Friday, November 28, 2008

Ironsword (Prt) - Overlords of Chaos


A lot of the heavy metal that is coming out today can be considered as bands that miss the point of heavy metal. These bands have some catchy riffs every once in a while and those fist pounding choruses that one can enjoy, but kind make the listener get the feeling like Iron Maiden did it much better. However, in Kansas a band called Manilla Road evolved to a heavy metal band with tons of balls to the walls riffs which maintain the energy and fist pounding choruses of heavy metal, but riffs to blow you off your ass. Manilla Road made a few albums in this style (The Deluge, Open the Gates, Mystification, and Out of the Abyss), and the guys from Ironsword obviously eat this up because Overlords of Chaos takes the ideas from Manilla Road and expand upon them; it can be easy to think about Ironsword as just a Manilla Road clone, but they are so much more!

Overlords of Chaos is filled balls to the walls riffs from start to finish. The growth of songwriting and riffs from Ironsword’s previous two albums is phenomenal. When writing the songs this time around, Ironsword uses much better leads to enhance the riffing and the flow of the songs. During each song, a crushingly heavy metal riff comes out, but to make sure the song doesn’t get tedious the band throw in heart felt leads and emotive vocals to keep the listener entrenched in the album. All out aggression is the point of this album (with a few acoustic parts, but work perfectly in the album) with deep vocals that are reminiscent of Mark Shelton of Manilla Road; however, the use of Manilla Road style vocals, just makes it feel like the aggressive days of Manilla Road are continued into today’s metal; however, the band has loads of catchy fist pounding heavy metal choruses as well! Overlords of Chaos is filled with emotion from the entire band; it’s obvious that each band member puts their heart and soul into each riff, bass line, drum beat, and vocal lines. Emotion in this album just makes this album from a good heavy metal album to something great.

With a combination of great influences, superb songwriting, and emotion, this album can easily be described as a worthy album on its own or an expansion of the great works of Manilla Road!

Go to Shadow Kingdom Records and buy this heavy metal massacre!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Darkspace (Che) - Dark Space III (2008)


Darkspace has put out a third album after two fantastic albums. The third one stays in the black metal/ambient genre, but they are starting to explore some more ideas. The band got its fame from Paysage d'Hiver, but now it's looking like Paysage d'Hiver is going to be the side project of the Darkspace guy. This highly anticipated release does not let down.

The band plays a unique combination of dark ambient and black metal, but the style of black metal has switched on each albums. This album is almost a mixture of their first two albums, bu they start to explore a mixture of the chugging parts and the traditional hypnotic black metal. Darkspace intermixes both of these styles to create some hypnotic characters that rival some of the black metal greats, in a new and excitingway. As the name implies, Darkspace creates the emptiness of space, mixed with evilness. This mixture turns out to be completely brooding and perfect for the band's approach. The band's approach uses ambient passages and actual black metal to create the ambient feel to the album, aside from the huge hooks some of the songs evolve into (Dark 3.13 is a perfect example). While listening to the album, it's obvious that the atmosphere is the main goal of the album, and Darkspace makes the atmosphere exactly as one would expect, yet not using the standard black metal approach.

In total, the riffs, the ambient pieces, and the incoherent vocals lead the listen in a winding spiral in outer space; there is a coherent confusion through this album that keeps the listener in the atmosphere and all around enticed to put it on again. Don't expect this album to catch your attention on the first few listens; it's complex, dark, and ambient. The album is a joy to listen to and repeated listens only bring out more and more complex hypnotic states in the listener. for some samples!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Nifelheim (Swe) - Nifelheim (1995)

Alastor's third album was a good example of the type of black metal I enjoy on a regular basis. But this Nifelhiem album is much higher on my list of essential european blackness. The thrash and early black metal influences are in full force on this release, it's too bad somewhere along the way they lost their intensity and "evil" feel after this classic first album. Reference to Morpheus (Swe) and Necrophobic (Swe) are important here as the ties are deep and some members are shared. Tyrant is a true artist (Just check out the cover art he did for Necrophobic's most recent "Hrimthursum", and it has always shown in his work with both Nifelheim and the more serious stuff in Necrophobic. If you like intensly satanic, no frills black metal with thrashing in abundance definitely check this one out. Balls out, ripping black metal! Hail satan.


Disciples of Power (Can) - Invincible Enemy (1993)

While the epitome of Disciples of Power is their "Ominous Prophecy" album, "Invincible Enemy" is a righteous contender as the band became more technically proficient and introspective. As always the performances are thoughtfully arranged and distinctly possess their own style. You simply can't compare Disciples of Power with many other bands. Progressive, technical but not wanking, rocking but not pedestrian, thrashing but definitely death metal. Any album maintaining a unique and heavy atmosphere such as this is welcome in my top 10 list of favorite releases. DoP would go on to their technical height "Mechanikill" after this, then split up for a short time until their final, less ambitious swansong "In Dust We
Trust". For fans of all eras of Chuck's Death, and death/thrash metal in general. I don't feel comfortable m too many comparisons as none of them seem to fit. A starving, talented group of musicians who were in it solely for the musical expression and passion for the genre. Legitimately heavy and extreme metal.


Apoplexy (Svk) - Tears of The Unborn (1995)

Great Slovakian death metal bands are few and far between, especially in the old school. Sure there are some above average bands here and there. My personal favorites are Dehydrated's "Ideas" a brutal yet intelligent offering, Protest's oddly titled first album... and this amazing, original Apoplexy album. This is truly an old school classic offering, combining the melodic prowess of mid-era Loudblast, the sound and (again melody) of Sentenced's masterpiece "North From Here" Apoplexy really pull it off with this debut. The songs are mid-to-fast paced, and short acoustic/clean guitar passages are thrown in to add to the unique yet familiar atmosphere. Recommended for anyone who enjoys Loudblast, Demigod (Fin), early Sentenced, and the first three Amorphis albums. Listen to "Confine Shadows" and tell me that isn't a classic death metal song!