Monday, January 12, 2009

Keep of Kalessin "Through Times of War"

Here's an all too dusty item from my collection. I see a lot of hype for this band lately, but little mention of their debut full length "Through Times of War." This is a solid release with a fair amount of diverse and atmospheric stuff going on. A lot of comparison could be drawn to early Satyricon and Emperor's work because of the layering of synth and often used power chord riffery.

The interesting thing about this release is that its the first of its kind to incorporate a heightened focus on a more angered and intense element while maintaining a great roving, galloping pace about it all. Its a teetering balance to stride but I think its success is proven in how memorable the riffing and song writing is. While I liked the next album "Agnen" a lot, I think this was the bands downfall that led to them now playing lazy and forgettable death metal ala Behemoth.

Its a very guitar heavy album but there is a fair amount of not so intrusive synth use and the vocals while competent and somewhat evocative, are sorta back seat on this knightly steed. The drums are gargantuan and perfectly reproduced by studio Brygga. It should also be stated that there is some noteworthy bass playing here, which is something I rarely take notice of due to faulty recordings within this genre. The album opens with some great memorable catchy melodic nordic type stuff which lasts strongly until the fifth song which changes it up a bit with a more dirgey and repetitive song, which is a preparatory precursor to the fucking infernal warmongeror that is "Obliterator." The album's closer is more of a return to the bands penchant for slower paced monotonous atmospheric material. Its got a lot of spoken word vocals and reverb laden guitar harmonies but all in all its not the best song on the album. After a few minutes of silence there's another song, its some bonus material that I'm going to forget is on here because its really stupid. It sounds like they had an unused second guitar track and the band recorded some improv stuff over it. Unnecessary and not worth having it on there.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Troll - Trollstorm Over Nidingjuv

Here's an album I hadn't listened to in at least ten years. Upon re-inspection I cant shake the feeling that I'm listening to a current BM release. This could unmistakably fit in with something released today. It reminds me somewhat of whats been coming out of Trondheim, Norway lately. Celestial Bloodshed and all those young misanthropes. The only thing that sets this apart from current stuff is that I feel like there's a stronger sense of innovation for it's time. This is evidenced by the varied instrumentation and style. I dislike when it feels like a band is out to prove a point by driving the nail too far into christ's already limp wrists. There are too many bands just beating a dead horse in the interest of a revivalist movement of this sort of early 90's black metal. If there is even a line between this revivalism and redundancy, its a thin one at best.

Though its a short listen, this is a great EP of mid-paced, unmelodic, nordic black metal from Nagash, who is better known for his contributions in Dimmu Borgir, is a memorable and worthy example of grim nordic art with the occasional viking-ish leaning.

Download: Troll - Trollstorm Over Nidingjuv

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Top Metal Releases of 2008

Horna - "Sanojesi Aeaerelle" Seven years after initially hating this band, I never thought I'd be this enthralled with Horna. This album has so much to offer, everything about it is impressive.

Dead Congregation - "Graves of the Archangels" Christ is dead because of this ugly slab of death metal. Grab a fork and get ready to eat some fucking riffs.

Baptism - "Grim Arts of Melancholy" This was such a surprise, nothing else was this overbearingly desolate in 2008. These guys got way better and will continue to get better.

Nachtmystium - "Assassins" This is a thoroughly experimental melding of pop / rock and metal. Its a very ecclectic and accomplished feat for these guys.

Braindrill - "Apocalyptic Feasting" This album is out to deflesh you, and it accomplishes just that. Insanely technical and bludgeoning, you cant help but get suckered into thrashing to this album's unbelievable fury.

Deathspell Omega - "Manifestations 2002" So glad this was released. Its a nightmarishly misanthropic slab of unholy bleakness. This is real black metal.

Virus - "the Black Flux" We are all lucky to have such an geniously composed album. There arent many bands out there that are this forward thinking and tolerable.

Leviathan - "Massive Conspiracy Against All Life" Finally, a good Leviathan album. This is one raging beast of a record. Very diverse and yet focused in its direction and execution.

Deathspell Omega - "Chaining the Katechon" See my review below.

Darkspace - "III" Though I prefer II to III, this is another bleak glimpse into the blackest void ever imagined. This album will consume you!

Honorable Mentions:
Coffins - "Buried Death"
Miserys Omen - "Hope Dies"
The Black - "Alongside Death"
Morbosidad - "Profana la Cruz del Nazareno"