Galdutako itxaropenaren eresia

      Galdutako itxaropenaren eresia? Well, whatever that may mean, Numen is not a bad black/death mix. Quite a large line-up here of seven members, utilizing such instruments as flute, 'alboka,' oboe, etc., plus the traditional guitars and keys. There are times when this bleeds together in a sort of chaotic mess. Overall, the atmosphere in the slower parts of this is very good, while the insane-fast parts sound too generic and offer nothing new. Not a bad release, just not exceptional.

Funeral Fog

Under the Black Veil
[Cold Trance Productions]

      From Canada, this two man black metal outfit offer a primitive and raw sound, sort of reminiscent of some of the genres early greats. This CD is hand numbered to 200 copies... Cold, straight-forward and fairly melodic, Canada delivers another sharp sword in the arsenal of black metal.

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Galloping through the Battle Ruins
[Hellflame/Buio Omega]

      This title by Arghoslent is an LP re-release of a 1998 CD release. But, we have only a CD-R to review, since that is what the label, Buio Omega, sent us. To the music, this is quite quality death metal here. Arghoslent boasts many releases since their demo in 1991, well, twelve years later and I'm just hearing them. Better late then never I guess. The deep gutteral vocals, medium-paced guitar/drums fit very well, as they should. Their experience in this genre shows, a welcome release, even if it is five years late for me. Recommended.

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Incorrigible Bigotry

      ...and here we have the newest release by Arghoslent, which is very similiar to 1998's 'Galloping...,' but perhaps this is a bit faster in part. Nothing really new here, for them, or the genre, but if you are looking for a quality death metal band, this contains enough brutality and aggression to keep you going.

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Golden Dawn

[Napalm Records]

      This is said to be a gothic and black metal mix, and like always, it doesn't work. Musically, they are good, but those 'gothic style' vocals sound exceptionally weak to me. While it has black metal style vocals as well, the other half ruins this for me. Pass.


Aastrand/The End of the Era

      From Spain, this CD-R promo is a slab of raw black metal from two sources: a seven inch EP and a cassette EP. Perhaps the only thing untypical of these works are the vocals, which have a unique raw sound, which works for this recording. After a while this tends to get a little monotonous, but overall, this band proves to have potential, and I hope to see something more refined in the future.

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Kult ov Azazel

Oculus Infernum
[Arctic Music Group]

      Bright sun... sunny beaches... and grim black metal. Coming from Florida, is Kult ov Azazel, quite a fierce black metal act. This eight song CD is relentlessly fast and driving, all the while not losing its grim melody and pounding sound. An impressive CD many will certainly appreciate!

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Self titled
[Ascent Records]

     Although I've never heard this bands previous releases, this release is quite impressive stuff. A sort of thrash-black metal mix, heavy and melodic, and not boring at all, as so many others these days. Thesyre contains ex-members of Frozen Shadows, Decayed Remains and Sloatvean. The previous experience shows in some very well-executed songs. Although it is not entirely unique, it is very refreshing to hear this type of music done right, and done right they have. Recommended!

Contagion Black

Self titled
[self release]

      From 'the frozen wastelands of Canada' come this raw, slow and noisy black metal act. This CD-R release is limited to 50 copies and is about 32 minutes long, and only has one track, one long track, I might say, which is advised by the inlay to 'not meant to be listened to in songs or pieces. And 'It must be endured from beginning to end.' Personally, I liked Contagion Black's raw and primitive aura. If you also enjoy this style, you should give this a try, although my number is 35/50, so there is only 15 left.

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Solace in the Shadows

Blackheart Lake
[Self release]

      From Philadelphia, come Solace in the Shadows, from the ashes of a band called Armageddon. Before today, I had heard or heard of neither. Basically, this is melodic black metal with keys, with sort of early Emperor-esque vocals. I found this recording to have a lot going for it, having a lot of stong points that stand out. I really have no complaints about this, perhaps the vocals could have been recorded at a higher level, but it doesn't really take away from the whole. Another good, unsigned act, you probably should and would want to hear. The CD is available from the band for a meager $4.

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Cold Northern Vengeance

Self titled
[Self release]

     This limited CDR, #8/88, was a most welcome surprise. It is slow and atmospheric black metal, raw and with a lot of feeling, reminding me a lot of early Burzum. My only complaint is it is only four tracks! Yet, four very good, promising tracks they are! The atmosphere and feeling they captured here was a great accomplishment, and I couldn't recommend this more. It is really that good.


Demo 2003
[Self release]

     Here is a mix of seven raw tracks done in a black metal style, intermingled with keyboard tracks and occasional clean vocals and accoustic. There is a definite Burzum influence found here, and the tracks are all fairly unique to one another. There are parts where I'd say the harsh b.m. vocals need work, but nothing that can't be easily fixed in mixing. This demo shows promise, and is not your typical release by far. A bit more practice and experience the band could be something great.

One Step Beyond

Life Imitates Art
[Self release]

      "Originality through diversity" is said to be the ambition of One Step Beyond. They proclaim their influences from such styles as Grind, Rock, Reggae, Funk, Jazz, Thrash, Ska, Punk, Industial and Hip Hop... hmmm... What!? No Latin, or Pop or Death metal?! Seems they are influened by everything else. Let's see what the music says... gutteral death metal vocals... hmm... that wasn't included in the list of influences... must have forgot. Quotes from the Simpsons... hmm... anyway, all of that aside, up until song four the songs are basically death metal, and surprisingly not too bad death metal. Song four shows us some of the aforementioned 'eclectic' influences... track five gives us a very fast black/death sound which ends in some nice circus music. Let's see, the next track... well, the rest of the CD is a mix of styles which I don't feel belong together. The majority of this CD is obviously influenced by black/death metal, and when they are concentrating on just that they aren't bad at all, but the rest ruins it for me. This band should stick to what they are good at, and that is not found amongst their list of influences.

Funeral Mist


      Formed in 1993, it has taken me 10 years to hear this band. Was it worth the wait? Yes. I found the utter chaos of Funeral Mist to be rather soothing. And when the chaos relents, some great raw melodies surface. Seldom does this black metal assault of speed, chaos and dark aggression cease throughout the ten tracks. The only peace you will find here is during the intros. Very recommended!


Melodic Disturbances
[Self release]

     This is the second release I've heard from Aureate, although the soul behind this band has been composing music through various mediums for over a decade. Aureate is atmosphere, usually very subtle, and well composed. The only vocals found here are occasional whispers... From end to end, a good release which shows a lot of talent, creativity and precision.


The Tenth Sub Level of Suicide
[Moribund Records]

     Having SIX demos and NINE CD-Rs under his belt, beginning in 1998, Leviathan is the creation of one individual, 'Wrest.' What stands out most about this release is the tortured, insane sounding vocals. The music is good, fairly standard black metal, but the vocals take it over the edge. One of the best I've heard of this type. Having missed the first FIFTEEN releases (!), I'm pleased to have finally been introduced to this grim, tortured act!


Satanic Black Devotion
[Moribund Records]

      Having first heard Sargeist on the split seven inch with Merrimack, also on Moribind, I found them to be an interesting, worthy B.M. act. Fairly fast and straight forward, it captures the essense of early 90's black metal very well. This is sure to please many, and is a welcome addition to the releases of 2003. Also of note, Sargeist features members from Horna, Pest and Behexen. Recommended!

Midnight Syndicate

Dungeons and Dragons
[Linfaldia Records]

      Midnight Syndicate returns with probably the most unexpected release of 2003, this Dungeons and Dragons Official Roleplaying Soundtrack. When I first received this I thought this was a rather odd project for them, but Midnight Syndicate is not your typical band, and neither is this latest release. It has exceptional atmosphere and feel, an extremely well crafted CD. Like their past releases, it contains no vocals, nor does it need them. While I'm not sure about the whole playing D&D while listening to this, I do know it showcases remarkable talent and creativity. This marks their fifth release, and unlike so many other bands, they keep getting better and better. Masters of atmosphere. Always recommended.

Flagellum/Lux Ferre/Sterkvind

Kult of the Black Flame
[War Productions]

      Here is a three band split CD from Portugal showcasing three underground black metal acts. Limited to 500 copies, this release begins with three songs from Flagellum, which are fast, raw and rather straightforward, with a lot of energy. A good way to begin this 10 track CD. Next is Lux Ferre, a bit faster than Flagellum, at times extremely fast, but not too chaotic, always remaining fairly coherent and sometimes melodic. Last is Sterkwind, my favorite, who utilize keyboards and samples very well. The vocals on this are absolutely crazy sounding. Overall, it is very raw and melodic, and quite unique. Quite an interesting release.

Vampire Nation

Dead City Diary
[Hexagon Records]

      The strange and bizarre things the mail system sometimes brings to me. Here is Vampire Nation, whom I've never heard of before, and apparently this is their 10th release. Well, where to begin, the first song presents vocals which are strange to my ears and not much too my liking, accompanied by an uppity beat. The second track... instrumental. The third track, not too bad at all, a fairly good accoustic track. A handful of other tracks go by... Overall, 'darkwave, electronica' does nothing for me.


God's Silence, Devil's Temptation
[Napalm Records]

      Elis is a female vocal fronted band, with some death metal vocals. The music is well arranged/played, etc., but the vocalist sounds too happy for me. I guess that's fine if that is what you like, but maybe then you should just click on the radio? Although, some of this does sound OK, some people will definitely like this, the talent is undoubtedly here, but I'll pass.


Hin vordende sod og so
[Napalm Records]

      This is Asmegin's debut release, and it is a mix of metal, folk melody, clean/black/death metal vocals and great female vocals. It is a very wide ranging release, and they make it work very well. An impressive debut, and a band to certainly watch for!

Drawn and Quartered

Extermination Revelry
[Moribund Records]

      Drawn and Quartered evolved from another death metal project in the early nineties called Plague Bearer. Since then they've released a few demos and a debut CD, also on Moribund Records. This reminds me a lot of Incantation's debut, vocally, with its deep guttural vocals. It is grinding, doomy to fairly fast, well-paced stuff. It is bands like this that keep the genre alive. Recommended.


Khaos Rizing (promo 08/2003)
[self release-cassette]

      This one track promo holds raw and promising black metal, who as of yet have not released any demos, yet the bio states one is on the way. That is a good thing, because Grimherse laid it down here, cold and raw, melodic and hungry. We'll see what the future holds for this band.

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