Hagalaz' Runedance

Hagalaz' Runedance-The Winds That Sang of Midgard's Fate

The Winds that Sang of Midgard's Fate
[Elfinblut Records]

     A rather new band bringing with it many unique elements to the pagan genre of music. Not easily classified with any existing bands, although those that like such music as Ordo Equitum Solis or even the pagan atmosphere of Storm would surely enjoy this CD. The primary vocalist, Andrea Haugen, utilizes a very solemn, directed voice, accompanied in parts by male vocals. The acoustic guitar and Norwegian fiddle combined with deep "battle drums" provide a perfect atmosphere for awaking the 'heathen' spirit lying dormant within us all. Overall, it's an impressive release, and is recommended.

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Opera IX

Opera IX-Sacro Culto

Sacro Culto
[Shiver Records]

      Undoubtedly one of the most unique black metal bands to surface. When 'The Call of the Wood' debuted in '95 Opera IX was immediately noticed in the underground for a few reasons; one being a female vocalist, whose vocals were almost entirely in a black metal style. Opera IX has always possessed a pagan feel, both in their lyrics and music, but Sacro Culto shows much more direction and maturity than before. While the vocalist, Cadaveria, still retains her harsh vocal style, she has expanded it in parts to a much softer melodic tone. Their lengthy songs contain a wide variety of instruments, tempo changes and atmospheres. A worthy contender of the black metal genre possessing a lot of originality in a sea of clones.

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Ordo Equilibrio

Ordo Equilibrio-Conquest, Love and Self Perseverance

Conquest, Love and Self Perseverance
[Cold Meat Industry]

      This new release will not be a disappointment to anyone who has enjoyed Ordo Equilibrio's past releases, although the cover art might throw you off. It is filled with the same atmospheric repetitiveness that captures one's attention and mesmerizes. The philosophical and sometimes erotic lyrics, combined with their monotone male and female voices, create the ingredients for a captivating listening experience. It would be a worthwhile addition to the CD collection of anyone who is fond of atmospheric music.

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Darzamat-In the Flames of Black Art

In the Flames of Black Art
[Faithless Productions]

      The interestingly artistic cover of this new band shares that trait with the music within. Darzamat is in the black metal genre with backing female vocals. Their use of keyboards and male harmonizing vocals is very well balanced. The music is very catchy as well as atmospheric. The band has proven their talent with this first release, and if their next release will be anything like the first, it will be something to look forward to.

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Old Man's Child

Old Man's Child-Ill-natured Spiritual Invasion

Ill-Natured Spiritual Invasion
[Century Black]

      Old Mans Child's new release "Ill-Natured Spiritual Invasion" is a good addition to the black metal scene. Their music is very intense and elaborate. Even though the flow of the whole CD is mainly intense, they still seem able to incorporate an atmospheric background with synthesizers. Lyrically, the title of this release says it all. They speak of rage and hatred of mankind. Titles like "Captives of Humanity" and " Fall of Man" put forth the passion that this release contains.

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[Napalm Records]

      Like their first release, this black metal band's lyrics for Grimjaur are all in Swedish. Without a doubt, most people into black metal will like Siebenburgen. The harsh vocals of M. Ehlin accompany this new release's fast and aggresive musical style very well. The female vocals of Lovisa Hallstedt, along with her use of the viola, add a lighter note in some parts of the CD. Overall, it is nicely put together and with a lot of feeling. Grimjaur ends with a mostly acoustic, folk-style song. All the vocals in this last song are by Lovisa, it is a perfect finale to a good CD.

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