Thursday, March 22, 2018

Unreal Terror - "Heavy & Dangerous" [1985]

Artist: Unreal Terror
Title: Heavy & Dangerous
Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: Italy
Release date: 1985

Track List:
  1. Unreal Terror
  2. The Voice In The Darkness
  3. Headbanger
  4. Freedom Be Your Law
My another favourite out of obscure Italian heavy metal releases featured on the VoD archive of classic albums. Despite the band name and the album title, the music isn't particularly heavy, and definitely not terrifying. Actually, quite the opposite: it's very melodic (especially the ballad "Freedom Be Your Law") and catchy (unfortunately, the full-length album released by UT in 1986 turned out to be much more boring).

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Feline Melinda - "The Felines Await You" [1988]

Artist: Feline Melinda
Title: The Felines Await You
Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: Italy
Release date: 1988

Track List:
  1. Feline Melinda
  2. You're a Witch
  3. Easy Blood
  4. The Felines Await You
  5. Metal Ladies
  6. If You Need Me
  7. Feline Melinda (Outro)
Like in case with most other obscure metal albums from the 80s featured on my blog, I discovered this EP via the Vibrations of Doom classic albums archive, where it was described as: "A quite strange release... metal worship to cats, I think?" (or something along these lines). Well, I love cats, and I also love to discover good obscure underground music from the 80s, so I decided to give it a listen. While not a masterpiece, it's still fairly good:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Jag Panzer - "Ample Destruction" [1984]

Artist: Jag Panzer
Title: Ample Destruction
Genre: Heavy Metal
Country: USA
Release date: 1984

Track List:
  1. Licensed to Kill
  2. Warfare
  3. Symphony of Terror
  4. Harder than Steel
  5. Generally Hostile
  6. The Watching
  7. Reign of the Tyrants
  8. Cardiac Arrest
  9. The Crucifix
An absolutely classic album for the American heavy metal scene, recorded by then-unknown young band and released on a small independent label, thus remaining only an underground hit until early 1990s, when it was re-released on Metal Blade records. The subsequent album "Dissident Alliance" (1994) turned out to be a total disappointment, but, fortunately, the band got back on the right track later on.

"Ample Destruction" is often called one of the seminal USPM albums, but I have to say it sounds significantly harsher than the works by other bands from that scene I've posted here before (Omen, Hittman, Fifth Angel, etc.) Even the song titles give an impression of a thrash metal album rather than a heavy/power one. Anyway, it's a great album, especially the side A (tracks 1-5), where literally very track is a hit:

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Gods Tower - "The Turns" [1997]

Artist: Gods Tower
Title: The Turns
Genre: Pagan Doom Metal
Country: Belarus
Release date: 1997

Track List:
  1. Intro / The Turns
  2. I Am the Raven
  3. Seven Rains of Fire
  4. Twilight Sun
  5. An Eye for an Eye
  6. Rising Arrows
  7. Blood
  8. Mysterious
  9. Iprit (bonus)
  10. Eversleepside (bonus)
  11. Inis Afalon (bonus)
The importance of this band for the history of metal scene in Belarus is hard to overestimate. It can be said for sure that they were the first doom metal there, as well as the first pagan metal band (and, quite likely, one of the first pagan metal bands in the whole ex-USSR).

They were formed initially as a thrash metal band in 1989 by Alexander Urakov and his friend best known under the moniker "Lesley Knife". Initially they took the name "Ranger", but changed it to "Chemical Warfare" shortly thereafter. After releasing a demo tape in 1992, they finally switched their style to doom metal and took their current name "Gods Tower".

After several lineup changes mid-1990, they have released several demos, and finally, in 1997 - two full-length albums named "The Turns" and "The Eerie". By that time, they already were a quite well-known and actively touring bands, but unfortunately, their lifestyle was the embodiment of all negative stereotypes of post-Soviet rock/metal scene during the 1990s and early 2000s - most importantly of all, excessive drinking, which caused the band to split up in 2001. Alexander Urakov died in late 2003 due to liver failure caused by alcoholism, and their second guitarist Alexander Eristov died an year after from the same cause. In 2010, Lesley Knife decided to bring the band back together.

I personally found out about Gods Tower when I was a teenager, shortly after A. Urakov has died. Back then, i was reading a Minsk-based zine Legion, the only metal magazine I had access to at that time. "The Turns" still remains my favourite work out of all their 3 full-length albums. Its quiality of production is of course far from perfect, and the lyrics can seem quite naive at times, but they managed to produce an unique kind of doom metal with "ritualistic" pagan atmosphere and psychedelic folk melodies, largely thanks to A. Urakov's guitar skills. Listen to the track "Seven Rains of Fire" to get a good example of what I'm talking about. My personal favourites on this album, however, are "Rising Arrows" and especially "An Eye for an Eye":

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Ashes You Leave - "The Passage Back to Life" [1998]

Artist: Ashes You Leave
Title: The Passage Back To Life
Genre: Death/Doom Metal
Country: Croatia
Release date: 1998

Track List:
  1. Salva Me (Intro)
  2. The Passage Back to Life
  3. Thorn of the Dead Flower
  4. Drowning in My Dreams
  5. Lay Down Alone
  6. White Chains
  7. Tears
Debut album of one of the lesser known death/doom metal bands from the 90s, which impressed me a lot back during my university years. Just like in case with many other such bands, they took on a more "soft" gothic metal style later on, but these attempts turn out to be rather boring (which may be one of the reasons why they remained relatively unknown outside of Eastern Europe). As for their early period, literally every review I've read compares them to MDB, and while this album is indeed very similar to "Turn Loose the Swans" by MDB, it certainly has its own atmosphere - not in the least due to the use of female vocals (sometimes in the "folk" manner), flute, and gypsy violin. Thanks to for the link:

Thursday, March 8, 2018

neNasty - "Когда уходят тени" [2006]

Artist: neNasty
Title: Когда уходят тени
Genre: Industrial Death/Doom Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 2006

Track List:
  1. Холод (intro)
  2. Тишина
  3. Легенда осени
  4. Воспарив
  5. В морозную ночь
  6. Не жалея об ошибках
  7. Куда уходят тени
  8. Не видишь
  9. Призрачная грусть
Since it's 8th of March, I'm going to post something with female vocals as usual, and this time it's going to be one of the early projects by Senmuth, started in 2003 as a collaboration with the vocalist Anastasia Turenkova. Like in case with many other Senmuth's side projects, they never saw each other in person, yet they managed to record two full-length albums over the Internet during 2003-2007. Here's the second (and unfortunately the last) one, which is significanly better produced than their debut.

Musically, it's quite similar to the "metal" part of Senmuth's solo discography, being death-doom metal with lots of electronic/industrial elements. What, however, makes this album very different is Anastasia's vocal work. Her voice is awesome, even if her singing manner may seem a bit unprofessional at times. The lyrics unfortunately are very stereotypical by today's measure, but still fine for mid-2000s gothic metal. Overall, this album is surely not perfect, yet it's a very interesting artifact of its time which makes me nostalgic of the period when I was listening to a lot of death/doom metal (a largely forgotten genre by now, it was quite big from the mid-90s to the mid-2000s).

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Succubus - "Destiny" [1995]

Artist: Succubus
Title: Destiny
Genre: Technical Death Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 1995

Track List:
  1. Only Emptiness...
  2. Dark Ages
  3. Shadows of Past
  4. Epitaph
  5. Destiny
  6. Amber Castle
  7. Tales (Black Chroniecles)
  8. The Stars Are Falling Down (A Vision from the Cristal Void)
  9. Liar
  10. Secret Name
  11. Winter Saga
Just yesterday, I saw a post saying that "Svetlana Karlikova-Shigal, the former guitarist of a metal band called Succubus, has died on 19th February from heart failure. She was 45". Since I haven't heard anything about such a band before, I did a quick search and found out that they were one of the very few technical death metal bands in the 90s' Russia, along with Hieronymus Bosch and Sieged Mind. Moreover, their initial lineup (of which Svetlana was the only member left at the time when this album was recorded) was all-female, which was completely unheard of in the post-Soviet death metal scene at the time.

Their one and only studio album "Destiny" haven't disappointed me. Very good old school death metal, especially by the measures of early Russian metal scene which wasn't too rich in world-class bands. An interesting feature of this album are instrumental interludes, thanks to which it doesn't sound too monotonous. Overall, a very interesting release which, sadly, haven't received as much recognition as it deserves. R.I.P. Svetlana:

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Z'ev - "Rhythmajik" [2005]

Artist: Z'ev
Title: Rhythmajik
Genre: Ritual Ambient, Percussion Industrial
Country: USA
Release date: 2005

Track List:
  1. The Stand Of Stones  
  2. The Lines 
  3. The 9 Chambers
S. J. Weisser a/k/a Z'ev ("Wolf" in Hebrew) has died just two months ago in December 2017. While I never have listened to his music that much (just like in case with Aube, who has died several years ago), he was one of the first people on early industrial scene, and this release should be a good starting point to get acquainted with his legacy:

"These recordings have been made exclusively for the Italian edition of the "Rhythmajik" book.
Recorded in Los Angeles during June 2003.
This is the audio demonstration of the written theories.

Tracks 1-9 are sonic meditations on the 9 Stones (the numbers 1-9), no drumming, elemental textures only.
Tracks 10-31 are sonic renditions of the 22 Lines (12 astrological houses, 7 planets, air, water and fire elements), beat patterns of each Line combined with elemental textures.
It ends with a 3m 48s piece that’s a divination meditation for the 9 Chambers, beat patterns combined with elemental textures"

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Devoid of Grace - "Psychotic Journey" [2010]

Artist: Devoid of Grace
Title: Psychotic Journey
Genre: Death Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 2010

Track List:
  1. Killing For Salvation
  2. Distorted Perspective
  3. Chaos - New God
  4. Demonosphere
  5. Blind Mirror
  6. Virtual Addiction
  7. Refactoring Noise
  8. Prodigy (The Prodigy cover)
Here's a rather obscure technical death metal band from Lipetsk, whose director was one of my best friends at the time when this album was released. They were formed in 2001, but released their first demo only in 2008, and their one and only full-length album in 2010. No idea if they're still active (but if anyone really wonders, I can try to ask their director about that, since I'm still in contact with him).

They claim to be influenced by such bands as Decapitated, Death, Meshuggah, Vader, Cryptopsy, Strapping Young Lad and Emperor, and I can say these bands have no reason to be ashamed of such successors, as Devoid of Grace show a very decent level of musicianship on this album. However, they don't really bring anything particularly new or original to the scene, so I'd recommend this album only to the fans of the genre:

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Hieronymus Bosch - "The Human Abstract" [1995]

Artist: Hieronymus Bosch
Title: The Human Abstract
Genre: Progressive/Death Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 1995

Track List:
  1. The Apogee
  2. Thought Racism Forms
  3. Petra Scandali
  4. Black Lake Blues
  5. The Human Abstract
  6. Mental Perfection
  7. The Gardens of Earthly Delights
  8. Doubt Soul
  9. Expectation of Autumn
  10. Near Death Experience
  11. Trust is a Dirt
This album is one of the very few really good metal albums made in Russia during the 1990s, along with "Eclectica" by End Zone and "Planeshift" by Rakoth. Hieronymus Bosch, formed in Moscow in 1993, were a kind of band that really deserved to stand in line with such classics of technical death metal as Sadist, Cynic, Atheist and Nocturnus, by this album alone. That's exactly what I'd call "IDM" as in "Intelligent Death Metal" :)

Surely it's very technical, but, fortunately, HB don't go too far with it, unlike many other progressive metal bands who are trying too hard to be "technical" making their music too complex to be memorable (Behold the Arctopus and Spiral Architect, in particular, are often criticised for that). This album was released on tape in 1995 and on CD (with two bonus tracks) in the mid-2005, and that was when I heard it for the first time when I was a university student. The band, after some lineup changes, released two more albums in the second part of 2000s, and ultimately split up in 2010. These two ones are very good as well, but the debut is still the best: