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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Review: Order - Lex Amentiae


When speaking of black metal from Norway, of course Mayhem comes to mind. However, there is a lot more good stuff to hear in this scene. For example, Order, the band in which former Mayhem members Manheim (drums) and Messiah (vocals) join each other accompanied by guitarist Anders Odden (Cadaver) and bassist Stu Manx (Gluciefer). Stu Manx joined Order later, earlier René Jansen took care of bass duties, but sadly he died of leukemia in December 2014.

Order was formed in 2013 and their debut, titled Lex Amentiae, is released in July via Listenable Records.

The moment Lex Amentiae starts, the dark atmosphere is immediately getting your attention. Instrumentally it sounds almost ritualistic and it takes you in its grip for the upcoming 50 minutes. Put on your headphones, close your eyes and imagine you are in the dark Norwegian woods, Order will get you in this trance a dark, hellish trance, extra strengthened by the misanthropic, hellish vocals of Messiah. The vocals of this man are really miraculous, from intense screams, loud shouts to horrific growls. From the third track, Torquemada, instrumentally it gets more challenging and at the seventh track Folly Grandeur's end Anders Odden picks his moment to show his guitar skills in a nice solo.

These four guys from Order show they are a valuable part of the Norwegian black metal scene and they deliver a really strong debut with Lex Amentiae. Hopefully, they can hold this for their next albums, to which I already look forward. So, be sure to check Lex Amentiae by Order!

Written by Tim van Velthuysen

Order Facebook

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Promoting Bands Part 13



Hey metalheads \m/

Got a new part of Promoting Bands for you, hope you enjoyed the earlier parts!
If you haven't checked those, be sure to do so at the following links:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11
Part 12

And remember: be sure to send us an email, Facebook or Twitter message if you want to be featured in the next part of Promoting Bands!

Enjoy!

Tim van Velthuysen

1. Prismind


We already reviewed their debut album Disciples By Design here, made a live review about one of their gigs here and interviewed them here. Of course, I am talking about Prismind! Recently, they released a video for Our Broken Fate, coming from Disciples By Design, you can check that video below. This is a band that is worth checking out for sure!



Prismind Official Website
Prismind Facebook
Prismind Twitter

2. Royal Jake


Three Belgian guys, Arjen van Acker, Kjell de Raes and Peter de Bondt, together they are the metalcore band Royal Jake. In November last year we already reviewed their EP Retaliate/The Answer, which you can check here. Now, they just released a video for the titletrack of that EP, it is below if you want to check it. Great job guys!



Royal Jake Facebook

3. Vetrar Draugurinn


In this part of Promoting Bands we have three Dutch bands for you. The first one is Vetrar Draugurinn, which is Icelandic for The Winter Ghosts. Vetrar Draugurinn is the band of former Stream Of Passion guitarist Eric Hazebroek, Autumn vocalist Marjan Welman, former All For Nothing drummer Jim van de Kerkhof who are recently joined by former Acrid bassist Arjan Heijden and Ancient Rites guitarist Thomas Cochrane. At this moment they only released one EP, titled I (One), which you can listen to below, but they are currently working on their debut full-length. So, be sure to follow Vetrar Draugurinn and get siked for their upcoming album!



Vetrar Draugurinn Official Website
Vetrar Draugurinn Facebook
Vetrar Draugurinn Twitter

4. Savage Messiah


Savage Messiah, coming from the UK, already made three great albums. The Fateful Dark is their latest full-length to date, but more Savage Messiah material is on its way! In October they will release Hands Of Fate, their new effort! Below is the video of the title track for you to check out. I already interviewed Savage Messiah a while ago, when DutchMetalManiac was only 2 months old. Check my interview with them here.



Savage Messiah Official Website
Savage Messiah Facebook
Savage Messiah Twitter

5. Tsar Stangra


Bulgarian black metallers Tsar Stangra formed in 2007, now in 2017 they celebrate their ten-year existence with their full-length debut. Небесният ковач, as it is titled, was released in May. Небесният ковач is an album full of great atmospheric black metal combined with some Bulgarian folk elements, a very nice combination which is also very well executed. The video of Небесният ковач's titletrack can be seen below!



Tsar Stangra Facebook

6. WildHeart


Now, it's time for the second Dutch band in here. I already mentioned another project from the mastermind behind WildHeart, John B. Jones, earlier. In part 7 of Promoting Bands I mentioned his Wheezy John B. project, read it here. Now, he is back! His fourth release of 2017 is with his WildHeart project and is called The WildHeart EP. You can listen to this extremely heavy EP below and be sure to follow him if you dig it!



WildHeart Facebook

7. From North


Dig folk metal? This next band is for you! The Swedish metallers From North recently dropped their their self-titled debut album and it's great folk metal. Below you can watch their videoclip for the titletrack. These folk metallers sound like they can be the next folk metal sensation and can easily be mentioned alongside Ensiferum and Korpiklaani.



From North Official Website
From North Facebook
From North Twitter

8. Dopethrone


Wow, this is heavy as fuck! After their four full-lengths (Demonsmoke, Dark Foil, III and Hochelaga) and their split with fellow sludgers Fister they released their latest effort, an EP called 1312, in August last year. If you dig sludge, heavy doom, stoner or anything relatable you have to check Dopethrone. It's an amazing band and if you dig 1312, which you can listen to below, I surely recommend you to check their other releases too!



Dopethrone Facebook

9. Acrid


Next is the third, and last, Dutch band for now. It's about Acrid, five guys from The Hague whose latest effort is an EP released in 2014. Below you can watch their recently uploaded lyric video for Afterburner, which is a track from that 2014 EP. However, Acrid is working on new music which is planned for release in early 2018. So for now, enjoy Afterburner, and if you dig it be sure to check their other material as well and get siked for their early 2018 release!



Acrid Facebook
Acrid Twitter

10. Isolated Antagonist


Latest band in this part of Promoting Bands is the band of Nate Exx Gradowski and Glen Mitchell. Together they are the sci-fi metallers from the USA, Isolated Antagonist! Since they formed in 2014, they already released two full-lengths, The Isolated And The Antagonist (2015) and Affirmation Of Entropy (2016), and an EP, Engineered Audio Hallucinations (2015). In August they dropped a new track, called Binary Decisions, which you can listen to below. It's a great track in which Christian Olde Wolbers takes care of bass duties, besides Nate and Glen.



Isolated Antagonist Facebook
Isolated Antagonist Twitter

Monday, September 18, 2017

Review: Selbst - Selbst


From the opening strums, Of Solitary Ramblings, I am finding a solid like of this so called “black/death metal” genre. This 2-person ‘group’ (I still can’t fathom this, but ‘da hell with it) hailing from Chile, via Venezuela does a damnable fine job at presenting this material.

Intricate guitars and playing make this malevolent maelstrom of utter despair and voidness of hope…nice. Even Visions Of Mankind Withering crank out a ferocious tempo that makes the end of the world seem like a Saturday afternoon cartoon review. Hammering, soulful wilting guitars are the backbone of this one and it’s actually easy listening at over six minutes.

Another 9+ minute opus, Instrument Of My Own Destruction is alright in title, but seems to lose it for me amidst the steady stream of strumming and grunge-overtones.

Wandering through grief as I hear Wandering Through Grief, I’m reminded of a dark, plodding walk I had in a torrential downpour the other week and had this machine gun fire guitar and helpless sounding vox been playing that night, I would’ve been happy. Easily my favourite, this reeks of soulless rapture and true, hardcore death metal. Outstanding!

Despised And Forgotten…not forgotten! Excellent tune, good drums and chorus changes and well deserved of the title! Ha!

Finally, loosely translated as Neat Skullcap (love it! Only in death metal can you get this stuff), Nefasto Calvario is a dim, dark, death ridden drop of constant strumming and some barely audible drums. A vox n’ vigour piece, it’s not hard to listen to, even at 7+ minutes.

Quite good!

8/10

Written by Alessandro

Selbst Official Website
Selbst Facebook

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Review: Crafteon - Cosmic Reawakening


A neat group hailing from Denver, Colorado, the band here introduced as Lord Mordiggian (Guitar/Vocals), Fthaggua (Lead Guitar), Ithaqua (Bass) and Rhagorthua (Drums), present an interesting take on the works of H.P. Lovecraft (hence the bands’ name), apparently and masterfully written near verbatim and set to some drudging, death enveloping music.

Being born on a full moon, I immediately went to What The Moon Brings to see…what it would bring. An excellent beam of powerful vox and nicely balanced music set in a dark netherworld, that’s what! An outstanding piece that is sure to please any metaller, death, black or otherwise.

Setting the tone for me for the rest of the album, I listened at a lower-than-11 volume for the neighbors’ sakes and found the right vibe for this lively yet brooding, dark yet full of light disc.

Some pleasant Rush-ish (!) strums in the first 00:25 of Dagon and the song took off with some massive riffing at the 3:33 mark. Great stuff here!

Skillfully navigating the pages of H.P. Lovecraft is no easy feat and even more so, setting these pieces to music of your own doing. Lord Mordiggian does a superb job and one will need liner notes (yea!) to follow the lyrics and make good sense of them.

The music stands on its own and is masterfully done by the current troupe. There is very intricate playing and changes to suit the splayed writing of Lovecraft (in this view). Fashionable attire and a cool, unified, foreboding look also helps sell this feature presentation!

Of course, check out their Bandcamp and FB for more information, but listen and buy the music first!

9/10

Written by Alessandro

Crafteon Facebook

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Review: Bereft Of Light - Hoinar


Cascadian Metal. This is a new one on me as since this one man band hails from Romania and The Cascades are a mountain range from British Columbia, Canada through Washington, Oregon and finally Southern California. I’m just going to concentrate on the music not the self-styled attempt at creating or influencing a ‘genre’. It’s all filed under ‘M’ for metal in my cabinets.

Daniel Neagoe, “The Player” I’ll call him, introduces Hoinar, Googly translated as Wanderer in a well-produced, clear and seemingly introspective foray into the music world, not the C-World, with an awesome musical intro of Uitare (Oblivion). It sounds and feels like it indeed. Well done and it might just make my ringtones!

Legamant (Covenant) is a 12+ minute opus with plucking strings and thunderstorms punctuated with harsh vocals and super-fast drumming. A definite experimentation into something here and, at a lower volume, I can deal with it.

Pustiu (Wilderness) is an entirely acoustical sounding piece, soft and gentle reminding me of the true wilds of my hometowns in Northern Ontario. I have pictures in mind that this music would suit perfectly. This would be a pleasure to see live.

Freamat (Thrill), a 10+ minute foray into “methodical metal” (my name for it) stings the heart with nice vocals and harmonies, deftly mixed with expert playing and good sound. I am thrilled for this tune actually, pleasantly surprised!

Tarziu (Later), appropriately at the end of the record, is a somber, mellow bit that has some vocal range that bellows out over the Cascadian Ranges, especially at 01:40. More black or death metal here, it is an excellent creation, aside from a small tempo-dip at 3:33 that sounded unintentional and offbeat to me.

A good opus!

9/10

Written by Alessandro

Bereft Of Light Facebook

Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: Blackfinger - When Colors Fade Away


Blackfinger is a doom rock/metal band hailing from Pittsburgh, USA. If the band’s name does not ring a bell, which isn’t all that strange, I’m sure its frontman’s name definitely will. The mastermind behind this in 2012 founded band happens to be none other than former Trouble vocalist Eric Wagner, who is renowned for his characteristic voice, pretty much Trouble’s trademark for many years. He put together a relatively unknown group of musicians to materialize Blackfinger and managed to release a solid self-titled debut in 2014. That line-up was short-lived though, because nowadays none of them remains a member of the band. Save Eric Wagner of course. He teamed up with fellow doom-celebrity and Penance- and Dream Death guitarist Terry Weston to form the new backbone of the present day Blackfinger. The new line-up is completed by Matthew Tuite on guitar, Matthew Cross on bass and David Snyder on drums, again pretty much unknown musicians. The band’s aptitude test comes in the form of a new album to be released later this month called When Colors Fade Away. The title is not chosen randomly, it was thought up by Eric when he was listening to his debut Blackfinger shortly after completing it. The main concept of that album was the feelings various colors conjured up, making it a logical step wondering what it would be like when there are no colors anymore, which can be translated into real life as the loss of all hope.

With a title like this you’re bound to be heading towards a date with misery when playing this, but the reality is that it isn’t that dark and ominous at all. The overall atmosphere is definitely not one of pain and sorrow despite telling titles like When Colors Fade Away, All My Sorrow and Crossing The River Turmoil. The at times overwhelming melancholy and the slow, lingering sound that is present in many of the songs unmistakably classifies this as doom, yet there’s something to this one that lightens the atmosphere, giving it a more dreamy, mysterious feel to it rather than a gloomy one. Of course Eric’s one-of-a-kind voice and vocal style is a huge contributor to this, but it’s not just that. There’s a certain frivolity in the song structures that amplifies the effect of those vocals, creating said atmosphere. So approaching this as a pure doom release wouldn’t be right nor do this piece of work justice. When Colors Fade Away consists of multi-layered, well-composed songs with an emphasis on guitar work, but with enough room for the rhythm section to grab their moments of fame. All songs are built around the vocal lines that are fittingly unfitting the rhythm, as if they are an entity of their own. Despite the way this might sound it does work out very well. Eric’s voice is a beacon of rest, vaguely reminding me of a pleasantly creaking old door. Music-wise there’s quite a lot to discover, with various more or less subtle influences from other genres. A good example are the bluesy influences that can be detected here and there, specifically in Afternow, but Black Sabbath certainly put its mark on the music as well.

Concluding it’s safe to say that this release will appeal to a wide audience. It has the dark elements of a doom album, the more heavy pieces to please the metal oriented fans and the frivolity to keep the atmosphere from becoming too sad and dismal. The strongly guitar based compositions are plenty varied to keep you focused and avoid boredom and the vocal lines add that extra special something, not in the last place due to the timbre of Eric’s voice. Despite the fact they replaced all but one of their members for their second release Blackfinger managed to avoid that being an issue and deliver a great album that is well worth a thorough listening-to.

Written by Henric van Essen

Check part 12 of Promoting Bands, in which we already mentioned Blackfinger, here.

Blackfinger Official Website
Blackfinger Facebook

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Review: Hexed - Exhaling Life


After a period without writing I am thrilled to review this very good EP from new and upcoming band Hexed, titled Exhaling Life. The EP consists of 3 songs, beginning with the heavy title track. From the get-go, we are greeted by a typical symphonic keyboard riff and some heavy-duty guitars. Not long after that vocalist Tina Gunnarsson enters with her mighty strong vocals. Her voice is lower than many other metal bands in the symphonic genre and thank god for that! It brings a fresh and unique sound to this band and this is the case for all 3 songs on the EP. The vocals really bring this band to another level. So much so that the band is different enough from everything else I listen to in this genre. The male vocals from guest singer Thomas Vikström on the title track match very well.

In the second song Forsaken Tina Gunnarsson really showcases her capabilities. In an almost banshee-like manner she screams ‘forsaken’ and the song begins. The vocals in the song strongly resemble those of Charlotte Wessels (Delain) until the moment Tina Gunnarssons’ voice reaches its highest point. At that moment she does something unique with her voice, something you’ll want to hear more and more.

That’s actually the only critical note on this EP, instrumentally it is all a bit on the safe side. However, this is partly rectified in the last song Lightyears Away, a song where everything from the previous tracks comes together and you can actually hear how great the potential of this band really is.

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

Hexed Official Website
Hexed Facebook
Hexed Twitter