The Foreshadowing – Oionos (2010) Album Review

Got another review out. Like I said, I will use my free time to write as many review as I can and I clearly want to review this album, since it is one of my favorites. Remember that I left an opening in the last review of The Foreshadowing‘s debut album? Well, I did it on purpose, so that I can start this review and the future one from their latest opus.

Honestly, they really nailed it with this second album. Oionos in ancient Greek means “sign” and it surely is a sign, a good one, filled with potential, filled with goodness and as well, filled with what we’re used from The Foreshadowing, sadness, but this time, with a better production, with a more mature sound, a sign that this band did not spend 3 years since their debut album doing nothing. Marco Benevento and the crew managed to re-invent themselves and to put forward probably one of the best gothic metal opus in 2010.

I think that in my other reviews I might’ve mentioned a principle that applies for every band. The first album is the manifesto, usually is not the best album of a band, since their sign has just been put forward to the audience, however, the impression it gives matters the most, since it is crucial for building a fan-base. However, not the same thing we can say about the second opus. The second opus should not be a manifesto, but the real thing, the revolution, the opus that should offer a mature sound, performance and a perfect ambience, perfect synchronization and maybe some other spicy elements to make the album much more impressive.

This is how I view Oionos, an album that represents not only the revolution that happened within the band for the past 3 years, but a revolution for the entire gothic metal genre, trapped in a sea of shallowness for almost a decade. Though in essence, this album is pretty much the same like the previous one, if you take it separately, you realize that something sounds different, the riffs, the music, the voice, the drums, they simply flow much easier than it did on Days of Nothing, Marco Benevento’s voice remained as sorrowful as it was on the previous opus, but now that the playing style has matured, his voice is put to value by the way the other band members are now playing.

I question what could’ve changed this band so much because, other than the drummer, nothing changed in the line-up. While, of course, I consider this drummer far better than the previous one, it is not enough of a change to influence the entire sound of the band. The most possible answer is the change of record houses, they signed with a record house (Cyclone Records) that has more experience with band that embrace the doom or death metal sounds (lets not forget that gothic metal, in essence is a genre derived from death metal) but it also sustains underground black metal bands too. In other words, this is a label that is experience with bands that sound mellow and epic (take Solstice for example, in my opinion, one of the best epic doom metal bands this scene has to offer, too bad it is not as active as it used to be in the past, and I am not counting live performances, but studio activity).

Same like the previous album, this one explores the tragedy theme, more specific, a post-apocalyptic theme. The song that opens the album, The Dawning, clearly manifest this way, with the lyrics “The world explodes and shows the tragedy of foolsWho chose the war and turned to ashes and ruins |No might or command to obey in the poisoned landAnd I keep death inside, just sleeping with corpses at night“. It quickly descends into the 2nd track, Outsiders, one of my favorite tracks that this record has to offer, with impressive drum lines that open this track (this is the reason why I like the new drummer more than the previous one). This track, and the 3rd one, the self-titled track, Oionos, present the moments before the apocalypse, portraying an event where “the outsiders”, I guess, the ones not involved in the conflict, watch how the world crumbles as humanity continues to wage war, instead of living in peace: And all the seasons always changinFor the outsiders it all remains unchanged.

Fallen Reign represents a moment of meditation, where the one that tells the story asks himself, whether there is life after death and what will it be, if what he could see in his mortal past, was just a holocaust? It is one of the most melancholic songs this album has to offer, and Marco’s best vocal performance, especially on the chorus. The 5th track, Soliloquium, stands as a mere instrumental or prologue for the second part of this album which begins with the best track of this album, Lost Humanity. This is the track where all hope is lost for humanity, where the protagonist views the cruel acts of war with helplessness. Survivors Sleep is a piano ballad where Marco’s voice is at its peak. Seriously, this guy sounds awesome on more down-tunned songs like this one, and the piano solo fits his vocal performance perfectly. Songs like this one remind me of the old Paradise Lost days.

No use taking all songs and analize them here either, since those that know them from their debut album or that know how gothic doom metal unfolds, realize that the instrumental performance is pretty much the same, with few pacing changes. I do believe that what The Foreshadowing needs is variety in the vocal performance. I think so, because, no matter how beautiful and enchanting Marco Benevento’s voice is, it is a voice that really becomes monotone if you rip it off of the song. His inabillity to go up several tonnes with his voice is a clear sign of repetition, this is why I will always put Draconian over them, even though the style is different, the fact that the voice vary, is a strong asset for the Swedish gothic metallers.

One more thing, this album contains one of the best cover songs I heard in a while. Honestly, there aren’t many bands that can produce cover songs, perform it decently, while being true to their own roots. Sting’s song called Russians was the perfect choice for this band and a perfect choice to place in this album, an album that explores themes such as war, conflict and post-apocalyptic scenarios. While, Russians is a song that ventures into politics and international affairs but it is still focused on the theme of conflict. Sting knew why he wrote this song, he did it to respond to the threats that the main leaders of the two sides, the Soviet side and the American side, to warn them that their way of doing things is not a good one, because in the end, they want to protect the same thing.

Now to underline some songs that represent the highlight of this album: OionosLost HumanitySurvivors SleepChant of Widows (probably the heavyest song they present in this album) and Russians (Sting cover). In essence, the entire album is good, all the songs are solid, and they will sure satisfy, but these songs that I mentioned are the ones that truly make this album shine, is all of them have their own distinct traits while keeping the roots of the band.

If you loved the represetnation this band has put forward with their first opus, Days of Nothing, then don’t think twice and get your hands on this album, because it is a rare gem. If you love their playing style on the first opus, rest assured, it has not changed much, it only evolved into a much better, a more mature performance, one that will surely impress. Gothic metal lovers, don’t miss this opus!

Overall: 95/100

The Foreshadowing – Days of Nothing (2007) Album Review


This time, I won’t keep you guys waiting. While I still had some stuff to solve after I wrote the W.A.S.P. review (which explains the lengthy gap between the two last reviews), this time I can benefit from my own free time, listen to a lot of new records as well as not neglecting the older ones as well. Well, this is not what I would call old, a 5 year old record that managed to impress me at that time, still haunts me even today. Enter the world of gothic doom metal!

Previously I reviewed another gothic doom metal band which is also one of my favorites and I could always place them in my top 5 best metal band, Draconian. But, do we expect the same recipe from The Foreshadowing as well? The answer is not quite. Truth to be told, we speak about a clear distinction between these two bands, which is something new for me, since gothic doom metal is a fusion of genres that is pretty much limited in both playing style, singing style and song structure. Take Draconian’s songs for example, you could hear pretty lengthy songs (most of them over 5 minutes length), repetitive song structures, lack of guitar solos, a sorrowful atmosphere, and a beautiful duo singing, a male with harsh vocals and a female with e melodramatic vocal act, both of them representing their roots, the first stating that gothic metal took influences from death metal and the second reminds that doom metal, in essence, is not meant to be extreme and unconventional, like most people think.

What The Foreshadowing delivers is not that different from what Draconian delivers, but it has its own elements. The song structure and the instrumentals are monotone and repetitive at the same time, Marco Benevento‘s voice gets pretty monotone, as the guy does not change his tone at all, but what I liked more on this album compared to Draconian’s latest opus is the fact that the keyboard usage is not discarded. Individually, none of the members is impressive or ground-breaking, but placing them together, the magic happens, they manage to adapt their playing style in such a manner, that the songs they deliver are pretty credible, pretty enjoyable and it meets you expectations. Marco Benevento’s voice, even without the sorrowful ambience that the instrumental produces, manages to attain that sad atmosphere. I apologise to the ones that label the music of ones band, but I would also like to add the dark ambience tag on this one, since the songs are not as heavy and ruthless as Draconian’s songs. Also, add the fact that they do not use female vocals, and you have another difference.

If I were to compare them with a band other than Draconian, that would be Katatonia, as their depressive style resembles Katatonia’s Discouraged Ones, an album that gave hints of style change, from a doom/death approach to a depressive rock/metal style.

Another thing that sets these two acts apart is the lyrical theme. While Draconian prefers apocalyptic themes, anti-religious (especially anti-christian ones), The Foreshadowing prefers themes such as nature, death or stories about the armageddon. The production that this album received is also top-notch, as expected from the tech these days and it is clear that they do not wish to do things half-heartedly, they want to do it professionaly.

It is kinda hard for me to name some songs that highlight this album, because I really enjoyed pretty much all of them. The problem with this band is that, the songs alone are great, but when you listen to this album without pause, you cannot overlook the monotone feeling you’re getting and it really gets boring. I enjoyed the intro, Cold Waste quickly followed by my no.1 favorite of this opus, The Wandering. This song proves that this band knows when the speed up stuff and when to slow down, as well as the guitarist duo shows that they can colaborate well. Marco Benevento’s vocal act is also very depressing managing to deliver exactly what would one expect from a gothic doom metal band. Also this is one of the more heavy tracks this album offers.

The guitar riffs on Departure are also well executed, whick makes this song another highlight of this album. Afterwards, Eschaton enchants the ears of the listener with some of the best rhythms which partly reminds me of old Anathema, with that feeling of suicide. What I like about Marco’s voice in this song is that he tends to go a little bit high here. Some people might call his performance as a lack of motivation, but I think he does it on purpose, trying to make one realize that this is not an album where eagerness builds its way, but where death, darkness and suicidal thoughts reign.

I stop with my song analize here, no point in talking about all of them since on paper they sound all the same, but when you give the album a listen, you realize that all of them have their own good points, even though the good points can be found on all of them. Lets not forget that this is a debut album, it has one fatal flow, the fact that it does not have a closure. It begins well, it develops well, it catches your attention but it end abruptly.

For a debut album though, this is pretty solid. If we check the background of Marco Benevento for example, we realize that he comes from a similar background. He contributed with his vocals on How Like A Winter’s 2004 opus (in my opinion, one of the best gothic doom metal acts) and on Kamlath‘s first opus as well. He is a singer rooted in the gothic doom metal genre and the dark ambient style.

All in all, if you are a fan of gothic doom metal, don’t skip this album, rather than that, rest assured, if you love Katatonia, old Anathema, Draconian or if you are acquainted with Marco Benevento’s other bands, I assure you that you can buy this album without trying it before, it will surely appeal to you and it won’t be a waste of cash. For those that are not so well experienced with the implications of the gothic doom metal scene, you should give it a shot first. This is not a ground-breaking opus, this is not entirely original, but it is something new in a sea of mediocrity. Maybe this band won’t rise to fame (though I hope that I am wrong), but I hope they won’t reduce their quality in their later works in order to appeal to a wider audience and to break into mainstream (which is common for the gothic scene nowadays anyway).

Overall: 78/100

Kreator – Phantom Antichrist (2012) Album Review

Many of you might wonder why I never had a review around here about a thrash metal band. The answer is simple, I was not too fond on them a while back, but everything changed with this album, and with this band as a whole. I used to listen to thrash metal even in the past, but somehow it did not impress me, I though that it was a little bit random, all about speed and stuff, in my mind, it was shallow, without substance. Though things changed after I glimpsed at the new Kreator single, released in spring before the official release of this album. I have to say that unlike the American thrash metal scene (with the exception of Slayer and Overkill) the German thrash metal scene knows how to be extreme, how to be brutal and how to make thrash metal.

The expectations that were not met with the new Metallica opuses, the last one which definitely sucks big ass (wondering why the fuck are they still around, putting shameless albums on sale with a lack of quality), Kreator proves that thrash metal is still alive and still kicking ass, same way like it did 20 or 30 years ago. Screw “The Big 4”, the german teutonic trio (Sodom, Kreator, Destruction) is far better but less popular. They deliver opuses with better quality but because of the fact that they are more brutal and more unconventional, they did not manage to get ahold of a proper place in the thrash metal scene. The years of glory of the thrash metal scene were entirely occupied by Metallica and the other American thrash metal bands, leaving the German thrash metal scene in a shadow for almost a decade. Bands like Kreator rose to fame after the decay of Metallica, especially after the 90s.

I was pretty surprised when I grabbed Kreator’s discography for a more careful listen, and I found that the previous 3 albums were also well received and had some thrash metal songs that would definitely put Metallica to shame. Hell, after 3 amazing thrash metal albums, many would expect them to walk on a path downhill, however they didn’t. On contrary, they might’ve released their best opus ever, that’s the extent of Phantom Antichrist and the quality that it delivers.

So, thrash metal fans and thrash metal bands and artist, grab this album and listen closely. It begins with the self-titled track, Phantom Antichrist (well it is actually preceded by an intro called Mars Mantra) which was released as a single and a video was also made for it. The song definitely convinces you that you’re on for a fist, but this is not necessarily the best track this album has to offer, but for an intro, it is a great choice a really inspired one and a really good way to promote an upcoming album and a long awaited one as well. We hear insane riffs, great symmetry between the two guitars, the bass lines at some points are also audible and the drum beats are well executed. I seriously include Jurgen in the top 5 best thrash metal drummers all time, probably after Slayer’ Dave Lombardo. This track has everything you love about thrash metal.

It descends to the 3rd track of this album entitled Dead to the World  a track that for many will remind of Nightwish, as the song was featured on a Nightwish album (I think Century Child). Well, it is nothing as cheesy as that, but rather, a less brutal act when compared to the previous song, still it is a song that carries the name and trademark of Kreator with it, powerful drum beats, impressive guitar solos and riffs and amazing vocals performed by Mille Petrozza.

Probably the high-light of this album is the 4th track, From Flood Into Fire. The song begins with a rather slow-paced guitar solo which is soon followed by Jurgen fast and ruthless blast drum beats. It won’t take long until you will recognize that Kreator does not stray from their brutal aspect. The chorus features a choir which blends pretty well with Mille’s screams and his guitar solos. Civilization Collapse follows the same pattern like the previous track, this time we are introduced with a rhythmic drum beat, resembling a ritual afterwards descending into the brutality we are used.

United in Hate briefly reminds me of Paradise Lost‘s 2009 opus entitled “Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us“, not in style but in name only. It features an accoustic guitar intro and a pretty well performed one but it does not take long, because soon after we hear angry guitar riffs and ruthless blast drum beats.

I’ll stop here with the track by track presentation, the only high-lights I want to mention are the tracks The Few, The Proud, The Broken another track that deserves to be praised and the ending one, Until Our Paths Cross Again which is a sort of see you next time. Thinking back, Kreator has always placed quality albums, I cannot deny the fact that their first albums were the root of brutality and had an important contribution for the development of underground extreme metal. While in the 90s they were focused on experimenting with different sounds and styles, the opuses the released were not that convincing. A come back happened with the beginning of the new millenium and since Violent Revolution, I only heard great quality albums. Unfortunately, at their latest concert that I attended (this was a couple of days ago) I was surprised to see the fact that they prefer to focus a lot more on their 80s albums rather than these ones which makes me think that they do not know how to promote themselves, probably this is the reason why Kreator has been overshadowed all these years by the American thrash metal scene.

Still, the previous 3 albums were not entirely great, there were good tracks and bad ones as well, but this is one hell of a solid album, all tracks deserve to be praised and to be played live, in fact they should just sing the entire album live (too bad its length is only 45 minutes and when we talk about Kreator, we talk about a band that deserves to headline any kind of metal festival, without a doubt). Thrash metal for sure it is not dead, it is a genre that re-invents itself and it is maintained alive by bands such as Kreator, which even after 30 years of thrashing, they still can release quality material.

One thing helped them throughout the years, the fact that their line-up did not change much since 2001 (when Violent Revolution was released). I believe that the stability within the band was the benefactor. Well guys, if you love thrash metal, this album is a must listen. You get everything you want from this genre while listening this opus, fast and furious riffs, amazing and ruthless drum beasts, subtile yet audible bass lines, well executed guitar solos and a vocal style performed by Mille Petrozza better than ever before (though he does know how to tone down his voice when it is necessary, check out Your Heaven, My Hell). If you hate Metallica’s new opus, and if you’re not entirely satisfied with Megadeth‘s new opus, grab Kreator’s last instalment, you won’t be disappointed.

Overall: 100/100


W.A.S.P. – The Crimson Idol (1992) Album Review

Boy oh boy, how long has it been since I’ve written something on this blog. I seriously had forgotten about it, for a long while I showed no interest in writing some more, mainly because of tight schedule, and exams which are still ongoing even now. Summer is here, my appetite to write music reviews is destructive and contagious right now, I feel reborn, and I am ready to rock ‘n’ roll! I have to apologise to my viewers for me not giving any sings of life, but you know how it is guys, mood shifts and you start doing shit and you forget about everything else. Those of you that are going to university know how much this life sucks especially when it tightens your schedule, and you barely have time for yourself.

However, the best way to apologise is to write a review, this time about an old addiction of mine, one called W.A.S.P. a pretty old band, formed back in the early 1980s, pioneers of traditional heavy metal and hair metal. This band attracted me back in the old days with their old catalogue of albums, mainly their first 3-4 albums before shifting their focus. With Headless Children (1989), the band started to focus on concept orientated albums and the result, and probably, the cornerstone of their entire career, the most critically aclaimed album and the most groundbreaking out of all their work, The Crimson Idol.

The shit was not only in the musical aspect, where we see a bigger varierty of riffs, accoustic passages and intriguing chanting vocals throughout several songs, we can even witness narations, the drum work is much more efficient and much more intense and vary than ever, the guitar solos remained as wild as ever, but this time, we have a story here, a very heartbreaking one.

What I like about this album is that you can feel the emotions and feelings of the main protagonist through the songs, every song represents an important chapter of the story and every song tells the metal state of the main protagonist and also his dealing with society. Basically, this album shows the ups and downs of rock stars, how hard it is to rise and become one and how easy it is to venture into the path to decay, and never coming back.

“The Titanic Overture” represents the beginning of the album, an introductive song comprised by musical passages from the other tracks, it sets the mood of the album and it introduces the listener into the story. The real thing starts with “The Invisible Boy”, the beginning of the story. It introduces the main character, Jonathan, in his adolescent days. He is described as a boy, born in a family which isolates him and despise him. His father, nicknamed “Red” treats him like “an invisible boy” because he placed all his fate in Jonathan’s older brother. His mother also rejects him, being a religious person, she motivates her actions with religious reasons.

Everything started to fall apart for Joanathan after his brother died. Desilusioned by the death of their first son, Joanathan’s parents continued to ignore him while the violent behavior against escalated. Loosing the only person that truly loved him and encouraged him, Jonathan sets on a journey. At first, he did not know what he is going to do, but when he sees a guitar behind the window of a store, he has a revelation. He found a dream of his own, that was to become also his downfall, he wanted to become a rock star, he wanted to sing to his hearts content and pour his frustration into his compositions. He stole that guitar and he started singing songs in a place he called the “Arena of Pleasure”, the title of the 3rd track.

His succes could already be seen, as his most joyful period of his life was in that arena, where people stopped and stared at him and admired the passion he had when he was singing. Not long after, he signed a deal with a rather unscrupulous man named Chainsaw Charlie. He offered him the chance of a lifetime, promissing him everything he desired, fans, concerts, wealth and fame. With an already established fan-base, he accepted the deal. The events are recorded in the song “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue).

In the 5th song, “The Gypsy Meets the King” there is a 180 degree turn. Like the title says, Jonathan has met a gypsy fortune teller. He asked her to tell his fortune and he remained surprised when the gypsy lady could tell accurately his past events and also his present state. However, when he asked about his fortune, the gypsy woman warned him to be careful of what he chooses, because it might come true, and it will become his downfall.

Like the gypsy fortune teller said, the things started to take a turn for the worse. Influenced by a doctor, the so called “Doctor Rockter” (the 6th track of the album) Jonathan started to take drugs and to engage himself into a life filled with debauchery. With the 7th track, “I Am One”, Jonathan has already achieved his dream, he became famous and he took a nickname from his father, “The Crimson Idol”. From this point on, his objective was to show to his parents what he has become and to make them approve of him.

Not long passed, and Jonathan started to be overwhelmed by the unhealthy life that he has chosen. Drugs and daily orgies started to carve a deep wound in him, using them to forget the most important thing that he could never achieve, acceptance from his parents. After his manager told him off, in the song called “The Idol”, he reflects upon his decisions and realizes that nothing else matters as long as he could be accepted by his parents. An accidental call to his parents, the voice of his mother, made Jonathan numb, and the new and definitive rejection from his mother pretty much meant the last step towards the final decision. “We have no son” were the words that his mother whispered in the phone, less than 50 words were spoken, and Jonathan decided that it is not worth living anymore.

“Hold on to my Heart” probably the best ballad ever heard from W.A.S.P. represents the moments when Jonathan resigns and starts planning to end his life, but not before putting his last concert and saying goodbye to his audience. The events are vividly felt during the last song of this album “The Great Misconception of Me”, where he realizes that the nickname “The Crimson Idol” was never his, but it was his fathers. He ended his own life, using the strings of his guitars.

A rather tear-jerking ending, but a very entertaining and touching story. To think that W.A.S.P. could come up with something like this is a huge surprise, thinking that this band back in the 80s was singing stuff like Animal (Fuck You Like a Beast) or L.O.V.E. Machine, but here it is, overall, a masterpice, an album that I would definitely place among the best ever. What is unique about this one is that the music has its own life, you can put yourself into Jonathan shoes and feel the events that he has been through, this is what makes this album so special. Of course, it is not a perfect album, while concept wise I have nothing to complain in terms of instrument usage, the guitar performance are pretty much uneffective and it does not give tha feeling of heavyness and are mostly covered by the drum performance. Not the same I can say about the accoustic passages, these are done in a professional way.

We stand here and wonder, looking at the context in which this album has been released. Glam metal was pretty much dead, Motley Crue has been forgotten, Twisted Sister as well, most of the pioneering glam rock/metal bands such as Poison, Hanoi Rocks, Vixen, Skid Row or Cinderella had either disbanded or they reduced their activity while grunge music was leading the way with Nirvana as the front runner. In these gloomy times, we wonder if true metal really died, and W.A.S.P. wakes up from its 3 year slumber with a masterpiece. I wouldn’t name this one a glam metal opus, but the accoustic passages and especially the ballads mantain that glam atmosphere. Blackie Lawless always had a rather husky voice, very powerful, a model for every heavy metal vocalist, but I did not realise that he could be good with ballads as well, definitely a side of his that I did not predicted.

W.A.S.P. unfortunately did not manage to rise to the fame of the glam metal bands of the 80s but they surely left some marks in this industry. If I have to pic the best album they ever made, without second thoughts I would go with this one. You receive everything you want from W.A.S.P. here, and some more, infact you receive everything you want from heavy metal music with this album. If you are a fan of their older works, you might not find this one so appealing, as it is a little bit toned down to deliver the proper feelings and emotions to the listener. However, the concept and the impression it leaves it is unique and the playing style has matured. All hail The Crimson Idol! All hail, Blackie Lawless!

Overall: 95/100

Daemonicium – Through Time And Death (2004) Album Review

Weekdays are really boring and turn my whole mood upside down. But what can end a day in a better way other than listening to metal? But not any kind of metal. Who knows me in real life is already accustomed with my dislike to mainstream music and what we hear at the radio, basically the same classics that are rapped continuously and they just never end. I ask for forgiveness for those that are still trapped in the past, but seriously guys, classics are classics but what we hear today at radio is just a type of brainwash. Come up with something new, not the same old tunes that are just thoroughly repeated. Come up with new styles, come up with new ideas, come up with new material and keep people informed about bands that are about to release new album, other than the bands that are already in the attention of the mainstream audience, it is just no fun at all. I don’t really know how is it in countries more developed and civilized than mine, but in any case, I think that it is a lot better. I just read an article recently that was rising alarm signals that rock/metal press has completely vanished and only a few several web pages maintain the community alive with new about concerts, bands and new records. It is such a shame, but believe me, we deserve it.

I raged when I’ve seen the Best Of 2011. If accidents like Limp Bizkit or Slipknot are placed in the top 5 best bands of all time in 2011, then it means that the audience is completely unaware of the metal scene in the present day. Metallica as well, with an abominable album like Lulu, they were still voted as one of the best bands in 2011, even though this album was something that would make any Metallica fan (that isn’t an ass licker) to dislike the band. We like to vote bands just because they exist, and not because of their performance in the said year. Even Megadeth, which was awarded as the band with the best album release did not live to the expectations. I seriously started to hate Dave Mustaine for his recent declarations and his attitude towards christianity. Thinking back, this guy was a total anti-religious guy now he licks Jesus and this shitty religion like an asshole, you know what Dave, just get the fuck out of metal scene or turn back to the days when you were drug addicted and all satanic, those were the days when you even shined artistically and as a human being.

Enough with rants, we are here to review a new band, not a new album, but definitely one that will interest many and might attract some attention. A rather weird name for a band, Daemonicium. I honestly am not aware what inspired them when they chose this name but it’s clearly a derived name from the word “daemon”. This band approaches a symphonic black metal style, but a rather unique one, a sound that I haven’t heard in many bands. This is definitely not a Dimmu Borgir rip-off, nor as majestic as Emperor was in their early days and surely not as cheesy as Cradle of Filth, this is something else, something that combines elegance with brutality. And what do we have here, a female doing vocals for this band, just don’t expect mellow and clean vocals from her, because she will give you a hell of a performance with the usual shrieked vocals, mostly used in this genre.

Another thing that makes this band different than other symphonic black metal bands is their lyrical themes. They approach themes that refer to vampires, cthulhu, ancient empires and also state of spirits and madness. A rather unique way of approaching this genre. Even though Poland has a pretty well known and controversial extreme metal scene, with only this release Daemonicium did not manage to obtain a more favorable position among other black metal acts such as Darzamat or Vesania. Basically, the whole albums flows well, all the songs are connected and it ends the same way as it began. Even though this album was a self-produced and released one, it has a pretty good production quality.

What we expect from this album is not brutality and rawness but rather a type of atmospheric aspect. It is dark, it is creepy, it has its moments of aggressiveness but that’s it. The way this album was mixed was also pretty well chosen, even though much of the black metal feeling has been erased, you can still witness some blast beats and some tremolo picks. Because of the themes used in the lyrical content, you can even consider them approaching a gothic metal aspect as well. The album is rather simple, not much technique was used on it, there are some moments of guitar solo like in the second part of the longest track featured on this album, Through Time and Death… (Part I – Love & Part II – Landscape) and some bombastic drum beats, also included in this song.

Another thing that can be seen is that for an album, this one contains a small number of songs, only 6, usually a number that is preferred for extended plays. The difference is that the songs have a big length, shortest one being The Sinner’s Dream which spawns to almost 6 minutes, the rest vary from 7 minutes to 13 minutes, in conclusion, instead of a short 25-30 minute album you have an infamous 54 minutes album. Despite it’s ridiculous length it is not a boring record, like I said the sound just flows from a song to another, like they are connected and the spontaneous guitar solos, bombastic drum beats and especially the skillful use of atmospheric background sounds and keyboard usage makes this album a feast for the ears of every symphonic black metal lover.

Nobody can deny it, the keyboards is the main instrument and the primordial one in this album. It begins with it, it continues with it and it ends with it. However, we don’t have a Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth which abuses synths and keyboards so much that you ask yourself if you’re listening to extreme metal anymore, or if they just want it to seem like that? Daemonicium balances the extensive use of keyboards with guitar solos and riffs, blast drum beats and other instruments, this is probably the thing that makes them so unique compared to the mediocrity that we hear nowadays. The vocal work is very well done, Myst’s performance is pretty good, a kind of voice that I haven’t heard, especially when you think about that she is female, my wonder is who is doing the growls, because in the line-up it was not specified who did what in this album. Songs such asThe Jester reveal what I said about a perfect balance between all the instruments used in this album.

I can’t point a favorite song from this album, because all of them are good. All in all, this band did really well with this debut full length album, I just wished that they would’ve continued recording and not placing the band on-hold. With a promising album like this one and the quality that me, as a fan, received, I was left asking for more such albums. So, mainstream symphonic black metal bands, hear me out, just listen this record, fucking memorize the playing style and it’s name, pray for this band to revive from the dead and try to produce quality albums and not albums to fill the saturated market. Daemonicium, though haunted by anonymity and a shrewd past, might still have a word to say on the symphonic black metal. But seeing that they haven’t came up with anything new since 2004, I am left with doubts regarding a possible come back. I will hold this record dear, and it is definitely record that should stand into your shelf, so make space for it, throw out useless Dimmu Borgir records, and make a space for it.

Overall Impression: 90/100

Amon Amarth – Versus The World (2002) Album Review

With this review we shall venture once again in the realm of melodic death metal. We already reviewed one album that has a special place in this genre and also an astounding contribution as well, that was Amorphis‘ opus Eclipse with the incredible voice performed by Tomi Joutsen, an album that I would recommend to everyone that enjoys a band that combined the soft aspect of metal with extreme metal elements. Amon Amarth is also a special band that enters in the category of melodic death metal bands, but somehow, they are a little less accessible compared to Amorphis. However, it is one of the very few bands that succeeds in everything they do, even though you can easily witness the fact that all the songs are the same in every album, not featuring many changes, if any at all. It is one of those bands that are good at what they do, and they don’t need to change something in their playing style in order to impress the listener or not gather more members for their fan-base. Amon Amarth, even with their less accessible playing style, they kick ass at any time and even though people might not really appreciate extreme metal, it is hard to overlook such a band, it has that aspect that makes you interested and attracts you to listen some more.

From my point of view, this kind of band is suitable for males, because it mainly refers to the supremacy of males in society. The brutality, the war like screams, the aggressive riffs and the fast drumming is good enough for several moshpits and clashes among the crowd. What can I say, a perfect material if you wish to headbang until you blow your brains. One thing makes me angry about the fans of this band is that they consider it a viking metal band. Guys, I am not sure what you think, but simply because they use viking themes in their lyrical content does not mean they sing viking metal. Viking metal was originally created by Bathory with its mastermind Quorthon, and even though it still retained some extreme metal elements, they were mostly well hidden, giving a lot more space for atmospheric and bombastic moments or why not, some folk elements as well.

Amon Amarth, how much I wish for them to be part in this category, they aren’t, because their style does not even resume to 10% of the style Bathory approached in the mid career. It’s safe to say that they are a melodic death metal band, without a doubt. One thing that makes Amon Amarth less accessible is the constant use of grunt vocals and heroic or warrior like screams, performed by the founding member Johan Hegg. His vocals are pretty much understandable, unlike many vocalists that uses this voice technique and it emanates a lot of adrenaline and energy. Just book a ticket for one of their concert, you will know what I am talking about, these guys can surely pull out a hell of a show without much effort and they have the material they need in order to attract the audience and make it go nuts.

For me, Amon Amarth has always been a band that I would listen for a change of mood. It is a band that could turn a bad day into a good one, simply because it is not depressive, it is not mellow, but it is brutal and aggressive, something you need in order to tell the people that pissed you off, to fuck off. Amon Amarth is a band that also shows attitude, is a band that likes to perform in a spectacular way, and there are many that witnessed them with stage performers as well or with theatrical elements on the stage. The band focuses on lyrical themes such as warfare, vikings, destruction or Norse mythology. The fact that they refer to viking gods in many of their songs is not a thing that should take you by surprise and seeing that in history, the vikings were considered exceptional warriors, the warfare theme and the destruction one are pretty much welcomed.

Musically speaking, the band focuses a lot of the drumming part, it is the instrument that can be easily remarked while listening every possible Amon Amarth song, not only from this album but from their entire discography. It’s fast, sometimes maybe way too fast, bombastic at time and sets the rhythm and the mood in every song. On a second line comes the guitar riffs, which are also an important catalyst for every Amon Amarth song. Many songs feature guitar solos. Another thing that can be remarked is the fact that since the inception, the band has not really changed the line-up. Three original members are still present, except for the drummer and the second guitarist who were replaced in 1998. The band does not hesitate to condemn christianity for the fall of the viking civilization in songs such as For The Stabwounds In Our Backs and Thousand Years Of Oppression. It is easy to figure out the connection just by reading the titles. Death In Fire the introductory song was a wise choice for a song that begins a great album. With it’s thrash riff guitars and fast drumming, it sets the pace and already welcomes the listener to a full scaled war.

Since the lyrical themes in every song kind of repeats itself, and the songs do not feature many changes, except from some groove elements here and there, the album can be considered by some people monotonous, but in reality it isn’t. Normally I would also consider a band that recycles the same shit into every single song, but with Amon Amarth I don’t seen to have that problem. They know what they are doing, they are good at it, they don’t need to change shit in order to impress, because they can’t be more impressive than they already are. The band reveals a rather slower side in the last song …And Soon the World Will Cease to Be a well inspired title for an ending song. The beginning of the song is a lot more slower compared to the other tracks but it ends it in a brutal way, in an Amon Amarth way.

Recommending an album from this band is rather difficult, because every album they’ve made was just fucking brilliant and insanely aggressive and staggering. It is a pleasant for the ears, this coming from an extreme metal band, and it is a feast for males, because only they can understand what it means to be a true warrior and what it means to act the way Amon Amarth proclaims to. Unlike many melodic death metal bands, they do not use synths or keyboards, they create the melodic aspect through guitar riffs, which is one of their best selling points. Amon Amarth is one of those bands that easily broke into mainstream, with perseverance, with courage and with their own uniqueness and simplicity. Out of all their album, I wanted to write a review about this one, but I recommend listening to all of them, you will definitely find a feast for your ears.

Overall Impression: 97/100

Candlemass – Epicus Doomicus Metallicus (1986) Album Review

Boy, oh boy. Yesterday was a day when I had a mood to do nothing, just to hang around in my house, either listening to music or sleeping. There is a word where I live, more specifically for that kind of shitty weather where it is cloudy, it doesn’t rain but the sun won’t come out either, in other words, I kind of mood that encourages to stay at home, to sleep or to make children. Still I offered a pretty good insight of what After Forever was at the beginning of their splendid career, with probably the best album they released. I wanted to post some more yesterday because I had two days where shit interfered and I was left without time and mood to do another review. I will, probably soon, probably later, I won’t promise though all I can say is that it will happen…in the near future. Hopefully more delays won’t interfere ever again, but like I said, you never know when shit happens so you just better never promise anything, so that you might have an excuse.

How about we venture into the past a little bit? How about we explore a metal sub-genre that has not really been that often depicted in my reviews? Guess that everyone heard of doom metal through bands such as the classic three death/doom acts from the early 1990s like Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride and Anathema. I am in the same boat as you guys. I came in touch with this genre through My Dying Bride which out of all I consider them the best and the most constant, a band that did not change much in their playing style since their inception. Probably the only change they’ve made is that they completely erased the death metal elements from their later works. Paradise Lost on the other hand has probably one of the most relevant death/doom metal album ever made, Gothic released back in 1991, which also defined and coined a new genre. Why I consider them inferior? Is because of their playing style from the mid career the all too friendly synthpop/synthrock style that completely annoyed me, though I was delighted when they turned back to their roots approaching a kind of gothic doom metal style in the most recent works. Anathema is the biggest disappointment out of all. Though their first albums are classics for the death/doom metal genre, the change in their style has surely bothered many. It was probably a way too radical change and too sudden, changing from a rather underground and unconventional playing style to a rather accessible and way too simplistic atmospheric rock style. Not saying that their works that approached this genre are bad, but it was a waste, considering that they reached a cult status with their early works.

Never mind about these bands, we are going to review the first opus made by Candlemass, a band that has it’s rost from the early 80s and they still are alive, kicking ass even today with the same old doom metal style. But when we speak about about Candlemass, we speak about a band that pioneered the doom metal genre at its purest form. Candlemass was formed back in 1982 under the name Nemesis where they released several demo tapes before changing the bands name to Candlemass in 1984. They are considered original pioneers of the early doom metal genre, coining a sub-division of it with their 1986 album Epicus Doomicus Metallicus, the album that I will review today.

Doom metal is probably the first extreme metal genre. It was pinpointed firstly by early heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath, more specifically, through the kind of riffs Tony Iommi experimented on the self-titled album. However, it would take more than a decade for this genre to really raise to the surface. The ones that did it for the first time were Candlemass alongside other acts like Saint Vitus, Witchfinder General (with their opus, Death Penalty released in 1982), Trouble and Pentagram. What we can immediately remark is that the US metal scene had much to say about the formation of the doom metal genre, 4 out of 5 of the earliest pioneers originating from the American continent. Candlemass is a Swedish band and unfortunately, one of the very few bands that approached this style from the Scandinavian countries. They inspired many, but not many bands from their own country.

Through this album, they pinpointed the name of a sub-division of doom metal, called epic doom metal. It differs from the original doom metal because it is heavily influenced by classical elements. The style of playing is not slow like in modern doom metal or in other sub-divisions, it is way more atmospheric and the vocals are clean, operatic, choral and the most important thing, it is not usually discarded by the instrumental or made to flow with it. It focuses a lot more on themes such as fantasy or mythology and the drumming style is rather bombastic.

The question is, why I believe that Candlemass’s opus is the best there is for this sub-division? Simple, it is well balanced, all the instruments used have a word to say, there isn’t a main act in which the focus should be placed upon, probably the only exception is the vocals, which has the biggest influence and it is complex through it’s simplicity. Hell, you can’t even feel that actually there guys play 2-3 notes that continuously repeat themselves (not like in drone doom, another doom metal sub-division) but it is so melodic and spectacular, that you barely notice this aspect. Can you believe that for this album Candlemass did not even have a permanent vocalist? Surely, they had a drummer, bassist and guitarist but the vocalist was actually a guest performer in the name of Johan Langquist, a man with an extraordinary voice. His vocals are so deep and atmospheric, it is hard to claim that the vocal act could be bad. It maintains a dose of melancholy but at the same time, it does not refrain from going to a higher pitched voice, something that is not specific to other doom metal acts from the 90s onward. For the first time I could call a doom metal album catchy, a characteristic that should be an antonym for every doom metal record.

The tracks are memorable because of the vocal performance and rarely by the instrumental performance. Like I said, the band no, rather the genre, does not require difficult and complex playing style. To achieve a doom metal playing style you need to play in a simplistic manner. The guys do make use of guitar solos throughout songs such as Black Stone Wielder or Crystal Ball. Another thing specific for a doom metal record is the length of the songs. Even though the record features only 6 tracks, they are all longer than 5 minutes some of them reaching 9 minutes, accumulating to a total of 43 minutes in just 6 fucking songs. The best track of this record in my opinion is Under The Oak. Holy mother of dark desires, I can’t get out of my head the guitar solo from the beginning of the song, it was absolutely stunning, not to mention Johan’s performance which is rather more personal in this song, hint offered by the lyrical content as well. I almost forgot about the lyrical content, an aspect crucial to every doom metal album, all of them might pinpoint themes such as mythology or fantasy, but they are not optimistic nor happy ones, rather sad ones and pessimistic ones.

Epicus Doomicus Metallicus stands at the top of my list of best doom metal albums ever made and Candlemass will remain for a long time one of the biggest influences for this genre. Even though this sub-division of this doom metal style does not have many bands that would make it proud, Candlemass is plenty enough, and this album shows it why. As long as Candlemass will exist, epicness will also exist in doom metal. If you want a different kind of doom metal, other than the one played by the 90s doom metal acts, then check out this Candlemass opus, you won’t be disappointed. If you are a fan of Black Sabbath, you will enjoy this album too, as it just continues what Tony Iommi already experimented in one of the best heavy/doom metal albums, Black Sabbath.

Overall Impression: 100/100