Lunatic Gods

The Wilderness

The Wilderness
[Shindy Productions]

      By way of Slovakia, come Lunatic Gods. This band has existed since 1996 based upon their discography, but it is my first encounter with their music. There isn't too many bands coming out of Slovakia, so it is interesting to come across one. This CD seems a mesh of many different styles. Black/death. Clean vocals. Sitar. Keyboards. Etc.. While the band seems to be quite proficient in their music abilities, the styles involved here don't blend well for this band for the most part. They do a much better job at straight-forward black/death. Especially death metal. I think if they abandoned the majority of the other elements and stuck to the death metal style they would prove to be quite a fierce band. Worthy of your attention.

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Acheron

demo 2001

Demo 2001
[self cd-r]

      After calling it quits, Acheron return as strong as ever on this two song demo. It is no doubt that Acheron are one of the most powerful death metal bands in the scene today. Like previous works this contains elements of keyboards, but usually very subtle. It also utilizes some female backing vocals. Vincent Crowley's vocals on this are top notch. The music itself is also very interesting and well done. I highly anticipate a full length release after hearing these two songs. Acheron Reborn. Excellent.

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Wolfen Society

Conquer Divine

Conquer Divine
[House of Death Records]

      Acheron's front man Vincent Crowley created Wolfen Society in 2000, although this wasn't released until 2002. This four track CD is very impressive. Brutal and full of energy, this tears into a scene which to me has been rather stale. Conquer Divine indeed. Recommended!

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Cruelty Divine

The Great Destroyer

The Great Destroyer
[self released]

      From Boston MA, this demo CD is on its way to a full length with an additional three new songs to be released on Realms of Darkness Productions. This is pretty aggressive, yet fairly melodic black metal with keyboards, and overall it is done well, especially for a first demo. This is one of the better rising black metal bands from the US. There is undeniable potential and energy here. Perhaps the best aspect of this is the vocals, which are fierce and aggressive just as any good black metal should be. Keep an eye on this band. Recommended!

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Sadorass

Strength and Wisdom

Strength and Wisdom
[Christhunt Productions]

      You might recognize the sole member of this band from his work with the true Frost. This is his side-project. I was very impressed with the recent Frost release, and it seems this is no exception. Raw. Obscure. Violent. Primitive. Truly a great black metal release to stab into 2002. The masses of new metal fans probably won't like this, there is nothing beautiful or sparkling here. With releases like this, black metal is as strong as ever in the new millenium!


Summer Dying

Beyond the Darkness Within

Beyond the Darkness Within
[self released]

      From Michigan come Summer Dying. The technical prowess of this black/death metal'ish band is above average. There is actually some quite fierce sounding segments in this release, but for me, it is marred by the clean sounding vocals that accompany the main vocals, which at times the latter remind me of old Dark Tranquility. The entirety of the intensity of this CD is very broad, ranging from fairly fast ferocity to tranquil. Judge for yourself. But the clean vocals on this in my opinion sound weak. Other then that, this would be quite a solid band/release.

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Metharia

Metharia

Metharia
[self released]

      From Naples, Italy, this is perhaps the strangest promo I've received in a long time. This CD begins with some potential musically, yet soon the vocals make one wonder what genre of music this band is shooting for. The vocals, in Italian, sound to me like some Latin top ten artist. No exaggeration! Yet, the music could easily be heard in some atmospheric metal band. Musically, it is surprisingly quite good. Even stranger perhaps, as the CD plays the pop-sounding singer at times uses a gruff death metal sounding voice. Lastly, from the bands promo sheet, the name Metharia "represents a planet in the Alpha Centaurus constellation from where would come an alien angelic civilization..."

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In Peccatum

Antilia

Antilia
[self released]

      The ocean waves bring In Peccatum, from Portugal. This band is very epic and atmospheric sounding, all of which are extremely well done. They utilize many instruments beyond the typical, including violin, viola, cello, classical guitar and Azorean Guitar, whatever that may be. All of this works extremely well for this band, showcasing their impressive talent to create mid-paced atmospheric music. Highly Recommended!

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Teratism
Ex Infernus

Ex Infernus
[The Root of All Evil]

      From the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes come Teratism with this four song release (one live track). The music of Teratism is rather straight-forward black metal, but done very well. Never boring, always aggressive and interesting, they mark another worthy rising black metal band from the USA. The song 'Hate' perhaps shines the brightest showing the bands potential to create both intense and interesting music. Look out for this band. Recommended!

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Desire

Locus Horrendus

Locus Horrendus
[self release]

      A doomy and atmospheric band from Portugal, Desire have existed since 1994, but began in 1992 under the name Incarnated. Ten years of experience show, as this is a very solid release. Doomy and flowing, Desire craft depressive soundscapes as the experts they are. Fans of this genre look no further, this is some quality stuff. Excellent.

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The Meads of Asphodel

The Excommunication of Christ

The Excommunication of Christ
[Supernal Music]

      From the UK, The Meads of Asphodel are a rather refreshing black metal band, in that their sound is fairly unique. Lots of different elements and well written music make this interesting throughout its 13 track entirety. The vocals also stand out, a kind of low rough style that fits well. An interesting release.

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Rain Fell Within

Refuge

Refuge
[Dark Symphonies]

      This is the second release by this band, and after some listening, a better effort. Yet, there is something about the female vocals that just don't sound right to me. They just don't seem to fit. Perhaps it is just me, but they seem amateur'ish and void of feeling. They sound the same to me throughout the CD, kind of just bleeding together. Musically, the band are pretty good though... perhaps the best aspect of this is the cover is done by Mike Riddick.

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Solace Denied

Of Hopes and Fears

Of Hopes and Fears
[self released]

      This CD marks the second independent release by this English band. It also marks a considerable change in style. From death metal to black metal. Musically, this band is still very interesting and talented. The music is melodic and engaging throughout, yet I think their talent suffers from an unoriginal vocalist. Personally, I liked them better their last release, as a death metal band. Still a band to look out for in the future.

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Bewitched

Somewhere Beyond the Mist

Somewhere Beyond the Mist
[Conquistador Records]

      Hailing from Chile, this is the bands third CD. This CD begins with pretty typical black metal with some light keys and a more traditional heavy metal guitar sound. The second song uses some clean vocals, which are also found on following tracks, and don't seem to fit so well. Musically this band is rather interesting, but they need to strengthen their vocalist department and decide what direction they want.


Cradle of Filth

Promo Sampler

Promo Sampler
[Kock Records]

      This CD sampler starts out with a dance beat sounding track, which needless to say I didn't approve of. The rest of this CD does little for me as well. It includes a cover of Slayer's Hell Awaits, which musically was good, but once the voice screeched in it sounded comical. Next is a cover of Iron Maiden's classic Hallowed Be Thy Name, once again the music department did their job well, but the vocals... which, weren't as bad as the Slayer cover. Next we have a cover of Sodom's Sodomy and Lust. Which was by far the best track on this CD, too bad it wasn't their own.

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Wheel of Doom

Ladialia

Ladialia
[Four Tune Records]

      From Japan come Wheel of Doom. Although there is nothing really too doomy about this band. Clean vocals mixed with a sort of death metal style. They describe themselves as 'Chaotic Heavy Rock,' so I guess that description would fit, as I don't think the styles mix well. Quality, just not my style.

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Brave

Searching for the Sun

Searching for the Sun
[Dark Symphonies]

      While the female vocalist who fronts this band is very good and apparently well-trained, overall it sounds too top 40 to me. Perhaps that's an exaggeration, but it does nothing for me. Don't get me wrong, it is very good if you like this sort of style. A very light and mood setting backdrop sets the vocalist, but it seems to sound too 'happy' for me. It might remind you a bit of The Gathering later releases. Not for me, but maybe for you?

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