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Reviews - ALL

ABIGOR - "OPUS 4"  

NAPALM  

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.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

ABORTED - THE ARCHAIC ABATTOIR  

OLYMPIC/CENTURY MEDIA  

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.  

www.goremageddon.be  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ACCEPT - "DEATH ROW"  

PAVEMENT  

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!  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

ACHERON -"THOSE WHO HAVE RISEN"  

FULL MOON PRODUCTIONS  

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.  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

ADOLF SATAN - ADOLF SATAN  

BESTIAL ONSLAUGHT PRODUCTIONS  

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 youíre interested in sloppy, garage, drunk, no-talent rock.  

www.bestialonslaught.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ADRAMELECH - "SEVEN"  

Repulse  

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.  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

ADVERSARY - "THE WINTERS HARVEST"  

CURSED PROD.  

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.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

ADVERSARY - "WE MUST BE IN HELL"  

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.  

Mike  

 

 

 

AETERNUS- "BURNING THE SHROUD"  

(LABEL?)  

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.  

Rogue  

 

 

 

AGATHODAIMON - "HIGHER ART OF REBELLION"  

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.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

AGE OF S1LENCE: ACCELERATION  

THE END RECORDS  

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?  

www.ageofsilence.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ALASTIS - "THE OTHER SIDE"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

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.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

ALL SHALL PERISH - HATE. MALICE. REVENGE.  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

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.  

www.allshallperish.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

AMORPHIS - "ELEGY"  

RELAPSE  

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.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

AMORPHIS: FAR FROM THE SUN  

NUCLEAR BLAST  

Itís 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?).  

www.amorphis.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

AMORPHIS - Eclipse  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

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.  

www.amorphis.net  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ANAL OF BLAST - "VAGINAL VEMPIRE"  

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.  

Mike  

 

 

 

ANASARCA - "GODMACHINE"  

Repulse  

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??  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

ANCIENT - "THE CAINIAN CHRONICLES"  

METAL BLADE  

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!  

Mike  

 

 

 

ANGRA - TEMPLE OF SHADOWS  

STEAMHAMMER/SPV RECORDS  

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 KŁrsh 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.  

www.angra.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ANNIHILATOR - ALL FOR YOU  

AFM RECORDS  

"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."  

www.annihilatormetal.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

APOCALYPTICA - REFLECTIONS  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

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.  

www.apocalyptica.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

THE APOCALIPTIC RIDERS - SAMURAI  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

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.  

www.reitermania.de  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ARCH ENEMY: DEAD EYES SEE NO FUTURE  

CENTURY MEDIA  

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?  

www.archenemy.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ARCH ENEMY - DOOMSDAY MACHINE  

CENTURY MEDIA  

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 schŲn!  

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!!  

www.archenemy.net  

www.centurymedia.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ARCTURUS -"ASPERA HIEMS SYMFONIA"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

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!  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

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 Norwayís 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 Garmís 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. Itís 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. Sverdís synth work is so breathtaking and full of emotion and feeling that it makes you feel "moved." As in ARCTURUSí 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 Hellhammmerís 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.  

MARK  

 

 

 

ARGHOSLENT - "ARSENAL OF GLORY"  

Sempiternal  

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.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

ASGUARD - WIKKA  

THIS DARK REIGN RECORDINGS  

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.  

www.devildollrecords.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

AUDREY HORNE - NO HAY BANDA  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

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.  

www.candlelightrecordsusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

AUTUMN DAWN - "EMPTINESS"  

WILDRAGS  

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.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

AVERNUS - ".....OF THE FALLEN"  

M.I.A RECORDS  

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!  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

AXEL RUDI PELL - THE BALLADS III  

SPV RECORDS  

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.  

www.axel-rudy-pell.de  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

AXENSTAR - THE INQUISITION  

ARISE RECORDS  

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.  

www.axenstar.com  

Mauricio Araniva 


BABYLON MYSTERY ORCHESTRA - The Great Apostasy  

Subtitled "A Conspiracy of Satanic Christianity," is a concept intelligently worked out and critiques religion as control. Says; "Produced, written, arranged and performed by Sidney Allen Johnson" and is an interesting release, especially since it is the work of one person. The music is dark in mood and in subject matter: an eerie mid-paced, monastery-like atmosphere. Whereas many bands criticize religiosity and its institutions with lyrics reduced to simplicity, Mr. Johnson has done some history research. Not really goth rock, not really dark metal, but has that general feel: the vocals are sung in a low, male tone, and the guitars and drums are mid-paced, not too complex, driven more by mood than showmanship.  

www.babylonmysteryorchestra.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BABYLONIAN TILES -" GREEN MIDNIGHT GLOW"  

ST. THOMAS RECORDS  

Here is a release in the outskirts of the gothic realm that should appeal to a wide range of listeners. I say "outskirts" because the sound is not typical of the modern gothic bands, yet it could still be classified as "gothic". The music is slightly ambient and dreamy, clean, and never boring. I love that the vocalist doesn't sound like all those other female vocalists that I'm getting so tired of. She really has her own style, and her voice is one that will not be forgotten once you have heard it. On a couple of the tracks, I was reminded a bit of some older Siouxsie and the Banshees material. Overall, this is a great release. If you like gothic, or more mellow sounds, you can't go wrong with this one.  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

BALATONIZER - OCCLUSED IN OTTUSITY  

THIS DARK REIGN RECORDINGS  

Some conversations should be reviews, like the following, with my baby brother, Juan. Juan: Hey, have you heard anything good lately?.. Mauricio: Uh...No, but I just heard a really awful band, Balatonizer. Juan: Bala-who? Mauricio: Balatonizer. It's really awful. They have this drum machine blasting the same beat in every song. The album is some 25 minutes long and it has 32 songs. Juan: What? Another Napalm Death band? Mauricio. Hey, Napalm Death is great! This is not! The guitar sounds the same, like a big blur. The vocals are very guttural, but they suck. It's low growling, but it has no energy or aggression. It's lame like Mortician or some garbage like that. It's a no-talent band. Juan: Like Six Feet Under? Mauricio: No, that band sounds very musical compared to this... Juan: Huh....Oh, hey, when is that new Slayer coming out? ... [That pretty says it all: "Huh." It's not more interesting than that.]  

www.balatonizer.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BANG TANGO - "LIVE"  

Deadline Music  

Never having been a fan of Bang Tango back in the day, I viewed this disc with much skepticism. While I can't say I became a fan after listening to this, it was kind of fun to listen to, in a rock-n-rollish way. The version on this disc of the one Bang Tango song I know well, "Someone Like You", is way kool and a lot rawer than the original ever was. Obviously if you don't like this band, you aren't going to want this CD, but if you ever did, or if you just like fun, hard rock, then this might trip your trigger. My trigger remains un-tripped, he, he, but it was a fun listen.  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

BARCODE - SHOWDOWN  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

Those used to chug-and-breakdown hardcore will find this Danish band different because it has something hardcore usually does not: speed. I'm generally bored with the basic, simplistic style of hardcore, but this cd was more interesting from the beginning because of the faster drumming. The guitar riffing is also more punk, more traditional than most popular hardcore. The lyrics are not so much about macho posturing, but more about a commentary on music, life, etc. The vocals sound angry, shouty, as expected. Of course, after five listens, one knows the songs extremely well. Do you like to buy albums that you know well after a few listens?  

www.barcodehardcore.dk  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BATTLELORE - THIRD AGE OF THE SUN  

NAPALM RECORDS  

Since Battlelore's purpose in life is to be masters in the realms of Tolkien-inspired metal, image is important. The five men and two women wear European-fantasy-barbarian-warrior clothing. They carry axes and knives when posing for pictures. The artwork depicts three persons/elves with pointy ears. The lyrics speak of elves, trolls, orcs and forests. I have not and under no circumstances will I ever, ever read the Tolkien books; therefore, I cannot present a more informed description of the images/pictures. I'm sure everybody else who is a J.R.Tolkien weirdo/reader will know better than I do. Maybe Andy Milonakis knows better? What will you actually hear in terms of music when you put this cd on, then? You will hear metal with two faces: (1) the low-tuned, stomping, midpaced, superheavy guitar metal with very low, gruff growling and (2) the folky, gothy, piano, synth/keyboards, soft mellow parts with female, smooth singing. The smooth parts sound like goth/folk rock and the heavy parts like some sort of polished death-ish metal. One fact is beyond criticism: Battlelore is good at what they do. The songs are coherent and performed well. Even though the gruff vocals are guttural, the surrounding elements soften the overall feel to create a hard/soft music balance that is remarkably memorable and immediate in its impact. If you are Tolkien-obsessed (get a life!), then you will most likely worship Battlelore because Battlelore was made for loving you, baby.  

www.battlelore.net  

www.napalmrecords.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BEECHER - BEECHER  

EARACHE RECORDS  

They will probably be hailed as pure genius because the metallic emo-hardcore they play is everything and more: lots of moshy parts with the breakdowns, the high-register, screamed/child-throwing-a-temper-tantrum vocals, the occasional clean-sung parts and lots of melodic, postpunk licks, as well as a bit of offbeat parts. Plus, they definitely sound hungry and excited to be doing what they do, which always helps in getting across the emotion. Honestly though, there is a huge hardcore bandwagon that people are riding in 2005. It remains to be seen who will be left standing. There is nothing here that suggests that this is particularly great: just another "pretty good" hardcore band.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BEECHER - THIS ELEGY, HIS AUTOPSY  

EARACHE RECORDS  

With Beecher the line between psycho time-change hardcore and superpugilistic banana split hemorrhage is beyond blurry. Beecher plays psychorazzlejazz hardcore. They get bored playing normal, linear songs; therefore, every song has multiple time changes, speed changes, and becomes a moving musical puzzle. Fans of Dillinger Escape Plan probably have a good idea of what this all means. With song titles like "It's Good Weather for Black Leather" and "Psycho Galvanic Skin Response," well, as you can probably imagine, the taking is as twisted as the giving and these goat boys don't listen to their mama. Totally terrible toddler temper tantrum screaming vocals is what is singing here. Screaming his way to Armageddon, infinity and beyond, the sounds that only dogs can hear, the screamer will rock you or will annoy you until your elbows feel funny. In fact, they cannot and will not make a regular song to which you can sing along; they will change things up on you every few seconds and will not allow you to get comfortable. Granted, this band is not the most original thing in the world (that honor goes to Irian Jaya Japanese Appalachian grinding banjo blue grass nut jobs Knuckle Head Crackers), but it's pretty crazy (or annoying, yo!).  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BEHEMOTH: DEMIGOD  

OLYMPIC/CENTURY MEDIA  

The ever-faster speed assault that has characterized the evolution of this band now reaches the point where it just sounds impossible for them to get any faster, maniacal and frenzied. They sound downright invincible here. The blazing, razor-blade sharp blasting sounds like it will collapse unto itself. I think 2005 is theirs for the taking. The vocals are guttural as can be, but, overall, distinctive and strong, with only moments of multiple layering making me suspicious. The guitar work can only be described as underground death metal of the Brazilian-Polish-U.S. style. Now that the major Polish band of this style, Vader, seems to have settled into a slower groove, Behemoth is hungry to be the kings of blazing speed. The one factor that has to be mentioned is the fact that the songs, while strong all the way through, do not have the downright greatness of Nile. Finally, this is the type of album that makes some people doubt whether there is any cheating going on (by way of studio tricks). Go see them live and make up your own mind.  

www.behemoth.pl  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BELEF - INFECTION PURIFICATION  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

This band is hell bent on kicking Marduk's ass. Welcome to the black metal claustrophobia speed hell kitchen train wreck battery. This French bunch wants to prove that "Panzer Division Marduk" is just too slow. "Brutal Destruction," "I Need Enemies" and "Veincut Exctasy" are the beautiful names of these greasy monkeys. These tracks are about 6 minutes long (or longer), which is just plain ridiculous for this speed. Is this one-dimensional? Completely. This is to music what Fear Factor is too good dining. Do they have songs? I guess we'll never know, since they are blasting 99% of the time, but from the sounds of it, no. Do they succeed in beating Marduk? Iíd say itís a tie.  

www.candlelightrecords.co.uk  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BEWITCHED - "DRAGONFLIGHT"  

Conquistador  

Chile's Bewitched's version of the Mercyful Fate classic "Black Funeral", had me so curious. I didn't start the CD with song #1, I went straight to the cover. And what do you know? It was good! The production isn't great, but the vocals are a serious effort at sounding like King Diamond, which is not easy at all. What about the rest of "Dragonflight"? Well, it isn't that easy to describe. For example, "Poetry of My Forest", consists of two voices, a high pitched voice and a Bathory black metal voice. Mid-paced rhythms, with some great guitar solos. This band, at times, reminds one of Mercyful Fate, Candlemass, Bathory, Iron Maiden, and some others. In short, doom metal mixed with some black/death metal. Yes, yes, the production isn't the best, but that doesn't take away the fact that Bewitched is extremely catchy, powerful, complex, simple, fast, slow, and makes it all work together very well. Can you believe it? You better believe it! Very creative stuff and not to mention memorable. If Bewitched could get their hands on the kind of production they deserve, I think they would be able to scare the pants off of a lot of bands out there that call themselves original.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

BEYOND THE FLESH - WHAT THE MIND PERCEIVES  

SCREAMING FERRET WRECKORDS  

In this fast-paced brutal, aggressive, thrashing, melodic death metal release, the songs don't have much of a pause before raging into the next one. Not a bad idea at all. Beyond the Flesh plays a kind of death metal that, while relying on melodic, thrashing riffs, still has a serious intense feel to it. This may be "melodic death," but it's melodic in the same sense that "Spiritual Healing" or "Symbolic" by Death is melodic. The other element is clearly old Gothenburg metal. As it turns out, this album is impressive in its intensity because it doesn't turn into some cheesy, melodic cd. There are no clean vocals on here. Overall, it's also catchy in its songs and guitar riffing. For me, however, it leaves a little something to be desired. Maybe it's the feeling that it's still too derivative of its influences. Maybe it's the good-demo quality of the sound. It sounds a bit too rough in its production. I know this band can do and will do much better; you can tell by the potential that's on here. This was recorded in the fall of 2002. It's being released in 2005.  

www.beyondtheflesh.net  

www.screamingferret.com  

www.escapimusic.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BIOLICH - THE SPACE BETWEEN HOME AND TODAY  

PARAGON RECORDS  

The severely guttural growling and blasting usually found in death-gore or gore-grind, when mixed with some emo-core moments, like in here, mutates into a muddy, growl 'n' scream fest, blasting as if everything is about to fall apart. Imagine Mortician getting all blasting and jazzy and emo on your sorry ears! So, Biolich love gore-grind and want to bring some emotion and dissonance into it. The e.p. is about 25 minutes. Only for those into slightly out there blast/stop guttural growl 'n' yell.  

www.myspace.com/biolich  

www.paragonrecords.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BIOMECHANICAL - THE EMPIRES OF THE WORLDS  

EARACHE RECORDS  

I am still assimilating the fact that this band sounds pretty different than what I hear in metal in 2005. The futuristic, marching, robotic, machine-like element of the guitars and drumming give it a certain uniqueness. The vocals are not growled, rather they are more shouted, but sound good. There is a distinguishable Pantera/"Cowboys From Hell" feel to certain moments in the vocals, especially the end-of-verse phrasing. The guitar does also sport the above-mentioned source. However, there are plenty of high-screamed, traditional metal singing parts. If you do not like high-pitched, air-siren screaming, you should avoid this. The sound is modern thrash, but with plenty of twists, like a bit of blasting here and there, background keyboards/effects, the multiple-personality-type vocals, all of which give this a cold, labyrinthine aspect. What is different is the lack of death and black metal influences. Comparisons are often a lazy way of explaining a band's music. Let me try it here (ha!): think Fear Factory with a young Phil Anselmo and a young Rob Halford rolled into one, playing Pantera and heavier Dream Theater songs. I know that description sounds dumb because this is not a legendary band or anything. Plus, they do not sound like Pantera or whatever. They take elements and make them their own. One thing is for sure: this sounds pretty unique because the way that the influences come together and converge onto a different point of focus. Check it out if you want something different, something more adventurous, while at the same something that combines major 1990s, non-death/non-black metal influences.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BITCH "N" MOAN -"SILICONE MESSIAH"  

MALIBU RECORDS  

Imagine the worst, most stupid, ridiculous, retarded, crappy, fuckin' gay band or album you have ever heard (for me, it's probably any album by Air Supply or Seals and Crofts). Now, try to imagine something so awful, so horribly amateur and sissified that it makes your most hated band or album, seem desirable. Now imagine something 10,000 times worse, that is getting close to how bad this fucking piece of shit this CD is! When I put this in my CD player, I almost peed my pants from laughing! I can not believe that this person, Tim St. John, actually wrote and recorded this crap! If I ever saw this asshole, I would kick his ass on principle. By now you're probably wondering what this sounds like that makes me so delirious with laughter, disgust, and hatred, so I'll try and describe it for you. This CD consists of really shitty "rock n' roll" guitar playing, synthesized drum beats that sound like something Milli Vanilli would have passed up as too tired and overused, and the absolutely gayest vocals I can think of. There is a ballad at the end of the CD called "Brandi"(girls with that name must now hang their heads in shame!) that is undesirably dumb. Imagine this guy looking like some kind of stuck-in-the-80's glamour puss who wears lycra leopard skin pants and neon pink leather vests with high heeled red boots and a paisley scarf in his Fabio hair. UGGGGGHHHHH! Not that I need to tell you, but of course this is one to avoid!  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

BLACK SABBATH - "FORBIDDEN"  

I.R.S  

This is not so new (since a new album will hopefully be out soon), but I'm reviewing it because some people chose to ignore it. Once again, Tony Iommi shines like the true metal master and genius that he is. The singer on this one is Tony Martin, who has now sung on five BLACK S. releases. (Five as far as I know, could be more...) Cozy Powell is drumming once again for them. O.K., to the music. The opening track, "The Illusion Of Power", is the heaviest song here. The main riff and the overall feel of it, is true SABBATH tradition. Heavy, it pounds, pretty corrosive, if I may say so. "Get A Grip" follows and it shows that regardless of what some fools are saying, this line-up of Tony Iommi and Tony Martin is serious business. At times, this stuff sounds just as heavy as the best moments with Dio or Ozzy. But do not get confused! Tony Martin has his own style. For one thing, he sounds really energetic, dynamic, soulful, and youthful. SABBATH really sounds fresh with him singing. Another thing to note: SABBATH sounds diverse. This release is not some "Safe Sabbath Formula", "I Won't Cry For You", some cheesy "Nothing Else Matters" or "Mama, I'm Coming Home" stuff. Anyway, check this out and don't be a conformist pig who listens to only "new" bands just because your friends tell you to do it.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

BLASTER THE ROCKET BOY -"SUCCULENT SPACE FOOD FOR TEETHING VAMPIRES"  

BOOT TO HEAD RECORDS  

Can you say; "Punk as Fuck"? Can you say Dead Kennedy's? This band is highly influenced by D.K. and you can hear it in their music, and especially in the vocals. But, if I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times; they are only influenced by D.K., not total rip-offs, which is cool. This band is also pretty wacky with their lyrics. Some song titles include; "The 1st In a Long Line of "Cute" Robots", "I'm only Humanoid (Lost In Space)", which is one of my faves. "All the Way to the Blood Bank", "Voltron", "Man Eating Plant (Vegetables are Murder)", amongst others. I saw this band play live once, but the thing that sucked was that they had "technical difficulties" during their bad-ass, sing along with performance. Very intense. Any way, the only thing to say is that if you like D.K., then you will love Blaster the Rocket Boy!  

MIKE  

 

 

 

BLEED THE SKY - PARADIGN IN ENTROPY  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

These boys will obviously sell lots of cds. They got the tunes: lots of the hardcore sound, the shouting and everything hip. Of course, they got the "tough" boy musician look, too. You know what: they have been listening to lots of Hatebreed, Superjoint Ritual, Machine Head, as well Linkin Park and the sound reflects it. I know they will be huge rock stars and Motorhead will end up being an opening band for them. Still, they are too derivative, too trendy. Behind the dreadlocks and the curse-word and Slayer shirts (Does everybody want to show off how "cool" they are by wearing Slayer shirts?) stands a group with very little personality. No, they are not "horrible" or whatever. The problem is that they have no real personality, nothing that says anything special about this music, except that they like bands on Roadrunner Records. It's a young band. Maybe they'll get better.  

www.bleedthesky.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BLEEDING KANSAS - Dead Under Dťcor  

ABACUS RECORDINGS  

"Hardcore with a nasty twist" is the sound: screamy vocals, which may annoy some and the chugging breakdowns. Actually, the songs are one big, winding, twisted breakdowns with some pauses and mellower moments. Considerably heavy at times, but still sounding hardcore, this is remarkably rock 'n' rolly.  

www.bleedingkansas.net  

www.abacusrecordings.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BLIND STARE - SYMPHONY OF DELUSIONS  

ARISE RECORDS  

Talk about biting on more than you can chew: upbeat, symphonic music with thrashy, power riffs, a pretty strong dose of keyboards, clean-sung vocals, a black metal screech and a death metal growl all rolled into a surprisingly coherent album. The name of the band is dumb, I know, and the cover artwork - a woman, with her violin (or cello, etc.) by her side, reading music sheets on the shore near a lighthouse as a ship approaches - is kind of odd. The quality of the sound is good and modern; the songs, in some form, always have symphonic, thrashy power metal guitar workings with a combination of the three vocal styles. The keyboards, to a large extent, sound influenced by power metal, as well as Children of Bodom. The drummer is the double-bass, speedy type. The guitars are in some form of Blind Guardian and some (non-oldschool) black metal combination. Moreover, it is Mr.Touminen that is so schizophrenic and talented with the constant three-pronged vocal attack. And what about the songs? Are they good? Yes. I think people who would like a mix of power metal and black metal, would find this interesting. I, for one, find two things keeping me from enjoying this more: 1) the songs, while good, still sound too derivative of their influences and 2) the mixing of styles still does not flow as well as the band is trying to make them. The potential for something good is here. This is a pretty solid, pretty good album, but it's a second-division release still.  

www.blindstare.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BLOOD COVEN - "ASHES OF AN AUTUMN BURNING"  

Lifeless Rec.  

I think this band is from Ohio. They don't go out of their way to let you know on the inlay card. This is a pretty good mix of black and death metal, with a production that takes me back to highschool, listening to Massacre's "From Beyond", or Deceased's "Luck of the Corpse." The vocals range from Bolt Thrower deep, to Dissection screams. I think this CD is pretty good. They obviously worked hard on their songs, and they're trying to do some original shit, not just the same old Ohio wall of noise.  

Cyric  

 

 

 

BLOOD RED THRONE - ALTERED GENESIS  

EARACHE RECORDS  

Ah, yes, the art of super low, guttural, visceral, incomprehensible growling. Grotesque, guttural death metal is the blood soup of the day. The overall tempo is blasting and lots of Suffocation-style riffing. The main feel is that of gore death, but with a pretty solid production, actually. There are some cool moments, but this is no masterpiece or whatever. If you have not heard low and grinding stuff lately, then here you go. If you have lots of gore in your collection, this is interesting, but nothing to vomit to.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BLOODBATH - NIGHTMARES MADE FLESH  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

Definitely an improvement on this, their third release. So far, with their first two, I found them generic and faceless, like a bar band playing "brutal" death. Well, this time the five members, who come from Hypocrisy, Katatonia, Witchery, Edge of Sanity, etc., have managed to sound like a band, not like a project. What's the difference? You can take them seriously now. Before I got the feeling that Mikael Akerfeldt went to the studio to growl for an hour or two on a weekend when he did not have anything Opeth-related going on. Peter Tšgtgren is now the growler. The songs and riffs are better. However, having said all that, this is not great, excellent music. It's pretty good death, but it does not run with the big dogs, like Nile and Hate Eternal.  

www.bloodbath.biz  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BLOODLET -"THE SERAPHIM FALL"  

VICTORY  

Sludgy, dark, and somewhat groovy, this CD opens fire on your senses with a morbid glee. How exactly to describe this, I am not sure, but I can tell you that I was quite impressed, and listening to this made me want to see this band live. The vocals are utterly devoid of humanity, and will make you wonder at the throat of the man who emits these hoarse renderings for 73 minutes! With my limited resources, I am a little hard pressed to compare this to anything else I've heard, but it's a bit like Noothgrush, or Eyehategod. Comparable, but not identical. I found it to have more of a dark feel, than either of the aforementioned, and it's more aggressive as well. I also felt a slight industrial-ness in this. Ultra-kool packaging and great sound combined with the relentless music make this one a must have. I think it will surprise even the most jaded audiophiles.  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

BOLT*THROWER - "MERCENARY"  

Metal Blade  

It's about freakin time! Hmmmm..... what can I say? Bolt T. has been a long time favorite of mine since the beginning, although I like the albums after "Realm..." better than the two previous ones. When I heard that Karl was back in the league, that made it even better, but I think he has left again, which sucks. Like the Death review, what can I say? This is Bolt Thrower! Same crushing riffs that seems to pulverize everything else coming out of my stereo these days. You have bands that change their sound with time, while you have other bands who stick to what they do best: play crushing death metal with a lot of melody! Anyone looking for some heavy and intelligent oriented crushing death metal that will not disappoint must get this and all albums by this magnificent band now!  

Mike  

 

 

 

BORKNAGAR - EPIC  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

Fans of serious, exceptional metal should check this out. Borknagar creates its own world. No stupid Satan gimmicks, just catchy and complex textures of energetic beat-blasting progressive dark metal from Norway; lots of dynamics and interplay between blasting and melody. The vocals are black and death metal and are very well done by Vintersorg, who also does a lot of great clean singing. The speed is dizzying and the melodies contagious. A must-have, no fat; all muscle.  

www.borknagar.com  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

BREAKNEK  

DEMO  

There is a certain type of U.S. Midwest metal sound that has growled/screamed vocals (inspired by Pantera, more than any other band), chug/thrash/death guitars and breakdown-oriented drumming. The lyrics are always centered on general hate. More than anything, this is the type of rock that a lot of kids form in the small towns of Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, etc. because they are bored out of their minds. It's not original and itís interesting only to the band and their friends. Red neck metal, anybody?  

www.breaknek.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BRONX CASKET CO - HELLECTRIC  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

It's nothing to get excited about, unless you want more Danzig, Type O Negative, or goth rock. It sounds like bunch of guys trying to be dark, mysterious and romantically "evil." Maybe I'm intolerant with silly old men singing about "little dead girls", but the music just sounds like a side project, something put together in between down time from the real bands (Overkill, Seven Witches, etc). They cover the song "Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd! It does sound gothy, yes, like Type O Negative covering the song. The voice sounds deep, etc. They did away with the guitar solo, one of the few mildly interesting things by Skynyrd. Bronx Casket Co. makes the song just plain boring. Diehard Overkill and Seven Witches fans expecting head-banging heavy metal will be surprised, pleasantly or unpleasantly.  

www.candlelightrecordsusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BUILT FOR SPEED - "A MOTORHEAD TRIBUTE"  

Victory  

I must say that this is probably one of the better tribute albums out. I'm not going to get into a full length discussion over this CD, except for that this CD is worth having if you're a Motorhead/hardcore fan, and even if you're not a hardcore fan, it's still enjoyable to listen to. We have Blood for Blood with "Ace of Spades", which was one of my favorites. Groovie Ghoulies with "R.A.M.O.N.E.S.". Integrity is doing "Orgasmatron", which was a bit disappointing for me, only because I was expecting something different, but if you ask me, nothing beats Sepultura's version. Dropkick Murphys with "Rock and Roll". Skarhead with "Sweet Revenge". Electric Frankenstein with "We are the Road Crew". Chrome Locust with "Metropolis". Zeke with "I'll be your Sister". Fahrenheit 451 with "No Class". Terra Firma with "Bomber", and Speeddealer with "Motorhead".  

Mike  

 

 

 

BURDEN OF GRIEF - FIELDS OF SALVATION  

MAGICK RECORDS  

Well, here's another band to piss off the purists because this bunch has lots of thrashing guitars, aggression and growled vocals, which is all balanced out with melodic guitar solos. Check out "The Nightmare Within" to see what I mean. This song is pretty much a thrashing blastfest with a very Iron Maiden-inspired guitar solo. If you are thinking that this is similar to old In Flames and Dark Tranquillity or, more currently, Nightrage, you are right in that respect. Obviously, for Burden of Grief, growling and thrashing are not enemies of melodic guitar solos and melody in general. The guitars are downtuned, relatively speaking, so they sound somewhere between thrash and death metal, which is at all times accompanied by melodic riffing and soloing. The result: harsh and melodic songs that are memorable. The title track itself obviously is a good example of the old Gothenburg sound. Therefore, I'd say that fans of melodic thrash/death (or whatever you call it) will be interested in this. Of course, the only problem (depending on your point of view) is that the question of originality is an issue here. However, there's no denying that the songs are done well by the band. Plus, they are substantially more aggressive than "Gothenburg" bands.  

www.burdenofgrief.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BURIED INSIDE - CHRONOCLAST  

RELAPSE RECORDS  

The full title of this humdinger is "Chronoclast: Selected Essays on Time-Reckoning and Auto-Cannibalism" (What? Are they edumacated and stuff?) and this is on Relapse Records. Does Relapse have a monopoly on this type of bands or what? Sure seems like it. From the sounds of it, fans of tripped-out, psychedelic hardcore (Shut up, you try explaining this!) need to check this out. This music has a really strange way of combining angry, screamed-out vocals with melancholic post-hardcore guitar work. How do they manage to make this sound good? You would think this is a recipe for a disaster. This is pretty melodic, but in a manic depressive way (Don't ask what that means?!). Let's just say that if you like the posthardcore/dissonant stuff on Relapse, you should dig this. I think explaining the meaning of life might be easier than explaining this band.  

www.buriedinside.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BURNED IN EFFIGY - S/T  

2007  

It's really, really hard to be objective, or without being prejudice if you will, when it comes to this style of Metal. "Why?" you may ask? Because it's nu-Metal and I really can't stand this style of music, especially if it sounds like or tries to sound like everyone else out there polluting the scene with this style of music. That being said, if you like this style of Metal (Pantera style of Metal), then this is for you!! But hey, don't take my word for it, what do I know? You can check them out at - www.burnedineffigy.com or www.myspace.com/burnedineffigy  

Mike  

 

 

 

BURNT OFFERING - "WALK OF THE DEAD"  

SOD Records  

Burnt Offering lives in the world of 1980's thrash. The evidence? "We will not compromise our sound and will remain true to our eighties thrash roots!" There you have it then. Yes, this is retro style thrash/death metal, without sounding like anyone in particular. If you like all that old Kreator, Dark Angel, Death, etc.. Then you might like this. But this is not "classic" "Endless Pain/Darkness Descends" sound, it's a bit below that. There's a remake of Venom's "Black Metal", not a bad remake, if you ask me. If you like thrash, maybe you'll like this.  

Lieff  

 

 

BUTTER BEANS - "ALWAYS TIGHT ADVANCE"  

DANGER ZONE REC.  

Ha, Ha, Ha. More like "Always Sucking"!This has to be one of the worst bands signed. When I read the bio., it said they were influenced by AGNOSTIC FRONT and some other band I can not recall. So I was like, "Hmmm... I like AGNOSTIC FRONT, maybe it will be cool?" I put the disc in and to my surprise, it sucked so bad I fainted. After the disc was done playing, I suddenly woke up and had a horrible head ache. Why does this suck? Well Hell, look at the bands name. The song titles that really had me rolling on the floor were: "Move ya", "Kick Up A Fuss", Stand Up You Sissy' and my favorite, "Drugs Kill", how inspiring. The lyrics are just as bad. The music? Well, let me say that some of the riffing is like a week glam version of PANTERA or just plain glam trying to be tough. How bad did this really suck? I took this CD to 4 "WE BUY USED CD" places and the best offer I got was .50 cents! So I said, "Well, I could use the money to buy me a soda pop." I turned down the offer only because I didn't want to be responsible for the death of some poor person that bought the CD. Well now you know, stay away! Oh yeah, at least I didn't pay for it, and yes, I threw it away!  

MIKE  

 

 

 

BY BLOOD ALONE - Eternally  

JERICHO HILLS RECORDS  

In this four-song, 22-minute release this goth rock band presents an interplay between two main elements: mellow soft rock and upbeat rock. The group, from Massachusetts, serves a debut that references The Gathering, Lacuna Coil, etc. The sound quality is not "big time," but decent, like a good demo. People liking to find out about lesser-known goth rock are probably the most interested demographic.  

www.bybloodalone.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

BY BLOOD ALONE - SEAS OF BLOOD  

2007  

Jericho Hill Records - Distributed also by Relapse Records  

Mauricio reviewed this bands first release, "Eternally," a while back, and a few weeks ago I received in the mail their latest offering, "Seas of Blood." The first thing I noticed about this bands sound was the female vocalist; Cruella. Although claiming to play Metal, I also found this to be as Mauricio also mentioned in his review, gothic-rock oriented. The only thing I found on this release relatively close to being Metal was the guitar solos, which were played very well I might add! The use of the keyboards which were used to sound like a violin on the first song; Serpentarius, reminded me of Skyclad for some reason. I guess just the way it was used. The second song, Wants me Dead, was probably the catchiest and most memorable song on this disc, although I found this entire CD memorable, which is a good thing. Overall this release was pretty well received by my ears. If mellow, keyboard gothic-rock, with female vocals is your cup of tea; you might want to check this young band out. I'm sure they will release something exceptionally well in the near future! Definitely the best release I have been sent to review as of late! www.bybloodalone.com  

Mike 


CADACROSS - SO PALE IS THE LIGHT  

CRASH MUSIC, INC  

I really like the vocals: itís the type of growl that sounds black and death metal at the same time. Itís pretty oldschool type of growling. The music itself is symphonic, neoclassical metal. The symphonic element is achieved through lots of guitar work that sounds like violin music played on guitar. It can sound like wanking and noodling, but it makes sense after a few listens. The marching sound of the percussion and keyboards, of course, add a whole lot to that neoclassical feel, too. The music is midtempo and dark, but melodic at all times. The production is not that great, kind of rough, but itís acceptable. This band is from Finland and they do sound quite a bit "Finnish." However, most of the time the music sounds very neoclassical and dark, much more than other Finnish bands playing this style of music. By the way, I went to the band website and it did not work, so itís probably better to try the labelís website.  

www.cadacross.cjb.net  

cadacross@mail.htk.fi  

www.crashmusicinc.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CALIBAN VS HEAVEN SHALL BURN - THE SPLIT PROGRAM II  

LIFEFORCE RECORDS  

This split album features recordings from 2005 from both bands. Heaven Shall Burn features "Unleash Enlightment," "No One Will Shed a Tear," "Nyfaedd Von," If This a Man," "Downfall of Christ," and "Destroy Fascism." Heaven Shall Burn sounds heavily influenced by At the Gates, especially in the vocal department. The music is melodic thrash. I guess this is supposed to be hardcore, but I don't hear that. The guitars are pretty downtuned. Overall, the material is pretty catchy, though I don't hear the genius that other people hear. It's good, not great. It's pretty aggressive and heavy, actually, but not anything particularly overwhelming. The speed is fast and thrashy, with the breakdown parts. There are no clean singing parts, only screechy growling.  

Caliban contributes "The Revenge," "Arena of Concealment," "One Day," "A Summer Dream" and "One More Lie." Caliban is more hardcore. The thrashy riffs are overcome with the hardcore notes and more breakdowns. In addition, the harsh vocals are combined with clean singing that sounds like Papa Roach to me. The music is more melodic and more memorable than the other band, but they also sound more metalcore. In truth, this is pretty good stuff, pretty catchy. It's just that there are a million metalcore bands in 2005 and many, many of them are "pretty good."  

www.heavenshallburn.com  

www.calibanmetal.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CALLENISH CIRCLE - FORBIDDEN EMPATHY  

CANDLELIGHT  

Most who know of this band, have heard only two albums by them: "Flesh Power Dominion" and "My Passion Your Pain". I have not heard "Passion", but I think "Flesh" is very enjoyable, very memorable melodic death. This 2-cd set comprises their early material, which is 2 full albums, mcd and demo stuff. The sound quality is surprisingly good. The quality of the songs is good, too. The vocals are pretty guttural/traditional death, but the addition of melody via the guitar is what makes the big contrast. I didn't realize this band has this type of history and so much good unreleased material. Definitely a band for fans of melodic death [without the hardcore influences].  

www.callenish-circle.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CALLISTO - TRUE NATURE UNFOLDS  

EARACHE RECORDS  

This was a wonderful surprise. After having heard this album a ridiculous number of times, I find that it's cool that I understand--or at least, that I enjoy--something this different (for me, anyway). Also, I think I prefer to listen to this on headphones. The fullness of the sound, the brooding feeling, the grey-skies-ness of the music really does sound better up to your ear. At any rate, this album goes to show you that if you listen to music and let the music take you places, you can find new things that are fun, even though they are different. I was so convinced this album was not good. It sounded like another boring, slow band with growled/screamed vocals. However, I think I get it now. This band is really good. First of all, the vocals are growled/screamed, but they fit very well with the doomish, sluggish, dissonant guitar work. The vocals are "mature" (I know that sounds silly) and it's not about trying to sound angry and all-macho/gorilla or whatever. The desperate (again, this word is not right) feel of the voice sounds pretty cool. The music is not fast or superslow, but it's on the doomy (it's not doom metal, though), melancholic, heavy, melodic (but not sweet) and memorable tip. Some people say this is art rock, prog rock, blah, blah, blah.. This is metal and it's not metal. It's not Slayer metal, but it certainly has a moody, dark guitar sound that, to me, does have a 70s Black Sabbath influence to it. One band that I have heard recently that has a vibe that is sort of similar is Buried Inside. These guys probably consider themselves a hardcore band, but it's not the Hatebreed/Agnostic Frost type of hardcore. This is actually more the Sabbath/Candlemass type of hardcore (say what?). This is a stupid review. Let me try it this way: here's a band that concentrates on feeling more than anything (not speed, not heaviness, not the rules), a somber, doomy, melancholic, spacy, ethereal, cloudy, trippy feeling. A basic, simple guitars-bass-drums-vocals approach (not big effects or outside tricks) with some interesting bits here and there (in some places I hear something like a saxophone, but it sounds sublime). This is definitely for the open-minded and for those that want to hear music that might open new places, new sounds. Finally, this is on Earache Records and it's definitely different than their death metal stuff. I, for one, find this interesting and I do realize that there is a scene with a lot of "posthardcore" bands and stuff, but I don't find most of those bands exciting or that creative. This is an exception, and a good one. This is about an hour long, with only a few minutes of intro/outtro.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CANDLEMASS - "CHAPTER 6"  

Has CANDLEMASS broken up or not? If anybody knows, let me know! I think this is their best (last?) album up to date. Some of you think this band plays "depressing" music, wrong! This is heavy, but yet pretty "happy" sounding. Though, not exactly HELLOWEEN, HEAVENS GATE, or MAIDEN type sound. Maybe it is the voice of Tomas Vikstrom that gives this CD a not so doomy metal release, but anyway, the riffs are way heavy and the solos are excellent. Each song is very memorable and classy. This brings me back to the beginning of this review: Why the Hell did they decide to take a break or whatever? By now this line-up should have put out at least 2 more releases! I'm puzzled.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

CANS - BEYOND THE GATES  

NOISE/SANCTUARY RECORDS  

This solo album by Hammerfallís Joacim Cans is a heavier, chunkier side of traditional heavy metal. Sounds "harder", in line with Seven Witches or Cage, not Hammerfall. A variety of people wrote the songs, like Annihilatorís Jeff Waters, Primal Fearís Mat Sinner, David Chastain and Mike Chlasciak (ex-Halford), for example. Sounds metal and all, but the songs never really jump out. Theyíre ok, not great. The riffs sound "tight", but nothing outstanding, though the ballad "Forever Ends" is catchy, as are one or two other tracks. The lyrics are clichťd: gang-shouts of "Go Back to Hell" and the dumb "poetic" titles like "Silent Cries" and "Garden of Evil".  

www.joacimcans.com  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

 

CARNAL FORGE: AREN'T YOU DEAD YET?  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Either CF is improving or I'm being fooled. Usually this band has plenty of thrashing power, but only a couple of good songs. This time around I would go as far as saying half the album is good. "Strength of Misery" is this albumís best track, by far. The riffs at times get less generic and more creative, but only for half the album, having said that, this is still too faceless to stand out in a real way.  

www.carnalforge.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CATASEXUAL URGE MOTIVATION - "THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SERIAL MURDERS" (THANKS ANDREW!!)  

DELIRIA PRODUCTIONS  

Very fucking intense and killer band from Japan. True grind at its best! Songs like "Bleeding For Sperm Queen", "I Have A Good Knife For Penetration", "Mutilation Rape, and "Serial Murder As A Modern Metaphor" the first track, which is my favorite, and 18 more killer songs. Now for all of those people out there that like grind but do not like to have long doses of it at a time for whatever reasons, these songs are pretty diverse and are not all that chaotic. The vocals are so fucking original and are some of the sickest things on earth. Does the song "Defiling The Grave" sound familiar to anybody? Well if it does, let me tell you that it is pretty killer as well and has a sound of its own when this band does it. Any ways, this CD is something all grinding freaks will love, guaranteed! Anyone interested I've listed the bands contact address in case you can not find this must have release!  

MIKE  

CATASEXUAL URGE MOTIVATION, C/O TOMOAKI KANAI, 1-26-3-204, MIYAGI ADACHI-KU, TOKYO 120, JAPAN  

 

 

 

CAUSE FOR ALARM - "BENEATH THE WHEEL"  

Victory  

This is hardcore, pure and simple. It's fast, semi-melodic. The voice is traditional HC. Every song is different, but quick, basic, to the point. If you like HC, then I recommend this one. Warning: No metal crossover here.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

CELESTIIAL - Desolate North  

BINDRUNE RECORDINGS  

Some music gets slower and slower until it's a downright slow-motion-turtle-sloth pace. The vocals are guttural, but they are not aggressive. Instead they sound like they are far, far away in a cave in the distant past in a land from pre-history. The percussion (drum machine?) plays slowly enough to allow time to go buy and cook a turkey, return and you won't have missed a beat. This is an exaggeration, but only slightly. Imagine: the sound of the beach (the intermittent waves = "drums") accompanied by some occasional distant guttural vocals. The songs: there are pauses in between the long periods of  

http://crionicmind.org/bindrune  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CELESTIAL SEASON - "SOLAR LOVERS"  

METAL BLADE  

If you love speed-of-light grinding bass lines, blazing blast beats, total brutal horrific gore music, then go find another band, cause this is not it! This Dutch band specializes in combining sad, depressing violins, with slow doom rhythms and low-growled whispers of death. This band has class. If you love "Gothic", by PARADISE L., then you'll love this one as well. You'll find melody running through out the whole album. Beware though, if you like to be happy or you're not easily depressed, either way, this band is for people who are happy to be depressed.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

CENOTAPH - "RIDING OUR BLACK OCEANS"  

CYBER MUSIC  

This is probably my favorite band coming out of Mexico. Very memorable music and pretty complex as well. The guitar work is pretty exceptional, especially the solos. The songs, 9 in total, are pretty long as well, but they don't drag out so you will not be falling asleep. The vocals are fucking brutal and are my favorite thing about this band, they are not forced sounding which is always good. If your looking for some excellent death metal, check out this exceptional band out.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

CENTINEX - WORLD DECLENSION  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

Centinex in Swedish means: quality songs of memorable, blazing, often blasting, buzzsaw-guitar and traditional gruff growling. It's a bit puzzling how such a harsh musical approach results in creative pieces that are easy to understand, to get into. Definitely interesting is also the fact that there are no melodic guitar solos or the usual musical strategies designed to hook in the listener. The main tool at work here is just sheer muscle. The 38 minutes that make up this release continue to demonstrate more than amply that Centinex can keep up the quality of the songs for the whole time of the release. This is, in fact, a nonstop barrage of quality buzzsaw guitar with hooks, in the riffs and in the solos. The vocals are, by far, strong total gruff death, just so you know. The drumming is monstrous: it sounds, at times, like those fills and blasts have two drummers working. At certain spots, from a physical standpoint, it's very intense because it's not just speed, but the other things that are going on besides the pounding. There is a whole lot of old school Swedish death going on here, a lot. However, whereas that style tends to be non-blasting, this blasts often. Also, the drumming is excellent, the riffing is urgent and this music is just more intense and exciting than a band like Dismember. This band has been laboring for years, largely unnoticed, but you'd be surprised by the quality and songwriting ability of this bunch. "Blood Hunt" from about 1999 was interesting, "Diabolical Desolation" from about 2002 was awesome. From then on, this band has been developing in a huge way.  

www.candlelightrecordsusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CEPHALIC CARNAGE - ANOMALIES  

RELAPSE RECORDS  

This is definitely like the Rolling Stones, man. First of all, like the Rolling Stones, these songs are groovy, man. Totally. For example, the vocals are totally guttural, growled, completely incomprehensible (just like the Stones). Great stuff, really. Can people scream like this without using strong, possibly illegal substances? The growler sounds positively possessed. The thrashing, death metal, death grind guitars plus the insane blasting plus the technicality and diversity of this band is ridiculous. What's more, the clarity of this album is very surprising. You can hear the madness clearly and upfront. What's interesting is how they manage to bring in -- and I'm not kidding this time --stoner rock and stuff that sounds like 70s Black Sabbath and throw it in the deathgrind melting pot and beat the living daylights out of it. Crazy stuff. I'm thinking that these beastie boys must put on a cool show. With this album you do not get weird instruments: just lots of thrashing, grinding guitars and loud bass, obnoxiously good drumming and superguttural vocals. OK, basically, I like this because it shows that grind can be interesting and diverse. Really! Those who get this type of music--you know, the grind stuff--should hear this: a band doing something interesting with a sound that is notorious for being strictly a one-way highway attack on music.  

www.cephaliccarnage.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CENTINEX - "BLOODHUNT"  

Repulse Records  

I know some people, bands included, that really hate, or at least dislike reviews that compare "this" to "that" bands sound or influence. Most of the time, it's not good if a "critic" is too lazy to explain what a band really sounds like. However, if done correctly, a reader will have a pretty good idea of a band's sound, if the review is accurate. Centinex's "Bloodhunt", I think, is what Dismember's "Pieces" Ep would have sounded like as a full release. Centinex doesn't have any intros. or outros. with this one. Just six songs of intense Swedish death metal in the (good) tradition of Entombed, etc... Yes, Centinex is also from Sweden. No black metal heard here. Only that low-tuned riffing, fast pace material, a strong voice, like one would find from the "Left Hand Path", or "Like An Ever-Flowing Stream" era, except that Centinex is more "concentrated", more speed, on top of speed, and continuos speed, with the guitar and drums that have machine-like precision. Centinex does not allow to rest, you can rest when the CD is done!  

Lieff  

 

 

 

CENTURY MEDIA - IDENTITY FOUR COMPILATION  

CENTURY MEDIA  

This compilation is a good introduction to the Century M. family. Rotting C., Nocturnal R., and Emperor, are the very best here. These 3 bands are serious future gods of metal, if they continue on their present direction. Jag Panzer, Iced Earth, and Moonspell, are another 3 that cannot be ignored. I still don't get why The Gathering is peddled as metal. Is Tori Amos metal too? Exodus is here with "Piranha", but why is Exodus trying to "recreate" what cannot be re- created? I think this compilation is an accurate representation of what each band really is like.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

CENTURIAN - "CHORONZONIC CHAOS GODS"  

Full Moon Prod.  

Centurian's music is super fast death metal, played with a lot of conviction and ability. Comparisons are not necessary because it is difficult for any newer (and older ones sometimes, too) bands to be truly original-with the noted exception of Morbid Angel, and maybe a few others in the death and black metal genre. In other words, you'll definitely hear the not-so-unexpected Deicide and "Alters of Madness" influence, so I won't go into how they "shred" because that's the starting point. What you get with this release is a mature, well played, and a creative use of arrangements (there are some nice "melodic" notes in the most unexpected places inside all the mayhem of blast beats and fury) and a serious attempt that should be taken seriously by everyone who can read past the hype and hoopla and can get to the music. This release certainly speaks well of the next release that this band puts out. Good things may come.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

THE CHASM - "FROM THE LOST YEARS"  

REBORN RECORDS  

THE CHASM is totally awesome. This band is from Mexico. The leader of this outfit is Daniel Corchado, who writes everything. This is hard to label, which is a good sign, but I'd say that Atmospheric, heavy, doomy, Melodic, catchy death metal is pretty close. This band has really surprised and impressed me. It has been a long time since I've heard something this good. Every song is well thought out, complex, fast, slow, melodic, heavy, actually each song has its own identity. What band do they sound like? Like no one, but you hear shades of CANDLEMASS, old CELTIC FROST, old DISMEMBER, and some others. The song, "I, the Pastfinder," has the doomiest stuff I've heard in years. The double-bass is running through ,while the acoustic guitar is "shredding." The singer, Daniel, sounds really like no one.These songs are not short at all. That is why you can only enjoy this after a few listens because each song has a lot going on in it and one listen is simply not enough. If you see this release or any others by this band, but it, steal it, better yet, steal two copies, one for you and one for your friend. If you are the kind of person who is always looking for original, complex, unusual stuff, you will not be disappointed.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

THE CHASM - "DEATH CULT FOR ETERNITY : THE TRIUMPH"  

Oz Productions  

Mexico's, The Chasm, is a pretty original band. The evidence? How about this release? Each song sounds well prepared. In every song you will find tight thrash-crazy riffs, slow melodic riffs, time changes of several varieties, and in general, a texture of music that sounds like real art and actual compositions. The driving force of the band is Daniel Corchado, who writes all the music and lyrics, and is the vocalist of the band. The same individual who was fronting Incantation not to long ago, if you're not familiar with the name. Anyway, The Chasm, is no ordinary death metal band at all. It will take several listens before it becomes clear what's going on, but this is worth the listen. There is nothing here to complain about. A very professional effort with plenty of originality.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

 

THE CHASM: THE SPELL OF RETRIBUTION  

EARACHE/WICKED WORLD  

Not many seem to notice, but maybe some will now notice: this band has a real interesting vibe, which for the last few years has been evolving into what it is now. Somehow, this band combines the death/thrash of classic Sodom, Destruction and Kreator with the death/black vibe of Dissection and adds an underground death metal extra something to concoct a sound that could not possibly be any more genuine metal than it is. I'm pleased with this album because it has melody, but melody in the way that Immolation and Incantation have melody, if you know what I'm saying. The Dissection-style melody also creates a good feel. Add to that a rough overall attack and you may get a clue as to what's happening here. I'm mentioning all those other bands not because The Chasm sounds like them, but because they have a vibe they project. I'm also mentioning those bands because if you like real underground metal, then I think you should give this a chance. The only complaint I have is that the production leaves a bit to be desired, though I do understand that this band doesn't have Slayer's budget. I'm glad The Chasm keeps fighting against all obstacles in order to keep making underground metal like they do. Any recognition they get is more than well deserved.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CIRCUS MAXIMUS - THE FIRST CHAPTER  

SENSORY/LASER'S EDGE  

In general, bands on Sensory records are uncompromisingly prog and very talented. The particular case of Circus Maximus is no exception: very skilled metal musicianship. "Sin" opens: a rocking, pretty thrashy, shredding, midpaced number; pretty catchy; very traditional, melodic, talented, polished metal singing. What does that mean? You know, like Queensryche, Dream Theater, etc. "Alive" follows and it's more of the above. "Glory of the Empire" has a mellow beginning and moves into a big, stadium rock feel; it's midpaced and it's over 10 minutes long. "Biosfear" then shows the band to be very proggy; it's instrumental; it's musical exhibitionism. "Silence from Angels above" is an 80s-rock type of sensitive ballad; the singing is as sweet as a cute little bunny (say what?). "Why Am I here" is a serious, guitar-driven song. By this point in the album, the band is eyeball-deep in prog metal territory; prog fans will be smiling like happy children at a candy store. The first part of the album has shorter, catchy songs to get you interested. The rest of the album has long and longer songs that are more for the prog fan than the "normal" heavy metal fan, but has a charm to keep the listener interested: anchored by melodic singing; it gives memorability to the prog. Good album.  

www.circusmaximussite.com  

circusmaximus@intrometal.com  

www.lasercd.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CODE-BLACK: PENETRATION  

ARCTIC MUSIC GROUP  

The guitar sound is pure thrash, while the riffing is all Overkill, Testament, etc.--pretty simple, but fast, sharp and tight. Here and there, some hard punk energy comes through. The energy and no-nonsense feel does have its charm. The vocals are not growled or screamed, but are shout-sing. As you might expect, the choruses are often gang-shouted. The rough and ready thrash approach is pretty fast, though it has plenty of midpaced sections, but those are the two basic operating speeds. This is not great thrash, but its purpose is to get a pit going.  

www.codeblack.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

COLD COLOURS - THE BURDEN OF HOPE  

ROOT OF ALL EVIL RECORDS  

The music is slow and plodding, keyboard background, down tuned, gloom and doom melancholy. The singing is on the soulful, midrange side, not screaming, growling, yelling, air raid siren or anything abrasive. Not to compare, but point to out a vocal feel: later Paradise Lost, Creed, The Doors, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Life of Agony, Nevermore, etc. I'm not saying that "this is as good as" anything, but merely that the vocals are done well, and at least on this recording, sound very competent and compliment the music well. The music is not about shredding, or head-banging, or moshing, but about creating a mood of sadness, the already mentioned melancholy. "What? Why I would listen to music that makes me feel that way? I listen to music to feel good, man!" Two things: one, if you don't like slower paced albums that sound sad, you're right, this is not for you. Instant joy, I think, is not on the agenda with this band. Two, the point of this music, as I understand it, is catharsis.  

www.coldcolours.com  

www.rootofallevil.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

COLLAPSAR - COLLAPSAR - ESCAPE ARTIST RECORDS  

The band has no vocals and no bass player. So, it's all guitars and drums, then! It's loud, aggressive, abrasive, riff after riff coming at your ears, jamming the jams, pounding energy, but in a very coherent manner. This is not melodic, though there are some brief, mellower moments. The speed of the drumming is fast paced, but very rhythmic, so it's not crazy speed. The feel that comes to mind is that of a jamming progressive instrumental energetic rock band with hard jazzy moments. The band utilizes some synth, which is more apparent in the slower, spacier parts.  

Narrow-minded music fans will not like this: no vocals, first of all. The music is neither metal nor hardcore, but more like rocking guitar-driven jazz-core. However, the band does have songs.  

www.escapeartistrecords.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

COMMUNIC - Waves of Visual Decay  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

These seven compositions, adding up to almost an hour, seamlessly cover the broad points that encompass traditional heavy metal, polished thrash, and progressive metal. The guitar work is, most of all, clear and crisp (not down-tuned/chugging) with riff/shred moments abundant, as well as nicer, slower when necessary. The singing is classy, but not "metal cheesy", nor annoyingly high. It has a certain elegance that makes it refreshing. Metal from Norway that is talented, progressive, complex, with longer songs, thrashy, a bit melodic (not "happy melodic") and still head-banging. Note: the riffs, and especially the singing, do recall early Nevermore.  

www.communic.com  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CONTRASTIC - S/T  

SHINDY PRODUCTIONS  

When I got this from Shindy Productions I saw that the cover art was a crayon drawing of the Little Mermaid. I immediately thought to myself: "What the?" However this band calling themselves "Experimental Death/Grind" surprised me. It has a lot of sampling and strange things in it but these guys have talent, the guitar work is heavy and crisp, the drums are nothing short of pummeling, and the vocals are a mix of deep growling and screaming. If I had to compare them to anyone, I wouldn't. They are definately not your average experimental band and these guys should stick around and keep making music, I liked the album, thumbs up guys.  

Rogue (Special thanks to Martin "Shindy" Brzobohaty of Shindy Productions in Slovakia for sending me this album, thanks a million dude!!)  

 

 

 

CONTROL DENIED - "THE FRAGILE ART OF EXISTENCE"  

Nuclear Blast  

Death's Chuck S. has always been trying to be original. Now, Control Denied won't catch the peoples attention as Death once did, but those who pay attention to the music will be glad to see this finally see the light of day. These eight songs are pure music, all power. High vocals and complex music, and of course, excellent guitar work. There's no point in explaining the songs. If you like real music, real metal, you'll like this. This is what serious musicians who play metal make. Do yourself a favor, add this to your cherished Atheist, (old) Fates Warning, Watchtower, etc.. Wonderful, just wonderful! "Metal Jazz"? Labels are not useful sometimes!  

Lieff  

 

 

 

CORE - "THE HUSTLE IS ON"  

MIA/Tee Pee Records  

Core play "stoner doom rock", which means? It's basically Black Sabbath / The Obsessed influenced slow hard-core. Frankly, I don't see how a hardcore fan couldn't like this. The sound is too "garage" for metal fans, but I guess that is the whole point of this release. You said you were curious about "stoner doom rock"? Well, then.... (By the way, this is not doom metal. So if you're thinking that.... Count Raven, Candlemass, and Trouble are in the opposite direction. You'll need to make a "u-turn" and head straight, and to the left at the light....)  

Lieff  

 

 

 

CORPSE VOMIT - "BASTARDS OF FOREVERFILTH"  

IMMORTAL REC.  

C.V. specializes in playing cheese-metal-noise-gore and they are really good at it, which means that this band really sucks. This is no improvement over there previous stuff from "Gathering Chemical Children". If you like BROKEN HOPE, CANNIBAL CORPSE, etc... then you'll dig this. This is gore stuff, period. Of course there are no signs that these guys know, or that they want to know how to play there instruments. What else is there to say?  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

CORPSEFUCKINGART - S/T  

TORTURE RECORDS  

Whereas CORPSE V. is from IL., C.F.A. is from Italy. Well guess what? This is also a cheese-gore-stupid shit-noise-that-only-fools-like music. Can you say BROKEN "fucking" HOPE? Maybe I'm being harsh on this type / style of "music". I don't care, any way you look at this, this is crap that unfortunately has been recorded to waste peoples precious time.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

COUNCIL OF THE FALLEN: DECIPHERING THE SOUL  

SEASON OF MIST  

This band has come up with good balance of brutal, blasting death metal, which is the main component, though there are other elements, like melody and catchiness. The thing I like about this is the willingness to do something different without losing the death metal approach. There are some tiny, brief parts with clean vocals and quite a bit of black metal screaming. Actually, the album has a few surprises, like the recurring black metal riffing, which with this type of production sounds more upfront than with the usual black metal production. Council of the Fallen is turning out to be--with this second album--quite a surprise and a band to check out, if you like brutal death metal, but want more than the same old repetition that a lot of bands do.  

www.councilofthefallen.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

THE CREST - VAIN CITY CHRONICLES  

SEASON OF MIST  

Talk about mass appeal. The Crest's music is made with the idea that with one listen, the people who like catchy, poppy, gothy rock with soft, gentle feminine vocals will be so hooked that they will want to play this over and over until they have the stuff coming out of their ears. If you're a "metal" person that likes Theatre of Tragedy, Lacuna Coil, Nightwish, The Gathering and a lot of the goth stuff on Napalm Records, you will love this band. In addition, Nell Sigland from the already mentioned Theatre of Tragedy is the woman singing here. The music has a (pop) rocking, upbeat, infectious, guitar-y quality: the first six songs are more upbeat, while the last five are also catchy, but slightly more melancholic, but still upbeat, in general, except the last one "My War/Broken Glass," which is a piano-type song. Hooray! Now even your little sister can say that she, too, likes "metal" music! Fantastic. I'm thrilled. Happy, happy, happy.  

www.season-of-mist.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CRIONICS - ARMAGEDDON'S EVOLUTION  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

What is cool about this band is that: 1) they play fast, blasting black metal; 2) they make their songs distinctive from one another, not relying on speed alone; 3) they add melody, but the type of melodies which are not clichťd/happy/overly sweet; it's subtle and slightly twisted. In addition, 4) the vocals are black, but there's a lot death in them, so fans of brutal death can totally get this; 5) the guitar work has plenty of creativity to spice up the huge barrage of noise. 6) The production is not garage, like those one-man projects. Sounds like a collective effort. There are a few other interesting things: they cover "The Loss and Curse of Reverence" by Emperor, which is probably the closest reference point, especially the "Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk" period. This Polish band uses synth, but the guitars always dominate. The synth is strictly background feel. Very promising, but not only that, they are already delivering in a serious way.  

www.crionics.rockmetal.art.pl  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CRISIS - "DEATHSHEAD EXTERMINATION"  

METAL BLADE  

Some people say this album is awesome. I do not agree. (Neither do I.) I don't know why this sounds like this band isn't saying much musically. For example, the voice, which is at times death metal, then suddenly becomes a soft spoken tone that keeps going back and forth every few seconds, it's actually annoying. (I agree.) I've listened to this 4 times and I find that the voice is not really an asset. To continue, the drumming is not very metal. It sounds like the style of the band that likes to play metal and other styles. Actually, to me, this sounds like a combination of techno, industrial, grunge, whatever, and metal. The guitar work hasn't caught my attention. You listen to this for your self and find out for your self, you might like it for your self. Any way, this sounds like unorganized chaos. (I didn't know chaos could be organized? - MIKE )  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

CRONIAN - Terra - CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

Made up of two people, ōystein G. Brun and Vintersorg, both from Borknagar ( Mr. V. is in, like, 800 other bands), but this project does not sound like B., just to clarify. Guitars, bass, programmed drumming and lots of "symphonics" result in a slow to mid-paced endeavor. Spacy at times, atmospheric often, and with V's unique vocals, clean and growled, the material is pretty mellow. If you don't mind it slow and moody, the release is explorable (Not really a word, but I like it! - Mike - 2006). Remember; no blasting speed this time.  

www.cronian.com  

www.centurymedia.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

CRYPTOPSY - "WHISPER SUPREMACY"  

Century Media  

"Whisper Supremacy"...how fitting. It certainly didn't shout it to me. This is good, worth buying even, but not supreme. I don't know why I couldn't get into this, maybe it was just my mood, because this definitely isn't a bad listen. Fuck it, I'm so tired, I hardly know what to say about this album, it kind of went in a fast, brutal blur. If you like Cryptopsy, you've probably already gotten this. But any brutal death metal fanatic will probably shoot their load over this, so I must recommend it. Totally fast, blasting, ultra-brutal death metal just isn't for me tonight I guess.  

Elisabeth 


DAGOBA - What Hell is About  

SEASON OF MIST RECORDS  

From the first song, it's plain this bunch from France loves four bands: Pantera, Sepultura, Fear Factory, and Machine Head. The guitar is chunky, chuggy and the vocals definitely in the Chaos A.D./Cavalera style. For this reason, it has not yet evolved enough to find its own sound. There's some electronica in the background and clear vocals, making it pretty trendy for the younger audience not too familiar with the group's influences.  

www.dagobaonline.com  

www.season-of-mist.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DAMN THE MACHINE - S/T  

A&M REC.  

The leader of this band is Chris Poland. The man most well known for his out-of-this- world guitar work/solos on MEGADETHS legendary "Peace Sells..." release. D.T.M, however is far from being thrashy band. This is most similar to the sound of a guitar hero who plays real songs within the context of traditional heavy metal. There's plenty of cool solos and riffs here, but it's not indulging. Like I said before, this is not thrashy at all. Hardly any double bass drumming is found here, no aggressive screaming, just singing. Most people reading this probably will not like this release because it is not heavy enough for them, but the more adventurous among you might find this release to be a good breather between your CANNIBAL C. and AUTOPSY.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

DAMNATION - DESTRUCTO EVANGELIA  

CANDLELIGHT/THREEMAN  

Featuring members of Entombed, Merciless and Unanimated, this black metal album is surprisingly tight, raw and varied (within reason). The basic Venom/Bathory/Motorhead styled guitar work sounds, as expected, simple. The surprise is that it sounds vibrant, not tired. The rawness is not ruined by a garage/punk sound, instead it is basic but upfront and strong. The vocals sound like old Venom/Sodom, not the screechy/annoying screaming. I think these vocals can appeal to both black and death people. Also, a lot of the time the speed of this thing is blasting.They cover Bathory's "Armageddon". It sounds good. When this album gets to the end, I feel like pressing "play" again. I would not have believed that these people could do something like this, but it's great to be proven wrong. Itís certainly more interesting than their full-time bands.  

www.threeman.net  

www.candlelightrecords.co.uk  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DARK DISCIPLE: UNHOLY HATE GORE  

MORBID REC.  

The cookie monster attacks again! This time it's in the form of Dark Disciple: major chugga-chugga/breakdown "riffing", some seriously awful toilet vomit growling, and monotonous, un-tight blasting. All the songs sound the same! Well, no, I should be honest: the songs don't all sound the same because the horror movie samples are different and they also don't always use the same curse words in the same order in every song. So, yes, the songs are different, you see!  

www.darkdisciple.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DARK MOOR - BEYOND THE SEA  

ARISE RECORDS  

Spain's Dark Moor has been around a while now and they are known for solid, melodic power metal. This time is no different: all the songs are packed with melody and power metal. The vocals are high, so keep that in mind. These songs probably get the traditional metal crowds singing along at the shows. It would be unfair to ask these bands to be completely original, I think. Sure, there's plenty of Iron Maiden and Helloween influence, but Dark Moor has its own sound. Do keep in mind that this is not that thrashy, it's melodic, not that heavy, but traditional.  

www.arisemetal.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DARK THRONE - "TOTAL DEATH"  

MOON FOG  

"Earth's Last Picture" started this newest release by one of the best known black metal bands in the scene. After the first few songs, I was very happy to hear that this album wasn't an album built for speed and pointless noise. The songs aren't played at light speed like the previous. These 8 tracks are definitely a sound of the past. What I mean by this, is that those who love "A Blaze In the Northern Sky", will really get into this. It has that same cold feeling that "A Blaze..." has. For those of you who care, Zephyrous has left the band. I'm sure those of you who care already know this, but just in case. I recommend this to all, especially if you did not like the previous.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

DARK TRANQUILLITY: CHARACTER  

CENTURY MEDIA  

The message is clear from the very first moment: "The New Build" opens the proceedings with blasting (yes, blasting) and thrashing like a bunch of young guys eager to create a powerful album like "The Gallery". The guitars are less down-tuned, in my opinion, than "Damage Done". The result is a crisp, sharper, thrashier feel that will have "The Gallery" fans smiling like fools. Overall, Dark Tranquillity has gone for a thrashy affair that keeps the electronics way in the background, which results in a more energetic mood, but still with the catchiness the band is known for. After some five spins the album begins to get even better than the initial feeling of relief that things are as they should be. That's right, not all the boys from Sweden have been listening to Linkin Park! Dark Tranquillity--interestingly enough!--has been listening to. Dark Tranquillity. Sometimes "stubbornness" is a good thing.  

www.darktranquillity.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DAYLIGHT DIES - Dismantling Devotion  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

The focus of these eight compositions, lasting more than 50 minutes in total, is general somberness. These requiems, to their advantage, are not so slow, but run at a steady, middle course highlighting the band's vision of melancholy and despondency shrouded in dark melodies. The tracks are carried by pleasantly gray, easy to recall notes; the drumming keeps active company to the guitar; the vocals, despite being "growled," though not wrathfully, are appropriate and fit the funereal aesthetic (occasional clean singing appears). This is probably the form of deathly doom with the widest appeal due to mid-paced and still gloomily song-orientation.  

www.daylightdies.com  

www.candlelightrecordsusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DEADBIRD - THE HEAD AND THE HEART  

EARACHE/CODEBREAKER RECORDS  

This band will destroy your hearing! This cd is ruining my cd player! I donít know how they recorded this, but whenever I put this thing on, the reverb is so bad, so distorted, it's actually quite similar to a live concert when you stand next to the speakers (and you're not wearing ear protection). It's difficult to hear anything clearly because it all just sounds like gigantic buzzing. Deadbird's music is thick and massively heavy, the guitar work is totally inspired by Black Sabbath "Master of Reality"-style of guitar sound and riffs; thick. Another reference point is bands like High on Fire and the other Relapse Records bands that specialize in that superdoom/stoner rock with screamed, semi-growled vocals. In addition, the band has quiet, acoustic-sounding moments to go along with the superheavy, plodding sounds. Now, if you want to know whether they are better than this or that band, I cannot help you because I'm no aficionado of superstoner/doom rock, but I do think this is solid, strong stuff. The Sabbath-y riffing is superb, but the vocals are screamed, sort of slow growling, which may or may not matter to people.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DEADHOLE - Curse of the Ghoul  

DEMO/ACID VICTIM RECORDS  

Sounds like death metal, but this copy is defective. It plays only an instant from song number one. The others don't play.  

www.freewebs.com/acidvictim  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DEADSOIL: THE VENOM DIVINE  

LIFEFORCE REC.  

Here we go: one more hardcore band, with the chugga-chugga lame breakdowns, lame stupid screaming, the boring and lazy guitar playing and the usual cursing to prove that they are not homosexuals. If you are tough, become a boxer, and then we'll see how tough you are. Stupid name, stupid white boys, stupid noise.  

www.deadsoil.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DEATH - " THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE"  

Nuclear Blast  

Yes folks, Alvin and the Chipmunks are back. Man, I just can not stand Chuck's voice! After "Spiritual Healing", his vocal approach just started getting higher and higher. This effort is no different. I don't know, maybe after a few listens I might get used to it, but for now, the vocals are just to strange for me. What can I say, it's Death. Brutal in their own way, and as always, with class. I wonder how long this lineup will stay together? The song that stood out the most, well to me anyway, is "Painkiller". Yes, a Judas P. cover. I was truly impressed with Chuck's vocals on this song, it was really cool to hear. Anyway, Melody, intelligent lyrics, come on, what can I say? It's Death.  

Mike  

 

 

 

DEATH ANGEL - THE ART OF DYING  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

This is an eclectic comeback of 80ís thrash, punk and rock/blues. "Word to the Wise" is a mellower track. Rob Cavestany (guitars) on vocals turns in a soulful performance. On "Land of Blood" bassist Dennis Pepa "sings" and is nothing special with the macho shouted stuff. On "Spirit" drummer Andy Galeon "sings". His vocals are whiny. The song is faster, mid-paced rock. The riffs are pretty generic, but the speed is supposed to hide that. "No" is straight up punk rock. Mark Osegueda sings here and on all the other tracks. "Thicker than Blood" is also punk; trying to be fast, but sounds a bit weak. Needs more bite. "Thrown to the Wolves" is old-school thrash: energetic, but the guitars sound thin. The drumming is pretty punk, also.  

www deathangel.com  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

DECEASED - "FEARLESS UN-DEAD MACHINES"  

Relapse  

You know, I've been tempted to get this little ditty for a few months now, and now I'm glad I did. These guys seem to be into the same horror stuff that fuels inspiration for a lot of my own fiction that I write. This CD, which boils down to a concept album, is based on the works of a few genius film makers, notably George A. Romero's trilogy "Night of the Living Dead", "Dawn of the Dead", and "Day of the Dead", and if you need to ask who he is, just put the shotgun in your mouth now for wasting our air, 'kay? Also, Lucio Fulci, who brought us a great epic of sheer blood shlock in "Zombie". Along with a few other films mentioned, the basic ingredients are thrown into a blender and mixed up into a tasty little hell-broth about the premise of corpses coming back to life to feed on the flesh and blood of the living. How cool can you get here?!? The effort starts off with a sample from "Night..." with the reporter talking about the "unburied dead returning to life and seeking out living victims" and slams you right between the eyes with opener "The Silent Creature". I just want to take a moment here to congratulate vocalist/drummer King Fowley (who also handles keyboards) on his visual and emotional lyrics. Track 2 is pretty much a spoken word song, but when you listen to it, you can just imagine hordes of rotting corpses shambling up the street towards your house, howling in half-dead agony and sheer hunger. The whole album is captivating in both lyrics and music, and it's a sad thing to say, but a lot of acts can only do one or the other and do it well. Of course, C.C. can't do either (I know Mike, I know!). King's vocals remind me a lot of a certain metal vocalist who also plays bass in a three-piece band who sings about a lot of that nifty devil stuff and Countesses of Bathorys and it sounds very convincing here as well. I'm not sure if he is influenced by Cronos, but it's pretty near identical. Yet somehow, he manages more of an homage than a rip-off, which is hard to do. Haven't heard too many Glen D. clones since he put his last album of....whatever. What the hell was he thinking? Asshole! Eight years of fandom and I get a NIN knock-off? At least the Misfits are still gods! Er, sorry about going off like that, I just can't help it sometimes. One thing I love about the sound of Deceased here is their style of old-school death metal. Fans of early Death and possessed just might get a kick out of this musically- technical yet heavy and fast at times band. They've been around for a while, but if you're new to this band, pick this one up first, you won't be disappointed! Just don't answer the clawing at the door, if it smells like something funky, don't answer it! It just might be your uncle Louis, fresh from the slab! A definite must have album!  

Torgo  

 

 

 

DEFINE DIVINE - S/T  

RULE ENTERTAINMENT  

Depending on your taste, music can sound like the work of a genius, a moron or a weirdo. Sometimes some bands just sound positively weird. To me, this band sounds pretty strange. I don't know if they are genius or just plain annoying. I find that this band just annoys me at times. Hint: I don't like music that annoys me. Then, there are moments that I can tell this band is trying to be creative, but I'm not feeling it. Here's my general impression: within the context of a song this band will have tribal-sounding music, then it will sound like stoner rock uncontrollably pushing towards nu- metal territory, soon the song just sounds tripped out and spacy. That's just the music. The vocals can be angry screaming, then stoner rock clean vocals, then processed voices through special effects and the like.  

www.definedivine.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DEMONOID: RIDERS OF THE APOCALYPSE  

NUCLEAR BLAST  

This is a side project from Therion. The music on here is pretty traditional metal, which combines thrash/power riffing with some death metal riffing and guttural, growled vocals. The guitar work is pretty crisp and clear, not too downtuned. The songs are not generic and this is certainly not bad by any stretch of the imagination. However, I don't take this project too seriously because, for one thing, this does not sound like people who are giving it their all. It does sound like a project, even though it's a decent project with catchy songs.  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DEMONS & WIZARDS - TOUCHED BY THE CRIMSON KING  

STEAMHAMMER/SPV RECORDS  

Since the man singing here is Blind Guardian's Hansi KŁrsch and the man playing guitars is Iced Earth's Jon Schaffer, this does sound like a combination of both bands, but still different. Morrisound studios owner Jim Morris plays the guitar solos on this album, while Bobby Jarzombek is behind the drum kit. One thing is for sure, though, the Jon Schaffer riff is in full force here: you know, the riding-on-horseback, galloping thrashy riff. Some people have complained that the Jon Schaffer riff is too repetitive. All I can tell you is that this is Jon playing like Jon plays. On the other hand, there are plenty of calmer, acoustic-sounding, ballad-y moments. Jim Morris' guitar solos do sound Pink Floyd-ish and melodic. They give the album another important element. What about Hansi's singing? Hansi sounds like Hansi: good, sort of gritty, traditional metal singing. They cover a piece called "Immigrant Song" by some unheard-of blues-rock band called Led Zeppelin.  

www.spv.de  

www.spvusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DEPRESY - "A SIGHTING"  

SHINDY PRODUCTIONS  

Another band from Slovakia these guys are filled with so much talent I can't help but be impressed. They call theirselves "Spritual Death Metal" and to me thats definately accurate. This album and their previous "A Grand Magnificance" are both excellent, a perfect combination of brutality, guitar harmonies, and utter musical sadness combined with deep and screaming vocals. Very emotional music from these guys from overseas, I recommend this highly to any fan of intricate Death Metal music, this band deserves recognition.  

Rogue (Special thanks to Martin "Shindy" Brzobohaty of Shindy Productions in Slovakia for sending me this album, thanks a million dude!!)  

 

 

 

DESCEND / ALL THAT IS EVIL - SPLIT RELEASE  

Cutting Edge Records  

These Cleveland, Ohio bands both offer four songs apiece mainly in the death metal vein. Descend have a little sicker sounding attack to their tracks which include "Unseen", "Visions to Come" and "To Infinity we Shall Fall". All That Is Evil have a more straight forward approach. Songs include; "Peril at Sea", "I am Wolf" and "Her Only Wish". Both bands are pretty good, but nothing really new to be heard here.  

6.5 - Graveworm  

 

 

 

DESIRE - "INFINITY... A TIMELESS JOURNEY THROUGH AN EMOTIONAL DREAM"  

SKY FALL RECORDS  

One day, I decided to go to this underground metal shop 4 hours away from where I live, and boy, was it ever a mistake. Let me just say that I had just received a new credit card with a limit of $1.000! Any way, when I was looking through the CD, I gazed upon a CD and couldn't read the name of the band. When I saw the cover, a woman holding a crow by the ocean, and when I finally saw the bands name, I said to myself, "Hmmm...I bet this is going to be a depressing band." So I bought it. To my surprise, it was very doomy. The songs are really long, imagine that, and pretty atmospheric. The songs are put like chapters in a book. Chapter 1, prologue - chapter 7, epilogue. 3 of the songs are over 10 min. long which at times drug out, but not because they became boring, I'm just a bit impatient with this style of music sometimes. For example, it took me probably 20 listens before "Forest Of Equilibrium" became well know to me. I am yet to engulf the entire "sadness" of this disc. but I will comment on it from what I know. The vocals range from a deep emotional growl, to a high pitched type growl similar to a black metal vocalists style. To go along with the extreme vocal styles, are some female vocals that are popular in this style of atmospheric and depressing music. Added to the mood are some keyboard segments that are really atmospheric and are used in a great dark matter. Any way, this album is really cool and could probably be used to meditate to. If into the first CATHEDRAL and old MY DYING BRIDE and old PARADISE L., check this out.  

MIKE  

SKY FALL RECORDS, RUA ALFREDO GUISADO No 10 - 3o - 1500, LISBOA, PORTUGAL  

 

 

 

DESPISED ICON - THE HEALING PROCESS  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

This is an effort to get its audience jumping around, moshing and slamming. It says: "Society thinks you are a jackass and a loser for liking this noise. Well, you are a jackass. We, too, are jackasses." This is music for the moshpit because you would be silly if you try to argue that this band actually has "musical" talent. The two vocalists bark like vicious dogs, with cupped-microphone gore vocals; the guitars all about the chugga-chugga breakdowns; that's combined with blastbeats. If when you go to shows, you go to get drunk and act like an idiot (You're not feeling "insulted" are you? Don't get all "dignified" and "proper" now. You're the one that likes Dying Fetus, after all.), this band should make you smile (like an idiot). Yes, they chugga-chugga and breakdown like there's no tomorrow.  

www.despisedicon.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DESTRUCTOR - "MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION"  

Listenable Records  

The front of this CD is a portrait of the band members (which is a re-release from back in the "dark ages", har, har.), they look about as cheesy as can be. They look sooo cheesy, in fact, that I automatically assumed they would sound just as bad, and dismissed this CD as crap before I even listened to it. Boy, was I wrong! This album kicked my wimpy girly ass about six ways to Sunday! This is incredibly good, well played, smash- fucking metal!!! I can't believe I have never heard of this band before. I feel like such a dork! In any case, you must get this CD if you claim to be a metal fan, your trueness depends on it, ha, ha! Run to your friendly metal distributor and cough up the bucks for this masterpiece NOW!!  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

DEVILINSIDE: PRELUDE  

ABACUS/CENTURY MEDIA  

Jaime Gonzales curses like a sailor. Yeah, he's real tough: "Look, ma: I say bad words!!" "Bad, bad boys; bad, bad boys, what you gonna do?, what you gonna do when they come for you?" This is lame hardcore. I can't wait for the day when people stop paying attention to this trendy, trendy garbage. I suppose there some hardcore bands that are ok, like Trivium, but this is so generic.  

www.devilinsidemafia.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DEVILYN -"ANGER"  

LISTENABLE RECORDS  

This Polish death metal band has it together. Their sound is tight, controlled aggression. These guys remind me a little of the first Morbid Angel release. Of course they don't have the creativity of Morbid Angel, but then again who does? The drums are clear, loud, and organized. This gives this band an edge, because whatever is going on, the drums keep it all together. The voice is death metal. Not original, but done well. The guitars simply shred, very professional. There are a few things that will take Devilyn to greater glory: more originality and creativity in the guitar solos and more original vocals. If those 2 things happen, Devilyn will conquer even more.  

LIEFF  

Lieff is correct by saying that this band isn't original and that they sound like Morbid A. to certain degrees. Well, I agree with the M. A. part, but definitely not from the "Altars of Madness" album. This is a cross between "Domination" and definitely "Covenant". The song "Millennium" is a total rip-off of "Rapture", especially closer to the end of the song. The production, the drum work, some guitar solos, various vocal attacks, etc.. One could have actually been tricked if someone had told them that this was the new Morbid A. after Vincent Pantie wod was dismissed. The thing is, no matter how unoriginal this release is, it is an enjoyable listen. The thing that stood out the most to me was the bass player. It reminded me of Mr. Digiorgio at times, with his funky ass self. Any way, if a fan of brutal death metal ala Morbid A., check this out.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

DEW OF NOTHING - "DOUBLEUEIRD"  

Sempiternal Productions  

Dew of Nothing, a technical death metal band from Mexico, who specialize in complex sounds, with plenty of frenzy speed. The sound is great: clear bass, up-front drumming, dyzzing guitar, and the traditional death metal vocals. This is an intense exercise in musicality that will impress with its ability to shred. This is also enjoyable, not just technical. Actually, this is fast death metal, but it's the other elements that make it different. This band combines the best elements of fast death metal, with technical sounds. The one department that could be more original, is the voice, not that it's bad though, just not that original. Where they will go from here? It looks like it can only get up, better, and more exciting!  

Lieff  

 

 

DIABOLOS RISING - "666"  

OSMOSE  

This release kicks so much ass! Hypnotizing, especially the song, "Vinnum Sabbati". Very gothic sounding with a diabolicos twist. As some of you might know, Magus and Mika are the 2 members in this twisted and psychotic project. This is a lot different than IMPALED N. and NECROMANTIA, not your ordinary sound. So much feeling, dark feeling, is put into this project. "Give Me Blood or Give Me Death" is so fucking atmospheric and is an excellent song. Different moods are put into this song. The beginning, creeping up on you, slowly. When you think it is going to burst into a fast chaotic frenzy or something, it jumps into this atmospheric piece full of keyboards. An excellent piece. Then the ending of the song just feels like your soul is slipping away. Well, that's what it felt like to me. The song is about a vampire. This release is from 1994, and I still want to hear the other releases, but I just bought this last year. Another thing I must note, song #6 is called "666", but there is nothing there! I do not know if all the CD are that way, Hmmmmmm....? For all who enjoy listening to dark and obscure blasphemies, this is a must have!  

MIKE  

 

 

 

DIECAST: TEARING DOWN YOUR BLUE SKIES  

CENTURY MEDIA  

One thing is obvious; Diecast is one of the better hardcore bands. The guitar work is not all chugga-chugga and they don't spend all their time doing breakdowns. The vocals are not annoying, either. It shows they are trying to do something different with this style, adding clean vocals and melodies. However, this is still only for hardcore fans.  

www.bhcdiecast.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DIO: MASTER OF THE MOON  

SANCTUARY RECORDS  

Fans of traditional hard rock/metal should give this album a listen. At first, I was thinking this is kind of boring, since I'm no fan of this music. After a few listens, however, the songs become more likable, with their mid-paced beat. The vocals are really good and the guitar work, while not world-shattering, does have a charm to it. Just keep in mind that this is more hard rock than metal.  

www.ronniejamesdio.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

(DIS)FIGURED - "PRELUDE TO DEMENTIA"  

Sevared Rec.  

New York's Dis-figured are really good at what they do, too bad a lot of other bands do the same. (Broken Hope, Infest Dead, Suffocation, get the point?) They've got more than a few elements of all those bands. Don't get me wrong, they definitely kick ass, it's just nothing you haven't heard before.  

Cyric  

 

 

 

DISBELIEF - 66SICK  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

The sound is huge, fat, downtuned and mid-tempo with growled vocals. The vocals are painful growling, unusually oldschool, recalling Death circa Leprosy, early Morgoth or any Obituary release. I imagine that this is music made for the live environment: it has that feel that seeks to get your head bobbing and your body moving. Also, this is actually pretty basic (no big element of keyboards or things like that). The drums, guitars and vocals are really all there is. There is a little bit of spoken-like vocals, some singing, but this is by far growling-dominated. The music is dark, and as already mentioned, has a fat sound. Beneath the thick guitars, there is a dry-melodic riff running throughout. Personally, I find this particular type of vocals to be excellent and flawless, as I adore that Death-Morgoth-Obituary growling. On the other hand, I dislike the chug-dominant guitar sound of this band. The more melodic guitar parts do work, but the chug doesn't as much. I also donít care for the simple, breakdown-based drumming.  

www.disbelief.de  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DISLOCATION - INEXORABLE DEVASTATION  

PRO-PULSE RECORDS  

Not fancy: it is difficult to be lavish when the whole purpose of the music is to achieve a mosh-friendly guttural, blasting, chugging death. Even though there is constant blasting happening, the band uses a tiny bit of melody and some breakdowns, as well as little things to make sure the songs are not one-dimensional speed. A love of Suffocation is pretty obvious throughout the album, but more variety in their brutality. However, unlike said band, Dislocation is strictly minor league death. This is a band singing in French, with some English here and there, but it sounds all the same: animal growling with no discernible language. There is really not much to say, except that the band is just keeping it real, guttural and brutal.  

www.propulserecords.tk  

www.dislocationdeathmetal.tk  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DISMEMBER: LIVE BLASPHEMIES (DVD)  

ESCAPI  

This 2-disc release features a concert from 2003 and a second disc with an interview and older live footage. The concert sounds clear and very traditional Swedish death metal, the buzz-saw in full force. The band sounds on. There's classic stuff, like "Dismembered," "Soon to Be Dead," etc., as well as "Hate Campaign," "Casket Garden," and "Misanthropic." The show could be longer because they have more good songs.  

The old footage goes back to the really early days, before the debut. The interview is interesting, too. The band goes over some history. It was a good idea to have two discs because just one would have been too short. As it is, it's a nice package. If you have seen Dismember often, then this won't be special, but since most people in the U.S. don't get a chance to see them, this will prove to be useful.  

www.escapi.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DISSECTION - MAHA KALI  

ESCAPI MUSIC  

If you buy this, you're paying money for one song. There are two songs: "Maha Kali" and a new version of "Unhallowed". The new song, even though it has a demo production, sounds very promising: Jon NŲdtveidt's voice is in top shape, like on the old albums. The guitar work is unmistakable Dissection: dark, twisted, black/death riffing with somber melody running throughout. Jon's growl is excellent black metal and death metal at the same time. His growl is, simply put, among the very best. The remake sounds very good, too. So, do you want to pay for one new song?  

www.dissection.nu  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DIVINE EMPIRE- "DOOMED TO INHERIT"  

(label?)  

When I first heard this band I had one thought: Its a Malevolent Creation clone. After getting this album I didn't expect it to actually in my opinion to be far better than the new Malevolent Creation. Its a much better mix of speed and slow grind than their previous efforts and I definately give it a thumbs up. Deep vocals, good song structures and pummeling, inventive drumming created by Alex Marquez (ex-Malevolent Creation) made this one far better than I expected. Keep going in this direction guys.  

Rogue  

 

 

 

DIVINE REGALE -"OCEAN MIND"  

Metal Blade  

Divine Regale play what some people inaccurately call; pompous, egocentric, annoying metal of the Dream Theatre type. The voice is Dream T. like. Real singing, but I think that if you have the ear for it, you will hear a really talented bunch of guys who play complex-catchy music that one could call a modern version of the old Rush sound. Every song stands by itself. This band isn't trying to prove they are metal, the music speaks for itself; clear, professional, musical, complex, progressive metal. These guys music can be appreciated, but you must expand beyond cheesy death metal, otherwise you'll be in totally over your head. Yes, try this and listen well.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

DIVINITY DESTROYED - EDEN IN ASHES  

SCREAMING FERRET WRECKORDS  

This album was recorded in 2002 and it's being released in 2005. In theory, what this band is doing makes no sense. However, when I listen to it, it does make sense. It works. It doesn't matter that the album is barely 30 minutes of music. Well, let's see. Here's a sort of play by play of one song just to show you. "Empty the Sky," song number six. 0:00-:25: quick repetition of catchy melodic metal riff. The keyboards begin to enter and the drums begin to get going, the song takes off. 0: 25-:40: the song is jamming along, in a metal/headbanging speed. The guitar tone is some sort of downtuned/death/thrash. 0:40-:45: the guitar gives way to a thumping, bass-driven beat and soon the singing (clean, clear, but not air-raid siren) begins while the cool, heavy beat is going. Catchy little ditty. At about 1:00 the guitar returns and the rhythm is more, straight metal riffing. You can hear the bass and the keyboards in the background quite clearly. This continues until 1:40 when the song returns to the bass beat and then alternates with the more guitar-y parts until 2:16. Then another bass-driven part comes in while the singing turns into whispering. Then the song seems to end. At 2:40 the song continues with some bass and drum work, helped along by a nice, little guitar ditty. At about 3:20 the guitar breaks into lightning, finger-bleeding guitar solo, then switches the solo to a slower, catchier part. The guitar is kind of singing. 3:50: the song returns to the main, headbanging rhythm and double-bass, frantic speed and the singing breaks into all-out death/black metal growling. The song ends at about 4:05. This may not sound very unusual or great when I describe it. That's simply because I write badly. This band is some sort of metal hybrid with melodic metal/singing and growling with thrashing parts, melancholic, moody, emotional moments. I'm pleasantly surprised and impressed. I thought I was going to hate this band for trying to do too much in a song, but they make it work. It works!  

www.divinitydestroyed.com  

www.screamingferret.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DOMAIN - LAST DAYS OF UTOPIA  

LIMB MUSIC PRODUCTS  

I could listen to this album for weeks and weeks on end and still enjoy it. This traditional metal band is about melody and mood. Where many heavy/power metal bands choose to play fast for most of the album, this bunch concentrates on the midpaced rhythms, lots of hooks and melodic vocals. To these ears, the vocals sound similar in feel to Edguy, as well as older singers, like Joe Lynn Turner and Glenn Hughes. This band has more in common with 1980s Black Sabbath and 1980s Rainbow than with power metal. Obviously, there is a power metal element going on here, but the speed is not that important here. The first few times I heard this I thought it sounded boring and oldschool. Well, it's traditional, but after a few listens, I got it and I think that this is good, catchy stuff. They have ballads and "The Great Rebellion" has a main riff very similar to Saxon's "Unleash the Beast". It doesn't really matter. They are not claiming to be original. They are good, though.  

www.limb-music.de  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DOOMTREE - DOWN BELOW  

LONG LIVE CRIME RECORDS  

The vocals are, if you must know, a bit nasal, and at times, brought to mind Billy Idol and at others, Glen Danzig. The guitar work and solos are simple, as is the drumming, but what drives this rowdy rock & roll is attitude: a dirty, booze, barroom, smoking & drinking type of mentality. The band says that they recorded this in their bedrooms and basements, but it sounds gritty, like it's supposed to be. This is 33.3% punk rock, 33.3% dirty rock and 33.3 % jerks with whom you would not want to be friends with because they would steal your money and your television when you fall asleep.  

Bastards.  

www.doomtree.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DRAGONFORCE - SONIC FIRESTORM  

NOISE/SANCTUARY RECORDS  

The previous "Valley of the Damned" made Dragonforce well known among power metal fans and critics. It was overwhelming in speed, power, catchiness and talent. It sounded fresh and they automatically were put in the same category as the heavy hitters of the genre, such as Helloween, Gamma Ray, Sonata Arctica, Edguy, Lost Horizon and Kamelot. Is this second album great? Yes, absolutely. The tightness of the band is awesome and the sheer speed of their brand of glorious power metal is a pure listening pleasure. The super-fast soloing, the metal singing, the riffing and the drumming is all here again. This time around the band relies on all-out beat-blasting in certain sections and it works very well. Of course, Dragonforce is more than just speed, as the album has lots of melody all over the place, as on "Dawn over a New World". I wish this album were 24-hours long, instead of just one. Power metal haters and metal-corers need stay far away!  

www.dragonforce.com  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

DREAMAKER - ENCLOSED  

RISE ABOVE RECORDS  

Spain's Dreamaker have a lot to offer: memorable songs, variety, punch, crunchy guitar work, energetic drumming and strong singing. The double bass and the punch of the guitars mix very well with Elisa C. MartŪn's voice. I'm surprised at how much better the album gets with each listen. "Perfect Soul" starts out with a blasting part, which then turns in a double-bass thrash barrage of lower, male vocals alternating with Elisa's gutsy singing. That song is not an oddity, either. The range of songs is something to notice, too, which goes from midpaced heavy metal to thrash. Their sound does not have anything particularly national; it's just punchy power metal. There are many good traditional metal bands that just don't get much press in North America because there's always some trend that people get suckered into, like cheesy rap rock passing off as metal or predictable Pantera clones playing hardcore or whatever.  

www.arisemetal.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

DROGHEDA -"CELEBRATING FIVE YEARS OF VIOLENCE" / "POGROMIST"  

WILD RAG  

First of all, if I'm not mistaken, Drogheda has said to be anti-mosh grind stuff. But from the times I've seen them live, and from listening to this release, I think some of their songs can actually be very moshable in my opinion. You might have noticed that I also put the "Pogromist" release on the same review, why? There isn't really going to be some long in-depth review to this, because this can be explained in simple words. This is fast/slow grind, that can be enjoyable to listen to if in the right mood. Dual vocal approach is also noticeable and well done. This is alright stuff. The "Celebrating Five..." release is a perfect release to buy if interested in hearing old and new material from this extreme band.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

DROGHEDA - S/T  

WILD RAGS  

I didn't expect this release to sound like this. I knew it was different sounding than the Drogheda of today, but I wasn't expecting this. This is a totally different sound than the grinding noise that Drogheda is good for. The vocals somewhat reminded me of Aaron from old My Dying B. at times, and on other songs it didn't. The music can vary from slow doomy music with somewhat of a monotonous sound, to a faster song that is also somewhat monotonous. It isn't all that, but some of the songs were alright. If you've heard the most rescent releases of Drogheda, and did not like them, check this one out, you actually might.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

DUNGEON - ONE STEP BEYOND  

LIMB MUSIC PRODUCTS  

"The Power Within" opens the album: double-bass, high scream, loud, victory-drunk heavy metal. The song is a high-energy exercise in metal power. The chorus is melodic and the vocals change pitch to a more subdued mood. The guitar solos are as wanted: shredding bits, harmony bits and working well within the context of the song. The chorus after the solo has another minisolo in the background. "Against the Wind" is supercatchy: opening with a melodic guitar minisolo, then comes the singing while you hear only the bass and drums, then kick in the guitars, a main riff, with a second more melodic layer behind it. The singing and the riffing really, really work here. The guitar solos are good, again, fast bits, melodic bits, and the song begins to head to the end with lots of multi-layered singing. "Surface Tension" sports a near-thrash, stomp, stomp, stomp that has all the main heavy metal moves on display: explosive, fast guitar solo, an strong sense of high energy, midrange vocals with higher parts for the chorus and in-your-face drumming. This is song number seven, but it could have opened the proceedings. The last song, "Under the Cross" has galloping riffs, combined with melodic background guitar layers. The singing here is slightly more melodic, while the song has that triumphant, we-want-to-end-the-album-on-a-high-note feeling. Five minutes into the song appear the guitar solos, some bits fast, other bits nice, metal noodling, and then here comes the "oh-oh-oh"/metal chanting. OK, you get the picture: this band relies on the guitars and singing to create a feeling of triumph and melody. Plenty of near-thrash riffing and double-bass drumming. While not some great revelation, this band is obviously is big on playing the music they love: heavy metal with a sense of victorious feel.  

www.limb-music.de  

Mauricio Araniva 


EAT THE EVIDENCE V/A VOL. 2  

MORTAL COIL REC.  

By now, you should be acquainted with the quality stuff that Mortal Coil Rec. has consistently been releasing. This second compilation offers yet another chance to find out about some of the underground's best. Included this time around are: Insatanity, Lividity, Disfigured, Splattered Cadaver, Sanguinary, Skinned, Immortal Suffering, Komatose, Myself Am Hell, Adnauseum, Evil Divine, Possession, Garden of Shadows, Deadpornstar, Dark Ages, Drawn and Q., and Gorge. This comp comes highly recommended by me, and especially if you are looking for an introduction to the scathing world of underground death. For only $5.00, you get a copy of the comp and a cool 1/2 size, pro. printed zine that goes with it and gives info on all the bands, plus a couple of interviews. What are you waiting for?  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

EDGUY - Rocket Ride  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

A division of moods of this "mid-paced-heavy-metal-with-hard-rock-moments" is as follows. The mid-paced but rocking, terrific tracks: "Sacrifice," "Rocket Ride," "The Asylum" and "Out of Vogue." They will please those enjoying albums before the German stars distanced themselves from power metal with "Hellfire Club." The "big time rock": "Wasted Time," "Save Me" (a ballad) and "Superheroes" are updated versions of White Snake, Def Leppard, etc. They are very poppy. "Matrix" is mid-paced hard rock, not really metal. Not bad, but ultimately suffers from boringness because it lacks energy. "Catch of the Century" is upbeat, poppy, rocking glam. The goofy moments are: "Trinidad" which is silly rock, like Aerosmith, Van Halen, etc. The last number is the unfortunately-named "Fucking with Fire," more glam.  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

www.edguy.nu  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

EKTOMORF - INSTINCT  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

"Nu metal" and hardcore are the backbone of this chug/breakdown-oriented, Max Cavalera/Soulfly-inspired band. From the picture, they look like many of those dreadlocked, goat-teed bands. Of course, they curse every time they get a chance in a song, talking smack about people who talk smack about them, how people lie and are dishonest and rip-offs. Apparently, they are keeping it real by playing metalcore in 2005. Yeah, they talk about how tough they are, how determined they are, how real they are, how angry they are, etc. Furthermore, if you curse in every song, it means that you cannot possibly be a trendy bandwagon-jumping faker, right? Is this good? To me, this sounds just as good or better than Hatebreed or Chimara, etc. It's good, if you like that type of music. Basically, if you like the bands that Revolver magazine considers metal music, then you should be comfortable with this.  

www.ektomorf.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

EMPEROR - "IX EQUILIBRIUM"  

Century Media  

It is almost ridiculous trying to explain with words what this actually sounds like. This is of course, getting classified as "black metal" (and Emperor would have to sell out completely before they really shake that "label"), but this is not black metal. It has a black metal musical foundation, but you also get a symphonic sound of atmosphere, crystal-clear guitar-driven-marching music, great riffs, nice "lead" work, and all sorts of vocals, from a low-end death metal voice, to a high-end (yes, like Judas Priest, okay?) vocal approach, and even a monk-chant type approach. Complex is a pretty good description, and this release can not be understood with one listen. Finally, this is different, naturally, than "In the Nightside Eclipse", but somehow this release is no surprise. This is more like a progression, top quality metal!  

Lieff  

 

 

 

EMPEROR - "EMPERIAL LIVE CEREMONY"  

Candlelight  

The name of this band has been spoken from many mouths, and for good reason. Over time, Emperor has shown that they completely grasp the concept of "black metal." Each release is a promise of blistering blast beats, absolutely insane guitar work, and "I've got a pineapple stuck in my throat that I can't swallow" vocals. (Nice way of describing the vocals!) This CD has nine well picked live tracks, two interactive screen savers (bios., discography, etc..) And the exclusive "I am the Black Wizards" video. The sound quality for this live disc is uncomparable! I was a troubled child, this CD fell in my lap, and now I'm better.  

Claxton  

 

 

 

ENTWINE - DIEVERSITY  

MAGICK RECORDS  

Entwine specialize in coming up with melancholic, grey, happy-in-misery, very catchy, upbeat, goth rock songs that are poppy and so sad at the time. How is the singing? Well, Mr. Juan Rivera, who knows and loves Lacuna Coil and Sentenced and this type of music, says that the singing is "girly, but it's good!" And as far as I know, the singer of this band belongs to the male sex. And good this is. The songs are ridiculously catchy, sweet and goth rock. This band sounds so happy sounding so sad. The songs are pretty short, around 3-4 minutes. The ten songs on here go by quickly because they are melodic. Oh, just in case: this is not slow music; it's upbeat, rocking, with pretty upfront guitars and active drumming, often emphasized with double bass. The record company claims that fans of HIM and 69 Eyes will like this band. I cannot say about that because I don't know those other two bands. I'll say this, if you like sad-but-happy goth stuff, often Finnish, you should enjoy the living daylights out of this album. Oh, yes, of course, the band dresses in black and dark colors (keeping it real, yo!) and has black, goth hair (except for the one funny-looking, E.T. member who has a bald head).  

www.entwine.org  

www.magickrecords.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

EPHEL DUATH - PAIN NECESSARY TO KNOW  

EARACHE/ELITIST RECORDS  

Some people want to hear something in-your-face weird, anti-song-oriented, and deliberately made to challenge your tolerance for nonlinear structures. If you think that you are one of those people, you are about to find out whether you are for real or not. Jazzy mellow guitar, then jazzy drumming, then wacky guitar sounds, annoying space technology-type of sounds. Then there are mellow pauses of bass and faint guitar, jazz guitar sounds, funky bass, stop/start. Mini drum solo, stop/start, silence, mellow guitar, and then finally senseless screaming, now the lounge mellow rock and yelling converge. Several stop/start moments, the yelling and the music don't fit, but they keep trucking anyway. Another pause, mellow, spacy guitar and non-riffs are spewed out; the yelling seems to jump into this thing at random. The yelling followed by pauses and mellow soundscapes is common. The guitar breaks into very brief jazz solos, bells ring, more bells, and then silence. At any rate, this is called "Few stars, no refrain and a cigarette" and "Crystalline Whirl". Do you know what the radio sounds like when you are flipping through all the stations? Well, this will give you a similar sensation, except that in this case all the stations play tripped out jazz, mellow jazz, jazz rock, jazz metal-core. Weird stuff. Are they trying to make the most ridiculously annoying album ever?  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

EVERGREEN TERRACE - SINCERITY IS AN EASY DISGUISE IN THIS BUSINESS  

EULOGYRECORDINGS  

This band plays memorable, easy-to-get-into, melodic hardcore balanced out with some harder riffs and scream vocals. The songs revolve around hooks and melodies. Fans of melodic hardcore will be pleased because the band tries and succeeds in creating straightforward, upbeat songs that take only a couple of listens to like. The pop hardcore sound is mixed with the harsher vocals, which are present in every song, but the melodic vocals dominate overall. The guitar also follows a similar structure: the harder parts always work with melodic riffs for a memorable combination. A lot of hardcore lacks melody and goes for the constant breakdown, mosh parts. This is definitely not the case here. This isn't breakdown-centered, melody's important.  

www.evergreenterracehc.com  

www.eulogyrecordings.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

EXMORTEM - NIHILISTIC CONTENTMENT  

EARACHE RECORDS  

Earlier albums have not really impressed me as particularly great. Make no mistake, this is brutal death, fast and blast, with guttural vocals and lots of dark riffs. I have heard this album what has to be some fifteen times now. It's not clicking. As soon as it stops playing, everything seems to fade away. Maybe I should not expect to remember anything. Sometimes that's cool, too. So, to write to this review, I have to be listening to it, like I am right now when I write this. It seems to me that this band has gotten more technical and complex, showing an evolving sound. They have a somewhat dissonant edge to them, while retaining a total blunt-force feel. I believe they are improving, but unfortunately, the songs are just not awesome. Put it this way: when I finish writing this review, I will put this away.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

EXODUS: SHOVEL - HEADED KILL MACHINE  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

Where I stand on Exodus albums: I like "Bonded by Blood," but I don't care too much for "Pleasures of the Flesh". "Fabulous Disaster" has some truly excellent songs and guitar work, but it also has not so hot stuff, like "Cajun Hell." I wish some of those songs weren't on there. "Impact Is Imminent" is a furious, shredding force of mediocre songs; just not so good. "Force of Habit" is an album that I bought and got rid of pretty quickly, if I remember correctly. It had no power, as far as I was concerned. Nowadays I only own "Bonded". I was not expecting much from this album. I actually did not like it at first. However, after several listens, I have changed my mind: this is a powerful, exciting, fresh, roaring work, with strong and quality songs. True, the song titled "Going, Going, Gone" has a dumb name that made someone I know say "How lame!" upon reading the title. The screamer, Rob Dukes, does sound a bit like Steve Souza, but he sounds way more committed, more genuine than Mr. Souza. Lee Altus, known for his work with Heathen, a bunch of Exodus-inspired thrashers, has now joined his favorite band. I think this album shows that it's a good idea to have him here. Paul Bostaph, best known for his famous drumming with the Rolling Stones and the Ramones (among others), is a monster on drums here. Overall, there is an abundance of energy and a thrashing power on this release: dazzling solos, shredding riffs, and good songs with very little melody. The band sounds re-energized. It's ugly, blunt, unsweetened thrash.  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

www.exodusattack.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

EYES OF FIRE - ASHES TO EMBERS  

CENTURY MEDIA  

This is music for when wrestling fans get depressed. Did you know The Rock has "feelings", too? Itís for people into depression and anger. I donít like this for a few reasons: the guitar work is a boring chug. The band relies more on electronica/ambient sounds. The vocals donít convince me, either, especially the "tough guy with feelings" screaming, which sounds out of place. I donít like the "victim of love" lyrics, like Pantera doing love songs, sounds artificially emotional.  

www.eyesoffire.us  

Mauricio 


F2RC - "RAPTURE OF THE DEEP"  

Nervecenter Recordings  

This is a concept album based on the fixations of a suicidal deap-sea diver, a really kool concept if you ask me. Musically, this is electronic noise for the thinking person. By that I mean that this CD is far more thought-out than the average the average "electronic noise" project. There is emotion, texture, depth, and clarity, making this on the very accessible end of experimental music. I totally loved this CD, and I recommend it to anyone into ambient, noise, industrial, electronics, etc... or if you're just looking for something new and different, this could be it.  

Elisabeth  

Nervecenter Recordings, P.O. Box 40358, Redford, MI. 48240-0358  

 

 

 

FALLEN WISDON - IMMORTAL  

SELF-RELEASED  

There are short (often funny/whachy-sounding) guitar solos and double-bass drumming, but that doesn't mean that this is not punk rock: raw, rough & tumble, rumbling punk rock. Punk rock purists might be upset. They are always upset, anyway: if it's not that the local grocery clerk's mohawk is not punk enough, it's that the masses don't know every single detail about the life of Bakunin.  

Fallen Wisdom's music is loud and pretty obnoxious; the vocalist sounds like a drunken lunatic screamer who loves his Misfits/Glen Danzing: (I Need Your) "Plasma" could be a Misfits song. In addition, the album has a drunken, rowdy sound, that of a garage recording. Oh, just in case: Fallen Wisdom is NOT hardcore/metalcore. It's punk rock with traditional punk vocals (NOT growled) and simple, upbeat, fast (NOT way, way fast) drumming. They are Puerto Rican, sing in English and play punk. Like your mama said: beware of crazy Puerto Ricans playing punk rock!! Next thing you know, they'll be taking over baseball. Wait. Never mind  

www.fallenwisdom.com  

www.justrockpr.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

FATES WARNING -" A PLEASANT SHADE OF GRAY"  

METAL BLADE  

Fates Warning has a truly original, glorious, and proud history, well, during the 1980's any way. This band was of such level, that their releases, such as "Awaken the Guardian" or "The Spectre Within", belong in the "Secret Treasures" category. This "Shade of Gray" is simply unbelievable. It is just beyond comprehension. Listening to it can be an experience that cannot be explained. This release is a 12-part song that takes you would've never thought this band go into; the land of slow, uninspired, extremely boring, simple, mediocre, soft, adult contemporary rock. More disappointed, one cannot be. Fates Warning should call it quits before they shame and embarrass themselves out of existence. Awful!  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

FEAR MY THOUGHTS - HELL SWEET HELL  

LIFEFORCE RECORDS  

This band has an advantage over a lot of metalcore bands because they get away from the obligatory breakdowns and stupid screaming. Instead, the band has a lot more melodic, traditional metal to offer. It's almost like they have lost the core and sound very much like melodic Swedish thrash with growled vocals. The guitar work can clearly be heard and it's pretty creative, thrashy and melodic. Fans of old In Flames (who still want to hear more music in that style) will want to investigate. It's a bit like a continuation of the music spirit found in "Colony," "Clayman," etc. I'm not saying that this is a masterpiece, so keep your shirt on. The vocals are death metal growls with higher, more black metal-ish parts. This album is quite impressive. It's good and creative. It's melodic thrash. In the picture, the band members look like a bunch of hardcorers. This album is on Lifeforce Records and the company promotes them as hardcorers. This music is catchy melodic thrash metal with growled vocals with only slight elements of core.  

www.fearmythoughts.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

FINAL BREATH - LET ME BE YOUR TANK  

MAGICK RECORDS  

Straight-up, traditional, to-the-point thrash that piles the riffs right on top of each other, pounding out from beginning to end. In short, this is based on 1980s thrash. This is thrash based on the Exodus-Slayer mentality, the riffs are very in-your-face and the only slight melodies you hear are during the guitar solos. In other words, this sounds very street, tough thrash. The vocals are closer to growling than shouting, which is a good idea with this type of music. The band does not care at all for current trends and fashions, instead they listen and play only thrash and thrash. The intended audience is Overkill, Slayer, Testament fans. Is this good? Well, yes. Is it amazing? No. If you like a band like Overkill you might find it cool hear a younger band being so ridiculously traditional, up-front, energy thrash.  

www.finalbreath.de  

www.death-thrash-chaos.de  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

FINAL DAWN: UNDER THE BLEEDING SKY  

CANDLELIGHT  

I know that this is not weird music, but I find this band to be a weird combination. The vocals are straight-up death metal, like Amon Amarth, Death, Pentacle or even Obituary. However, the music keeps changing, from thrash, old heavy metal and death metal. Overall, people will say its "melodic death". The songs are fine and good and all, but this just does not work for me because I don't think that you can combine death vocals with just about any kind of riffing and make it function. I don't even like my own review here because I do realize this band has some good material, but they kind of annoy me. Is it just me that they annoy?  

www.final-dawn.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

FIREWIND - FORGED BY FIRE  

MAGICK RECORDS  

I really like this album. Firewind plays traditional, hard-hitting, energy-laden, shredding, thundering heavy metal. Raging guitars, metal-god vocals, and plenty of guitar solos!! The man doing the shredding is Gus G., who also plays in Nightrage and Dream Evil, but the difference here is that he is the head honcho, so what you hear is all of his songs that he writes with singer, the man, Chity Somapala. A couple of explanations: this is not happy power metal; the guitars are pretty thrashy and heavy; Chity sings high, but has a strong, earthly voice that sounds cool, not happy and cheesy. Oh, what topics do the lyrics cover, you ask? Well, what do you think song titles like "Kill to Live," "Beware the Beast," "Tyranny" and "Perished in Flames" talk about? Oh, yes, they also have one called "Burn in Hell." Are the lyrics stupid? I find that the lyrics fit the music, that the rhythm matches the words. They could talk about their "feelings" or their parents. No, thank you, fire and death are fine by me. Alrighty then, now you know: Firewind is shredding, catchy, headbanging, fists-in-the-air, hair-flowing, double-bass, screaming, singing, rocking metal music. Did I mention that the songs are memorable and good?! What else would you like to know? That Gus G. wears red leather pants and eyeliner? That his guitar strap has "666" written on it? What do you think Gus is trying to tell us with that number? That he loves algebra? That he likes expensive cable with that many channels?  

www.firewind.gr  

www.magickrecords.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

 

FLEDGING DEATH - S/T  

WATCHMEN REC.  

This is total cheesy noise crap stuff. This is supposed to be death metal, however, this is a complete example of cheesy music. This is such a waste of my time, that I will go no further than to say that in addition to be cheesy, this is also pornographicnoisecheese and cheesegoresexistnoise. Do not waste your time and money on this. In fact, this is such a waste that, 1) Any thing I say about this is too good and 2) I have much better things to do than to waste precious ink on this.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

FLOWING TEARS - RAZORBLISS  

MAGICK RECORDS  

Flowing Tears' concept is about an overall mood of emotional songs, all based on somber and melodic, midpaced, melancholic goth rock. Helen Vogt's singing and the music mesh well in creating the somber feel. She stays within a midrange tone, only occasionally going for the high or low notes. The songs are melodic and easy to remember. This music has pretty simple and basic guitar work. There's nothing outstanding, since it's just background, downtuned rhythm keeping a beat. The same is true for the drums. The songs should please goth rock fans that like bands with melodic, female singing. "Radium Angel" has a melodic, if short guitar solo, which makes it stand out. "Virago" has a whispered chorus and it's keyboardy. I was expecting a chorus after the whispered part, but it turns out that that was the chrorus; huh. "Razorbliss" is a pretty keyboard-based song, while "Believe" does have more guitar. Ultimately I got the feeling that this is a ok, but a second-rate album. The songs do begin to sound pretty similar (keyboardy, midpaced) after a while. The structure, the pace and the feel of the songs become too similar. I think that they are going to have to step it up substantially if they are to stand out. They have the look and a good-looking woman singing, whatever. Now they need better songs.  

www.flowingtears.com  

www.flowingtears.de  

www.magickrecords.com  

 

 

 

THE FORSAKEN - TRACES OF THE PAST  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Everyone says this is Gothenburg-style "melodic death metal". However, thereís no In Flames stuff here, man. The guitar is down tuned, but sticks more too Vomitory territory, high-pitched screaming a la In Flames, no, its total gruff, growling like Insision or Vomitory. Funky rock íní roll drumbeats like In Flames? No, itís often blazing blast-beat; itís also speed metal drumming a la Slayer. Are there Maiden-like solos? Theyíre memorable, but power metal this is not. There are four covers here: two Metallicaó"Blackened" and "Creeping Death"ódirtier/grindier than the originals; same goes for the Slayer song, "Spirit in Black". There is also a Grave track, "Youíll Never See". Ever wonder what "Blackened" would sound like with blast-beats, down-tuned guitars and growling? This is not fantastic, but itís good, but with some mediocre moments.  

www.theforsaken.net  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

FREEDOM CALL - THE CIRCLE OF LIFE  

STEAHAMMER/SPV RECORDS  

Things are coming along nicely for Freedom Call. On this, their fourth (studio) full-length, the band has done a really good job of creating a strong, catchy, fun metal/rock. This new, more midpaced, more rock-oriented style shows the group coming into their own sound. Of course, the Helloween/Gamma Ray comparisons will continue for a long time, but I think those comparisons sound hollow now. Dan Zimmermann (drummer in Gamma Ray) is still here, but he plays differently here, more groove-oriented, not speed-based. Singer Chris Bay has a semi-nasal voice, which the cynics will compare to Helloween's Andi Deris. Plus, the fact that Helloween now has in its ranks a former Freedom Call guitarist makes the band a target for the pessimists. However, the band has the last laugh here because this is accomplished and very memorable. Actually, I criticized their previous "Eternity" (2002) for being too derivative of Helloween. Well, I'm glad to report that the band has outdone itself this time. Now the band has slowed things down to a midtempo rocking groove, the songs have this full, stadium rock sound. The choruses are infectious and have a positive, look-on-the-bright-side-of-life type of attitude with a peace and tolerance message. It's feel- good music with big rock riffs, catchy lines, traditional guitar solos, good singing and lots of melody. Finally, the first few listens are a bit strange because there's not a lot of speedy, double-bass, galloping riffing--not that this is slow and ballady--but by the fourth or so listen, once you get the band's new orientation, the music begins to come together very well. Just don't expect an album with eleven songs of speed power metal.  

www.spv.de/www.spvusa.com  

www.freedom-call.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

FURY OF FIVE -"AT WAR WITH THE WORLD"  

VICTORY  

The first song on this CD warns you of the impending violence with the mantra: "This is not a threat, it's a promise." and you'd better believe it! Musically, this is what Michael would term "Muthafucka Hardcore", referring to the pounding riffs and attitude-laden lyrics. For myself, I'd have to say it's HC based crushing metalcore, that has more energy and diversity than most bands that fall into this genre. If you want it heavy, you need look no further-but this disc does not consist solely of the same boring chug-chug riffs and tired vocal patterns that you may be accustomed to. Rather, there is a sure and confident uniqueness here that will certainly set this band apart from their peers. Listened to, enjoyed, and highly recommended by this tired and bitchy reviewer. Check it out.  

ELISABETH 


GADGET: REMOTE  

RELAPSE REC.  

This is straight-up grind. From the get go, this is blasting, blasting and more blasting and then some more blasting to top the blasting. This is for the real grind audience. These guys are like a microwave, turn it on and it's done. You know, just an all-out speed attack, with only small pauses here and there. If you have Terrorizer, Lock Up, Nasum, Napalm Death, Repulsion and S.O.B. in your collection, you know what I'm saying. If you have not heard real grind, and you think Hatebreed or Slayer is fast and energetic, then check out Gadget for a real lesson. For those that like it fast, really fast, good stuff.  

www.gadget.cjb.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

GARDENIAN -"TWO FEET STAND"  

LISTENABLE RECORDS  

The first few seconds of the first song gives you the impression that what one has here is a 100% pure death metal, pure and simple. The speed, the voice, etc.. is all there. But by the middle of the song and you have to really listen for it, one begins to hear a little melody, a little catchiness. Song #2, "Flipside of Reality" begins the same, but now it's obvious what's going on here Gardenian is moving more towards the traditional heavy metal. The melodic chords, the catchiness, total heavy metal. The whole release is a band that plays death metal mainly do to the voice, but with the exception with one singing part on the 2nd song. Call it power death metal, if there is such a thing. Where Gardenian will go, no one can tell, but I'm betting they'll be a lot heavier and heavier with time. Good stuff and it will be interesting to hear their evolution.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

GEHENNA - "MALICE"  

CACOPHONOUS  

These are some of the best songs I have heard in a long time. Excellent production, so melodic, dark, hypnotizing, it just rips your heart and soul right out, well not really, it's just a song. The song "Bleeding The Blue Flame" is so fucking awesome. This is one of the finer black metal bands in the scene without a doubt! True musicians, true composers. When CACOPHONOUS Records boasted how they were on the same ranks of perfection as there X-label mates, CRADLE OF FILTH, they were not fucking around!! Don't get the wrong idea though, these two bands sound nothing alike. This album has 10 songs of true satanic art. Sarcana, the keyboardist, adds so much atmosphere to this band without a doubt. If your the type of person who thinks that keyboards are for wimpy, melodic, cheesy bands, well this band is definitely not a wimpy band! The music is as brutal as any heavy ass band out there! Dirge Rep, the drummer, is one intense drummer! Fuck, this whole band as a whole is exceptional. If you have never heard this band, I suggest you get this release at any cost. Actually, there previous album is pretty awesome as well, but not as great as this.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

GENERATED X-ED - "PROTEST AND SURVIVE"  

(label?)  

What's up with that name? Ok, I know it's some kind of play on "generation x", but frankly I don't get it. Maybe I'm not hip enough. Mmkay, moving on...I liked this CD! I really did. It's decent-to-good hard core techno-electronic; nice and noisy in some parts. I'm not sure what I'd compare this to, but who really cares? If you're into techno at all, it's likely you'll dig this at least a little. Low on pretentiousness, with driving beats and wild cyber rhythms. This disc is what I'd call a "keeper."  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

GENGHIS TRON - CLOAK OF LOVE  

CRUCIAL BLAST  

One moment they are blasting, like a black/death group. The next moment this sounds like dance club electronica music. They have a drum machine. Is this a joke? This is ridiculous, weird, electronica, disco death metal. I'm sure the band is trying to be ridiculous. Good job, guys, you did it.  

www.genghistron.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

GOD AMONG INSECTS: WORLD WIDE DEATH  

THREEMAN/CANDLELIGHT  

This project involves Cali from Dark Funeral, K. Phil from The Project Hate, Tobben Gustafsson from Vomitory and Tomas Elofsson from Sanctification (who?).I think the first three bands have their good moments, sometimes even very good songs, but with this old-school Swedish death metal project they have all dropped the ball. The riffs sound tired, generic and faceless. The vocals have no personality, none. The lyrics are so short that you can't take this project seriously if they don't have real lyrics. The songs sound completely indistinguishable from the mass of awful death metal.  

www.godamonginsects.se  

 

 

 

GOD DETHRONED - "THE GRAND GRIMOIRE"  

Metal Blade  

God Dethroned combines death metal with blast beats to sound akin to Napalm Death \ "Harmony C.", except that here you will find a lot more melody amid the chaos. The voice is death metal in the vein of Morbid Angel, Napalm D., early Death, etc.. The sound is clear and done well. It has a "big studio" sound. The drums are clear, whether it is the mid-paced melody, the straight ahead fast stuff of the blast beats. This is actually kind of surprising because God Dethroned seem to be oblivious to the pressure to play black metal. The songs stand well on their own and at times the band can get quite musical for a death metal band. Definitely worth keeping.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

GONKULATOR - "SATAN'S BURIAL GROUND"  

Fudgeworthy Rec.  

Talk about insanity! This is stuff that only a few will be able to tolerate. Mix in Satan, a screaming/growling chaotic "vocal" style, distorted everything, and we have Gonkulator. The 7" I have is a lot more tolerable in my opinion, more of a structure in the "music". This isn't all that in my opinion, due to the fact I like music that doesn't have somewhat of a psychotic feel to it and has a real musical structure unlike this release, but if you like chaos in your daily listening pleasures, then this is definitely for you!  

Mike  

 

 

 

GOOSEFLESH - "CHEMICAL GARDEN"  

Digital Dimension  

This band is said to take "classic, Euro-metal edge, to a whole new frontier." Not at all. What you'll find here is a "mosh" riffs and a typical "death metal" voice. There is hardly anything here to get excited about. Simply to boring. What's all the hype about? This is just disappointing!  

Lieff  

 

 

 

GOTHIC - "CRIMINAL ART MOTIVATIONS"  

Apparition Entertainment  

I haven't heard an album so intense in ages, and I must say that this release is an excellent example that contains a mixture of grind, death, and hardcore. Combining a screaming / screeching attack ala Carcass and early Napalm Death, and a low vocal approach that doesn't really sound like anybody, well, to my knowledge. The music also reminds me of early Napalm Death ("Scum"), with a mix of "Harmony Corruption" at times, but I tell you now that they have their own distinctive sound as far as being able to tell who is who, unlike all the Cannibal Corpse clones that exist in the scene. The riffs on this album are the kind that would make a crowd all happy joy in a lovable pit, while other riffs are just a blast beat frenzy tearing at your eardrums. Song #9, the title track, has a black metal haunting sound to it. Very, very disturbing. A lot of screaming, talking, and the sound effects are eerie. If you're into the bands mentioned beforehand, or even if you're not, I really suggest you check this release out. The only negative aspect to this release, it's only 33 minutes long.  

Mike  

 

 

 

GOTHIC SEX - "LAMENTS"  

Repulse  

While this CD had some good points, they were all too few, and far from memorable. I suspect it is this type of music that gives everyone the idea that all gothic music is "gay" and lame. I don't really know what to say about this, other than that it is a pitiful swipe at good, real goth, with some lazy, death-metalish vox. These guys seem to be competent musicians, but that alone doesn't make this any better. To sum it up, this was totally boring and uninspired. A chore to listen to. On the bright side, the CD has some CD-Rom stuff on it, amusing video clips of the band, and lots of silly, wanna be gothic photos. I got a big kick out of looking at these, but it certainly isn't worth buying this CD just for that.  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

GRAVE - "HATING LIFE"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Hmmm.... after Jorgen leaving, I knew that it would never be the same. The music is pretty much GRAVE, but sometimes it reminds me of ENTOMBED. The music is very memorable and pretty catchy in a way, yet it doesn't please me like it used to. I like the cover, I just wish I could say the same for the album. Why would he go to ENTOMBED? Greed? No more brain cells? Hemorrhoids? Whatever the case, it sucks I think. I think the production could be better. The vocals remind me to much between Lars and Matti. I just can't get into this at all. I don't know, it is sad, but life goes on, "Hating Life"!  

MIKE  

 

 

 

GRAVE - FIENDISH REGRESSION  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Heavy pounding, mid-paced, sludgy, super-thick-riffed death metal with low, guttural vocals, oh, itís Grave, alright. Here and there, it has bursts of speed, but overall it stays on the heavy and chugging side. Life-long (what?!) fans will probably be pleased, but anyone who listensónot just hearsówill run up against several points to consider. 1. This is "brutal" (yawn), yes, but ultimately mediocre and bland. 2. The guitar work is nothing original or creative; instead, itís play-on riffs; lazy, the way "St. Anger" has "aggressive" but mediocre riffing. 3. The songs are simply boring. Iíve listened some seven times now and thereís nothing attention-grabbing. 4. This is a second-rate bar band playing death metal.  

www.intothegrave.com  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

GRAVE DIGGER - "EXCALIBUR"  

Nuclear Blast  

"Excalibur" is "The story of King Arthur and the round table - A metal opus in twelve parts."This is a concept album and it's semi-pompous aspects should not get you confused. This is basically power metal, period. Every song is of a high energy rocking track, fueled with double bass drumming and sharp, speedy shredding and nice, quick, catchy guitar solos. The vocalist, Chris Boltendahl, has a mid-range gruffy style, unlike Hammer Fall, Iron Maiden, etc... It pretty much sounds like Grave Digger. This is a great way to get to know a band that has held up the metal flag for a long time, starting with the 1984 debut, "heavy Metal Breakdown."  

Lieff  

 

 

 

GRAVE DIGGER - THE LAST SUPPER  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

QUESTION: Do you know what this band named its debut way back in the mid 1980s? ANSWER: "Heavy Metal Breakdown". REACTION: "Heavy Metal Breakdown?!!!!!!! Really?!!!!!!! What a bunch of dorks!!" STATE OF AFFAIRS IN 2005: This album is heavy metal. The singer sounds like he has gravel and sand stuck in his throat, much like UDO or Motorhead. The music is pretty basic, traditional hard heavy metal. The melodies are not happy and this even sounds a bit dark. This band, to me, has always been a good, but second-rate band. Really, there's not much to criticize because they are good at what they do. It's just that what they do is nothing to get excited about, unless you are an old, loyal fan that automatically buys a new album from this band. I hate to sound so jaded, but I would have liked for this album to be a kick in the teeth. It's not. Where's the hunger? The feeling? The metal?  

www.gravedigger.de  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

GRAVEWORM - [N]UTOPIA  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

Having a good sound is important, as is having memorable songs, which this band has. With the growled/harsh vocals, the heavy/chunky guitar sound, this is closer to black/death than anything. In fact, if you have heard past efforts, you might find it pleasantly more aggressive and still easy to remember the songs. Also, when you hear these songs you can sense momentum, like the band knows they are on to something. Even though all the above is a plus, I do find that I don't get excited about this group. Why? The modern, hip black metal feel does not sound genuine to me. For example, the guitar work, the riffs, the sound lacks spice, life, character. At first, it sounds impressive, but after a couple of songs the chunky guitar emerges as derivative, even though, again, it has a great sound. If you are wondering what exactly it is that I'm "whining" about, it's the fact that I don't hear anything that has personality, that particular energy, that excitement. Frankly, this is done well, performed well, but it's just too trendy-sounding. Put it this way, if you are 16 years old and just haven't heard much black/death/goth, then this will sound "cool", but since I'm, like, 164 years old, I hear too much cut and paste of other, more famous, successful black/goth bands.  

www.graveworm.de  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

GRENOUER - Try  

These three songs show that these men from Russia are not out of the loop with whatever is cool at the moment. They say that they used to play "brutal death metal" when that was popular. Now, they demonstrate that they have been listening to bands with techno, breakdowns and chuggy sounds. Moshy at times, emo at other moments and chugging along often, the group does what they do in an ok manner. Inevitably, the music responds to whatever particular trend is stronger and reflects those influences in its output.  

www.grenouer.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

GREY AREA - S/T  

Victory  

Wow, pop punk. While listening to this, I began to regress to age 14. Back in the days when when I had a tolerance for stuff like Descendants, All, Dag Nasty, etc... In my old age, I find that I have little patience for anything overly happy sounding, and this CD was no exception. However, it was kind of fun to listen to, and it was definitely moshable. A little harder than most pop punk, with better, more original riffs and more inspired drum work. The sing-songy vocals were a bit nerve grating for me, but oh well. If you like pop punk, you'll love this. If you don't just forget it.  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

GREY AREA - "FAN BELT ALGEBRA"  

Victory  

Decent melodic punk on the poppy side of the fence. I liked this better than their last effort (which I've conveniently forgotten the name of!). Grey Area are quite competent musicians/songwriters, with plenty of catchy, upbeat tunes to please the ear. Basically this is one of those "decide by genre" issues. If you like pop punk, Grey Area will be great for you. If you don't, well....I don't need to point out the obvious here, do I?  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

GRIEF OF EMERALD - "NIGHTSPAWN"  

Listenable Records  

I expected something "doomy" from the name of the band, but what I got was fast, thrashy death metal with a strong black metal influence. With so many bands, both good and terrible, floating around out there, unmemorable stuff like this just gets overlooked. I can't urge anyone to go spend money on this, it isn't terrible, but it isn't fabulous either. Buy at your own risk!  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

GRONE - "GROVEL/STAINS AND OMISSIONS"  

Gomek Records  

This band has elements of all the metal styles I'm not a big fan of. The guitars sound like Mortician playing Korn riffs. The vocals sound like hardcore, meets Burt from Fear Factory, but without the clean parts! And speaking of Fear Factory, there's a lot of ping-pang-crash shit. The beginning of song #9 sounds like "Would" From Alice In Chains. So if sludgy, somewhat death metal, Korn sounds like it would turn you on, then by all means, get it. I'm just not into this stuff.  

Cyric  

 

 

 

GRONE - "CHUCKLEPATCH"  

Gomek Records  

The first thing that comes to my mind is that this is a second rate rip off of Godflesh's "Street Cleaner." I really don't have that much to say other than that. It usually takes me a while to form an opinion about a CD, but with this there is some definite Godflesh worshiping going on and it's immediately obvious. I guess this CD is okay, and not completely unoriginal, but I wouldn't really recommend it, especially not to the hard "Street Cleaner" fans like myself.  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

GRONE - "GROVEL"  

Gomek Records  

What the heck...?? This band STILL sounds like a shoddy copy of Godflesh's "Streetcleaner." PUH-LEEZE. Let's get a life, shall we? Or at least a different Godflesh album.!!  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

GWAR - "CARNIVAL OF CHAOS"  

METAL BLADE  

Damn, what a band! You either love this band or hate them, I love em!! I remember when I first heard about this band from non-other than MTV news back in 88. When I got to see them live for the first time, (Thanks mom.) this 15 year old boy was shocked at what he was seeing, well, not as bad as my mom. GWAR has progressed in there own special way from album to album and has came up with some new and great tunes. This effort is pretty cool, not as cool as "Ragnarock", but still pretty cool, but then again, nothing beats "Hell-o" in my opinion. GWAR once again has came up with an album full of diversity in the song writing. The song sung by SLYMENSTRA, "Don't Need A Man" is so, so pretty. They need to give this goddess at least 2 songs per album I think. Some of the songs on this album are slower than what I'm used to hearing from their albums, but after a while they grew on me. The song "Sex Cow" is so fucking awesome, so different, and no, not because I can relate to it either, or can I? The thing I thought was cool, was the return of Techno-Destructo. After listening to the song though, some of the riffing/song had the same riff on certain parts of the song as on the "Hell-o" version. I was hoping for something a bit different, but nonetheless it is a cool song of course. I must also add, Oderus is one of the best and most original vocalists for what he does. Overall, this is GWAR! You know who they are, what they are about, so fall to your knees and worship!  

MIKE 


HAMMERFALL - CHAPTER V: UNBENT, UNBOWED, UNBROKEN  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

"Secrets", "Blood Hound" and "Fury of the Wind" open this album in a perfect way to start. The band sounds re-energized and ready to rock. The first song sounds great. The second better. The third one is even better!! So far, so good, right? Well, so that it's not all fast songs, "Hammer of Justice" slows things down to a nice mid-paced feel. Cool. "Never, Ever" is the ballad. Yes, it's good, of course. "Born to Rule" brings things back to that sing-along feel, which works, and "Knights of the 21st Century" is a 10-minute song with the grandfather of death/thrash/black metal Cronos (Venom) guesting for some spoken/growled-word stuff. This is the band's fifth album. By now, it has become obvious that they specialize in that traditional Priest/Maiden/Accept sound, while at the same time, in my opinion, sounding like HammerFall, but not a rip-off. If you don't like traditional heavy metal, then you won't like this. Of course, this is not the revelation of the universe, but it's damn catchy and good. Forget the cynics. HammerFall rocks.  

www.hammerfall.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

HANDSOME - S/T  

EPIC  

"We're HANDSOME, we play alternative. We love MTV! We rule, not only because we're part of the trend, but because we are handsome!" O.K., that's enough. Two song sample sent to me for some reason. Yes, this is commercial trendy shit I love to trash!  

MIKE  

 

 

 

HARKONIN Ė GHANÕMA  

Chunks of Meat Records  

This is upfront thrashing/black metal raging in speed, tongue-lashing vocals. These 16 songs are no nonsense, just lots of expected lyrics about the night, darkness, hell, etc. The riffing is tight and even the band has a black metal sound, the guitars have a lot of old school thrashing going on. The vocals are of the Quorthon/Mille Petrozza variety. This band is fast and tight and all that, but itís not about speed per se. The songs have more than speed going. The changes in rhythms in the songs make for an enjoyable listen. Also, this is a band and sounds like one, not some one-man project. It is surprising how much variety they pack in some songs, including some technicality. People who canít enough of that old-style thrash riffing should be interested. The recording sound quality is similar to that of a solid demo, which makes the music sound not as full as it should be. Overall, itís pretty good, but not awesome metal.  

www.harkonin.com  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

 

HASTE - "PURSUIT IN THE FACE OF CONSEQUENCE"  

Century Media  

Haste is a band who have elements of metal, and hardcore. They are obviously a serious, hardworking band. Musically, they are promising. So what's the problem? It's not enjoyable. It's too square, not much melody or originality.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

HATE ETERNAL - I, MONARCH  

EARACHE RECORDS  

After a few months of listening to Hate Eternalís King of All Kings, I enjoyed it more and more every time. I still enjoy it immensely. Now, I, Monarch is here, the bandís third. This band is a treat to watch live because Derek Roddy is an amazing drummer. In addition, I donít understand how Erik Rutanís wrists donít break off with his frenetic guitar playing. I, Monarch just sounds like it will be great to play and watch live, too. The level of technicality, drumming and guitarwise, is just fun to hear. I have no idea how these guys do it. ate Eternal is fun. I know Iím supposed to say that they are evil and brutal. All the creative blasting, the hyperspeed, the total death metal riffing and the growling and the catchiness of it all, yeah, Hate Eternal is fun. Whatís cool, too, is the variation in speed, as this is not monotonous at all, and the guitar solos add an extra twist to things. Anyway you approach it, for the total death metal vibe, which is here in full force or for the unmelodic memorability, itís very good. Is this better than King of All Kings? Right now, I donít know and I donít care. Some time will need to pass to answer that. However, Iím once again impressed with the musicality on here; definitely a band to watch and hear. Picky fans of quality death metal will be pleased; for fans of Morbid Angel, Immolation, Nile, Behemoth, etc. Any complaints? I would have liked more and longer guitar solos. More shredding. Also, a clearer drum sound so we can hear better what Derek is doing. I think this band can make a masterpiece one day. Maybe the next one?  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

HATEBREED -"SATISFACTION IS THE DEATH OF DESIRE"  

VICTORY RECORDS  

Ultra-violent hardcore that pulverizes with precision old-school punk drumming, get-up- and-move riffs, and seething vox that don't let up. Add in some metallic features such as double bass, crunching, chugging guitar, and bass that plows through every track and you have one hell of a band. This CD is the musical equivalent of Joe Pesci getting revenge in "Goodfellas"; brutal, pounding, and utterly unexpected. And if listening to this CD doesn't make you at least stomp your foot, then you must be dead. Definitely a great listen, and one that is highly recommended!  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

HATESPHERE: BALLET OF THE BRUTE  

CENTURY MEDIA REC.  

I have seen some good reviews for this band and I guess that a lot people into bands like The Haunted, as well as hardcore fans, might enjoy this. I, for one, have listened to this many times and I like some brief parts, like some of the soloing and the riffs here and there, but overall, this has nothing special about it. Yeah, they sound "angry," but it just isn't that good. They cover "Caught in a Mosh" by Anthrax and it doesn't sound good. Sounds like one of many good and competent, but ultimately forgettable newer thrash bands.  

www.hatesphere.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

THE HAUNTED - "MADE ME DO IT"  

Earache  

I remember the brouha surrounding the 1st Haunted release. It was good, yeah, but without Tomas Lindberg, it would never be the same, or as good. This album makes one remember the good At The Gates days. My friend Graveworm will really get off on this release. However, I'm still left wanting to hear Lindberg's anguished screams over the excellent melodic music written by these guys. It's fast, it's melodic, it's very good! I'm just spoiled from all that time listening to Lindberg and At The Gates. This is a good CD, absolutely. Even tho it's eleven tracks of "I wish it was At The Gates", I still recommend it.  

Cyric  

 

 

 

THE HAUNTED: REVOLVER  

CENTURY MEDIA  

They get great reviews! Even Slayer likes' em! But you know what? I genuinely do not see what the big hoopla is all about. Take this new album: it's somewhat catchy hardcore/thrash; songs have a couple of good riffs and what not. I just don't think it's great stuff. It's simplistic and basic, way overrated stuff. Oh, and one more thing, people: shut the hell up about At the Gates already!!! Geeez!  

www.the-haunted.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

HECATE ENTHRONED - REDIMUS  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

Basically, this is strictly second-rate black metal. Lots of blasting and energy, there are maybe two good songs on here. It is not so much that this is bad, because it isn't, but rather that there is nothing great going on here. I listened to this some seven times and I never felt excited to play it again. I know this review sounds boring. Well, how is a review supposed to be interesting if the music is only ok/mediocre?  

www.hecate-enthroned.co.uk  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

HEGEMON - "CHAOS SUPREME"  

Sacral Prod.  

Fairly above average black metal with a few growls thrown in for good measure. Don't get me wrong, they do it well and with conviction. It's just too bad this didn't come out two or three years ago. There are some stand outs. "King of Wisdom" and "Flight of the Dragon Riders", to name a couple. At least it's not an overly-symphonic Emperor rip-off. They're definitely not ripping anyone off, it just doesn't sound like anything new. Maybe as they progress, they'll start coming more into their own. Still, a pretty strong release.  

Cyric  

 

 

 

HEMDALE / EXHUMED - "IN THE NAME OF GORE"  

VISCERAL PRODUCTIONS  

Do you like sick, intense, brutal, fucking music? Are you a person who loves to listen to bands with excellent drumming? Then you have found two killer bands on one CD. First up is HEMDALE. First of all, I want to say that this is one of the best bands ever, to see live. I haven't witnessed such skill and tightness in a band of this nature in my life. Craig Rowe, the drummer, is one intense drummer to see live. The music is of a grinding manner that is very pleasing to hear. I love this band. The only bitch I have about this, is that the production could have been a lot better, but it is good, don't get me wrong!  

Next up is EXHUMED, and I must say it was my first time hearing this band and I actually liked this band better than HEMDALE. Live? I can not say, but if they can perform as good as HEMDALE, then I would probably poop in my pants. This band is highly influenced by older CARCASS. Actually, some of the riffing reminds me a lot of CARCASS. Again, don't get me wrong, they do have their own ideas. The song, "Septicemia" is one song that I could / would make me go totally insane in the pit if I ever saw this band play live. Fucking crazyass, pounding riffing! This is an excellent CD all sick grinding freaks should indulge in!  

MIKE  

 

 

 

HIBRIA - DEFYING THE RULES  

MAGICK RECORDS  

Thrashing, shredding guitars, screaming-metal-god singing, energetic, speedy, double bass drumming and thundering bass--that's what Hibria is, boy!! This is the conversation I think these guys had:  

"Hey, you know, I love thrashy power metal, but I don't like the ballads.  

What do you think would happen if we played all the songs fast?!!"  

"Is that a good idea? Is it possible to play everything fast and still sound good? I don't know, man, maybe that would not work."  

"Yes, it will, you idiot, gosh!! The singer will be screaming his lungs out in every song!! The guitarists will shred until their fingers bleed in every song!! The bass player will"He's gonna".I don't know, man", but he will play fast!! And the drummer will have to be in good shape because these songs are going to kick his ass!! He will need quick feet and 10 hands to do this stuff!! And dammit, every song still will need to be different!! And fast!!"  

There you have it. That's it. Do you wish Helloween would thrash more? Do you wish they had no ballads? Yup, these guys thought of it, too. Do you wish Manowar would stop messing around, play fast and loud, like they claim they do, but do not? Yes, this band knows what you mean! And do you want more thrashy riffs? Check. Do you want more lightning-strike-quick guitar solos? Double check! High-pitched screaming? Triple check. Man, Hibria are the biggest power metal fans in the world and decided to show everyone how things ought to be.  

www.hibria.com  

www.magickrecords.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

HORSE THE BAND - THE MECHANICAL HAND  

KOCH/COMBAT RECORDS  

One song is called "The House of Boo." Another one is named "Octopus on Fire." Still another answers to; "Soaring Quails." The first one is entitled "Birdo." I think it's funny that so many rock musicians come up with lame lyrics and titles in some sort of attempt at being pool hall poets and red neck bar Shakespeare's. The music here is some sort of whacky hardcore, funky scream-core, comic relief punk rock with some 70's melodies to show that the guitar players can do solos. They have the stop/start, abrupt rhythm changes to comically annoy you. Does this sound like something in which you would be interested in?  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

HYPOCRISY - VIRUS  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

Forrest Gump's mama says that Hypocrisy is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get. This band keeps changing from album to album. The only thing you are sure to expect is that it is some form of growl, down-tuned, metal. OK, so let's see the box: "Warpath" opens in a blasting black-metal manner. It hits instantly; vocals, blast beats, riffing, all good. "Scrutinized" is fast paced, but not blasting; heavy, pounding, groovy and melodic. So far, so good: "Fearless" is even more melodic and simpler. The growling is sounding good and the guitars are harmonizing. It's a catchy, make-you-feel better song, still down-tuned, though. "Craving for Another Killing" is a total Immortal, black-metal worship. Of course, the drummer is Horgh (real name: Bobby Earl Wacklespoodle). He even does the total Immortal fills. "Let the Knife Do the Talking" is a slow, chugging track. I don't care for it because it's pretty basic with nothing to make your ears stand up. "A Thousand Lies" is a growled, melodic death ballad. Not bad, I guess, but it just doesn't rock. "Incised before I've Ceased" is a much better song: mid paced, but the drumming has more going on, more action, the riffing is creative. It even has a brief neo-classical part. The vocal lines sound good. "Blooddrenched" is faster, brutal gruff number that seeks to bring back the energy of the first two songs. The band doesn't sound as committed on this one. I suspect that this is filler material. "Compulsive Psychosis" is mid-paced, but I'm not totally convinced that this is not filler material, as well. The soloing on this is slower, more felt and it's surprisingly good, but the riffing is play-on, chugging stuff. "Living to Die" closes the proceedings. It's an "epic" (keyboards) sounding, crawling, with a simple melody repeated over and over. It has a spoken, narrated vocal part along with some semi-clean vocals. It's effective in achieving a somber mood.  

www.hypocrisy.com  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva 


I.C.E -: APOCALYPTIC END IN WHITE  

CRASH MUSIC  

This band is a bunch of winter, snow and ice-obsessed blasting black metallers. Imperial Crystalline Entombment, they are. I ended up liking this album because the production is raw, but without that crappy, garage punk "production" that latter-day Darkthrone goes for. To me, it sounds like I.C.E. loves Immortal's "Pure Holocaust", the riffs are definitely black, as are the vocals, in the Quorthon/Abbath style. The blasting sounds good and the songs are memorable and distinctive. If you only buy masterpieces, then this might not convince you. It's between a B and a B+, a good album.  

www.imperialice.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ICED EARTH - "THE DARK SAGA"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

If you have heard ICED EARTH before, and if you like this band, then you will definitely enjoy this latest release! If you have never heard this band, then find out by reading this. This band specializes in playing metal that is heavy, metal that is catchy, melodic, and powerful. The vocalist on this release is the kind of singer who at times sounds really heavy and at times sounds really tunefully soulful. He goes from an aggressive power metal voice to a melancholic high voice. The opening track, "Dark Saga", is more or less what you would expect for an opening song. Listening to this song, one can here that they are all true to remaining true to classic heavy metal. This brings me to say something that will make no sense, unless you have followed and analyzed how the mentality of the "critics" have worked in the last decade or so. Nowadays, bands that "experiment" with mixing metal with grunge or techno are considered "cool". The wimpier bands get, the better they are received by the "critics". Anyway, if a band continues to play heavy, death, black, power, speed, thrash metal, then that band is termed "outdated" or "not with the program". So that is why it is so refreshing to hear bands like NEVERMORE and ICED EARTH playing modern, true, no-compromise, no-sellout, straight ahead shredding metal. Neither of these two bands will be popular like METALLICA, so what? (Well ,let us remember that ROCKALLICA sold out a long time ago, so therefor, let us forget this "Load"- of shit band!) ICED EARTH proves that you do not have to play grunge regardless of what MTV says! Check this band out! Buy their CD or tape and enjoy!!  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

ICED EARTH - THE BLESSED AND THE DAMNED  

CENTURY MEDIA  

This best-of, 2-cd compilation of pre-"Glorious Burden" material has 23 songs that are an excellent introduction to Iced Earthís brand of thrashy heavy metal. All the songs are good, and we have quite a few classics. Fans of heavy metal that has aggression and melody should enjoy this a lot. If you have "Alive in Athens," you donít need this.  

www.icedearth.com  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

IMMOLATION - HARNESSING RUIN  

OLYMPIC/CENTURY MEDIA REC.  

Excellent, amazing stuff. In case you have not been paying attention, this band has turned into a monster. Their previous "Unholy Cult" was amazing. This is true again. The guitar work, in my opinion, is really distinct. First of all, they avoid any melodic riffs/clichťs. Instead, they do these contorted, distorted, twisting and winding riffs and itís great. The sound envelopes and sucks you in from start to finish. The music has different layers so that it keeps you coming back for more. The vocals are really low and guttural, but pretty intelligible, if you really pay attention (ha!). The different speeds, from the blasting to doom parts, are very well put together. This band has been around a while. You may think you know them, thinking they are some of sort of second rate band. Think again, buddy. It's time to reevaluate Immolation. Masterful.  

www.immolation.info  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

IVORY KNIGHT - UNCONSCIENCE  

SELF-RELEASE  

This group is 100% traditional, oldschool heavy metal. I'm just guessing, but the influences for this band are most likely the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and probably other bands that continued that sound, like early Armored Saint and Savatage. Listening to this I hear virtually no influence from thrash, much less anything else that's trendy right now. You'd be surprised how different this music is compared to all the metal of today. Of course, things like speed are not very important here. The songs are uptempo, but nothing superfast. The drumming is not some sort of double-bass constant thing, but has more to do with the overall rhythm of the song. The singing is not air raid siren and screaming is not a part of the equation. The voice is midrange, which works well with the music. It's not mindblowingly good, but it works. Definitely for fans of oldschool heavy metal, for people who also like to check out more obscure bands, like Breaker. Personally, this does sound too heavy metal, too old for me. I like more speed or intensity in the guitars and drums. P.O. Box 38144/1430 Prince of Wales Dr./Ottawa, ONT, CANADA K2C1N6  

info@ivoryknight.com  

www.ivoryknight.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

IMPALED - DEATH AFTER LIFE  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

These eight songs are all about Carcass' "Symphonies" and "Necroticism": the combination of the low and midrange growling and the muddy-but-catchy riffing. This is surprisingly memorable and even melodic. Impaled has been a promising band, but I think this album shows a real development. The songwriting has improved a lot. I remember that I liked this band's Carcass remake better than its own songs. Well, now, they are progressing and perfecting. I look forward to their next album. Some people will criticize this band for being a Carcass rip-off. This band takes that as a compliment. They love Carcass and if you don't like the above Carcass albums, don't even bother. PROBLEM: There is one thing on here that is awful and stupid: the spoken-word samples. I am surprised that the band did not delete these "scary"/"funny" samples, which sound cheap and have no feeling and almost ruin this album. There are four of these horrible pieces on here and they sound stupid. Not silly. Stoopid. On Carcass' "Necroticism" this type of pieces were shorter and added to the feel of the album; and I don't think they sound silly or stupid even today (And yes, I did go back and listen to "Necroticism" to compare, so you know.). RECOMMENDATION: Make yourself a copy of the album and take out the spoken-word pieces; record only the songs; it will be much better  

www.impaled.info  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

IN COLD BLOOD -"HELL ON EARTH"  

VICTORY  

In Cold Blood bring on their blistering assault of agonized metalcore with a fury that will bore a hole in your skull. While I must say that this band more or less falls into the hardcore category, they are musically a bit different than many bands of the same style. I.C.B. tend toward slower, darker guitar work, that is "very metal", and reminds me a lot of Slayer. The vocals are not really outstanding or unusual, but they are well-done and go hand in glove with the anger of the music, creating an overall aura of rage that burns a slow hole in you. Recommended!  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

INCANTATION: DECIMATE CHRISTENDOM  

OLYMPIC/CENTURY MEDIA  

When Incantation gets down to the business of playing fast and brutal underground death metal, they are unstoppable. The guttural vocals, the blasting speed, the dark riffing just work well. What I like about it is the mood, the feel of it, which is like the band specializes in claustrophobia and does it well. All that one can say is that if you like guttural, dark, underground death metal, then Incantation should please you. But I do have one complaint: (1) when they slow down for that doom feel, then I begin to lose interest because I prefer the speed. The slow parts simply have less going for them and I think there are too many slow parts on this album.  

www.incantation.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

INFAMY -"THE BLOOD SHALL FLOW"  

REPULSE RECORDS  

Excellent grinding death played just the way it should be; down and dirty from the bowels of hell. The vocals are unbelievably low, and I am running out of adjectives to describe just how heavy this is! This disc will surely crush even the most hardened and jaded metal fans, and likely will appeal to most people as well. I definitely give this my 100% recommendation, and I dare you to find a flaw with this album! If you're really brutal, you will have this CD!  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

INSOMNIUM: SINCE THE DAY IT ALL CAME DOWN  

CANDLELIGHT  

I'm glad I got to hear this band because the stuff I have read about them does not do them justice. Yeah, they are from Finland, but they have nothing to do with the Children of Bodom clones. This is different and good.I cannot recommend this highly enough, actually. I think it's that good. The eleven songs on here are quality metal. The guitar work is good because it has its own personality. At no time does the listener get the feeling that the riffs are filler stuff. The vocals are death/growling, but--and this is difficult to get across on paper-- are actually the type of growling that does not sound cheesy or stupid. Can you believe that? There are no clean vocals here, either, but the music has its moody moments, including some brief whispering. The album is about 54 minutes long so this is not one of those quickly assembled second-rate albums. Long songs, dark, moody, heavy riffing, growling, guitar solos, catchiness..what else do you want?  

www.insomnium.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

INTEGRITY - "HUMANITY IS THE DEVIL"  

VICTORY RECORDS  

A very intense hard core band. I actually like this. I usually do not purchase bands that play this style of music, but this band is one of the few who made it in my collection. Really heavy vocals, really catchy tunes, and excellent pounding riffs and melody compliment this fine release. My only bitch is that the songs are really short. The first 6 songs are what really caught my attention. After the sixth song, some really fucked up, hypnotic, weird talking shit came on that is hard to explain. Subliminal messages I'm sure. In the last 10 min. or so, there are like 5 or 6 more songs, and if I'm not mistaken, it's a different band, but I'm not sure, I believe that is what I heard or think I heard. That was o.k. but it wasn't for me. It was different than the first 6 songs, so hell, it might be a different band. Enough of my rambling. Any way, this is a real cheap label, what I mean by that is the merchandise they sell is really, really cheap. Not greedy bastards like the rest out there. This is also the home to other bands like; EARTH CRISIS, DEAD GUY, DOUGHNUTS, BLOODLET, and some others. All into some really heavy / extreme music should check this out.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

INTERNAL BLEEDING - ONWARD TO MECCA  

OLYMPIC/CENTURY MEDIA  

Recognize the name?! You do?! Congrats, Jack, you are an old fogy! This line-up is almost all new people, except the drummer. Internal Bleeding used to be strictly minor league NY death metal. Oh my, how trends, I mean, "times" have changed! Now they are strictly minor leagues hardcore!! I was laughing when I heard this! Itís so funny, trying to be a part of that plague called "metal"-core, no thank you! Oh, by the way, yeah, this is "tough" and "macho" and has annoying trendy screaming vocals and all, "perfect" for "moshing"!  

www.internalbleedingmusic.com  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

IRON SAVIOR - "UNIFICATION"  

Noise  

this band features Piet Sielck, Blind Guardian's producer and Kai Hansen (ex-Helloween, now Gamma ray). In the 14 tracks that make up this release, you get clear production, each instrument is heard, plenty of guitar solos, riffs, etc... and vocals very much in the Blind Guardian style, medium to high. On this release you will even hear latter day versions of the Helloween classic, "Gorgar" and the Black Sabbath super classic "Neon Knights." Track #15 is a song performed by Excelsis doing a song called "Dragon Slayer", and I just don't understand why this is included. This is serious power metal done to perfection. The only downer to this release is that it's not as catchy as it could be, but in contradiction, it's really hard to find fault in this release.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

IRON SAVIOR - BATTERING RAM  

NOISE/SANCTUARY RECORDS  

If youíve heard one album, youíve heard them all: mean, aggressive traditional heavy metal. If you want ballads and keyboards, look elsewhere, this is rough heavy metal. Piet Sielckís singing is probably the roughest in this style. This is the opposite of melodic power metal itís chunky, aggressive metal. The main problem is that this sounds substantially faceless and generic because thrashy riffing needs hooks, which this band lacks. Semi-thrashy heavy metal with aggression, but not much creativity.  

www.iron-savior.com  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

ISQARIAL: INHERITANCE  

CRASH MUSIC  

They have catchy songs and so you'd think that only a jerk would complain. The first song is death metal, more or less. It's a nice ditty with rolls and blasts and thrashing guitars. Catchy, I tell you. Soon, though, with the clean vocals and everything it just sounds so trendy. Is everyone trying clean singing now? I think these guys love Arch Enemy's "Burning Bridges". The vocals are quite like that, which is not a bad thing. Also, and I'm being serious here, I detect a huge Guns 'n' Roses/Slash influence with the guitar solos! The bluesiness of them makes a contrast with the melodic thrash. They cover a Jimi Hendrix song called "Fire", but nothing to run to the record store for, but not bad. It just sounds so trendy, though.  

www.crashmusic.com  

Mauricio Araniva 


BEN JACKSON GROUP - ALL OVER YOU  

SCREAMING FERRET WRECORDS  

Going by the music on here, the attitude that drives former Crimson Glory member, Ben Jackson, is to make fun, booming, groovy, rocking, midpaced, traditional rock & roll. You can clearly hear the bass guitar jamming along to the groove rock drumming, the guitars are plenty present, but they are not drowning everything else. Don't worry, there are abundant guitar grooves and solos.  

The singing is so traditional that I forgot that this was what men sound like when they are not screaming from the top of their lungs or growling like your next-door neighbor's stupid dog. The vocals do not remind me of anyone else, but again, they are sung in a pretty clear, mid register tone and the singing is backed up and harmonized by Kid TNT, whose parents named her Rose Sexton. Ben Jackson does a good job with his natural abilities, which is a positive, since he's not trying to sing like Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson. Finally, if you expect music similar to Crimson Glory/"Transcendence" you will be sadly disappointed. The two bands make totally different music. Let's leave at this: if you would like to hear some traditional, modern hard rock (with some metal elements) that concentrates on groovy and sing-along songs, then you won't feel deceived.  

www.benjacksongroup.com  

www.screamingferret.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

JAG PANZER: CASTING THE STONES  

CENTURY MEDIA  

This band has some nerve!! How many heavy metal bands begin their albums with their fast songs? All of them, right? In fact, traditional metal bands often rely on speed to hide their unoriginality. Well, forget that, kids, because the Jag Panzer meisters throw that thinking out the window! The first song is mid-paced. The second song is mid-paced. The faster parts do not arrive until the fifth song. Why is this? Because they don't have anything to hide!! This band shows that: (1) the best songs are the ones that do not cover up weaknesses and (2) the best songs are the ones that try something new. Some people think that all traditional metal bands are interested in copying Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Jag Panzer is its own entity. The vocals are great, as usual, the riffing unique yet, traditional; plenty of soloing, plenty of rhythm and beat. One ought to be proud of this band.  

www.jagpanzer.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

JAMES MURPHY - "CONVERGENCE"  

SHRAPNEL REC.  

James Murphy, (of DEATH, OBITUARY, CANCER, DISINCARNATE, and currently TESTAMENT ) demonstrates that this release is not just some solo semi-serious project that he is doing, because he wants to show how good of a player he is. The first song "Since Forgotten" has Devin Townsend from STRAPPING YOUNG LAD guesting on vocals. This track is a song not just a guitar solo. Actually, it is unexpected that James would not use this too show off. (Actually, I think this sucks! If you like his past stuff, in my opinion you will not like this.- Mike) "Since Forgotten" is not thrash or death metal, rather a heavy affair with a really tight sound. Then comes "Convergence", which has a very catchy rhythm. This track is an instrumental which is very thrashy and "Chunky". Devin also sings on the last one, which is once again a mid-paced, melodic, but also heavy affair. By the time the third song ends, you realize what James is trying to do, (suck really bad?) expanding and experimenting, but without sticking to fashionable ideas of "experimenting" (grunge) and without being in-metal. Now don't get confused, this is different from anything I've heard Mr. Murphy, but he's firmly in metal territory. Also, you get plenty of chances to hear his guitar solos, etc., but these are songs, not just guitar solos. In addition, Deen Castronovo, drums, keeps a great bottom heaviness to this affair by keeping different rhythms with appropriate double-bass for all of the moods, riffs, etc.. Brad Russel, bass, is heard through out the whole affair, instead of of being just a simple two-chord-second- fiddle yeoman. Chuck Billy, guests on "Torching the Earth" which shows Chucky boy doing some great melodic stuff that is unlike anything on "Low". This is probably the best song here because James really shines on this one and because you find heaviness and melody striking the perfect balance. See if you can find many people who can do this stuff as well as this here!!  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

JUDAS ISCARIOT - "THE COLD EARTH SLEPT BELOW"  

MORIBUND  

I liked this CD a lot, even though it wasn't what I expected it to be. From what I had heard prior to purchasing it, I was prepared for ambient instrumental music in the vein of MORTIIS. The best way to describe this album is that it is black metal along the lines of EMPEROR and DARK THRONE. That's the closest comparison I can make, for those who depend on comparisons. But this album should stand well enough on its own. All music is performed and written by one man, Akhenaten, which is pretty impressive in itself if you ask me. The song I liked the most was the title track, but all of the songs are worth checking out. The down side of this CD is that the sound quality could be a little better. On a couple of the songs, the cymbals sound like someone banging spoons and forks together, but that wasn't that big of a deal. However, I like this CD more each time I listen to it. My final words on this is that I recommend it to any fans of dark and heavy music.  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

JUDAS PRIEST - "JUGULATOR"  

CMC INTERNATIONAL  

O.K. girls and boys, metalheads, headbangers, all of you! The Priest is back! It's time to stop speculating, wondering, and blabbering. The new singers name is "Ripper" Ownes and "Jugulator" is its first example of where the Priests sound is heading. This opens with the title track. The first thing to notice is the heaviness coming at you. "Painkiller" and Ram it Down", two of the best releases ever in metal, sound somewhat lighter to "Jug." The guitar sound is a notch heavier and has a rawer sound than "Painkiller". Now, the moment every Priest fan was waiting for, the voice. Well, it's really good, fits the music well. He fits right in, and yes he can scream. He can scream as good as Halford, but Owens sings in his own voice. "Bloodstained" takes you further into the new heaviness, aggression, and tightness of Priest. I really like the total fierceness of the next song "Dead Meat". Hear you can hear, at least I do anyway, more tinges of old Priest. It's really catchy. The guitar solos are not catchy, just technical wizardry. This song has a steady pounding rhythm. "Death Row" follows and this is really thrash- like-riffing. It cuts the sound and busts through. Aggressive vocals mark this song. The solos are once again fast, but short. Out of all the songs, "Decapitate" is the song that Owens actually sounds like Halford. Now comes "Burn in Hell". This is very catchy with its mid-paced heavy metal glory. This album will make you a believer again. The vocals, the guitar, the drums, the passion, the precision, the fury, it's all here. No need to describe all the other songs. Judas Priest has become heavier, faster, tighter, and younger-sounding. But I hate to say it, they have lost some of the melody they were good for. This is definitely the most different Judas P. album of all the releases. I'm looking forward to see Judas P. live again. The Priest is back with a vengeance!  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

JUDECCA - "AWAKENED BY THE STENCH OF THE DEAD"  

WILD RAGS  

This is basically an E.P. to give you a little taste of the full length release, "Beyond The Eyes Can't See." JUDECCA is a death metal band from Florida who tries to be really heavy and evil by growling really low, like Cannibal you-know-who, and try to write "scary, sexual, lyrics." There is no doubt that this is heavy, but so what? I have never heard light death metal anyway. There is nothing, I mean nothing that is really outstanding about this band. I would not recommend this to anyone at all.  

LIEFF 


KAAMOS - LUCIFER RISING  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

The vibe, the feel on this album is just amazing! It's like somebody finally said: "OK, we want to play brutal death metal, BUT!!...we are tired of all these blast attack generic bands that have speed and nothing else to offer... 1) we want to have feeling in our songs, make it really heavy, like old Obituary, Carcass, early Death, early Morgoth, with some Autopsy ...Just have it be saturated, oozing death metal... 2) we want heavy guitars, distinctive riffs, none of the speed-for-speed's-sake stuff; it can be fast, but it has to have feeling; it has to sound dark, with no chugga-chugga whatsoever; no "thrashy" riffs, just pure death metal guitar; no happy melodies or breakdowns or anything; Celtic Frost, Obituary, early Unleashed...you know, the death metal sound.... 3) the vocals have to be strong, none of that generic, cupped-microphone dog-barking ....again, Chuck Schuldiner, Tom G. Warrior, John Tardy, David Vincent, Kam Lee, Jeff Walker...just have it have that total classic style death metal growling... 4) and songs that have 'classic' written all over them." Kaamos have really succeeded. Death metal is great art when some people finally have the courage and talent to play it like it's supposed to be played. Things like blasting and speed are important, but they are secondary to having the right feel, which this band understands.  

www.kaamos.nu  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

KALIBAN - THE TEMPEST OF THOUGHTS  

CRASH MUSIC, INC.  

This album was recorded in 1998. However, this is a good album and I did not notice that it was old until I read the booklet. Thatís a good sign because it means that in 2005 itís still sounding good. Actually, if you listen without worrying about what you want it to be (not what you wish it would sound like, but what it sounds like in reality) and just listen and wait to find out if something is good and then see where it takes you, youíll find that The Tempest of Thoughts is a solid album with good songs from beginning to end. I know nothing about the history of this band. This album is licensed from Low Frequency Records and the band is from Finland (judging from the last names). The music: it has the pretty low tuned sound of melodic Scandinavian/Finnish metal/thrash/death, lots of guitar melodies and harmonies (which made me think of Sentencedís Down), low-growled vocals (not screechy like At the Gates, etc., rather more guttural). In addition, the music throughout is peppered with keyboards (background mostly), other instruments like sitar, some female vocals, etc. Of course, this makes the music fall in that same broad field (of that time) covering In Flames, Sentenced, etc. Is this as good as those bands? Well, I had never heard of this band or this album until this review. So, this is a new album to me. What I can tell you is that this is a good album, sure, though not the most original. Itís relatively creative, itís good, maybe very good in certain places. What may be of interest to you, if you like this specific type of music - and especially now that this sound has decreased in popularity - is to hear a surprisingly good band that you missed. Sorry, the cd booklet does not list a website.  

www.crashmusicinc.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

KARMA TO BURN - "WILD WONDERFUL PURGATORY"  

(label?)  

Heh. I'm gonna keep this short and simple. This CD bit dirt. Boring as hell with too much guitar tomfoolery. This band can't seem to decide what they're doing in each song. What kind of music is this? It could be "metal", it could be "hard rock." If you have the MONEY to BURN (waste!), see if you can figure it out.  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

KATATONIA - The Great Cold Distance  

PEACEVILLE RECORDS  

The problem: this has constant interruptions in the music. In each song, sometimes even during the chorus, so when the vocalist is actually singing, a voice interrupts to say, "You are listening to the song (insert title) the forthcoming Katatonia album The Great Cold Distance." This happens at least twice during the tracks to mutilate, interrupt and silence by a male voice talking, cutting in and intruding. It's difficult to imagine that musicians would appreciate the presentation of their art in this form.  

www.katatonia.com  

www.peaceville.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

KHIGH - WISE HEDONIST  

POWER PLAY RECORDS  

This sounds like it was recorded at a really good basement studio, it sounds like a fancy demo or like a self-financed recording. The vocals are nasal and the vocalist sounds like he's trying too hard to sing, he sounds strained, and really, he just can't sound that great. He's alright, but nothing too good, but nothing awful, either. The guitar is traditional rock n roll, or at least, that's what it sounds like to me. The singer/guitarist/head honcho in the thanks list sounds like he thinks he's really talented and basically thanks no one but himself, nice. Regardless, this is how I hear this: the guitarist may be talented, but the songs are not good. The lyrics and the singing sound like they don't fit the music. He's trying to tell a long-winded story, and it sounds like a book, not like a song. The "singing" is somewhat annoying because he's straining. I tried to listen to this album several times, but every time I had to stop it after a few songs because it was annoying me. I almost never stop cds in the middle. Almost never.  

www.powerplayrecords.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

KHOLD: MōRKE GRAVERS KAMMER  

CANDLELIGHT REC.  

This is a Norwegian band that plays garage punk rock that stays at the Rolling Stones / AC/DC mid-tempo that comes across as boring, mediocre and just plain tired. The drumming is basic rock drumming. The guitar "work" is nothing worth talking about. This is one of the most boring albums I have heard coming out of Norway. Yeah, I know this band thinks that they play black metal. If you consider Dimmu Borgir, Darkthrone, Cradle of Filth, Satyricon, Krieg, Aborym or anyone like that black metal, you can make an argument for your point, but not in this case, this band sounds more like AC/DC or a slower and way more boring version of the Sex Pistols. But yeah, with "grim" vocals.  

www.khold.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

KILL THE THRILL - TELLURIQUE  

SEASON OF MIST  

This band is dark, brooding, melancholic, slow; definitely not rock or anything like that, but more like spacy, tripped out techno/industrial. The music is not about aggression or speed. One gets the feeling that the songs are circular, repetitive, like a sort of nightmare cul-de-sac that leaves the listener numb. Maybe these guys do a lot of drugs. Not truly-open-minded-to-weird-music metal fans will want to stay the hell away from this. On the other hand, Godflesh fans, industrial fans might think that this is genius. The vocals are dark, but kind of sung and at other times sort of more emotional/semi-shouted, but never really loud. Thus, if you like cold, alienating, hypnosis-through-circular-rhythms, clinical, spacy, robotic, machine, mechanical, dark, nonmetal, nonrock, pretty outthere, drum machine music, then investigate.  

www.season-of-mist.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

KING DIAMOND - "THE GRAVEYARD"  

METAL B.  

This release is another episode in the long history of KING D. tradition of telling a story in each release. If you heard the "Spiders Lullaby", then this continues the "new and polished" sound. (Which I hate!) KING D., the band, doesn't really sound evil like in the old days. (The better days.) In many ways the direction of the band is more crystalline and has the more straight forward heavy metal sound. You can tell they put a lot of work into this album. As always, Andy La R. guitar work simply shines on this undertaking. At times the sharp melodies and solos are pretty damn impressive. The voice isn't (what I would call) as schizophrenic as in the past. Despite the fact that the subject matter is "dark", the truth is that this album is to "nice" sounding for it to be "dark". It's almost as if the old VAN HALEN tried to sound evil. This is just too musical, too good to be "evil". The overall sound is that of a heavy metal band that has come of age. Truly professionally sounding stuff. (That doesn't make it better!) I still have to mention again that it's the guitar work that makes this band really awesome.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

THE KOVENANT - "ANIMATRONIC"  

Nuclear Blast  

For those of you who have or have heard the first album, or even "Nexus Polaris", forget it. Just forget it exists. It seems that with the dropping of the "C" (for legal reasons) in favor of the "K", also, the departure of the traditional black metal that made up the previous releases. This is still very much metal, but there is a much different approach happening here. It's almost as if Marilyn Manson fired his whole band, and recruited all new members from the Gothenburg metal scene. Say what you will about Manson, but the war he wages against organized religion is much more intellectual and thought provoking than some black metal bean's running around screaming, "Fire, fire!" It's heavy, sinister, a little scary, but beautiful, ambient, and a little evil. Just the way I like it! I think they should have toured with Samael and Dimmu Borgir, instead of Monstrosity, who were good, just mis-cast. This is definitely death metal Manson, and is HIGHLY recommended to anyone who likes music in the heavy spectrum. Fans of gothic, Samael, Manson, and the like, don't miss out on this!  

Cyric  

 

 

 

The Kovenant - S.E.T.I.  

Nuclear Blast  

Man, I hope it's not too late? This album has been out for some time now but I'm just getting around to the review. STAY AWAY by all means! If you were like me, an innocent by stander who was expecting a true progression from Animatronic, especially since the main man in the band, good ol Lex, told me so in an interview, he painted the wrong picture for me! Just check out the interview in issue 5 to see what I mean. "Same style, but darker." NOT the same style and NOT the same darkness. 100% cheese! The music is very generic and in my opinion the metal is no longer present. No real aggression, definitely not the same attitude. I just don't know what happend here.  

Mike  

 

 

 

KREAGAN - Three Song Demo  

"Wish" is a rock ballad supposed to make you cry. The Massachusetts group has assimilated well glam, such as Skid Row and Poison. The other two songs are more traditional heavy metal, for fans of 80's Iron Maiden sweet-guitar melodies. Good, especially for fans of old school 80's traditional hard glam rock.  

www.kreagan.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

KRISIUN - BLOODSHED  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

This mini-album is full-on brutal death, unmelodic and harsh, like always. The Brazilians once again continue their growl and blast strategy. Enough to say, they are known for being fast and brutal and are considered among the best. They still do not employ anything resembling a melody whatsoever. Ah, but they have two interesting things here: new versions of four "Unmerciful Order" tracks. Yes, they are still fast and raw, sounding demo like. The real shocker is the new material: this band is still blasting, but it's blasting in a different way. What does that mean, you ask? The overall rhythms of the songs are more mid-paced, technical and groovy. The whiners that keep complaining that Krisiun has slowed down will be calling their moms to cry about this new direction!  

www.krisiun.com.br  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

KRYOBURN - ENIGMATIC EXISTENCE  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

There are two main facets to the sound of Kryoburn. First, the guitars are chug-based and have a thick, fat, stomping sound. The drums, of course, serve to accentuate the breakdown-centered approach. The vocals are growled/screamed. Thus, this part of the sound is about mosh pits. The second element of this group is the melodic side, which has a bit of keyboards/synth feel and the vocals are clean-sung. The vocals are not great, but they're ok. This is probably the result of combining Pantera and Fear Factory. However, this is this band's debut and won't amaze anyone, but it establishes a base for the band. Actually, from the sounds of it, this would fit well in the Roadrunner Records roster much better than in the Candlelight fold. Personally, I find nothing interesting in this type of music.  

www.kryoburn.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

KURU - EPIDEMIC  

DEATHGASM RECORDS  

Non-stop blasting, severely and unintelligibly guttural and with an overall unclean sound to match, Kuru is total gore death of the horror & sex variety (What other kind is there, Mauricio? Shut up, Mauricio. -- Mauricio)-(He really said that!! - Mike). Song titles, such as, "Brain Bleeding Cannibal Core" and "Memoirs of a Man Eater" are declarations of purpose. However, the lyrics are all about gore, but they are supposed to be funny. Ha. Ha. Ha. The music is memorable, in a twisted, blasting, claustrophobic way. Kuru is like what Cannibal Corpse would have been if they hadn't "matured". Compared to this band, Death's "Scream Bloody Gore" is melodic, polished gore. This is more in the neighborhood of Mortician: gore trying to outgore all that the gore that came before since 1984.  

www.kurumusic.com  

info@deathgasm.com  

www.deathgasm.com  

Mauricio Araniva 


LABYRINTH - FREEMAN  

ARISE RECORDS  

This power metal band is catchy and melodic, which is good, but normal and expected. This is one of the few power metal bands from Italy that gets some press here and there in North America. As power metal goes, there's not much to be negative about, since they have the songs and melody required for the style. They are not great, like Lost Horizon or Sonata Arctica, but they are good. Ok, but there are a couple of things about this band that are distinctive: 1) the singer has a nasal voice, which might bother some people because he's whiny at times and 2) they have their hard rock moments. This is not speedy, double-bass power metal, but more like power metal with heavy metal and hard rock.  

www.arisemetal.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

LACUNA COIL - S/T  

CENTURY MEDIA  

This is very good melodic hard rock. The music is awesome and the vocalist has an excellent voice. The main problem is that this is not metal. It just borders too much on hard rock. Guns N roses sounds like thrash metal compared to this. If you are flexible on the metal VS hard rock question and you like melody and singing, check this out. I get the feeling that this band could make it big, but by that time it won't even be hard rock, just rock.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

LAKE OF TEARS - BLACKBRICKROAD  

SANCTUARY/NOISE RECORDS  

This is definitely one for the open-minded audience that has enjoyed the evolution of Tiamat, Katatonia, Paradise Lost, Anathema, etc. I mention those bands not because this one is anything similar to that, but because it has that postmetal rock vibe. This is not fancy schmancy, tripped out or weird, but the songs stick. The songs revolve around a simple rock beat, a simple note that they milk a lot and a basic drum beat: nothing original or innovative, but memorable. This is pretty mellow rock for people to just nod along. "Metal-only" types will find nothing of interest here because it's not metal at all.  

www.lakeoftears.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

LAMENT -"TEARS OF A LEPER"  

ROWE PRODUCTIONS  

Here we have 10 songs of highly melodic Mexican death metal. I was really surprised that I liked this band, for they're not really the type of band I would listen to. It kind of reminds me somewhat of an 80's influenced band. It's some pretty cool stuff actually. It takes a few good listens to get acquainted with this release, but it just has a different feel to it. You'd have to listen to it to see what I mean. The vocals kind of remind me of somebody, but I hear that they have the drummer growling now, so who knows what they sound like now? Any way, this doesn't really remind me of anyone, and that's always a plus, even if you don't think they're any good. The music is pretty catchy, and like I said before, pretty melodic, and also has a good touch of brutality. Any way, if your looking for some cool death metal, check it out.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

LEASH LAW: DOGFACE  

BLACK LOTUS RECORDS  

The first time I listened to this album I could not make it past the fourth song because I found the high, nasal vocals too annoying. The vocals reminded of 80s glam rock bands, like Slaughter whose music was awful and the singing even worse. OK, so, I decided to come back to this cd later just in case I had been in a crabby mood. What happened the second time? I found this album even more annoying. Furthermore, I was embarrassed to be playing it because it sounded so cheesy with the 80s rock vibe. "Who enjoys this crap?" I asked myself. OK, OK, so, just to make sure, I decided, like a moron, to play it a third time. Wow!! What a difference a third time makes! This band totally convinced me way beyond a shadow of a doubt that they do, in fact, suck!! It's not that they're bad. They are awful, so much in that I could not stand the second song. And to think that Richard Christy is playing drums here!!  

www.leash-law.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

LET ME DREAM - PROMO  

ADIPOCERE  

First of all, if you do not appreciate their debut CD on ADIPOCERE REC., you should just pass away. LET ME DREAM definitely play their own music, create their own style and don't care about what people think. The music is a mix between gothic and some doom. But the most original thing are the vocals, as they are sometimes black metal like, strangely gothic, but always surprising. LET ME DREAM is definitely not a closed minded band. Explore it and realize what is hidden behind this evocative name.  

NICOLAS  

 

 

 

LIFEND: INNERSCARS  

CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC  

Lifend tries hard, really hard. They employ a saxophone in their songs combine clean Lacuna Coil-type vocals with masculine singing, as well as black metal screaming. What a headache this band is! There's just too much going on with nothing to hold it together. The black metal screaming is pretty annoying. The clean singing sounds cheese. This is cabaret metal. Some people are trying hard. Lifend is one of those bands. I think the ideas of the band could work, but I just don't think they are doing it well. To make matters worse, the production is inferior, like a demo.  

www.lifend.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

LILITU: THE DELORES LESION  

THE END RECORDS  

Lilitu rages and thrashes right out of the gates and comes off sounding great. The growling has a special something, that bit of aggression to make them stand out. The overall sound has a bit of melody, but plenty of death/thrashing. That's the first song. The second one starts off and here we go again, sounding great and just when you were getting comfortable, here comes the clean singing and it's a bit of a whiny/nasal sound, but they don't miss a beat. Now, from this moment on, the real sound of the band comes through, a brand of melodic metal with a wide spectrum, from thrashing to melodic, quieter moments. They are certainly very good at their craft. Fans of this style should most definitely investigate.  

www.theendrecords.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

LIMBONIC ART - "MOON IN THE SCORPIO"  

NOCTURNAL ART PRODUCTIONS  

LIMBONIC ART specializes in classical, complex, extreme black metal at its best. I thank the main man at FULL MOON PROD. for talking me into buying this magnificent band. The songs, 6 in total, are very long and atmospheric. Exceeding almost 10 min. each I believe. For those who do not like long songs, believe me when I say that the breaks they have and the transitions they have are excellent. For example, the song "Beyond the Candles Burning", is pretty fast, but after 8 min. or so it goes into this slow, doomy, very atmospheric piece that just put me in a trance. Very, very atmospheric. Another example, "Beneath the Burial Surface", is also pretty fast, after 8 min. or so, Morfeus- lead guitar, backing vocals, and keymaster, plays this melodic slow atmospheric piano piece while the guitars and drums are still at a high velocity. As Lieff would put it; "How many bands could pull off piano parts in their songs and actually make it work?". Well, LIMBONIC ART does it in every song and has released an album that is excellent. Another thing I want to mention, just cause, is the art work. When I looked at the cover, it reminded me of something I would see in a Japanese Animation movie. When I looked to see who they got the art work from, it said; Cover Art by Morfeus. I was highly impressed! So either he's taking credit for something he didn't do or he's an excellent artist, both musically and in drawing / painting. This CD is an excellent piece of work that fans of MASTERS HAMMER, ARCTURUS, and EMPEROR should enjoy. This CD is distro. By NECROPOLIS REC. and FULL MOON PROD. in the U.S., I suggest you buy this.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

LINEA 77 - "TOO MUCH HAPPINESS MAKES KIDS PARANOID"  

EARACHE RECORDS  

I listened to this CD TWICE, and I still couldn't seem to form a strong opinion on it. All I can say is that it didn't suck, but I thought it was horribly generic. I think that this might appeal to the Korn and Sevendust fans out there. I don't know. It's certainly not the kind of thing I would ever spend money on or time listening to, but I didn't vomit or anything while playing to it. :) Well, if you like Korn or any other bands from that breed, (In other words, they suck -ed) then check this out. Otherwise...um, don't.  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

LINEA 77 - AVAILABLE FOR PROPAGANDA  

EARACHE RECORDS  

This band plays poppy punk rock with an "attitude." Has nothing to do with metal at all. Supposedly they are rock stars in Italy. By the sounds of it, the mall punk rock eyeliner kiddies will love this, if they hear it.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

LITURGY - DAWN OF ASH  

UNMATCHED BRUTALITY  

The word super-group is thrown around all too often. With Liturgy, this is not the case, THIS IS a fucking SUPER-GROUP, Matti-vocals (Disgorge/Cinerary), Mike-guitars (Brodequin), Jamie-bass (Brodequin), and Jon-drums (Foetopsy)! If you donít have all the discs from these guyís other bands, go get them, sell your kidney or foot on the black market if you have to. If you have them you will already be able to guess that Liturgy went out of their way to play ripping, intestinal, splatter, and bone shredding, hyper-brutal-blasting-brutal as fuck death metal. This CD is the audio equivalent of cutting off your own genitals, cutting them into pieces, just to sew them together, set them on fire, eat them, and drink gasoline until your genitals and head explode. Yes, it is that fucking brutal!  

www.unmatchedbrutality.com  

Gore Schmaggler/Suicidal Brutalizer  

 

 

 

LIVIDITY - "REJOICE IN MORBIDITY"  

IMMORTAL RECORDS  

Very fucking intense, extreme death metal at its finest! Very tight band and truly one of the sickest sounding. Yes, this band specializes in gore and perverted death metal. Some really cool intros before each song get you ready for the brutality this band has to offer. Memorable riffing, pounding drums, and some sick vocals compliment this fine release. Some of the sickest lyrics I have read in a while I think, but that is no reason to cum, is it? "Fetal Scabs" and "Orifice Reconstruction" are two intense sick songs that will make you want more!! If you can not find this release anywhere, check out the bands interview for the address.  

Mike  

 

 

 

LOCK UP - "PLEASURES PAVE SEWERS"  

Nuclear Blast  

Oh my, brutality at it's "best." Here we have a line-up consisting of Nicolas (ex-Cradle of Filth), Peter from Hypocrisy on vocals, and two of the Napalm Death grinders, Jesse and Shane. This is fast and aggressive death metal, done the death metal way. Okay, now, I think it's pretty cool that some of the riffs/songs were intended to be used for the second Terrorizer album, but I wish that they would have been used for that instead. Why? Well, what is up with all these "super-groups"? Some of you out there might like these "bands", but I for one am sick of hearing how brutal of a release all these "super-groups" can release! There are way too many of these groups that only consist of members who already have releases out and about. Do any of these labels pay attention to the quality bands that exist out in the underground, who are ten times more original than these "super-groups"? I mean come on! How greedy can one get!? I for one hate the majority of these "super-groups", and would love to see them banned! Come on fellas, let the un-known acts out there get a piece of the pie!  

Mike  

 

 

 

LORD BELIAL - THE SEAL OF BELIAL  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

Who is Lord Belial? Lord Belial is different. Why are they different? They play their black metal in a pretty courageous and gutsy manner. It's often going slow to mid-pace, though there are moments of blasting speed. However, the fact the music often goes at a crawling, mid-pace means that they have to come up with good songs not to bore the listener. Whereas speed can numb the listener, slowness can bore the listener. At first, I wasn't crazy about the idea of this music, but now, after several listens, I understand what they are doing: to make songs memorable, dark, doomy, melodic in some places, by letting the strength of the songs carry the music, not the blast-beat or keyboards or anything. Sounds pretty raw, basic black metal, but played well and without fear of letting the guitars, the riffs, and the solos command center stage. Who would have thought that doomy, raw black metal, with occasional bursts of blasts would work so well? I am surprised, impressed, and interested. I think I need to find out whether the previous four releases are as good as this one.  

www.lordbelial.com  

www.regainrecords.com  

www.candlelightrecordsusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

LOST SOUL - CHAOSTREAM  

EARACHE/WICKEDWORLD RECORDS  

If Lost Soul were taking a class at Blasting Death Metal University, on this album they would earn a solid B. They have a good sound, solid blasting and then some, lots of Morbid Angel-inspired riffs, good growling and a bit of melodic soloing to add to the lot. They are a serious bunch and have definitely put in a solid effort. Sounds like in the live environment they'd come across well. It boils down to this, if you have not bought a lot of brutal death metal lately, this is the kind of band that you should listen to first and see if they are something you might like. If you like an awful lot of brutal death, this is worth investigating. On the other hand, if you are picky, you'll think this Polish bunch is good, but not worth buying yet. Keep your eye on them, though.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

LOWBROW - "VICTIMS AT PLAY"  

(label?)  

How do you spell the sound, when you stick out your tongue and blow? However it's spelled, it's the best description for this CD. IE: IT BLOWS! Death metal that's so generic, it ought to come in a black and yellow package and be on sale at Aldi's. Death metal that's so tired, it sounds like it needs some Vivarin. This shit is so limp, not even Viagra could get it up! The time for this generic sort of music is long gone. When will people realize that DIFFERENT IS GOOD??! Ok, I am done with the cheesy cliches, but be sure to avoid this disc like a hunk of moldy Velveeta.  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

LUCIFIXION - AS EVIL AS ME  

The band says that this e.p. is a prelude to their full-length album. This is three songs of mid-paced, chunky growled metal, with clean, operatic vocals and some mellow passages. I have heard these three songs some seven times. More than anything, this is the kind of music that is a triumph for the band for having the organization and will power to write songs and record them. Being, in and of itself, is a victory. However, this music does not get me excited because there is nothing great about it, just a bunch of guys, and gal, getting together putting together some decent jams.  

www.lucifixion.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

LUNARIS: CYCLIC  

ELITIST/EARACHE REC  

The first listen will go over your head, but listen to this a few times and the shades and clouds begin to move aside to reveal something worth talking about and something worth checking out. Lunaris has put together a very versatile and impressive album that showcases a lot of ability. The drumming is tight and blazing, in the best black metal sense of the word. The riffings are sharp, going from well-performed black, thrash and death. The vocals go from black metal to clean to growling and back and around again. The production on this thing is tight and polished and sharp. You can tell that this took a lot of work putting it all together. If you want me to give band references, I'd say that the spirit and mentality on here is a bit similar to Borknagar, but of course, Lunaris is not a rip off. Finally, on paper, this combination might not work, but in real life this band makes it work really well. I want to hear more.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

LUNGBRUSH - "OLD SCHOOL, NEW SCHOOL"  

Pavement  

Lungbrush is a second or third rate cheap Machine Head copy. The "tuned down" guitar, plus the "hardcore street" feel to the music/lyrics. They are also a socially conscious band, talking about gangs and corporations. How hypocritical, then to be anti-woman. The song "Janie" is about backwards and reactionary as you can get. (How do you know that's what the song is about, Lieff?) Nice try idiots, learn to respect.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

LYZANXIA - MINDCRIMES  

REALITY ENTERTAINMENT  

Fredrik NordstrŲm produced this album and Lyzanxia definitely pulls off the melodic metal sound that put Gothenburg on the musical map. This band is from France, but sounds like In Flames before "Clayman". I hate to sound like such a jerk because this band has some pretty cool riffs and songs, but they donít have their own personality yet. They still sound too much like theyíre playing old In Flamesí game.  

www.reality-entertainment.com  

Mauricio 


MALEVOLENT CREATION - WARKULT  

NUCLEAR BLAST  

Super-fast, frantic, blasting, no-holds-barred brutal, grinding death metal; totally growling vocals and lots of meaty riffs that call for speed andÖwait for it, more speed . This thing, blasting speed, is the only thing that Malevolent Creation has to offer, unfortunately. Seriously, the solos are not even worth discussing, the riffs sound like c-rate, mindless death metal. This band is on auto pilot, big time, people! One of the guys is wearing a Demolition Hammer shirt. Ah, so, not only do they play fast and tight mediocre death metal, they also like fast and tight mediocre bands from the past, lovely. They probably like Acheron, Tankard, Faith or Fear and Broken Hope, too, sad.  

http://malevolentcreation.cjb.net  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

MALICE 420: HATEFUL PREACHINGS  

SELF-RELEASE (?)  

This is total generic "death metal" garbage, nothing distinctive, original, creative or good. Sounds like garage punk/metal trying to be all tough and angry, but comes across as moronic, like a real awful version of Pantera.  

www.malice420.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MANEGARM -"NORDSTJARNANS TIDSALDER"  

DISPLEASED RECORDS  

This is good, fast black metal that leaves little to be desired. However much I liked this CD, I just don't know what to tell you about it. Keyboards, gutteral vox, great guitar work, speedy drumming, what else could you want? Most black metal fans will like this, even the picky ones like me! Just check it out and forget about this dumb review.  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

MAROON - When Worlds Collide  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

Oriented towards the concert experience with breakdowns often, this hardcore outfit from Germany provides a considerable melodic thrash factor to their expertly performed, if not all too innovative, material characterized by strong dose of double-bass drumming, speedy guitars, shout-growled vocals. In addition, each song has the more melodic aspect, through solos or licks and some cleaner vocals. To top it all off, the breakdowns serve as transitions to a change of pace or are there with an eye towards creating a mosh pit. The breakdowns are pretty formulaic, the songs memorable, plus, the band has a knack for core.  

www.maroonhate.com  

www.centurymedia.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MASQUERADE - "SURFACE OF PAIN"  

METAL BLADE  

This release goes against everything that people find "cool". Why? Because the vocalist actually sings, and the rest of the band write real songs. That's right, this is a heavy metal / power metal release! This is actually from 1994, but METAL BLADE is still pushing it. If you hate bands that play their instruments and make real music, then you'll hate this band. "State of Grace", song #3, should give you an idea; the vocalist has a "high-range" voice, there are plenty of heavy, yet melodic riffs, and the drummer follows the rhythm of the song, instead of trying to prove that he is the fastest drummer in the world. In short, this is polished heavy metal!  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

THE MASS - CITY OF DIS  

CRUCIAL BLAST RECORDS  

The first song begins normally enough with mentally disturbed screaming and deranged hardcore, jazzy riffing. Just when you were getting comfy, about one minute and fifteen seconds into this thing called "La Porc," a saxophone (?) comes in and it gets loud, nasty, obnoxious and in your face. Woop, there it is. By this time, the rest of the instruments are going bonkers, thrashing, rocking.  

"Trapped Under A Ice" follows. Here we go again, the saxophone (?) is again just getting down with the crazy, psycho babble beat jazz hardcore time changes and generally just sounding like a pig rolling around in the dirt having the time of his life. Later on, "Major Strip" has a part that the whole band is shouting and it sounds like a bunch of guys screaming in a cartoonish voice: "hoo li-hoo li-ha!; hoo-li-hoo-li-ha!" Or something to that effect. This song also has a karate chop scream. Hah-cha! Yah!. Later on "We Enslaved Elves to Build Our Death Machine," a seven-minute-plus affair, takes a turn for the insaner by becoming a smooth cabaret death-core-jazz number. I suggest you serenade your local funny farm neighbor with this number. He or she will love it, just love it. You'll be getting married at the local mental hospital in no time flat. "Marca Dos Invernos" goes down to the final stop just before you throw yourself out the window. This song is jumbled up gobbledygoopla funkeldebrainiac. This is destined to be bigger than Madonna or Raven. "Rock until you drop!"  

www.themass.us  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MASS PSYCHOSIS -"NECROPORNO"  

STILL DEAD PRODUCTIONS  

I've been sitting around listening to this nearly 2 weeks now, trying to figure out why I like this band. After dragging my feet with this review, I finally have come to the conclusion that I still don't know exactly why I like it! It's just kool, brutal fucking death metal that will kick your butt as surely as it did mine. Do you really need to know anymore than that? Is it really necessary for me to go into some long, boring, adjective-laden description? I say NO! Just take my word on it and get this if you like death metal at all! You can thank me later.  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

MASTERPLAN - AERONAUTICS  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

Feel-good music is what Masterplan is. A Helloween off-shoot, Masterplan's music is supposed to make you feel a certain way. The guitar harmonies are sweet, the double-bass drumming gives the up-beat riffs power and energy, the singing is good and the songs are sharp, clean, melodic and memorable. It will put you in a better mood when you are driving to work. Instead of cursing out the driver who just cut you off (on purpose, of course, because that person is in a worldwide conspiracy to make your life miserable), you can listen to Masterplan and you'll feel better.  

There are 10 songs of super-catchy, melodic, sugary, rocking power/heavy metal: flashy solos, power guitaring, double bass drummering, and classy singering. Songs 1, 3, 7, 9 are the fast ones. You can do aerobics or jog to those. 2 and 6 are slower love songs, but they are not, in my opinion, power ballads: more like slower to mid-paced. 8 is also mid-paced. All these three songs have big-time-rock-star vocal performances, but this is true for the whole album. 8 is probably the weakest track and the worst song is still solid. 10 is the longer song which brings the whole album together: this 9-minutes-plus piece starts out slowly and builds into a great, undeniable song.  

www.candlelightrecordsusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MATUTINA NOCTEM -"ANIMA MEAM"  

ADIPOCERE RECORDS  

A fell beauty calls us from the mists of the past. The victorious warriors trudge from the field of their triumph. The fading daylight shining off their blood-stained armor. This CD could well be the soundtrack for such a scene. Containing 9 tracks of beautiful medieval folk like melodies, entwined with solemn chanting and female vocals. This band delivers a haunting blend of beauty and texture. I highly recommend this to the aesthetes out there, this will definitely satisfy your longing for ethereal realms. Prepare to be enchanted.  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

MAYHEM - "DAWN OF THE BLACK HEARTS"  

Yes, I am sure the majority has already heard about this bootleg, and I'm sure a lot of you collectors are still trying to find this hard to get disc. I think this release sucks! Everyone wants to cash in on the death of Euronymous. Whoever put this out is full of shit and greed. The sound on this release is just plain sorry. Everything sucks about it. Why does this suck so badly? No, not because MAYHEM sucks, it sucks because this does the band no justice at all. How would you like it if some greedy motherfucker puts out a show in which your band sounded like shit because the venue in which you played in had the worst fucking sound system in the world? Do your self a favor: go buy yourself "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas"! If you already have it, buy a second copy!  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

MAYHEM -"WOLF'S LAIR ABYSS"  

MISANTHROPY  

Euronymous who? Yeah, so what if he's not in it? Well, it might matter to some, but once you put this disc in, you will hear that Mayhem are back. With Necrobuther and Maniac back in the league, and of course Hellhammer, who can say it isn't Mayhem? The thing I didn't like at first was that Attila wasn't on vocals anymore. His diversity added so much more to the Mayhem sound in my opinion. But from what I've read, Hellhammer was looking to go back to the rawer and crazier sound of Mayhem from the olden days. Which in my opinion, they succeeded very well. We have 5 songs of intense utter blasphemy. The song, "Ancient Skin" has some of the most hate filled vocals I've heard in a long time. I can just picture Maniac cutting/burning himself while recording his vocals on the record. So how's the music? Can you not see who I'm reviewing? It's Mayhem! They're back and will be here long after the trends die. What else to say?  

MIKE  

 

 

 

MELIAH RAGE - "DEATH VALLEY DREAM"  

BACKSTREET REC.  

First off, let me just say that yes, this release is at least two years in the can by now, but that does not detract from these guys at all, unless they dropped out of sight again in 1997 and I didn't know! M. Rage came out of the Boston music scene in the late 80's, thrashing away in clubs with the backing of recording industry juggernaut Sony/Epic, trying to get the break that Metallica got at the beginning of the decade. With the exception of Wargasm, there were very few metal bands to hail from the same area. (Extreme and Aerosmith don't count.) In 1988, they came out with "Kill to survive", "Live Kill", a live E.P. in 1989, and in 1990, "Solitary Solitude". Although they displayed great musicianship and slamming thrash/power metal riffs, they never really seemed to be able to crack the big time as their peers have. Despite killer riffs and great lyrics on tunes like "Bates Motel" on "Kill to S." and "The Witching" and "Swallow your Soul" on "Solitary Solitude", M. Rage seemingly disappeared not long after the later album was released. Then in the later part of 1996, with the little fanfare, they turned up with "Death Valley Dream" on Backstreet Records, a company I know very little about. It starts right off with the title track, not too bad, but not the best song they've ever done. But then things pick up a bit with the steady pound of "stranger' and the nearly hardcore tune "Media". Getting better as we go along, we get a dose of soaring conviction with "Crow" and a cool tune that makes me think of the Marvel Comic character Punisher, "War Journal". Probably one of the most kick-ass songs on the album, "Prideland" continues the motif started in 1988 about the soldiers and settlers killing indians, and they do a far better job than Rage Against the Machine (who easily get on my list as one of the most shittiest bands in every sense of the word to help kill the 90's, musically.) as far as championing the cause of the American Indian. I'm not the most politically correct guy in the world, but it's good to see someone besides I. Maiden in '82 doing a cool tune about this issue. I know Metal Maniacs pretty much dissed this album a few issues back, which they seem to do to most of the good bands from time to time, but do your self a favor, seek this one out. Not quite as raw as their earlier material, but enough catchy and heavy riffing to appeal to fans of Laaz Rockit (holy shit, where are those guys?) and Armored Saint type of traditional metal. At least they remain true every album, showing growth without flushing any integrity down the shitter. You reading this Lars? You fuckwit!  

TOM  

 

 

 

MENTAL DESTRUCTION - "STRAW"  

Cold Meat Industry  

Haha, this has to be the most un-fun CD I have ever heard, and that is saying a lot. Definitely not one to pop in if you want to remain in a cheery mood! These spaced-out, machinery-driven, industrial sounds capes do however make pretty damn good background music for sitting around reading, typing, whatever. People who like experimental stuff will most likely be pleased with this disc. As for myself, it's alright, but I prefer a bit more structure.  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

MERCENARY - 11 DREAMS  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

Fans of that melodic Scandinavian growl n' sing style will be glad to hear a new band that sounds hungry and eager to be taken seriously. If you like melodic metal with some background electronics, you'll be well advised to check this out. It is catchy and aggressive, like this type of band. This is not to compare, but just in case you want names, I will name names: In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Arch Enemy and Soilwork. There, does that help? This Danish band has gritty, chuggy riffing and not all the supposed Maiden harmonies. A lot of the melody comes from the vocals, too. The clean singing is way more upfront than Soilwork and more prog/heavy/power metal, too. Investigate further if Gothenburg means anything to you. Pretty trendy stuff.  

www.mercenary.dk  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MERCILESS: LIVE OBSESSION (DVD)  

ESCAPI  

When talking about the Sweden's early underground metal scene Merciless is a name often left out, even though they recorded their debut, "The Awakening", in 1989. That album is thrash in the style of Kreator, Dark Angel and Slayer, but with more growled vocals and speed approaching the blast. For that reason alone, it's interesting to see the band live from a concert in 2003. The chances of seeing Merciless live in the States are not good, so this is as close as you might get. The 12 songs on here sound pretty thrashy live, which shows that Merciless is still rooted in old school thrash. The second DVD is extra stuff like an interview and other live songs. If you like hard thrash, with that old, dark feeling, you should check out this band. Personally, my favorite moments are when the band is playing fast. The mid-paced songs don't work as well. I still totally enjoy the debut, though.  

www.escapi.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MERCYFUL FATE - "INTO THE UNKNOWN"  

METAL BLADE  

I would definitely say that this release is better than "Time". (Opinions vary.) Starting with the "Uninvited Guest", which has a tight and professional sound. "Kutulu (The Mad Arab Part 2)" demonstrates a more complete guitar sound. Also, the new drummer, Bjarn T. H. is a more modern metal drummer. He definitely has his own sound. The overall sound of "Into the Unknown" is chunkier and darker.(Yeah, maybe compared to my anal cave, but not compared to the old and better days of FATES career!) "Holy Water" is by far the catchiest tune here. The simple and catchy style of the song contrasts well with some of the more complicated material like, "Fifteen Men (And a Bottle of Rum)". KING D. voice is not very variable, not anything like the old stuff. There is one thing that is strange to me, why is it that Michael and Hank, the two excellent guitarists, find it impossible to get more melody in their solos? I know they can do it because they have done it on "Melissa" and on "Don't Break the Oath", but they just don't do it now and that takes away a big part of what made this band great. (That's because this reformation isn't MERCYFUL FATE, they should have changed the name to UNBEARABLE FATE or something. Just my bitching.) Finally, this is a good release, except for the gripe about Mr. Denner and Mr. Shermann.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

MESHUGGAH - CATCH THIRTY THREE  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

Metallica likes them. Tool likes them even more. Ozzy Osbourne's son likes them, too. A lot of musicians and magazines respect this band, actually (Does any of that matter to anyone?!). Well, for one thing, this album is different from everything considered metal or rock, for that matter. My impression upon hearing: it collapses two currents or two streams or even two directions and it results in an incongruous pace. The vocals are screamed/shouted/growled, as usual, which probably will continue to limit their audience since not everyone likes these vocals. It's possible that this band is using a weird guitar that sounds like a bass guitar, but this time around I hear very little guitar. Instead, the bass and drum machine/programming (no real drummer this time) are pretty dominant. If you are a musician, you'll probably be curious to hear this stuff. I'm not, so I'm not. To me, this sounds like the bass player is playing one single note for an eternity. The drum machine is doing the same thing for a long, long time. The whole album is one big song with some pauses here and there. It's a very midpaced, monotonous, one-two, one-two, thump, thump-type of album. I found this to be really boring and bland.  

www.meshuggah.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

METAL CHURCH - "LIVE"  

NUCLEAR BLAST  

This is a live collection from 1986. It's a release displaying Metal Church after "Metal Church", the debut, and "The Dark", release. This is my kind of "Seattle" music! David Wayne's voice is in top performance form and the band sounds excellent. This stuff sounds great because you get the power of the recorded music with the extra special feel of a live show. These songs are all excellent. "Ton of Bricks", "Start the Fire", etc.. The way this sounds, it has two elements of metal. The traditional metal sound, plus the energy of thrash. A class act. By the way, this sounds ten times better than most live bands. Quite a gem, this band.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

METALIUM - DEMONS OF INSANITY -- CHAPTER FIVE  

CRASH MUSIC, INC.  

Characterized by the mentality that if the power/heavy metal audience likes no-nonsense traditional power metal, then there is no reason to go changing things, Metalium is a traditional metal public's band. Give the Metalium people what the Metalium people want: Speedy, up-tempo, rocking, shredding, double-bass, high energy headbanging songs like; "Power of Time," "Cyber horizon," "Out of Silence," "Sky Is Falling," etc. These tracks present a band with air-raid-siren singing, guitar harmonies, and instantly memorable, power-packed chorus lines. Good songs and the best in the album. Mid-paced, rocking songs, like "Demons of Insanity," "Mother Earth," Ride On," "Destiny," etc. Here the band does not slow down, but does hold off a bit from going full-speed ahead. The songs are less effective and I find the gang-shouted chorus/lines to be kind of dumb, but there are some cool moments. "Endless Believers" and "Silence of the Night" are the two most ballady moments, especially the latter. Not a bad album, but like Primal Fear's "Devil's Ground," Metalium sounds pretty uninteresting because it's so conservative in its approach. What the songs lack, to me, is excitement. This band is too much on power metal auto pilot. In the past they have sounded a lot more exciting and excited, hungry, if you will, like on "State of Triumph--Chapter Two," for example.  

www.metalium.de  

www.crashmusicinc.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MINDGRINDER - RIOT DETONATOR  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

The most attractive quality here is the ability to know what to do and doing it at the precise moment for the most effect. For instance, the blasting on the first four songs is carried out at certain points for maximum intensity; the hook-oriented soloing seems to reach out at the perfect moment, while the drum fills, double bass and tight thrashing riffs carry the non-blasting parts. In short, these songs sound very well composed: tight, but still un-clean and raw. The riffs have huge Slayeresque proportions: there is a forward motion to them that is exciting. I find that this sounds lively, energetic. The vocals have brief guttural, growled parts, but most of the time they are, I guess, I'd have to say "shouted," but it's not screaming nor growling. The vocals maybe have a crust-punk, old, early grind feel. At any rate, they fit the music very well. Song five is a nice, clean, serene acoustic-sounding interlude of about one minute, followed by a faster mid-paced number which, again, has well-placed blasting. Seven is a mid-paced number that's monotonous compared to the rest of the album. Eight is "interesting": it sounds inspired by Morbid Angel's slow songs. The next number ends the album (35 minutes) and it's a thrashier, more grinding track, not to end things in a slow fashion. In other words, the orientation is towards hooks in the riffs and on the first four songs the band is very convincing, which is some 17 minutes of music. The rest of the album is less so, but by no means mediocre. It remains to be seen whether they can capture the excitement and keep it going for a full album.  

www.candlelightrecordsusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MISERY LOVES CO. - "YOUR VISION WAS NEVER MINE TO SHARE"  

Earache  

Hmm, pretty kool. Not every song on this album was my cup of tea, but I liked the distortion-laden vox and guitars throughout, making even the less likeable songs more tolerable for me. I really like the vocalist as well. He has a unique sounding voice. If you've never heard this band, I guess I'd have to say it's sort of really heavy "alternative." Maybe like what some people call "college music", heh. I don't know, I'm not into labels, but I did actually dig this CD a lot. The greatest moment on the album, is their extremely admirable cover of The Cure's "Drowning Man." If you're at all a fan of old Cure stuff, this album is worth buying for that alone.  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

MISTRESS - IN DISGUST WE TRUST  

EARACHE RECORDS  

Very simple here: dirty, raw heavy punk that sounds drunk and noisy, screaming, unpleasant and unpolished. This band involves people from Anaal Nakrath (or whatever that damned band is called). Unlike that band, this is not tight and itís not fast. Sure, thereís actually quite a bit of blasting, but itís not very tight. This is not grind if by grind you mean Napalm Death or Lock Up because this is more street, much drunker, kind of sloppy, which makes it, again, more punk than anything. There is some clean singing, but only in a brief moment. The blasting parts are kind of cool, but overall, this is not tight enough and fast to get me interested. Plus, it sounds like a project, too. The guitar work is simply not that interesting, which would be helped by some speed, but thereís not that much of that. Only for fans of raw, sloppy, heavy punk with growled vocals and screaming. Example, they have songs called "Alcohole" and "Whiskey Tastes Better." Get the picture?  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MNEMIC: THE AUDIO INJECTED SOUL  

NUCLEAR BLAST  

This is trendy hardcore/metal with screams and clean singing. You can tell they think they are pretty original and cool because they are trying to be so different that they end up sounding like Fear Factory jamming with Soilwork and Linkin Park. They cover an 80s pop song called "Wild Boys" by Duran Duran (Huh?) They have the breakdowns which are so predictable. You know when the clean singing, which is not very good, is coming in during the song because the tracks just are that predictable.  

www.mnemic.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MONOLITHE: II  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

Say, man, you ever been hanging around the house, just chillin', and in between breaks in the doing-nothing sessions, you sit back, and ask yourself: I wonder whatever happened to that girl in middle school who used to wear all those Led Zeppelin shirts? Boy, she hated Pearl Jam so bad! Or: whatever happened to all those bands that were called Tormentor back in the day?  

Or: who is the absolute slowest, most slothful, darkest, doomiest, melancholiest, twistediest (forget dictionaries!), anti-speediest metal band ever? Well, Jack, see, I think I have your answer right here: Monolithe. This album is one song that is 50 minutes long. I think we have a hit on our hands, kids! This is slow! If you thought the first Paradise Lost was slow, wait till you hear this! Candlemass and Obituary are hyper-speed blasting compared to this! Ok, enough of my stupidity. If the lack of speed is not a concern for you, and especially if you love slow, dark doom with growled vocals, you should at least give this a chance because they are in their own world.  

www.candlelightrecordsusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MOONLYGHT: PROGRESSIVE DARKNESS  

ESCAPI  

Like a lot of bands from Quťbec (the land of Voivod, mind you) Moonlyght is not ordinary and stands out based on pure ambition. Any band that wants to do this much with their music is to be applauded. What kind of music is this, then? Well, they play progressive dark metal (duh?!). Coming across as a blend of European symphonic, melodic black metal, prog metal, power metal and that special Quťbec quality, Moonlyght should be heard by an audience that does not care for categories. The vocals are black, growled and clean. There are seven songs, all of which are over seven minutes long, with the exception a short one lasting over four and a half minutes. This takes a bit to understand, but it's worth it, that is if you like to enjoy music as music, not a lame excuse to get your "anger" out. Oh, yeah, how gutsy is this band? They actually have a song with an accordion in it!! And, yes, it works, ok?  

www.moonlyght.ca  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MOONSPELL -" SIN PECADO"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Cool title, he, he. At first, I was a bit skeptical after listening to this release. The first song, "Handmade God", totally reminded me of a newer Paradise L. song. Like most of the bands who would be considered "different" in the metal scene, (Paradise L., Amorphis, Sentenced, etc..) and by this I mean they don't like to stay in one place musically. Moonspell has once again changed in sound somewhat. Some might like this change, due to the strong resemblance to Type-O-N., especially in the vocal dept., others will just pass this off as another wanna-be. There were only like 2 songs that had the aggressive vocals like on the previous. This album is still in the "gothic" realm of things, but it's actually less-than the previous. But the solos are definitely metal sounding. This one sounded a lot more metal to me I think. Any way, if you like moody music with a dark feel, check it out, it's definitely worth a listen.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

MORGUL - ALL DEAD HERE  

SEASON OF MIST  

"All Dead Here" huh? Hey, you wouldn't want to risk sounding like you have a negative attitude towards life! Morgul's take on metal focuses on a general feel of misanthropy. Thus, the mid-tempo, dark, symphonic/synth, black-ish metal centers not on speed, or brutality, but on a mood of in-human, desolate, alienating and alienated constructions of sound. This is precisely why: (1) the music is almost devoid of conventional structures which usually play on an audience's concept of familiar and expected melody, chorus and rhythm patterns. (2) This music appeals to an audience which enjoys the music often called "post-black metal," which usually has metal plus industrial / techno influences. Having said all this, Morgul does not go overboard with synth/industrial components. It's still metal music with death/black guitar work (and a drum machine?), but it is surrounded with string arrangements (synth?), some clean vocals, piano sounds, effects to form a thick, plodding, marching, dark sort of "post-black metal."  

Recommended for those into the metal that's more "out there."  

www.season-of-mist.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MORTICIAN - "HACKED UP FOR BARBECUE"  

RELAPSE  

"You really scared me, If that's what you wanted. Is that what you wanted?" "No." "What do you want?" "Your blood........all over me." When anybody asks me, "What exactly is death metal?" This is one of the best bands to define the genre of death metal. Do you disagree? Well if you do, kill yourself and rot. This fucking release is so fucking intense, you will have the urge to kill someone. Anyone not familiar with this band should check this release out. Lyrics are as gruesome as ever, vocals are as deep as ever, music is as intense as ever, and better yet, the production is pretty cool as well. Anyone who saw this band with A.C. and INCANTATION must of had one hell of a night! Literally. Anyone with pictures of that concert, please, donate them, and if they are good enough I'll print them next issue. Any ways, check this soundtrack to all that is the horror of life out!  

MIKE  

 

 

 

MOONSPELL - "IRRELIGIOUS"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

This band has definitely crossed over into the gothic realm of things. Pretty much leaving the "black metal" sound that people said they had on previous efforts. I would definitely call this a progression since their previous effort both musically and vocally. The songs are excellently structured and executed. Mixing the metal influence and the dark gothic mysticism is something I truly enjoy. A lot of people shit on his vocal style/styles, but I find them to be a plus, especially in a scene where vocal styles are usually limiting in such an extreme scene. All into dark and heavy music should enjoy this release very much.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

MORBID EXECUTION - TOTAL DEVOTION  

DEATHGASM RECORDS  

Wonderful raw, primitive death/black metal that takes its inspiration from early Venom and Hellhammer, and probably early Death, early Sodom, early Destruction and Death Strike. Totally tortured vocals that please those of us who think Tom G. Warrior's vocals in Hellhammer were genius. The vocals made me think of Death Strike a lot, too. The sound is savage, like it was recorded in a cave. Cool! The drumming is primitive and with that special intermittent double kick. It's not blasting or speedy per se, but fast and often mid-paced, played with more feeling than speed. The guitars are death metal chainsaws and have a low, grinding quality to them. The bass rumbles, and pretty loudly. For fans of early-style, primitive death/black. It's too bad that this lasts only 13 minutes and it's only 5 songs. I definitely want to hear more songs like "Total Devotion," "Straight Way to Hell," "On the Threshold of the Unseen," "Cult in the Age of Aquarius" and "Demonic Possession." There is no website/contact address given (how appropriate).  

www.deathgasm.com  

info@deathgasm.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MORGOTH - "FEEL SORRY FOR THE FANATIC"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

This release really sucks because it is weak beyond belief and it is utterly boring in every aspect that the listener could possibly imagine. This should actually be called, "Feel Sorry For MORGOTH". What I just said is very general, so lets be more specific here. For example, song number four, "...and its amazing consequences" is, (and I'm not kidding man!) a total techno-pop-rock song. Yes, with plastic-sounding drum machines and synthesizers that really make fans of NEW ORDER and DEPECHE MODE dance. This song has no vocals, just really "hip" sounds of techno. What is the purpose of this "experiment"? READ: STUPIDITY! This is silly and just plain dumb. MORGOTH sucks! O.K., then there is the obvious loss of any death metal feel to this. Remember now kiddies, when the "Eternal Fall" came out back in the early nineties, this bands vocalist was considered a contender for the worlds title of "heaviest" traditional death metal voice? Well, you can forget it now. Everything is pretty clear, as far as the voice is concerned. There are no growls or anything, just simple vocals that are boring. Another thing I must add, is that if he thinks he is trying to sing, then he is definitely hallucinating. This is no singer. Where are those heavy, face-ripping riffs now? Not here! Actually, this whole album sucks. This is totally un-metal. This is even weaker metal than U2. But U2 is not metal, right? Neither is MORGOTH! Finally, I just want to say that at one time this band was very promising. "Cursed" was incredibly heavy, melodic and just so good. It combined music with brutality, which if you have noticed, it is actually hard to do. I don't even know why this is still called MORGOTH. This is dance music that your preppy class mates listen to. In short, SMASHING PUMPKINS is better than this because they are heavier, rawer, and more aggressive. This is a joke and no one is laughing. If someone is laughing, they're laughing at, not with, MORGOTH.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

MORTEM -"DEMON TALES"  

COYOTE RECORDS  

Mortem is a Peruvian death metal band that started out in 1986. These guys are still around, playing underground death metal. "Demon Tales" is just that. This is pretty good death metal. But like a lot of south American bands, they are plagued with bad equipment, with a bad sound. If early Sodom sounded cool with bad production, then that is not the case here. This is basically like early Sepultura sound wise. There's nothing truly outstanding here, but better production could make a big difference because Mortem are a musically serious band and their devotion is unquestionable. This is not cheesy stuff at all. Definitely worth a listen.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

MUGZU - NOT REALLY (DEMO)  

Growled vocals, chug guitars and lots of energy; more than anything, this is so that these guys one day can say that they were in a band and that they recorded a demo. Their friends liked it because they were their friends and had to like it. That jerk Mauricio Araniva didn't care for it. If you are a total demo collector, then by all means, go ahead.  

www.mugzu.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MUNICIPAL WASTE - HAZARDOUS MUTATION  

EARACHE RECORDS  

Thrash maniacs who like their thrash faster, quicker, nimble, rapid, speedy, driving and non-stop will be so happy with Municipal Waste, for whom Slayer is not fast enough! Remember Slayer's punk covers album? This has that spirit. Thrash-punk-metal with no desire to slow things down to a mid-paced speed at all. The vocals sound like that Slayer album, Nuclear Assault, or D.R.I, fast and shouted, gritty and punky, sometimes the chorus or song title is gang shouted. The speed of this thing is on the verge of breaking into grinding speed, but never quite there. Here and there, the guitars will do a quickie melodic solo and be right back to the thrashing. One of the things about this music is that in 2005 it sounds like it's from 1987, but with a better, more modern sound, but damn, it's 1987 all over again. If you like your thrash fast, old-school and with a punk attitude, then get cracking. This album has 15 songs and it's some 25 minutes long.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MURDER 1 - "AMERICAN JUNKIE"  

Pavement  

If you like hardcore, punk, hard rock (that rocks): from AC/DC, Ramones, Sick of it All, Misfits, some Motorhead, some ZZ Top, then you might like this. You'll think it's hardcore one moment, then rock the next. Nothing original, nothing outstanding, it's been done before. But since you say that's what you like....  

Lieff  

 

 

 

THE MURDERSQUAD T.O. / HULLUUS - Rising Crust - WOUNDED PAW RECORDS  

This split's protagonists share a similitude of street social punk protest focusing critique on the imperialist war/presence in the Middle East and the political ramifications thereof. In addition, both criticize apathy, greed, religiosity, nationalism and such matters germane to those issues. The music itself is rather noisy, attractive punk metal fueled by a tendency for the rambunctious. There are slight distinctions in their interpretations of heavy, speedy, near-thrash, rumbling punk with growled and screaming vocals, but both are fun and enjoyable. This is, genealogically, a continuation of the punk identified with Discharge, Siege, Electro Hippies, early Extreme Noise Terror, Unseen Terror, etc. Just imagine growled, obnoxious punk.  

www.woundedpaw.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MY DYING BRIDE - "LIKE GODS OF THE SUN"  

(label?)  

After a disappointing CD, M.D.B are back with something new and a lot better than the last. Also, once again, are the banished growls. But unlike the "The Angel....", the vocals are a lot better and a lot more powerful. Less boring indeed! Everything seems to be heavier and even reminds me of "Turn Loose the Swans". The violin is always present and also the piano. Even if the death metal period is over for M.D.B, with this release, they once again landed on that special ability they showed on 'Turn Loose.." and previous albums in mixing such sadness, melody and aggressiveness.  

NICOLAS  

 

 

 

MY RUIN - THE BRUTAL LANGUAGE  

ROVENA RECORDINGS  

From a metal point of view, this is of no interest. On the other hand, the young rock kids that walk around the mall might find this interesting. It has the I-don't-like-you attitude. One song is called "Touch Me I'm Sick". Another one is called "Summer of Hell". See what I mean? It's loud, cool, hip, trendy, etc. The music actually offers nothing particularly good, or different, just the usual loud rock. With lots of television, radio and magazine coverage, the rock kids will be interested, like they get interested in anything that the media tells them they need to be interested in. Enjoy. www.myruin.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

MYON - GHOST IN PARADISE  

CRASH MUSIC INC.  

Hopelessly oldschool rock/metal and unashamedly stubborn, Myonís music is melodic, progressive (if you consider Deep Purple progressive), the vocals are also cluelessly old-fashioned (pretty high and thin, somewhat similar to Saxon and Stratovarius), the guitars concentrate on catchy riffs (more rock than metal) and the drumming is not hyperactive or flashy. The keyboards are definitely oldschool, nothing too showy or flashy, but always present, which again recalls any 70s rock band with keyboards, like Deep Purple or bands that are considered "classic rock." This band definitely sounds different and completely trend unconscious. More importantly, they have good songs and the whole album is done well. Most of the songs are uptempo or midtempo and there are no real slow/ballads. "Death of the Dawn," the opening track is catchy and has an 80s rock feel. "The Quest" and "Tournament" are good examples of the faster tracks: uptempo riffs and drumming and hooks. "Nostradamus" is a midtempo, heavier track. In the chorus they say the word "Nostradamus" which, just on paper, is on odd idea. In reality, it is odd to hear this name in the song, but that just shows how untrendy these guys are. Tired of all the screaming/obnoxious metal stuff? Want to hear something old-fashioned and melodic rock/metal?  

www.mastervox.fi/myon  

Mauricio Araniva 


NASHVILLE PUSSY - GET SOME  

SPITFIRE RECORDS  

Red necks and trucks, whisky and beer, bars and fights, and sleaze and mud are what these rock hicks bring to your town. Oh, hillbilly-rock-good-for-nothing-shit-for-brains is what this is, boy. This band should please fans of Foghat, Ted Nugent, Molly Hatchet, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. With songs like "Lazy White Boy" and "Meaner than My Mama", you know this has got to be stupid-happy pig-in-mud southern-style rock. Metal fans need to steer clear of this. Well, except for maybe fans of Black Label Society. This group has the right attitude for this kind of stupid, stupid fun music. This ain't meant to be heard when you be sober and at home. It's for bars where the customers are named Earl, Bubba, Mo, etc. Goes well with Nascar, barbecues, fry chicken, greasy fries, beer, "My Name Is Earl", "The Dukes of Hazzard", hunting, swamps, alligators, beavers, possum sandwiches, mud pies, living room snakes, "The Water Boy", "Joe Dirt", Jeff Foxworthy, grits, molasses, ZZ Top, Texas, Louisiana, rodeos and Tennessee. Call your girlfriend Norma Jean Widdletack and tell her that you have been saved.  

www.spitfirerecords.com  

www.nashvillepussy.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

NECRODEMON: ALLEGIANCE TO THE END  

REAPER REC.  

This is supposed to be black metal from the sounds of it, but the production is not good at all, so you can't hear much. It sounds like with a better sound some of these ideas might work. As it stands, this adds up to a wasted recording because the roughness of it does not add up to atmosphere, but it does add up to an ok demo.  

www.necrodemon.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

NEGATOR - OLD BLACK  

MAGICK RECORDS  

This album begins with "Science of Nihil" which has some real, traditional, true blue black metal riffing, really tight, blasting drumming and the traditional vocals, that like all traditional black metal vocals, fundamentally means old Bathory. This is a really good beginning. "Free Bird" begins and it's obvious that the first song was no accident. Song number two features those spiral riffs weaving in and out. The third song, "Der Infanterist" is cool, too. Alright, well, we got a winner here. From then on, this just gets more interesting. "Interludium", a nice, quick, cold melodic mini-song leads off into "Katharsis", another solid number, which has this cool beat in the middle that is infectious. Funny thing, this is as "grim" as "grim" gets, but it's very memorable without being melodic, always a good thing. "Vernunft 1.0" begins with an odd bass line, before heading into some blast and stop, and blast-and-repeat pattern that makes this song another interesting number. This is followed by "In the Unholy Halls of Eternal Frost" (They play black metal, huh?), another cool, spiral and blast attack of a number. Again, this is not a monotonous song because it seems to change rhythm in the blink of an eye and it has another of those weird, catchy, odd guitar riffs placed in the middle that give the song a twist. Before you know it, it's on to "Renegation", the flagship on this album. It's got a whole lot of speed, as well as time changes. The song is characterized by blasting speed mediated by quick but effective moments of quieter moments. Considering that the song is eleven minutes long, this is a very good strategy. The whole album is some 38 minutes long. I also liked the fact that this is not garage black metal at all. The sound is basic, but tight and sharp. They do not list a website, so go to www.magickrecords.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

NEVERMORE - "THE POLITICS OF ECSTACY"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

This release is great. Great I tell ya! This is the stuff metal fans have been waiting for. Buy this now! Let me go to the music. I'm not going to go deep into the history of the band, except to say that NEVERMORE comes from the ashes of SANCTUARY and NEVERMORE carries on and expands the course of SANCTUARY, but are heavier and more musical than SANCTUARY. Warrell Dane is a real singer! Few people can actually sing, not just bark with aggression, but Warrell can. O.K., this is just the vocalist, so let me enlighten you on how you can play heavy and not just beat your guitar. The riffs are heavy, just as heavy as thrash, death, whatever, but the guitar work shows that this band can play. The guitar solos are really good as well. In addition, this is no 2 min. garbage noise, the songs are very complex. This is a serious metal band for serious metal fans. Fans of WATCHTOWER, ATHEIST, MEKONG DELTA, old FATES WARNING, and of course SANCTUARY, should enjoy this. Be warned: There is no way that one could understand this with just one listen. Buy it, unless you like "funny, experimental, grunge, or techno-rock" stuff.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

NEW EDEN: STAGNANT PROGRESSION  

P & P RECORDS  

I never understood the reason Steel Prophet singer Rick Mythiasin was kicked out of the band: his singing. Apparently, Steel Prophet did not want high vocals.  

Luckily, Rick continues to make music, like he has now with the hard-working, persistent progressive thrashers New Eden. I hope the band and he keep working together because this third full-length certainly sounds interesting, if you like traditional metal singing and clear, crisp thrash. Intelligently constructed structures and songs written by a bunch of guys who sound like they have no clue about trends and fashions.  

Rick's singing sounds as good as when he was in Steel Prophet. It is the music that's different because the two guitarists, Horacio Colmenares and Tim Thomas, write true pieces that sound deceptively straightforward. It is to their credit that they manage to make it sound catchy; with plenty of guitar solos, too. The lyrics are introspective, on the literary side, e.g., "stagnant progression". Some critics will complain that this is music for musicians. Hey, if you want simpler music, there's always Hatebreed.  

www.NewEdenBand.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

NIGHT IN GALES - "THUNDERBEAST"  

Nuclear Blast  

This is such an excellent album that I hardly know what to say about it! As soon as I put this on, I fell under a dark spell woven by black screeching vocals, fast thrashing riffs, and the utter perfection that is Night In Gales. When I came to, I realized I had just lived through one of the koolest metal albums ever. It is bound to surpass that which you expect. If you do not have this CD, go get it now. It's mandatory! You can thank me later...  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

NIGHTRAGE - DESCENT INTO CHAOS  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

Tomas Lindberg and Marios Iliopoulos return to prove that the debut "Sweet Vengeance" was no accident. Once again, the band (and they are a real band now) sounds very good. From the blastbeat opener "Being Nothing" to "Frozen," with it's clean-vocals parts, to "Solus", an instrumental number, Nightrage is coming along just fine. They mix thrash with death metal with heavy metal and sound pretty electrifying and melodic, without sounding happy and poppy. I hope Tomas stays with this band because this is a group that has a musical future. Everything is right here and there are no weak moments. Definitely a good follow-up to the debut. The novelty of the debut is not as strong here, but that's expected. The substance is still very good. My only complaint is the stupid "metal" artwork: the same old suicide/murder stuff. Ah, well, nobody is perfect. Just stop trying to "shock" people, guys. The five o'clock news already takes care of that.  

www.nightrage.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

NILE - "AMONGST THE CATACOMBS OF NEPHREN-KA"  

Relapse  

You know, I've been strongly encouraged lately with the emergence of some of the younger bands these days. Granted, a lot of them suck beyond suck, like some of that worthless crap like "noise". Then again, thankfully, most of the new crop of the music I have heard lately expand on groundwork laid out by bands that were once the ultimate figureheads in their unique vision, namely some of the Florida regulars. Sadly, most of them have altered their sound in one way or another, and although some of the die-hard fans like them since they might seem essentially the same, some more of the radical changes, like vocalists, change a band's sound too much so that they are pale comparisons. Now I haven't heard any at all of the new Morbid Angel material, so I can't fairly state my opinion on them. I do know that I will have a hard time adjusting to the absence of one David V., who is probably my favorite death metal vocalist on an admittedly short list. Then I heard Nile's new release. Never let it be said that a band cannot be able to be brutal and paint sounds capes of epic grandeur and ancient glory at the same time. The first thing that came to my mind was a sound similar to Morbid A., although to be honest, Nile is a band unto itself, and even comparing them to such an awesome band, might not even fully do them justice. They draw influences from ancient Egyptian and Sumerian cultures in their music, flawlessly blending thousands of years old musical styles with more modern smashingly brutal death metal. These guys are so good at what they do, you don't even have to close your eyes to envision endless seas of blowing sand dunes and clashing armies spilling each other's blood in the name of the gods. You can just picture the red water of life soaking into the ever-shifting substance of the deserts, covering the bodies of the mortally slain. I never thought that I would hear the ultimate detah metal band come from South Carolina, yet it has come to pass. I could go into depth more about how they successfully merge blast beats and punishing riffs with ancient culture and music, but I'd really rather just go and listen to this album again. The torch has been passed to a new Pharaoh, all kneel and praise Ra!  

Torgo  

 

 

NOCTURNAL RITES -"TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION"  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

Behold the power, the glory, the vastness, the mighty, the heavy metal gods, behold Nocturnal Rites! Everything is here! The type of voice you find in Judas P., Iron M., Viper, Heavens G., etc... This is so good, that it will force you to sing along. (Um..no, it won't.) This follows the greatness of Ronnie J. Dio, Tony M., Rob H., Mike Coles, and it follows in great tradition. Better singing is hard to find. Every song is powerful, catchy, inspiring, and so contagious. The riffing rocks! Fast and furious all the way. The power of this band is undeniable. They will, and I mean it, will give anyone a run for their hard-earned cash. You will be a believer after listening to this release. Nocturnal R. is a living example of what levels of wonderfulness and real music can be found. No, metal is not dead. Surrender to Nocturnal Rites now!  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

NOVEMBERS DOOM- "THE KNOWING"  

(label?)  

Definately music for sad times, Novembers Doom captures you with its emotional music. Its by far not the heaviest thing out there, buts its very slow, doom laden tempo really churns out the drearier side of the best Doom/Death bands around. Its vocal style pivets from Death Metal style to where he actually sings cleanly and speaks sometimes throughout. Song standouts to me are: "Awaken", "Silent Tomorrow", "Last God" and "Shadows of Light". Definately something I enjoyed even though its much more mellow than I am used to. Great stuff guys.  

Rogue 


OBITUARY - "BACK FROM THE DEAD"  

ROADRUNNER  

Back from the dead and still rotting on. Even though OBITUARY tends to release the same formulated album with each release, you gotta love em! When I first heard "Slowly We Rot", well... I just pooped in my pants. No one, and I mean NO ONE, can compare to the extremeness and sheer brutality of John Tardy's distinguishable vocal style. OBITUARY is also one of the best death metal, if not best death metal band to see live. "Threatening Skies" opens up this somewhat excellent disc. Very intense and catchier than hell, the thing I love the most about this band. There really isn't much more to say about this well known band, you're either familiar with their sound/albums, or you just started listening to this style of metal. Oh yeah, how could I forget? First it was ANTHRAX and PUBLIC ENEMY, then the little rap segment on DISHARMONIC ORCHESTRA on their first album, who knows who else has done it? And now, I'm sad to say OBITUARY has done it. I about shot myself in the head when I heard this "Bullituary" song that has rap in it. They should have released this song on an EP and called the EP; "This Song Sucks But We Like It and We Want you to Hear It So You'll Shoot Yourself". This song is what makes this album fall. I'm pretty open minded, but this is just pathetic in my opinion. Fuck this song. I'm happy they didn't break up. I can't wait to see them live again, but if they play that rap song, I'll leave!  

MIKE  

 

 

 

OBLOMOV - Mighty Cosmic Dances  

DEEPSEND RECORDS  

The most unique aspect here is the songs "Lost between Emotions" and "Starsend" with its soothing saxophone element in the middle of speedy/blasting dark metal. These antagonists from the Czech Republic seriously believe they specialize in astronomy metal. In reality, the ears are subjected to grim/black/gremlin vocals and tight, tight, often speedy, somewhat technical thrash with some melodic passages. "Nostalgic Idealization," a blasting, thrashy affair, has a nice melodic solo, for example. The potential is here for something wonderful in the future, if the solos keep pushing things forward, and if the saxophone becomes more than an occasional, sporadic factor. As it is, this is competent and interesting, though not excellent. They should be less shy with the things that make them different.  

www.oblomov.cz  

www.deepsend.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

THE OBSESSED - "INCARNATE"  

MIA/Southern Lord  

This is a compilation of B-sides and such. The production on some of these songs, isn't the best, but overall it's a good sounding release. Overall, one finds this to be The Obsessed, you know, the mid-paced doom style that made them famous for in the underground scene. All the doom bands admit liking this band, and even bands that don't play the style. If you can, get a hold of the "Church Within." Anyway, fans will go wild to get this, as they would with anything from this band.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

OBTAINED ENSLAVEMENT - "THE SHEPHERD AND THE HOUNDS OF HELL"  

Napalm Records  

The only thing I want to say about this release is that it sounds like a black metal band. Nothing new, nothing original. Fast to mid-paced, some good time changes, some nice vocals, okay stuff, yet lacks originality. It's been done thousands of times. Oh, stupid cover guys!  

Mike  

 

 

 

OBTRUNCATION - "THE CALLOUS CONCEPT"  

Damnation  

Man this band is tight! Very brutal in a good way. Not gay and cheesy like so many other things out there plaguing the scene. Man, the solos are intelligent, melodic, and fit strangely with the insanity going on here. This band is really, really good. Sick and diverse vocals, meaning a high and a low, but to go along with that, they have a chanting type low vocal approach that strangely fits. The drummer is tight and really, really good. Man, this CD blows my mind to tell you the truth; this is a must have CD if you like extreme death metal that is actually intelligent and brutal at the same time. One of the better bands that needs to be noticed more. Pretty unique in my opinion.  

Mike  

 

 

 

OCTAVIA SPERATI - WINTER ENCLOSURE  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

This all-female melodic doom/goth/rock Norwegian band probably gets interest just on the fact of their sex, since there are not many all-women groups in the field of Lacuna Coil/The Gathering / Theatre of Tragedy / Nightwish music. The vocals are high and melodic, of course. Interestingly enough, I don't find that the music is very poppy or overly sweet. Fans of melancholic rock (with metal elements) with female vocals will be very pleased with the quality of the album. The songs are played at a comfortable, middle-of-the-road tempo (not slow at all, but hardly ever truly fast). The element of melancholy is pretty strong, but not depressive. The singing of Silje is high and she is most definitely a female crooner. However, this does not mean operatic, Nightwish-like vocals. Also, the guitar tone is actually pretty low, like a softer doom metal guitar tone, but only the tone. The songs are, overall, catchy, but, again, not poppy ear candy. Plus, they are kind of dark. I honestly don't enjoy this music that much, which is why I was not blown away, I guess. One thing is clear, regardless of my opinion, the quality of the music is undeniable. I don't have a website for this band, sorry.  

www.candlelightrecordsusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ODD ZERO - S/T  

2006  

Once again I have been sent a CD of music that I'm just not into. It reminds me of The Offspring to be quite honest, and the like. The only thing that I found tolerable from this release was the guitar solos. If Emo, happy wanna be punk-rock is your cup of tea, you might want to go and check them out at - www.oddzero.net or www.cyclonesound.com  

Mike  

 

 

 

JON OLIVA'S PAIN - TAGE MAHAL  

STEAMHAMMER/SPV  

Savatage fans, listen up. Savatage's Jon Oliva's new band is not that different from post-"Gutter Ballet" material. Jon's band here is Zachary Steven's band, Circle II Circle, minus Zak, of course. Jon's unmistakable gritty vocals accompany a midpaced, chunky guitar sound. Basically, if you enjoy "Poets and Madmen", "Streets: A Rock Opera" and less speedy albums, I think you will be pleased to hear Jon back in action again. The song "People Say -- Gimme Some Hell" has lyrics with obvious Savatage album references/lines about dungeons, doors of the dark, strange wings, etc. This is definitely made to give you an Oliva/Savatage fix while you wait for the next Savatage album. Unfortunately, my idea of Savatage is "Hall of the Mountain King" or even "Gutter Ballet". Therefore, this is too slow and boring for me. Frankly, I'd like more speed, more double bass, more wailing, faster guitar, more dynamic guitar, instead of all chunky, midpaced all the time. Basically, more energy, more attitude, more metal is what I'd like.  

www.jonoliva.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

OMNIUM GATHERUM - YEARS IN WASTE  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

Excellent album! I had no idea that this band was ridiculously good. Even the pickiest metal audience would have to give props: old school, new school, it doesn't matter because Omnium Gatherum do everything right. All serious metal people should give this band a chance. Categories don't really work here because, for instance, even though the vocals are death metal, they have an extra something special that makes them good (no clean singing here). The guitar work falls in the thrash/death category, but tight, bouncy, and dynamic without sounding cheesy/melodic/ear-candy. At the same time, it's strong riffing, memorable, headbanging work. This is a persuasive example of why good drumming is so important: tight and skilled, of course, but the main thing that I like about it is the way it works so well with the rhythm of the song. The songs just sound very on target: total unity of sound structure meandering, moving, turning, circling, blasting, thrashing, slowing down to brief quiet moments and then gathering itself up once again, ready to roll on forward. I am pleasantly surprised with how talented this is.  

www.omniumgatherum.org  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ON A DEAD MACHINE: S/T  

DEMO  

This alternative, emo rock band combines a melodic feel with harsh screams. The melodic rock stuff sounds catchy, for the most part, but the screams just ruin the songs. It's a little bit like: "Do you like pepperoni, sausage and cheese pizza? Well, if you do, then try some pizza with rat meat on it!!" (The stupid screaming would be the rat in this comparison.)  

www.onadeadmachine.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ONE MAN ARMY AND THE UNDEAD QUARTET - 21st Century Killing Machine  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

Ex-The Crown vocalist Johan Lindstrand returns with simple mid-paced thrash with growled vocals. Parts of the soloing is melodic, mildly interesting. Overall, however, this is just too plain, too basic with its constant mid-tempo rhythms. The drumming and riffs don't offer anything interesting. In short, this is disappointing. Sounds like a project. They need to step up the energy in a serious way.  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

www.onemanarmy.tv  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

OPETH - "Still Life"  

Peaceville  

What we have here is the fourth installment from the progressive death metal band known as OPETH. Like their last brilliant album, My Arms, Your Hearse, this album is also a concept album. With that said, how does one go about putting sheer and utter brilliance into words? This album is filled with so much passion and emotion, that many other bands canít even come close to reaching OPETHís level. I canít even estimate the amount of times that I have listened to this, and I still notice new things in each song. One of the things that I noticed upon first listening to this album was how much better Mikael Akerfeldtís clean vocals have gotten. I donít know if he is taking vocal lessons or what, but whatever he is doing, it is working well because he makes the transition from clean vocals to growling vocals very smoothly. The guitar melodies are so memorable and passion-filled that they will surely get stuck in your head and send a chill up your spine. The sheer intricacy of the songs is something that amazes me as the listener. "Benighted" and "Face of Melinda" are two songs that are on the mellow side that are especially emotional. However, donít start thinking that OPETH have become easy listening, because the heavy, prevailing guitars and death metal vocals still triumph. This is easily noticeable in the last two songs on the album titled "Serenity Painted Death" and "White Cluster." Another thing worth mentioning is that all of the songs, with the exception of one, are about eight minutes or longer. I donít want to touch too much on the rather depressing lyrics, as I might ruin the story for someone. But, be sure to read over the lyrics because they play a key role in this album as well. OPETH are definitely on a level that many bands will never even get to, and you would be a fool to not immediately go and get this album.  

MARK  

 

 

 

ORANGE SKY - UPSTAIRS  

GRANITE RECORDS  

From a land far, far away, from the world center of rock music comes Orange Sky: from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, in the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Venezuela, which is located in northernmost South America, you may need a map. Don't be embarrassed if you don't know your Caribbean geography. This CD comes with a DVD, too. The DVD has a little bit of information about the band, Trinidad, etc., as well as bit of a live performance, which is pretty rocking and animated. Orange Sky's music covers a lot of ground. It has the heavier, banging, metal moments, which are done well and sound good, actually. More often not, the band stays in the heavy rock perimeters, allowing it to explore other feelings besides all-out energy. There is an organic, up-front feel to the songs that makes them different from each other. From a metal viewpoint, "Escape" and "Tug of War" are the most interesting because they are the most kicking tunes, but this is not a metal band, per se. The whole album is done well and it has enthusiasm.  

www.theorangesky.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ORDER OF THE EBON HAND - XV: THE DEVIL  

SEASON OF MIST  

There is such a thing as band chemistry, which the music often reflects. Sometimes something sounds like a project and it just does not sound convincing. This group plays blasting black metal with the occasional midpaced song. They have the traditional black metal vocals, the riffing, the speed, etc. What they do not have is the songs. The first song sounds cool because it's blasting. The second song sounds boring because it's blasting.  

www.season-of-mist.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ORIGIN - ECHOES OF DECIMATION  

RELAPSE RECORDS  

This is not even 27 minutes long. Origin pushes, on the one hand, the limits of technicality, musical velocity, grindingness and overpowering overwhelmingness (Apparently, they make people use words that are not even real.). Imagine the guitar-obsessed heroes just losing their minds and blasting, blasting and blasting, constructing veritable walls of noise and then destroying those same walls. For example, the guitar-playing sounds very ridiculously metal and the vocals, man, there seems to be no pause in the growling from the beginning to the end of a song. It's a constant three-way whirlwind of growling. On the other hand, the guitar does have an aspect of wankerism and noodling. There seem to be a million minisolos, most of them having no real purpose, actually. Of course, having no purpose is a purpose, if it's an exercise in the implementation of (non)musical chaos. In short, bands like Slayer sound laid-back, relaxed, mellow compared to this madness. This is too fast to mosh to. Too fast to bang your head to. The human body's physical response, in addition to being very delayed in relation to the noise, will be in a state of slow motion compared to the patterns and rhythms of Origin. Origin is a ridiculous band. But, guys, you gotta make the albums longer, man!  

www.Origin-Site.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

OUTPATIENT - "OUTCASTS 2 - 85 - 95"  

Free Association Records  

Hardcore with obvious metal and other influences. For one thing, the vocals are more metal than hardcore, in my opinion. And the whole, general sound moves in the direction of more texture than usual hardcore. "Purists" of all kinds will be repelled. That's the idea.  

Lieff 


PAIN LINK - THE BURDEN OF SIN  

PEACE OR DIE RECORDS  

The song "Moshpit Mafia" explains the following scene: "You hit the ground right before me/I saw the fear in your eyes/Stuck in the middle of insanity/Fist to the blindside/Caught in the hangtime". "Camp Pain" is also about the moshpit. When the lyrics are not enumerating the litany of tough, macho qualities of this metalcore/Pantera-inspired band, they are talking trash about everyone named "you". The vocals have a screaming-professional-wrestler quality to them. The chug rules the guitar sounds and the breakdown is master. If you like to listen to angry white men shouting about how tough and real they are, you'll probably enjoy this, if Pantera and Pro-Pain are important to you. This is not one of those kiddie hardcore bands, so don't expect nice, clean vocal parts, either. Angry white men who go around threatening to use violence to achieve their goals. I think they call that the government.  

www.thepainlink.net  

www.peaceordierecords.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

PARADISE LOST - PARADISE LOST  

PARADISE LOST/DARK ELEMENT RECORDS  

Just by the fact that this band in the past has made two albums that I enjoy very much--1991's "Gothic" and 1995's "Draconian Times", both excellent in their own way, I'm bound to be interested. There are 14 songs (54 minutes). I would say that the music from about the time of "Draconian" to "One Second" is here. The up-tempo, up-beat, heavier, somber songs, like "Let Me Drown," "Spirit," "Accept the Pain," "Forever After," "All You Leave Behind," "Grey," and "Close Your Eyes," have a pretty immediate appeal. I don't know that you have to like metal to like them, because they are relatively heavy, but not harsh on the ears at all. The music is pretty straight forward and catchy, the sound is great, nice and clean, lively. The guitars have a simplistic charm to them and the vocals of Nick Holmes sound full, in the mid-tone range with some upper mid-tone parts. Sometimes I think that Holmes has the voice that James Hetfield wishes for. The overall feeling is melancholic, good and up-tempo without sounding overly sweet (power metal) or cheesy (goth). I think I won't be the only one who appreciates the idea of not using sweet melodies to make a song memorable. This has dark groove running throughout it. The slower songs have lots of grey charm about them, like opener "Don't Belong" or "Shine." On the other hand, "Over the Madness" is a pretty doomy affair. Paradise Lost, as a musical entity, still has much to offer. They cannot please all their fans because the music over the years has changed a lot. The growling, like on the debut, and "Gothic," stopped a long time now, but if you don't treat music like some sort of orthodox religion with absolute rules, then you will find the group making worthwhile music. Still heavy and somber, memorable and not overly complex, the guys have lots of good ideas on this album.  

www.paradiselost.co.uk  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

PARAGON - REVENGE  

MAGICK RECORDS  

Paragon is ridiculously heavy metal: you get the feeling these guys get up hung over because the night before they were drunk and listening to Manowar, Accept and Judas Priest. What's more, when they get up--after they get finished hugging the toilet--they put on "Rest and Wild" again and as soon as Udo screams, they grab another beer and begin drinking again. They are incorrigible, period. Paragon takes on the speed and near-thrash elements of Judas Priest, Accept and Manowar. The vocals on this thing are rough, like Iron Savior, Motorhead and Grave Digger. The lyrics are about how they are metal, have that metal-against-the-world attitude. No love songs, no keyboards, no lyrics about anything other than metal, death, etc. Is "macho, chest-beating heavy metal" a type of heavy metal? Don't expect singing. These vocals are actually not far removed from death metal. Expect basic, meat-and-potatoes songs in line with bands like Cage, as opposed to power metal. The one real slow song, "Empire of the Lost" doesn't work too well because it seems to go against what Paragon is. The cover Manowar's "The Gods Made Heavy Metal". Iron Savior's Piet Sielck produced this.  

www.paragon-legions.de  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

PATHOLOGY STENCH -"ACCION MUTANTE"  

SHINDY PRODUCTIONS  

Judging by their name, I defianetly expected some kind of sick, goregrind stuff, NOT TRUE! This band surprised me not only with their sound but talent as well. Hailing from Slovakia this four piece dishes out some original Power/Death Metal. Filled with great guitar riffing and machine gun drumming right after a decent intro, they lay into you and don't let up for anything. These guys have style and great song structures, twisting from chainsaw speed guitars then dropping to some sick slow grinding with pummeling double bass. Defiantely check these guys out!! Rogue (Special thanks to Martin "Shindy" Brzobohaty of Shindy Productions in Slovakia for sending me this album, thanks a million dude!!)  

 

 

 

PEGAZUS - "BREAKING THE CHAINS"  

Nuclear Blast  

All fans of traditional power metal will enjoy this. This is, of course, metal in the vein of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Pegazus is from Australia, not exactly a Mecca for power metal. These ten songs (including the remake "A Little Time", originally done by Helloween) are all excellent examples of well played, catchy, real metal. I think Pegazus still has their "Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 2" or their "Power Slave" ahead of them, and that's a hell of a thing to say! Yes, this is that good. Only if the production could have been better, and the lyrics were a bit childish, but oh well.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

PENTACLE - "...RIDES THE MOONSTORM"  

DAMNATION RECORDS  

The early death metal feel of the vocals remind me of both Death Strike and early Morgoth. In addition, Obituary seems to crawl up here and there. But don't be misled; Pentacle stands fine on its own. The guitar sound is basic and to the point, with straight up early Celtic Frost type of simple rhythms. I hadn't heard any band do this stuff in a while. There are a lot of awful bands now claiming that they were raised on Possessed or Hellhammer, but have you noticed that they surely do not sound like it!? I'll go as far as to say that I find Pentacle a hell of a lot more enjoyable than some of that early Venom because the intentional proficiency found here is way more listenable than say "At War with Satan" type of sloppiness. Pentacle sound proficient, efficient, and catchy, all at once! How refreshing to hear a band actually incorporate the whole early 1980's death metal feel into its music, not just saying that they "grew up with Morbid Tales." Pentacle's sound has nothing in common with a lot of the garbage out there now called death metal. No cheese. No fancy guitar solos. This is classic death metal, except that it's from 1998 and the sound was made this way, not accidentally. If you have the early possessed, Celtic Frost, etc..., you will find that Pentacle fits perfectly with that "old time" early death metal.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

PENTACLE - UNDER THE BLACK CROSS  

IRON PEGASUS RECORDS  

Pentacle's self-denominated "ancient death metal" is a celebration of the original death metal spirit: Hellhammer/early Celtic Frost/early Death/Obituary gruff, agonized and brutal growling of the best possible quality with plenty of those of Tom-G.-Warrior-signature "ugh!!" The guitars have a serious, crunching, heavy, dark, mid-paced grinding feel. Excellent! Also, the production / sound is not primitive; it's modern (in a good way!), not a basement recording. It's a very full-sounding, in-your-face album. This is highly, highly recommended for death metal people. All Pentacle releases are great and their "Rides the Moonstorm" is a true death metal masterpiece. Iron Pegasus Records is not a huge company, so you are better off contacting them directly. I tried to get this at two metal specialty stores. They did not have it and said that they probably will not get it.  

So, I sent cash and received the cd quickly.  

Iron Pegasus Records, P.O. Box 1462, 56804 Cochem, Mosel, Germany  

Pentacle, Franse Hoef 17, 5531 PD Bladel, The Netherlands.  

www.pentacle.nl  

www.iron-pegasus.com  

pentacle@pentacle.nl  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

P.H.O.B.O.S. - TECTONICS  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

Tripped out, machine-like, robotic, industrial, cold slow-beat rhythmic patterns that do not add up to songs, but only add up into cloudy constructions of a polluted atmosphere. Those "drums" sound like a drum machine to me. This is industrial "music." The vocals are screamed and in the background you have the sounds of a construction site or a big factory at work. This is music for robots with rock-and-roll-all-night-and-party-everyday mentality, like the ones from Machine City in the Matrix movies. If you have heard Godflesh before, then you are initiated: think dissonant industrial with "evil witch" vocals. Today Is the Day, Neurosis, Godflesh, etc., all that weirdo un-music stuff is the closest family to this. In the meantime, those lazy robots better get to work, man! I'm tired of those bastards coming to our country to steal our high-paying jobs, like cleaning hotels, working in restaurants, or working in meat-packing plants.  

www.phobosdrone.org  

www.candlelightrecordsusa.com  

www.appeaseme.fr.st  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

PILEDRIVER -"METAL INQUISITION / STAY UGLY"  

FULL MOON PRODUCTIONS  

Gimme a C! Gimme an H! Gimme an E-E-S-E-Y! What does it spell? PILEDRIVER!! If you are "hankerin for a hunk o' cheese", then this CD should satisfy your most undying urges. I thought piledriver was a machine of some sort, but after listening to this CD, I am convinced that the definition of "piledriver" is "Hemorrhoid chauffeur". The vocalist sounds like he has hemorrhoids. Okay, I am just being nasty here, but come on! I am getting a bit tired of this current fascination with the "good old days" of metal (these albums were originally released in 84 and 86 respectively). Maybe I'm just too young to appreciate music that sounds like this, or maybe I'm just not hip enough. Whatever the reason, I do not like this CD one bit. If you want to listen to old metal, get something that really is worth a second wave of popularity, like Iron Maiden. Forget the two bit wannabes like this.  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

POLIDICKS - Mutenation  

WOUNDED PAW RECORDS  

Nasty, fast punk rock with angry gremlin witch vocals: good attitude, but the music is sloppy and loose angry garage rock. They need to rehearse more and get tighter, tighten up the drumming and guitar to make this more frantic and raging.  

www.woundedpaw.com/polidicks  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

POSITIVELY NEGATIVE -"ABSOLUTELY"  

RIFF RAFF RECORDS  

Ummmm.... I don't like this band. They steal a bunch of riffs and shit from a bunch of old punk and metal bands and try to masquerade themselves as a punk/metal band or something (even though they are obviously a bunch of geeks). There is absolutely nothing original about this album, therefore there is no reason to waste any time or money on it. If you do, you are going to be sorry. Trust me. Go buy an old Exploited record instead. Shit, go buy a new Exploited record. Fuck this weak shit!  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

PRO-PAIN - "ACT OF GOD"  

Nuclear Blast  

Pro-Pain just play, not much experiment. It's basic metal with no decorations. Simple, straight forward, heavy riffing, and a low-growling voice (though not really death metal style.) If AC/DC or the Ramones played heavy rock, this is what it would sound like. The songs aren't that bad. Somehow, though, I find it hard to think anyone would actually enjoy this, because it's just too basic.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

PROJECT - FAILING FLESH - A BEAUTIFUL SICKNESS  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

Since this has ex-Voivod vocalist Eric Forrest, this is obviously going to get some interest going. Unfortunately, this sounds pretty unimpressive. It sounds like people that have been listening to death metal and thrash and want to combine many things into one. This, obviously, thrashes and grinds, here and there, but it does not sound genuine. It sounds too generic, too imitative. They cover Venom's "Warhead." I have no idea why they decided to cover one of Venom's most boring songs.This has no elements to make it stand out. It's thrashy, yes, it's heavy, yes, but so what? It's not great. It's pretty mediocre. Playing fast in and of itself is no virtue, neither is screaming. Check this out if you are an Eric Forrrest fan.  

www.projectfailingflesh.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

THE PROJECT HATE MCMXCIX: HATE, DOMINATE, CONGREGATE, ELIMINATE  

THREEMAN RECORDINGS  

I'll pick a song, any song so you get some idea: track #5 "Congregate". Opens with a bass-heavy short intro before Joann Enckell comes in with some clean, high singing and then JŲrgen SandstrŲm takes his part with some real guttural growling (yes, similar to Grave/Swedish death metal). The music is mid-paced, with the bass coming in upfront as much as the down tuned guitars. The music is memorable, but not too sweet. Of course, it's also dark and heavy. The number continues with multiple growling with Caligula from Dark Funeral on backing vocals. This part has that chaotic feel they must have wanted with all the vocals. Then, there is a brief pause/transition/mood change with some small sampling/electronica going on, before jumping back into the growling and heavy, pounding, stomping rhythm. This song so far has taken some five minutes and leaves the last two minutes to clean singing, similar to Lacuna Coil/pop music, which definitely contrasts with the growling. This part is, of course, more melodic. End of song. This is not as weird as one would think, but you do need to give it time because the album is some 70 minutes long. It's definitely not for the light-hearted or for those with a short attention span. The main word to describe this is: groove; a heavy, thick groove. The first few times I didn't care for this, now it's beginning to make sense, patience.  

www.theprojecthate.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

PROPHECY - "CONTAGION"  

Pavement  

If you find yourself standing there with some cash in one hand, and Poland's Prophecy, buy it! First off, their drummer is pretty damn good. The vocals are kind of a raspy groan, with lots of reverb, anybody remember Believer? At times it reminds me of new Samael stuff, only faster, and not as ambient. The heavy shit is pretty bludgeoning, but pretty much straightforward technical death metal. As a whole, I'd give it a 5 or 6 out of a ten, besides, there are worse ways to spend your money!  

Cyric  

 

 

 

PROTON BURST - S/T  

ADIPOCERE RECORDS  

This album starts out with the clanking machinery and inhuman vocals that will satisfy industrial fans of every ilk. The kool thing is, that they manage to keep up their industrious machinations while weaving in a bit of chunky metallic guitar and some very goth like vocals on some songs. And hey, it's never mind-numbing or boring! This is one of the better "crossover" bands in the industrial-metal-gothic realm (and what an enormous realm that is!) I like it, hell, go buy it and have a nuclear reaction, or whatever the fuck happens when your protons burst!  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

PROVOKE - "TRUTH"  

Throw Down Music  

Provoke's music is basic thrash-core. The potatoes are here, but where's the other stuff that goes with the plate? This is just too simple. The vocals are hardcore; tough-talking, macho-posturing, Pantera-type talking/singing. Not much here to see kids, so roll up your windows and keep going.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

PSIONIC - 4-SONG PROMO  

This group relies on techno sounds and industrial components to add their heavy, mid-tempo, chugging robot futuristic sounds. The vocals sound robotized and the music in general has a cyber goth dark rock mood to it. The music is more in line with dark techno, industrial, goth than metal. Imagine Fear Factory taking their industrial, techno elements in a heavier, chuggier, darker form and making songs in that vein.  

www.psionic.info  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

PYREXIA: CRUELTY BEYOND SUBMISSION  

CRASH MUSIC  

This is a generic "death metal" band trying to sound brutal, but it's so mediocre; the horror lyrics, the cheesy song structures, etc. The strange thing is that they are not that heavy, not that fast, and not that brutal, it's intensely mediocre. I can't even find one song that I can qualify as "ok," much less "good".  

www.pyrexia.us  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

PYURIA - CALLIPHOBIA VOMITORIA INTROITUS  

CRASH MUSIC INC.  

With a name like Calliphobia Vomitoria Introitus (These guys must have traveled a long way to get here from ancient Rome! Alas, Julius Caesar, they speak Latin, too! You, too, Brutus!), it has to be good, right? I don't know about all that, yo. Let's do the duck test! Does it look like gore metal duck? Yes, the cover is a typical dead person thing. Does it walk like a gore metal duck? Yes, the endless chugging, the blasting, the monotonous, repetitiveness makes this boring. Does it quack like a gore metal duck? Oh, boy, does it ever! The generic growling and screaming says so. I tell you, I was bored by the time the first song ended. The guitar "work" sounds like the guitar "player" puts his fingers anywhere on the fretboard where he can get the chugga-chugga sound and then repeats that sound over and over and over until it's about three minutes and then he tells his band, "Hey, guys, I just wrote another brutal, skullcrushing, maggot-eating, brutal, fast, violent, brutal song, man!!!" The rest of the band says: "Cool! Maybe we can tour with Mortician and Skinless and play in Illinois, the brutal gore capital of the world!!" Ah, yes, Illinois. So much gore, so little time. There's so much gore death there and I want to give it very little time.  

http://pyuria.com  

Mauricio Araniva 



RAGE - FROM THE CRADLE TO THE STAGE (2OTH ANNIVERSARY)  

STEAMHAMMER/SPV RECORDS  

Along with Kreator, Helloween, Running Wild, Vendetta, Scanner and a bunch of other bands, Rage was part of the group of German bands on Noise International Records in the 80s. Celtic Frost and Coroner were the big exceptions, of course. Well, Rage soldiered on to bigger success in Europe, even though people in North America probably thought they broke up or something. This double-disc live album has a very genuine, live sound to it, right down to the hole in the songs when the guitar solo is going on. A three piece, Rage's live renditions of songs do sound different than the studio versions. Tell you what though, this is raw, sweaty, thrashy metal, falling somewhere between heavy and thrash. This band has written a billion songs, albums and mini-albums, so choosing what songs to play is probably very difficult. On here, they play some oldies, like "Prayers of Steel", "Suicide", as well as "Invisible Horizons" and "Don't Fear the Winter". Of course, there are songs from "Soundchaser" and "Unity" and the other albums. OK, the music: Peavy's singing is very raw. After hearing this, you'll hear exactly why Rage is not power metal at all. He doesn't have a too melodic voice, instead it's singing, but "masculine", if you will. The guitars and drums are very well played, but with some improvising and spontaneity. I still think it'd be good to have a second guitar in the live setting. Also, I can do without the drum and guitar solos. I'd rather hear two more songs. Anyway, this is a pretty honest and solid album. I really wish it were a four-cd album because this band has so many great songs. Yes, "Suicide" still sounds great, as does "Down" and...well, the whole thing, really.  

www.rage-on.de  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

RAINTIME -TALES FROM SADNESS  

ARISE RECORDS  

Arise Records from Spain has some ridiculously catchy bands, to make an understatement. Take Raintime, for example, an Italian bunch (I guess, going by the last names, which may not be a good idea) whose Tales from Sadness is good and when it ends I press "play" again. Donít let the title fool you, this is way upbeat and rocking metal. There is one slower song, "Chains of Sadness," but itís upbeat-sad (huh?). The first couple times I heard this I could tell by the overall quality of the music that I needed to hear this a lot. Raintime plays a kind of metal that has one of the broadest appeals possible. Itís rocking, upbeat as power metal or thrash, but it has a certain extra "something" that puts the music in a broader camp. The guitar can sound power thrash and then modern, melodic black/death. The vocals are clean-sung and growled. The clean parts sound traditional. The growling is closer to black metal than anything. If you are open-minded to younger metal bands that donít care about following the "rules" about not mixing styles, then I can tell you that this is a pretty infectious album. Some people will say that this band is not original or that they play "gay European" metal. The truth is that those people donít like this type of music and donít actually listen to it. However, if you listen to this album, if you really listen to it, itís undeniable that Raintime has made a good, rocking album thatís worth playing over and over again; one thatís a keeper.  

www.raintime.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

RAISM - "THE VERY BEST OF PAIN"  

KRON-H REC.  

The fellas at RELAPSE are billing this as an "evil SKINNY PUPPY", and they're not entirely wrong in saying so. Anyone who has listened to SKINNY P. more than once will notice a few similarities. However, there is a lot more going on here musically. While SKINNY P. lean toward simple mechanical rhythms, and vocals that seem cold and almost devoid of any humanity. RAISM offers a dizzying variety of sounds and musical textures, not to mention the vocals sound different in just about every song. Before this starts to read like a SKINNY P. review, let me elaborate on RAISM.... THIS IS A REALLY KOOL ALBUM!!! And since it is brought forth by the same geniuses behind IMPALED N., x-ROTTING C., and DIABOLOS R., what else can you expect but excellence? Beware though, this is not for everyone. If you're a closed minded asshole who won't listen to anything but death metal, you probably will not like it. On the other hand, if you like DIABOLOS R., or SKINNY P., or anything in that vein, then I totally recommend it! RAISM shows diversity and uniqueness, something that's sorely needed in the music scene these days. This is definitely one of my picks for 97, and I look forward to hearing more from RAISM in the future.  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

RAM-ZET - INTRA  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

Annoying! I find several things that annoy me about this album. I get the feeling that the elements that bother my ears are the very factors that make this music what it is. In other words, the music is supposed to be this way and I'm the one with the problem. See how that works?  

The guitars are often going very fast, they are hard, chunky, heavy, so and so forth. Not bad, actually, and together with the drumming, when the music is going full force, it's pretty cool. The other elements of the sound consist of techno keyboards and tempo changes and high operatic singing and angry little monster screeching. The information I have says that people from The Kovenant and For My Pain are involved with Zet, the leader of this project. Thus, this is a bit weird, but not that strange, in truth. This is not really goth, because, basically, it's way more aggressive and harsh. There is no "dark romanticism" here, dark harsh pyscho metal, maybe.  

What annoys me is the high operatic vocals. To me, it does not fit to have the speedy, shredding riffs with nice, smooth, operatic, Nightwish-like vocals. It makes me make irritated faces. I feel like they are trying too hard to be artistic. The black metal-like vocals grate on my ears, too, because of the screechy screaming. Hey, some people want to listen to metal that annoys them. Welcome to the ball.  

www.ram-zet.com  

www.candlelightrecordsusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

RATOS DE PARAO - "CARNICERIA TROPICAL"  

Alternative Tentacles  

This Brazilian long-standing outfit delivers hardcore/metal crossover music. In many ways, this is closer to the "rock" of Motorhead, than the "core" of Sick of it All and stuff. The vocals alternate between gruff, and crazy screams. This is as heavy as death metal, and that's why the word "rock" isn't appropriate. Check it out.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

REDEMPTION - THE FULLNESS OF TIME  

SENSORY/LASER'S EDGE RECORDS  

If you consider yourself a person that likes intelligent metal, then you should check this band out because the musicianship is so talented that, compared to this, 99% of metal just sounds mediocre or bad. Redemption features Fates Warning singer Ray A. in its ranks; the music itself is, if you must label it, complex-progressive thrash. One clarification: this does not sound like Fates Warning at all. For one thing, Redemption is quite a thrashy, very guitar-powered band, which simply has not been the case with Fates Warning since the late 1980's. Personally, I was not sure that I could get into this because I find that a lot of prog metal people are wankers writing boring songs and that are more musically masturbating than anything, but I was wrong. This is pretty rocking, even though it's prog. Of course, this music is pretty complex and skilled, but the songs do flow and are coherent. There are lots of technical guitar solos, but they are melodic. There are keyboards here, too, but unlike a band like Dream Theater, who often bore me, the keys serve the song and are not too upfront, though you can hear them clearly. Ray, on this album, sings, by today's standards, in a very traditional metal way, very talented, and it probably sounds pretty high. Nevertheless, this is no where near as high as, say, "No Exit," his debut with Fates Warning all those years ago. Ray sounds great on here. This album is about an hour long and it is excellent!  

www.lasercd.com  

www.ivorygate.com/redemption  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

REPRISAL SCARS: ?  

DEMO  

After the first song, I thought this was death metal. The last two songs (there are three in total) are kind of the same, but with more melody and groove. Really, I donít feel that this gives me a good idea about what the band is trying to do. Sounds ok, though.  

www.reprisalscars.cjb.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ROB ROCK - HOLY HELL  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

On this album there is a power ballad called "I'll Be Waiting for You". It's a good number, if you consider that traditional metal albums often have cheesy ballads, like this one. Rob Rock can definitely sing well in the power metal style. The album, overall, is a pretty hard rocking work. Rock Rob has the up-tempo rockers, the "epic" lyrics ("First Winds of the End of Time" is title of one song. How ridiculous.), the mid-paced rockers, the guitar solos (good, competent, but nothing great), the riffing (again, good, but all pretty standard), etc. I feel that this album adheres to the standards of formula power metal. It has some pretty cool moments, some cool riffs, some cool this or that, but it's just too predictable. It sounds very much like a decent solo album that is a product.  

www.candlelightrecordsusa.com  

www.robrock.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

ROB ZOMBIE - "HELLBILLY DELUXE"  

All I have to say is it sucks White Z. broke up, but this album is pretty spiffy. Once more Rob shows us his musical genius and delivers in his own signature style of cool vocals, samples which are as cool to listen for as the songs, and totally original music vision. This is the only guy in mainstream music these days I can crank on MTV or totally respect. Seen the video for "Dragula"? Man, it's pretty funky. Wigged out, weird, wacky, and very cool. Just like the album. "Living Dead Girl", which is also in the "Psycho" remake, is eerie and evil like anything, and the whole album is a showcase for this man's talents and song writing expertise. I really can't say anything more other than buy this bad boy and live!  

Torgo  

 

 

 

ROTTING CHRIST - "TRIARCHY OF THE LOST LOVERS"  

CENTURY BLACK  

This release isn't that much different than "NoN Serviam". With this release the band once again reiterates its style. This CD shows that R.C. is very melodic. I'm saying this because this band actually knows how to combine harmony-like sounds with straight thrashing riffs. For instance, song number 4 is mostly a slow affair with a repeating melodic riff that might even be classified as monotonous. Actually, "Non Serviam" was less melodic, but it was faster. This one shows the drummer doing some basic mid-paced style. In fact, there is hardly any speed-of-light- in-your-face-double-bass-to-rip-your-throat-apart drumming here. Now, do not misunderstand me, this band kicks butt, but they moved further from only kicking butt. The more I listen to this, the more I realize that the catchy riffs found here are really unusual in death metal or whatever you want to call them. DEATH's "Symbolic" has plenty of catchy leads / solos, but compared to this, DEATH actually sounds less melodic. If you do not listen to this at least twice, you will not understand what this is all about because this is actually complex. The first listen you might say this is plain, but R.C. has some songs that go for a min. into it without any vocals so that the listener will appreciate what the riffs try to accomplish because there is no sound over them. Overall, this shows R.C. progressing at a really quick pace into the realm of (and this might not be cool with the cheesy metal fans) complex, melodic, top-level death metal. Pretty amazing actually.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

ROYAL HUNT - PAPER BLOOD  

MAGNA CARTA  

Just what is the title "Paper Blood" supposed to mean exactly? Blood made of paper? Oh, I see, like the kind they sell at Kinko's? Royal Hunt's progressive traditional heavy metal changes from album to album. The only thing with a warranty (ha!) is: classy, talented, musical, proggy, keyboardy, somewhat earthy/gritty heavy metal and great, soulful heavy metal/rock singing. To me, John West sings in the spirit of Glen Hughes (Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Iommi, etc.), Ian Gillan (Deep Purple, etc.) and Joe Lynn Turner (Deep Purple, Rainbow, etc.). Here's a hint: John West might like Deep Purple. The guitar is often rocking and uptempo, but just as often it's proggy and the solos can be fast, as well as slower/bluesy. The keyboards feel omnipresent and can be heard at just about every moment. Sometimes they can sound reminiscent of Deep Purple (big surprise there), Uriah Heep--in other words, like classic rock. At other times, they sound orchestral, symphonic. "Yeah, ok, man, but what about the actual songs?" Well, they are memorable, well executed, speedy rocking moments combined with slower, melodic, multiple-layer/chorus singing. The drumming is often double-bass, speedy drumming, which slows down during the more soulful moments when John is crooning away, singing to the moon. Of course, saying that these are "memorable" songs needs to be qualified with the explanation that this is not really ear candy, like power metal or the Backstreet Boys (power metal is pretty pop, don't you think?). The music is "catchy" in a coherent, unified whole, that is also a monster.  

www.magnacarta.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

RUMPELSTILTSKIN GRINDER - BURIED IN THE FRONT YARD  

RELAPSE RECORDS  

Is one to assume that if you decide to give your band a stupid name, then you must be a joke band? Is there a quicker way to say the name of the band, like just calling it "R.G." or "That Band"? Further still, what is the plan with such a genius name? Some song titles are: "Stealing E.T.," "Orange and Black Attack," "The Day Merman Met Todd 'The Harpoon' Wilson," "Unleash the Troll," etc. After repeated listens, I find it a bit surprising that a band that obviously can thrash this well decides to play some sort of hobo bum funny thrash. While the playing is not out of this world, it is spectacular in places, like at the end of "Grab a Shovel (We've Got Bodies to Bury)", with the flashy soloing. The playing is tight, actually, and in the previously mentioned "The Day Merman." there is a nice acoustic break, followed by cool noodling. I don't listen to music to laugh at because I don't find humor in music, so maybe that's why this doesn't sound so funny to me. Fans of the well-known and popular category of shredding, speedy smelly hobo bum garbage dump eater thrash will surely want to run to the store to hear the newest sensation!!  

www.rumpelstiltskingrinder.com  

www.relapse.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

RUNNING WILD - "DEATH OR GLORY"  

NOISE  

This is not a new release, actually it's several years old. I want to review this because I think this band is Godly. This is a German band that specializes in heavy metal of the first rate. When talking about this music, people usually say, "BLACK SABBATH, MAIDEN, PRIEST, etc.." No one ever mentions (In this country at least) this band. Why you ask, because of ignorance. If you are tired of listening to your "evil" bands that sound like cheese and stuff and you do like traditional bands like SAXON, RAGE, ACCEPT, etc.. please, get any release by RUNNING WILD!  

LIEFF 


SACRAMENTARY ABOLISHMENT - "THE DISTRACTING STONE"  

Catharisis Records  

Raw and fast black/death metal. The guitar solos give this a bit more taste and catchiness than expected. The sound can be very hectic at times and has a raw sound to it, thus giving the production a bit to be desired. Ultimately, this lacks production, and maybe a little originality.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

SAMAEL - "PASSAGE"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Ahhhhh....SAMAEL..GODS!!! Four brilliant albums! This will easily be one of the best albums of the year. If you loved "Ceremony.." , then you will not be disappointed. The thing that scared me at first was the fact that the drumming was done by a machine. After listening to this release, I found that the use of a machine did not take away anything, but added to the SAMAEL sound in a very positive way. the song "Moonskin" is so dark and emotional and is one of the best songs I think SAMAEL has ever done. The piano segments adds so much to them. Also the line up, is new guitarist Kaos and the departure Rodolphe. If familiar with SAMAEL, then I am sure you are aware of the brilliant music this band has to offer. Anyone not familiar with this band, well check them out, you might be pleased.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

SAMAEL - REIGN OF LIGHT  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

Dance-beat driven, techno-fueled, with a goth/dark, evil munchkin, angry robot speaking in a low frequency volume, this album fits well with movies like The Matrix or Hellboy, especially when Neo is taking on agent Smith. When Neo and Trinity like to go to seedy clubs and find suckers who want to fight agents, that's probably when Samael music sounds the best. Space dancing and techno flipping all the way. Now, put on your leather pants and your eyeliner and dance like a maniac. Next week, I'll teach you how to do the macarena and the Texas two-step.  

www.samael.tv; www.samael.info  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SARGATANAS - "THE ENLIGHTMENT"  

Conquistador  

If you are familiar with Samael's, "Worship Him" or with the wonderful early 80's feel of Pentacle (big time Hellhammer-influenced death metal), then you might enjoy Sargatanas. Early Sodom/Sepultura type production is also part of this sound's foundation. The question is this: is this by accident, or un-purpose? We'll see in the coming period... I, for one, enjoy this type of stuff, because underneath the raw, unproduced production, there is, in every song, a real aspect of individuality to each song. As the simple guitar "solo" on song #5, "Ritual of the Advent" demonstrates, Eddie Van Halen is no influence here. The cover of Possessed's "Satan's Curse" is heavier on the bottom end than the original version. Overall, this is pretty raw death metal from Mexico. Beware though, it's not Emperor or Morbid Angel, more like children of Hellhammer.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

SATAN'S GOD - "WICKED ARRIVAL"  

MUD BALL REC.  

Oh shit, he's / it's back. I reviewed his demo and now I have this release on MUD BALL REC. This is truly psychotic. I'm surprised I haven't shot my self yet. Truly something you should not listen to if you're depressed, pissed off, or in any other negative mood, for this will enhance it worse than alcohol! Here we have 6 "songs" or what I simply call, insanity. The "Black Zeppelin Dog" insanity is a "cover" of a LED ZEPPELIN song, truly warped. Man, this really isn't something I would personally spend money on, but yet I contradict my self by saying, everyone should have this! Why? Is the question I ask.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

SATHANAS - "ARMIES OF CHARON"  

Conquistador Records  

Apparently these guys have been around since 1988, but have had incredibly poor luck with labels releasing their material. This being my first time hearing Sathanas, I can't compare against their past efforts, but what I heard here was very kool. If you like thrashy, blackened, old style metal, you can't go wrong with this disc. Listening to this makes me want to go out and fuck shit up in the name of metal. Join the armies of Charon today!  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

SATYRICON - "NEMESIS DIVINA"  

MOONFOG  

This release is a pure exercise in testing the limits of how fast and brutal a band can be. Much like IMMORTALS "Battle In the North", this album takes previous elements of speed and pushes them to the thresh hold of capacity. This is actually one of the rawer black metal releases that you'll hear this year. Interestingly enough, this band is also diverse because you will hear more than just speed here. What you'll find is well-constructed songs that showcase the creativity that is possible in the realm of black metal. You will find some totally unexpected details here. For example song number four, "Du Som Hater Gud", has piano melody towards the second half of the song. What is weird about this? This song is of course totally full-speed chaos, yet there's this nice, classical piano melody in it. How many bands could pull off piano parts in their songs and actually make it work? If you like SATYRICON'S previous outputs, you will definitely enjoy this one too. Satyr, the vocalist, sounds as hateful as ever, while Frost, drummer, plays as fast as humanly possible. Songs such as, "Immortality Passion" and "The Dawn of A New Age", fulfill their promise to torture your ears until you want more. By the way, the guitar riffs should show once and for all that black metal is not just wearing corpse paint, but that it is actually a musical characteristic, i.e. learn to play this stuff before you call your band black metal!  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

SATYRICON - Now, Diabolical  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

Such a concoction of simple, pounding heavy rock guitar, with basic, mid-paced drumming, led by scowled, frowning, tongue-lashing vocals creates songs repetitive, uncomplicated and effective songs. In all seriousness, this does sound more in line "Enter Sandman" or "Sad but True", from a darker, angrier angle. This black 'n' roll is easy to remember because there is practically no blasting in the album proper and no complexity in the guitar. No solos, just straight ahead riffs. It depends on the particular audience to decide whether the repetitive nature of the music is a problem. The more adamant about older, proper black metal, like The Shadowthrone or Nemesis Divina, will find more difficulties assimilating this, whereas the Volcano consumer should be comfortable.  

www.satyricon.no  

www.centurymedia.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SCAR SYMMETRY - SYMMETRIC IN DESIGN  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

This opens with "Chaosweaver," an example of the melodic aggression that this band is all about: solid gruff vocals and good clean singing. "2012: The Demise of the 5th Sun" follows: the simultaneous vocals sound great and the groove is excellent. Masterful guitar solos and drumming. "Dominion" is simpler, immediate and quite a bit more melodic, thrashier, metal ear candy. "Underneath the Surface" is mid-paced, heavier, with some screechier vocals, and then comes "Reborn," a speedier, up-beat number with probably the catchiest chorus line in the whole album. "Veil of Illusions" features a crunchier, pounding, mid-paced feel with a more extended solo, then "Obscure Alliance" brings a more circular, repeated riffing pattern, while "Hybrid Cult" has more varied, darker, more twisted vocal approach and the nice, clean chorus breaks up the growling. Come to think of it, this chorus is another good one. "Orchestrate the Infinite" has the most mellow, Opeth-like part, and the guitar riffing is probably the simplest, overall. The chorus is the song here. "Detach from the Outcome" is the most straight-up aggressive, mid-paced song. The clean singing is not a big factor here. In that sense it's odd, which is interesting because the next song; "Seeds of Rebellion", brings the speed back to a higher point, along with melody. "The Eleventh Sphere" closes: the gruff, black-ish and the clean vocals are in full force. The heavy riffing is sweetened with background synth and hooks, as is the whole album.  

Not too original, true, but the band, which is one of those Swedish bands with people from other groups (Carnal Forge, Unmoored, Theory in Practice, etc.), does very good work in this 48-minute, 12-song release.  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

www.scarsymmetry.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SCAR SYMMETRY - Pitch Black Progress  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

They are sedulous about outdoing Soilwork's "Natural Born Chaos": the growling can get very low, guttural at times, then screechy at others, though it does stay gruff in general; the clean singing sounds expertly done, even to the point of sounding poppy; plenty of solos and thrash and shredding; the drumming is creative and varied, speedy and mid-paced (but no blasting). The cynical will correctly notice a formula at work; however, the strength is the genuine good songwriting abilities, the talent and how they bring together the components. This is their second one. Their previous Symmetric in Design was very, very good, too.  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

www.scarsymmetry.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SCENTERIA - ART OF AGGRESSION  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

Armed with big, fat, thrash, Slayeresque guitars, Scenteria sounds pretty cool. The sound is interesting because the Swedish, tuned-down guitars have a massive, fat feel to them. Yes, they are Swedish, duh. The vocals are growled, but do not stand out as a sore point, instead they mesh with the overall sound. The whole band is a big, massive rhythm section! In addition, I like this because the thrash does not sound boring, like most thrash. This is not lame thrash like Overkill or Flotsam and Jetsam or something mediocre like that. There's more: they have melody, but---and this is important---they keep the melodies subtle, which works really well because they add to the mood, as opposed to making you think that they want to add power metal to the mix. The album has gotten better with more listens, for sure. However, there's a limit to how better it gets. I have probably heard this more than ten times now and I feel like 1) that's enough for a while and 2) that it's good, but it's not truly great or awesome and 3) that I have hit a limit as to how excited I will get. That's ok, though. Every debut can't be "Kill'em All" or "Scream Bloody Gore", right?  

www.scenteria.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SCHALIACH - "SONRISE"  

Pleitegeir Records  

If there is one thing I love about metal, it's melodic death metal with a different vibe. Here we have a band that seems to be highly influenced by Rotting Christ, musically. The same melody that Rotting C. has is definitely present in this band. They seem to have other influences as well though. On certain songs I tend to hear some My Dying Bride vocal approaches that flow right along with the growls that seem to fit just right. Anyone into melodic death metal should definitely check this release out.  

Mike Pforzheimer Str. 35 D-76327 Pfinztal - Norway  

 

 

 

CHUCK SCHULDINER - ZERO TOLERANCE  

KARMAGEDDON MEDIA  

This is a two-disc collection that compiles a few unreleased songs from Control Denied, but itís by far composed of a lot of old Death demo recordings. The Control Denied songs are instrumental and sound like demos. They are interesting to hear, but I donít feel like listening to them over and over again because they sound incomplete. Now, the rest of the cd number one and all of cd two is rough, badly recorded Death demos with bad, bad sound quality. How bad is the quality? Itís really bad, seriously. What is the purpose of releasing second and third generation, rough demo recordings like these when you can hear "Scream Bloody Gore", the album proper? Do not waste your money on this just because it has the name Chuck Schuldiner on it. If you are a serious Death/Control Denied/Chuck Schuldiner fan and you think this review might be exaggerating how bad the sound quality on these cds is, you should at least try to hear a couple of the demo songs before you waste your cash on this.  

www.karmageddonmedia.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SEA OF TRANQUILITY - "THE OMEGAN RUINS"  

Cursed Productions  

Sea of Tranquility seems to be a band that could be better. I say that because this is too pedestrian to stand out from the tens of thousands of other death metal bands out there. The sound is muffled, because the production is simply not that good. Anyway, maybe next time around, eh, boys?  

Lieff  

 

 

 

SEASON - "NO CURE NO FEELING"  

Wild Rags  

Man, I just don't know about this one. Somewhat of a gothic type band, but one that is not so great. I think it's mainly the voice. I just didn't like this. If you're into gothic music, you might like this, as for me, I'll pass it like I pass my poop.  

Quikkee  

 

 

 

SENTENCED - "DOWN"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

This is an album that makes you go Hmmm.... This is not the same SENTENCED that released "Shadows of the Past", "North From Here", "The Trooper", or even "Amok" ! New vocalist, same progressive music, but definitely not the same SENTENCED some of you might remember them by. I have to admit, I am not or never have been a SENTENCED fan, but I know who they are and know what they sounded like in the past. To all who like progressive and classic heavy metal with some really good solos, you might like this, well if your open minded enough to accept the fact that they changed beyond belief! Let us say they are going on a path like AMORPHIS. They should have changed there name in my opinion, like all the rest of the bands who change so drastically. Any ways, all old fans with a closed mind who hated "Amok" will truly hate this one! All new comers may like this release who have never heard there older material. As for me, I'm still not a fan.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

SERAPH - "AWAKENED"  

WILDRAGS  

When I put this disc in and heard the violin in it, I thought it was going to be a great atmospheric death metal band, boy was I wrong. It's a cross between doom with I guess just older metal influence. Progressive metal I'll call it. The vocals reminded me of Mr. Wino (THE OBSESSED) a tad bit at times. The music is pretty cool and it's a weird mix with the violin. This is a band you'll either like, hate, or don't have an opinion about. My opinion? It's different.  

Mike  

 

 

 

SERMON - "FROM DEATH TO DEATH"  

Wild Rags  

This one is hard to figure out. His vocals remind me of someone, but I just can't figure out who, but they remind me of someone I know I've heard before. Old Mille P. (Kreator) does come to my mind though. The music is pretty melodic and has a good sound. I've never really heard any Russian bands, well, actually I have heard one other Russian band, but they didn't sound like this. This is basically a melodic death metal band that is actually worth checking out.  

Quikkee  

 

 

 

SEVEN FOOT SPLEEN - "ENTER THERAPY"  

MIA/Tee Pee  

Low-end gruff vocals with slow and heavy music. This is too under produced for my taste. This is in the vein of Supercoven, and the like. If you like this kind of stuff, and you don't mind the garage production, you might find this interesting.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

SEVEN FOOT SPLEEN - "ENTER THERAPY"  

(Label?)  

I was reminded somewhat of Noothgrush and Winter while playing this disc, though SFS is not nearly as slow as either of those bands. Indeed, it is much faster in parts, verging on being punk-ish. What I really couldn't dig here were the vox--too thin, and "tinny" sounding, like a vomitous spree of unconvincing teenage angst. Musically, this is "not bad", but it's certainly nothing original. Avoid if you're the "Fancy feast" type....you know, if you only want the very best.  

Elis (meow mix)  

 

 

 

SEVERE TORTURE - BLOODLETTING  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

Since the growlerís says "thank you" (in an evil, growled voice, too, because we wouldn't want anybody to know that they are not totally evil) after every song, I assume this is (supposedly) a live album. Well, ok, but that's difficult to tell from this recording because it's demo-like in quality. Severe Torture plays superguttural, gore metal, but they sound mediocre in this recording. You can't really hear the vocals and it's all chug on the guitars. The drums sound like cans. I guess if you love, love this band, youíll like this. Everybody else: donít waste your time.  

www.severetorture.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SHADOWCASTER - "TEMPTATION" / S/T "2 DIFFERENT CD"  

Wild Rags  

Give me an M! Monotonous! Give me a B! Boring! Give me an S! Shitty! What does this say? Stay away! This sucks. Oh wait, why? All this is, is a bunch of sound effects that put me in a sad mood, created by one individual. Chanting type vocals, sometimes even black metal. If you like Burzum's newer "music", then this might appeal to you. If you haven't noticed, I didn't like this much.  

Mike  

 

 

 

SHADOWS FALL - "OF ONE BLOOD"  

Century M.  

In fear of feeling like I'm jumping the band wagon, I like this band. They have a very good....,I guess idea. The music is fast, heavy, melodic and grinding, at times. There are threedifferent vocal styles; a low growl, an 80's metal type, and a hardcore style. I can't stand the hardcore style. If it's not Roger Miret, I don't care for it. This album is really, really, good. Tracks 1, 3, 6 and 9, are really good songs. However, track 4, a song titled; "The First Noble Truth", I have a problem with. Can you count how many In Flames riffs there are in that song? It's almost like it could be "Artifacts of the Black Rain" (pt.2)! Didn't they notice that? How can anyone miss it? It's right there! Listen to the first minute and a half of "Artifacts..", then listen to "First Noble Truth." Still, give the rest of the album a chance. This band is trying to do something new, and I can totally respect that. Recommended.  

Cyric  

 

 

 

SIEBENBURGEN - "DELICTUM"  

Napalm  

I'd never heard this band, nor had I heard of this band, until one fine day I opened my front door to find my little Mexican buddy standing on my porch with it in his hand. "Wanna review this one?" I looked at it, strange name, but there was a half naked chick on the front and back, so what the hell? I'm glad I did! There's not one song on here I didn't like. Ethereal black metal is what you have here. In the vein of Dissection, throw in a little 80's metal, some female vocals, keyboards, and you have Siebenburgen. Out of the giant pile (and I mean PILE) of piss that Mikey gives me to review, this one definitely stands at the forefront. Excellent production and musicianship. It would truly be travesty if this band doesn't get the recognition they deserve.  

Cyric  

 

 

 

SIEGE OF HATE - SUBVERSIVE BY NATURE  

CANDLELIGHT  

Well, kids, put away your keyboards, because this is grind. No guitar solos, no long songs or anything melodic. No, this is not catchy, sweet and radio-friendly, like Mortician or Cannibal Corpse. This is just a total blastfest, raging and screaming from beginning to end. These Brazilians are not technical or showy. In a live situation, about thirty minutes of this stuff will have you more than exhausted. The album is about that long, too. Talk about getting your aggression out. Here you go Napalm Death, Benumb, Nasum and Gadget fans. Frenzied, maniacal. Get your freak on.  

www.siegeofhate.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SINGLE BULLET THEORY: BEHIND EYES OF HATRED  

CRASH MUSIC  

SBT combines stomping, chug-chug riffing and screamed vocals with clean singing. The music is more metal than hardcore, though still metalcore. You know, there are so many bands doing this style that you have to be great to stand out. This band is competent at their craft, but I can say that about dozens and dozens of other bands. Look, kiddo, if you just can't get enough of the metalcore stuff, then go right ahead.  

www.singlebullettheory.net  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SINISTHRA - LAST OF THE STORIES OF LONG PAST GLORIES  

ARISE RECORDS  

Not exactly a happy bunch, this one. OK, well, some bands are melancholic, but this is more melancholic. The vocals are moody, a little desperate, crooning-centered and a bit dark. The moody vocals bring to mind music of all kinds that shares this type of mood, like The Smiths/Morrisey, The Cure, Danzig, Alice in Chains, Stillborn, Entwine, Sentenced, Fall of the Leafe, etc. You know, that kind of mood. However, this music is pretty mellow and it's not really all that metal, but more like guitar-ish rock, with lots of we-got-the-blues sort of feeling, not so much in the guitars, but definitely in the vocals. I hate to say it this way: they sound very Finnish; winter music. There are some keyboards, but not too much, mostly for background that gives way to the vocals and guitars. It's not good to generalize too much, but I do think fans of the Finnish melancholic sound will be interested. How good is this album? I think it succeeds musically, for sure. I listened to this only five or so times because, frankly, I find this too depressing (but that's exactly why some people listen to it, isn't it?). The music is not slow. It's moody and croony and grey and has plenty of upbeat moments, but the overall blue mood is, achieved through the vocals, is pretty pervasive overall. Good album, but not for fans of music that "rocks."  

www.sinisthra.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SINNER - "THE SECOND DECADE"  

Nuclear Blast  

This is a "best of" release containing songs from the past. Sinner play traditional heavy metal, and they do it very well. This release contains fifteen songs which exemplify what Sinner's music is all about. Really, it's silly to describe this with words. Sinner is more traditional than Iced Earth or Nocturnal Rites, but it's all good. If you like heavy metal, real metal, you'll like this. Trust me, this is good, okay?  

Lieff  

 

 

 

THE SINS OF THY BELOVED - "PERPETUAL DESOLATION"  

Napalm Records  

Can you say melodic, atmospheric, majestic, and just plain awesome? This release definitely caught me by surprise, especially the Metallica cover. They cover; "The Thing That Should Not Be", and I must say that this cover is easily my favorite cover song I've ever heard anyone ever do. Hearing this song alone is worth purchasing this release. So what exactly does this band sound like? Well, let me tell you that this is definitely a band that will appeal to the "goth" crowd and to the more open-minded metal crowd. They have the usual death/black metal growls, that thankfully sound like no other, and on top of that, they ad some beautiful female vocals that compliment the overall sound/mood they seem to conjure with ease. But the instrument they utilize that really caught my attention was the violin. The way they utilize the violin, just ads a haunting classical feel to the overall sound. Well, all I have left to say is that if you're into My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost, C.O.F., Godgory, or any other band along those lines, you will absolutely go loco for this release!  

Mike  

 

 

 

SKINLAB - "EYESORE"  

Century MEDIA  

Can someone please explain to me what the fuss is over this band? All I hear is a wanna be Tool that falls way short of the mark, with the run-of-the-mill screech owl yelling for vocals, and some hard core-ish fast parts thrown in. Yawn. Do bands like this think they can get away with ripping off another band just because the other band is "mainstream", and they think their fans won't listen to it? Give me a break! Do yourself a favor and pass this shit up!  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

SKREW - "SHADOW OF DOUBT"  

METAL B.  

SKREW are a metal band, a band that plays mid-paced heavy pounding music, which is layered with a minimal aspect of industrial. I wanted to start this review that way because everyone seems to not get the idea that this is metal of the heaviest kind. "Shadow of Doubt" sports some of the heaviest riffs that are to be heard. "Generator", for example, has a rhythm to bring the walls down, as does the rest of the CD. Any way, so why do people refer to this as industrial? Because every song has some sort of subtle sampled sounds in the background, be it keyboard-y stuff or tech-no sublime sounds. SKREWS music is all the better for doing some sampling or experimenting. I don't know if the drums are real or not, the CD does not say, doesn't really matter though. One of the guitar players here is the ex-OVERKILL guitarist Bobby G. It is strange that he doesn't do any solos on this album. Definitely a cool release.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

SLAVE TO THE SYSTEM - s/t  

SPITFIRE RECORDS  

If classic rock fans form bands today they sound like this. The vocalist for this project was the singer for Brother Cane. Other references are latter day Pearl Jam or Velvet Revolver, basically, bands that just play old school rock. This is performed well and at times the vocals recall Audioslave. It sounds pretty genuine, too.  

www.spitfirerecords.com  

www.slavetothesystem.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SLAYER - "UNDISPUTED ATTITUDE"  

AMERICAN R.  

This is a remake of a whole bunch of old hard core punk songs. This is the most "loose" that SLAYER has ever sounded. Most people listening to this have no idea about where the songs are coming from. Bands like TSOL, MINOR THREAT, STOOGES are unknown to the majority of SLAYER fans. It does not matter because, in my opinion SLAYER is making these songs better than they ever were. (Yeah.....right.) Musically, this is below SLAYERS standards. This is merely an album done for fun, so don't take it too seriously. O.K.? Good.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

SLUMBER - FALLOUT  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

You can't fault Slumber for writing catchy songs. The songs have that big symphonic sound with a huge, ever-present melancholy element. The vocals, even though they are of the growled variety, are completely acceptable, as they are not screamed/shouted. The vocals sound like an additional instrument, they are not overriding the music. This is also not a slow album, since the songs are mid-paced, with plenty of melodic hooks. The whole atmosphere is somber, but happy-in-a-somber-kind-of-way. It's a cool type of depressive, catchy sound. Personally, I like this album. However, there are a couple of things that are kind of problematic: first, this type of music seems to be pretty inoffensive, harmless, which begs the question: does this band have any personality or character? Second, even though the melodies are good, it seems like are too derivative.  

www.slumber.nu  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SOILWORK - STABBING THE DRAMA  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

I like to play Soilwork to the children in my neighborhood to see what they think. Here's the feedback! Billy: "It's too woud. Tuwn it off!" [Billy is cranky all the time.] Becky: "This is not as good as Sesame Stweet... Wendy: "This weminds me of In Fwames!...I like In Fwames!!..." Bobby: "What is this, Wauwicio?... It's wevy bad music!..." OK, so they weren't that helpful. I guess I have to say something here. This band has become masters at keeping fans happy. Everything on here is signature Soilwork: the songs do not throw you for any loops, just the Soilwork method of growl and sing, energy and melody, with a bit of that electronica in the background. And method it is because the melodies are catchy, almost poppy, and the harsher parts sound designed for the live setting. Of course, the fact they tour like a circus, only makes them even more aware of what works and what doesn't. A good follow-up to "Figure Number Five". On the other hand, if you feel that Soilwork has too much of a formula, then you'll be whining again (Yeah, like the band cares what those people think.).  

www.soilwork.org  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SONATA ARCTICA - RECKONING NIGHT  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

Album number four finds the band once again delivering catchy, catchy power metal. Actually, it's surprising that singer/main songwriter Tony Kakko manages to write virtually all the songs and still make it pretty diverse and make it sound so easy. What is this guy putting in the music to make it so instant? Well, lots of hooks, an overall upbeat rhythm. Plus, the fact that he has a really good voice only helps, too. The one issue that is keeps coming up with power metal guitar work is the play-on riff and Sonata Arctica's speedy delivery uses it quite a bit, though this album seems to be less speed oriented. I really like all Sonata Arctica albums. I think this band is excellent. However, are they painting themselves into a corner here?  

www.sonataarctica.info  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SONATA ARCTICA - For The Sake of Revenge  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

This live cd/dvd sounds like an honest recording of a traditional heavy/power metal formation from Finland that has been gaining a larger audience with each release. The dvd is longer than the cd, which only has a portion of the entire set of the dvd recorded in Japan. The dvd's "extras" has nothing interesting, just the usual, discography, a boring "documentary," etc. The live performance is a professional one, while still acting a bit silly on stage, during the keyboard/guitar solos/tradeoffs, etc. The mid-tempo, slower songs sound like hard rock with sweet melodies. The speedy songs are more metal, but still with a pop sensibility. The group does well their mix of rockers and mid-paced songs. No point in listing the tracks they play in this early 2005 show. They're all good. The dvd has some 17 songs, the cd 13.  

www.sonataarctica.info  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SOULSKINNER: BREEDING THE GROTESQUE  

?  

The feel is old-school death metal. I don't know why, but I ended up liking this release more than I should. I think I was glad that a band is playing death metal without trying to sugarcoat it with out-of-place Iron Maiden melodies. Nothing too fancy, just brutality with some good tunes. Nothing great, but I liked it, anyway. ghiotellis@hotmail.com  

info@sleazyrider.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

STAB! STAB! STAB! - HELL'S COMING WITH ME - DEMO  

(?) SELF-FINANCED (?)  

"With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good!" Or not. This recording seems to be some sort of death metal band who really aren't happy unless they mix it up with some rock & roll grooves that sound Zeppelin-inspired (or something). They also have bits and pieces of other things, like techno dance beats, etc., and a sense of "humor." Hardy har har. The lyrics are megalomaniacal: "My Murderous Throne." If you have a throne, then you are king, right? Well, what are these guys kings of? 7 Eleven? Target? Subway sandwiches? Then there's the song "Plaguebringer": pretty powerful, huh? "Plaguewielder" would have been better. Wait, Darkthrone already did that. Basically, all the lyrics have to do with hatred for the ex-girlfriend.  

Somebody needs a hug, huh? therapy? Maybe somebody is ugly.  

www.stabstabstab.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

STAMPINí GROUND - A NEW DARKNESS UPON US  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Perfect for those into hardcore, like Hatebreed; songs like "Donít Need a Reason to Hate" and "Dead from the Neck up" are the kind of stuff that the MTV rock crowd likes. They sound "angry", you know, show me the money.  

www.stampinground.f9.co.uk  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

STEEL ATTACK: ENSLAVED  

ARISE RECORDS  

Power metal is the order of the day here. No keyboards, but plenty of semi-thrashy riffing. The speed is fast and semi-fast. The vocals are sung; sometimes the singing is a bit rough, sometimes more melodic, but still traditional power metal singing. Nothing particularly new, but they are a competent band and one that comes up with catchy songs. If you love to check out lesser-known power metal, then you should be pleased.  

www.arisemetal.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD - "CITY"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Here we have the second release by this really intense band. I'm not really familiar with there previous album, "Heavy As A Really Heavy Thing", except for the two songs on the Identity Comp. CD that they were on. I really enjoyed these two songs but still have not bought the album. The songs vary and are kinda hard to explain. To me, influences range from GODFLESH to FEAR FACTORY, but do not get me wrong, S.Y.L. has a very unique and distinguishable sound, especially the vocals. Elements of metal and industrial are present. Synths and samples are used quite a bit as well. Another really cool thing, the drummer is non-other than the great kit beater, Gene Hoglan! It is cool to see this excellent drummer still playing. Anyone into some intense, diverse, and really cool music should check this out.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD - ALIEN  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

Once again, Devin Townsend sounds like five guys screaming, why with the multiple vocals/layering and what not. The overall sound is aggro/scream with a quite of industrial/tech feel. No doubt, fans of this band should be screaming and moshing. The sound is fat, the beats heavy and chunky, stomp-stomp, chug-chug. OK, but musically, is there anything more profound than noisy thrash/chaos? The answer is no. Underneath the hardcore/chunky riffs, there is very little creativity because Fear Factory and Machine Head already did this a long time ago. This band is way overrated.  

www.strappingyounglad.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD - The New Black  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

The psycho scream funny farm robot fry chicken master Devin Townsend delivers a lemon hot battery acid salt loony bin barrage of strange and comical metal-jazz-spazz-thrash. "U Suck" and "Wrong Side" are the most intense and catchy. "Antiproduct" is a lounge jazz metal number, sort of weird. "Monument" is layered with background studio sounds. "Hope" is another simple track backed up with more studio symphonics. "Far beyond Metal" is gang-shouted vocals, etc. Overall, Devin screams and sings, while the guitar is pretty simple, nothing complex and relies heavily on studio technology to sound bigger. More than anything, this is supposed to be fun, funny, simple, mosh-friendly, etc. Devin can release albums like this every month, which he seems to do anyway.  

www.strappingyounglad.com  

www.centurymedia.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

STUCK MOJO - "PIG WALK"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

From the first song, the title track, one all ready knows what type of sound S.MOJO specializes in: chunky, streetwise, hardcore-crossover, etc. Actually, their style shows them in the territory of BIOHAZARD, but STUCK M. needs no comparison to anyone. At times the vocalist sounds like he is rapping, but all the while the solid rhythm of the song is shredding. The main riffs sound similar to SACRED R., PANTERA, or BIOHAZARD, but with a more street vibe / bad attitude. Sometimes this band sounds like a metal band who takes influences from hardcore and rap. There is no guitar solo to be found here, correction; no metal guitar solo. This band is not about showing off how "musical" they are. S.M. is the "alternative to the alternative," but actually, if you're tired of boring rock music in general, you'll find something different here.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

STUCK MOJO -"RISING"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Stuck M. simply rock! Influences of metal, funk, etc... can all be heard, but the main theme is to rock the house. This is "hard", but not typical hard stuff, but this is not original either. The point is not to make this band out to be what they are not. They're good, hard rocking music that's catchy, funky, and driving. They experiment a little, but manage to keep everything in the realm of heavy music. If you're looking to rock out, check this out! WARNING: The last song is a rap song.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

STURMGEIST - MEISTER MEPHISTO  

SEASON OF MIST  

Dimmu Borgir playing Rammstein covers at a goths-only Oktoberfest extravaganza in the middle of the Black Forest on Mars. This involves Cornelius from the very strange Solefad. Well, when you are a weirdo, it really does not matter what you do because it will be bizarre. Solefad is electro-wacked-out music. Here, Corny comes up with electro-wacked-out black metal. (Most of) the songs are in German and with a title like Meister Mephisto this is supposed to be funny. This is dance-happy-but-in-a-goths-playing-angrily kind of a way. Funny guy, that Cornelius.  

www.season-of-mist.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

SUPERCOVEN - "ELECTRIC WIZARD"  

Southern Lord Rec.  

Supercoven play really slow doom, that makes one feel like everything is in slow motion. Man, this is really slow, and guess what? It's not an accident, that's what this release is all about. If turtles played music, they would like Supercoven. Black Sabbath and The Obsessed play lightning speed compared to this. Ha! And you thought "Forest Of Equilibrium" was slow! The production on this puppy is very "garage". Doom fans, your new god's are calling you. Why, you never thought that Candlemass and Trouble would be called "pop doom", didja?  

Lieff  

 

 

 

SWITCHBLADE SYMPHONY - "BREAD AND JAM FOR FRANCES"  

There aren't many bands in the "gothic" realm that I'm familiar with, but when it comes to Tina Root and company, I'm there. When I first popped this disc in, I was totally expecting a continuation from the previous album, and to a certain degree I was correct. The angelic, put-me-in-a-trance type vocals are definitely still here, and that of course was the first thing that I noticed and loved about this band. The excellent, original and dark moody feeling within the music is still here, but it has a different vibe from "Serpentine G.". The thing that this album has musically that the last one didn't have is the up-beat, somewhat pop/dance beat to it. But it's hard for me to use "pop" for a description because it isn't the typical "pop"sound many of us have heard on the radio. I don't know what other word I can use to describe it. All I know is if you like female vocals that will take you into a darker dimension and you're into a unique and darker side of music with a great feel to it, this is definitely for you.  

Cleopatra  

Mike  

 

 

 

SWITCHBLADE SYMPHONY - "SERPINTINE GALLERY"  

Such dark beauty that will not leave my stereo. No, this is not metal, but who said I listened to just metal? This album is in the "Gothic" realm of things, and I don't mean vampires either. This album is so hypnotizing, the music, the feelings this band ables to achieve, but my favorite, Tina Root, the excellent vocalist. Ah, but not just her, Susan Wallace is awesome as well. "Bad Trash" and "Clown", are two of my favorites on this album, but the whole album is easily appreciated. Synths are a major role on this album, which adds to the mood very well. Anyone into some dark, atmospheric, excellent, moody music, well this is a real treat that anyone with a dark clowd above there own little sky can appreciate. A must have!  

CLEOPATRA  

MIKE 


T-NAILED -"DROWN!"  

DSFA RECORDS  

I put this in my CD player, and as soon as the first track started, I began to cringe. A little later, I was fully cowering, and I turned the damn thing off before I was reduced to slobbering idiocy. Why didn't I like this disc? I don't know, but maybe because it's stupid alterno-techno-metal-grunge crap. Maybe I'm just in a bad mood? (No, it sucks.) Who really cares, I don't think you'll like this CD unless you're a total retard, so just forget about it. Mike,I don't know where you got this CD, but I think it's time to throw it back!  

MIKE  

 

 

 

TANK - "FILTH HOUNDS OF HADES"  

REPERBOIRE REC.  

Have you ever heard of the new wave of British heavy metal? No? Why then, find out a little about this band. This title is from 1982, yes, I said 1982. It is still available at your local "weird import metal shop" if you bug the owner long enough to order it from Europe. Any way, this release was produced by Eddie "Legendary X- MOTORHEAD guitar god" Clark. The voice is rough, similar to AC/DC, VENOM MOTORHEAD, etc... The style is very straight ahead in-your-face metal power. This CD contains the song, "Turn Your Head Around" which SODOM covered a few years back. Find out why so many people love this band.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

TEARABYTE: GLOOM FACTORY  

SCREAMING FERRET  

Talk about stupid! This is some lame chugga thrash and hardcore! All they do is scream about how they hate everyone and how they are victims due to everyone around them. Boo hoo, they sound "angry" at the world. You know what the funny part is, these guys are old!! They look old and sound stupid. If you can imagine a bunch of really drunk, old red-necks playing bad Pantera covers to an empty bar somewhere in Texas on a Monday night, then you might have an idea.  

www.screamingferret.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

TERROR 2000 - Terror for Sale  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

Just a big ketchup fiesta of beer and speedy moronic thrash with lyrics about metal and Kerry King, King Kong, the Cookie Monster, barbecue and stupidity in general. This project is fast, fast and tight, with screaming, growled and wacky vocals. It's the opposite of overproduced and serious. This is a joke with tequila on the side, and vodka for dessert. Soilwork's vocalist is the screamer here, except that here he sounds like a numskull.  

www.terror2k.cjb.net  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

THANATOS - "ANGELIC ENCOUNTERS"  

(label?)  

Very high crisp guitars, deep and screaming vocals switching back and forth. Its mostly speed and pretty repititous, although now and then its got some pretty good grind in it. I would say the best song on there is their cover of "Corpse Grinder" by Massacre. Its just not much of variety and its too filled with speed and blast beats.  

Rogue  

 

 

 

THEATRE OF TRAGEDY - "['MJU:ZIK]"  

Nuclear Blast  

Okay, it has been a while since I heard this band, but I could have sworn that they played a sort of death/doom metal style, right? A while ago, a long while ago, 'zine reviews were comparing them to My Dying Bride. Well, what is it with bands changing drastically in style and not changing the freakin name!? Paradise Lost is the main band I'm thinking about as I write this review. You can forget the doom/death style they once had, and now I would definitely call them an electronic band who tries to include their metal influences. Does it work? Well, opinions will definitely vary. As for me, I just don't know what to think yet. Since I haven't heard this band since 1997 or so, I can actually admit that it's pretty catchy and an enjoyable listen. Then again, my taste has changed since then as well, so... This sounds like an 80's electronic band actually. We have male vocals and female vocals, keyboards, a lot of electronic hip-hop dance beats going around, and some guitar work, where they try and blend in their metal, though I really don't think that word is in their vocab. anymore. Anyway, if you're into Ramstein, KMFDM, or any other band along those lines, this will definitely be for you! I'll keep listening and see what it does for me.  

Mike  

 

 

 

THINE EYES BLEED - IN THE WAKE OF SEPARATION  

THE END RECORDS  

1. "Cold Victim": very tight, intense thrashing, in the spirit of Slayer/Kreator. The screaming is very Kreator/Petrozza-ish. A good beginning. Good, but short solo. 2. "Without Warning": Not as fast. Overall, less impressive, though good. 3. "And Since Forgotten": By now the sound has moved more into Killswitch Engage-ish territory. Somewhat more metalcore-ish, but still thrashy. The metalcore/breakdown element is more present. The drumming is now less intense. 4. "Live to Die": The vocals are slightly different, more metalcore-ish screaming. Up until 1:30 into the song, thrashy; after that, slower, metalcore; at about 2:20 the thrash returns and alternates with metalcore riffing. At about 3:35, clean singing comes in. Sounds chic and trendy. 5. "Corpse You up": first :35 is uninteresting riffing, but things get better after :45. Solos come in, rescuing the song from facelessness. At about 2:00 metalcore returns; things get worse. At 2:45 things get a lot better with some cool, thrashy, catchy riffing. At 3:18 the metalcore returns; it's slower with screaming over it. 6. "Innocent Mind": Much better. Thrashy, memorable. The riffing is much better; the solos are good and fit the song really well. 7. "Sliver": A midpaced, thrashy number. I find the vocals annoying with the midtempo riffing. Overall, this sounds like filler material to me. Not much personality. 8. "Consequence Unknown": The guitar work sounds Arch Enemy-ish. Not bad. The solos are good, if short, but the song is just too monotonous. 9. "Regret Your Fear": The vocals are more metalcore. The last slow, melodic solo is good, but too little, too late.  

www.ThineEyesBleed.com  

www.theendrecords.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

THREAT SIGNAL - Under Reprisal  

NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS  

When performed in front of a younger audience in 2006, say, into Shadows Fall or Lamb of God, this type of material will be received well because of the overriding characteristic of this cast from Canada is the things that capture the sales, magazine coverage and airplay: (1) the mid 90s Pantera/Fear Factory and hardcore influence, meaning chugging guitar, and (2) the scream/shouted vocals in conjunction with clean singing, popular with core, as well as with bands like In Flames. The sound of the band's metal-core is very professional and booming. On the other hand, there's too much of a formula going on and the lack of original ideas is a problem.  

www.threatsignal.com  

www.nuclearblastusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

THROCULT - STORMBRINGER--CONJURATION OF THE NIGHTHORDE  

CRASH MUSIC  

There's quite a bit of layers going on with this album. In fact, I listened to it some ten times because I kept feeling like I did not really get it at first. This is, for sure, well-performed black metal with a cool chaotic feel. The guitar work and overall sound, really, is to be heard several times to get an idea. The drumming is technical, but sounds more frantic than technical, which is cool, for a change. The riffs can sound dissonant, while thrashing the next. Very promising. For some reason, though, this album never really clicked for me. Too technical maybe?  

www.crashmusicinc.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

THYRFING- "URKRAFT"  

This band is somewhat of a hybrid in my eyes, heavy guitars, deep vocals, and a great sound and production, but there is much more to it. Many of their songs are so laden with keyboards putting out a variety of instrument sounds, it gives it a sound that could only be described as "Symphonic Death Metal". They hail from The Netherlands and put out some pretty good music. They are a 6 piece band and definately have talent, however after the first 3 or 4 songs it kinda gets old. If your a fan of this type of music though check them out, they are probably one of the better ones out there.  

Rogue  

 

 

 

TNT - ALL THE WAY TO THE SUN  

MAYHEM RECORDS  

Tony Harnell is a very talented and traditional melodic rock singer. The voice is high and clear: think 80's high vocals of the glam rock variety. Ronni LeTekro's soloing is of the guitar idol kind. Combine them and the result; music that will particularly please the audience whose preferences are bands in the style of Foreigner, Journey, Firehouse, Slaughter, etc. Of course, the music is more laid back now because the guys are older now, so the lyrics don't narrate stories about making out in the back seat of a car, etc. There are rocking moments, slower moments, guitar solos, and all the elements needed to have a balanced album. My personal opinion is that this band lacks power or energy. There is no kick. The rocking moments simply do not rock hard enough. There is a song here called "What a Wonderful World" and it is that old song that everyone knows. What's the point in covering this song? I have a TNT record from 1984 called "Knights of the New Thunder" on Polygram Records. One day, when I get motivated, I will get a record player and listen to the album. Having said that, it's obvious that the band thought of itself as a metal band back then. One song is called "Deadly Metal". The title track also says "Bearing the swords of steel/So black you can't see/Armored with will to survive/Taking you dead or alive/Hear the roar of our sound..." See what I mean?!  

www.tnttheband.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

TO DIE FOR - "ALL ETERNITY"  

Nuclear Blast  

I love this CD! You can't tell me that this band didn't listen to The Cure (coincidence?-ed). The catchy 4-chord progressions, the brilliant ear for melody, keyboards, the vocalist's uncanny resemblance to Robert Smith, all of these elements are obviously influenced by the 80's masters of pop, The Cure. Surprises abound on this CD, however. One might be tempted to write them off as another gothic alternative band, until the guitarist unexpectedly tears into some Ynwie like solo licks and the drummer works some tasteful double-bass work into his grooves. On top of that, the female vocals opens up beautifully. This is, in spite of the obvious pop influences, a metal band, and I love how the mix of influences turns out. I look forward to further work from this band and hope to see them live someday. A definite must buy!  

John Boy  

 

 

 

TORSOFUCK - EROTIC DIAHRREA FANTASY  

GOREGIASTIC RECORDS  

Ignore the fecal porn cover for now, this is some brutal gore, and these two sickos schmaggle through goriness and brutalness like two seasoned veteran gore schmagglers schmaggling for the beings snockered on whiskey. If thatís not enough, well, letís face it, thatís enough. Sick samples, guttural vocals, and brutal slamming riffs make up this disc. Now back to the fecal porn cover so I can masturbate to my Erotic Diarrhea Fantasy.  

www.goregiasticrecords.com  

Gore Schmaggler  

 

 

 

TORTURE KILLER: FOR MAGGOTS TO DEVOUR  

CANDLELIGHT  

I'll say this much, this has a pretty good sound, which is cool because they can't say that the production doesn't do them justice. With a sound like this, you can definitely tell, for sure, that this band actually sucks. The cheesy guttural vocals have no feeling, the riffing is total chugga garbage, and the drumming is lame and simple, like AC/DC, Six Feet Under or the Rolling Stones. This band makes Twisted Sister sound like a bunch of talented guys. (Twisted Sister! "I wanna rock!" Ha!) These songs are boring, all mid-paced and no personality. Some of the worst cheesy "death metal" I have heard all year, and they can't blame it on the production, either. For fans of Mortician and of the type of death metal that pays to play at 1 in the afternoon at the Milwaukee Metalfest.  

Torturekiller@jippi.fi  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

TRAIL OF TEARS - "DISCLOSURE IN RED"  

DSFA  

What this band is doing is "uncool" with all your black metal friends. Why? Because they play (very well): mid-paced doom-death metal, that's melodic, musical, atmospheric, catchy, aggressive, simple, from the heart, multi-layered. With death metal and operatic vocals. Tell your friends to go to hell and check this out.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

TRAIL OF TEARS - FREE FALL INTO FEAR  

NAPALM RECORDS  

So, you think you know what this band is like? Read the name and that they are on Napalm Records and you think: goth or folky. Wrong! "Free Fall into Fear" will sucker punch you! You wouldn't expect tight, blazing, blasting speed, but that's what you get. It's not the only thing: the music is often hovering around the fast, faster mid-tempo with lots of double bass, courtesy of one Jonathan Pťrez. The polished death/black elements are predominant with substantial, constant clean vocals by Kjetil Nordhus, also a member of Green Carnation. Ronny Thorsten takes care of the growling business. Personally, I'm glad to see the band go in this direction of dark, heavy, faster-paced (somewhat symphonic) black/death with some melodic moments and clean singing. The rawer approach reminded me of why I liked the debut, "Disclosure in Red" back in 1999 or so. I'm glad to see that the blast is not forgotten (Excellent way of putting it!! - Mike). "Carrier of the Scars of Life" and "Cold Hand of Retribution," for example, sound great with the properly placed blasting.  

www.redheaven.com  

www.napalmrecords.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

TRAIL OF TEARS - "DISCLOSURE IN RED"  

DSFA  

The thing I truly love about DSFA records is the fact they tend to release bands that play my favorite style of metal; melodic, complex, atmospheric, keyboard infested, growls that are accompanied by beautiful female vocals, you know, the style a lot of other people usually put down for some reason: well, probably because a lot of these bands sound the same. Here we have another example of such a band that plays this style. The thing that somewhat upsets me though is that this band is pretty similar to Within Temptation, amongst others. So clearly, this band isn't that original, but you know what, I like it. The music kind of reminds me of black metal at times, but don't be misled by that comment. If melodic music with the above ingredients appeals to your soul, check this out. It isn't bad at all.  

Mike  

 

 

 

TRISTANIA - ASHES  

SPV/STEAMHAMMER  

So, there I was, at the corner of State and Gorham, enjoying a slice of pizza, pondering this album, when two people, a man and woman, walked by with matching Tristania shirts on. After that, Satan appeared to me and said: "Go home and write the review." "Right now?!?...I'm eating pizza, you big goof!," I responded, annoyed with Jack. "Fine. Finish the pizza. Dang, what a cranky bastard", said the Horned One, and I did not keep arguing. It's probably a bad idea to get into an argument with that guy. So, I was thinking long and hard (boasting again, as Lemmy would say) and it seems to me that what this band does is very difficult: to combine growled vocals and heavy guitars with high, female vocals--to do that--and not make it sound stupid or corny is difficult. This is not heavy on the keyboards, but centered on crunchy guitars and growled and clean vocals. The songs alternate between melodic, midpaced black/death and lighter numbers. Classy, memorable stuff.  

www.spv.de/www.spvusa.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

TWELFTH GATE - Threshold of Revelation  

SEASON OF MIST RECORDS  

Patience is necessary with this traditional metal high-pitched wailing, lots of time changes, guitars that twist and turn, drumming that is playing a song as much as it is showing off. The first listens can sound downright annoying and headache-inducing. Talk about serious metal! Nevertheless, repeated listens reveal that, in fact, there is a real coherence, that the songs do flow and that the considerable talent is put to good use. Furthermore, more listens bring forth all sorts of things not obvious earlier on, which only encourages more listens. After a while it becomes apparent that there is lots of thrashing going on. Technical, progressive power thrash like this goes over some people's heads the first few times they hear it, but the person that enjoys dedicated musicality will note this 40-minutes-plus album gets better each time.  

www.twelfthgate.net  

www.season-of-mist.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

TURMOIL - "THE PROCESS OF:"  

Century Media  

If you like teeth smashing, in yo' face ass kicking hardcore/metal and music in the vein of Dead Guy and Dillinger Escape Plan, then this is for you. Brutal vocals, off beat rhythms, heavy as hell riffs and melodies, you name it! Stuff like this gets me to the point I wanna bust some heads! If you like brutal metal core, get this for sure!  

Eric 


U.D.O. - "HOLY"  

Nuclear Blast  

This band is headed by ex-Accept (legendary German 80's metal gods) singer Udo Dirkshneider. Also, Accept's longtime drummer is in U.D.O., as a guitarist. In comparison, this could be described more or less similar to the melodic and catchy metal of Helloween, Running Wild, and Blind Guardian. Of course, "Holy" is bound to have sounds, riffs, lyrics, and (naturally) vocals that will remind the listener of Accept, but because U.D.O. is not Accept, this release is subjected to different expectations. Thus, "Holy" is not expected to be as good or as godly as say "Restless and Wild" by Accept, I had more fun listening to "Holy" than "Death Row", one of the last releases that Accept put out when they reunited in the 90's. With extremely catchy songs, riffs that stay in your brain long after the song is over, and Udo (the man) singing in his familiar high, screechy voice, this makes this release a keeper.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

ULTIMATUM - "PUPPET OF DESTRUCTION"  

Rowe Productions  

This is Christian thrash metal. This is from 1998, but it could easily be from 1985 or so. It doesn't really matter though, the voice is annoying, and not fresh at all. If you like re-hashed mid 80's thrash, then this is for you.  

Lieff  

 

 

 

UNDERTHREAT - DEATHMOSPHERE  

BARBARIAN RECORDS  

Underthreat is powered by the riff and the blast!! They bring the jams, simple as that. There is a fast and blasting melodic death element going on here: each song goes from solid, compact, marching riff to riff. The riffs practically have written all over them; "you really should bang your head, or mosh, or at least shake your head, or do something." These guys probably like the faster Dark Tranquillity stuff quite a bit, but they employ the blasting speed way more often. The guitar rhythms are actually quite good, but I recognize that it's difficult to be truly groundbreaking. The band uses melody in every song, but it's not super-melodic, just catchy, thrashy, and memorable. The vocals are growled (no clean vocals), though there are some higher pitched growl-screams. One thing that is important is that the band sounds motivated and excited, like they are out to prove something: that melodic death can blast and be aggressively catchy. I have a lot of melodic death albums that I listen to, but I do not have a single one that keeps up the energy this high throughout the whole album. As it turns out, if you try to be creative, there is always something interesting that you can bring to metal. Good job, good album. It's very promising and the band has already begun delivering on the promise.  

www.barbarianrecords.net  

www.underthreat.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

UNHOLYGHOST- TORRENTIAL REIGN  

OLYMPIC/CENTURY MEDIA  

Donít like blasting, frantic death metal? Stop reading, Floridaís Unholy Ghost has three ex-Diabolic members. This sounds completely different than Diabolic. There are several reasons why this debut is good, like variety, "The Calling of Sin," "Soul Dement, " and "Decimated" are hyper-fast numbers, while "Under Existence" is a plodding, dark track. "Eyes of Lost" is a mid-paced song showing that death metal can be played somewhat slower. "Cross Contamination", has mid-paced, fast and super-fast parts all in one song. The vocals have a strong presence, guttural but enunciated; low at times, higher for emphasis at other times. Bands like Unholy Ghost often get compared to Krisiun, but I think Krisiun doesnít have memorable songs. Unholy Ghost is catchy. The solos are easy to get into, a definite strength. Something good has begun.  

www.unholyghost.com  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

UNLEASHED - "EASTERN BLOOD-HAIL TO POLAND"  

CENTURY MEDIA  

What can I say? If you do not know who this is, well....shoot yourself! This is a live CD containing 21 songs! Excellent live release to get you ready for the following album, hopefully it will be better than the previous. I love UNLEASHED, but the previous release was a huge disappointment for me. This is a must have for all UNLEASHED fans!  

MIKE  

 

 

 

UNLEASHED: SWORN ALLEGIANCE  

CENTURY MEDIA  

Unleashed is the kind of band that radiates stupidity. "Only the Dead" deals with necrophilia. Never mind that it's a tired subject; it's more that the lyrics just sound so stupid. "The Longships Are Coming" is another clichťd we-are-vikings type of song. It could be that when a band keeps doing the same thing, it is no longer making music. It becomes a parody of itself, except that the band doesn't know it. They think they are keeping real. Well, this tired Swedish death metal gives good old-school Swedish death metal a bad name.  

www.unleashed.nu  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

USURPER - CRYPTOBEAST  

EARACHE RECORDS  

The best to way describe Usurper is that they take inspiration from old thrash bands like Slayer and Kreator (you know...) and play thrash with more modern touches, like blast beats (here and there) and (intelligible) growling. This band doesn't claim to be the "best" and the most "innovative", blah, blah, blah. Look it, they have songs called "Kill for Metal" and "Return of the Werewolf", ok? They wear leather and spikes and have Tom G. Warrior-inspired "ughs", alright? By the way, the chorus/chant to "Kill for Metal" does in fact go like this: "Kill! Kill! Kill! ...for metal! Kill! Kill! Kill!...for metal!" This is catchy thrash steeped in the 80s and with that "primitive" attitude.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva 


V:28 - SOULSAVIOR  

VENDLUS RECORDS  

I read the word "industrial" applied to this band and was expecting industrial. Do you know what this is? It's mid-tempo melodic black-ish metal with slower, moody moments, as well as a few twists.  

I would not have been able to tell that it's a drum machine. It doesn't sound plastic. V28's music has dark, eerie moments, and spoken samples here and there. The vocals are largely black metal, with some death metal growling, as well as bits of nonscreamed vocals. The guitar often has an oldschool, cold and melodic black-ish riffing/noodling, combined with dark, downtuned work of amorphous black/death, with catchy moments. The term post-black metal or avantgarde are often used with bands like this. Whenever people are talking about such bands, the music tends to be dance/techno/trip hop or just plain weirdo non-metal stuff. There's not a lot that sounds industrial or techno here. It sounds a lot like mid-paced black-influenced metal.  

www.vendlus.com  

www.v28.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

VADER - "LIVE IN JAPAN"  

Pavement  

I must say that this is one of the best live albums I've ever heard. Not only because of the sound quality, but the performance from Vader is flawless. We have 18 songs, 2 of them which are covers, the self titled "Black Sabbath", and "Reign in Blood", from you know who, and I must say it is killer! What more can I say? This is Vader, and this is a live album that all will enjoy, guaranteed!  

Mike  

 

 

 

VAN HALEN - "VAN HALEN"  

WARNER BRO.  

"Running With the Devil" begins this and it's a great start with Eddies sharp riffs and melodies and David Lee Roth's crazy singing and screaming. "Eruption" follows that, and this is one of the greatest and most famous solos in history, which is an intro. to, "You Really Got Me", a remake. This release is full of great and diverse songs, songs with a lot of feeling to them. Hey kiddies, chances are that you have only heard that "Van Hagar" and "Jump" song, but a long, long time ago, when disco was famous and LED Z. roamed freely, the first VAN HALEN came out and blew away all that stuff. Listen to "Atomic Punk" and "On Fire" to see what I mean. Discover history again.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

VENOM - "NEW, LIVE, AND RARE"  

Deadline Music  

While this compilation of Venom songs stands fairly well on its own, I wouldn't recommend it for someone who has never heard Venom before. In that case, it would be best to invest in one of their older releases where you will find the original versions of classic tunes such as "Black Metal" and "Welcome to Hell". However, this CD would be an ideal addition to the collection of a Venom fan. I'm not exactly what you would call a big Venom fan, but I do like them. I thought this CD was pretty kool, even though I would still prefer listening to the older material. My final word on this; go ahead and get this CD if you are a BIG fan of the band, or an active collector. Otherwise, check out "Black Metal" for an introduction to what I think is the definitive Venom sound.  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

VICIOUS ART - FIRE FALLS AND THE WAITING WATERS  

CANDLELIGHT RECORDS  

Alright, well, these guys love oldschoold Swedish death metal. This is blasting, brutal, heavy, tight, etc. If that's all that you require from death metal, you shall be more than satisfied. To me, this is ferociously mediocre; aggressively faceless. Despite all the blasting and growling, at no time they do really impressed me. There are lots of death metal bands. The question is, is there something special or creative or interesting? Unfortunately, I do not find anything here that can answer that question. Again, these guys are a mean death metal blasting machine, but the machine needs to have personality because music is not for robots. Songs, please.  

www.viciousart.se  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

VILE - THE NEW AGE OF CHAOS  

UNIQUE LEADER RECORDS  

Totally dog barking vocals, blasting, blazing: nothing new, but instead the group is content to play their own second, or third rate versions of songs by Cannibal Corpse. This is nothing interesting, just the same old generic, intense growl 'n' blast.  

www.uniqueleader.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

VITAL REMAINS - "FOREVER UNDERGROUND"  

OSMOSE  

Damn! This release is fucking killer! 5 long songs of blasphemic death metal at its best. The song "I am God" is so fucking intense. Makes you just want to slam someone's head to the ground. Catchier than Hell. Once again, keyboards are used on certain songs to enhance the moods the songs already have. So how are the new vocals? Well, even though Joe would probably disagree, I find them pretty comparable to Jeff's. But again, that is my own personal opinion. No doubt, you will be able to distinguish VITAL R. with any other band out there in this extreme scene. The songs are pretty long and excellently structured. Each song has a different mood to it. I am glad to see this underrated band on a great label, hopefully they can get better distribution and release this domestically. They will be touring with INCANTATION and someone else, can't remember. Check this release out.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

V/A - FROZEN DAWN IV  

What I liked the most about this comp, was that only a handful of bands were featured, and you get to hear several songs from each of them, so it gives you a better idea of what the bands are like than just hearing one track on a comp with a dozen other bands. I really liked about 1/2 of the bands on this disc, enough to get a hold of their demos and other material. The rest of the bands either didn't excite me too much, or just bored me. Details? Okay, Morbid Entrťe are the first band on the CD, and they have 2 songs of brutal death grind, that for some reason I couldn't get into. The production was kind of weird, and I don't, I just didn't like em! Next are Burning Human with 2 tracks of very kool, very brutal death, with a dual vocal assault. Following this is Arctic Symphony, whose name made me think they would be black metal, but they actually play kind of run-of-the-mill death metal. It's not that they sucked, it's just that (as Mike would say) "They weren't my cup o tea." Wake are the next band, and are kind of hard to describe, although I found them to be really kool and pretty original. Their sound is a bit black metallish, but mixes other elements in as well. Any way, this is one band I'll keep my eye on! Corpsicle, as can probably be guessed from the name, play more brutal death. Nothing too new here, but if you don't mind that they are pretty good I suppose. Hollow Point are next, and have the most tracks on the comp at 4. These guys, I really liked for their killer, in-your-face boot- stompin death. Shredded Corpse are the final band on the disc, and are quite unusual. They do this guitar shit on their first song that reminds me of Godflesh, and the drumming is super fast lending it a somewhat industrial feel. These guys are definitely worth checking into if you seek something a little out of the ordinary. Overall, this is a good comp for all fans of death metal, and I do recommend it.  

ELISABETH  

 

 

 

V/A - MERCYFUL FATE TRIBUTE  

LISTENABLE RECORDS  

This is a collection of known death/black metal bands remaking Fate songs. Luciferion, Sacramentum, Gardenian, Snowy Shaw, Armageddon, Emperor, Withering Surface, Misanthrope, Dimension Zero, Immolation, Dark Tranquility, Deceased, and Notre Dame. Most of the bands here are professional who play their instruments well or semi-well. However! Some things are best if left alone! Mercyful Fate is such a band! There is NO point in making a classic like "Evil" or "Gypsy" into a black/death song. Think about this: What if someone decided to play Morbid Angel songs acoustically? See what I mean? No one cam "remake" a Fate song. It doesn't work. Why? Because the greatness lies in the original style that Fate sported. It's untouchable.  

LIEFF  

 

I myself agree and disagree with Lieff. No one can touch the spirit to the old Mercyful Fate material. But on the other hand, I find it very amusing and entertaining to hear each band attempt to cover a Fate song. When all these tribute albums became so god damn popular, I always wondered if any one would ever make one of King D./ Mercyful Fate. I always figured no one would dare touch their songs. A year later, to my surprise, I received one in my mail box. I was very anxious to listen to it, especially Emperors track. To my surprise, it was easily the best song on the CD. Luciferion does an incredible job during the performance of "Black Funeral". The vocals are high when Kings vocals were high on certain parts, and then low when expected. Now of course, the song has been altered to fit their own style, which is somewhat of a black/death metal affair. Sacramentum is next with "Black Masses". This song sounds a lot closer to the original (except for it being a lot faster) than Luciferions, but with the death metal vocals. Gardenian is up next with "A Dangerous Meeting" and I swear if you didn't know that they were doing a Fate cover, you really wouldn't be able to tell. It definitely sounds like their own song in my opinion. Snowy Shaw.... Snowy Shaw? Is he singing this song as well? He is performing "Evil" at a live show, and when the vocals first came in, I busted out laughing. Very gay sounding, and the same goes for this band as well. If you didn't know they were playing a Fate song, you wouldn't be able to tell. Only during the chorus you can somewhat tell it's a Fate song. Armageddon is up next with "Desecration of Souls." This version is pretty cool. Heavy and closer to the original than the previous mentioned. The vocalists highs are pretty descent. Ahhh.... Emperor is up next and though their version of "Gypsy" isn't 100% like the original, the keyboards they throw in on certain sections are indeed eerie to the already eerie atmosphere this band has magnificently captured. The vocals on here are closer to Kings than any one else on this comp. Actually, I was very surprised and impressed with the vocals. Withering Surface is up next with "The Oath". If it wasn't for the shitty production, this would also be one of the better played Fate songs. Pretty cool. Misanthrope is doing "Doomed By the Living Dead". This song is actually pretty fucking fast, and is hard to hear the Fate in the song. Another version that is hard to hear that this is a Fate song, with the exception the chorus. Dimension Zero is up with "My Demon", which was a surprise. I figured every band would attempt an old song. Any way, this version is actually pretty cool. Heavy ass fuck growls. Man it's weird to hear this with growls. This is also a lot closer sounding to a Fate song, with the exception they did throw in their own ideas, which were guitar parts to parts that were not there on the original version. When he starts singing "Demon..", truly heavy. Immolation gives us their version of "Satan's Fall". Slow, doomy, and heavy as fuck! But hey, it's Immolation, what can we expect? A lot slower than the original, but you can still tell it is a Fate song. One of the better tracks on here as well. Dark Tranquility brings us another newer song, "Lady in Black". I must say that I didn't like this version that much. The original is way to melodic, and this band did not capture any of it in my opinion. Next up is Deceased with, "Nuns Have No Fun", one of my favorite Fate songs ever. This version is pretty cool. King F. does a good job on the vocals. Pretty close to the original. Another of the better versions. Last up is Notre Dame, with "Into the Coven". This is definitely done the Notre D. way. Very slow at the beginning with female vocals, and then the male vocals pop in and take control. Through out the song, they have there little breaks here and there with the eerie keys going on and some acoustic guitar that is later accompanied by some female and male chants here and there. This was one of the more interesting versions. This is definitely my favorite track, with the exception of Emperors track. I think there is another Fate tribute out somewhere, and even though the bands can not capture the magic, I think it's worth the listen.  

Mike  

 

 

 

V/A - "SMELLS LIKE TEAM SPIRIT" CD COMPILATION  

DISPLEASED RECORDS  

NEMBRIONIC'S "Coffin On Coffin" opens up this affair. This song is a very cool, heavy aggressive, tight exercise in the art of thrashing death metal. Their second song, "Bulldozer", is a real catchy simple death metal affair. Very catchy, kind of punkish sounding actually. ALTAR follows. This band has no real identity of its own. They are aggressive, yes, but so what? Nothing special. CELESTIAL SEASON has a track from "Solar Lovers" here. It is of course good. The second song by this band, "Astral Dub", is really lame because they want to sound like a heavy ALICE IN CHAINS. That sucks because it sounds fake. HYBERNOID follows with "Today's, Tomorrows, Yesterday", which is a really cool song. It actually sounds kind of like old PARADISE LOST, but not as doomy. Very melodic, but heavy. "Revery", the next song also by this band and is in a similar style. I recommend this band to people, even though I have not yet heard a complete release. These two songs are both melodic, heavy and catchy. Not tremendously original, but good all the same. Then comes RHADAMANTYS, who are a regular death metal band with no real identity to them. To typical, to boring. CONSOLATION is next. This band is also pretty heavy, but I find nothing appealing about it. To normal sounding. ORPHANAGE has only one song here; "In The Garden Of Eden". This song sounds really good. It is a mid-paced affair that offers classy background vocals that are softly sang in a high pitched voice and the different riffs in the song add texture to the whole thing. I want to hear more and I hope I will. ETERNAL SOLSTICE is the last band on this comp. and perhaps the best. "Culpable Homicide" is a mid-paced traditional death metal song. You will find nothing but heaviness here. The vocalist sounds a bit like Kam Lee or Barney Greenway. The bands sound has a tight, well thought-out feel. The riffs sound a bit "old Swedish" I think. There is a nice little melodic note found throughout the song. "Mask The Face Of Death" ends this comp. Once again, ETERNAL SOLSTICE shreds throughout this. I recommend this band because they have a definite feel to them and sound pretty fresh and simply play with heaviness and energy.  

LIEFF  

 

 

 

V/A - "VICTORY STYLE 3"  

VICTORY RECORDS  

Victory Rec. comp. CD with tracks by: Hatebreed, Catch 22, Thumb, Bad Brains, Earth Crisis, Cause for Alarm, HI FI and the Roadburners, Integrity, OS101, Skarhead, Out of Order, In Cold Blood, Warzone, Strife, Bloodlet, By the Grace of God, Blood for Blood, Electric Frankenstein, Shutdown and Snapcase. There's a great variety of music on this disc, ska (I thought you said great?), punk, metal, HC, it should satisfy just about anyone, plus it's a good intro to the Victory bands. I rate this a "10", get it!  

Elisabeth 


WARTORN - S/T  

This is thrashy stuff with a few twists. The drumming sounds a bit atypical, beat-oriented. The rough and tough vocals have some melody to them. The guitar solos are nice ditties that even though not unbelievable, do have a bit of personality. Sounds like a young progressive thrash band still not settled on what their sound will be. However, I do believe that the thrash riffs are still too generic and even weak. Have all the thrash riffs in the universe already been invented and people just keep recycling them? Dude.  

www.WarTornMusic.com  

Mauricio  

 

 

 

WATCH THEM DIE - BASTARD SON  

CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS  

Looking for good thrash? No need to look further! This is the band's second release and it's certainly a pounding, thrashing album. There really are not that many good, straight-up aggressive thrash bands, and veteran bands like Overkill aren't exactly getting any younger. Also, some bands that are considered thrash, like The Haunted, have way too much punk and hardcore. Watch Them Die has been reading the minds of Slayer fans. If you thought this band was metal-core, think again, because I hear no core, only thrash in the music, with some short moments of slow parts. The vocals are pretty growled, not shouted, borderline death metal, if anything, but you can make out relatively easy what Pat Vigil is saying. The drumming is from the Exodus/Slayer school of speed: not that technical, but energetic and pounding. The guitar riffs lash out fast and they move quickly into other riffs, while the vocalist is going nuts screaming. It's certainly good to hear a newer band getting to work and thrashing, not messing around. They cover "Armageddon" and sound good doing it. It doesn't sound particularly black-metal or Bathory-like, but it sounds raw and thrashy. Most importantly, the band sounds electrified.  

www.watchthemdie.com  

www.centurymedia.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

WE HAVE SEEN THE ENEMY - AND THE ENEMY IS US  

CRASH MUSIC INC.  

What kind of a name is that? Do people actually say, "Hey, let's go see We Have Seen The Enemy"? The booklet says "We Have Seen The Enemy", so I guess the answer is yes. Hey, I have an idea! Why not come up with a longer name that no one can pronounce or actually wants to say, like, "We Have Seen The Enemy Drinking Our Wine, Sleeping In Our Beds, Taking Our French Fries And We Think That One Day We Might Do Something About It, Man, Because That Ain't Too Cool, Yo"? Stop being stupid, people! You're not that clever. And people are not that patient. By the way, if you are still reading this, dear metalhead, you should know that this band loves At the Gates a whole lot. They do the gun motif, as "Slaughter of the Soul", too. The singer sounds like he is doing his very best to sound like Tomas Lindberg. He's not doing a bad job, either. Ah, but that's the problem, isn't it? Imitation or creation? Sounds too much like imitation. The first few minutes, you think, "Huh? That's cute." Then you think, "Huh. Why are they doing that?" Wait! I just got a phone call from Elvis Presley and he told me that this band is actually named "Enemy Is Us". OK?! By the way, shouldn't that be "Enemy Is We" because you are supposed to say: "This is I", and not "This Is Me"? See?!  

www.enemyisus.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

WESLEY WILLIS - GREATEST HITS VOLUME 2  

Alternative Tent.  

You'd have to hear this to believe it. It's one of those things that if I were to try and describe this, it would never come out right. Essentially what this is, is a big black guy yelling utterly ridiculous lyrics, over even more ridiculous synthesized soundtracks. Is it "good"? Well, no. Is it funny? Hell yes!! You kind of have to have a sense of humor to appreciate W. Willis. I personally don't like any of his songs because they're "great", but rather because they make me laugh, and put me in a good, silly mood. What more can I really say? Just give Mr. Willis a chance. I guarantee it will affect you in some way.  

Elisabeth  

 

 

 

WICKED INNOCENCE - "OMNIPOTENCE"  

NAPALM REC.  

This disc is also another great album that I reviewed in "Before D.", but must review it again because I feel bad comparing them to CARCASS. After listening to this band several more times, I could not believe how extreme, excellent and complex this album was. Comparing them to CARCASS was not completely false, what I meant to say in my first review, was the way they both had such complexity and how original this album is compared to the excellent "Necrotisicm Descanting the Insalubrious" album, their final excellent piece of work, I think. Any way, the vocals range from a clear talking, to an extreme screaming, to a low growl. The music is so fucking complex. So many riffs in one song. Also, the drumming is excellent. Every one into extreme, complex music, should really get this release. Just remember, you must listen to this more than once to fully appreciate this excellent and classic extreme release.  

MIKE  

 

 

 

WIDOW - ON FIRE  

CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC  

The men and woman of Widow are not your usual heavy metal: it's traditional, Iron Maiden-ish (guitarwise) metal with clear singing and death/black screaming and a horror element. "The Preacher's Daughter," for example, has Lili and Cristof singing a man-and-woman dialogue. Lili does traditional singing, while he does clear vocals and growling. It's a bit of a schizophrenic, horror, old King Diamond-ish song. The Iron Maiden element: 0the guitars sound like they're singing the words/chorus, too. Widow sounds like a band from the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. The sound is vintage, classic heavy metal. Actually, the production and singing also has that quality: not polished; it's gritty, as well as oldschool-sounding (is it on purpose or lack of money?); the singing is not air-raid siren, either; it's traditional, but it's not really high, like Primal Fear. A clarification, the screamed vocals are important for this band. It is constant, always present; it is there, but it is used selectively, not in an overwhelming fashion. If you like traditional old-school metal and are always looking for lesser known, underground bands to check out, it would behoove you to search this.  

www.burning-village.com  

www.cruzdelsurmusic.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

WILLOW WISP - "DELUSION OF GRANDEUR: (A GATHERING OF HERETICS)"  

Full Moon Productions  

First of all, I must once again comment on the fact that the main man at Full Moon Productions is one dedicated individual to his cause, even if I don't agree with it, one must acknowledge this fact. While not liking every band he tends to release on his label, he must be doing something right having lasted this long. Independent labels have come and gone, and Full Moon has been around a lot longer than many of you know. The reason I say he must be doing something right, is because most of his releases tend to be bands that sound like no other, and this band is definitely no exception. I'll tell you now, this is a release many might not like, for the fact they have a lot going on during their musical voyage. I faintly remember flipping through Metal Edge (or maybe it was Hit Parader?) a few years back, and seeing/reading a review of this bands demo. I wouldn't really classify this as a metal release, but more of a shock rock band with metal influences. Shock rock meaning a M. Manson type imagery band. This is a weird mixture of goth, black, and a hint of death metal, done in a unique way that will definitely catch the attention of the more open mined individuals in the underground. The vocals range from a high screech, a talking whisper, the usual goth/doom singing type voice, and finally to a death metal type approach, that is rarely used, oh, and with some female vocals that are thrown in, here and there. Some of the voices overlap each other, giving it various atmospheres throughout the songs. And speaking of atmosphere, all the songs vary in atmosphere, meaning each song has an identity, meaning that this release MUST be heard more than once to catch what they are trying to capture. If you're into experi-mental bands, that have a gothic type sound, keyboards, metal influences, mainly in the solo department , (see what I mean about different?) then you might want to check this out.  

Mike  

 

 

 

WINTERSUN: WINTERSUN  

NUCLEAR BLAST  

Combining a few genres, this band comes across as a pretty talented power black metal outfit. The bm blasting drumming, the bm-style vocals and the tight guitar work all sound in tune with bm, while the melodic, though not really clean, singing and the melody of the guitar suggest power metal. In addition, there are some viking-folk elements to round this album with a symphonic vibe, too. This sounds like a strong beginning for what they are trying to do. Promising, for sure. Let's see where the symphonic power black metal thing goes from here. I know the "category" I'm giving is stupid, but trying to describe this accurately is not easy. I could say that this is a fast version of Dimmu jamming with Stratovarius, but that sounds silly, too. They don't have a website, but check out  

www.nuclearblast.de  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

WITH PASSION - IN THE MIDST OF BLOODIED SOIL  

EARACHE RECORDS  

In 33 minutes With Passion (what a corny name!) blasts and thrashes tightly and precisely, machine-like (in a good way), with harsh vocals and bring in an element of aggressive melody that's not sweet, and if anything, it's more melancholic. It's interesting that this is supposed to be "hardcore," but I don't hear the hardcore. I know that the picture of the band shows six guys looking like a hardcore band, but the music has more in common with Dimmu Borgir and Children of Bodom than anything else. Obviously, this band is not at that level and Iím not saying this is the "greatest" or the "best". However, it is a solid album and one that sets up a pretty good foundation for the future. I have heard this album so many times. It feels like I heard it some 25 times or something. The charm or the novelty does wear off after so many listens, which does say a bit about how good the album is.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

WITHIN TEMPTATION - "ENTER"  

D.S.F.A  

I believe this to be a clone of THEATRE OF TRAGEDY. Death metal grunts, soprano vocals, atmospheric keys.... Maybe there is a lack of magic compared to T.O.T., but nothing really important. The sound is clear and powerful and the songs are really catchy. So if you're into that kind of stuff, don't hesitate to order this CD.  

NICOLAS  

 

 

 

WOLVERINE - THE WINDOW PURPOSE  

EARACHE RECORDS  

This is a re-release of the band's debut. While on their wonderful "Cold Light of Monday" the band seems to have found a very individual moody/melancholic sound, on this one they sound very much inspired by Dream Theater/traditional prog metal. They sound like they are huge fans of Fates Warning, Dream Theater and the like. Personally, I prefer the less prog sound. I realize these songs are well played and the guys are talented. It's obvious that their cup overflows with ability, from the drumming to the singing and guitars. I think the difference is that the songs have less feeling and sound too self-indulgent. Like I say, if you like Dream Theater-style music, there are many reasons to hear this.  

www.earache.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM - Diadem of 12 Stars  

VENDLUS RECORDS  

Remarkable work, set within raw black metal, which despite its deceptive categorical limits, opens up a musical dexterity and variety that is a wonderful surprise. The four long songs take up 60 minutes and deliver, of course, lots of blasting and grim vocals, which interacts with twisted melodies, some clean singing, low growling, serene moments that, within the 13-minute-plus framework of the compositions, impress. It is true that with these types of songs there is no quick, immediate satisfaction. It's in the long term that the songs begin to make more sense. If it's not too offensive or hackneyed to state it thus, they are carrying out with black metal the spirit of what Opeth realized with death metal.  

www.wolvesinthethroneroom.com  

www.vendlus.com  

Mauricio Araniva  

 

 

 

WORLD OF SHIT: S/T  

DEMO  

True to their name, this is garbage; unbelievably bad, horrendous "death metal". I can not hear anything besides the stupid cookie monster. In tribute to this type of lyrics; I want to take an axe to the head of the cookie monster, then feed it to the maggots and then kill the maggots.  

Metapunk@hotmail.com  

Mauricio Araniva 


XENOMORPH - NECROPHILIA MON AMOUR  

UNDER HER BLACK WINGS  

How many bands have names that begin with an "X"? Blazing, hyper-speed, growl 'n' churn death is what they mean. The riffing is crisp and clear, somewhat reminiscent of cold, bare bones black metal in certain places, while at the same time this is combined with traditional blast-death- riffing. There is a touch of melody, but very little, like during some of the soloing. The vocals are strong, competent guttural growling. This is promising, most of all. The songs are performed well and the band conveys the tightness and brutality very well. The most pressing question is that of originality. It's nothing that other blasting bands have not done before. I have probably heard this album close to 15 times now because I wanted to see whether there was some greatness I was not hearing at first. Well, this is not great, but a tight, good effort with some good ideas. However, the riffing needs to be more distinctive, more creative, not just blindingly fast. They need to let loose on the soloing and just let it rip and see where it goes, like on the title track. If this is their debut and they are a young band, this is a promising start. If this is their 27th album of blasting death, and they are 39 years old, then this is just another typical Xenomorph release that offers nothing different from their 11th and 14th albums ("Remember those albums, man?! Cool!"), when they hit their peak and had matured.  

www.freebird-records.com  

Mauricio Araniva 


Y&T - "YESTERDAY AND TODAY LIVE"  

METAL BLADE  

This 13 song live CD is a great intro. to Y&T. Of course, no single release ever really could do justice to this band. This release starts with one of the best songs they ever wrote, "Meanstreak". The riff, the vocals, the whole rhythm and guitar solo, make this a classic heavy metal song. It's a hard driving upbeat song. Without a doubt, this is catchy, hard, and melodic. Next comes "Hurricane". Once again, another example of the sound that this band sported. Melody put to hard driving beat. Take this song and understand what this band was all about, pure rocking metal fun. If you thought that this band was a one-hit wonder, then check out "Don't Stop Running". This is....well, Y&T always was different, different because they managed to play music that was upbeat. Yes, happy and fun sounding mixed with the sound of metal. Much like that first Van Halen release. Next comes "Struck Down" and "Winds of Change" Two songs I am not too familiar with, but good. Then it's "Black Tiger", this song displays a walking-the-streets-of- downtown-on-a-winters-night, but it truly rocks. Not really a "happy" song. "Midnight in Tokyo" sounds even better live. By the time "Beautiful Dreamer" rolls around, you're pretty much warmed up to Y&T. This song is not a silly old ballad, but a "I'm-in-love-,but-I-want-to-rock-to- celebrate" song. "Hard Times", a gem, and "I'll Cry" , take you down to one of the best power ballads ever made. After "I Believe In You", "Squeeze" and finally "Forever", you will listen / hear the musical power, ability, catchyness, and all the glory Y&T has to offer. This was Y&T farewell concert in 1990. Do yourself a favor: if you ever see a copy of "Meanstreak" or any of old stuff, buy it. Period!  

LIEFF 



shim