Friday, May 30, 2014

Infestum - "Monuments Of Exalted" [2014]

Artist: Infestum
Title: Monuments of Exalted
Genre: Black Metal
Country: Belarus
Year: 2014

Track List:
  1. Void Of Nebulae
  2. Ordo Infestum
  3. Iron Hammer Upon The Skull Of Slave
  4. Temples Of Mirrors
  5. The Art Of The Beast
  6. The Evil One (Venom cover)
  7. Zero Beyond
  8. Obsidian Exile
  9. Renaissance
  10. Monuments Of Exalted
Infestum are one of those bands which I discovered more than 10 years ago while familiarizing myself with the Belorussian metal scene (see my previous entries under the "Belarus" label). Back then, they were playing very standard black meta, and while their first EP (released in 2001) was good by the standarts of that time, it was nothing original/groundbreaking. They weren't very active in the mid-2000's, so I ceased to follow their news at some point - so it was suprising for me to know, that they're back with a new album, which doesn't sound much like their early releases.

The shift from "true" black metal to the more "industrial-esque" type of sound is easily explainable, though. The only original member of the band still remaining in their lineup is Ion, the lead singer and the founder of the band. All the rest are former members of ID:Vision (which, unfortunately, have split up an year after the release of "Destination Cybermind"). So you can guess what kind of music they present on this album - call it "industrial black metal", "cosmic black metal" or whatever, it sounds good either way, and for me it's one of the best black metal albums of 2014 I've heard up to date.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Nutrition - "Dusk Of The Hunter" [2012]

Artist: Nutrition
Title: Dusk Of The Hunter
Genre: Industrial Black Metal
Country: USA
Year: 2012

Track List:
  1. Forbidden Moon
  2. Dawn of the Harvest
  3. R-Complex
  4. Dragon Kings
  5. Castle of Cold
If you want some "cosmic"/sci-fi themed black metal, but you prefer it to be rather raw than atmospheric, check out Nutrition. I don't know much about them, except they're a duo formed in early 2009, and released their first LP "Terminus Occultus" in 2013. I personally recommend listening to this EP first, though.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Mars On Earth - "Mars on Earth" [2001]

Artist: Mars On Earth
Title: Mars On Earth
Genre: Industrial Metal
Country: Mars Germany
Year: 2001

Track List:
  1. Mars on Earth (intro)
  2. Planets
  3. Die Stadt Ist Im Krieg
  4. Bleeding Underwater
Enough with symphonic metal, let's continue reviewing more obscure and "industrial-esque" albums. This MCD is a perfect example of what kind of music I wish to review here in the first place: it's a very obscure but really interesting release consisting of 3 tracks (and a relatively short ambient intro) of very atmospheric industrial metal with lots of keyboards sounding like on an OST for some old sci-fi movie, and lyrics (mostly) in German. The quality of recording is not perfect, yet completely listenable and fairly good for a first demo EP. There's no reliable info about the band at all, except for they had 3 members and claimed to come from the planet Mars. Perhaps that was the reason why they've released only one EP and then disappeared without a trace: they had to leave the Earth and return to their home planet for some reason ;) It's quite sad, actually, because this EP was very promising, and it would be great to hear at least one full-length album from them.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Bring Me Eternity - "Draw The Echo" [2013]

Artist: Bring Me Eternity
Title: Draw The Echo
Genre: Symphonic/Progressive Metal
Country: France
Year: 2013

Track List:
  1. Road Of Dreams
  2. Deception
  3. Vanity
  4. Silent Memory
  5. Pride Of A World
Bring Me Eternity are an young female-fronted metal band from Grenoble, formed in 2011 and released their 1st EP in autumn 2013.On their facebook page, they list their influences as "Within Temptation, System Divide, Epica, Betraying The Martyrs, Delain, Amaranthe", but I'd rather compare them to another progressive/sympho-metal band with a somewhat similar name and a rather good-looking vocalist - Echoes Of Eternity. Both bands put a lot of effort into their work, but their song structures are a bit needlessly complex because of that. However "Draw The Echo" still sounds quite good, considering it's only a debut release. The production is crystal clear, and Lyriel Bena (the vocalist) has a nice voice. The music itself is a mix between standard gothic/symphonic metal, and so-called "modern metal"/metalcore. All the lyrics are in English, which is a plus for me - because, as you know, I don't like Francophone metal bands in general.

As of now, Bring Me Eternity are virtually unknown outside France, and even there not many people have heard about them. They're an actively touring band, though, so this situation may change in the near future. They certainly deserve to be more known outside France as well, and I hope this entry will help it at least a bit. By the way, "Draw The Echo" is now officially available off bandcamp for "pay-what-you-want" price (I personally gave 3€ to the band, but you can get it for free, if you wish), so I think it'd be OK to post it here too:
P.S. Am I only one who thinks that Lyriel has very beautiful legs? Seems like she thinks so too(at least judging from her photos, she apparently loves to wear very short dresses, and prefers mini shorts for her stage appearances):

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Velvet Seal - "Lend Me Your Wings" [2009]

Artist: VelvetSeal
Title: Lend Me Your Wings
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Country: Hungary
Year: 2009

Track List:
  1. Opening
  2. Lend Me Your Wings
  3. The One
  4. Desperati
  5. Torn Within
  6. Where Statues Cry
  7. The Divine Comedy
  8. Freefall
  9. The Tragic Overture
The second demo of this Hungarian band has received very favorable reviews on Encyclopaedia Metallum, so I decided to check out their one and only full-length album, released an year after the aforementioned demo. It turned out to be good symponic metal with female vocals, but nothing really original. All the lyrics are in English, which was a bit disappointing to me - because in case with Hungarian metal bands (such as  Alhana, Dalriada, Obsidian Shell, etc.) I prefer them singing in their native language. Hovewer, Gabi (the vocalist) can sing pretty well, and some of the tracks (including the title one) are quite catchy. So, to put it in short: "Lend Me Your Wings" isn't a masterpiece, but it's certainly worth listening, if you're a fan of female-fronted metal. Won't recommend it to my fellow fans of Hungarian music, though, because this album has nothing specifically Hungarian in it.

There are official videos for "Lend Me Your Wings" and "The Tragic Overture", which you can easily find on youtube. But I didn't like them that much, and would suggest to watch this live video instead:

See also this video of Gabi performing with some other band, singing in Hungarian:

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Blackthorn - "Codex Archaos" [2011]

Artist: Blackthorn
Title: Codex Archaos
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Country: Russia
Year: 2011

Track List:
  1. Divination in Blood
  2. Vehemence Came as Anodyne
  3. Nemesis Incarnation
  4. Gorgon the Ascendant
  5. Emptysis Kiss
  6. Arria Marcella
  7. Posthumous Passion Ephemera
  8. Dismalediction and the Remedy
  9. Серебряный Ключ (Silver Key)
  10. Hexshadow Turned to Flesh
  11. Bestial Satan of Grotesque Beauty
  12. The Fading Ceremony
Since I'm continuing to post my favourites in female-fronted metal from the Eastern Europe, let's not go past one of the most well-known all-female metal bands in Russia. Blackthorn were formed in 2004 in Moscow, and released their debut album, "Gossamer Witchcraft", in 2009. After some lineup changes, they released their second (and the last up to date) full-length album "Codex Archaos" in 2011. It differs significantly from their debut. While "Gossamer Witchcraft" was symphonic/gothic metal with some black metal overtones, "Codex Archaos" is certainly more heavier, and has more elements of melodic death metal (even the cover is more suitable for a death metal album than for a gothic one). It has been described as a "dramatic metal", but I don't think we need to invent any new "genres" just for one album.

By the standards of Russian metal scene, "Codex Archaos" is close to 10/10, and even by the world's standards it's no less than 8/10. However a lot of long-term fans of Blackthorn didn't like the sound which the band has presented on "Codex Archaos", compared to their earlier works. Well, that's a matter of personal preferences, but what certainly can't be disputed - this album is very well produced. They even made a video for the song "Hexshadow Turned To Flesh" (which isn't my favourite on "Codex Archaos", though; if I were in their place, I'd rather choose "Emptysis Kiss" or "Vehemence Came As Anodyne"):