King Diamond

King Diamond-House of God

House of God
[Metal Blade Records]

      King Diamond is a band that is an acquired taste. Wholly unique in so many ways, always retaining a strong fanbase throughout the many years of the bands existence. My first taste of King Diamond was many years ago, and I'm no longer sure of my exact reaction, but I liked it a lot. If I heard it for the first time today, I'm not too sure what I would think. I've always respected this band for a multitude of reasons. Whether it was for the uniqueness of sound, the expert playing of the musicians, the highly imaginative lyrical stories, the extremely unique vocals or just the feel of it all combined. I've also witnessed a sort of downward slope with this band, although certainly not to the point of a bad release. But none of the new material seems to match even remotely the magic of the earlier releases like 'Abigail,' 'Them,' 'Conspiracy,' or even 'The Eye.' However, let's take a look at the 'House of God.' This starts out with a very dark intro track, 'Upon the Cross.' Perhaps some of the darkest sounding material yet. I was very satisfied with the following 12 tracks, it's a pleasure to hear things are still going strong with this band. To those of you who have always heard about this band, but have yet to hear it and are interested, I'd recommend starting closer to the beginning, with some of the older releases, only then, as you work your way up, can you appreciate the talent and uniqueness that has always been King Diamond.

Windham Hell

Reflective Depths Imbibe

Reflective Depths Imbibe
[Moribund Records]

      This is band is extremely varied, from slow ambiance to fast grungy metal. Not too many vocals here, except an occasional very low distorted death style. Windham Hell create a definite unique style, and execute it very well. It's quite impossible to classify this under a single style, it's more of a mesh of many influences. It has some very heavy and interesting arrangements, there is definitely a lot of creativity here. Recommended to those who seek something a bit new.


the true Frost/Kaidas split

[Satanic Terror Productions]

      Frost, originating from Germany and formed in late 1994, put forth a ferocious appearance on this limited edition 7 inch (only 300 copies). A raw, violent sound akin to perhaps Absurd/Countess, this is that rare discovery of a largely unknown, but great band. Their song 'Cyclical Manifestation of Aeonics' is a glimpse at this band's potential. Besides this split they also have a few demos available and a side project called Sadorass, which sounds a lot like Frost, a great band as well. This band calls themselves, 'the true Frost' now apparently since another German band has taken the name. I'm not so sure I like the idea of including the title in the name, but the music speaks for itself, this is highly recommended, get it before it's gone! The other band is from Greece called Kaiadas, with a song called Winterwar Memorial. While not at all bad, they seem to me a lot less original and lacking the intensity and feeling of Frost. It's hard to judge the band on one song, they're definitely worth investigating further.

Frost homepage

Arkhon Infaustus

seven inch


      Arkhon Infaustus of France offer two great black/death tracks in this 7 inch put out by Spikekult Records. Beginning with the packaging/appearance, it is very professional looking and well designed, limited to only 300 copies, this will no doubt be sold out very quickly, if it's not already. The songs themselves prove the skill and fervor of this great band. A mixture of black and death, the songs 'Dead Cunt Maniac' and 'The Whorehouse Coven,' are surely two intense examples of a great full length CD to come. A recommended band from a great rising label.

Arkhon Infaustus homepage

Mythological Cold Towers

Remoti Meridiani Hymni

Remoti Meridiani Hymni
[Somber Music]

      This CD begins with a tribal sounding intro and leads into a rather unique black/death metal sound. Being from Brazil, it's centered on their pagan past, lyrics and imagery speaking, which is good to see people looking to their OWN roots, and not following trends. The music is interesting, with lots of changes and layers, and is mostly very well-written. Overall it's a pretty good release, the synth isn't too overly used, though in some songs the spoken word passages are. The booklet itself is top-notch, glossy and a heavy stock paper. Somber Records seems to have not spared the cost on this printing. Pleasing.


Taur Ru Fuin

Taur Ru Fuin
[Astral Wings Records]

      Recorded back in 1994, this is a great release, containing all of the cold atmosphere, aggression and energy you should expect from the talented musicians involved, which are: Capricornus of Thor's Hammer/Capricornus on drums, Anextiomarus-vocals, guitars and bass and Rob Darken of Graveland/Lord Wind on keyboards. It's easy to hear why Darken is so noted for his extraordinary keyboard talent on this recording, his ability to create atmosphere is top notch. An incredible example of raw/atmospheric black metal, if you've yet to hear this and can find this CD, you will not be disappointed. Superb.

Thor's Hammer

Fidelity Shall Triumph

Fidelity Shall Triumph
[Darker Than Black]

      The long anticipated release from Capricornus, Fidelity Shall Triumph was well worth the wait. Powerful and with presence, the strong vocals set this apart from many other bands, not too mention the music, which is great in itself at portraying the feelings expressed. It is and was releases like this which brought the Polish scene so much respect and attention, wanted or unwanted. Highly recommended.

In Battle

The Rage of the Northmen

The Rage of the Northmen
[Napalm Records]

     Hailing from Sweden, this, upon glance might seem like it might be just another one of those 'Viking style' bands which have become so trendy-the band name, the album title, the Viking ships on the cover, all lend to this belief. However, upon listening, it is very different. It's extremely aggressive, fierce and violent sounding. The singer's (Otto Wiklund) voice sounds remarkably violent, evil, and as ferocious as anything you'll soon hear or have heard, like a cross between a serpent and a wolverine. Very fast is the music, fairly melodic and memorable, yet the drums do sound a bit weak, my only complaint. Quite a good release, sure to please many.

Opera IX

The Black Opera: Symphoniae Mysteriorum in Laudem Tenebrarum

The Black Opera: Symphoniae Mysteriorum in Laudem Tenebrarum
[Avantgarde Music]

     After their last CD-Sacro Culto, which I thought was great and extremely unique, Opera IX has always been a breath of fresh air in the scene. But this new release... well, I can't help but feel something has been lost. It's a lot the same sound, there's nothing here drastically different, it's fairly difficult to point out what went wrong in my opinion. Cadaveria's voice at times seems to lose its mystique, and I think overall this lacks the feeling that was so incredibly prevalent in the previous two releases. This is a very critical review, and would probably be very favorable if I had never heard their previous works. Fans of the previous may enjoy this, maybe even find it better somehow than their past releases (I recommend you find out for yourself), but I personally feel that something was lost...


Between Human and Divine

Between Human and Divine
[Repulse Records]

      This is quite an unknown melodic black metal band from Spain, on Repulse Records. There's nothing too ground breaking here really, but it is pretty good, in a raw sense. A two man band, one handling vocals, and the other the instruments-electric and acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards and drum machine and some backing vocals. I might also mention there are some female vocals on one track. I do think there is potential here to be something greater, as there is a certain feeling captured here. But with this release, they remain slightly above average. "You might cross the sky... But you'll never reach the Heavenshore"

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