Tuesday, March 27, 2007

MIA

Sorry I have been MIA for a while guys. I just started working last monday, I went to the fucking L.A. Murderfest this weekend, and I'm working my ass off at school all at the same time. So I have been absolutely fucking swamped. It might be a while before I can start uploading regularly again, but that will give you all time to catch up and download anything you missed, and I will keep an eye on the place and make sure everything is cool.

P.S. Repulsion, Atheist, Brutal Truth, Insanity, Pig Destroyer, and Lair of the Minator were all fucking amazing at this years Murderfest. I hope a few of your motherfuckers got to go. Atheist put on an amazing show for their one and only reunion, considering they haven't played in 16 years, and I was front row fucking center right up against the stage. With 100+ crazy metalheads moshing behind me. It was fucking great.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Vintersorg's new album!

Finally, the long awaited new album from the Viking Metal masters. This also completes my Vintersorg Discography, which you guys can find down a few scrolls.

For any of you that trust my taste in music, this is my number one pick for best album of the year so far. It combines all the classic and loved elements of Vintersorg, with a new and fresh sound. This one will not dissapoint fans of the band.

Solens Rötter (2007)
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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Tyr

Tyr, even for a Viking Metal band, play an extremely unique brand of music. They combine elements of Heavy Metal, Black Metal, Power Metal and Progressive Metal, with Viking influenced musical stylings and lyrics to forum a sound all their own. Not quite as accessable as Ensiferum's music, or as brutal as....say....Vintersorg's or Windir's, the sound is truely a stand alone in the Viking Metal vien. Without doubt they are a must listen for even passive fans of the genre.

My personal favorite is Ragnarok, so I would recommend new listeners start there, but all their albums are extremely high quality.

How Far To Asgaard (2002)

Eric the Red (2003)

Ragnarok (2006)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Death

Death was one of the first bands, along with Possessed, Morbid Angel, and Vader, to take Thrash Metal, add the brutal blast beat drum style, heavy bass lines, slow down the guitar riffs removing some of the melody, and use more harsh vocals., dropping the somewhat punk influenced vocals used by so many Thrash bands. Their debut album, Scream Bloody Gore, is impressive, but their later material just continues to improve. They started to fade more into the technical side of Death Metal when they released Human, and then went full blown Technical Death Metal with Individual Thought Patterns. These albums are a must own for any fan of Death Metal, seeing as they are responsible for much of what we have today.

R.I.P Chuck Schundler. Death's frontman, vocalist, and lead guitarist, who tragically died on December 13, 2001 of cancer.


Scream. Bloody. Gore. (1987)

Human (1991)

Individual Thought Patterns (1993)

Sounds of Perseverance (1998)

(The rest of their discography will be up shortly)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Anaal Nathrakh

This British duo has been making waves ever since their 2001 debut, The Codex Necro. Anaal Nathrakh's style is best described as post-apocalyptic black metal, with nightmarish shrieking vocals, monstrous wall-of-sound guitar riffing, inhuman drumming (literally -- a well-done drum program is used here) -- this is one exhaustive listen. The various effects sprinkled throughout make it tempting to call this industrial black metal, but that would be misleading as an end-all description. This duo is bludgeoning, cold, harsh, and unrelenting. For many, that might be enough to propel Anaal Nathrakh to the forefront of modern extreme music. The only criticism here is that, with everything on overdrive all the time, there is little room for variation. Even with that nitpick, this is one mighty intense band. (Review via BNRMetal)

Total Fucking Necro (2002)

When Fire Rains Down From The Sky, Mankind Will Reap As It Has Sown [EP] (2003)

Domine Non Es Dignus (2004)

Eschaton (2006)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Vader

Vader, forming in 1986, was one of the earliest Metal bands in any genre to emerge from behind the Iron Curtain. Their style is simple but effective. Old school, fast and brutal, balls to the wall Death Metal, which they have stuck true to over the last two decades. They do mix it up just enough though, that atleast for me, the music doesn't become boring. They have influenced several bands that came after them, but most noteworthy would be Decapitated, who also hails from Poland and plays a similar style of Death Metal, with a slightly more technical twist. Any fan of the genre won't be dissapointed with these albums. It's not anything that hasn't been done (though when they first started out it was a fairly new sound), but it's tried and true, highly talented, pure Death Metal.

P.S. Yes, for a change, I actually didn't use a BNR review. This one I wrote myself.


De Profundis (1995)

The Future of the Past (1996)

Litany (2000)

Reign Forever World (2001)

Revelations (2002)

Blood [EP] (2003)

The Ultimate Incantation (2003)

The Beast (2004)

The Art of War (2005)

Impressions in Blood (2006)

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Ensiferum's new album!

To complete my Ensiferum discography, I give you, my loyal viewers, their brand new album "Victory Songs". It exceeded all of the highest expectations I have come to place on this amazing Viking/Folk band. I hope you all enjoy.


Victory Songs (2007)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Windir

Windir originally was the one-man project of one Terje Bakken, known as Valfar. The first two albums were recorded almost exclusively by Valfar himself, with the man joining forces with several members of another local band (Ulcus) to form a complete band, that band recording the later albums 1184 and Likferd. Windir's sound blends many elements of the old school of epic Norwegian black metal, but also brings viking and folk elements to the table to forge a rich, mature sound (and well-produced, unlike many similar-styled Norwegian bands).

Tragedy befell the band in early 2004, when Valfar was found dead, a victim of hyperthermia he suffered when caught in a snowstorm. The band announced its official breakup in April, as the remaining members felt they could not continue as Windir without him. Several of the members have since formed a new band, Vreid.


Sogneriket [Demo] (1994)

Soknardalr (1997)

Arntor (1999)

1184 (2001)

Likferd (2003)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Quo Vadis

A promising Canadian band, Quo Vadis mix the more technical side of death metal, somewhat like countrymen Martyr, with the more melodic style of the Gothenburg scene. The result is ambitious, energetic, very adept yet suitably brutal death metal, very well played and executed. With two albums released, the band is still a bit on the unknown side, but that hopefully will change, as these guys are well worth investigating. (Review via BNRMetal)

P.S.
Yes it's an older review, but his point is still valid.

Quo Vadis - Forever (1996)

Quo Vadis - Day into Night (2000)

Quo Vadis - Defiant Imagination (2004)


Monday, January 15, 2007

My apologies....

to everyone. I have been MIA for a long time. I've been exceedingly busy, first with finals, then the holidays, and now it's only gotten worse what with getting registered for this coming semester and all. I'll be back posting new music soon, I promise. For those of you who still stop by here from time to time, thank you emensly.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Project Hate MCMXCIX

The Project Hate is the brainchild of Kenth Philipson, who partnered up with vocalist Jörgen Sandstrom (currently the bassist for Entombed, but also a former vocalist for deathsters Grave) to create a unique form of extreme metal. The studio releases have Philipson writing all the music and playing all the instruments, with Sandstrom sharing vocal duties with a female singer (though the band is properly fleshed out when playing live). The style of TPE is an interesting one. At the core, clearly, is death metal, with crunchy mid-paced guitars from Philipson and harsh death vocals from Sandstrom, but keyboards play a major role here as well, lending a bit of symphonic black metal to the proceedings, and the programmed drums add a slight techno flavor. Add some enchanting clean female vocals, and the final result is a rich, complex extreme metal sound, with the various influences working in harmony with each other rather than being a mismatch of styles. (Review via BNRMetal)

Gothic, Industiral, Melodic, Technical Death Metal doesn't even really begin to describe these guys. They are truely one of those bands that have to be heard to be undestood, there is no real acurate way to convey it with words. Fans of Metal owe it to themselves to listen to this band. I can't emphazise that enough.

Cybersonic Superchrist (2000)

When We Are Done, Your Flesh Will Be Ours (2001)

Hate, Dominate, Congregate, Eliminate (2003)

Armagenddon March Eternal (2005)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Ritual Carnage

Ritual Carnage is a bi-national band of sorts, led by American Dan Montgomery with the rest of the lineup being Japanese. As the story goes, Montgomery was first stationed in Japan during an Air Force stint in the late 80's, and then returned to Japan in 1993 to learn tattooing and martial arts, and it was at that time that Ritual Carnage was born. Several lineups ensued (the earlier ones featuring Bill Jokela and Alex Amedy) before the bands scored a contract with Osmose Records in 1998, and since then four albums have been recorded, most recently I, Infidel in late 2005. Ritual Carnage is rooted firmly in hardened old-school thrash, with some death metal influences that have lessened over time (the debut, The Highest Law, is almost a death/thrash mixture, with the followup, Every Nerve Alive, being thrash with only minor death stylings, and the third, The Birth Of Tragedy, being a straight thrash album). Montgomery's vocals have followed this trend, being more deathy on the earlier albums and more thrash-oriented on Tragedy. The Highest Law is somewhat simplistic song-wise, but the latter two albums are excellent examples of pure thrash done right. (Review via BNRMetal)

I'm sure I have I, Infidel somewhere, but I can't seem to find it. When I do, I will add it to this post.

Every Nerve Alive (2000)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Suffocation

Brutal Technical Death Metal from New York City. Uncompromisingly fast and heavy, with unreleanting blast beats, and highly technical guitar riffs. Anyone that has been living under a rock for the last 15 years and hasn't listened to these guys, needs to.


Human Waste (1991)

Effigy Of The Forgotten (1991)

Breeding the Spawn (1992)

Pierced From Within (1995)

Despise The Sun (1998)

Souls To Deny (2003)

Suffocation (2006)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Nocturnal Rites

Straight forward European Power Metal via Sweeden, with a few unique twists here and there, possibly thanks to their Death Metal roots (check our their Demos, I'm still looking for them unfortunetly). Fans of Helloween, Blind Guardian and the like, need to check these guys out.

Tales Of Mystery And Imagination (1998)

The Sacred Talisman (1999)

Shadowland (2002)

Mors Principium Est

There are certainly no shortage of melodic death metal bands out there, though Finland has produced fewer than other countries (such as, obviously, Sweden). Mors Principium Est came together in 1999 and have released two albums, with the 2003 debut Inhumanity reviewed here. The band has been compared to fellow Finns such as Omnium Gatherum and Children Of Bodom, both valid reference points though MPE is at least trying not to clone the melodic death genre. Keyboards are using sparingly but effectively, giving the group a slightly darker tone to blend with the speedy riffing and typically harsh vocals. As with many bands, they are neither blatant copyists nor blindingly original, relegating them to up-and-coming status. (Review via BNR Metal)

Inhumanity (2003)

The Unborn (2005)

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Psycroptic

Psycroptic is a Tasmanian death metal band that formed in 1999, with their most recent album being The Scepter Of The Ancients, released in 2003. Scepter is a fine example of twisted, choppy, technical death metal, with frequently changing riffs and extremely tight musicianship. Matthew Chalk displays a fine range of extreme vocal styles, from the traditional low growls to blackish shrieks, thus avoiding the tendency of death vocalists to reduce every lyric to monotonic barking. There is the tendency to favor the riff over the song, as is common with technical bands like this, but there is enough variance in the everchanging riffs to overlook the relative lack of song identity. Psycroptic is one of the better technical death metal bands to emerge in some time.

The Scepter of the Ancients (2003)

Symbols of Failure (2006)

Friday, September 29, 2006

Intestine Baalism

Truely one of the more amazing bands to hit the Melodic Death Metal scene recently, and they hail from Japan believe it or not. Brutally fast, punishing, and uncompromising Death Metal, with beautifully melodic riffs masterfully mixed in. These guys could teach most European or American based Melodic Death bands a thing or two.

If you are a fan of the genre, don't miss these guys.

An Anatomy of a Beast (1997)

Banquet in the Darkness (2003)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Grim Reaper

A must listen for fans of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and the like. Not the most original band to behold, but highly talented and enjoyable none-the-less.

I originally got these albums from the "Well of Souls" (see Affiliates). Anyone looking for obsurce, talented, and just all around badass music, needs to check out that blog.

Bleed 'Em Dry [Demo] (1981)

See You In Hell (1983)

Fear No Evil (1985)

Rock You To Hell (1987)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Spawn of Possession

To complete my Spawn of Possession Discography (see earlier post below) I give you their first two releases!

The Forbidden (EP) (2000)

Church of Defiance (Demo) (2001)

Thorns

A glance at Thorns' discography might lead one to believe that they are just another new Norwegian black metal band, but that is hardly the case. Black metal they most definitely are, but new they are not, as Thorns are considered one of the forefathers of black metal (along with bands such as Mayhem and Darkthrone), releasing a cult underground demo by the name of "Grymyrk" before the whole Euronymous/Grishnacht fiasco transpired, and in fact Thorns founder Snorre Ruch's involvement in said fiasco is at least partially responsible, if not wholly responsible, for the band's inactivity in the years since. In any case, Ruch has finally rematerialized, with Thorns essentially a solo project of sorts, with several musicians well-known in the black metal community assisting on the first full-length Thorns release. Thorns, the album, is strikingly impressive, featuring a cold, stark, inventive guitar style from Ruch which is both unique and classically black at the same time. The style marries the best of early black metal with modern influences, somewhat similar to what recent Satyricon has attempted. Both black metal purists and those looking for something outside the traditional black metal boundaries should enjoy this album. Thorns is definitely a band to keep an eye on. (Thank you BNRMetal)

Thorns (2001)


Zyklon

With Emperor now done, mainmain Samoth (here going by the name Zamoth) can focus on his new project, Zyklon (he had a previous side project called Zyklon-B, but apart from the name similarity, the two projects are unrelated). Drummer Trym joined him, and later two other black metal personalities were recruited, these being Destructhor (from Myrkskog ) and Daemon from Limbonic Art (since replaced by another Myrkskog member, Sechtdamon). The resulting album, World Ov Worms, isn't the pure black metal album that one might expect, but more a ferocious death/black hybrid, sounding quite a bit like the more recent Behemoth releases. The lyrics feature another Emperor connection, being written by former drummer Faust, and are more of a political/futuristic slant rather than the more traditional black/death themes. A fine debut for Zamoth and crew, proving that Zyklon is an excellent new band in the extreme metal field. They followed up Worms with Aeon in 2003 and as of this writing are working on an album for a possible late 2005 release.

World ov Worms (2001)

Aeon (2003)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Týr

Progressive Viking Metal via the Faroe Islands (yeah I don't know where that is ether). Fans of Viking Metal owe it to themselves to check these guys out. Absoluetely amazing Viking Metal with a few unique twists.

How Far to Asgaard (2002)

Eric the Red (2003)

Ragnarok (2006)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Vintersorg

The origins of Vintersorg come from a band called Vargartron in 1994. The band eventually folded, but Vintersorg (the man) decided to continue with some of the band ideas, and so Vintersorg the band was born. Mostly a one-man project with only a couple of guests helping out (though guitarist Mattias Marklund is now considered an official full member), the Vintersorg style is epic, post-black metal, with occasional folk influences. Vintersorg's midrange vocals are unique (the closest comparison might be Dan Swano's clean/non-death style), he is a fine vocalist and a very good songwriter, as the songs have none of the self-indulgence one might expect from a one-man band. (Review thanks to BNR)


Hedniskhjartad (1998)

Odemarkens Son (1999)

Cosmic Genesis (2000)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Spawn of Possession

"Simply put, Spawn of Possesion is like having your genitalia slowly mutilated by a rusty chainsaw. Riffs are chaotic and brutal, vocals are roared at unimaginable speeds, and the drums resemble an aural steamroller. While not as spastic and unpredictable as Necrophagist, the band they would most accurately be compared to, Spawn of Possession plays at blinding speeds with plentiful solos and memorable songwriting. Truly one of the forerunners of technical death metal." (Review via Sputnikmusic)

Cabinet (2003)

Noctambulant (2006)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Equilibrium

Viking/Folk Metal via the crazy fuckers in Germany. Fans of either genre will not be disapointed.

Turis Fratyr (2005)

Venom

One of the most storied careers in metal has to be that of Venom. The obnoxious trio of Cronos, Mantas, and Abaddon burst onto the scene in 1981 with Welcome To Hell, a poorly recorded, sloppily played, openly satanic, yet ultimately cool album that paved the way for the wave of black metal that wouldn't take hold for many years later. Critics and fans alike were sharply divided at the prospect of this over-the-top band, but there is no question that that debut, and it's follow-up (the aptly titled Black Metal) are British metal landmarks.

Welcome To Hell (1981)

Black Metal (1982)

At War With Satan (1984)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sleep Terror

Sleep Terror is a Technical Death Metal/Jazz Fusion band from Seattle Washington, now of Sacramento California. Probing Tranquillity, released in 2006, was their first full length release. It has some of the most talented and unique guitar work of any Death Metal band around today, and some absolutely amazing drums lines. Plus, for anyone who has never cared for Death Metal vocals, I have a treat for you, because these guys are instrumental. They seriously come with the highest of recommendations from me. Enjoy!

Probing Tranquillity (2006)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Amon Amarth (The New One!)

Fans of the Mythology/Viking/Folk/Battle obsessed band that is Amon Amarth, don't want to miss this one. Solid album from front to back. Their best since Vs. the World in my opinion.


With Odin On Our Side (2006)

Bethlehem

As requested....



S.U.I.Z.I.D. (1998)

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Thyrfing

Named for a royal sword of Norse folklore, Thyrfing are proud purveyors of Viking metal, a subgenre of metal that is relatively small. To the uninitiated, Viking metal takes mid-paced black metal, increases the keyboard role, and lyrically tells tales of Odin and, well, Vikings, thus creating an atmosphere that is less evil-sounding than pure black metal, but no less heavy or interesting. Mithotyn was once in this field, and Einherjer is well-known here as well, but Thyrfing is as good if not better than these two, and thus a fine representation of the genre. (Review by BNRMetal)

Vansinnesvisor (2002)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden is clearly one of the most recognizable and successful groups to emerge from the NWOBHM scene that came into being in the late seventies, as well as one of the most influential metal bands of all time, with an infinite number of 80's (and later) bands owing to their style. The band's early years is where the best Maiden albums come from, with most feeling that either Killers, Number Of The Beast, or Piece Of Mind are the band's best (personal vote: Killers). If there's a criticism to be made, it would be that their later years have been spent stagnating musically (particularly around the time that Blaze Bayley was at the mic, though the stagnation was hardly his fault), resulting in a dip in popularity in the late nineties. But with Bruce Dickinson returning in 2000 on Brave New World, Iron Maiden proved they still have plenty of life left in them. And they certainly remain a fan favorite, with a stunning 13 albums placing in the Internet Top Ten lists. (Review by BNRMetal)

Iron Maiden (1980)

Killers (1981)

Number of the Beast (1982)

Piece Of Mind (1983)

Powerslave (1984)

Live after Death (1985)

Somewhere in Time (1986)

Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (1988)


No Prayer for the Dying (1990)

Fear of the Dark (1992)

A Real Live One (1993)

A Real Dead One (1993)

Brave New World (2000)

Dance of Death (2003)

A Matter of Life and Death (2006)

Absu

The self-proclaimed "mystical occult metal" band Absu hailed from Texas and maintained a steady following in the extreme metal underground for a number of years. They are usually labelled a black metal band, and often referred to as one of the best American black metal bands, but though black metal tendencies are quite evident (vocals in particular), their style encompasses much more. There are several places in their lastest album Tara where "Reign In Blood" era Slayer styled riffs can be heard, played at hyperspeed. Frequently the speed is exhausting, earning special marks for drummer Proscriptor, clearly one of the fastest and most talented drummers playing today. Lyrically, Absu was clearly on another plane, as a quick glance of their song titles can attest -- this is a band who puts great time and care into their lyrics. Tara has received several glowing reviews, and they are quite justified -- this was one of the best extreme metal bands of their day. (Review thanks to BNRMetal)

The Sun Of Tiphareth (1994)

Absu - The Third Storm of Cythraul (1997)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Einherjer

Formed in 1993 and taking its name from Norse mythology, Einherjer strives to marry the folklore and spirit of Viking traditions with harsh metal, and in doing so has become one of the leading forces in Viking metal, a select group that also includes bands such Thyrfing, Moonsorrow, and (once upon a time) Enslaved and Mithotyn. Einherjer doesn't sound directly like any of these bands, though there are similarities to be found. Like the aforementioned bands, Einherjer's style is musically based vaguely in the black metal camp (especially in the vocal department), while the music is somewhat more traditionally metallic enhanced with a rollicking sound that is the Viking trademark. Of the two albums reviewed here (Dragons Of The North and Odin Owns Ye All), Dragons is the preferred album, though their more recent Norwegian Native Art received excellent reviews as well. The band decided to call it a day in February 2004, feeling they had accomplished what they wanted and wishing to pursue other interests.


Dragons of the North (1996)

Far Far North [Ep] (2006)

Odin Owns Ye All (1998)

Blot (2003)

Phobia

Any fan of Grindcore/Goregrind has to download this abum.

Cruel (2006)
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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Lykathea Aflame/Apalling Spawn

Lykathea Aflame is a Technical Death/Grind band from the Czech Republic, who have only released one album under the name, and another under the name Appalling Spawn in 1997. In both projects they combine highly fast and technical instrument work, with slow methodic tones and ambient noises to create a sound like no other. Words can not truely do them justice. For any fan of Death Metal, Goregrind, or just unique sounding bands in general, this is a must listen.

Appaling Spawn [pre-Lykathea] - Freedom, Hope, and Fury (1997)

Lykathea Aflame - Elvinfris (2000)

Nile


Nile has been at the forefront of old-school American death metal for a number of years now, ever since their album Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka hit the streets in 1998. Much has been made of their fascination of Egypt and Middle Eastern rites, though to an extent this has been overstated. True, their lyrics are steeped with references to Egyptian gods the like, but musically such influences are slight, mostly relegated to the occasional intro or interlude (two fine examples are found on the Nephren-Ka album, these being "Die Rache" and the intro to "Ramses Bringer Of War". No, the musical focus is brutal, heads-down thrashing death metal to the core, flawlessly played and executed. Truly one of the best in the field. (Review thanks to BNRMetal)

Amongst The Catacombs Of Nephren-Ka (1998)

Black Seeds Of Vengeance (2000)

In Their Darkened Shrines (2002)

Annihilation of the Wicked (2005)

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ensiferum


Ensiferum is one of a handful of bands operating under the Viking metal banner, though they aren't as overtly Viking as, say, Einherjer or Thyrfing. Their self-titled 2002 debut received several glowing reviews, and with good reason, as the band has a keen sense of melody and pacing, as well as a varied songwriting style that gives them an air of originality. There are moments where a Finntroll influence is very plain, but otherwise no one band stands out as a standalike. Anyone into melodic death/black/folk/viking metal should give Ensiferum a listen. 2004's Iron is similarly being well received. (Review, once again, thanks to BNRMetal)

Ensiferum (2001)

Iron (2004)

[EP] Dragonheads (2006)

Summoning

The Austrian band Summoning started as a trio in 1993, three young men coming together to play black metal. Black metal was certainly the order of the day on their debut Lugburz, but following the departure of their drummer, the remaining duo decided to forge a different sound. The vocals remained (and still remain) a typical harsh black metal rasp, but the music has blossomed into a majestic, atmospheric, almost ambient form of black metal, with simplistic yet effective keyboards, programmed drums that often sound more orchestral than typical metal percussion, and a decidedly medieval-sounding atmosphere (much of their lyrics are derived from Lord Of The Rings). While the mid-period albums build on this style, it really comes together on the later albums such as the excellent Stronghold. Summoning is a fascinating band, one that fans of traditional black metal as well as doom, gothic, and ambient metal should find appealing. (Review via BNRMetal)

Lugburz (1995)

Minas Morgul (1995)

Dol Guldur (1996)

Stronghold (1999)

Let Mortal Hereos Sing Your Fame (2001)

Oath Bound (2006)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Limbonic Art


Limbonic Art was a black metal duo consisting of Daemon and Morpheus, though early versions of the band featured four members in all. They played adventurous, symphonic black metal, clearly rooted in the tradition of Emperor and the like, but with greater dynamics and range, featuring complex arrangements and clear classical music influences to create a rich, dynamic, yet still inherently black metal style. During their six-year run between 1997 and 2002 they were prolific recording-wise, releasing five albums of relatively uniform style and quality, though not without progression and maturation on the later material. In particular, albums such as The Ultimate Death Worship and In Abhorrence Dementia place the band in the upper echelon of prime Norwegian symphonic black metal artists. They disbanded amicably in February 2003. (Review by BNRMetal)

Dynasty of Death (1999)

The Ultimate Deathworship (2002)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Ravenous

Put Necrophagia's Killjoy and Autopsy's Chris Reifert together, and one might expect a deathgore fest of the highest order, and that's exactly what The Ravenous delivers -- raw, sick, twisted death metal, with both Killjoy and Reifert contributing their own unique vocal twists. Throw in famed bassist Danny Lilker and two former Abscess guitarists and The Ravenous is virtually an extreme metal supergroup. Those who lament the loss of Autopsy should find solace here. (Review via BRNMetal)

Assembled in Blasphemy (2000)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Misanthrope

On most sites these guys are listed as Progessive Death Metal, but I honestly don't believe that suits them at all. Symphonic Doom/Avant-Garde, with some Death Metal elements, seems to fit them far better. These guys are like no other band I have ever heard. I loved this album from the first minute I heard it. Highly unique, with more talent then most bands would know what to do with. It comes with the highest recommendation from me. If you are even a passive Metal fan, you owe it to yourself to at least check these guys out.

Metal Hurlant (2005)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bal-Sagoth

One of the more over-the-top bands to emerge in quite some time, Bal-Sagoth is simply a wonder to behold. Weaving a black metal base with swirling symphonic keyboard work (keyboards are the dominant instrument here), influences ranging from straight classical music to Conan The Barbarian (at least it sure sounds like an influence), and lead visionary Byron's distintive vocal style (occasional black metal shrieks, but more often a subtle narrative style), Bal-Sagoth has forged a sound unlike anyone else. It can all be a bit much at times, what with impossible song titles such as "And Lo, When The Imperium Marches Against Cul-Kothoth, Then Dark Sorceries Shall Enshroud Te Citadel Of The Obsidian Crown" and the general larger-than-life feel of the songs. But no one fuses symphonic/classical music with the darkness of black metal better. This is one of those bands where any description of their sound is unlikely to be accurate or enough to really know what they sound like -- Bal-Sagoth has to be heard to be believed. (Review by BNRMetal)

The Power Cosmic (1994)
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A Black Moon Broods over Lemuria (1996)
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Battle Magic (1998)
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Starfire Burning Upon The Ice-Veiled Throne Of Ultima Thule (1999)
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Atlantis Ascendant (2001)
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Naglfar

Naglfar ranks as one of the most respected Swedish black metal bands, with perhaps only Marduk more well-known. Formed in 1992, the band released a pair of good albums in the late nineties, but really came into their own with 2003's Sheol. Naglfar doesn't push the boundaries of black metal as much as solidify them, as Sheol contains all the elements of classic black metal without sounding derivative. Sheol's mix of old-school aggression with modern production and musicianship makes Naglfar a solid and recommended band. (Review by BNRMetal)


Sheol (1998)
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Vittra (2003)
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Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wintersun

At first glance, a Finnish heavy metal band named Wintersun, whose album cover shows a fallen warrior lying face down in the snow, might elicit thoughts of simplistic black metal infused with pagan or anti-Christian messages, but it doesn't take long for this eponymous debut to prove that first impressions can be deceiving. In fact, the new project of former Ensiferum and Arthemesia vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Jari Mäenpäa merges the hyper-fast precision of Yngwie Malmsteen-like guitar playing (witness the speedy "Beyond the Dark Sun") with the melodic sensibilities of post-Helloween power metal (see the more diverse "Winter Madness") and a homegrown passion for folk-styled songwriting descended straight from trailblazing compatriots Amorphis. If there is any sign of black metal songwriting to be found here, it's in the majestic symphonic backdrops draped all over the ever more ambitious offerings that follow: "Sleeping Stars" flirts with doom via its slow-creeping riffs, "Death and the Healing" alternates clean and rough vocals with a jaw-dropping display of pyrotechnic guitar heroics, and "Beautiful Death" comprises a stunning (if quite morbid) black metal tour de force in terms of both words and musical attack. Curiously, each subsequent track runs longer than the last here -- as if Wintersun is consciously using the song lengths themselves as means of upping the compositional ante. And when they arrive at the ten-minute colossus "Sadness and Hate," which brings the album to a final, fittingly progressive close, one realizes that, amazingly, the ploy works! Therefore, although these unexpected twists and turns can't stop their formula from becoming predictable at times, Wintersun's superb musicianship (props to drum machine man Kai Hahto, as well) helps them win out against their evident influences in the end, making this a recommended release for lovers of relatively accessible extreme metal. (Review via "allmusic.com")

Wintersun (2004)
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Amon Amarth

Must own CDs for any fans of Melodic Death Metal. My personal favorite album is Vs. the World, but all three are great.

Once Sent from the Golden Hall (1998)
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Versus the World (2002)
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Fate of Norns (2004)
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Atheist

Atheist were one of the mainstays of the Florida death metal scene of the late eighties, and by the time of their third album they had evolved into what they themselves term "death/jazz". Indeed, that third album, Elements, is often noted alongside Cynic's Focus as classics in the progressive/fusion/death metal field. By the mid-nineties the typical internal differences led to the band breaking up, with Vocalist Kelly Shaefer eventually forming the more rock-oriented band Neurotica. Finally, after years of speculation, Shaefer and crew are back together and playing select dates. (another review by BNRMetal)


Unquestionable Presence (1991)
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Elements (1993)
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