Sunday, March 17, 2019

Marja Üldine - "Own My Fears" [2019]

Artist: Marja Üldine
Title: Own My Fears
Genre: Gothic Rock/Metal, Doom Metal
Country: Russia
Release date: 2019

Track List:
  1. My own fears
  2. Dontcryever
  3. Live under the bridge
  4. Waking up
  5. Remember this day
  6. Knock-knock
  7. Sirens
  8. Cosmic weed (bonus track)
Marja Üldine is a Vepsian folk singer, but if you expect her debut album "Own My Fears" to be a typical Finno-Ugric folk album, you're in for a big surprise (if not disappointment). All the lyrics on "Own My Fears" are in English, and the music has little to do with traditional folk or even folk metal. The singer herself described it as "hard rock", but it isn't telling much (because, at least here, "hard rock" is pretty much an old-fashioned term for anything heavier than The Beatles).

As for me, "Own My Fears" sounds more like mid-90s The Gathering and other gothic/doom metal bands of the same era, rather than anything else. The whole album leaves an impression as it was recorded some time during early-mid 2000s, with the appropriate cover artwork (a very stereotypical one for an early 2000s gothic metal album) and quality of production. It certainly evokes a lot of nostalgia for these times, so I wasn't disappointed by this album, but as for future releases from Marja Üldine -I'd like to hear more Vepsian folk (a much rarer thing than gothic/doom metal, that's for sure) with lyrics in her native language.

Friday, March 8, 2019

La Torture des Ténèbres - "IV - Memoirs of a Machine Girl" [2017]

Artist: La Torture des Ténèbres
Title: IV - Memoirs of a Machine Girl
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal, Noise
Country: Canada
Release date: 2017

Track List:
  1. Staring at the Stars to the Sound of Trucks Revving in the Distance
  2. Enigma of the Intergalactic Canyon
  3. Somewhere in Brockville, in a Restroom Stall
  4. Love Pumps Through My Veins as Quickly as You Kiss Me Goodbye
  5. Thank You for Holding My Hand Through Every Haunted House
  6. Lysol, Scrub Away Your Sanity
I discovered this one-woman project from Ottawa in a blog that specializes in martial industrial, which surprised me because the style was claimed as 'black metal". This album indeed turned out to be based in atmospheric black metal, but heavily mixed with dark ambient, noise, and martial industrial elements, creating a very oppressive post-apocalyptic horror atmosphere. Compared to other one-female black metal projects I've posted on here before, like Sylvaine or Lonely Star, this one is definitely much harder to get into. "IV - Memoirs of a Machine Girl" is easily one of the most "inhuman" releases I've listened to in the last couple of years (and I listen to a lot of black metal and noise). You may love or hate this album at the first listen, but it's unlikely to leave you indifferent. And, of course, it has a great retrofuturistic cover art (which is a painting by Hugh Ferriss, if I'm not mistaken), one look at which would be enough to understand what to expect from this album: the music from a dystopian world of gigantic structures and mechanisms.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Tidfall - "Nucleus" [2003]

Artist: Tidfall
Title: Nucleus
Genre: Industrial Black Metal
Country: Norway
Release date: 2003

Track List:
  1. Future Doom
  2. Nucleus
  3. Neo-Torment
  4. Mercury Mesh
  5. Soil of Tomorrow
  6. Psychotronica
  7. Zounds
  8. Exo-Skeleton
  9. Tech
On the two albums following Tidfall's debut "Circular Supremacy", Tidfall took a more industrial metal direction. In fact, they were one of the first (if not the very first) industrial black metal bands I've discovered during the times when I was just starting to get into metal. Surely, they aren't as well-known as their compatriots Thorns or Mysticum, and this album doesn't contain any particularly big hits, yet I think this album is highly overlooked. It's industrial black metal the way I expect it to be, and the appropriate lyrical themes along with the "mechanical"/futuristic atmosphere are in place:


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Tidfall - "Circular Supremacy" [2000]

Artist: Tidfall
Title: Circular Supremacy
Genre: Symphonic Black Metal
Country: Norway
Release date: 2000

Track List:
  1. In the Eyes of Death
  2. A Hidden Realm
  3. Allured by Grief
  4. Black Psychotic Darkness
  5. Bloodact
  6. Shining Serpent
  7. In a Dark Dream
  8. Empty Silence
  9. Reflections
  10. Hymn to Fall
Tidfall is a rather obscure Norwegian black metal band formed in 1992, released a first demo in 1997, and put on an indefinite hiatus in 2005. Most reviewers describe them as a mediocre project that failed to bring anything new to the scene, but I do think such reputation is undeserved. Surely there are many Norwegian black metal bands from the same era that are far more famous, and when it comes to symphonic black metal in particular, Tidfall's "Circular Supremacy" doesn't get on the same level as such classics as "Nexus Polaris" by Covenant, yet I think it's still pretty powerful and certainly deserves a listen:

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Urarv - "Aurum" [2017]

Artist: Urarv
Title: Aurum
Genre: Progressive Black Metal
Country: Norway
Release date: 2017

Track List:
  1. Forvitringstid
  2. Ancient DNA
  3. The Retortion
  4. Broken Wand
  5. Guru
  6. Valens Tempel
  7. Fancy Daggers
  8. Red Circle
Urarv is an avant-garde black metal project of Aldrahn, who's mostly known as ex-vocalist of Zyklon-B and Dødheimsgard. Although it was founded in 2003, it released the first promo only in 2016 after becoming a full band consisting of three members. Here's their debut full-length album, entitled "Aurum". Judging from its sound, Urarv is not that "avant-garde" compared to some other Norwegian bands of this kind (i.e. I Left The Planet, or late Fleurety), but the balance between the avant-garde elements (i.e. black'n'roll riffs, and the unique vocals by Aldrahn) and the traditional Norwegian black metal of this album is nearly perfect. My personal favourite track is "Broken Wand", and while this album isn't something I'd listen to on daily basis, it certainly should be recommended to anyone who liked the later albums by DHG.

Speaking of other Urarv members, I can't tell much about their bassist Sturt because the names of his previous bands are completely unfamiliar to me (although I've checked out this one because they had a member of Red Harvest and Dunkel:heit for some time on guitar, and I must say that their lyrics are a prime example of what's called "so bad it's good").

Trish Kolsvart, their drummer, has a pretty lengthy list of black metal and punk bands she played in, and she was relatively popular on Myspace around 2010. Not hard to see why - there aren't many girls who play extreme metal (she can play guitar as well as drums), and are good looking in addition to that:

...Yes, the quality of the last photo isn't the best, but I like that she's got both musical talent and beautiful legs :) Check out "Aurum" here:

Friday, January 25, 2019

Dunkel:heit ‎- "Obey" [1995]

Artist: Dunkel:heit
Title: Obey
Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: Norway
Release date: 1995

Track List:
  1. Untitled
  2. Soulscape Fading
  3. Untitled
  4. Finding the Way
  5. Untitled
  6. Separate Ways
  7. LRB9-51
  8. Thrive
  9. Untitled
  10. Conformity Control
  11. Anarchaoz
  12. Untitled
  13. Solitary Survival
  14. On and On
  15. Untitled
  16. True Believers In False Prophets (Origami Replika)
  17. Technol
  18. Untitled
  19. Lozt Love (Origami Replika)
  20. Chorus of Contemplation
  21. Untitled
  22. Munchscape
  23. Untitled
Disregard the stupid cover art, this album is a very interesting historical artifact for anyone who loves Red Harvest and the associated projects. Pretty much all I know about Dunkel:heit can be found in this blog (which is quite fine and highly recommended to check out):
Dunkelheit (aka Dunkel:heit) started out in the summer of '92 as a part-time industrial-style project containing members from the industrial metal band Red Harvest.
After recording some songs, they decided to keep going and started recruiting more members.
Around a year later they recorded a demo on an 8-track recorder.
Instead of pushing their demo heavily around, they band started playing around with the idea of doing a compilation CD.
The CD, entitled "The Reincarnation Of The Sun", was released in February 1994 by Dunkel Prod. and contained (mostly) exclusive material from Red Harvest, Anstalt, Valhall, Dunkelheit, Remyl, Piledriver and Humid.
Shortly after this release, Suggestion Records got in touch with the band and offered a deal for a 7" EP.
"More Than Meets The Third Eye" was recorded with four new songs and released in the summer of '94.
Pleased with the result of this 7" EP, Suggestion offered a deal for a full-length CD.
The material was recorded in March '95, and the CD "Obey" was released in the end of the summer '95.
Since then the project was put on hold.
While this release (a quite lengthy one, by the way; the "Untitled" tracks are  mostly short spoken word interludes) is not exactly a masterpiece, it certainly has very nice moments (i.e. "Soulscape Fading" being one of the best industrial metal songs from the first half of 1990s I've heard so far), and it carries the same inhuman/mechanistic atmosphere that we love Red Harvest albums for. Fans of Fear Factory and other mid-90s industrial death metal shouldn't be dissapointed as well. You can check out "Obey" using the link above, or, alternatively, on Youtube:


Monday, January 7, 2019

Synaxaria - "Close And So Far" [2017]

Artist: Synaxaria
Title: Close And So Far
Genre: Symphonic Metal/Rock
Country: Belarus
Release date: 2017

Track List:
  1. Eternal Game
  2. Keep Your Soul Alive
  3. Light Of My Sorrow
  4. Silence
  5. Sleep Tight
This band, named after some obscure religious term, started in February 2010 initially as an industrial rock band. Their 2010 demo wasn't bad (for a demo, of course) albeit a bit "naive" sounding. They have "flirted" with politial and social topics in their lyrics on their later two EPs (which I couldn't find anywhere, though, but I guess they're similar to the first demo in terms of sound).

This EP, however, is your typical symphonic metal with dual male/female vocals. The quality of production (at least on this remastered 2018 version) is significantly better than on their 2010 demo or the 2015 full-length album (which is similar to this EP in terms of sound, but leaves an impression of an amateur cassette recording made sometime in the 90s). Despite the lack of originality and the rather weak male vocals,  "Close And So Far" is a pleasant listen, especially the 4th track (the only one featuring non-English lyrics). By the way, their vocalist/keyboardist Natalia had a birthday just couple of days ago, so I thought it'd be a good time to check out and review this EP:


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Omnimar - "Poison" [2017]

Artist: Omnimar
Title: Poison
Genre: Synthpop, Gothic Electro
Country: Russia
Release date: 2017

Track List:
  1. Poison
  2. I Go On On My Own
  3. Out Of My Life
  4. I Wanna Know Now
  5. Boom Boom
  6. 40 Steps
  7. Jimmy
  8. Sadizm (english version)
  9. Happy Ending
  10. Hungry
  11. Release Me
The sophomore album of the self-described "alternative pop" project from Moscow which is sometimes described as a female version of Faderhead (look here for the debut one). While their music is indeed more on the "pop" side of things compared to most other darkwave and dark electro projects that have appeared on my blog, I wish all modern pop music was more like this :) They also make pretty good video clips, one of which has gained more than 2M views on Youtube:


It's also a good time to post the new photos of their vocalist, the beautiful Maria Mar. Happy New Year!


Monday, December 31, 2018

Happy New Year 2019!

Happy new 2019 year to all my readers! I didn't listen to that much music in 2018 and haven't wrote that many reviews because I had a lot of other stuff going on in my life, but I hope you still enjoy reading my blog. 2018 was a relatively good year for me compared to the previous few years, and hopefully 2019 would be even better.

I have several insteresting projects to work on in the coming year, some of which probably would be announced here shortly. Wish me luck! And now, have a Christmas/New Year photo of the beautiful and talented Justine Daaé, the vocalist of Elyose:


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Elyose - "Ipso Facto" [2015]

Artist: Elyose
Title: Ipso Facto
Genre: Gothic Metal, Electro Metal
Country: France
Release date: 2015

Track List:
  1. Fragrances
  2. Femme De Verre
  3. De Guerre Lasse
  4. L'Animal-aimé
  5. Plus qu'Humain (feat. Florent Jannier)
  6. Chronocide
  7. Mon Charme
  8. Rédemption
  9. Pour Un Écu
  10. Droit Dans Les Yeux
  11. Contretemps
As you know, I usually don't listen to Francophone music that much (with some notable exceptions like Amesoeurs or Paris Violence), but Elyose managed to pleasantly surprise me, even if I can't call this album a masterpiece. I think this review describes it quite well:
"When it comes to classifications as "modern electro metal" or "electro gothic metal" and similar descriptions, I'm always a bit suspicious, and that's the thing with this French outfit named Elyose. I must admit that I wasn't familiar with this name before the release of this album, even though they were formed in 2009 and since then released one EP and one album. Ipso Facto is their sophomore full-lenght and if we believe to their words, it's heavier and more focused on energy than were their previous releases. It's interesting to see that the main member and composer here is their attractive vocalist Justine Daaé, and not only that she's good looking, the girl is also trained classical vocalist and she proves that on every single track up here. Well, like in many cases before, even though the quality of music on Ipso Facto is above average, it somehow doesn't have enough of that little something to reach a bit higher and most of the time it just sounds too mellow. Let me explain... >>>"
Musically, it falls in the broad category of "female-fronted metal" with a lot of electronics, but I wouldn't call it "industrial metal" as some reviewers did. However, some of their tracks are fairly close to it, such as "Plus Qu'Human", which is undoubtedly the best piece off this album:


It features dual male/female vocals of the "beauty vs. the beast" style (featuring Florent Jannier of Arkan), which the reviewer above didn't like, but for me it sounds pretty good. The rest of "Ipso Facto" isn't as memorable, yet it shows a lot of professionalism and devoution, and represents Elyose as one of the most interesting lesser-known female fronted metal bands to appear in the last decade. Yeah, there were quite a lot of them, but Elyose really stand out from the rest, not in the least due to the interesting keyboard work which no doubt would appeal to the fans of industrial/"futuristic" kind of metal. Singing in French adds their music a lot of charm too, and hopefully it wouldn't prevent them for being better known outside their hone country.