Volkszorn

Der Ewige Jude
[Micetrap Records]

      This 12 track release is all in German. It has some clean vocals and some death metal vocals. Most of the songs flow pretty well and are enjoyable. The absolute best part of this release has to be their awesome rendition of the old 80's song '99 Luft ballons' called '99 Judenschweine.' It is much better than the original!

Micetrap Records


Hetzjagd

Revolution
[Wewelburg-rec]

      The heavy, gruff voice of the lead singer really works for this band. Most of the songs are in German with a few in English. My favorite song is 'Final War,' where the bad English only adds to its charm. An awesome song! '...It's time for final waaaaaaaar....'

Wewelsburg Records


Arisches Blut

Ein Fuhrer
[Arisches Reich Productions]

      The clean sung German vocals and acoustic guitar songs on this release are filled with feeling. It has a folkish style that I really like. Although the sound and production could be better, the rawness gives it an edge. 'Mein Kamerad' is one of my favorites, but there are a lot of worthy songs to be found here. I certainly enjoy it!

Arisches Reich Productions


Hassgesang

"B.Z.L.T.B."
[Micetrap Records]

      This is a pretty rockin' cd. Like all Micetrap releases that I've seen, the layout and production are superb. All the lyrics except one song are in German. But speaking of that one English song ...wow is it a good one. It's called 'Final Fight' and it is electric!

Micetrap Records


Ferox

Vart Svenska Lynne
[Nordvind Records]

      This Swedish band play accoustic folk music. Very, very professional quality. There are songs in both Swedish and English. A masterpiece lay hidden on this unassuming CD... 'Farewell White Woman.' A song whose lyrics are the poem of the same name by David Eden Lane of the Bruder Schweigen. A beautiful poem put to song and music nearly perfectly. Truly one of the saddest and most beautiful songs ever. A true masterpiece.

Nordvind Records


Block 11

Here We Are
[Pit Records]

      This CD starts out very strange, a sort of dark, robotic voice modulation is used. However, it leads into one of the coolest songs I've heard in ages! 'The Colours of My Battle' is a catchy masterpiece. Melodic and memorable, it's one of those songs you like from the first time you hear it. Block 11 is from Italy and about half of this CD is in Italian, the other half English.

Band Website


Block 11

Last Act of War
[Hate Division Records]

      All of the songs on this release are in Italian except two. One of those songs is a cover of a Skrewdriver song, 'Patriot,' and it is one hell of a cover. It is rare that another artist does someone else's song better, but this might be the case here. It is superb! The cleanly sung vocals and catchy music are a perfect combination. This is a truly talented band.

Band Website


Cryptic Might

Circle of Blood
[V7 Records]

      Here is something different, that blew me away. The first song, 'Black Sun Rising' is awesome! This song quickly became one of my faves of all time, it's that good. I think this band is from Germany, however all lyrics are in English. It is headed by a female vocalist, and is a mix of metal and accoustic. I impatiently await their next release! This is superb!

Label Website


Absurd

Life Beyond the Grave 1992-1994
[Elegy Records]

      Here is a much needed release of the Absurd demos, which are very hard to obtain today, since they were released in very limited quantities in the past. This release is 2 CD's and includes five demos. The demos are 'God's Death' (demo '92), 'Death from the Forest' (demo '93), 'God's Death/Sadness' (demo '93/'94), 'Out of the Dungeon' (demo '94) and 'Thuringian Pagan Madness' (demo '95). This release also includes 8 pages of color pictures of the bands past, a small interview regarding this release and lyrics. A great, well-done release!

Elegy Records Website


Crimson Darkness

The Devourer of All
[self release-promo]

      This band was formed in 1996 and are from the UK. They have one album, two E.P.'s and a promo sampler, although this is my first taste of them. I was impressed. It is quite proficient, melodic black metal, with some keyboards. As the CD spun on, deeper into the tracks, I'd say it is very impressive stuff. This is well crafted, not just something thrown together. A good sounding black metal vocal style tops a great package. Good stuff!

Band Website


Midnight Syndicate

Carnival Arcane
[Linfaldia Records]

      Midnight Sydicate return for a 14th time! That's right, this is their 14th release. Most of their releases are centered around themes, and this one is a turn of the century carnival. A dark and majestic one. A lot of the tracks are movie like, with background atmosphere of talking and happenings. These aren't my favorites. But others, my favorites, are very darkly beautiful. Like track 11, Arcane Wonders... and track 14, a beautifully orchestrated piece. There is so much variance from track to track, this release really showcases Midnight Syndicate's broad skill. After so many fantastic releases you have to wonder, is it even possible for these guys to create something bad? I think not!

Band Website


Essenza

Devil's Breath
[Bigmud Records]

      The music of Essenza, whom first formed in Italy in 1993, is described as 'classic heavy metal', and that's what you get. On this fifth release from this band, one thing you notice from the beginning is the talent of this band musically, it truly is some of the best out there in this area. Melodic, expertly written and extremely varied, it really does remind the listener of past greats. The vocals are pretty straight-forward 80's metal sounding, although not nearly as adept as the rest of the band. Musically something to behold. If you're into classic sounding metal done today, Essenza is your ticket back to the 80's!

Band Website


Phaith

Redrumorder
[self]

      This Italian heavy metal band was formed in 2000. Like their aforementioned country-mates 'Essenza', musically they are very proficient. Regarding their influences, they state on their bio-sheet that someone once told them 'do not stink to clone'?! Well, that says it all doesn't it? While I don't have the space available in this review to comment on the cover and title of this release, 'Murder order', and its accompanying American soldiers-esque cover, let me just cite a famous quote and say that the first thing to die in war is the truth. I heard recently in the news that the American government was caught throwing the remains of its dead soldiers into garbage dumps. Garbage dumps. Someone should sift around in that same garbage dump and find America's honor, because it's been thrown away too.

Band Website


Countess

On Wings of Defiance
[Barbarian Wrath]

      This is Countess' 13th release and is limited to 666 hand-numbered copies. This is also the first digital copy I've ever reviewed. Normally I like to see and hold what I'm to review, but in this case, I've made an exception. First, Countess has always been one of my favorite black metal bands. Since their first release, 'Gospel of the Horned One', back in 1993. Countess have stayed true throughout their long history, and this new release is no exception. Melodic, raw yet professional, and highly memorable stuff here. My favorite track 'An Emperor's Stand', is about the great roman Emperor Julian who tried to bring back Paganism to Rome. It is catchy and aggressive, and has everything I like about this band. Countess remain one of the most underrated black metal bands of the age. It is remarkable that it is a rather unknown band. A true enigma, as it is one of the genres greatest.

Label Website


Winterthrone

The Godslayer
[self-release]

      From Germany comes this six track release of raw black metal. First off, this is extremely chaotic, too chaotic for its own good much of the time. Yet, behind the wall of chaos and noise are melodies and great potential. The last track 'Triumph and Emptiness', was my favorite, with its orchestrated sound and grim vibe showing the potential of this band. It also lets up on the chaotic speed and shows melody and atmosphere instead. The vocal style, angry and crazed sounding, done in a sort of industrial black metal style, is unfortunately drowned often by the speed and chaos of it all. All in all lot's of cool and unique elements to this band, if only it wasn't so chaotic so much of the time. Definitely a band to watch.

Band Website


Enodia

Witchhouse
[Necrophilia Orgasm]

[Hand-numbered to 50 copies]

      Enodia is a dark ambient project from Germany. The opening track 'The First Night' sets off this 11 track release well. In the background of 'The First Night' are strange, unsettling sounds, a sort of animal wining/whimpering noise, just barely discernable, but enough to blanket the track in eerie ambience. Another good track is 'Like Butterflies in a Spiderweb', with its ghostly female voices. It is evident that a lot of work and creativity went into this, missing from so many bands these days. This release is full of strange, dark energies, ominous and complex. The look and feel of the layout and artwork is also interesting, with its burned out houses and peeling missing children posters. An interesting release.


[Back]


[CD]


Sushi Rain

Breathless
[Madamadore Publishing - Discographic]

      Hailing from Tuscany, in the land of the Romans, 80's sounding metal must be very popular in Italy, because I have heard many as of late from this country. The first track is unintentionally funny, as the vocalist chants 'Jigga-boo, jigga boom boom' Ha! I wonder if he knows that this is a racial slur in America? Although this is not my cup-of-tea, its remarkable how many talented Italian bands there are. Musically, this band is very good at playing their instruments and song-writing and is not short of talent. But alas, its hard for me to review stuff like this because it is not my forte. Maybe it is yours? In that case, enjoy the Sushi Rain but watch out for the salmonella!


Octainium

The Prophecy
[self-produced 2011]

      From Centurian, South Africa, come Octainium. This was actually the third CD that was sent to us for review before we finally got it, such is the thieving mail system there. But South Africa has a lot of problems other than the mail system! Well, it was worth all the trouble. Octainium is a very tight, technical and aggressive sounding band. I was impressed from the beginning with this CD's melodic heaviness and death metal vocals. And unlike many bands these days, the periodic clean vocals found here are actually well done, not distracting. The singer's voice has great range and feeling. The intelligent lyrics deal with important topics, not only regarding the immense problems of South Africa, but the world. My favorite tracks are actually those that focus a little more on the clean vocals-they are that good, but the heavier tracks are good in their own right. This is a fairly young band, still unsigned, which is remarkable to me, and probably won't be unsigned for long. Bands like this stand above the endless legions of bands these days. While there are unpolished bits here and there, that is found with any young band, but as a whole this is a great release which shows outstanding promise.

[CD liner]


Babylon Mystery Orchestra

Poinium Cherem
[self-produced 2012]

      Now here is a strange one. But first, the details. Hailing from The United States-Alabama to be precise, comes the one man band of Babylon Mystery Orchestra, done by a guy named Sidney Allen Johnson. The creator of this is a very angry Christian who has a bone to pick with planet Earth! I know this sounds funny, and ironic, but if Christians really believed what they professed they would all be angry like our Sidney here. But first, what does it sound like?

Well, kind of a metal sound, with melodic guitars, but harshly spoken vocals, or perhaps narration would be a better word. It is full of angry biblical quotations and political and sociological protest. Much of the themes explored here any intelligent person could agree with. Topics like anti-Communism, government oppression, dwindling personal freedoms, modern man's stupendous ego and the celebration of homo this and homo that.

In today's diseased society criticizing these topics is taboo and controversial. I can't imagine many Christians enjoy the works of Babylon Mystery Orchestra, many of them would probably be terrified of it in fact. Not just of the harsh vocal style and heavy music, but mostly of one of their own coming out and having the balls to speak out against this decaying world.

I leave you with the words of Mr. Johnson, from the track 'Seething.'

'Everybody's got an axe to grind, Homosexual speak your mind
Fill your screams with "equal rights" and turn the truth into a lie
Lesbians kiss at the school prom and little Suzy's got two moms
The incorruptible is made corrupt, so don't be shocked by what errupts

A self loathing parade of pride, a bearded man is called a bride
You play the victim of false oppression, it justifies your ill obsession'

[CD liner]


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