Tag Archives: Russia

Grey Heaven Fall – Black Wisdom

Grey Heaven Fall - Black Wisdom

Grey Heaven Fall [Russia]
Black Wisdom
2015
Full Length
Aesthetics of Devastation
Black/Death Metal

Over the last few years, Russia may have spawned quite a number of class extreme metal acts such as Pyre and slamming brutal death metal band Aborted Fetus. Yet this land is not the first thing on one’s mind when the metal genre is brought up. Coupled with the lack of exposure to extreme metal for a couple of months now, Grey Heaven Fall managed to be one such act that has managed to enchant me with their sophomore full length, Black Wisdom.

Continue reading

Advertisements

Album Review: Pyre – Human Hecatomb

Pyre - Human Hecatomb

Pyre [Russia]
Human Hecatomb
2014
Full Length
Chaos Records
Death Metal

With my recent obsession with Swedish death metal, it is nice to see and hear that the plague has even spread to the lands of Russia. Formed in 2011, Pyre finally releases their debut full length album Human Hecatomb after 3 years. But on first encounter with the band I knew not what to expect, resulting in a listening experience even more mind-blowing.

Right from the first bass lines on Merciless Disease, the band doesn’t attempt hiding their influences, as one is quickly reminded of the works of Death, before all hell breaks loose – Swedish style. The riffing style of Roman Rotten and Fred, combined with that abrasive guitar tone that the duo chose quickly brings classic works of bands like Dismember and Grave to mind. This comparison with Dismember is strengthened later in the album with the melodic lead works, with that slight heavy metal touch amidst the death metal chaos presented by the band.

Dym’s vocals are a semi-howl, and is a nice touch as well. Combined with the aggression, the influences from vocalists such as John Tardy and Martin van Drunen is obvious. On the slower, mid to doom-paced moments on the album like Far Beyond the Unknown, the comparisons to Obituary and Asphyx can get rather strong, further showing the old-school influence that has gone into the melting pot of Human Hecate.

As with many classic releases, the atmosphere remains a vital part of the Swedish death metal experience, and Pyre proves that they have not left this element out of their writing. Songs like Possessed sees the band utilise sound samples from The Exorcism of Emily Rose, sending chills down the listener’s spine.

Pyre‘s Human Hecate is old school Swedish death metal as it should be – filthy, abrasive, loud and aggressive. Any fans of the old school will certainly find this release a charming, enchanting piece of work.

[xrr rating=4.5/5]

Pyre on the internet:
Facebook
BandCamp
Chaos Records

Album Review: Aborted Fetus – Private Judgement Day

Aborted Fetus - Private Judgement Day

Aborted Fetus [Russia]
Private Judgement Day
2014
Full Length
Comatose Music
Brutal Death Metal

Since 2008, Russian brutal death metal squad Aborted Fetus has been consistently releasing full length albums every other year, and 2014 sees the band releasing their fourth full length album, Private Judgement Day. Released under Comatose Music and with the visual aesthetics all being rather reminiscent of many of their label-mates, one can almost know instantly what to expect from Aborted Fetus on their fourth full length effort.

The crushing, riff-oriented style that Aborted Fetus presents to listeners right from the start with Savage Dominance quickly brings one back to the early days of Devourment. This is made especially so with the gargled vocals of Alexander, who makes the listening experience of Private Judgement Day as uneasy as possible. Throughout the entire album, the slamming style of death metal of the band reminds one of more recent releases by bands like Kraanium and Expurgate along with the gore-oriented themes.

Lead guitars and solos take a back seat over here, and these are few and far between. But where present, these show guitarist Alexander “Meatgrinder”‘s talents, with the technicality and complexity being rather reminiscent of those of Suffocation or Dying Fetus, with the brutality that is infused constantly like on title track Private Judgement Day. The thing that certainly caught my ears though are the relentless blasting of Andrew, often displaying his versatility and abilities behind the kit, alternating between more complex sections to just full-on blasting moments with much ease.

At the same time, there are moments where the band just goes into full-on grindcore mode, and the chaos and aggression that is presented easily brings bands like Brutal Truth to mind, and this is certainly not something to complain about.

Aborted Fetus on the internet:
Official website
Facebook
MySpace
Comatose Music

Album Review: Gardarika – Chthonica

Gardarika - Chthonica

Gardarika [Russia]
Chthonica
2012
Full Length
Independent
Progressive/Thrash Metal

The visual aspects of Russia’s Gardarika felt almost like a pagan, folk or viking metal band, but on their second full length album, Chthonica, the band surprises me, instead presenting a proggy style of heavy/thrash metal to the listener.

Opening track Hive Mind quickly puts one in the right perspective, as the galloping riffs of  Ivan hit the listener, and the catchiness in the music instantly gets one bobbing his head along with the band. The talent is immense over here, and each of the members in the band certainly display that throughout. Guitarist Ivan’s fretwork is impressive, and he displays his versatility, going from neoclassical-inspired shredding styles to more melodic and emotional soaring solos, especially on title track Chthonica. Bassist Serge is also outstanding on the album, with his bass presence being rather high throughout, and with plenty of moments on the album giving him time to display his chops like on Nevertheless where he displays his lead style of playing.

Throughout Chthonica, the band’s songwriting skills are also constantly displayed, fusing melody and catchiness with some slight progressive elements, with some rather complex passages that are littered throughout the album. There is also a nice balance of different styles and emotions on the album, and while the first two tracks present a galloping, neck-breaking experience, the band suddenly goes into ballad mode on The Night and Unbending Intent, with the strong emotions reminding me of ballads by power metal bands such as Sonata Arctica, especially in the progression of the track and the melodies on it. This 9-minute long track even brings in some rather operatic elements, creating a large sound that easily overwhelms the listener.

My only real gripe of the album is Alex’s vocals, and this honestly took me quite a number of listenings to get used to, though there are moments where the entire feel and sound of the band bring to mind legends such as Control Denied, and on the ballad he definitely manages to bring out the emotions.

As might be expected, Gardarika‘s main focus on Chthonica isn’t really on the heaviness of the music, but the soothing melodies of the songs on the album have definitely made this a rather enjoyable experience, though if one were to place more attention on the crafting of the song, one would easily realise that there is more than meets the eye on this deceivingly easy-listening album.

Gardarika on the internet:
Official website
Facebook
MySpace
BandCamp

Album Review: Wall of the Eyeless – Wimfolsfestta

Wall of the Eyeless - Wimfolsfestta

Wall of the Eyeless [Russia/Sweden]
Wimfolsfestta
2013
Demo
Independent
Death Metal

Receiving Wall of the Eyeless‘ second demo, Wimfolsfestta was a nice surprise for me, having enjoyed their 2011 demo Through Emptiness. The Russian/Swedish collaborative managed to capture the attention of many with the nice balance between brutality and beauty with Through Emptiness, and has certainly left one with rather high expectations on their new release.

Perhaps the first thing that one would notice is the extremely huge jump in the production quality of the music on Wimfolsfestta, with the band abandoning the raw and unpolished sound that was on Through Emptiness, and this is definitely a right step forward for the band’s musical stylistics. Each of the instruments ring out clearly, from the drums of Simon to the clean guitars and the soaring lead tone of SL. Having Jens Borgen at the production seat has certainly paid off for the band, allowing for the music of Wall of the Eyeless to really shine.

It might not be entirely surprising then that the band’s sound has a marked increase in its Swedish leanings, with the sound and the entire style of the music on Wimfolsfestta being rathe reminiscent to bands such as October Tide‘s recent release with the fusion of brutal, crushing death metal riffs and the emotional lead guitar lines and the melancholic and somewhat depressive atmosphere that lingers. There are even moments where one is reminded of the gothic/doom style of bands such as Draconian, and songs like Revulsion Fever giving a slight post-metal feel (think Alcest, but slightly heavier), with the beautiful soundscape that Wall of the Eyeless has created on this demo.

One other thing that one would notice is the marked maturity in the songwriting, with each of the tracks being much more coherent compared to the slightly aimless feel that Through Emptiness gave to listeners. The songs are much more tighter than older tracks, and this is not only in the way they are executed by SL and Simon, but also in the nice flow of the entire album, seamlessly alternating between aggressive death metal segments and more soothing and calming ones. This is especially evident on the longer tracks of the album, Flicker and Piercing Mist. Such transitions also allow for SL to display his vocal abilities.

For a demo, Wimfolsfestta has been masterfully crafted, and one can easily hear the amount of effort that the band has put into every aspects of this album. It leaves one to wonder what more to expect from Wall of the Eyeless.

Read more about Wall of the Eyeless over here.

Wall of the Eyeless on the internet:
Facebook
MySpace
BandCamp

Mid-Year Recap

It’s been helluva year so far, and even though it’s only been half a  year, there have been many good releases, both from genres that I love and from genres that I hardly listen to. As well, there have been quite a number of disappointments. Below we shall list a couple of noteworthy releases over the past six months (in alphabetical order):

Albatross/Vestal Claret – The Kissing Flies/Black Priest (Heavy/Doom Metal)

What a release. Albatross‘ debut EP, Dinner is You was quite a hard one to get into, but this, this captivates the listener right from the beginning with its powerful riffs, vocals and absurdly good songwriting. And what better way to end off the split with Vestal Claret‘s Black Priest, blasphemous and occult, made even more beautiful with the vocals of Phil Swanson.

Anhedonist – Netherwards (Death/Doom Metal)

Death/doom never sounded so beautiful until Anhedonist‘s debut full length album, Netherwards. Absolutely crushing, it sucks all sense of light and hope out from the listener, leaving him to fall into complete darkness and desolation as the album progresses, further displaying the amount of thought that has been put into the release.

Belligerent Intent – Seven Are They (Black/Death Metal)

Seven Are They is a natural progression for Australia’s Belligerent Intent from their 2010 EP, Descending to Abaddon. Same intense, blasphemous lyrical contents and vocal works of Craig, yet more brutal and technical than ever, with the introduction of axe-wielding duo Mike and Luke. And how can one ever miss the battery of Matt?

Binah – Hallucinating in Resurrecture (Death Metal)

This young UK death metal trio bursts into the scene with their debut full length album, Hallucinating in Resurrecture, barely 1 year after their formation. But the songwriting that is present here is mature and complex, and the crushing music and oppressive atmosphere would easily leave one in smithereens in no time.

Essenz – Mundus Numen (Black/Doom Metal)

Germany black/doom metal trio Essenz releases their follow up to their 2010 debut this year, Mundus Numen and easily displays how black/doom metal should be done. Equally captivating and haunting, the band manages to fuse elements of both genres into one seamless one that they can easily call their own. As if black metal or doom metal weren’t hopeless enough in themselves.

Hexen – Being and Nothingness (Progressive/Thrash Metal)

Following the many other excellent modern thrash metal counterparts such as VektorHexen shows that they are also equally capable with their new album Being and Nothingness, and boasts a faster, more complex and overall more satisfying listening experience. Listen out for the neo-classical elements that the band has put into this release.

Nephelium – Coils of Entropy (Brutal Death Metal)

Nervecell has certainly become the face of UAE extreme metal. But Nephelium are here to tilt the equilibrium, and Coils of Entropy boasts some of the most technical and brutal performance out of the region so far and is easily one of my favourite brutal death metal releases, a genre that until this year I have consciously avoided.

Pseudogod – Deathwomb Catechesis (Black/Death Metal)

Until this album, metal from Russia has been something of a mystery to me. But everything on Pseudogod‘s debut, Deathwomb Catechesis is perfect. The monstrous vocals, the crushing guitars, the spacey atmosphere, down to the creepy yet somewhat majestic album artwork of Antichrist Kramer.

Revenge – Scum.Collapse.Eradication (Black/Death Metal)

War metal masters Revenge returns with their long awaited follow up to Infiltration.Downfall.Death with Scum.Collapse.Eradication this year. The departure of Pete Helmkamp was certainly a bummer, but nothing was gonna stop James Read from doing what he had to do. Scum.Collapse.Eradiccation follows in the steps of its predecessor, so if you liked Infiltration.Downfall.Death, this one won’t be a disappointment.

Sigh – In Somniphobia (how-the-fuck-should-i-classify-this metal)

And of course, how could one forget Mirai and co.’s new release, In Somniphobia? In typical Sigh fashion, this album once again sounds nothing like its predecessors. After the overly dark Scenes from HellIn Somniphobia presents a somewhat light-hearted feel, with the indulgent usage of Dr. Mikkanibal’s saxophones, though evident from the album artwork, the mind of the band is still as sick and twisted as ever.

Album Review: Stalwart – Manifest of Refusal

Stalwart [Russia]
Manifest of Refusal
2012
Full Length
PRC Music
Death/Thrash Metal

http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F46690070%3Fsecret_token%3Ds-MmOu6&show_artwork=true&secret_url=true

Despite Stalwart‘s long history, being formed all the way back in 1999, it isn’t until this year’s Manifest of Ritual, the band’s fourth full length album that I first hear of them. Metal hailing from Russia is a little-heard of thing personally, with the main genres being encountered are those of the black metal genre, and this makes it all the more exciting to hear what Stalwart is capable of.

On top of the usual speed and aggression that one would expect of a death/thrash metal release, Stalwart tops the listening experience of Manifest of Refusal by including a dark and heavy atmosphere in the music, and this can be heard through the usage of haunting synths not only on the opening track The Karma Circle, but also constantly throughout the album. Vocalist Oleg also blends his vocal styles according to the mood, with the album seeing him going from aggressive growls to soft whispers. Unfortunately though, the awkward pronunciation of English at times lead to an unintentionally funny outcome especially with the seemingly menacing intention of the band, such as on The Rise of the Ninth Wave, though this is but a small flaw in the grand scheme of things.

Furthermore, the band also includes some technical elements in the music through the groovy riffs that at times resemble such bands as Strapping Young Lad in the tone of the guitars and the odd rhythms that are utilised, and this technical display certainly provides a refreshing sound to the band’s music. Guitarists Antuan and Leonid and drummer Tim constantly challenge each other with the complex riffing patterns and odd time signatures that are present in the music, yet each prove their flair, executing their portions with ease and fusing together into one coherent entity, and moments such as on Corrosion remind listeners of Meshuggah as well. The guitar solos are technical and chaotic, and these are often nicely contrasted by the somewhat calming keyboards, and this can be heard on songs like Downgrade Evolution. Bassist Demian is also equally technically proficient, mirroring the riffs of Antuan and Leonid and at times even incorporating his personal touch, though the low mix of the bass requires the listener to really pay attention.

Manifest of Refusal has been quite a surprise, with the quality music that Stalwart has written. The aggression and anger of the band manages to really seep through the music on more straightforward numbers like Idol of the Time, and the technical playing of the individual members make the music all the more interesting and exciting as well, making Manifest of Refusal one hell of a journey.

Stalwart on the internet:
Official website
MySpace
PRC Music

©2012 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

Interview with Wall of the Eyeless

Russian/Swedish duo Wall of the Eyeless came crashing out of nowhere, with their debut demo release Through Emptiness garnering high praises from all over the international metal world. Fusing crushing riffs and emotional melodic guitar lines, band mastermind SL tops the entire experience off with lyrics drawn from the everyday life. We talk to him to learn about the formation of the band, the inspirations behind the music and more.


HMT: Greetings SL! Wall of the Eyeless is a project between yourself and Simon, and you guys are located at Russia and Sweden respectively. Before we move on, would it be possible to tell us about the history of the band? How did you and Simon meet, and how did this collaboration come about?

Hello! Yeah, sure. In fact, it all happened really quickly – I came to Helsjön, Sweden from Pskov, Russia to study and met Simon there. I tried to form my own band for quite a long time in my hometown, played in a few bands, but never really succeeded in building something really solid and serious because I didn’t find the right people with whom I had the same musical views and equally huge passion for music. It’s a different story with Simon – we started playing together and realized that it all somehow works and decided to continue. As I’ve already told, it all was really quick – we’ve had only a month or a little bit more of long and focused rehearsals before we started recording “Through Emptiness”, our first demo.

You are also the mastermind behind band, writing most of the music on the band’s recent demo, Through Emptiness. What was the reason behind having Simon on board as well, instead of recording as a solo project?

Well, I don’t want to be a “one-man band”. More than that, I definitely plan to finalize the lineup in the future when we’ll have an opportunity to search for and find the right people. I want to concentrate on the guitar only. And I’m really itching to play live as much as possible.

Also, the band name. How did the band name come about and what does “Wall of the Eyeless” mean?

I had this name in mind for quite a while now – since I’ve written the lyrics to the song with the same name, I guess. You can find it on the demo, it’s obviously the 3rd track, “Wall Of The Eyeless”:

“the flame of pyre so bright tonight,
but no one can see it.
people have lost the senses and might
and they spit on the graves of friends, they spit
and lose their faith – now it’s not so strong.
they stand in line with hollow eyes.
they form the wall of the eyeless with the sharp and gleaming thorns.
can’t see the pyre they’re burning in, the dancing hungry fire.”

It’s about some of the people in our society, and I have the impression that the amount of such people grows every day, which is not good at all. They are dangerous and they are blind to everything that’s happening around them and to what are they actually doing, which is a really bad combination. So if you imagine such a thing as wall of the eyeless, this thing is really huge, massive and disturbing. Hopefully, not too many people would choose to be the bricks in and of this wall. That’s why the phrase “Open Your Eyes” is written in the demo’s booklet.

The band released its debut demo, Through Emptiness last year to pretty good reception in the underground metal scene. Was this expected, and how do you feel about it?

No, it wasn’t expected at all! Firstly because of the not-so-good sound quality, presented on the demo, I guess. It’s really easier nowadays to make the band sound good in the studio if you have money, and some people like saying that this or that band is shit just because they have a shit, “unpolished” production. I think it’s really wrong to set the production above music, especially in case of demos. Some people forget that not all the bands have a large sum of money to pay for the HQ recording, mixing and mastering especially when they just started to play together. But I’m glad that people paid attention not only to the sound quality of “Through Emptiness”, but to the main thing – music. It feels really great to read all these reviews which state that the people want to hear more from us and looking forward to our future releases. We’ll definitely have a better production on the next record.

One thing that made me rather curious about the release is the album artwork of Through Emptiness. Instead of going the well-trodden route of the usual death metal style artwork, Through Emptiness has a rather abstract artwork. What was the reason behind this?

You’re right that it seems to be a strange choice, but I don’t want Wall Of The Eyeless to follow any trends or stereotypes. This cover artwork may look unusual, but it’s really disturbing and strong in my opinion and that’s exactly what I wanted to achieve.

Could you explain the meaning and significance behind the album artwork, and tell us how the conceptualization of the album artwork come about?

I really think that every element is important when it comes to the music record – the music, the lyrics and the artwork. That’s why the concept of Wall Of The Eyeless is to combine all these 3 elements to create one single picture – well, at least we really try to, and it’s up to you to decide if we succeed or not. The paintings on the front and back covers are drawn by a friend of mine, actually, and when I was thinking over the concept of the recording, I immediately thought of those pictures. They also depict the emptiness and pain some of the people have inside of them and I felt that they somehow complement the music and the lyrics. I contacted my friend, and he gave me the permission to use them – a huge thank you to him for that. I really think he’s very talented.

While the album is mostly an aggressive slab of death metal, there are also moments where the music slows down and a more emotional side of the band seeps out, such as the usage of keyboards, acoustic guitars and of course, the melodic solos that you unleash. What was it that made the band play in this particular style, and what are the main influences of the band?

It’s a really hard question, because it’s just the way I write songs. I just try to show what I feel through the music and keep it as honest as possible – if people can feel it while listening to our music, I’m really glad and it really means a lot to me. Speaking about the influences, it’s too hard to tell – we’re influenced by mostly metal and rock music – both new and old, which is kind of obvious, but I really think that the main influences for me are life in general, all I’ve been through, all the music I ever listened to, even the music I didn’t like at all – it all shaped and continues to shape me somehow.

The music is pretty diverse with numerous different elements that are littered throughout. What was the songwriting process like? How did you conceptualize/visualize the music before materializing them?

Yes, hopefully the songs have a lot going on in them. As I’ve said before, it’s just the way I write music, it’s the way I feel music; I’m trying to honestly capture what I feel and I’m not thinking about in what genre I’m composing or something like that. And, besides, I don’t like an idea of recycling the same riffs over and over again, I like when the music is somehow surprising, when it’s like a trip. If the listeners can feel it, it’s really great.

The depressing music on the demo is topped by the equally emotional lyrics of the songs, such as on Do We Belong Here. Where does the band draw inspiration to write such depressing and at times, hateful lyrics?

I don’t think that the music or the lyrics are from first to last depressing or hateful. The lyrics are about the things that somehow left their marks on me, influenced me, the things I do care about. They’re far from being absolutely bright and optimistic, of course, it’s true, but it’s like life itself. We all have our ups and downs, everything has. But I think that there’s a spark of hope in every song. The center phrase for me in “Do We Belong Here?”, which you’ve mentioned, is “You can go through so much more than you can think”. I think it’s a good phrase to keep in mind when something which is way too hard to bear happens. We are stronger than we sometimes think.

The lyrics on The Hands especially is pretty intriguing, and unlike the other three tracks on the demo seems to be rather abstract as well, with little direct references to what the band is trying to put across. Would it be possible to discuss more about the meaning behind the track?

Sure. “The Hands” is symbolic, so to say. “The steel”, which the hands are trying to warm, denotes the hard-hearted, cold, emotionless people, who just want to suck the life and your inner strength out of you and then just throw you away, forget you, abandon you when you do need help – there’s no use to give your warmth to them, they will just devour it. I’m only 21 and I already seen this happen a lot and it’s really sad. I’ve seen some people understand this part at the end of “The Hands” a bit wrong:

“the ropes are all in our hands.
and we all seem to be on the ropes.
does it scare you when you understand,
that we can all turn into stones?”

One shouldn’t understand “on the ropes” in the second line directly, “on the ropes” here has the meaning of “close to the complete downfall” or something like that. I meant that we can have the control over things, but we don’t seem to do much to change something for the better – the ropes we pull are in our hands, but we’re on the ropes ourselves.

What are the near-future plans of Wall of the Eyeless? Can fans of the band see a new release anytime soon for the band, and if so, what can fans expect in the new music of Wall of the Eyeless?

Well, I’m in Russia at the moment, because I have to finish my studies here, but I really hope that we’ll have a new record out at the end of this summer. With a better sound, of course, hopefully recorded in the real studio. It all depends on the funds we’ll have – we have to completely finance all this ourselves at this point. Most likely it will be the second demo, because we’re in search for the label. I think it will consist of 4 songs again – three new songs and one of the songs from “Through Emptiness” re-recorded with a better sound and production.

I have no idea how the new record will sound like, but I hope that both us and you, the listeners, will like it.

With just 2 members in the band, there will certainly be challenges if the band were to perform live, especially with the variety of sounds that are present in the compositions of Wall of the Eyeless. Are there any intentions to bring in more members, and why?

Yes, as I’ve said earlier, I certainly want the band to play live as much as possible. We’ll start searching for the right people to finalize the lineup, but this will happen only when we’ll have the opportunity to rehearse together on a regular basis.

We have come to the end of the interview, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!

My pleasure! Thanks a lot for supporting Wall Of The Eyeless. It really means a lot to us.

Related articles:
Album Review: Wall of the Eyeless – Through Emptiness

Wall of the Eyeless on the internet:
Facebook
BandCamp
ReverbNation

©2012 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

Album Review: Wall of the Eyeless – Through Emptiness

Wall of the Eyeless [Sweden/Russia]
Through Emptiness
2011
Demo
Independent
Death Metal

It’s hard to tell what Wall of the Eyeless plays based on their album artwork of their debut demo, Through Emptiness, with the somewhat psychedelic and abstract art that could mean that the music could possibly range from doom metal all the way to those post-rock styled black metal bands. It was certainly surprising to find out then that this was actually the debut demo of a Swedish/Russian death metal entity.

Not so surprising then is the weirdness of the music that is present on Through Emptiness. This is not to say that the music is bad, but instead contain songwriting and elements that are rather unconventional in view of the recent surge of old-school revivalist bands. Album opener The Hands immediately presents the band’s  unique style of death metal to listeners, blending elements ranging from melodic death metal to thrash metal to even Spanish-styled acoustic instrumentals (like in the middle of The Hands) in their songs. After a barrage of aggressive riffs, the band suddenly goes into a melodic lead guitar section, presenting a weird sense of calm in the middle of all the chaos, before going back to their chaotic style, and the listener will soon realise that this will be the style of the band for the rest of the release.

While some bands try to hard to blend these whole range of elements together, Wall of the Eyeless manages to do this well, and what results is an extremely progressive record, and could eventually lead to a sort of a game to spot the various influences that have gone into the songwriting process. Despite the rawness of the record, the band manages to bring out the atmospheric essence of the music, and this is especially audible on Do We Belong Here?, where the clever usage of echoey clean singing creates a haunting atmosphere with a heavy emotion on the music. The depressive melody on the acoustic guitars towards after the halfway point of the track even reminds me of Shroud of Despondency‘s brand of atmospheric black metal, and led me to almost expect a spoken vocals to appear, and some moments on the self-titled track Wall of the Eyeless even border on atmospheric black metal in terms of the riffing pattern and song structure, with the clean leads that are littered throughout the track. The epic closing track, The Rain Song is probably the most representative of the band’s style of music on Through Emptiness, with the nice balance of melody and aggression throughout the track, and that constant ominous atmosphere that lingers.

The instrumentations on this demo are also remarkable, especially the guitars of SL, who often displays his technical abilities, yet managing to maintain that sense of melody that provides that emotional element in the music on Through Emptiness. There is only one complaint though, that is the solo towards the end of Wall of the Eyeless, where it sounded almost as if SL were trying to squeeze in too many notes into the solo, spoiling the flow of the track. Through Emptiness has thoroughly displayed the potential talent that the duo behind Wall of the Eyeless holds, and listening to the demo has certainly left me thirsty for more.

Wall of the Eyeless on the internet:
Facebook
BandCamp
ReverbNation

©2012 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui

Album Review: Antropophobia – Scream in Emptiness

Antropophobia [Russia]
Scream in Emptiness
2011
Full Length
Solitude Productions/BadMoodMan Music
Atmospheric Black/Doom Metal

My interest in Russian black metal came about after listening to bands like Old Wainds, with the cold and bleak atmosphere that their music often invoke. What we have here then, is Russian atmospheric black/doom metal band Antropophobia‘s debut release, Scream in Emptiness, which features a sole member, Dmitry, behind the band.

As the album opens, the heavy, bassy and fuzzy guitar tone greets the listener, with a semi-aggressive track in the form of opening self-titled track. While most albums fail to attract the listener through the usage of weaker opening tracks that are either not fast or aggressive enough, Antropophobia presents a different issue. The aggressive track seemed slightly out of place, with the guitar tone that doesn’t come across as biting enough, and the heavy atmosphere that reeks of depression, presenting a slight disjoint to the listener. However, as the first track end, and the next track, Lucifer’s Scream begins, everything suddenly falls into place, as the band slows down to the more familiar doom pace, along with the sadness and desolation that reeks in the atmosphere and the listener is now brought on a truly melancholic, emotional journey.

Throughout the album, keyboards are heavily used to shroud the album in a thick veil of fog, wherein the band crafts their art. The lead guitars on the album also do not claim any of the limelight, at times even being obscured behind the rhythm guitars, such as on Suicide of Genius, yet when listened to carefully enough, these lead guitars often reek of sadness, and it almost feels like the listener is drowning in a pool of desperation that no one can pull him out of, and this is evident on tracks like title track, Scream in Emptiness. This is not to say that Dmitry lacks capabilities behind the guitar though, as can be seen on the small shred-fest on  In the Night, dispelling any such impressions. Songs like When the Dark Angel Cried are heavily keyboard/piano-drive, and present a strange sense of calm to the listener as well, before slowly leading the listener on to the heavy Beauty of Chaos. The numerous instrumental tracks are excellent examples of how Dmitry allows for his instruments to drive the songs and express the emotions contained within them, without having to use a single word at all, though the gruff vocals and the spoken samples certainly help to enhance the experience.

Scream in Emptiness has certainly left an impression on me, with the focus on the emotions throughout the album, instead of the sterile, synthetic and unfeeling music that has been produced of late. If you like bands like Benighted in Sodom and the recent Vietnamese black metal band Giang (which has also taken the approach of focussing on instrumentals as well), this could be an album that would hook you instantaneously as well.

Antropophobia on the internet:
MySpace
Solitude Productions/BadMoodMan Music

©2012 Heavy Metal Tribune | Hong Rui