A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Grade Scale adopted at MetalKings.com (starting from the lowest)

1 - Shite
2 - Could be worse
3 - Could be better
4 - Damn good
5 - Killer

3/5
ABOMINATOR
Nuctemeron Descent
2003 /2004
OSMOSE PRODUCTIONS / CD-Maximum
True Death Metal
Beat ’em, bite ’em and tear ’em down! – thus spake the spiteful Australian godhaters and produced their third longplay. The “true” pissing contest in black metal is nothing novel and everybody knows that, however only a chosen few know about the presence of the same bullshit in death metal too, which once again is not surprising – it’s not that widespread. ABOMINATOR are exactly one of those up their neck in the underground and keeping vigil of the testimony of the Great Horned One. I personally have no clue why would anyone want to replay what has already been done by INCANTATION and GOD DETHRONED, but... On the positive side though: it is pure rage, high speed, unbridled battery, and a surprisingly high quality recording. And yet another sizeable bonus: the inlay says that a guy called CHRIS VOLCANO is not only responsible for the drumming but also for all of the intros… Thos have turned out to be a couple of pressed keys on the keyboards that last for about three seconds each. That goes for four songs… Totals to an overall of as much as 12(!) seconds… That’s a lot of work, eh? (St.Ded)

3/5
ABORYM
Kali Yuga Bizarre
1999/2004
Scarlet / CD-Maximum
black metal
As Butthead the Great once put it: "You need stuff that sucks to get stuff that's cool, Beavis" – which means… well, in fact it means nothing else than it says in fact – that’s a basic truth. In other words what I am really trying to say here is that the only reason for obtaining this rarity, in my opinion, would be an irresistible urge to once again become convinced of how good the 2002 release is. Naturally, there are some very interesting moments here, and the incline towards the industrialesque DJ-experiments can already be clearly seen on this one, but – alas – and this once again is only my opinion, that is the only value that I see here. Then again, I stand corrected there is one masterpiece here that was probably worth releasing the whole album – that is Hellraiser. (Troll)

A masterpiece (orgasming)
ATROX
Orgasm
2003 /2004
CODE666 / CD-Maximum
Art Rock /Jazz/Psychodelic Thrash Metal
Once you’ve heard that album you will never call Norway a country of diehard black metal, never again. A charming creation that has no aggression to it whatsoever, and in fact devoid of any other feelings or moods, par, maybe, jocosity… Avant-garde at its purest – mature and smart. Adorable compositions with metaphoric rhythms and hypnotic melodies. The contents of the record are uniquely diverse and interesting, but also very integrate – and, as a result, also so “out of this world”, that one would easily start seeing signs and hear voices, you know. And that is made of a standard rock-instrumentary, seemingly unnoticeable female vocals, plus a computer, so go figure… To all the lovers of all sounds intelligent. (St.Ded)

4+/5
AVEC TRISTESSE
Ravishing Beauty
2002 / 2004
HELLION Records / CD-Maximum
Gothic/Black/Power Metal
Seeing the cover artwork endorsed by a breathless body of a beautiful girl clad in a dress, that’s been out of fashion for the past 150 years, partly covered by the dark waters and plants of a forest pond, I justly expected to hear some frustrated whining with a weeping grave-digging accompaniment, but reality proved me wrong. Roasted from the sound of the opening languishing chords, I catapulted from my armchair, once my speakers blasted with demonic growls and the guitar riffs started tearing about frantically scared by the raging blast-beat. That’s some wicked sadness you got there, lads [avec tristesse (fr.) – with sadness]… Quality is essential to Brazilian bands and Avec Tristesse became no black sheep. Interesting things here are in plenty: panoramic compositions, sudden-death Black storms, graceful melodies, and ear-pleasing clean vocals. Another point for rejoicing are the poetics in the lyrics. Priority-wise the album reminds of AUTUMNBLAZE. I wish everyone debuted like that. (St.Ded)

3/5
BLOOD DUSTER
Blood Duster
2004
Season of Mist / CD-Maximum
grinding death'n'roll
A rather curious bunch from Australia, the land of wild kangaroos and – as it turns out – merry musicians, who would come together after their day-jobs are over and record suchlike humorous albums. The music here is a blend of all sorts of styles, with the dominant shift onto glam(orous) brutal death. The average track-time rounds to 2 minutes approx. The inlay features no lyrics (apparently due to the reason of them being too funny), but there’s a whole bunch of pictures. Those depict the band members surrounded by their fans and families and friends in studios, clubs, and at home. Since, as mentioned above, there’s nothing to read here, the listeners are welcome to amuse themselves by studying the numerous boobs and ketchup-smeared bodies, and counting the number of “goathorns” and “fingers” shown to the camera throughout the entire 26 tracks that comprise the record. And I mean there are a whole lot of those. In principle this is quite a harmless and relatively funny record. The stylistics and what is referred to as the creative approach are quite close to those of the Russian necro-punks from the Horned NecroCannibals, which may well be a hint for the Russians, especially melody-wise. (Leathermaniac)

5/5
BORKNAGAR
The Archaic Course
1998 / 2004
Century Media / Fono
melodic black
This album can easily be considered a classic of the time. The second half of the 90ies – the time when the world was introduced to such dark creations as "Enthroned Darkness Triumphant" (Dimmu Borgir), "Anthems to the Wilken at Dusk" (Emperor), "Nemesis Divina" (Satyricon) etc. For Borknagar here this was their second album and already back then the bunch have screwed up their collective courage to using such non-typical for black metal elements as clean vocals, almost slow tempos, broken rhythms, which prior to that were the sole eparchy of Emperor, the not-too-pompous keyboard passages, and a good deal of other things. This overall was signatory for those times. Add this with pretty rare blast beats, which up until then were as good as mandatory for any band that considered itself black metal, and you will get my point. Most naturally there are also a lot of typical black components here, such as, say, the opening for the song "The Black Toren", but again, back in 1998 they were not yet considered so standard and worn-out. Verdict: a must for those who have not heard it yet and for all black metal freaks to fill in the blanks in their CD collection... Plus, this is just very good music. (Troll)

2/5
COUNCIL OF THE FALLEN
Deciphering the Soul
2004
Season of Mist / CD-Maximum
death black
Yet another typical sample of Floridian death metal with small add-on portions of no-less-standard black metal harmonies. Fast, relatively qualitative, and hopelessly boring. And, whilst the opening track on this one sounds quite intriguing and promising, then with each and every passing song the musicians make their message quite clear – it ain’t getting any better. The further it goes, the more predictable and faceless the guitar parts become, the higher the concentration of all sorts of cliches, until the whole thing finally moulds into a unified, monotonous wall of noise, that would be called music only by a person with a very well-developed abstract thinking. I mean even Erik Rutan – cursed be ;) – who worked over the mixing and mastering of the record could not save the situation. Two fists and not a iota more. (Troll)

4/5
DANZIG
I Luciferi
2003 / 2004
Eagle Records / CD-Maximum
gothic punk rock
Usually you wouldn’t want to introduce people like Glenn Danzig here, but for sake of statistics – please, welcome and give a warm round of applause, for the ex-frontman of Misfits, a great shock-rocker, and the man who was once called the Elvis of punk-rock. Throughout his career Danzig was leaping from one extreme and into another, starting from punk rock, then moving to industrial experiments, and finally ending up in what we have the pleasure of reviewing today. Not having enough knowledge in the field of “Danzigology", I wouldn’t try to compare this CD with the previous works of the man, and stick to a short and simple analysis. So, the musical material presented herein is essentially a mixture of gothic-rock and punk with additional elements of RHCP-ish funk metal (Wicked Pussycat and God of Light), new-wave a-la the Cure (Black Mass), swamp rock (Uberslut), and even alternative on the verge between Pearl Jam and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (Angel Blake). Now, I don’t know whether one would consider this gumbo attractive, but at least you’d never call it boring. (Troll)

3/5
DIVINE DECAY
Maximise Misery
2003 /2004
OSMOSE PRODUCTIONS / CD-Maximum
Thrash/Hardcore
Holy Mothergod… If only they were holding competitions among musicians like they do in sports, I’m positive these guys would have never made it through the Metallica doping-test. If I may, I’d start off with a list of songs that open this CD… "The Call Of Ktulu", "Creeping Death", "Battery", "The Four Horsemen", "Seasons In The Abyss", "The Wait"… And following that is apparently the band’s own material… or else, I just couldn’t figure out where they took the rest from. Good work, lads, way to go… But it doesn’t end here: the photos featured in the CD inlay depict the Finnish quartet looking as twin brothers of Lars, James, Kirk, and Jason respectively… You make your own conclusions, while me – I will give them another half-fist for the arrogance! (St.Ded)

5+/5
EINHERJER
Blot
2003 /2004
Tabu Recordings / Fono
battle schlagers of ancient Scandinavian warriors
Here is the last work of this currently disbanded band. 11 years of forging excellent non-compromising Viking Metal, and no likes of "Feel Sorry For The Fanatic" fortunately. Quite on the contrary “Blot” is fully devoted to perfectioning the previously achieved forms. A solid and pronounced domineering rhythm (no place for haste en route to Valhalla), soul-tearing melodic background, that probes the air with dancing fluids, drops like a sad dew, and then ascends to the shies in heroic hymns, hoarse singing, that would at times condescend to simple clean vocals, and finally amazing lyrics – terror and mayhem a-Norse. That’s what EINHERJER was and will always be remembered as. Their seemingly simple solutions blend into splendorous compositions, deafening in their naturalness and killing any sense of time. A separate add-on bonus – these guys show the lack of self-copying that is worthy of the great ones. Applause and ovations! (St.Ded)

3/5
EVEMASTER
Wither
2004
LOW FREQUENCY Records / CD-Maximum
Power/Black
A typical average Joe. I mean someone as faceless as that would make the HR of any counter-intelligence service drool all over them. The only thing that would probably give them away is the frog-in-the-throat screech of their singer, that sounds kinda odd for the genre. I mean, Sir J.TASKULA sounds like a bum left without a bottle as he hatches out through the thick of the junk. I would also like to mention that aside from his charming singing the guy does not perform any other functions in the band. As for the rest of it – mid tempo, poor melodies (produced by guitar solos and keyboards), and a set of standard moves. Gray and sad – that’s the description of the lyrics both contents- and quality-wise. ‘Nuff said. (St.Ded)

4+/5
FLESHCRAWL
Made Of Flesh
2004
Metal Blade Records / Fono
death
A trail of blood has been following these Germans since as early as 1992. Back then these still young journos recorded their first-ever report from the pits of Hell, scaring a good deal of listeners shitless. Little has changed since. Same fatalism, same mystical cruelty: being curious is strongly non-recommended for pensioners. The image stylistics did not change much. The band has always based itself upon the sound of British death metal, with later additions of Swedish death metal and its melodism. As a result an analogy would include NAPALM DEATH (post-grind period) + GRAVE + DARK TRANQUILLITY. Excellent quality, spine-crushing heaviness, stomping beats, and variable tempos. (St.Ded)

4-/5
HANDFUL OF HATE
Vicecrown
2003 /2004
CODE666 / CD-Maximum
Black/Thrash/Melodic Death OF Swedish blood (from Italy)
Sincerity redeems a lot: I mean I don’t care if SATYRICON and MARDUK as well as the debut recordings of DARK TRANQUILLITY and AT THE GATES blackmarked the musical image of HANDFUL OF HATE, what is important is that its got the guts and its got the enthusiasm, whilst all the quotes have been carefully masked. Adrenaline springs out in a fountain, with the album being rhythmical, square, pushy, and rather diverse. Add this up to excellent growling quality and top of the list sound engineering. On the downside, what the album does miss is national identity, as for the rest of it – it is excellent opposition (hemorrhoids) for the Pope. (St.Ded)

4+/5
HOUWITSER
Damage Assessment
2003 /2004
OSMOSE PRODUCTIONS / Fono
Death/Brutal Death
Just like any other sonic art genre, meat music has its ethics and good manners, or even rules of politeness, if you please... One of them concerns the non-musical intros which absolutely must be nice, humanistic, sowing the seeds of reason and kindness. In the case with this particular album each and every song has an intro of its own here – battles scenes, thundering cannons, cries of the wounded, chunking of caterpillars, stomping of the feet, and the crunch of broken bones… All in all it seems like a concept work with military aesthetics – but let this not misguide you: once you get to the lyrics, you’ll find yourself in the world of bloodlust and hatred (a 2-1 mixture), and as for the war itself – it only comes in a couple of words. Well, whatever... Have you heard Cannibal Corpse’s "Tomb…" (1992)? Well, then this one would not be a revelation for ya. With a good deal of own identity and effort the album sounds fresh and neat: everything growls, thumps, roars and gurgles. The bass sounds excellent. They even made some weird attempts at melodies, which, thanks Tuborg, were weird only. What I do not understand is why they got some Russian voices in the intermissions? And discouraged at that? I mean, seriously, this could get them a present… of some couple of dozen megatons… - he-he, as a token of old friendship… (St.Ded)

4+/5
GOREROTTED
Only Tools & Corpses
2004
Metal Blade / Fono
gore grind
Meat in its most rotten and fly-squatted form. The slogan for this album should have come from a famous commercial promoting the latest line of “Friendship”* chainsaw models - "Give it a try and get in the knife!". Honestly, there’s something so genuinely childish and sincere about the obvious joy that these six descendants of Jack the Ripper get out of throwing bits and pieces of pitted necrotic tissues at their listeners. You get to reading the masterpiece lyrics to "Fuck Your Arse with Broken Glass" or "Hacked in the Back and Dumped in a Sack" and quite soon you start realizing that your life does not really suck that much, and all the voices that you hear in your head are really nothing to be worried about, because there are people on this planet who have got REAL problems, people for whom a visit to a psychoanalyst is not a whim of a over-catered and thus depressed CEO of some cosmetic corporation, but a meat-and-potatoes necessity, a day-in-day-out routine. Think about it… ;) (Troll) * (ed. - An actually existing brand of chainsaws in Russia, no kidding.)

5-/5
GRENOUER
Presence with War
2004
CD-Maximum
death
Fucking A! A mixture of Voivod, Entombed and Carcass, and wonderfully recorded and played at that. This is already the second sound engineering effort from Arkady Navajo (of what I have personally heard, I mean) and I must admit that this dude can actually make your band sound well by euro-standards. Granted, the album was mastered by none other than Mika Jussilla of Finnvox Studios, but as practice shows if the sound sucks in the first place, no mastering will ever save it, and in some cases may even make it worse. Luckily enough this has not happened to Grenouer. And it does not even matter that the material presented herein is a just a trifle too boring, in my personal opinion, I still cannot but admit that these boys have gone through a lot of effort and managed to prove it that one can make a truly high-quality CD here in Russia. (Troll)

2/5
IMMORTAL RITES
Art of Devolution
2004
Morbid Records
death metal
That’s one funny CD – fast that is. Speed however is the only asset contained herein. Thje material itself – a cross between melodic death and black metal – is flat and unoriginal, the guitar riffing is primitive and predictable, the vocals are weak, unconvincing, and overrun with too much of FX to be “true” – all in all a very mediocre work, very. Oh well, at least they didn’t fuck up the instrumental part, then again their material is so simple that one would have to try really-really hard to fuck THAT up. All in all, I’d say these guys should have stuck to power metal like all the other Germans do, and didn’t try to enter those rings where they have competitors by far outmatching. (Troll)

2/5
JACK BLADES
Jack Blades
2004
Frontiers / CD-Maximum
AOR/hard rock
"Fly so high, to touch the sky". No, this is not Helloween’s "Victim Of Fate". This line is actually taken off Jack Blade’s (singer, guitarist, composer and producer) solo effort. You might remember the man from his participation in Night Ranger and Damn Yankees, as well as through his cooperation with Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Journey and Ozzy Osbourne (as a co-writer). The CD was attended to by a whole bunch of famous musicians, such as guitarists Neal Schon (Journey, Hardline, Santana), Warren De Martini (Ratt), Brad Gillis, Jeff Watson, Tommy Shaw (Night Ranger), keyboardist Michael Lardie (Great White), as well as drummers Michael Cartellone (Damn Yankees, Accept) and Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger). The music presented on this unnamed creation of Jack Blades slightly reminded me of the icons of morally immature teenagers a.k.a. Hanson, with probably a bit more radical guitars. Typical material for bands signed to MTM or Z Records. Adult oriented rock with hard-rock alternations, which would be rather impractical for any average listener. (Leathermaniac)

3+/5
LOST SOUL
Ubermensch (Death Of God)
2003
Osmose / CD-Maximum
brutal death ñ êíîïêàìè
What would you get out of crossbreed between Behemoth and Morbid Angel, with a small portion of black-metal harmonies and keyboard parts? Well, Lost Soul here seem like a rather close call. Excellently performed, well recorded, but, alas, completely straightforward and idealess. All the bright moments to be found on this one are too much of a replica of Trey Azagthoth, so, whilst admitting the fact that the choice of these Polacks in role-modeling is more than commendable, I personally find no kicks or interest in listening to this. Then again if you are longing to hear something in the key of “Blessed Are the Sick” you may still give it a try. A solid average three with a small plus. (Troll)

4+/5
LOWEMOTOR CORPORATION
Saturnalia
2004
Spinefarm Records / Fono
Neo Rock
Sex – checkmark, drugs - checkmark, rock n'roll… - seems to be there as well: just as Doctor LENNON said. At the same time there has been quite a few doctors around: KURT COBAIN (whose works are considered a bible in such modern-day medical institutions as GUANO APES, CRANBERRIES, and KORN), IGGY POP, DAVID BOWIE and other luminaries. It is their version of Beatlotherapy that the rookie Aesculapians of LOWEMOTOR CORPORATION try to present to their listener. Ironically “Saturnalia” would also remind me of the soundtrack to "Trainspotting" – you know, mischievous optimism with a somewhat sad lacquering. All songs are top of the shelf, with no primitivism, artificialism, or staleness. Lots of adrenaline, well accentuated choruses, lots of melodies, realized through hot guitar salt and rare but timed instrumentals. Oh, and I almost forgot it – the vocals are feminine, and feminist – once again without a single shadow of pretense, right on the spot. Splendid, in the most positive sense of the word, pulp. (St.Ded)

4+/5
LUMSK
Asmund Fraegdegjevar
2003
Tabu Recordings / Fono
Dark/Doom Metal, Folk-lore
Bipolar music is quite popular with Norwegian artists, but its interpretation by this particular band is quite different from what everyone is used to. No growling or screaming vocals here, dude, instead the entire “monstrosity” is concentrated in the instrumental sound, and – mainly – the guitar sound of Cyclopic heaviness, which the witty Norgs have decided to spice with a bass-viol. Cardiogram-wise it ranges between the My Evergreen Bride and even the boys of Crematory with their gothic and rock attempts, but a more detailed x-ray demonstrates that structurally it also has a lot of angry metal elements. However as soon as we get to the blood-test we find that this band belongs to the OTYG family. The compositions are pastous and hypodynamic, which, just as midget birch-trees do, has its own leit-motifs and pleasures. A great part is played by traditional national melodies – accompanied by a viola, a cello, several violins, synthesizers (which the band used to reincarnate a church organ). This is added with a truly angelic folk-lore female voice, slow and kind of lazy male singing, some theatrical cries, and a whole male-choir all gathered under the banner of LUMSK. All of this is rounded up by an excellent recording quality – I mean it has actually gotten cold in the room once the CD started spinning in my player… or was it because I’ve forgotten to close the window… The lyrics are all in Norwegian. What are they about? Let’s see if yu are curious enough to find this out yourselves. (St.Ded)

4/5
MERLIN
They Must Die
2000/2004
Great White North Records / CD-Maximum
death/grind - old school
A very laconic work. Rapid-fire stylistics (old-school death with grind elements), lyrics accessible to anyone, even those who possess a very minimal knowledge of the English language, comprehensive running time (36 mins) and – finally – a three page inlay. Merlin, as you may know, are no new-comers to the scene. The band was first formed in 1992 and as of today has three albums under their collective bullet belt. "They Must Die" is a licensed reissue of the 2000 Canadian Great White North release. If I heard that CD while I was still in hi-school head-banging it away to the likes of Entombed, Dismember and other heroes of all things brutal, it would have surely made me jump with enthusiasm and possible even gape in awe. But as of today I can only say that the material, outdated as it is, is still rather attractive and relatively diverse (as far as the genre frames afford of course). The girl named Mary Abaza, who has taken upon the vocal and bass responsibilities, is managing those quite well. The sound is styled out to early nineties, whilst the cover artwork and the lyrics are “truly” grim and necro. A solid piece of work for a limited number of listeners. (Leathermaniac)

3/5
MONSTROSITY
Rise to Power
2004
Metal Blade / Fono
Classic Florida Death
Hell, I don’t know, even with my pathological love for Florida death metal, I cannot say that I exactly orgasmed over this one. A pretty standard meat, neatly sliced into strakes and put into accurate plastic bags with price-tags and barcodes. And well, considering the fact that the sound density on this one leaves quite a lot to be desired… There is a couple of cool riffs, but not cool enough to make one listen to them for a second time. Then again, since I cannot really say anything entirely bad about this, let’s tag it with a “fans-only” sticker and put it on the counter. (Troll)

4/5
NOTRE DAME
Demi Monde Bizardos
2004
Osmose / CD-Maximum
Vampiric boogie
What’s gonna happen if you mix port wine into blood before giving it to a vampire? What kind of music could wurdalaks be playing whilst high on the best weed this side of Jamaica? Do the descendants of Vlad Zepesh actually have a sense of humor? Can the night breed take a joker? To get the answers to all of these questions all you need to do is listen to the latest effort from ïîñëåäíþþ ðàáîòó Snowy Shaw and Co. A raging vampiric boogie with off-the-wall lyrics and a fuck-off attitude. Euro-styled Murder Dolls, Rob Zombie with a bit of a French accent, pointedly refined slop-arsedness in vampire rock – all in all, charmant! Oh the bonus tracks feature two live numbers, one of them being a cover of the notorious "These Boots Are Made for Walking" by Nancy Sinatra. (Troll)

5-/5
ORPHANED LAND
Mabool - The Story Of Three Sons Of Seven
2004
Century Media Records / Fono
Middle East Ethno-symphonic Gothic Dark Metal
Gaping stock! How many albums like this one have we heard over the past years – maybe a couple… hic! Fuck it, I am truly wowed to see how much one can fit into one album! The heavy and not so guitar material would fall between the likes of early THERION and CREMATORY or HAGGARD, with an occasional departure towards something ultramodern in the key of MESHUGGAH. The rhythm is a notion that has no stability here, whilst the whole thing is surrounded by a myriad of all sorts and kinds of unlikely instruments … Violin, cello, acoustic guitars, and piano – are the only ones I could identify, with the rest being something so obscure that I wouldn’t even attempt to recite those out loud (hey if you really must know, read the CD inlay). In fact those are some sort of oriental string-plucking instruments and trumpets and some other oddities. The abundance is spiced with a godzillion of different choirs, sounds of nature, and some computer transitions. The entwining plot and the cornucopian polyphonic structure literally enchant you. I mean, think of it, snakes populate the entire planet, but its only in the east that you will be able to find snake charmers who enspell the serpents with their awing-melodies and igniting dance motives. The only trouble with this one is that the guys did not really spend an equal amount of effort on each and every track, so that in the end run subjects of righteous pride are being combined with undisguised fillers and primitivisms. The lyrics – performed in English, Hebrew, Arabic, and Latin are entirely taken from the Bible and deal with the only subject of the Great Flood. What really puzzled me is this one number that the musicians claim to be traditional. Let it be, but I’d really like to see them Ancient Jews crunch it away in the best traditions of the likes of Korn’s “Follow the Leader” and their ilk… A god-fearing nation that would growl out any demon to shame – that’s something really worth hearing! Give it a try, get surprised, and shelf it for the rest of your days… (St.Ded)

4+/5
PRIDE OF LIONS
Pride Of Lions
2004
Frontiers records / CD-Maximum
AOR
The slightly oversized nametag and a Peugeot-like logo conceal a work of one of the most respected musicians and composers in the genre of melodic rock, namely Jim Peterick, the founder of the legendary Survival. I do not think that I will spoil any surprise for you, should I disclose the fact that this CD contains a celebration of melodies and truly male vocals of non-mawkish sentiment – something, which has always been a characteristic trait of Survival. The young and aspiring singer that goes under the name of Tobi Hitchock and who has equally split his vocal duties with the Man himself, is traditionally being praised, and I am not going to be any different and support my fellow-reviewers by saying that “junior” really has a strong and fresh voice, and his young bravado and an almost teenager sensuality only add more charm to this CD. This is that very rare combination of wise experience and talented youth. (Fireball)

5-/5
PROSTITUTE DISFIGUREMENT
Deeds Of Derangement
2003
Morbid Records / CD-Maximum
brutal death grind
I’ll start from afar – have all of ye, folks, seen the cover artwork to Tankard’s "Fat, Ugly, and Life" live-album? Yes-yes, the one that depicts a pretty (not!) brutal-looking swine with a viole(n)t “mohawk” and a guitar... Jolly good then, well, the rumor has it that this guy later joined PD as a singer. I mean at least that’s what it definitely appears to be when you hear the vocals All in all "DoD" exemplifies the new wave of euro-grind, in which blast-beats would easily co-exist with completely melodic parts, and the seeming dumbness and straightforwardness, would turn out in a bunch of utterly complex transitions with non-standard pacing and other treats. The above is coupled with some seriously fat sound and superb musicianship equals an excellent record that is bound to win. (Troll)

2/5
RAVAGER
Naxzgul Rising
2004
OSMOSE PRODUCTIONS / CD-Maximum
unholy brutal death
The second and last release of this now defunct Brazilian combo. The musical material contained herein features unchecked aggression and anger. As soon as you push “play” you will be brought down under an unwarned of avalanche of deafening and – hell - ravaging sounds. The whole things rounds up to 48 minutes of total blasting, with an occasional addent of shortish semi-melodic solos and doom-like down-paced inserts (all added here for the pure sake of politeness, I assume). The cover artwork is done in the stylish hell-red tones and depicts the place, which apparently will house the souls of Samuels and Antims of Ravager after their bodies will have been subjected to the mud. The lyrics on this one are done in English, and are morbid and intricate. The thanks-list in the end of booklet takes no more no less than 4.5(!) pages. All in all, a nice treat for all the admirers of extreme string sports and multibeat drumwork. The rest would probably consider this a waste of time. (Leathermaniac)

4/5
THE BLACK LEAGUE
Man's Ruin Revisited
2004
Spinefarm / Fono
drunk'n'roll
It is extremely rare that musicians, who have made a good name for themselves within one genre, would then easily, relatively painlessly, and no less successfully switch to playing a completely different kind of music. I mean the examples are a dime a dozen, and I am not going to list them all here, you know them too damn well. However there are exceptions, and that fact is something that Taneli Jarva here has been successfully proving for the past four CDs. A key-minor depressive rock-n-roll for a drunken nostalgic soul would probably be the most likely description of “Man's Ruin Revisited”. In principle the album is quite a logical evolvement from the band’s previous three works, with the only difference being that nowadays it is all much more about rock, than the cliched melodies "Made In Suomi". Quite funny and relatively raging. (Troll)

5/5
THE CROWN
Possessed 13
2003 / 2004
Metal Blade / Fono
death thrash
Yeeeeeeehaaaaaaa! – as they say in Taixus:) This is fucking beautiful, so beautiful, I might have dropped the “fucking” out, had I not been the profane mutha that I am... Then again, no, I might have not, cuz it’s simply impossible once you hear this record! Why? Because the fucking fuckers of the fucking Crown have fucking made a record that fucking shreds every fucking other thrash or death metal album out there into fucking pieces, that’s fucking why!!! I mean once you hear this one, the only thing you really want is lay the grip on that huge twin axe and start crushing, breaking and splitting open everything in sight. In all honesty, every damn thing about this CD is so utterly cool that I can’t even think of anything more to write about it, it’s just too emotional. I mean, everything here is next to perfect, really, if not perfect. All in all, the comeback of the Crown could have been considered as not just happened but in a big fucking way too, had it not been for one thing – this album has turned out to be the last one in the Crown’s history. (Troll)

5+/5
THE GATHERING
Sleepy Buildings - A Semi Acoustic Evening
2004
Century Media Records / Fono
Psychedelic Romance (Art-Rock)
Yep, modest as they are – no symphonic orchestras, bombastic pathos, and other pompous pretense: a pretty non-eye-catching (at first sight at least) semi-acoustic live record, in which the Dutch rockers have revisited their first works. The songs date back to as early as the debut "Always…" (1992). The processed musical cloth has become much softer, having lost any connection to metal it may have had and stuck more to the alternative side. Several months prior to the concert (Anneke) VAN GIERSBERGEN visited the Nijmegen city blacksmith, where she re-worked her voice to become cleaner, softer, and higher for a laughable price of 1184 guldens. The unique operation has been successfully performed by maestro Guus Lapchtning (tel: +31 (0) 24 382-72-91). All the aforementioned upgrades have done the music a world of good and added more impressionism and feeling to it. Less fuzz – more sense. An intricate and well-felt work with crystal sound which have once again witnessed the band conquer yet another height (yet always room for perfection). (St.Ded)

4+/5
TIAMAT
Prey
2003 / 2004
Century Media Records / Fono
Decadence rock
Awrightee, let me put on my thick-lens solid-rimmed spectacles and revisit the olden days of long ago. The band’s transition to a different system of musical coordinates, which happened a decade ago, has inevitably split its listeners to those who accepted the change – rad as it was – and those who did not appreciate it much. There are also those who have only got hooked onto the new material (and of course those who have never heard it before altogether, and are not going to either). I am of the strong opinion that Edlund’s main input concerns his death metal, still – a professional that he obviously is – the man has no problem roaming from one genre to another, not tolerating any deprivation. The light-heartedness, a certain deal of punkness, and even the most entire optimism of the last year’s “Judas” are that album’s sole prerogative - "Prey" gets fully back at it in spades, cherishing nostalgia, decadence, and harsh nihilism. The hollow space-filling voice, the thick, stoning guitar sound, electronic droplets and background-hum drumming would at times transcend into the harsh metal, stiff and rough beats, but that’s only temporary... Excellent second… but with good brandy only! (St.Ded)

5-/5
UNMOORED
Undefinite Soul-Extension
2003 / 2004
CODE666 / CD-Maximum
Old-Swedish death/power metal
This is outrageous! Living in Sweden, playing heavy metal, and at that never parody the likes of IN FLAMES, or AT THE GATES, or even DARK TRANQUILLITY! Once you realize this fact the only thing left for you to do is drop the dishes from your hands and gape at the shattered pieces (of course, provided that this is not a night vase we are talking about). USE – is the third full-scale project of this creative group. The record is harsh and unusual, with a whole herd of all kinds of tricks: rhythms would change, blazing keyboard sounds would thunder, clean vocals would shine in the horizon (something close to DAN SWANO’s exercises in NIGHTINGALE); all of this while still being based on the kind of music Tiamat played in 1990-1991 and Grave play to this date. Still I gotta nitpick at it: the transitions seems somewhat immature and angular, but let this not discourage you. If these guys don’t lose the edge, soon we are going to have a totally cool alternative to EDGE OF SANITY. (St.Ded)

 

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