[Mandelbrot Productions]

      Unknown to me until recently, and probably unknown to most of the world at this point is Aureate. This five song CDR is purely instrumental-keyboard based. A good portion of purely instrumental music of this type I've found boring, but this is surely not the case here. The music eagerly keeps ones attention, with many well written/composed melodies and changes. There is some definite talent and emotion captured here, this release should not be overlooked by fans of this genre.

Insomnia Cafe

Ars Macabra

Iter in obscuritates mentis

      By way of Italy comes Ars Macabra, whose 'idea was to play the more extreme and fastest black metal music in Italy.' Did they accomplish this? Well, it is quite fast at times, but black metal has lost its 'extreme' to me after all these years. Nothing really too unique here, but there is a definite viciousness to this nine song CDR demo. There is a fair amount of variety between songs, making the whole of the release fairly memorable. A demo release worthy of your attention, certainly a band who could easily attract label attention. With some refinement, they may just live up to their goal. Recommended.

Band email

Black Mass

To Fly with Demons
[Elegy Records]

     After getting past the ridiculously comical pictures of the band trying their hardest to look evil, which adorns the back of the CD, I found this to be some great death metal. Kind of reminiscent of maybe Incantation's early work, with a very early nineties feel. The music ranges from fairly slow and heavy to fast and chaotic, with very proficient guttural vocals. One of the best new death metal bands I've heard all year.

Open Grave

The Heavens Cry Black Tears

      From New Jersery, USA, come Open Grave, a fairly unique band with an extremely raw sound/production. This six track release contains an intro and outro, both done very well. The music is perhaps the best part of this release, it's raw sound/melodies sound more European than American to me. I would assume this band is heavily influenced by Burzum, based upon some of the riffs and vocal style. At times the vocals don't seem to work very well, being rather irritating, yet other times they come off well and showcase a lot of potential. It is a very basic, primitive work, which is refreshing to those of us who are long tired of the chaotic speed and high productions of so many black metal bands these days. Clean up the vocals, and behold a band with sure potential. Love 'em or hate 'em. To be released on Profane Prod/Ma-Kahru in the summer of 2001 (130 CD copies ).

Band website

Aurora Borealis

Northern Lights
[Diehard Music]

      From America's shores come an extremely vicious and driving band known as Aurora Borealis. The name might invoke calm, but the band is anything but serene. I was quite impressed with the skill and relentless intensity of this band. From start to finish they hammer out some very well executed black metal, leaving me virtually nothing to criticize. Perhaps the only criticism would be the songs tend to bleed together a bit at times, probably due to the speed and velocity of it all. A truly great band demanding your attention, you will not be dissapointed!

Band website
Band email


Under the Reign of Terror
[Red Stream]

      First, I'll share with you a rather comical excerpt from the label's description of the CD... "It is the definite calling that death will arrive, in a painful way to the listener." Although having nothing to do with the bands great sound and talent, it is a reminder of how cliché the scene has become. Gimmicks aside, and to what is important, the music... this release is quite a powerful effort by this band. Seven songs of furious black metal and a great cover of Deathcrush (with Necrobutcher from Mayhem as guest musician). Recommended!


Promo 2001
[To be released on Drakkar Productions]

      Hailing from France comes Celestia. Although this band originated back in 1995 and has released a good deal of demos, promos, splits and EPs, this is my first contact with them. The music of Celestia is very straight forward, yet catchy and akin to the spirit of black metal that surfaced in the early 90's. The seven tracks of this promo are taken from an EP and a demo, which includes an interesting cover of Burzum's Ea, Lord of the Depths. Overall, a very worthy glimpse into a band that should attract attention with their coming full-length CD.

Red Stream
Band email

Axis of Advance

[Death to Mankind]

      I was very pleased to receive a copy of this great bands new CD for review, and I was not disappointed, but impressed once more. This new CD is to me their best work to date. It is quite varied in intensity from violently fast to mid-paced melodies. A lot of time seems to have been spent crafting 'Strike' and it really shows. A great release from a band that seems to always be improving. Impressive and recommended!


Vampire Nights

      Where do I begin... when this CD was sent to me I wasn't sure what to expect, judged by the title and cover art. After a listen, I quickly found that this genre of music isn't within my tastes. Which genre of music this fits I'm not very sure... gothic? Whatever. Not my style at all.

Rev. Kriss Hades

The Wind of Orion
[Decius Productions]

      There seem to be legions of unknown bands in the underground, and to me, here is another released by Decius Productions. You might remember the name Kriss Hades for his work Sadistik Exekution, of which the second and third tracks are reworked song from S.E.. While Rev. Kriss Hades has a somewhat black metal vibe, it carries a strange chaotic obscurity in its sound, getting more and more ambient/atmospheric as the CD plays on. A fairly interesting band to break the monotony of the usual clones in the scene. Unique.


Let there be Darkness
[promo-self financed CDR]

      It seems Greek bands usually have a sound which is fairly unique to Greece, and Godless are pretty much true to that rule. Not a bad band at all, while it offers nothing really new, it's an interesting listen. Its crude vocals and rough melodic sound fit together very well. Not your typical black metal for sure. If you'd like a copy email the band at The band also encourages people to copy the CDR and spread it to those interested, which is a pretty rare thing. Check 'em out!


Suffering Winds
[Imperial Maze]

      Solekahn, by way of France's Imperial Maze. Violent and intense speed are abundant here, in a mix of death/black. Suffering Winds offers eight uncompromising tracks of brutality. Very well executed and a quite worthy assault on your ears. Recommended.

the true Frost/Panzerfaust

Wolfszeit/Gotteshaus in Flammen
[Satanic Terror Productions]

      This limited edition (500 copies/red vinyl) split seven inch by Satanic Terror Productions offers a song each from the true Frost and Panzerfaust. Side A begins with the Frost song Wolfszeit, a dark and vicious track showing off how great this band has become. If you're tired like I am of the many second-rate bands out there today, you won't regret investing your time in checking out this band, as they're one of the grimmest you'll find. Simply great. Next is Side B, Panzerfaust. This band was unknown to me until this seven inch, and I'm quite impressed. Panzerfaust remind me a lot of Frost actually. They have a primitive viciousness which I adore. Take your big label bands with 1000's of dollar productions, I'll take this!

the true Frost

Invoking the Aeon of Satan
[Hellflame Productions]

      This LP reminds me of all the reasons why I liked black metal in the beginning...the cold melodies, the aggression and viciousness of it all. But most importantly, the feeling that only few can inject into this style of music these days. Here the old spirit of black metal is very alive. Definitely the best release in this genre I've heard in some time. The grim vocals and driving backdrop of sound make this an outstanding release. Highly recommended!
Label email


La Pasion de Lo Mortal
[American Line Productions]

      Every so often we'll get some promo here from some place way down south, in this case Peru. Well, I don't know a whole lot about Peru, but I now know that one very good band called Psicorragia calls it their home. I was very impressed with this eight song CD. The guitars are very talented and full of melody and energy. The sound itself is a sort of mesh of black/death, but with a very clean sound. Highly interesting and very recommended!

Band website
Band email

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