FIMBULTYR – Gryende Tidevarv

FIMBULTYR - Gryende Tidevarv








Origin: Sweden
Genre: Epic Black Metal Epic Death Metal Viking Metal
Label: Unexploded Records
Year: 2008

Fimbultyr is a new band coming from Sweden playing black / death Viking metal. Formed in 2005 they released the demo “Ändlösa Frågor” in 2006, whose most songs are rerecorded and put together with new ones for their debut “Gryende Tidevarv” just released by Unexploded Records.

They play typical Viking black metal with many epic death metal elements too. They have a very powerful sound and production, where guitars and black/death vocals have the leading role. There are also many keyboards, with nice melodic epic ideas, which are in the background most of the time. Sometimes though, they become more dominant and the band shows a very interesting symphonic face. Their melodic parts are very good, but more limited than what I’d like. I’m sure they intend to sound more powerful and brutal and that’s why the more melodic elements are in the background. In my opinion this can be ok for a few songs, but it gets kind of repetitive for a whole album. Luckily enough they seem to be able to create epic melodic music too, so I can expect better things from them in the future.

Overall it’s a good debut from a band that has a very good and professional sound and some nice ideas in the songwriting. The orchestrations are also very rich and all the technical details of the album are much above average for a debut. I’d just like to see a bigger variety in the vocals (the few clean ones are very good) and a more personal identity. Maybe a bigger investment on their melodic Viking side can make them even better. Anyway it’s a decent album and you can have a first taste of Fimbultyr on their myspace page.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8/10)

Links:
Fimbultyr @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

ELDRIG – Mysterion

ELDRIG – Mysterion








Origin: USA
Genre: Melodic Black Metal Orchestral Black Metal
Label: Supernal Music
Year: 2008

Eldrig is the personal project of Eldrig, who has also another band Fanisk. He comes from the United States and his music is deeply inspired by Nietzsche and other philosophers. “Mysterion” is his third full-length album, released by Supernal Music.

Eldrig have a very personal sound, that cannot be compared to another band. It’s symphonic, almost orchestral, very melodic black metal. There are a few vocals though, but most of the time they are in the very background and you really need a lot of effort to listen to them. There are only 5 songs in the album, but all of them very long, with a total duration of almost 57 mins. Their music is definitely keyboard based, with really amazing melodies both in the synths and the guitars! Due to their production the songs sound like instrumental compositions, with atmosphere being the most important element in their music. It sounds like a dark soundtrack dedicated to esoteric symbolism and philosophy. Except for the title of the album “Mysterion” there are also 2 songs with Greek titles “Pleroma” and “Physis” for those of us who are interested…

The CD is released with a very unusual booklet printed onto a thick mat-coated paper stock, with a partial UV varnish effect, while the disc has been pressed onto black polycarbonate. In the booklet there is a page with info and notes about each song, as well as amazing mysticism symbols all printed in the same effect. There is a lot of esoteric research behind this work, with very interesting opinions and it encourages the listener to search for his own inner truth and knowledge. Anyway, whether you are interested in the essence of this work or not, the music itself is enough to give them a listen. You can check their myspace page or Eldrig’s personal blog. If you also like them you can check his other band Fanisk that has a sound close to Eldrig, but with a more NS approach.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://eldrig.blogspot.com
Eldrig @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

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INCHIUVATU – Miseria

INCHIUVATU – Miseria








Origin: Italy
Genre: Melodic Black Metal
Label: Inch Productions
Year: 2008

Inchiuvatu is a very special and very unknown band of the underground Italian scene. They were formed in 1993 by Agghiastru who is one of the pioneers of the “Mediterranean Scene”. This scene consists of a bunch of bands coming from Sciacca in Sicily, who want to offer something new with their music, using ancient Sicilian dialect and legends of the Mediterranean area…

Agghiastru is the mastermind behind Inchuviatu, a band that has already released 5 full-length albums. At their first steps they were a much more raw black metal band, having though some hints that they would evolve into a more melodic band. So nowadays it’s better to describe their music as extreme melodic metal with black metal elements especially in the vocals. They have a very personal and weird sound under a much-improved production. The orchestrations are very rich (close to symphonic black metal at sometimes) with guitars and keyboards having an equal importance in their sound. The guitar riffing isn’t typical black metal and it has a more rhythmic heavy approach, while synths and other instruments usually carry out the melodic lines.

Their lyrics are all in Sicilian dialect and their themes are about antichristianity, local legends, sex and drama. They manage to create a very “sick and weird” atmosphere with their music, due to the use of bizarre keys and the very expressive vocals of Agghiastru both in his black metal singing and in his more “calm” vocals. “Miseria” is actually a double album (1 CD though) since there are two parts in it, the first recorded in 2007 and the other in 2008. Of course if you don’t know that info, you can’t understand any difference between them. So there are totally 16 songs lasting for more than 63 minutes, while the last one is a live song from 1997.

If you are interested in knowing more about this unknown “Mediterranean Scene”, Inchiuvatu is, in my opinion, the best band to begin with. There are also other bands with Agghiastru in their line-up, like Lamentu (ethno African black metal), Astimi (black death metal), La Caruta di li Dei (folk black metal), Visina (black metal), Ultima Missa (black metal) and Agghiastru (rock). You can find info and samples for all the above and more bands in their official label Inch Productions. You can also visit Inchiuvatu’s page on myspace. I believe there are bands in this label that worth your attention, especially if you like exploring bands of the underground, that have something to tell…

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
Inchiuvatu @ Myspace
http://www.inchproductions.com

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

MENHIR – Hildebrandslied

MENHIR – Hildebrandslied








Origin: Germany
Genre: Pagan Black Metal
Label: Trollzorn - SMP Records
Year: 2007

Can Thuringian pagan metal get better than this? I honestly believe not! But then again, I thought the same when “Ziuwari” was out in 2001. After 6 years of silence Menhir are back with their epitome of Thuringian pagan metal (melodic pagan black metal besed on stories about old gods and true episodes, mainly from the Merovingian time in the german land of Thuringia). Some label problems and the recording sessions’ perfectionism (that made them record guitars twice) delayed them, but the CD was finally released by Trollzorn / SMP, a new label with many releases in this genre!

The first thing worthy of mentioning is the excellent package. It is an A5 digipak with a 20 pages booklet, full of beautiful photos and text about the album’s concept. It is about the sad saga of “Hildebrand”, a father who returns to his homeland after many years and there his army fights against his son’s “Hadubrand” army, who thought him for an enemy. “Hildebrand” didn’t want this fight, but his son didn’t recognize him…

So the set for this album is epic and sad at the same time, something that reflects to the music. It is Menhir’s more mature and melancholic work so far, and maybe that’s why I like it the most. “Hildebrandslied” consists of 7 songs with duration of 42 minutes, offering us best quality pagan metal. With their unique ability of mixing extreme with acoustic parts and Heiko’s characteristic epic clean vocals changing in to black ones when needed, they managed to create another masterpiece. All of the songs are dominated by beautiful melodies in the guitars that are like always sticking into your mind. The compositions are enriched by brilliant orchestration using violins and some traditional instruments. The sound is very epic and most of the time at mid-tempo with a great variety in rhythm and intensity. All of their lyrics are of course as always in German.

When I first listened to the album the song that stood out was the 9mins epic hymn “Das Hildebrandslied – Teil I”. Later on, every song became a favourite; since there are some parts in each of them that cause extreme “musical pleasure”. The production and mixing is perfect, suitable for the music quality of this album. For me the most outstanding factor of “Hildebrandslied” is the much improved and very expressive vocals of Heiko, full of strength and sorrow at the same time. Of course it’s not only the “quality” of the vocals, but also the unbelievable melodies on them, that make Menhir the best at this genre. Let’s really hope that their next album will come out sooner, ‘cause 6 years is too long to wait, even though they worth it…

If you’ve never heard of Menhir, but you are into epic pagan metal you should try to get a copy of “Hildebrandsleid”. You will adore it. There is also a new edition released in 2009 by Trollzorn in jewel case. It contains the album, as well as a second CD including the first demo of the band “Barditus” that was never released in CD before. For me, simply put, it’s by far the best album I’ve listened to in 2007!! You can check them on the links to their official pages below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (10/10)

Links:
http://www.ziuwari.de
Menhir @ Facebook

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

ARKANE – Enraptured Serene Mesmerism

ARKANE – Enraptured Serene Mesmerism








Origin: Greece
Genre: Neoclassical
Label: Seduction Prod
Year: 2008

Arkane is the new solo project of ArkanumX (aka Pandelis Giasafakis) who was one of the founding members of the cult Greek band Fiendish Nymph (Daemonia Nymphe later). Since he left the band he created music on his own at a new more ambient ritual neoclassical style. His first effort was the album “Arcane Elitism” under the name x-Arkane-x in 2002. Now in 2008 he returns with his newest work entitled “Enraptured Serene Mesmerism” under the name Arkane.

This new album required many years of work, but the outcome is really good. First of all it has nothing to do with metal. It’s dark ghostly symphonic soundtrack-like music with a neoclassical approach. The songs have no lyrics, just few recitations and many female operatic ethereal vocals, which are really enchanting and totally out-of-this-world. The thematology and aesthetics of the album is about a dark seductive aspect of ancient Hellenic sirens and nereids, and the music is perfect to match this atmosphere. The sound is keyboard based, with a very depressive feeling and it’s something like the soundtrack of a dark film (like the “Ninth Gate”). Even though the album seems like one big track, there are changes in the intensity and mood of the songs, but they are all unified under the unique and dominant atmosphere of the whole work.

The cd is released in a really beautiful black and white A5 digipak, with an amazing photo on the cover that captures perfectly the feeling of the album. If you like dark soundtrack neoclassical music you shouldn’t miss this album. It is a very impressive effort of a Greek “band” and you can check on your own here.

dimiarch

Rating:  (8,5/10)

Links:
Arkane @ Facebook
Arkane @ MySpace
seductionprod@hotmail.com

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

GONIN-ISH – Naishikyo Sekai

GONIN-ISH – Naishikyo Sekai








Origin: Japan
Genre: Extreme Progressive Metal
Label: Season of Mist
Year: 2008

Hm… This is quite an unusual release! Gonin-Ish is a Japanese band (as it’s easy to guess seeing the weird cover artwork) that exists from 1997. After the self-titled debut in 2000, “Naishikyo Sekai” is their second full-length album that was released in 2005 in Japan, but wasn’t distributed worldwide, until 2008 that “Season of Mist” decided to re-release it! Let’s see why…

When the first song “Tokoyami Kairou” began, I thought I was listening to an old unreleased Dream Theater song! After this 2-minute intro ended and the “real” album begun, the band convinced me it has its own personality! Their general sound in the orchestrations is progressive metal, but with very bizarre vocals and some Japanese folk touches. Their female singer and front-woman Anoji uses both clean vocals and extreme death-black metal screams and she kicks ass in both of them! Her clean vocals are really unusual with this characteristic traditional Japanese style, and they fit perfectly with the band’s sound. All lyrics are in Japanese (with some words from ancient dialects) but there are also translations in the booklet. Their themes come from local traditions, ancient history, as well as manga and anime.

Their sound and production are crystal clear and they are definitely very talented musicians. All of the songs demand great composing skills, in order to combine progressive metal, fusion, jazz, death metal outbursts, tranquil ballad-like passages and traditional music in a really solid result. Guitars, bass, drums and keyboards, used in innovative ways, will please your ears for more than 55 minutes. I believe this album will satisfy all open-minded listeners and especially progressive metal fans, since the word progressive takes its real meaning in “Naishikyo Sekai”. Of course you can get a taste of their music on the links below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.gonin-ish.com
Gonin-Ish @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

VALUATIR – I

VALUATIR – I








Origin: France
Genre: Folk Black Metal
Label: Armageddon Records
Year: 2008

Valuatir is a real gem of the underground pagan folk black metal scene. They come from France and they were formed in 1997 under the name Inis Gwenva. After 2 demos they changed their name in 2007 to Valuatir and they recorded their first full-length album that was released in 2008 by the Japanese label Armageddon Records.

They play pagan black metal mixed with many folk Celtic instruments and melodies. Their founder Fëarann masters a great variety of traditional instruments, like whistles and countless types of bagpipes that have a very dominating role in their songs, since all the melodic lines are based on them. Valuatir composed some of the best folk tunes I’ve ever heard in this kind of music and their combination with pagan black metal is simply amazing! They use typical, but very powerful and expressive black metal vocals (no mix with clean ones here) all sang in the French language. Lyrics deal with themes from ancient proto-historic times. It is also written in their site that Fëarann does archaeological excavations!

Most of the time their black metal riffing is at fast tempo, and it gets a bit slower when the folk instruments get in and play the lead melodies. All of the 5 songs are long (there are also two intros) and the album lasts for over 43 minutes. They have a very epic atmosphere and their folk tunes don’t sound “happy” or “easy”, but have a real substance. What is most amazing with this album is that Valuatir created the perfect balance between rawness and melody. They can compose excellent pagan black metal and at the same time brilliant Celtic folk music, but especially they can mix them together ideally!

I personally adore this album, as well as many other albums from the French folk black metal scene. If you also like bands like Aes Dana, Heol Telwen, Bran Barr, Diamond Eyed Princess, or even Nydvind, you should get this album without second thoughts. If you are not familiar with this genre you can check their songs in their official pages below.

dimiarch

Rating:  (10/10)

Links:
http://valuatir.free.fr
Valuatir @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews

CRIMFALL – As the Path Unfolds…

CRIMFALL – As the Path Unfolds








Origin: Finland
Genre: Folk Metal Symphonic Metal Viking Metal
Label: Napalm Records
Year: 2009

Crimfall is a newborn band from Finland that is ready to make (or actually already did) the great step. Even though they were formed just in 2007 and released only a 3-song demo cd-r, they managed to sign a deal with Napalm Records in order to release their debut full length “As the Path Unfolds…” in February 2009!

After listening to the cd it isn’t surprising that Napalm has great expectations from this band. Their music is symphonic, epic, folk, Viking metal, in the typical melodic Finnish way. Female vocals and black male screams are combined perfectly, since both singers are very good. All of the band’s members are also in other bands (Ad Lunam, Thyestean Feast, Draugnim, Twilight Ophera, Tacere, and more), which explains their technical skills and the professionalism behind this debut. The production and sound quality are impressive, giving Crimfall the perfect background to express their ideas. In this album there also some great guest musicians, including Henri “Trollhorn” Sorvali of Finntroll and Moonsorrow!

Coming to the music now, they play a kind of epic symphonic metal. Their music is mainly mid tempo, with many changes in the songs, some slower and some faster extreme parts. Instrumental soundtrack-like passages add a lot to their epic atmosphere and symphonic keyboards cooperate with guitars in a very solid sound. The overall result is something between Rhapsody, Moonsorrow, Nightwish and Battlelore, with many great melodies and very interesting songs. Their female singer Helena Haaparanta, has a very characteristic and beautiful voice, something that helps the band have its own identity. Many folk instruments and tunes enrich the mythological Viking concept of the album, without dominating the symphonic fantasy atmosphere.

I would definitely recommend this album to all fans of this genre, since it’s full of nice melodies, really well played and with a perfect sound. The artwork of the album is another epic painting by Kris Verwimp and you can listen to their music at the links below. The album will be released by the end of February / beginning of March.

dimiarch

Rating:  (9/10)

Links:
http://www.crimfall.com/site
Crimfall @ Facebook
Crimfall @ Myspace

Originally published on HeavyMetalCosmos

Posted in Reviews