...the Soil Bleeds Black

...the Soil Bleeds Black- Alchemie

[World Serpent]

      The newest release by this band, including a track with Arcana, will not disappoint those who have enjoyed ...the Soil Bleeds Black in the past. They stay true to their original style of self-described 'neo medieval folk music.' They use clean male and female vocals with a wide assortment of many instruments including the tambourine, mouth harp, synth, penny whistle, and many more. This release, their fourth album, definitely captures an essence of medieval times, as have their past releases. This is a very talented band with a very unique sound, surely worth checking out if you haven't already!

Midnight Syndicate

Midnight Syndicate-Realm of Shadows

Realm of Shadows
[Entity Productions]

      This third release from this relatively unknown band includes 21 tracks of excellent atmospheric music. It could very well be the soundtrack to a movie. The orchestration is very well put together and provides a good atmosphere for thought and imagination. There are no vocals on this album, besides some spoken narration, just synth and sound effects. Very recommended as one of the best bands of this type.


Magus-Ruminations of Debauchery

Ruminations of Debauchery
[Elegy Records]

      Here is the only release from this band that was actually only together for six months. The band contains members from Absu, but this is a Death Metal project done around 1992. The first track includes a violin and viola which are incorporated nicely. Overall it is an interesting release for fans of Absu and Death Metal alike.

Insights of the Profane

Ma Kahru comp-Insights of the Profane

Insights of the Profane
[Ma Kahru]

      This compilation CD is a mixture of two genres-black metal and dark ambient put out by Ma Kahru Distribution. First, it is a rather diverse release, reflecting many different sounds/styles from both well-known acts (like Abigor and Judas Iscariot) and many not so well-known bands. Unfortunately the two tracks from Abigor and Judas Iscariot are not exclusive tracks, as they were taken from 'Channeling the Quintessence of Satan' and 'Distant in Solitary Night' respectively. It goes without saying almost that both these tracks are great examples of black metal. This CD starts out with a fairly interesting band from Finland called 'Anapthergal,' which conjure forth well-done dark atmospheres, with minimal droning vocals. Next it moves on to Abigor, which I've already mentioned, and to the USA band Baal. This track has its moments, but does get a bit too repetitive. Next Azaghal from Finland begins with clean guitars and soon speeds into fast black metal and back again in spurts. If this song is representative of Azaghal's other material then this is a band to look out for. The next track fades into America's Subklinik, which is very oppressive and dark industrial sounding. This song can get very droning and repetitive after a listen. Next we have Archaean Harmony, a black metal band with a fairly original and interesting sound. Track seven is a US band called Murderous Vision, with a dark industrial sound, accompanied by bizarre sounding samples/voices. Very strange sounding indeed. Track eight is Judas Iscariot, already mentioned. The next track is the solo project of Stephen from ENDVRA, called Ontario Blue. This track is very diverse, with strange sounds and atmospheres, and is well executed. The problem with a lot of ambient bands is they get too repetitive and boring, but this wasn't the case here. Next we have one of America's greats, Myrmidon. This black metal band from Texas are one of the USA's best in the genre. Raw, relentless and crude, a fine example of the worthy bands still left in overcrowded scene. Next is Darkness Enshroud. This track is fairly interesting atmosphere. Although very simple, its an ok track. Next is a band from Canada, Goatwar. This track is very noisy and raw, which I guess is the way they intended. But it didn't do much for me. Track 13, which is a band from the USA called Veinke. A ghostly sounding outro, which was fairly interesting as well. Finally, the last track, which isn't listed on the CD for some reason, is Allfather from Canada. Raw black metal showing a lot of promise. All in all, the concept of this release is very original. I liked the underground nature of this release, showcasing many largely unheard and underground bands. The concept of blending dark ambient and black metal on a compilation is also an interesting and original point. This CD points out the diverse nature of the 'scene,' where a person who likes say early Burzum or Abigor may very well also enjoy the medieval sounds of Arcana or ...the Soil Bleeds Black, for example. The diversification ensures the genre(s) won't grow stale easily. As close-minded as many people in the scene are, there is also an abundance of those who enjoy a myriad of types of music. The one thing, let us not forget, is the belief and message of the music, which we believe are in ways as important as the music itself. This surely must be why one can see an ambient or folk or black metal/death metal CD next to one another on underground distro lists across the globe. So, in a strange way, the essence of this release is also a philosophical statement. A job well done overall.

MaKahru Distrobution


Sadogoat-Malleous Maleficarum

Malleous Maleficarum


These are some of the primary elements of Sadogoat's second demo Malleous Malificarum, executed extremely effectively. This is a follow-up of their first demo "Et in Arcadia Ego," which was much in the same vein, although the sound has improved maybe a little. Sadogoat capture here a primitive sound that, try as they might, hordes of other bands attempt and fail. Strangely, it seems just as difficult to capture a raw, primitive sound as it might be capturing a refined studio/clean sound. Once again, Sadogoat put forth one of the best harsh and raw black metal demos I've heard in some time. A violent audio experience to behold, put this cassette in and watch the trendy crowds disperse home around you holding their ears! Highly recommended! Their first has also been reissued. Order them both through their band page.

Sadogoat Page



[Napalm Records]

      Those of you who enjoyed this band through their last two releases, "Loreia" and "Grimjaur" will not be disappointed with this release, in fact, you will probably be impressed. It is perhaps in many ways even better than the previous releases. Lovisa Hallstedt who added her vocals to first two demos and proceeding two CD's unfortunately is no longer with the band, being replaced with another female vocalist, which I feel is not of the same high caliber. This CD at times has some very good atmosphere, added by the new vocalists harmonies, which although don't live up to the previous singer, are still pretty good. All in all this is an interesting release, and it's not often that I like a band's later material better than their earlier, but this is probably one of the exceptions. Although this band is marketed as a "gothic metal band" they certainly are not 'gothic' in any traditional sense, if any. What Siegenburgen is however is an interesting listen, sure to satisfy many who are fond of a cleaner sounding black metal with accompanying female vocals. To those, this comes recommended.

[Below: CD reverse]

[Below: Alternate cover]

The Sins of Thy Beloved

The Sins of Thy Beloved-Perpetual Desolation

Perpetual Desolation
[Napalm Records]

      First I'd have to say I have mixed feelings about this album. This CD starts out great with a song called 'The Flame of Wrath,' utilizing deep death metal vocals and female vocals and some pretty interesting music as well. Song two though is where the mixed feelings come in. One can sense the death metal style of voice thats always been prevelant in TSOTB's music beginning to be toned down to a gruff, maybe 'gothic' type style. Which I loathe. It also has some electronic sounds, which I also feel doesn't fit. At least the song ends in a more traditional TSOTB style. It's easy to hear the gothic and annoying techno influences beginning to take shape in this band, and it's rather unfortunate. Not that this band was every really unique, but what they did they did very well. None of the songs did anything for me except for the first track, although there are many scattered moments, something definately seems to be missing, hopefully they will be able to find what they lost next time around. If you like techno and goth, maybe you'll like this, but mostly I was just annoyed. The Metallica cover with male and female vocals ending this release didn't help either!


Vintersorg-Odemarkems Son

Odemarkems Son
[Napalm Records]

      "Vintersorg was formed during 1994 with the idea to bring clean vocals back to the heavy metal genre..." Vintersorg is a rather unique band, I'd say successfully combing elements of heavy metal with swedish folk. This band features the singer/composer of the folkish band Otyg as well. I'm not a big fan of this particular sound, but the whole of this material is well done, and no doubt will appeal to many. The female vocals in this release are very well done, as well as the folk areas touched upon. It's also easy to spot out the black metal influence in this band. This is also probably one of those bands that grows on you after more listens.

Obtained Enslavement

Obtained Enslavement-The Shepherd and the Hounds of Hell

The Shepherd and the Hounds of Hell
[Napalm Records]

      Formed nearly eleven years ago in 1989, this is OE's fourth release. While there is nothing groundbreaking or original here, its quite a good black metal release, much like their previous. With the old legends of Norway trading in the sound that had brought them so much respect from the international underground in the past years, it's good to see a band like this still staying true to their sound and style, while not growing stagnant. A very worthy release from a band that's sure to keep Norway on the black metal map.

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