Monday, May 25, 2020

Nightfall - "Diva Futura" [1999]

Artist: Nightfall
Title: Diva Futura
Genre: Gothic Metal, Melodic Death Metal
Country: Greece
Year: 1999

Track List:
  1. Master, Faster, Sweet Desaster
  2. Sin
  3. The Sheer Misfit
  4. Diva
  5. Licked One's Iced Lips
  6. Picture Me
  7. Some Deaths Take for Ever
  8. Lowve
  9. Ceaseless
  10. My Traitor's Kiss
  11. Pleasure 
This album has a lot in common with "Revolution DNA" by Septic Flesh - both albums were released in Greece in 1999, they have somewhat similar cover art and lyrics in somewhat clumsy English (but probably not much clumsier than my own English :3), and both stand out as experimental works in the discographies of their respective bands. That said, they're significantly different in terms of sound (strangely enough, "Diva Futura" sounds much like the works of Finnish gothic metal bands like Sentenced from the same time). I've heard the track "Diva" (which instantly became one of my favourite songs) for the first time when I was in my teens, definitely before I've bought the "Revolution DNA" cassette, but I had the chance to hear the whole album only much later.

It still remains my favourite album by Nightfall along with the previous one, "Lesbian Show" (and yes, they were ridiculed by critics for releasing an album with such a name - but after all, they're from Greece, and it's just their culture, going back to the Sappho's times...) - even if they're considered the weakest ones in the Nightfall discography by some fans. Most tracks on the first half of the album are almost as good as "Diva", while the second part is a bit weaker. The vocals can be annoying at times, but otherwise it's a great album with many catchy songs which I'd recommend to anyone who loves Greek metal scene (which has a lot of undoubtedly unique bands) and aren't a diehard fan of "true metal":

Septic Flesh - "Revolution DNA" [1999]

Artist: Septic Flesh
Title: Revolution DNA
Genre: Death / Gothic / Industrial Metal
Country: Greece
Year: 1999

Track List:
  1. Science
  2. Chaostar
  3. Radioactive
  4. Little Music Box
  5. Revolution
  6. Nephilim Sons
  7. DNA 
  8. Telescope
  9. Last Stop to Nowhere
  10. Dictatorship of the Mediocre
  11. Android
  12. Arctic Circle
  13. Age of New Messiahs
Actually, this is the first unquestionably "metal" I've bought during my teenage years (if Rammstein and similar stuff doesn't count), and it left a great impression on me at the time. Septic Flesh are primarily known for their unique atmospheric/symphonic death metal sound and the lyrics inspired by Ancient Greek mythology, but this album is way more experimental (but also much more accessible to a listener that's accustomed to nu-metal and bands like Rammstein - like me when I was in my teens). This direction was already noticeable on their previous work "A Fallen Temple" (tracks like "The Eldest Cosmonaut"), but this album is completely different from their early works, featuring a futuristic, electronic-infused sound which is closer to industrial/gothic metal (or, at times, even rock - i.e., "Arctic Circle" definitely isn't a metal song) of the late 90s than to death metal. This time there are no female vocals (which is unfortunate, because Natalie Rassoulis did a great work on the aforementioned "The Eldest Cosmonaut"), and the male vocals are far from your typical death metal growls.

"Revolution DNA" isn't without its weak moments, one of which being "Android" - the most experimental and electro-sounding track on the whole album, which I normally would love, but this time the experiment has clearly gone wrong. On the other hand, another experimental track, "Last Stop to Nowhere", is absolutely great. The lyrics can be quite weak at times (i.e. "Dictatorship of the Mediocre"; during my university times I was enough of an edgelord to give this album to my English teacher, and she also thought that some of the lyrics were quite shallow), but it isn't a major flaw. Overall, the lyrical topics are more than appropriate for an industrial/futuristic metal album. Would absolutely recommend "Revolution DNA" to everyone who isn't against some experimentation in metal:

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Once Human - "Evolution" [2017]

Artist: Once Human
Title: Evolution
Genre: Melodic Death / Groove Metal
Country: USA
Year: 2017

Track List:
  1. Flock of Flesh
  2. Eye of Chaos
  3. Mass Murder Frenzy
  4. Gravity
  5. Dark Matter
  6. Paragon
  7. Drain
  8. Killers for the Cure
  9. Passenger
Once Human is already arather well known band, but for those who don't know, it's a new band of former Machine Head and Soulfly guitarist Logan Mader, with female vocals performed by Lauren Hart (who's also the guest vocalist in Kamelot). While their first album "The Life I Remember" was average at best and ridiculed by some critics for edgy lyrics and song titles like "You Cunt" (well, I know Lauren grew up in Australia, and if the stereotypes of Australians are to be believed, they use "cunt" instead of "mate" and pretty much every second other word), this one is a pretty solid record that does represent the evolution of their style: melodeath / groove metal with some "core" and djent-y moments (but fortunately, not too much of these). Lauren is a remarkable vocalist on the level of Angela Gossow and Alissa White-Gluz that can do well both growls and clean vocals:

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Lock And Load - "Double Decker Slams" [2019]

Artist: Lock And Load
Title: Double Decker Slams
Genre: Death Metal / Hardcore
Country: UK
Year: 2019

Track List:
  1. Dieseaslisation
  2. Double Decker $lam
  3. Flat Cap
  4. Scruddy
That's the only death metal band (with hardcore-style vocals) I know whose main lyrical theme are trains, and the second one that's inspired by the everyday like of industrial workers (the first one being Nakka). Yes, I love trains and railways too, and I know there are people (railfans, railway buffs, or "ferroequinologists", how they sometimes call themselves) who take that love to the extreme, but I didn't know they play metal too:
"Debut solo E.P. from Daniel Amesbury, Narrow boater , railway fanatic and life long metal head.

This is my first solo release, believe it or not canals and trains go hand in hand with Brutal slamming death metal with the grimy,industrious and heavy nature of work in both areas Lock and load, a name with more meaning than the average rock covers band using the same name ( that being canal lock and dreadlock) I aim to combine all 3 elements to reflect the blue collar work and create brutal double decker slams.

Taking inspiration from 'No One Gets Out alive' -the one man redneck slamming banjo, except being on a bass clarinet and playing actual breakdown riffs on it to utilize the most of the instruments dark tomberes I thought I'd combine the elements of melody from 1960's railway public film music scores with slam. to create a some what ironic but brutal setting from the era of new trains and the decline of the canals and the ever growing competition from the private car and air travel.

While a lot of slam bands tend to go for the "caveman" sound I took my own spin on this describing it at best as a "scrapyard scruddy" sound.

Of course you'd probably be wondering what the term 'DOUBLE DECKER SLAMS ' means -quite simply- the slams are stacked on top of each other!"
Of course it's hard to take this EP seriously, and it'd be better posted on the 1st of April, yet the lyrical subject is quite appealing to me:

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

NMLSS_VGR - "011000110110111101110011011011010110111101110011" [2019]

Title: 011000110110111101110011011011010110111101110011
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal / Dark Ambient
Country: Germany
Year: 2019

Track List:
  1. Death is Happiness
  2. I Think Cosmos Is Not For You, Lazy Human
  3. Gagarin, Sorry, We Totally Fucked Up
  4. So Long 2 Minutes 56 Seconds, So Short My Life To See Russians On Moon
  5. Through The Great Nothing
This should have been posted on Cosmonautics Day, but since I couldn't post it back then, I hope one extra month isn't too late. Anyway, NMLSS_VGR is an anonymous instrumental one-man "cosmic black metal" project from Germany, apparently running by someone who has immigrated from a Russian-speaking country. Given it's an instrumental demo, the music isn't bad at all and has that "alien" atmosphere I'd expect from such an album. The uniquely snide song titles are definitely a plus too:

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Kolossus - "Begining" [2017]

Artist: Kolossus
Title: Begining
Genre: Black Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 2017

Track List:
  1. Stalingrad
  2. Kolossus
  3. Echo
  4. War
I'm back! Sorry for not being able to post anything on here for a month or so, I hope to sort out my problems in the near future. As for now, it's a good time to post a "war metal" band from the city that was the place of the bloodliest battle in the human history, which is Volgograd (or Stalingrad, if you wish). The music is fairly typical black metal, not much to be said about it except it's decently played. Not much info about the band either, except they're playing "music for free people" and apparently love to perform shirtless on their live shows:

All lyrics on "Begining", except for the opening track, were written by Marina "Kelpie" Fomenkova:

Friday, March 20, 2020

Beseech - "Souls Highway" [2002]

Artist: Beseech
Title: Souls Highway
Genre: Gothic Metal
Country: Sweden
Year: 2002

Track List:
  1. Illusionate
  2. Between the Lines
  3. Souls Highway
  4. Blinded
  5. Endless Waters
  6. Fiction City
  7. Sunset 28
  8. A Last Farewell
  9. A Season in Green
  10. Beyond the Skies 
Another gothic metal album with dual male/female vocals, which is surprisingly little known despite having a somewhat classic status in the history of gothic metal by now. I've bought this album on a cassette quite a long time ago and was very much impressed by how atmospheric it is. Later I checked out the rest of Beseech discography (until 2006), but no their album has impressed me as much as this one. I've seen reviewers comparing it to early Lacuna Coil and even to Infinite Tales, but Beseech definitely doesn't sound like any of these bands. "Souls Highway" isn't particularly heavy or sophisticated in terms of musicianship, but the atmosphere is great - very melancholic and soothing - and I love the vocals by Lotta Höglin too. My personal favourites are "Between the Lines" and "Fiction City". My cassette also included a bonus track which is a very good cover version of ABBA's "Gimme Gimme Gimme" (if I haven't heard the original before, I'd think it was originally written as a metal song).

P.S. I know that Beseech have split up in 2006 and some of their former members went on forming The Mary Major and Those We Don't Speak Of (both bands nowhere near successful as Beseech), by I didn't know until recently that they have reformed in 2012 and released a fairly good new album in 2016. Their new vocalist is Angelina Sahlgren Söder which apparently has experience in theatre and musicals as well:

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

I Miss My Death - "In Memories" [2014]

Artist: I Miss My Death
Title: In Memories
Genre: Symphonic Gothic/Doom Metal
Country: Ukraine
Year: 2014

Track List:
  1. The Last Overture
  2. In the Dark Garden of the Vampire
  3. In Memories
  4. Silence Cries
  5. Thirteen Autumns of My Solitude
  6. Earl Pale
  7. Trail into the Past
  8. Silent Existence
  9. Flower That Fades
  10. The On
  11. While You Remember Me
  12. Lacrimosa (Mozart)
Since the recent events all over the world (the whole coronavirus situation and the death of several prominent cultural figures, including Genesis P-Orridge, in just few recent days) are quite depressing, it's time for an appropriate kind of music. This time I'll present a gothic death/doom metal band from Kiev with dual male/female vocals that I discovered via their vocalist Elena Krivovyaz, who's also a classical opera singer (interestingly, she followed me on Instagram first). The band name might be not the best choice, but compared to names like I'm In A Coffin, it's not the worst either. The sound, aesthetics and lyrical themes on this album are all fairly standard for the genre (which isn't a bad thing at all, if you love the symphonic metal of 2000s and late 90s):

Check out also their newest single released last year:

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Crown of Asteria - "Demo MMXIII" [2013]

Artist: Crown of Asteria
Title: Demo MMXIII
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
Country: USA
Year: 2013

Track List:
  1. Hymn of the Northern Bowers
  2. Beneath the Boreal Twilight
  3. Ascendancy of the Stars
  4. Through the Birch and Beyond the Lakes
Here's the first demo recording by Crown of Asteria, an one-woman black metal project that has appeared on my blog before, which I decided to check out because of this review:
One-woman black metal from the vast frozen northlands of...Michigan, but with a really nice foresty photo on the cover, nature-themed song titles that go beyond the genre standards to sound really enticing and track lengths that scream long-winded but powerfully epic.

The demo starts exactly as you'd hope, with some calm acoustic strumming that brings to mind things like Ulver's Kveldssanger. And just as it gets going, BOOM. The shittiest, most heinously inappropriately programmed blastbeating drum machine charges its way in, crushing that acoustic guitar riff before it even knew what was happening. It literally cuts the riff off and shits all over everything. It's like a conclave of elves in a pine forest clearing slowly starting their homage to the stars above with soft strumming of their lutes before the angelic voices and cascading strings and harps comes in to take everything to a higher plane of existence, then a hippopotamus strolls in and takes a massive shit on all the elves. Ever seen a hippopotamus take a shit? Look it up on YouTube.
That's definitely one of the funniest metal album reviews I've ever read, and while being quite unflattering, it's surprisingly accurate. That said, this demo isn't nearly as bad as you might have though after reading the passage above, and while I wouldn't recommend it to those unfamiliar with Meghan Wood's music (her discography is quite large with a lot of releases to choose from), it still was a quite enjoyable listen for me.