Tag Archives: Bathory

Moonsorrow – Jumalten aika

Moonsorrow - Jumalten Aika

Moonsorrow [Finland]
Jumalten aika
2016
Full Length
Century Media Records
Folk/Pagan/Black Metal

I’ve heard of Moonsorrow since their 2007 album, V: Hävitetty, but being young and impatient back then, the band’s brand of epic metal failed to capture my attention. So it was with little knowledge of the band’s sound that I chance upon this Finnish outfit’s seventh full length album, Jumalten aika. With all the band’s release up till 2011’s Varjoina kuljemme kuolleiden maassa drawing critical acclaim, it is with little surprise that fans of the band hold high hopes for the record, especially with the long 5-year wait.

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Album Review: Sons of Crom – Riddle of Steel

Sons of Crom - Riddle of Steel

Sons of Crom [Sweden]
Riddle of Steel
2014
Full Length
Debemur Morti Productions
Heavy/Viking Metal

10 years on, Quorthon‘s legacy lives on in the many black and viking metal bands that have quoted him and his musical projects as an influence, with bands such as Bloodshed Walhalla even outright proclaiming themselves to be a Bathory tribute band. It is rather fitting then, that out of Quorthon‘s birth-land Sweden comes Sons of Crom, and less than a year after their formation, the band releases their debut full length album Riddle of Steel under the reputable Debemur Morti Productions.

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Album Review: Darkenhöld – Castellum

Darkenhöld - Castellum

Darkenhöld [France]
Castellum
2014
Full Length
Those Opposed Records
Black Metal

Claiming to play “authentic middle age black metal”, French black metal band Darkenhöld this year releases their brand new full length album, Castellum, presenting a style that is vastly different than the what has become the known as the French style of bands like Blut Aus Nord and Deathspell Omega. Instead, on their third full length offering, the band presents a style that leans closer to the traditional style of black metal.

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Album Review: Cult of Fire – Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně

Cult of Fire - Ctvrta Symfonie Ohne

Cult of Fire [Czech Republic]
Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně
2014
EP
Iron Bonehead Productions
Black Metal

Cult of Fire‘s last album मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान left many fans of black metal extremely captivated, with the band fusing Vedic elements into their songwriting and their lyrical inspirations. It is with even higher expectations that the band this year releases a brand new EP, Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně, leaving the Vedic and Indian inspirations behind and going back once more to their Czech roots.

With the band paying tribute to two rivers, of which the two tracks on Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně are named after, it is hardly surprising that right from the start of Vltava there is a strong folkish and almost viking vibe. The entire vibe and somewhat heroic atmosphere, with the riffs and the epic percussions quickly brings bands like Bathory to mind, but as soon as the song begins proper with the first guitar lines of Infernal Vlad, the influences from other acts such as Nokturnal Mortum become even clearer. The entire atmospheric style that the band indulges in on Vltava and Váh can get rather reminiscent of acts like Woods of Desolation as well.

The band’s songwriting skills are also pushed on this record, showing a vastly different side of the band. For instance, Váh stirs up a nice, melancholic emotion in the listener, and is one thing that is remarkably different from what Cult of Fire has shown thus far with Triumvirát and मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान. Furthermore, Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně is a completely instrumental record, and it almost feels as though the intention of the band is for the listener to focus completely on the atmosphere conjured by the music and not be distracted by anything else, even if it meant being devoid of vocals.

The entire production of Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně is extremely polished, further bringing out that whole epic feel of the record, and making it an extremely immersive record to listen to. One quickly finds himself lost in the entire soundscape of Cult of Fire‘s brilliance on their fourth studio release.

While it was revealed that Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně was initially intended to be a follow up to Cult of Fire‘s debut full length Triumvirát, musically speaking this seemed more like a logical follow up to what they had already shown fans with मृत्यु का तापसी अनुध्यान. Whatever it is though, Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně is one hell of a beautiful record.

[xrr rating=5/5]

Cult of Fire on the internet:
Official website
Facebook
Iron Bonehead Productions

Album Review: Horned Almighty – World of Tombs

HORNED ALMIGHTY - World of Tombs

Horned Almighty [Denmark]
World of Tombs
2014
Full Length
Scarlet Records
Black Metal

With the past 2 albums being rather successful and garnering critical acclaim, one wonders what else Denmark’s Horned Almighty has in place for fans with their new album, World of Tombs. Unlike Contaminating the Divine and Necro Spirituals which were released a mere year apart, fans of the band waited for 4 full years for the band to finally drop their new album, and as with so many other bands, this anticipation has led to heightened expectations of the Danish outfit.

The introductory track almost tricks one into thinking that Horned Almighty has gone towards a more viking metal direction (not that it’s a bad thing, and more on this later), but as soon as the title track World of Tombs hits the listener, one is treated to some classic, old school death metal. The whole grim atmosphere, combined with that slight groove that the band has infused into the music quickly reminds one of the black ‘n’ roll works of bands such as Satyricon, especially with the simplistic and repetitive riffs unleashed by Hellpig and the energetic, and at times rather punkish drumming of Harm (which reminds me of Frost’s works), especially on tracks like Diabolical Engines of Torment and Plague Propaganda.

It is also this rather simplistic, no-nonsense and straightforward style of black metal that one is reminded of the earlier onslaughts of Bathory, before their eventual shift to more epic masterpieces. As a display of the range of influences and sounds that Horned Almighty has put into World of Tombs, there are moments on the album where one is reminded of more traditional black metal tracks like Sacrifice, while the thrashy, crossover edge at times also brings songs like Satan My Master to mind. The more diabolical tracks like Unpure Salvations even brings in some Marduk semblance, what with the aggression and anger.

The production is also what makes World of Tombs such a stellar release. The bass is mixed especially high on the record, and this helps to retain a punchy sound for the band, creating a lasting and deep impression on the listener.

[xrr rating=4/5]

Horned Almighty on the internet:
Official website
Facebook
MySpace
SoundCloud
Scarlet Records

Album Review: Bloodshed Walhalla – The Battle Will Never End

Bloodshed Walhalla - The Battle Will Never End

Bloodshed Walhalla [Italy]
The Battle will Never End
2012
Full Length
Fog Foundation
Viking Metal

With a name like Bloodshed Walhalla, anyone familiar with the history of extreme metal would already know what to expect from this Italian viking metal horde. Band mastermind Drakhen also doesn’t shy away from proudly wearing his major influence on his sleeve, proudly proclaiming Bloodshed Walhalla to be a Bathory cover band at the same time on the band’s Facebook page, and indeed, this influence is also rather clear from the visuals of the band’s most recent release, The Battle Will Never End.

The themes of nature and wilderness is clear, as instrumental opening track Heimdallr‘s epic soundscape quickly transports one into a vast winterlands through Drakhen’s folkish riffings, as well as the sounds of wind howling and thunder at the background, and this is indeed a nice introduction to Bloodshed Wahalla‘s music. Blood and Fire perhaps shows the Bathory influences of the band most clearly, and apart from the seeming influence from Blood Fire Death in the naming of the track, the entire instrumentation and atmosphere that is conjured would also fit into the black/folk-era of the aforementioned, as Drakhen cleverly makes use of acoustic guitars to complement the rest of the instruments on the track. The alternating between gruff, blackened vocals and the intentionally, slightly off-key singing even reminds one of Quorthon‘s style of singing, further strengthening that Bathory comparison.

At the same time, there are also the more epic, heroic touches that are put into Bloodshed Walhalla‘s music, with some moments even giving the album a tinge of the dark, folk metal of Vintersorg or Borknagar. The recent exposure to bands such as Nokturnal Mortum and Drudkh also got me more sensitive to the whole range of sounds that are present on the album, and careful listening to The Battle Will Never End often proves to be interesting with the flurry of activities that are happening at the same time at any one point of the album, especially with the inclusion of soaring melodic leads, as well as the vast variety of influence that have gone into the melting pot of Bloodshed Walhalla‘s work.

Quorthon may have left this realm for 10 years, but with quality viking metal releases such as Bloodshed Walhalla‘s The Battle Will Never End paying tribute to the legends, one can be assured that his legacy lives on.

[xrr rating=4/5]

Bloodshed Walhalla on the internet:
Facebook
MySpace
Fog Foundation