Archive for symphonic metal

Iced Earth / Dystopia

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 3000000010UTC 12 by marky7235

DystopiaDystopia is the tenth studio album from American heavy metal band Iced Earth. Released on October 17th, 2011, it’s the bands first album with new vocalist Stu Block, after former vocalist Matt Barlow left the band for a second time on August 6th, 2011.[2] While not a concept album, many of the albums songs are inspired by dystopian themes and movies, such as V for Vendetta, Dark City, Soylent Green, and Equilibrium.[3] Two of the albums songs (“Dystopia” and “Tragedy and Triumph”) also feature the return of the “Something Wicked” -storyline from previous albums Something Wicked This Way Comes, Overture of the Wicked, Framing Armageddon and The Crucible of Man.

The Analysis:

Dystopia—-True to form and progressive from the very first notes of the song, this is classic Iced Earth. The tempo of the music leaves you on the edge of your seat as you await the entrance of the vocal over the overblown guitar work. Once the vocal enters the track you are left with a huge warm feeling…like coming home after being gone for a very long time…this is an excellent beginning to what is sure to be an epic journey!!!!

Anthem—-Does this guy remind you of classic Hetfield at times or what??? The screams are exquisite…but the clean vocal is just classic heavy metal!!! The onset of this is incredible…there is a slight doom filled aura to the track…while still remaining magically progressive….leaving you thirsty. When the song finally opens up, it is huge…beyond belief. I still think of classic Metallica every time I listen to this release….this is dark…but magically bright…progressive Metal is alive and well!!!

Boiling Point—-Right out of the gate, the progressive speed is overwhelming. You could not ask for more effort from this classic and long-standing band…when the vocal reaches the fever pitch you know that Iced Earth is right back where it belongs…this is incredible…..Ripper who? This is both brutal and beautiful…a classic masterpiece that already has becoming one of my favorites!!!

V—-Beginning a bit calmer, there is no lack of intensity to be found however. The darkness that the band manages to transpose is a new thing for me…I love this new direction…the production on this release is so fantastic…you can hear every single note of every single instrument that is playing. The vocal overdubs or the backdrop vocals add so much to the song…it becomes a huge marching anthem that sticks in your brain and refuses to leave you alone. This is magnificent…a huge release…hoping this elevates the band to a new level here in the US!!!

Anguish Of Youth—-With a nice acoustic introduction, the song is ushered in by a really nice vocal delivery. This is fantastic….the waves that are produced by the instrumentation makes me smile even though the song is pretty dark. The track does open up and is a huge song by the time it all comes to an end…again making me think of where metallica should be right now…this is moody and full of emotional sweeps….just what the Dr. ordered!

Dark City—-Right from the onset, this has a really nice tone to the song….the leads are incredible. The vocal changes shape and delivers a shock to the system…the range is incredible…alternating between a deep mellow delivery to a pitched scream that would make and Metal singer green with envy. This is incredible…another really favorite track of mine from this release…this is a no brainer….CLASSIC!!!! Freakin’ huge riffs……:)

Equilibrium—-Delivered from the onset with a classic driving riff, I can only imagine how a song like this will play live and set a stadium on fire. the vocal is still classic Hetfield/Mustaine…..delivering up the concrete evidence that Metal is alive and well in 2011. This is just fantastic….I guess I’m slow…I have been hit and miss with this band, but maybe it is time for me to pay closer attention…..I freakin’ love this CD!!!

Days Of Rage—-Full of speed and energy, this makes me think of classic stuff from the mid 80’s. Less orchestrated than the past and full of straight up Metal, I can not call this release progressive…this is Metal at its finest and is not to be denied. In fact, this track has a bit of a thrash/anger edge to it that just made me smile…this is incredible!

End Of Innocence—-Fail….really not a favorite of mine, although the track does open up a bit…this is way to predictable to find favor with me.

Tragedy And Triumph—-Clocking in at an impressive almost 7 minutes, you would expect nothing less than a huge epic intro to end this phenomenal release. This is brilliant…delivered with an incredible marching drum beat and a guitar delivery that just builds layer upon layer…leaving you as the intro to the CD began……drooling for the vocal that closes the deal. the song has some really great mood changes….taking you on a pretty wide-ranging journey…the end result is a CD that just lays the groundwork for the future with this new vocalist and direction…can’t wait for more…..hurry guys!!!

**** 1/2 out of 5

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Cradle Of Filth / Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 1000000011UTC 12 by marky7235

Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa

Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa is the ninth studio album by English extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. It was released on November 1, 2010 by Peaceville Records. Earlier the album was erroneously referred to as All Hallows Eve,[2] probably because the announced release date was close to Halloween. This is also the first Cradle of Filth album to not feature any instrumental tracks.

Darkly, Darkly, Venus Aversa is a concept album in the same vein as its predecessor Godspeed on the Devil’s Thunder; this time centring on the demon Lilith, the first wife of the Biblical Adam.[3] Dani Filth revealed to Metal Hammer in September 2010 that it will be a “feminine” companion piece to Godspeed, “which was a very masculine album, obviously due to its protagonist, Gilles De Rais.”[4] Unlike previous historically based concept albums Godspeed and Cruelty and the Beast, Darkly, Darkly will tell an original story. “It’s about the resurgence of Lilith into modern society as a deity,” Filth said. “There’s a bit of Victoriana in there. Essentially, at heart, it’s a nice gothic horror story.”[4] Reference to Greek mythology and the Knights Templar will also be made, in what’s referred to by the label as “a dark tapestry of horror, madness and twisted sex”.[5] At an early stage of the album’s development in late 2009, Filth hinted that its sound is “creepily melodic, like Mercyful Fate or a dark Iron Maiden“.[6] The Metal Hammer interview also likens it to King Diamond.

The Analysis:

The Cult Of Venus Aversa—-Beginning rather quiet with an almost acoustic, spanish style acoustic guitar, the intro of the song is led by the female spoken word that introduces the track before the mayhem actually begins. Dani enters the fray..in fine voice and with a welcoming shriek that makes me at once comfortable with the sound of the song. Trust me, if you are looking for something new and fresh, you really will not find it here. If you are looking for a new fix..a consistent sound and a welcoming blast of aggressive Metal…well, here it is!!!

One Foul Step From The Abyss—-With huge orchestrated overtures and plenty of dark mood settings, this song opens up and catches me attention from the first aggressive chords. This is classic SHIT!!! For the past 15 years or so, this band has kept me very happy and they continue to do so with this release. This has some catchy melody lines that sit with me from the very first listen…this is huge, dark, aggressive and full of that classic Filth vocal..alongside the gentle female backdrop vocals that add atmosphere and mystery to the whole damn thing. Freakin’ incredible!

The Nun With The Astral Habit—-Beginning with little fanfare or buildup, the heavily orchestrated mayhem is there right at the onset of the song. Filth delivers line after line at a blistering pace…making me question how the hell he manages to keep track of all of his words. Even more remarkable to me, is his ability to go from a growl to a shriek to a whisper at the drop of a dime. Some of the deep sounds he produces on this song are better than anything I have heard since Nymphetamine!!!

Retreat Of The Sacred Heart—-With really nice aggressive lead guitars and short keyboard blasts of orchestration, Dani enters with his vocal and delivers a track that is trademark and fairly rote. sounding like it would have for perfectly on any of the last three releases, the band and Filth himself seems to have found a very comfortable place in which to create music. I still question how long this guy can really continue to sing like this, but for me..on this song, the star is the stellar music..with huge and monumental chord changes, tempo shifts and exquisite mood..you are always guessing as to what comes next. Fantastic!!!

The Persecution Song—-This is fantastic right from the onset…although this bears a striking resemblance to a song from the Godspeed release. The melody is so dark and attractive…it is quickly becoming a favorite of mine from this CD. This is sharp, moody and incredible dark…with a damn accessible vocal to boot. This is stellar!!! The guitars are just incredible….I love MELODY!!!!

Deceiving Eyes—-This begins with a much more classic Heavy Metal sound than I have heard from Cradle in sometime…the keyboards don’t really kick in until the vocal does. At that point, the song becomes much more layered and symphonic and that sound seems to increase as this almost 7 minute track progresses. This is stellar though…classic Cradle with all the trimming…right in time for the Great Thanksgiving!!!

Lilith Immaculate—-With thunderous drums ushering in the song, the guitars and orchestration provide the perfect backdrop for the murderous and tortured screams from Dani…the gentle interludes that the female vocal provides round out this track as masterfully as anything the band has produced. Sarah does not sing with Cradle anymore right? This female is so damn close I have to wonder. Anyways, the melodies that all of this noise produces is freakin’ amazing…it is hard to imagine order through all of the chaos, but it is well in tact…this is another favorite track of mine!!!

The Spawn Of Love And War—-This is one of those familiar filler tracks…that helps to round out the story and seems a bit weak on substance but delivers a powerful Metal element none the less. Dani sounds possessed at times on this song…the epic lines of the song are believe it or not a bit too overblown…but this seems to be the only misstep on this release for me…to me it sounds like the band is just going through the motions…although there are some stellar vocal moments!

Harlot On A Pedestal—-With some overt Maiden sounds, this song travels at an amazing pace..pleasing me to no fucking end. This is intense and may very well be the most ‘brutal’ track on this release. I love the speed and the drums with leave you in a damn coma…this is fast…furious and delivered with an energy that you don’t even get from brand new bands..let alone bands that have been in the game for this long. Dani delivers a great vocal…I love his growl as much as his shriek and you get a nice mix of both. The lead guitar solo on this track is something that is missing from most music today and it is almost refreshing to hear. This is incredible…another favorite track of mine!!!!

Forgive Me Father [I Have Sinned]—-The first ‘single’ release from this CD, this is classic and a bit predictable. delivering to new and old fans alike a sound that is trademark and reliable, I rather like the tone of the vocal from Filth….indeed it is the most accessible on the release. The music is full of that magnificent kind of pompous music that filth has built the career upon in the past few years, and it plays damn well. This is melodic..almost bordering on contagious!!! this is stellar..another of those songs that I will turn to again and again when I need a ‘quick fix’!!! Fantastic!!!

Beyond Eleventh Hour—-Ending the release, much as it began, the female spoken word introduction is rather wonderful. You wait and wait..knowing that the onslaught is not far behind…this is stellar…full of energy and the kind of mayhem that will make you a bit crazy after repeated listens. This is soooo classic and expected that it somehow catches you off guard. The band sounds better than ever…delivering the closing lines with the same mastery as the opening lines. Filth sounds like these are the fist notes he has ever uttered…the sound is that genuine…this is just incredible…another release that finds itself in my ‘favorites’ catalog…long live the Cradle!!!!

****3/4 out of 5

Metal For The Masses [Vol. 4] / Various [2 Disc Set]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2700000010UTC 12 by marky7235

Continuing the highly successful Metal For The Masses series, the Century Family unseals Metal For The Masses Volume Four, once again,exclusive to Hot Topic locations nationwide. The 2-disc compilation contains 40 tracks totaling over 2 hours of music. The artwork for Volume Four incorporates the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to stunning effect and also depicts the album art for each featured artist within as well as additional artist and album information. Volume Four comes housed in a deluxe double Digipak and is available now at all Hot Topic locations nationwide.

The Analysis: Disc One

The End Of The World [God Forbid]—-Coming out of your speakers at hyper speed, this is fine Metal delivered with blistering intensity. For me, the vocal is a bit generic, although this has never been a very favorite band of mine. What is stellar is the instrumentation and the vocal melody. This has some pretty great drums, an incredible bass line and some clean vocals that provide all of the melody you need.

Weathered Soul [Manntis]—-I like this…I have not listened to this comp in quite sometime…it is almost like everything is brand new to me again! This has a great crunch to the music..the vocal is brutal and at the onset reminds me of early Fear Factory. This has a great melody line…the leads are huge as are the drums. This is a band I need to investigate…if you see this release in a bargain bin, pick it up!

These Days [Diecast]—-This comes roaring out at you from a darkness that literally breathes aggression. I love the double bass sound and the way that the vocal magically switches from growl to clean vocal. the song is laden in emotion and leans very heavy on the Nu-Metal doorstep. This is nice!

Days Are Numbered [Brand New Sin]—-Just freakin brilliant….if you are in the mood for nice stoner rock, this is the band that will satisfy you every time. The sound of the band is recorded in a retro way that allows you to think it is much older than it actually is. The chorus enters this track and makes you think of the big 80’s style verses that used to blast from speakers everywhere. This has a nice taste of the dirty South…nice!

Without A Trace [Agents Of Man]—-Beginning with a soft acoustic sound, the song comes out at you with a nice aggression that is delivered with some almost punk style vocal…they slowly disappear and allow for a clean melodic voice. I have listened to this a number of times…I just can’t wrap my heart around this.

Enlightened By The Cold [Shadows Fall]—-One of my more favorite bands, this proves to me that Heavy Metal is alive and well in this century. This borders on the edge of every musical genre in the Metal Community you could imagine…thus appealing to the teenagers, emos and crusty guys like me. This has a nice brutality, a great lead line, incredible drums and a killer vocal.

Nemesis [Arch Enemy]—-Long a favorite band of mine, I wish they would hurry up with a new release already. Angela can sing like no man ever dreamed of…the brutality and force of the vocal literally shakes you to your bones…the band that is behind the voice is loaded with even more brutality than the double edge tongue that Angela delivers. This is heaven for me…I never get tired of listening to these songs. Just brilliant!!!

No Compromise [The Haunted]—-Taking a bit to really get started, this is another of those bands that have never really found a place in my heart. I love this song, but a release full of material sounding like this was a bit hard for me to find. The brief glimpses of brilliance do not make a stellar band. The standout for me is the very upfront in your face drums!!!

Slaves Shall Serve [Behemoth]—-The mighty Behemoth!!!! One of my personal favorite bands and one that in my book has never made a misstep. This band has always stayed true to its vision and intent…delivering a blistering and aggressive brand of Black Metal that will leave your brain echoing inside of itself. This is masterful…intense and brutal as you know what. The kings…hold on guys…..

Enslaved And Condemned [Old Man’s Child]—-This is another of those brilliant bands that are incapable of making a bad record. Resplendent with that cold European Black Metal sound, slight but magnificent symphonic sounds and a vocal that rattles your bones, this is a band that is very dear to my heart. I love this stuff…I could listen to this all day!!!

Perpetual Horrors [Naglfar]—-Man…..I need to find out some more stuff about this band. I love the vocal…this is very primitive Dimmu…the overt symphonic sound is incredible and the sound, even though a bit primitive, shows huge promise. I love this stuff…the drums..even though pushed to the back of the mix, really shine. This is incrredible….why have I not heard more from this band?

Possessions [Strapping Young Lad]—-Devin Townsend delivers a track that really borders on Industrial Metal. This is not to say that this is bad, but the change between genres on this compilation is a bit abrupt. I like Townsend and his many incarnations…but not enough to really start collecting it. this is acceptale….but far from stellar.

The Psalm Of Lydia [Nevermore]—-Nevermore is one of those long-term outfits that you either love or dismiss. This is a pretty great song…the power chords that the band deliver are pretty impressive. I love the high and accentuated leads from the production. I could do without the overblown Power Metal vocal though…it just does not fit in to well with the music for me. This is not to say that this is bad, it just sounds like this is a band, that after all of these years, is still struggling for an identity.

It All Dies Today [Eyes Of Fire]—-I’m really not to familiar with this band….the sound is a bit underproduced and removed…never really reaching your speakers with the intensity that you think it deserves. There is so much going on in the backdrop of the song, that you lose much of the vocal because of the lack of clarity and production. Too bad…I think this is a pretty great melodic Metal track.

Splintered Visions [Into Eternity]—-Well, right from the onset this reeks of progressive genius. The chords that are released from the lead and the bass alike just captures and hypnotised me. The vocal is stellar…I love this stuff. This is like the perfect mix of 80’s hair metal progression with 00’s brutality and grunts. I love this…you will not hear one single complaint form me…sometimes I’m so slow when it comes to some of this stuff…where the hell have I been living…under a rock?

The Pestilence That Walketh In Darkness [Cryptopsy]—-Right off, this is a surprise for me…not really familiar with this band, i was listening with preconceived notions based on the name alone. The song starts off rather sedate and accessible…but the brutality grows and grows until you are planted deep in a nice mix of Black Metal, Grind and Progressive chords and lyrics. This gives you a nice taste of all of them…magnificent!

Bastard Son [Watch Them Fall]—-This is another of those bands that combine a nice retro sound with more progressive elements of Thrash and Death Metal. I love the voice on this guy…the energy that the band manages to produce is pretty incredible…Tthe drums are freakin magnificent. When the whole band joins in on the vocal, you are whipped into a frenzy from the energy of the music alone. This has nice Maiden style guitar galloping that makes you comfortable…only the vocal reminds you this is not your brother’s favorite band!!!

Silence Is Deafening [Napalm Death]—-Have no doubts, this long-term band is alive and well…and still thrashing the hell out of your brain. This is so layered with instruments, that the distorted delivery seems appropriate and like nothing else you would get from any other band. These guys are some of the kings of the genre, and they still deliver enough brutality and energy to make you say…..OH SHIT!!!

The Sunset Will Never Charm Us [Despised Icon]—-This is very noisy….the vocal is extreme and somewhat comforting, but the music seems to lack a clear direction and ends up all over the place. This is like rudimentary Thrash that still needs time to mature.

Harnessing Ruin [Immolation]—-Another of those bands that really hold a special place in my heart. This is as aggressive as two fists right in the fucking face…and delivered with enough power to send you reeling back for two blocks. This track is delivered at a much deeper recording level than the newer material…the bass and the deep tone of the vocal almost blocks out everything else…this is not the more polished 2009 Immoliation….none the less, the brutality and the venom is well intact. This brings a huge smile to my face!

Disc Two:

Alt Lys Er Sunnet Hen [Dimmu Borgir]—-Anyone who has read my blog entries for any amount of time knows that I have a huge love affair with this band. There is seldom that has ever been a misstep in my book and this song is just another crown jewel in the evolution of the band. shagrath sounds literally possessed…the foreign language delivery makes it even more menacing and the keyboard orchestration allows this track to be HUGE!!!

Nerve [Soilwork]—-Although I have never really been int  this band too much, this song may make me rethink my choice. I like the far away slight orchestration sounds of the band…the vocal smacks you right upside the head and the slower interludes gives the song a huge substance. This is fantastic…I love this.

Like You Better Dead [In Flames]—- Aggressive leads set the song off to a great start. the drums are pretty far up in the front of the mix. The vocal enters and I find my enthusiasm deflate…this really does not impress me.

Shed [Meshuggah]—-Just freakin’ aggression!!!! Right from the onset, your head almost explodes…the scream slows to allow the guitar to settle in a bit and the bass line to capture a permanent place in your soul. The vocal returns…in a deep and menacing tone…leaving me with goosebumps. This is stellar…the density and depth of the song is incredible…the cross over appeal is magnificent. This one is a keeper!

Kill Tank [Bleed The Sky]—-Right out of the gate, this sits in the pit of my stomach and brings a smile to my face. there is just enough melody and substance to this mayhem to really appeal to many Metal and Punk fans as well. This is really a stellar track…when the clean vocal hits, you are wondering if you are listening to a more aggressive Fear Factory….brilliant!

Secondary Effects [Darkane]—-This is brilliant…a nice mic of aggressive Thrash and layered with elements of Death, the vocal comes through and shows the true roots of the band…settled deep in the Exodus style of thrash Metal with a bit of an updated sound. this is aggressive, but incredibly accessible and listenable. I love this stuff!!!

Door 2.12 [Mnemic]—-Wow, I really did not expect to like this, based on past listening experiences. This from the very first notes reminds me of classic Testament. I love this stuff…there is a remarkable melody, a nice aggression…all delivered with a sound that is damn accessible…this is stellar!

Scrutinized [Hypocrisy]—-This is another of those bands that are hard pressed to do anything bad in my book! I love the aggression of this band and I love the dedication to delivery pure and brutal Death Metal that shines above all the rest. This has great crunching guitars…the drums are intense and the vocal will leave you wringing your hands because of the sheer intensity. Just what I needed today…remarkable!!!

Now Thy Death Day Come [Exodus]—-The God-Fathers of modern Day Thrash are still alive and kicking….your ass!!! The sound has seldom deviated from the beginning…the production rarely gets better, but you ALWAYS know what to expect from an Exodus recording. This is predictable and as freakin’ fantastic as ever!!!

Tree Of Life And Death [Cathedral]—-This is intense as fuck from the very onset. the music is delivered in a huge mess, but somehow it magically seems to make sense. The vocal is delivered in that early day Thrash manner that makes me think of the very beginning days of Slayer. This is loaded with intelligent and frightening lyrics…but never loses any of its demented feel despite them. This is a band that had a direction and is still headed in it!!!

Sundown [Fireball Ministry]—-This comes across as hollow to me and incredibly misplaced on this compilation. This is much more Pop/Rock with a vocal that rivals Ozzy. To me, this is a waste of space…there could have been such better material put in its place.

Lightbringer/Demo [Nebula]—-This is raw and rude…just as Metal was meant to be. There is nothing polished or professed about this demo track. The metal quotient is a bit hollow for me, but it would be interesting to hear the fully polished finished track. In this state, it just blends in too well with hundreds of other average bands.

Everything’s On T.V. [The Hellicopters]—-Wow, to me this is just slop! This is a quasi-UFO sound-alike band that is delivering sounds that have been re-hashed and re-re-hashed. This is just a waste…this is not Metal!!!

Goin’ Down [The Illuminati]—-Ugh…..oh lord!!! This is quasi Metal that is so steeped in Blues that I can’t even begin to like this….next…PLEASE!!!

Three Sheets To The Wind [The Black Halos]—-The track begins with a huge intro, the drums enter and seem to take control of the entire direction of the song. the downfall enters when the vocal does. This sounds like a cheap and BAD ACCEPT impression…please…why do bands make music that they think will be successful riding on what has already been done before….I’m so over this!

Love Me Electric [Crash Kelly]—-Well, it would seem obvious to me that the last 1/4 of this compilation is steeped in some Blues bullshit that has nothing to do with Metal. This is crossover Pop/Metal crap that makes me want to throw this against the wall.

Gimme Some Lip [The Thieves]—-Oh For God’s Sakes……….

The Day Of Neverending/Demo [Scott Reeder]—-This is nice, with an alluring Alternative Metal sound that makes me think of bands like Alice In Chains. This has some nice powerful guitar leads and a drum track that although moved to the back still shines through. The production of this ‘demo’ track is pretty damn awesome.

Things Are Looking Up [American Heartbreak]—-Lord….even more blues influenced sad excuses for Metal….this is not Metal people…this is pop/rock that does not belong on this compilation next to bands like Dimmu or Immolation. This is embarrassing!

Brand New Hate [Backyard Babies]—-This is much more Post-Punk metal than Heavy Metal….although it is much better than most of the slop on the last part of this compilation. Still, this deviates from so much of the material on this release that you wonder if you will ever invest in another one of these again!!!

*** out of 5

Svartahrid /Ex Inferi

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 1300000010UTC 12 by marky7235

Ex Inferi

Svartahrid is a black metal band from Norway. The band was formed in Skien, Telemark in 1994.

The Analysis:

Intro/Cursed Seeds Of The Nazarene—-Setting a pretty magnificent tone right from the onset, the short intro only slightly prepares you for the onslaught that comes with the first proper song. For me, the sound is a bit primitive and reminds you of the origins of Norwegian black Metal before it became too polished and delivered with finesse. This is Emperor quality Metal. There is some slight orchestration…thanks to some great keyboards, but the over all feel is one of evil, darkness and icy coldness. Exactly what the fellows from Norway are known for. This track has a pretty damn catchy chorus as well..whether you would like to admit it or not. And when this guy bellows….batten down the freakin’ hatches!!!

Scale Of Worth—-No fancy introductions or keyboard interludes welcome this track. Right out of the gate you are smacked with a bellow from hell….and the onslaught continues for the entire song…there are some slight tempo changes…this is so early Dimmu that you hold your breath thinking what this band may become. There are huge layers of atmosphere and a driven blackness that gives me goosebumps along my entire body. This is really quality Black Metal…I wonder if I’m the only Ohioan who knows this band…ummmm…probably!

Veil Of Lies—-Full of huge dark sounds from the very onset of the track, the added keyboards give the song a much bigger and epic feel. This is layered in that magnificent cold feel that classic bands from this part of the world are so good at. the vocal…is incredible…sounding like it is produced by lighting a torch under the singer, this is so driven and intense that you are worn out by the third track on this release. The drums on this record are so outstanding…forming the energy that is necessary for delivering this type of music track after track. There are some nice tempo interludes that help you keep your sanity…but all in all, this is exquisite Black Metal that will deliver…even upon repeated listens!

Ex Inferi—-Giving you no time to catch your breath, this track is delivered with extreme intensity right out of the gate. this release reminds me so much of my two favorite bands…Emperor and Gorgoroth….they all seem to be cut from the same genuine cloth. The drums…again….are just freakin’ incredible on this track as is the bass guitar delivery. The leads are important, but not nearly as pronounced or monumental as the bass delivery with this band. The added keyboards give the track an atmosphere that allows it the luxury from just being a bit of noise…melody is all important in my Black Metal listening..and this band delivers it without fail. I love this stuff!!!

March With Us—-Beginning with a slower and more sedate pace, that last for about 20 seconds before the mayhem sneaks up and smacks you so hard in the back of the head that you choke on your tongue. The song gives you zero respite from the onslaught…the noise is so dense and intense you will have to back up to catch your breath…throughout the entire noise-fest there is a remarkable melody that reminds you that this is a well constructed song. This is an amazing band…discovered by accident…..thanks E-Music!!!!

Fire Hate Kill!!!—-With a song title like this you would expect nothing less than what you are given. Right out of the gate this is laden with intensity, power, speed and an icy cold that travels throughout the entire track. The vocals on this song are breathtaking…the spewing of vomit and aggression is without a doubt the best I have heard in a long time…this to me is almost a rival to the last Gorgoroth release. This is only for the diehard, the committed and the crazy!

Blessed By Darkness—-With that incredible 4/4 death Metal drum delivery, right out of the gate this song leaves you gasping for breath and wondering if the last song even officially ended. The vocal is intense as hell…driven and delivering layer after layer of aggression, the varying tones never cease to exhibit aggression and vomit. The bass delivery on this release is literally breathtaking…you never realize the importance of this instrument in music until you hear it really take the spotlight on a release such as this…capable of brutality and melody all at the same time…this is simply remarkable!

Bastard Child—-Beginning with some nice funeral bells, the mayhem is a split second behind and delivers the same consistent and unrelenting beatdown that this entire release has delivered to your ears and brain. It is always refreshing when this type of band actually delivers lyrics that you can digest without the aid of a lyric sheet and careful studying.This is one of those kind of song…but the track never loses the intensity. This shit smacks you in the face and wags its tail as it runs away…leaving you flabbergasted and gasping for breath. This is assaulting and freakin’ magnificent!!!!

Lake Of Despair/Outro—-Delivered with zero tolerance for those who may need a moment to catch their breath, this band laughs with wide open smiles at the weak  and the uninitiated. This last track, delivered with the same drive and intensity as the first is a magnificent display of power, aggression and underlying hate that is almost contagious if you do not catch yourself. This track allows the re-introduction of the epic sounding keyboards that give the song a remarkable melody. The tempo changes that occur throughout the song add to the mood and the intensity…this is a magnificent display of the best that Norway has to offer.

****1/2 out of 5

Dimmu Borgir / Abrahadabra

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 1300000010UTC 12 by marky7235

ABRAHADABRA

Dimmu Borgir (pronounced /ˌdɪmuː ˈbɔrɡɪər/ in English) is a Norwegian symphonic black metal band from Oslo, Norway, formed in 1993. Dimmu borgir means “dark cities” or “dark castles/fortresses” in Icelandic, Faroese and Old Norse. The name is derived from a volcanic formation in Iceland, Dimmuborgir. The band has been through numerous line-up changes over the years; guitarist Silenoz and vocalist Shagrath are the only founding members remaining.

Abrahadabra is the ninth studio album by Norwegian symphonic black metal band Dimmu Borgir. The first single from the album, “Gateways”, was released on August 20 in Europe and August 24 in North America.[1] On September 14 a video for “Gateways” was released featuring Djerv front-woman, Agnete Kjølsrud.[2] On September 17 the song “Born Treacherous” was released on Dimmu Borgir’s official myspace for streaming.

The Analysis:

Xibir—-And so it begins…..with a deep menace and a floating symphonic feel, this opening track is no less overblown than you would expect. Picking up from where In Sorte Diaboli left off, the band magnifies the sound and orchestration by 1000%…at times sounding more like a movie soundtrack than a Black Metal release…this is typical Dimmu though..if you are a fan..this is as you would expect…this is huge, epic and only whets your appetite for….

Born Treacherous—-Entering your brain with welcome guitar and the familiar and somehow comforting vocal of Shagrath, this track carries a brutal edge while still maintaing a magnificent orchestration that sets this band into a league of their own! As always, the drums on this track are key…combined with the huge string background…the deep bass of the guitar and the growl and putrid vomit from Shag, I will have a smile on my face for days to come!! This is epic, brutal and remarkably comforting. The ‘chorus’ of this song is freaking brilliant!

Gateways—-Coming out of the dark fog that is Dimmu, the keyboards and orchestration meld together into one huge masterful delivery that is only broken by the super powered drums. Shagrath enters with his vocal and delivers a menace growl and tale of eerie Halloween tales that will have you returning to this over and over. The song is literally larger than you speakers will allow…Shaw enters and almost disrupts the track with her odd vocal..she is no match for departed Vortex. The middle of the song is pure and classic Dimmu…heavily accented by drums and super bass playing…interuppted only by the magical and entrancing vocal from Shag. This is brilliant..still, in my opinion, one of Norway’s best exports!!

Chess With The Abyss—-Coming right out of the gate at you with classic guitar and keyboard overlays, Shagrath delivers his best vocal on this release thus far…unmarred by overt orchestration or premise. The drums are in your face and the huge movie orchestration is kept at a more minimal level. The song return Dimmu to the more brutal attack of years gone by and sounds like it could have also fit perfectly on the tale that was In Sorte Diaboli. This is fantastic…the huge choir of vocals in the backdrop only manage to allow the song to sound even more evil and menacing. This is pretty damn fantastic…even Shag delivers a portion of his vocal in a clear and under-growled delivery that will surprise longtime fans. This is freakin’ incredible!!!

Dimmu Borgir—-With an almost shockingly accessible intro, the song picks up speed at an alarming rate and puts you firmly back where you belong. Shagrath is at no loss for scary and alarming vocals..the huge choir of voices running in the backdrop only adds to the atmosphere that is Dimmu Borgir. This is fantastic…the drums are huge and delivered at hyper speed, but slowing automatically to allow for the more moody times of the track. When the leads take over the song, they literally soar with a melody that is contagious and accessible. This is a bit of a masterpiece I think….I am amazed at the creative level of the release and the maturation of the sound that this band helped to bring to the forefront of Black Metal…this is brilliant!!!

Ritualist—-Yes….Shagrath introduces the song with a backward lyric that is eerie and full of manace…the acoustic guitar makes way for an onslaught of instrumentation that opens up the entire thing to brilliance and masterful dark sounds. The ‘chorus’ is this huge epic delivery of a choir of voices that allows you the fallacy of thinking this was recorded in a huge abbey with a choir supplied by the monks! This has some nice manipulated vocals that fly in and out of clear and garbled. The guitars match the huge swells of the orchestra magnificently…magine what this recording process must have been like. There is a rather unique clean vocal on this track that at first is a bit abrasive but grew on me so quickly that I kept backing up the track to hear it again. This is fantastic…the huge galloping sound of the bass is better and faster than anything Maiden could have ever conjured up. This is dark, black and masterful!!!

The Demiurge Molecule—-Leaving little time for introduction, the vocal on this track at the onset is a bit odd…it is hard to tell if this is all Shagrath or a mix of him and someone else. When the evil edge of the song takes place, you are sure whom you are listening to. To me, the remarkable thing about this release is the ability to deliver music that at times is so pretty, but allows an undercurrent that leaves you in an aggressive and menacing state of mind. This song is huge, epic and sweeping…delivering one mood after the other in huge and rapid succession. I could not be happier with this release…nor could I ever dream of demanding something different.

A Jewel Traced Through Coal—-Introduced in a cerebral way, with enough sounds to set the pace for the coming onslaught, you are caught off guard when the barrage finally does begin. This is another of those tracks that you can only describe as huge and epic. The drums come at you so fast and loaded…Shagrath enters shortly after..delivereing a vocal that is fast but surprisingly clear. You can actually catch a few words here and there, but I must admit I do miss the interludes of the vocal from Vortex that we had all become so accustomed to. This is an incredible track none the less…the growl that Shag manages to deliver…the tales he tells and the mood produced by the huge orchestration sets the tone and allows for a perfect October night. The kings are back…and in fine form!!!

Renewal—-With no time for overblown orchestrated histrionics, this is classic Dimmu….delivering drums at incredible hyper speed and lead guitars that remind you this is Heavy Metal, the sound is so reminiscent of some of the best of the past material from this band. There are some manipulations on this track that just give me goosebumps..make me want to jump up and down and scream at the top of my lungs. This is a continuous vomit of evil that wraps around you but also stays in your head in a permanent place…where you can retrieve it when ever you need a taste of real humanity and the force of such said emotion. This is perhaps one of the most brutal tracks on the record…well layered with different sounds, but always coming back to the true Dimmu sound. This is brilliant!

Endings And Continuations—-Beginning….and ending with a huge dose of atmosphere, there is an automatic sadness that grips me knowing that this is it…for a time. Shagrath delivers, at the onset of the track, a vocal that sounds a bit manipulated…shortly after the drum blasts and accented with the huge overblown Soundtrack sound of the release. Once the song really gets going, this is classic Dimmu all the way…no matter how they deliver their sound, their sound is their own and no one else comes close to this kind of mastery. This is brilliance that is only accented by hyper speed, aggression and a nice touch of evil. This , despite what the so-called critics say, is a triumph. I could never ask for more…except more!!!

Bonus Track:

Gateways [Orchestral Version]—-This is a basic re-interpretation of the first release from this Cd…just a bit more overblown and perhaps the ultimate version of what the vision of Dimmu truly is. I can only imagine what this must have been like to record and can only have fantasies of what would happen if this band could actually go on a tour with an orchestra this size and what a spectacle it would be. This is a huge, epic and all-encompassing track…full of splendor, culture and just the right touch of evil….I could never ask for more….I remain eternally impressed!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

Kamelot / Poetry For The Poisoned

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 800000010UTC 12 by marky7235

Poetry for the Poisoned

Kamelot is an American power metal[1] band from Tampa, Florida. The band was formed by Thomas Youngblood and Richard Warner in 1991. Norwegian vocalist Roy Khan joined for the album Siége Perilous, and has shared song-writing duties with Youngblood since.

As of 2010, Kamelot has released nine studio albums, two live albums, one live DVD, seven music videos and a reissue of Ghost Opera that includes an additional disc with ten live recordings and four bonus tracks. Their most current studio album is Poetry for the Poisoned, which was released in September 2010.

The Analysis:

The Great Pandemonium—-Beginning rather sedate, it is not long before the song erupts into a nice huge track…full of orchestrated pomposity. The vocal is a nice mix…at times delivering a nice deep sound that reminds you of Norway…at other times soaring over the instruments…reminding you that this is progressive and full of power. A bit pretentious, this song is pretty overblown…but we will see what the rest of the release has to offer.

If Tomorrow Came—-Right out of the gate, this is more powerful and full in sound. The vocal is still a bit odd for me…sometimes so overblown I’m not sure whether to take it seriously or not. I keep waiting for these songs to take a full shape, but it never seems to really happen. I like the vocal, but the stop and start of the musical delivery interrupts whatever mood is beginning to take shape. This is a bit too progressive for me?

Dear Editor—-This quick one minute track offers little new…heavy on pretention and short on form, this is just a precursor to…..

The Zodiac—-This track begins huge….the orchestration is huge and audacious but just as quickly disappears and allows for a whispered vocal that is more experimental than the most complicated Queensryche. the chorus is a nice affair, but the band never reaches down for its true metal sidfes…this is so flat for me…I remain very disappointed.

Hunter’s Season—-Again, the song begins with huge promise…delivering some great Power metal chords…but everything falls away for the overblown vocal that is flat all of the way through the track. Where is the emotion and the power. The music is the one bright spot on this track…the drums are fantastic…but the song is just flat all the way through…the band pays way too much attention to the concept and almost ignore the musical aspect of the record. What a disappointment.

House On A Hill—-The vocal begins the track and the range is the same as always…an almost monotone delivery that leaves me empty and without emotion. I love the addition of the female vocal…at least it gives the sound some actual real emotion and range. The harmonies are nice, but this vocalist is so limited in his range…this band could be so much better with someone else delivering the vox.

Necropolis—-Showing great promise at the onset, this is full of huge sweeping Metal orchestration that as usual falls away to allow for the incredibly weak and uninspired vocal. This for me is terrible….the only bright spot is when the voice really tries to reach for some vocal emotion…this is the most aggressive the band has sounded the entire release and this is only sub par at best. Really not a fan at this point.

My Train Of Thoughts—-Ugh….this is the worst of the lot so far…the vocal is delivered in an almost monotone manner that conveys no emotion of drive. The music kicks up a notch, but the voice stays at the same comfortable level…for me, the vocalist of this band is holding them back from greatness…this band could be huge with a more varied vocalist. this is just a waste of a CD!

Seal Of Woven Years—-Pretension is wonderful if it has a purpose….for me, this has no purpose. I fail to grasp any kind of concept. there is no emotion in the vocal…the only bright spot is he well executed music on this release. The words are empty and the vocal is flat and never goes anywhere. The music on this track is huge…the overblown orchestration made me smile for a moment before it all fell away for a vocal that sounds uninspired and directionless.

Poetry For The Poisoned: Incubus—-A nice drum intro and some huge orchestration gives me hope, but it all falls away for the vocal. That would not be a bad thing…if the vocal was any good. This does have a nice melody line…but it stops there.

Poetry For The Poisoned: So Long—-As the suite of songs continue, it gets no better. If you though Geoff Tate could be overblown, this guy holds a whole other candle…this sucks!!! Only the added female vocal saves this song from the trash.

Poetry For The Poisoned: All Is Over/Dissection—-Again, the intro of the song shows this huge promise…but everything is reigned in because of the limited vocal range of the vocalist. The female vocalist that is featured on this is fantastic…and when the two voices come together there is a shining moment of light…but it is fleeting and momentary.

Once Upon A Time—-Delivering some pretty magnificent Power Guitar at the onset of the song, the vocal enters and brings everything down a notch…leaving you so empty it is almost impossible to focus on the stellar musicianship that is on the release. That is too bad…this is a great band….but the vocal ties them to a sound where they can not really shine. The melody that runs through this track is pretty great, but the vocal can’t deliver the power that is required.

** out of 5

Blind Guardian / At The Edge Of Time [Deluxe Edition]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 130000009UTC 12 by marky7235

At The Edge Of Time (Deluxe Version)

Blind Guardian are a German heavy metal band formed in the mid-1980s in Krefeld, West Germany.[1] They are often credited as one of the seminal and most influential bands in the power metal and speed metal subgenres,[2] [3] Blind Guardian is a part of the German heavy metal scene that emerged in the mid-1980’s.

The band’s lyrics, written by vocalist Hansi Kürsch, are inspired by the fiction of fantasy authors such as J. R. Tolkien, Stephen King, and Michael Moorcock, as well as traditional legends and epics[4]. Over the years, a running theme has developed associating the band members with travelling bands.

At the Edge of Time is the ninth studio album by the German power metal band Blind Guardian. A two CD version of the album was released, with the second disc containing 8 tracks. The artwork for the album was created by Colombian artist Felipe Machado Franco.[2] The album was released in Europe on July 30, 2010. A music video for “A Voice in the Dark” was released on August 3, 2010.

The Analysis:

Sacred Worlds—-Beginning in typical Guardian fashion, this release is nothing less than consistent with the sound the band has perfected over the years of its existence. This is like a night at the symphony as the song begins with all of this fancy orchestration….this epic 9 minute track takes some time to get started, but slowly metal sounds are introduced among all of the grand instrumentation…the vocal is as you would expect…gentle and moody upon the onset. This is nothing less than grand mood music….sounding better than Nightwish has sounded in quite sometime. the vocal has some nice high points…the guitars take over the orchestration even as it runs through the underbelly of the song. This is huge, overblown and pretentious…just as we would expect!!! Wonderful.

Tanelorn [Into the Void]—-With little time for pretense, this kicks into high gear from the first note…delivering a spectacular blend of European Power Metal that is always nice to hear from time to time. The vocal hits some nice high spots…although the range is not what i had hoped for at this time. The swells and movements allow the story to tell a story…really not what I am into really…this is a classic Tolkien inspired tale of mysticism and mood. Nice though!

Road Of No Release—-Beginning with a gentle piano and some nice marching style drums, the song bursts open by the second bar and becomes this typical huge overblown atmospheric piece of power Metal. The vocal just falls flat on this release for me a bit…where is the soar and the screech? This is typical and predictable…my only complaint.

Ride Into Obsession—-This is nice speedy guitar that almost makes me think of Dragonforce! the gang style vocals on the chorus gives the song a much fresher feel to it…the drums are incredible and the end result is truly a favorite of mine from this release. This is much more what I expected.

Valkyries—-Returning to a much more atmospheric sound…full of rainstorms and falling drops. This is layered with a gentle guitar that slowly comes to life as the song develops. This is classic German Progressive Metal…full of overblown segues and vocals full of expressive and mysterious lyrics. But…it all sounds the same…..

Control The Divine—-This is more aggressive than I anticipated…full of drums that lead the entire pace of the song. I think the vocal sounds tired and overused…but when the whole band joins in on the chorus, it elevates the song to an entirely new place…delivering the kind of power sounds that you know this long-standing German import is capable of. This is a pretty damn great track!!!

War Of The Thrones [Piano Version]—-This is pretentious and overblown….lasting a bit too long and full of atmospheric musical movements and lyrics that are way over my head. I never really got into all of the mystical stuff…I just prefer my Metal hard and heavy. This song DOES have a really great melody line that runs through the entire thing and the best moments are when you are presented with a sea of voices rather than a solitary one.

A Voice In the Dark—-Returning to a much more forceful and aggressive musical delivery, this is much more my style. The guitars come at you in huge blasts that are so speedy you wonder how the vocalist manages to keep up with the pace of the song. there are a lot of words all shoved into one line that’s for sure. This falls flat a bit for me vocally…I was expecting so much more…but the band is incredible on this song. This is magnificent and tastefully overblown.

Wheel Of Time—-Falling back into pretentious mode, the intro to this song is full of cello and strings, the band slowly entering in and playing along with the orchestra. The vocal is almost buried underneath all of the musical sounds, but overall this is pretty much consistent with the rest of the release. Overblown and lackluster with huge shiny moments that don’t happen often enough.

Sacred Worlds [Extended “Sacred” Version]—-Although this differs a bit from the original, it is still full of that classic pretention that this band is so well-known for. The guitars kick in right away…doing away with all of the orchestrated build-up and instead diving right into the Metal. This sounds a bit more aggressive to me…until the vocal enters and all of the music comes almost to a standstill…two versions of this are really not necessary.

Wheel Of Time [Orchestral Version]—-Overblown and unecessary….this is just a bit to much symphonic ministration for me….

You’re The Voice [Radio Edit]—-This is a bit different and unexpected. the song begins and includes some interesting electronic sounds that are completely foreign and unexpected. the vocal falls flat for me once again…sounding like an extremely tired Meatloaf. The high point of the song is the chorus…when the whole band harmonizes perfectly and gives the song the balls that it needs.

Tanelorn [Into The Void] [Demo]—-Much more aggressive and organic than the pressed version, this is the sound of the band jamming without all of the pretention. the vocal is actually something that I have been craving for the entire release…this should have been the released version…this contains a nice sense of urgency and raw appeal that the finished product failed to capture…this is fantastic!

Curse My Name [Demo]—-The Spanish style guitar intro to this song is so sharp and clear I am in awe. The vocal has a nice accent that plays around the edge…reminding you of the descent of this band. this is another ‘demo’ that is much better than the pressed copy. I’m not sure why the band felt the need to fine polish everything…this is a much better result for me. I love this!

A Voice In The Dark [Demo]—-This lead off single from this release is so much more aggressive in its ‘demo’ form than the polished released version. I find an instant smile on my face upon hearing this in this incarnation. The band needs to concentrate more on its Metal edge and less on polish with future releases. This is fantastic!

***3/4 out of 5