from epic metal and many acoustic parts. You can visit their official pages for some songs and details about purchasing their albums.

dimiarch

Rating:  (7/10)

Links:
http://metalmaniacs.bigcartel.com/artist/folkearth-folkodia
Folkearth @ Myspace
Folkearth @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

ADORNED BROOD – Noor

ADORNED BROOD – Noor








Origin: Germany
Genre: Epic Black Metal Folk Pagan Metal
Label: Black Bards
Year: 2008

Finally the last album of this great German folk black metal band is at my hands, an album I wanted a lot to listen to. Adorned Brood begun on 1993 and they released in 1996 their cult debut “Hiltia”, a primitive combination of folk music and raw black metal. In 1998 they released “Wigand” an amazing epic folk black metal CD, which was very hard to find, since their label Atmosfear was closed after while. Then in 2000 “Asgard” was out, their best album in my opinion, an excellent mix war epic black metal and epic folk tunes. Unluckily, after that the band changed into a more heavy rock folk style (their guitarist and one of the main composers Mirko “Pagan” left the band) and their two next albums “Erdenkraft” in 2002 and “Heldentat” in 2006 weren’t that good in my ears.

In 2008 though, their guitarist Mirko is back and the band promises a return to its blacker past. After listening to “Noor” some times, I can definitely say it’s much better than their last two works. The rhythms of the album are back to the style of the old days with many changes in tempo: black metal outbursts, acoustic guitars, flute and piano passages are all mixed together in the complex structures of their songs. They have composed once again some very nice melodies, especially in the more folk and acoustic parts and they brought back the epic feeling of early Adorned Brood, since in their previous 2 works it was totally replaced by the folk mood. Now there are parts where their characteristic fast black metal riffing and screams are back, but there are still some more heavy folk oriented songs. I believe that the final result is something between “Asgard” and “Heldentat”.

Of course the sound of the band is very different from the usual epic black metal genre, since it’s still influenced by heavy metal bands, both in the guitars and in the vocals. Especially the vocals remind me sometimes of more extreme versions of bands like Rage, Accept or even Exodus and they are definitely not typical pagan black metal. But then again there is a big variety and different styles in the singing, from totally extreme screaming, to clean male vocals. What is very important is that the band has managed to retain its own identity through the years and if you’ve listened to them before, you can clearly recognize the “Adorned Brood” sound.

Totally this is a very good album, with perfect production, interesting and different songs and rich orchestrations. The compositions are complex and the band tries to “play” with too many genres, which, on the other hand, makes it more difficult to build a solid atmosphere throughout the whole album. Of course their will to return to their roots is more than welcomed by me, but my expectations from Adorned Brood are higher than that. If you are a fan on epic folk pagan metal you should definitely check this band.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

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

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

BESTIA – Ronkade Parved

BESTIA – Ronkade Parved








Origin: Estonia
Genre: Black Metal Epic Death Metal Pagan Black Metal
Label: Evil Distribution Hexenreich Records
Year: 2009

Bestia is a black metal band from Estonia that was formed in 2000. After some demos and promos the band released its debut “Hallutsinatsioon” in 2004 and it was rereleased next year by the German label Perverted Taste, something that gave them a chance for a wider distribution. After some line-up changes and a few new demos and a split EP with Urt, they return in 2009 with their new album, the second full-length “Ronkade Parved” released by Hexenreich Records.

This second work is very strong and solid, especially compared with their debut, which was somehow unbalanced. They play raw pagan black metal, with a very powerful production and a very aggressive approach. The tempo varies from slow to fast and even though their music is described as black metal, they also use many elements from death and thrash metal, skillfully absorbed in their music, giving Bestia its own characteristic sound. They have an epic atmosphere to their music, which is achieved mainly due to the aggression and emotion of their songs and less due to their melodies or orchestrations. Their sound is sharp, with very few synths in the background, while the vocals are typical black metal screams and the lyrics deal about local folklore, nature, ancient times and mythological subjects, all sang in Estonian language. In some of their songs they use also saxophone, which makes quite a contrast with the rest of the music, but works very good for the band, adding a very interesting quality in their album. There are also some other “guest instruments”, like violins and whistles that remain in the background, giving though a folk mood from time to time…

I believe that “Ronkade Parved” is a very professional release by an underground band like Bestia, which deserves the attention of epic and aggressive pagan black metal fans. The first edition of the album is released in pro-printed CD-r in a very beautiful A5 digipak by Hexenreich Records, limited to 99 hand-numbered copies. It is also scheduled to be released as a standard digipak version by Evil Distribution. You can get a taste of the band checking the links below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
http://bestia.pimeduse.org
Bestia @ Myspace
Bestia @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

BLUT AUS NORD – Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With the Stars

BLUT AUS NORD – Memoria Vetusta II








Origin: France
Genre: Black Metal Experimental Post Metal
Label: Candlelight Records
Year: 2009

This is the seventh full-length album from Blut Aus Nord. It’s a fact that you can never expect what you will listen to, when you get a new album by this French band. This time though, the title prepares us for something closer to their roots, since “Memoria Vetusta I: Fathers of the Icy Age” was the band’s second album back in 1996!

Indeed, this album is closer to the band’s most majestic past, but it’s much more than this: it’s at the same time a look back and a step forward. Compared to their last works, it has nothing to do with their ambient experiments, or their “dry” dis-harmonic black metal. Synths and melodic guitars are back, with the screaming vocals being somehow in the background. The album lasts more than an hour with mid-tempo songs, where sorrowful catatonic melodies will haunt your ears. Of course don’t expect a “copy” of “Memoria Vetusta I” recipe. The band is still experimenting and I can see almost a post-rock approach sometimes in the guitars. The production is a bit blur and the band still has an underground sound.

I am sure both older and new fans of the band will welcome this new album. For me “Memoria Vetusta II: Dialogue With the Stars” is their best album for many years now and I prefer this sound compared to their last works, which were also brilliant but in a different approach. Despite all the changes and experiments in their music, they managed to retain their personal sound and this time they succeed in composing some excellent and melodic black metal songs. The album is to be released by the end of March by Candlelight Records.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
Blut Aus Nord @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

IRON WOODS – The Journey to the Paganism

IRON WOODS – The Journey to the Paganism








Origin: Brazil
Genre: Pagan Black Metal
Label: Self Released
Year: 2008

Iron Woods is a pagan black metal band coming from the faraway Brazil! They were formed in 2001 and released their debut “Ancient Faith” in 2004. This Brazilian trio worked for some years in order to release their second album “The Journey to the Paganism” in the end of 2008.

Like in their debut, their respect and love to Bathory is obvious once again. This time though the band has made many steps forward. Pagan black metal riffing and screaming vocals are mixed with synths, acoustic instruments, epic clean male/female vocals and melodic orchestral refrains in a very interesting and variable result. There are 8 songs in this album and except for the 5th song “Hail Beer” (a 4-minute beer folk song) all the rest are very long, so that the album lasts for almost 79 minutes! There are many changes inside the songs, some acoustic passages and nature sounds, composing an epic battle soundtrack. The production isn’t the best you’ve ever listened to and the sound is somehow raw, but both of them fit perfectly with their music and atmosphere.

Compared to their previous album, the music is improved and the band reveals a more personal sound. They deal again with pagan epic themes and nature, while all lyrics are in English. They have very rich orchestrations and they have focused a lot in the melodies of the songs, with a great variety, so that the album never becomes boring or repetitive. Another noticeable change is the great improvement in the clean vocals that are used more extensively this time. Even though they are far away from northern Europe, there is often a Celtic or Viking feeling in their music, reminding of great bands like Falkenbach. In the same titled 7th song “The Journey to the Paganism” (a 26-minutes pagan hymn) Runahild from the acoustic pagan folk French band Eliwagar participates in the female recitations.

The cd is again self-released, but in a very professional colored digipak including a booklet with all the lyrics. The band tries to distribute it better this time, so it’s not so hard to get a copy of it. Iron Woods is a very good recommendation to epic pagan metal fans, showing that pagan metal is alive even in South America! You can visit their myspace page in order to listen to some songs, or purchase this CD.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
Iron Woods @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

BLACK MESSIAH – First War of the World

BLACK MESSIAH – First War of the World








Origin: Germany
Genre: Folk Black Metal Symphonic Black Metal Viking Metal
Label: AFM Records
Year: 2009

The time for the fourth full-length album of the symphonic black folk Viking metal band Black Messiah has come. Their new album “First War of the World” will be released once again by AFM Records on 20th of March 2009. The Germans are active since 1992, while their debut album “Sceptre of Black Knowledge” was released on 1998. After that, they took a big break and they returned on 2005 with “Oath of a Warrior” and on 2006 with “Of Myths and Legends”.

The album begins with a long and “childish” in my opinion narration which is also repeated in some other intros inside the album, but in smaller duration. Luckily that’s the only negative I can see in this amazing album! Their style is closer to “Oath of a Warrior” with their melodic symphonic side being more dominant again, sounding more epic than ever. Blending beautiful guitar lines and solos with synths, they compose excellent songs. Violins and folk instruments appear much more often than their previous album, enriching very much their sound. Each song is a different “entity”, with a great variety in rhythm and intensity. Some songs are more rhythmic, others more symphonic and others more folk, while there is also the amazing epic ballad “Andracht” that lasts for 9:41. Their compositions have usually very long refrains, accompanied by melodic riffing, while vocals are mainly black / death / Viking type, but they never become too extreme. There are also some clean epic vocals, adding a sorrowful melancholic mood in the songs…

Overall I believe this is their best album so far. It is clear that the band is in great shape and they were full of ideas that took their form in “First War of the World”. Some of the melodies, especially in the violins, are simply breathtaking, but the whole album is at a very high level. They are very interesting in all of the different styles and genres they mix in their music, with a tight and solid result, under a very professional production. If you know Black Messiah, you probably don’t need a review to get this album. If you’ve never heard of them and you like epic, symphonic, folk Viking metal, this album is an excellent recommendation. You can visit their official pages below for samples and info.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.blackmessiah.de
Black Messiah @ Facebook
Black Messiah @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews