(review) Black Yen – Satori (Grazil Records)

Not much is known to me about Black Yen except that it is an entity hailing from Austria and that this is first full length with help of Grazil Records. There are seven songs on this opus and music of Black Yen can be described as a mixture of atmospheric doom metal, black metal song structures and cold and space like post black metal in some song parts. Rolling drums, calm and melodic song parts mix with more aggressive pure black metal side of things to achieve an atmosphere of anguish but also a little hope in me as a listener. As it is often case with such music, songs are a bit longer in duration but they do not get boring for one second. Vocals are partly screaming and anguished, partly more calmer depending on the vibe of the song. There are also long instrumental parts with very little or almost no singing. My personal highlights: Path Of The Grey Mist, False Flag. Strong debut opus.

8/10

(review) An Autumn For Crippled Children – As The Morning Dawns We Close Our Eyes

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Friesland´s An Autumn For Crippled Children released their new opus. For those who don´t know AAFC play a mixture of depressive black metal and post black metal passages topped with heavy usage of synth. This synth in song structures provides a soundscape that is so melancholic yet so strong and mighty at the same time. These eight songs speak of sadness, depression, love, melancholy and I can relate to the music and lyrics of the songs. Vocals are screaming black and guitars provides almost cosmic cold yet at the same time melodic hooks which are in tune with the atmosphere of the songs. There are no blast beats, this is mid tempo atmospheric black metal and I enjoyed every single second listening to this opus. My personal highlights: Of Your Light, As The Morning Dawns We Close Our Eyes, Last Night I Believed In You.

8/10

(review) Curse of Eibon – Journey Into Madness

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Curse of Eibon from Sweden are back with their new opus. I just love Lovecraft themed metal bands and this one is one of my favorites. There are five new songs on this e.p. delivering melodic death metal with catchy guitar hooks, epic melodies, thundering bass and drums, energy and awesome vocals, guttural but understandable so that is another plus for me. Maybe it is only me, but I hear some post black metal influences in guitar work of The Call. Also, clever use of synth emphasizes the drama and storytelling featured in the songs, which are pure cosmic Lovecraftian horror. E.P. also features JM Burr in the role of narrator. It is hard to choose your highlights between all songs, but my personal favorites are Forbidden Path and Whispers in the dark. Awesome e.p. Can´t wait for more.

8,5/10

(review) A Forest of Dreams – Quando A Morte Chama Por Nos

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A Forest of Dreams is hailing from Portugal and it is a spawn of Mario Rodrigues. This is the third full length opus and it contains eight songs. Music of A Forest of Dreams can be described as black metal. It is a mixture of old school raw and fast black metal similar to early nineties bands like Darkthrone and Gorgoroth, but it also incorporates some very eerie and great atmospheric parts in the song structures like for example in Delirium de Lilith which is one of my personal favorites on this opus. Vocals are great, fit perfectly to the music and besides aggression and speed there are couple of very nice melodies and hooks underneath layers of darkness and it emphasizes the strength of this record. Songs titles are in Portuguese so I can´t really understand what they are about but the music speaks for itself quite sufficiently. Good album.

7,5/10

(review) Vreid – Wild North West (Season of Mist)

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Norwegians Vreid released new album with Season of Mist. This new opus is a concept album about life and awaiting death which is inevitable for every one of us. All of us know that Vreid rose from the ashes of legendary Windir when Valfar passed away. Your can hear Valfar´s ghost on this album. There are eight songs on this one with lyrics in English. Music of Vreid is a perfect mixture of melodic and atmospheric black metal in its roots yet so much more. On this record we can hear thrash metal influences like in excellent epic and cold Shadows of Aurora, being one of my personal favorites, I listened to this one over and over again. Vocals are great, mainly black metal screaming but you can understand what is being sung about so that is another plus for me. I can safely say that this one is one of, if not the best opus in Vreid´s existence until now. All is here, coldness, atmosphere, emotion, melody, aggression and that reminds us why we love black metal so much. Other songs that are kind of highlights for me are Into The Mountains and Spikes Of God.

10/10

(review) Vritrahn – Werwolf – Vritrahn – Werwolf (Werewolf Records)

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This opus is a result of collaboration between two known entities from Finnish underground scene, namely Vritrahn (Infernal Darkness, White Death…) and Werwolf (Satanic Warmaster, Orlok, Infernal Darkness…) This opus provides 9 songs of relentless fast in your face black metal, crushing everything in its path. But, there are many thrash and eighties inspired speed metal influences in some song parts and of course melancholic melodies only Finnish black metal bands can give to us. Lyrics are in English and deal with misantrophy, Satanism, blasphemy and similar themes that we are so fond of. My personal favorites are Silver Aurora, Blasphemous Metal and Crucifucked(S.S.).

8/10

(review) Deine Lakaien – Dual

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Deine Lakaien are back with their brand new studio double album. This time they treated us with double full length with as many as twenty songs. Who is familiar with Deine Lakaien´s music will know they play a kind of neoclassical, gothic dark pop/wave with some industrial and atmospheric parts thrown in for good measure. Above all, Deine Lakaien create superb atmosphere with melodic vocal lines and beautiful lyrics both in English and French. Songs like Sick Cinema, Snow and Run are for sure to win you over and you will love the music of Deine Lakaien if you are not a fan until now. Cover songs featured on this record are superbly done too. Beautiful piece of music.

9/10

(review) Ancient Wisdom – A Celebration In Honor Of Death (Avantgarde Music)

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Ancient Wisdom has been in the scene since 1992 and I am a great fan of debut opus For Snow Covered The Northland and listen to it on tape that I have since nineties a lot. Ancient Wisdom has always been a spawn of Vargher known for his work with Bewitched and Naglfar among others. 17 years has passed between last release and this new fifth full length opus. This one has seven songs celebrating death and cycle of life. Music of Ancient Wisdom is atmospheric black metal, leaning more on mid tempo anthems and clever use of synths delivering ominous and sinister eerie atmosphere than blast beats. I also love vocal lines, being harsh yet understandable and Vargher always does great job singing. As I said, some bands make synth and piano song structures just too much and achieve just the contrary what they wanted to achieve, but Ancient Wisdom delivers eerie and almost otherworldly atmosphere and bring up emotions that are buried long time ago. My personal favorites are: Breaking The Circle Of Life, And God Saw.

8/10

(review) Dordeduh – Har

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Nine years. That´s how much it took for Dordeduh to release their sophomore opus after excellent debut full length Dar de duh. Now, it is upon us. This band was formed by two Hupogrammus and Sol Faur after parting ways with Negura Bunget. Music of Dordeduh was maybe folk black metal in its start, but now it is so much more. This haunting, eerie and otherworldly album will take the listener to some other soundscape dimension, filled with coldness, yet also warming heart with just that, beauty of that coldness. Album is long, eight songs spanning well over one hour time, but it does not get boring for one second. There are some doom riffs, almost cold industrial parts, old school Dordeduh folk black metal style, traditional Romanian instruments and eerie melodies, topped with vocals spanning from death metal growls, screaming and such fantastic clean singing. My personal favorites are Descant and Vraci de nord, you will have to discover yours. For sure one of the best releases this year.

8,5/10

(review) Alestorm – Live in Tilburg

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I saw Alestorm play live for the first time when they were supporting Sabaton in Zagreb, Croatia, I think it was 2010. Scottish purveyors of pirate metal, great fun, drinking and plundering the worldwide seas released their new live album. There are twenty anthems on this record, spanning from band´s opus and I think that every fan will be pleased with the choice of songs on the setlist. I am always awed how much energy this band can provide in their show and how much fun it is to listen to their songs. Frontman Chris sounds better than ever and band is so tight and sounds superb. All my favorites like Keelhauled, The Sunk´n Norwegian or Nancy the Tavern Wench are here and so much more. Interaction with crowd is great and this one is a super live record.

8/10