23 Jan 2017

Menschheitsdämmerung: "Cleaver of Skies and Tenets"

With an instinct for majestic riffs and compelling material, the Belgian one-man army conquers most rivals
In an attempt to achieve unparalleled atmosphere in the name of depression and deep, dark forests, many modern black metal groups have taken to ridiculous amounts of distortion in what seems to be an almost deliberate attempt to obscure their own inability to write compelling material. Classics like Burzum's Filosofem had clear production with every instrument standing out, the compositions themselves easily holding their own regardless of sound. Xasthur's Telepathic with the Deceased may well be the album that for many people has incited this infatuation with thick shrouds of noise and an abundance of effects on vocals as well as strings, but even this modern classic has its obvious hooks and captivating passages.

20 Jan 2017

Stromptha: "Necronirisme"

Embers burning beneath heaps of snow
There is undoubtedly some interest to be garnered just from being from a place as unusual as Greenland, and true, that was the very reason I sought them out. But Greenland with its vast vistas of nothing but ice, snow and barren rock should be as likely a place for cold hearted metal as any! Even so, the question remains if the compositions and execution stands on its own.

16 Jan 2017

Armagedon: "Thanatology"

Chugs and tremolos at the artist's discretion
Go digging around in Poland's heavy metal history and you'll come up with quite a few gems. Some, like Armagedon from Kwidzyn, have been hanging on since the 80s, during which time they released a few demos before their true debut Invisible Circle in 1993. The original crew broke up in 1994, only to re-emerge in 2006 for another hard hitting bout in the ring.

13 Jan 2017

Stormbringer: "Stealer of Souls"

An 80s metal tour-de-force just a decade too late
Not to be confused with the Deep Purple album of the same name from 1974, Stormbringer brought their Americanised brand of power metal from the state of Illinois in the early 90s. With only two releases - according to Metal Archives - behind them, the band has remained in relative obscurity for years with only a very small coven of cult followers still active today.

9 Jan 2017

Lord Impaler: "Babylon Whore"

Many repeat offenses which would have, ironically, been more enjoyable in a more brief format.
Since 1998 the Greek group known as Lord Impaler have unleashed grueling black metal through several demos, finally culminating with severe force in 2011 in the form of the album Admire the Cosmos Black. 2013 saw them continue in the vein of smaller releases with the Babylon Whore EP; With a mere two songs to show, they make up for the short play time with immediate and unrelenting explosions of blast beats and tremolo riffs going the speed of a circular saw.

6 Jan 2017

Top 5 Missed Albums from 2016

Well it would seem I've already botched the top lists from 2016. In retrospect there are always releases you forgot about or simply didn't know of before long after the year is over. Here are a few examples which are sure to stick around for a while!

This was supposed to be a Top 5, but I couldn't/didn't want to stop there!

4 Jan 2017

TONEwood Around the World!

The map above is something of a testament to music's border-crossing and international power.
The blue territories represent the countries from which I have reviewed one of more bands, artists, groups or musicians. Still quite a few landmasses yet to cover, especially the far East and Africa!

This is just a small, fun passtime, but it serves as a nice visual element to the blog. Perhaps I'll update it some time in the future - And perhaps I should be looking for interesting music in more unusual places!

So please, if you know of any good music (of ANY kind) from the areas that are as of yet still grey, post them in the comments below ASAP!