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All reviews

Reviews - A



As soon as the first track opens, "Crimson Horizons and Ashen Skies", you know that they perform black metal. I think this band is from Austria. At any rate, they do not have the "Norwegian Sound". Sure, the speed is hectic and the voice is similar to IMMORTAL, SATYRICON, etc.. but for example, the second song, "Eerie Constellation", has more than just speed going for it. ABIGORS music is actually not very complex, but somehow in between the raging violence of songs you'll find sounds of acoustic melodies lurking in the background. Not being just speed oriented, there are mid-paced moments which allows the band expand into some catchy melodies, while the drummer is doing something more than just abusing his cymbals. The double-bass mixes well the mid-paced sections of a song like, " A Breath from Worlds Beyond". In fact, this song actually slows down for a few moments. Some how this whole (of course you have to hear it because words cannot effectively describe the sound) song evolves into a pretty atmospheric, yet aggressive and fast exercise. The first four songs are under the title, "Horns Lurk Beyond the Stars", then the last four songs come under, "Blut aus Aeonen". These last four songs are rawer and a bit more speed freak than the ones from the "Horns..." E. P. Any ways, the above description and review is pretty much the same for both releases. About the only difference in sound and quality, "Blut..." has more of a "we-have-to-do-this-quickly-in-the-studio" feel. Anyway, this has some cool stuff.  







NEWSFLASH!!: Aborted has improved a whole lot! Their deathgrind is tight and sharp. The future's looking good. Oh, also, they have added small doses of melody. It's cool that this band is trying to make things a bit more interesting, instead of the usual gore. Well, on this one, in the midst of seriously superguttural vocals and the grind riffing, melody shows up and it sounds shockingly good. Go figure! Lots of blasting, hack and slash riffing, low/guttural growling and higher, midrange growls, plus some doses of melody. This cd is fun, very entertaining and performed well, too. It only lasts 35 minutes, which is a bit too short.  


Mauricio Araniva  






This is the second release by ACCEPT since they got back together again. The opening track is a heavy riff-oriented and pretty "rough neck" sounding with the usual Udo D. vocals. This album has 15 songs and there is actually great variety here. For example, "The Beast Inside" is powerful, heavy, and melodic. "What Else" and "Stone Evil" are more of the usual standard straight-out metal numbers. In addition, there's "Generation Class 2". This song obviously has something similar to the original, but it's more of a continuation and not a repetition. The last 2 songs are just instrumental songs that are basically guitar solos. Strangely enough, they sound like real songs too!  







I expected a lot more from Acheron than this rather ho-hum offering. Based on the virtues of their last effort, I was pretty excited about checking this out, but it's not really worth the sweat under Satan's balls. The first really uninspired twist is the vampiric theme running through the content of the songs. I guess this is supposed to be a "concept" album based on "ancient Sumerian Vampiric Rites". Whatever! I'm not even going to comment on how preposterous and silly that sounds. It's one thing to have a few songs about vampirism, or to emulate the image of Vampires, but this is getting a little out of hand. Then there was the "hidden" 99th track. I'm not even going to mention the other "satanic" band that already did this a couple of times years ago, but suffice it to say it is not original, and sitting there waiting for your CD player to count down to the mystical song is nothing less than annoying, especially when the hidden song is as disappointing as this one! As far as the actual music on this, it's not that bad, but I would recommend checking out Acheron's other releases rather than basing your opinion of them on this CD. To sum things up, I guess this album doesn't essentially suck, but you may be a little disappointed by the lack of originality from this band. And you may not feel too pleased if you pay the sure-to-be high price of this disc. Acheron die-hards may want to get this anyway (and bash my head in while they're at it), but everyone else should think carefully firs.  







This "vocalist" is untalented: he's not growling, he's screaming in a very punk/hardcore manner; has no ability whatsoever and sounds like a drunken lunatic-idiot. The "music" is total garage/loose/sloppy/bar punk rock. This "sound" is "different" in a we-don't-know-not-how-to-play-our-instruments way. Investigate only if you’re interested in sloppy, garage, drunk, no-talent rock.  


Mauricio Araniva  






Hmmm...why didn't this excite me all that much? Everyone told me it was a great disc. It has elements of a great disc, yet still something is lacking. Originality? Perhaps. Or maybe I am just jaded and picky as hell? Whatever the reason, I personally wasn't thrilled by this CD. It's good, brutal, fast black/death, competently played and easy to listen to, but that's about all I can say about it. Most people will dig this album, but if you're like me (whatever that is!), you might be left wanting a little something more.  







This is a disc I reviewed in "Before Dawn", but I must review this again, for this is a true piece of work. This band is so original. The songs are excellently structured, thought out, catchy, and are songs that the ear is not used to hearing. Besides the excellent music, samples, keyboards, and a drum machine, are things that makes this such an original band. Not because they use them, of course, but how they utilize them. They have their own definition they go by to call the brand of extremeness they perform, Necro-Cyber, I believe. Anyone looking for something different, yet extreme, should get this fine release. Not your average band.  






Cursed Productions  

When I saw a small package with Cursed Productions on the package, my first thought was, "Could it be the new Adversary?" Thankfully I was right! Unfortunately, it was disappointing. Well, not only because it only had four songs, but I just didn't like it as much as "The Winters Harvest" CD. "Where's my shirt at Ray?" I don't know, I just think that their previous release had more of an identity. You can still make this out to be Adversary though. I don't know, I think this will grow on me more. For all you newcomers, be sure you check this band out! Oh wait, what do they sound like? Well, they play a different kind of death metal. "The Winters Harvest" had more going on I think. It contained samples, keyboards, and just a different vibe to it. This release doesn't have any keyboards or samples, but it still has the Adversary music and definitely the vocals. Very deep. Check this out if you're looking for something different.  







They waste no time, they blast right in with fast drumming and guitars, and bellowed vocals. The vocals are definately Death Metal, the guitar sound is tight and crisp though more like Black Metal. Although I hate to compare they are similar to Incantation/Immolation in their style, they seem more brutal though and faster, they just seem to never let up which doesn't give me a good impression on song structuring. I mean there has to be several things in there, not just speed, blast beat, and repeat. Although it does have some mid paced stuff in there its just not a good enough variety.  






Nuclear Blast  

Pretty creative, slow, black metal-type music. Atmospheric sounds (not just mayhem), is the watchword here. This is not typical for this genre. Every song sees this band make a serious effort to give each piece a real identity. One listen is not enough. If you want something different, but metal and creative, you might enjoy this, I did.  







The title of the first song is "Auditorium of Modern Movements". The first line of the first song actually says those very words. Imagine that!! What kind of music do you think you'd have to come up with to have those lyrics, to pronounce that phrase in a song? It's probably not death metal...Probably not power metal, either...If your friends think you're a metal dork, and if you actually enjoy Dream Theater, Amorphis and Anathema, I think we have to say you are a dork. Metal dorks play CDs like this one to their non-metal acquaintances in a futile effort to convince them that not all metal music is for morons. Do you like Winds? OK, great! Hellhammer's playing drums here, too. People say you are a dork. Yeah, you are. But what the hell do they listen to that's so damn cool, huh? Fugazi? Nick Cave? Frank Zappa? Cradle of Filth? Chimaira? In Flames? Lostprophets?  


Mauricio Araniva  






This band plays extreme dark metal in the same vein of SAMAEL. When I first popped this puppy in and heard it, the only thing that kept going through my mind is that they were SAMAEL worshipers, total clones. My cousin also thought the same thing. After a few more listens, I must say I really love this disc even though they remind me a lot of SAMAEL. The vocals are very powerful and have a very raw yet understandable approach. The music is very atmospheric and none of the songs are light speed. I'm tellin ya, SAMAEL vein all the way. Whether or not you agree with my opinion or not, that's o.k., cause I know I'm right. HA! Well, all who dig atmospheric excellent music should really get this disc.  







This band plays brutal, mosh death metal. The vocals are growled, some guttural, some screaming. The guitar is centered on the chug and the breakdown, very much with a moshpit in mind. They are "brutal", but they don't have distinctive songs. You can't listen to this at home and enjoy it as music, but you can get drunk and mosh to it, ya, sure, ya betcha. The growling lacks personality. There are literally dozens and dozens of bands with these ok/mediocre vocals. The guitars are very simple, nothing creative. Let's get specific: if you like moshcore/deathcore that is centered on breakdowns and macho/"brutality", you should check this out. Everyone else need not look into this. It's "brutally" mediocre.  


Mauricio Araniva  






Not having the money to buy every release out there, I exchanged the above mentioned and got this. What a transition indeed! Most of the time when a band sounds like one thing and then suddenly they decide to change for what ever reasons, I usually hate it, like the above mentioned. Call me hypocritical, a dirty little Mexican, a pervert, a wimp, or whatever you want, but I really enjoyed this release. Even though this sounds nothing like anything they have done, it is a progression I accept with open ears. This was so strange, I was not expecting this release to sound like it did. Very melodic and pretty complex. This album contains very little of the death metal vocals, which is logical considering this is not death metal at all. The new vocals took me a while to get used to, but hey, I got used to it. Any ways, anyone familiar with AMORPHIS might enjoy this, just keep an open mind to it and listen to it more than once.  







It’s the Finnish hippies again! Their style is pretty much a trippy, hippy-type of rock that sounds melodic, but not too sweet. There's a certain hippy rock vibe, a 70s prog rock feel, a stoner rock (but polished stoner rock) sentiment running through the album. This time around I don't hear saxophones, like in the past. If you have heard them before, this sounds like them, alright. If you haven't, and you like that 70s prog/hippy rock thing, then you might like this. Personally, this sounds kind of cool for the first five minutes and then I want to listen to some metal (or some Shania Twain, which is saying the same thing, right?).  


Mauricio Araniva  




AMORPHIS - Eclipse  


Energized with new vocalist Tomi Joutsen, the psychedelic hipsters just evolve and endure: the clear vocals, naturally melancholic/whiny, contrast well with the growls used sporadically. This is a) stoner rock for metallers, b) classic rock-influenced metal, c) 70s-organ/keyboards-drenched flowery bluesy rock metal or d) all of the above. Things are back on track, despite the singer change. The guitar sound is recognizably theirs and the old rock/organ/70s feeling is pretty unique in their craft.  



Mauricio Araniva  





Nightfall Records  

This wasn't what I expected. I expected this to be a lot noisier, but it turned out to be pretty darn catchy. First I just want to comment on the funny logo ala Cradle of Filth. I must also add that Dani (C.O.F.) liked it as well. Man, this release reminds me of a mix between Vital Remains, Mortician, old Brutal Truth, and old Napalm D. I did not expect this release to sound like this at all, it's just strange to me, but it's an awesome release nonetheless. Song #12, "Honey / Bloody Hole" just had me laughing so hard. He starts off "singing" at the beginning; "Honey, your bloody hole, I'd love to know, the taste to me...." (and I couldn't understand what he said after that) I don't know, I thought it was funny. Now I've heard it all. Song #16, "Spraying Blood", sounded so familiar, somewhat of a rip-off riff from "Reign In Blood". I also found that to be humorous. We have 21 short in length songs and not to mention short release (25 min.), of some perverted and really sick songs. What is it that inspires people to write about such topics I wonder? Weird. Anyway, if you're into some cool death/grind catchy moshy tunes, check this release out.  







Some pretty decent melodic, yet crushing death here that I liked quite well. The vocals were a little low in the mix, so it's hard to judge them. This has some really killer guitar and drum work too, though it could be a little more varied. Other than that, no complaints here. But what the fuck is a godmachine??  







What an album! So dark and beautiful. Beautiful? So it sounds gay, but the song that features Kimberly Goss (also sang with AVERNUS) is so awesome. The music has some excellent guitar work, the vocals vary from the traditional black metal sound to some dark atmospheric singing that Lord K. executes with skill. The album is based on a book called ,The Book Of Nod. The thing I found rather pointless, was that the album was 66 min. and 6 sec. long, but the last 6 min. was some annoying helicopter type sound. Hmmmm.... I thought to myself, "I always seem to notice and find the dumbest things in life." Anyways, words are difficult to describe this album. Anyone looking to hear some excellent black metal, well buy this album. Really fine release indeed!  







When a traditional power metal band acquires an identity that can no longer be simply compared to other, more established bands, that's when the music is interesting and, more importantly, fun to listen to. After many times now, these songs keep getting better. This is good news because this band has gone through some line-up problems, which made me wonder whether they would be able to continue making quality music. Fortunately, they have closed ranks and have become a cohesive team and have made a very good traditional, concept power metal album. Air raid siren/wailing vocals, lots of guitars and double bass drumming and songs that simply rock: Angra is tighter than ever and more ambitious, too. Plus, the range of music on here goes from fast, tight, energetic power metal, which balances well with the slower, moody songs. The album opens with three high-energy songs, all three are really catchy and melodic. However, the cool part is that the rest of the album explores different moods and succeeds at it. The use of Portuguese, some Brazilian melodies, as well as the guest spots by power metal grandaddy Kai Hansen from Gamma Ray and Blind Guardian's Hansi Kürsh makes things multidimensional. The fact that Kai Hansen is guesting should tell you about what specific type of power metal this is. Better than ever.  


Mauricio Araniva  






"Dear Annihilator fans, I'm sorry for writing weak albums after Never, Neverland. I think this time you will be pleased because I tried to thrash. Really! I made this album thrashy, hard, while adding a vocalist that can scream, growl and sing. You don't believe me? Check out what that good-for-nothing jerk Mauricio Araniva says: 'I have been negative about Jeff Waters for a long time now, but this stands well next to Never, Neverland and Alice in Hell. Jeff has once again come up with huge thrashing riffs: those swarm-of-bees-buzzing-overhead riffs and the really quick-finger soloing. Amazing, stuff, really. I have been listening to this a lot. Contained within the ten songs are fast thrashers, mid/fastpaced numbers, a cool instrumental and two ballads (!). The ballads/love songs are a good surprise. Also, the singing here made me take notice because it can sound harsh/growled, then traditional, as well as mellower. I hope Jeff continues with this attitude.' See what I'm saying? Not too shabby, eh? -- Jeff Waters."  


Mauricio Araniva  






Things are changing a little, adding a few new things to this cello rock/metal. First things first: this album is rock-oriented instrumental music, but the cellos are the outstanding element, which, of course, surprises people who hear this for the first time. This time there are drums for a large portion of the album. Dave Lombardo plays drums on most of those songs. There is a little bit of vocals, too. Also, a few songs are just cellos without drums. Obviously, this band is for the open-minded public because the lack of vocals goes against all the accepted rules. This is classical music played with a rock 'n roll spirit. The band's musical idea is interesting in itself. Furthermore, they execute it well.  


Mauricio Araniva  





There's Fates Warning, Dream Theater, Ayreon, on the one hand. On the other, there's Twisted Sister, AC/DC, Pantera. You know, two different mentalities: wanker music vs. keep it simple, stupid. Which type of band has fans that drink when they listen to music? Die Apocalyptischen Reiter/The Apocalyptic Riders are in the alcohol side of the equation. Why, with songs like "Rock 'n Roll", "Hey-Ho" and "Lazy Day", you are guaranteed not to have to think too much. The music is pretty loud, basic metal/rock, with thrash, heavy metal and some surprises here and there, like blast beats or mellow moments. In addition, some songs are in English, some in German. The lyrics point out three important things that you might not know: 1) they like to rock, 2) they like play to rock and 3) they love rock 'n roll. If you are Mr. Serious Metalhead, you should stay away because these guys are just playing simple, beer hard rock.  


Mauricio Araniva  






The title track is the same version as the one from the album. The three live tracks ("Burning Angel", "We Will Rise", and "Heart of Darkness") sound pretty strong, with Angela ripping it up pretty aggressively. I like the live vibe. There are three covers, but the only one that's interesting is the Carcass one, "Incarnated Solvent Abuse". The Megadeth cover is useless because Megadeth is useless. The Manowar cover is stupid because Manowar is stupid. They should have covered Carnage (!), Master, Repulsion or something like that. C'mon, Manowar? "Kill with Power"? Whose bright idea was that?  


Mauricio Araniva  






Top Ten Reasons Why Arch Enemy Fans Will Be Happy:  

10. This continues the trajectory of 2003's "Anthems of Rebellion." No big changes.  

9. The song "I Am Legend/Out for Blood" has blastbeats. It's about time, gosh!!  

8. Michael and Cristopher Amott shred: thrashy and plenty of guitar solos.  

7. The sound is pure metal. No hardcore/breakdowns. Danke schön!  

6. Angela Gossow's is growling mighty fine thank you very much, much.  

5. Intro + "Taking Back My Soul" + "Nemesis" is a strong beginning.  

4. No clean vocals. No singing. Carry on growling!!  

3. One song has a title in German. Another has the word "steel." Das ist gut, ja!  

2. The songs are aggressive and energetic, yet melodic. Total Arch Enemy formula.  

1. Arch Enemy has NOT turned into a weirdo band. Weirdos are not cool, gosh!!  



Mauricio Araniva  






Well considering this was released first by ANCIENT LORE CREATIONS, for some reason CENTURY M. re-released this album probably for the fact that it contains a line up of some well known black metal artists. I will not mention the artists because you should by this release for the music, not because of the members. No doubt this release will be filed under the category black metal. Not to say that this has nothing to do with black metal, but it's more than just that. Sure, the voice is black metal, but for example, the first song, "To Thou Who Dwellest In the Night". The CD begins and you will hear that typical fast-speed drumming and the BATHORY like voice. But you will also hear a strong, atmospheric, moody background of keyboard-like- synthesizer-special-sound-effect that actually takes away from the raw sound of black metal. Then in the second half of the song, you hear acoustic guitars and chanting along with slow doomy music. Actually, the background effect that I'm talking about is the strongest and the most distinguishable part of this bands music. This is not speed freak black metal, like DARKTHRONES, "Under A Funeral Moon", rather this is music that is influenced by black metal and definitely classical. In fact if you like PARADISE LOST, "Gothic" and DARKTHRONES, "A Blaze In...", you will like this. But remember: you are getting both sides of the coin here. Personally, I find this to be a good attempt at getting away from expected formulas about death, doom, and black metal. Check this out for sure!  





ARCTURUS - "La Masquerade Infernale"  

Music for Nations/Misanthropy Records  

Weird. Astonishing. Complicated. Intricate. Layered. All of these words come to mind upon first hearing this masterpiece by Norway’s ARCTURUS. This album simply cannot be categorized into any genre of music.  

If I had to choose, I would call this a metal, rock opera of sorts. To put it plain and simple, this is music unlike anything that you have heard before. This album is definitely something that grows on you, as you will not know what to think of it when you first hear it. This "supergroup" of sorts features the likes of G. Wolf, a.k.a. Garm of Ulver/Borknagar fame, Hellhammer of Mayhem, Simen Hestnaes of Borknagar and the shitty black metal band Dimmu Borgir, Erik Lancelot of Ulver, and, of course, the mastermind of it all, Sverd. The opening track features Garm’s extremely pompous and powerful vocals with Simen, a.k.a. ICS Vortex, singing backup.  

These guys both have extreme talent when it comes to singing, and this song proves it. The third track, "The Chaos Path," features Simen doing lead vocals in a crazed madman, operatic sort of way. Simply put, this man sings his ass off. It’s just a shame that he is wasting his voice by being in Dimmu Borgir. Musically, this reminds me of circus music gone bad (in a good way, of course). There are so many layers and so many things going on that this needs to be listened to with headphones on. Sverd’s synth work is so breathtaking and full of emotion and feeling that it makes you feel "moved." As in ARCTURUS’ previous work, "Aspera Hiems Symfonia," the guitar work is perfectly placed amidst the crazed music. The soloing is of particular importance, as guitar player Knut M. Valle perfectly places notes amongst the crazed lunacy of the music. Lyrically, this album is very dark. ARCTURUS even borrow an Edgar Allan Poe poem for the song titled "Alone." Also, do I really need to tell you how good Hellhammmer’s drumming is? For once, Hellhammer is not all about speed and blast beats. To me, this release really shows how versatile his drumming truly is. On a bit of a side note, the inner spine of the case says "Secret audio information can be found if sought....." To hear this "secret audio information," simply rewind the first track to reveal a cool, spoken intro. Visually, musically, and lyrically, this album is not like anything I have ever heard. This disc comes highly recommended if you have an open mind when it comes to music.  







Of the ten songs here, the last three sound more like demo material. Simply because the sound is just bad. The songs themselves are fine. The other seven songs are actually enjoyable death metal. Fast, but never goes beyond the barrier between super fast and hyper-speedy- blastbeat. Very much in the "Endless Pain" Kreator style. Each song has nice time changes and plenty of melody, and it works pretty good. However, this band has one more level to climb in order to be in the major leagues.  







This band thinks they play black metal. They cover "Leather Rebel" by Judas Priest. It sounds fine, but it just sounds like heavy metal with growled vocals. They have talent, especially with the guitars, which sound like the band is dying to play traditional power metal, instead of melodic death. What I don't care for is the indecisiveness of the music. Does this band want to play heavy or death or black metal? The mixing of styles, in my opinion, does not work in this case because combination sounds artificial, it lacks a continuity of mood. It sounds too forced.  


Mauricio Araniva  






From a metal standpoint, this is nothing to look into because it's hard, emo, core rock for the audience that is into the scream and sing rock-core. It's hard, heavy, and all that stuff, but it sounds pretty safe, too. The hardcore, scream-core people should be pleased, I guess.  


Mauricio Araniva  






From this band I was expecting some atmospheric death metal band with female vocals, just because of the first song. Instead, I received an old school death metal band, with catchy tunes, aggressive vocals, strong song structures. Overall, pretty cool stuff, nothing new, nothing worth killing over, but an enjoyable listen.  







This is quite different from the AVERNUS "Sadness" demo, so if you are expecting the exact same sound, forget it. But keep an open mind, although different from past recordings, this is an excellent CD! As a comparison, I'd say this sounds like a cross between The Prophetess, and the songs from the "Sadness" demo. But you'd really have to hear it for yourself. Rick McCoy sings rather than growls the lyrics, and has a very fine voice I might add. There are also lovely female accompanying vocals, plenty of synth, and the excellence in lyrics and music that I have come to expect from AVERNUS. Oh yeah, and the CD and cover slip design are neato too! All in all, I'd totally recommend this to anyone with an ear for gothic sounds. This is already one of my favorites for 97, check it out!  







If this is the third installment in the series of releases exclusively showcasing the ballads, then that must mean that the idea of ballad compilations is working for Mr. Pell and his band. Either that or he is very stubborn. All tracks here are love songs or slow numbers; therefore, expect no rocking. No rocking. There is nothing to complain about because the songs are pretty close to being perfect: slow, catchy, sad-but-happy guitar playing and mood, as well as good singing. The sound is total stadium rock and is very 1980s in inspiration/style. Basically, if you like the ballads by Bon Jovi, Guns n' Roses, Warrant, Scorpions, Firehouse, etc., you will find this album to be excellent. This is over an hour long: it has ten songs, three of which are new recordings. The other songs, I guess, are compiled from different albums. The guitar playing is pretty restrained, considering that Mr. Pell has built his career on his knock-out, shredding abilities. Fans of the power ballad should pursue.  


Mauricio Araniva  






Axenstar did not impress me the first time I heard them. The Inquisition sounded like typical power metal. Now I understand. I have been listening to this a whole lot and enjoying it more and more. Oh, this is power metal, alright, and it's good. It's pretty happy music, ear candy; it's not the most original thing in the world, but I like it. The drumming is double-bass and speedy; the guitars rock; the solos rock. The bass? I don't know, I hardly ever hear the bass in metal music. I like the singing: not too high, but melodic, not cheesy high screams. Axenstar plays the type of power metal that Sonata Arctica plays. Actually, I'm finding this album more enjoyable than "Reckoning Day," Sonata's latest, but I really like Sonata, too. Song number four, "Inside Your Mind," is a hit (with me). The rest of the album is pretty contagious, too. Now I understand: very good.  


Mauricio Araniva