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
AURA NOIR
Deep Tracts of Hell
(1998) 2003
Hammerheart/FONO
proto-black

Aura Noir gives no credits to anyone - fuck off! Yes - that's it. I don't know, if this has actually been planned as a joke then it is in fact quite funny, however if this was meant to be serious, then in reality it does look quite sad (ed. - what the fuck?) This duet consisting of such cult personages as Aggressor and Apollyon, who made themselves the names in the likes of Mayhem, Dimmu Borgir, etc., sounds as something I could characterize as proto-true-black-metal (basically this is what Venom could have sounded like if they were in fact "true"). Musically this is crap, while sound-wise it's shit, although if it were a joke this would have worked for say the first 10 minutes. After that it gets plain boring. I gather this is one of the CDs that were mentioned in the legendary 101 Rules of Black Metal. (Troll)

4-/5
AZAGHAL
Of Beasts and Vultures
2003
Evil Horde/CD-Maximum
black metal

Alright, imagine a person coming into a CD store and asking the tender for a CD by a band that hails under an unpronounceable moniker of Azaghal - now what would such an individual expect to hear on the CD? What? Why of course, you are absolutely right. I'll say more such a person may be 100% sure of what he/she will hear on the record - that is the proto-evil black metal of Nordic school. The only thing that changes with time here (and for the better, at that) would be the sound and production quality. In every other aspect "Of Beasts and Vultures" is nothing different from any of its predecessors. Same ice-cold riffs, that have frozen through in the Finnish winter night, head-smashing drum blasts, that explode in a myriad of sparkling icicles, rare atmospheric keyboard inserts (which are really good, by the way), and the spiteful croaking of the lead singer, bringing the curse on this poor world and all of its equally unhappy inhabitants. In short this is what you would normally call yer standard true and evil black metal, but not quite like that. What Azaghal do happen to have is their own face and - lo and behold - even a very small hint to diversity, and moreover, the general impression you get from listening to the record is surprisingly pleasant (not the band's fault, my true and evil friends :) - just happened). And, yes, pay special attention to the track "Reign" - that's black and roll, baby!!! (Troll)

4/5
BLOOD
Dysangelium
2003
Morbid Records/CD-Maximum
brutal death
This cult German death metal act has never really been something which you would refer to as original or fresh - then again - let's face, nobody really expects them to be that. I mean, come on, how much originality would you expect from a band with such a name? Throughout their history Blood have been known for being good at what they are best at - that is quality brutal death metal in the manner it was once invented by Cannibal Corpse and their ilk. Guitar bulldozerisms, glottal gurgling, well-timed blast beats, and the already traditional quotes from classic horror movies in-between the songs. Overall a well-recorded and smartly played death metal straight from Bundeswehr - kvadratische, praktische, gut! (Troll)

5/5
CLOSTERKELLER
Graphite
(1999) 2003
Metal Mind Productions / CD-Maximum
alternative rock
Fucking A! Mid-weight alternative rock, with a heap of great ideas, soothing female vocals, with top-shelf production and sound quality. It may be so, that my judgment is somewhat affected by the fact that I simply haven't listened to this kind of music for a long while now, but still. If we even compare Closterkller to such mastodons of the genre as the Gathering, I'd swear on my copy of LaVey's Satanic Bible that I do like Closterkeller much better. And it's not even about the quality. It's just that i.m.o. the Gathering are just too depressive. I am not saying that the album in question was composed entirely in D-major, but their material is just so not like anything else I have heard recently. There is a little of everything in here - Pearl Jam, U-2, A, and - well - the Gathering to. In short - splendid. (Troll)

5/5
CRYPTOPSY
None So Live (Live in Montreal)
2003
Century Media/FONO
grindcore
This is that rare case when you really have nothing to review, honest. Everything is simply perfect, so perfect, that there's not even room left for my notorious nit-picking. The sound, the musicianship, the performance, the set - everything can only be talked about in superlative and described with the most high-brow epithets. The material presented at the concert spans the entire history of this truly great band - and thus may attract both the old Cryptopsy fans, as well as those who are completely unfamiliar with their music. For the latter group - the material presented by the Canadians represents a hi-tech, compositionally complex, grindcore/brutal death metal with addends of SMDM, acoustic inserts a-la Misanthrope, and a ton of other features and bits. I that's not enough - the highlight of the album - a superb 7-minute (!) drum solo presented by Cryptopsy's one and only (Troll)

4-/5
DEATHLESS
The Time to Be Immortal
2002
CD-Maximum
deathrash
Funny, from its very first chords this formation reminded me of a weird cross between Ritual Carnage, Grim Force, and Slayer - however already by the middle of the first track their instinctive national incline towards melody takes over and the background of combat thrash-rattle is suddenly overruled by the sound of the neoclassic guitar, which is however very soon forced to make way for the armored train of massive snapping riffage. This exchange between the nearly power metal harmonies and thrash passages continues throughout the record, accompanied by the deep roaring of the lead singer, whose voice could be compared to that of Ritual Carnage or, say, Kataklysm. In all it could have been pretty good in fact, has it not been for the sound - the leftover overload on the drums, pretty thin guitars, and narrow sound panorama spoil the whole impression big time. (Troll)

4/5
DGM
Hidden Place
2003
Scarlet Records/CD-Maximum
Power/Progressive Metal, Hard Rock

As was once said in this fairly known theological essay, which has been by many considered kvlt for the past couple of thousand years and that has been occupying the national charts in the Vatican since forever - Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac was the father of Jacob, etc., etc., etc. Could this possibly be argued with? In short - no. And who am I to argue? So what I will say is that, without going much into DGM's stylistic genealogy, is that they did succeed in jumping the band-wagon already packed with the likes of Symphony X, Dream Theater, Savatage, Axel Rudi Pell, and co, gracing the mentors' melodies with the warmth and sparkling of the Tyrrhenian. The compositions are dreamlike, light, and balanced, but again dangling with an unexpected guitar blast every now and again. Indeed there is no escaping the testaments of sire Malmsteen. The overall musical appearance is topped with the weird looking synthesizer comets, which would remind one of the fantasies of J.M. Jarre. (St.Ded)

4-/5
DISARMONIA MUNDI
Nebularium
2003
Scarlet Records/CD-Maximum
NWoSMDM-based mosaic
If we were to anlalyze this material by components, we would discover a bunch of interesting although very distant echoes. I would definitely remember the likes of Dark Tranquillity with their melodism and thick guitar tuning, the free-thinking Opeth with their infamous aggression/melancholy opposition, illogical riffing madness, and classical death-metal drumwork, or the clean-voiced parts of Crematory. Once you give it more attention, youd understand that these boys have also had their thing about Metallica, esp. Seek & Destroy, Garage Days, and Justice. On top of that the aforementioned mixture is well-shaken and comes in a neat package. I mean, does it get any better than this? I really cannot tell, but if you ask me, I still wouldnt say that Nebularium is anything more than just a very promising debut. Its cool at one spin, but it does get boring on the second and third lap...(St.Ded)

4+/5
DYSANCHELY
Secrets of The Sun
2003
Metal Age Productions/CD-Maximum
NWoSMDM

Thats a damn strange incarnation of In Flames, I must say. Make no mistake this band does not rip the masterpieces of the famous Swedes off, but they did manage to integrate into the same style. Still their concept base is original and the only similes youd find would be in some of the technicalities. The difference is in the approach. Where the founding fathers of SMDM, with all their aggression and sharpness, are aesthetic and even poshy, their Slovakian cousins see their stylistics on a more simplistic, and Id even say bullying level. The music is equally melodic, but has a harsher mentality, a less bombastic scenarios. The wonderful drunkard voice imposing the arrogant and cobbled, but thoughtful lyrics, creative search this is what this solar secrecy is really about. And once the aforementioned voice splits in a long gorilla-like growl, any criticism fades away and the hand starts searching for them rose-colored glasses. (St.Ded)

4/5
ENSLAVED
Below the Lights
2003
Osmose/
FONO
progressive viking metal
Not being exactly a "Viking" or "prog" metal fan, I will give Enslaved credit where it is due - this crew did find a peculiar style of their own, which perfectly suits their ideas and play. If the early CDs by Ivar and Co. were marked with rare deadness and rabid engagedness (is there a word like that?), then the latest several records have turned out surprisingly experimental, with the musicians bravely exploring more and more new, non-traditional elements, the only thought of which (had it occurred some 10 years ago) would have probably scared the living Je ooops - Odin out of Enslaved and quite possibly would of made them seriously contemplate visiting a group therapist. Well, the above applies to "Below the Light" in equal measure. Viking-metal with the additions from Voivod, progressive, techno, a super-complex compositional structure and very serious (and not entirely ungrounded) claim for intellectuality. Beautiful and intelligent music, which is often referred to as "not for everyone" (Troll)

3/5
EWIGKEIT
Land of Fog
2003
Metal Age Productions/CD-Maximum
Pagan Metal
Aha, so this CD is a journey? At least thats what its one and only parent Mr. Fog claims it to be in the manuscript attached hitherto. Well, promising as it may sound, too bad that I have read the line already after giving the CD a couple of spins, and therefore the response will be based on the knowledge of the actual material, rather than the delightful expectations. Thats just bloody amazing. I really cannot understand how on Earth would it be possible that I would rate such an original, diverse, and standout work so low, but I cannot help it. A mixture of classic heavy, a multitude of Gothic delights, including the intricate and atmospheric synthesizer patters, elements of Dark Metal, slipping drive, amorphous lyrics, and abundance of various artifactory finds but its just not good enough. All the inventions have turned out squeezed and artificial, and even their great numbers do not help. Comparisons Well, lets say Sentenced, Lake of Tears, Bal Sagoth (all of mid-90ies era) and a trifle of late Samael. (St.Ded)

5+/5
EXTOL
Synergy
2003
Century Media/FONO
melodic techno thrash
Now we are talking something truly interesting. I have said it before and I will say it again - I do not remember the last time the CM A&R department has been in error, and this is not the case either. Imagine a gumbo of Death, Voivod, Vintersorg, Corporation 187, Megadeth, Carcass, and Stamping Ground. Impressed? Well, you ain't seen nothing yet. Add to that some Brit-pop elements put over death metal basis ('Paradigms') and Genesis-type AOR ("Blood Red Cover" and "Confession of Inadequacy"). It is quite a mix, I agree with that, although I have to say this - I positively could live with that, I could. But when I heard the acoustic, almost pop-like ballad of "Aperture" I slowly started realizing that my head is getting on the move. Mark me, unmixable as it is, the album is as integrate and compositionally solid as practically possible. A true masterpiece. (Troll)

4/5
GALADRIEL
From Ashes & Dust
2002
Metal Age Productions/CD-Maximum
Gothic/Dark Metal

Everything passes and everything changes, and so does Galadriel. Their latest work has introduced the following corrections the sound has once again lightened, and made another step from Dark Metal towards the melancholic Gothic embrace, the earlier melodic parts in the rhythm have no almost entirely shifted to the independent solo-work, in fact the only harder elements that are still there are the drums and the roaring male vocals. The compositional structure has been seriously improved adding in accuracy, preciseness, and at the same time looseness and easiness. The keyboards deliver a spectacular be-webbing atmosphere, while the sweet ringing of their Viccan female singer has become even sweeter. The production and sound engineering are also nothing but commendable. Medieval Home Deliveries! 1-500-GALADRIEL! CALL NOW!(St.Ded)

no rate
GREAT VAST FOREST
Battletales and Songs of Steel
2002
Evil Horde/CD-Maximum
Barbarian black metal
Hail Bathory! Hoorah, my comrades! Holy shit, this is so funny, that I cannot even force myself to give this uhm release a low rate. Then again there is nothing to praise here either. Well, whatever, I think we can pass the rating out on this one. Now, I hope everyone out there has seen the trv and kvlt Conan the Barbarian flick, haven't you? Right, then try to imagine something equally idiotic script- and acting-wise, but produced with a budget that has at least three zeroes less in it and without the intellect-smashed mug of henosse Schwartznegger in the frame. Get it? Jolly good, now this album would then be a soundtrack to that cinematographic atrocity. The only thing I can actually commend here is the artwork and design, but this is more of a compliment to the label than the musicians, I guess. But nonetheless if you are not too greedy and if you do have a sense of humor, I'd strongly recommend buying this CD to endorse your collection, because, folks, this is the case, when it is so bad, that it actually becomes pretty good. (Troll)

5/5
GARY HUGHES
Once And Future King (part I)
2003
Frontiers Records / CD-Maximum
rock opera
I was kind of reluctant to rate this CD at 5 out of 5, since, I have to admit, that it really starved me into submission, rather than impressed with something super-genius. I am truly amazed to see how the rock-opera bacilli infect the minds of both the expendable youth represented by Tobi Sammet, and the worldly-wise likes of Gary Hughes. And indeed throwing a challenging glove in the face of a historical work and making a symphony of joy out of it is totally cool, but why, oh why does the selection of the said works needs to be so unoriginal? I mean, how long can one exploit the theme of the long-suffering Kin Arthur?! Well, this time this textbook story has been sung off by an all-star roster of Gary Hughes, Lana lane, Bob Catley and others. The mentioning of these names alone will make the hearts of the fans boom in frantic anticipation, while the listening itself causes nothing but utter disappointment. If somebody lit a star in the sky it means, that somebody else needs it, but when the shine is worn off the only people to need that would be the most stubborn and die-hard fans, whose number - however- will be surprisingly large for such an uninspired piece of plastic as this CD is. I mean the sound is real good, and the playing skills demonstrated are at their best, but it just doesn't kick any arse. (Debbie Boink)

4/5
IGNITION
Ignition
2003
MTM Music/CD-Maximum
hard rock
typical American hard-rock with a well-pronounced guitar dominant, pretty simple and commercial (in the good sense of the word) melodies, and an obvious nod in the direction of likes of Kiss and Nelson (although not as snotty as the latter, and not as good as the former). In fact you could actually play this record on all of the major radios stations and - gud forbid - on MTV. I ain't the one to judge whether this is good or bad, but I did get my kicks out of listening to it. (Troll)

4-/5
KALMAH
Swampsong
2003
Spinefarm/FONO
speed melodic death

Not inventing anything new, this Finnish quintet, led by the Kokko-bros, is victoriously marching down the yellow-brick road, methodically trampling down their own tracks. Well, so be it, after all not every band on this planet has to be original. This however, does not in any way counter the fact that (pretty much like every Finnish band that I know) Kalmah consists of highly professional musicians, whose mastership of their instruments cannot be questioned under any circumstances, and - if we speak of he Kokko brothers themselves - we can even speak of obvious progression. By the third album their soloing has become much more complex, well-thought, and many-sided. This is not your standard high-speed guitar brouhaha in the vein of maestro Yngwie, the guys have finally got the guts to step away from the traditional genre stamps, and try mixing their work with elements of heavy, thrash, and even blues. Good work. (Troll)

2/5
MELANCHOLY
Closed Eyes
2003

CD-Maximum
Gawthic

KA-BOOM!!! Shit, and I mean the debut was so damn good. Judging form the info in the CD inlay, the guys have parted ways with their former singer Vickey Witch and the first half of the album was recorded with the help of the freshly recruited Tanin, whose vocals are obviously worse. Another thing that I cannot understand is why did they refuse from the clean singing delivered by Roos Beast, which have added such a bright twist to Fear of Emptiness. The composing ability has also noticeably decreased. On the other hand, Melancholy now features some silly hollow electronics, which make absolutely no sense, in the music. The second half of the CD introduces the unreleased tracks from the previous album, and once you hear it, you understand why exactly these songs had not been included into the debut. Faceless, squeezed out, unnatural material. Sad.(St.Ded)

4-/5
MUCUPURULENT
Soulreaver
2003
Morbid Records/CD-Maximum
grind-n-roll
Funny how sometimes reading a press-release would really affect your judgment. At that - when I read "grind-n-roll" I expect something in the key of Growling Elvis and mighty-distorted BB King. But - alas - you will not find anything even close to that on the latest Mucupurulent record. So in that respect "Soulreaver" did become kind of a disappointment for me. One the other hand - what I did hear caused the emotions that were nothing but positive. Thick and meaty death metal with a good deal of industrial, quality growling, and pretty original ideas. In principle, if I were to make any comparisons I'd say that Mucupurulent are the Fear Factory of the EU, which in itself is already a bonus. So - yes, indeed. (Troll)

3/5
THE MUSHROOM RIVER BAND
Simsalabim
2002
Meteor City/CD-Maximum
Hardcore, Rock-n-Roll, Angry Metal, Punk
Ive always been the one to support any kind of musical mixing experiments, but yet the end goal should always be the same, and that is musicality art not the genetic exercises of Dr. Frankenstein who was in the different business. The material presented on the album is pretty even and solid, and thus all of its basic components appear at once rather than in sequence. And now close your eyes and imagine the sound of Motorhead and Propain, with the three-strong choir of Lemmy, Anselmo and Cobain (singing altogether), and the music side being the joint product of Motorhead, Pro-Pain, Nirvana, and RHCP. The bulk of the song-material is midtempo, with simplistic, in your face, but rather technical solos. Would be good, had it not been for the lack of creativity. As the record reaches its completion the speaker blast with mighty snoring, could that be self-critique? Nah Thats more of a logical period(St.Ded)

4-/5
NEBULA
Dos Ep's
2003
Meteor City/CD-Maximum
Hard Rock

There was a time, there was a time Yes, I do understand how hard it is nowadays to find a worthy match for the likes of Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden and the other rock gurus of 60ies-80ies. The former glory of the once thundering (it gets even noisier nowadays, but thats beside the point) style has faded away leaving nothing but a worn trace: tiny group of fans and a handful of followers. Nebula here belong to this latter group of those who respect their traditions, and I will give them that these Americans are quite good at what they do. Sure I could make do without them fashionable inserts in the form of occasional rapping vocal parts and overdriven distortion guitars (obviously infected with the nu-bacillus), still the album sounds quite promising, cherishing the aplomb, elegance, and freshness of the long-forgotten concepts of true metal. Stay tuned!(St.Ded)

5/5
NEURAXIS
Truth Beyond...
2002
Neoblast America/CD-Maximum
"kataclyzmic" [:)] Death Metal
Capital! Back in their times Neuraxis homies of Kataklysm baptized their style as Northern Hyper-Blast. Well, thanks to their rabidness and countless drum salvos, this band fits the category perfectly, adding to it the concepts and ideas of their own. The above coupled with flawless instrumentalism and original finds makes Truth Beyond on of the best surprises in death metal for 2003. Their tempos are shredded into pieces with instrumentalistic absurdness and audaciousness, undivided madness borders with well-formatted dry spite, melodism, soothing guitar ringings, and cliche-breaking rhythmic demarches, while the growling vocals are hearty and memorable. These, by the way, were also backed by a group of guest-legionnaires of Cephalic Carnage. On the downside it is possible that the sound concept should have been slightly different, but theres always room for perfection :) (St.Ded)

5/5
NOMICON
Halla
2003
Sagitarius Productions/CD-Maximum
black
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, good evening and welcome to our very own, the one and only cook-show - BARF! And today - hailing from the frost-bitten forests of Finland, the masters of the delicious and totally unhealthy cuisine, Nomicon of Sagitarius Records will present their true and entirely evil mumbo-jumbo-gumbo soup "HAAAAAALLLLLAAAAAAA!!!!" So, you take a little of Gloomy Grim and Morgul, grind it into really small pieces, and add some Sirius sauce. Mix thoroughly and heat till boils. As soon as the green substance inside the kettle starts bubbling and guggling, take a bottle of Bal-Sagoth and slowly pour it in, constantly mixing it with the Immortal mixer. Serve with dry red wine and an evil grimace on the face! Bon appetit! (Troll)

4-/5
NORD'N'COMMANDER
Sacred Spear Aftersounds
2001
Beverina Productions/ ???
blackened metal / archaic folk

Have you ever walked through forest on a moonless night? No? Well, its never too late. Put out the lights, open the door to your balcony so that the wind fills the room with the cold breath of the cemetery, stomp on the tail of your fave pet-cat, so that the poor s.o.b.s shriek pierce through the silence of the night, and shove Sacred Spear Aftersounds into your CD player. Any soundtrack to a first-class horror movie would sound like Jingle Bells compared to this collection of primal songs of evil. And please do not ask me what does the term blackened metal/archaic folk stand for thats what this Voronezh-based act characterizes their outstanding material with, so I aint the one to blame. Yes, you got that right, true and outstanding. It may not be for everybody, it may require a lot of spins, but it has some truly mystical magnetism to it. I really dont know what ancient force makes me keep putting the CD into the drive, but the temptation is just irresistible. The unbelievable combination of thick low-ringing guitar passages, the roars of hell, and traditional folk vocalisms. And although the sound could have definitely been better, the album is still worth the attention of all the real Viccans and true-blackers. (Debbie Boink)

3-/5
THYRANE
Hypnotic
2003
Spinefarm/FONO
black
Damn shame. Really. When I remember how good and diverse Thyrane's previous release was, I can hardly believe how dull and faceless these Laplandians have become. Not a trace of the former drive left, the arrangements have become poor and uninteresting, and the musical ideas unpleasantly strike as exiguous and jejune. Couple that with the tame and thin sound - and, there you go, this is the new CD by this once truly aggressive, menacing, and - mark that - smart band. The shameless exploitation of one and the same riff throughout the whole playtime, almost total absence of fast moves, and unnatural monotony in the vocals. I am truly and sadly disappointed. And can only hope that eventually these mistakes will be corrected on the next record. (Troll)

5-/5
TO/DIE/FOR
Jaded
2003
Nuclear Blast
gothic rock
Once again this is an example of how an early mistake in naming a boat may predetermine the future ill fate of her wave-beaten aft. The labored Jaded album has become the swansong of the lead singer Jape Peratalo, who has parted with the band due to low motivation to continue on. Damn shame I must say, because this is exactly the album we all have been expecting aggressive and hard, yet melodic, sad, but not depressively decadentic. Seriously, as of now this is really best album by this band, although they did change their sound quite a bit, becoming more like a cross between modern day Sentenced and Entwine. Well, I guess its for the better that To/Die/For have got rid of their previous false and artificial sugar-sweetness. The Deja vu in the form of The Unknown II that brings us back to the Epilogue-era can hardly be considered a success, same as the operatic exercises delivered by Anna Lukkarinen. Main attention should be paid to the 100% hits, such as Dying Embers and Forever, as well as the cover version of Cutting Crews (I Just) Died in Your Arms(Debbie Boink)

4-/5
ZEBRA
IV
2003
Frontiers Records / CD-Maximum
Ole' School Hard Rock

The fourth birth of the Zebra. Or rather its second one, cause, although the band was formed some 20 years ago, since the Zebrans themselves have been inactive for several years, and the band was basically suspended. As usual in such cases the fans promise to piss their pants with joy, but what would the rest of us do? Well, lets see. The material is nearly flawless composition, playing techniques, recording all of this is truly at its best. Any obvious deja vu-s have come undetected. No complaint can be made about the lack of diversity. The musicians are true to their style, which has nowadays already become archaic, and have no intention of putting any newly fashionable features into it either, which, i.m.o. is also a bonus. However the deficiency of individuality makes one wonder why would we want to listen to this, really? I mean, when I wanna hear hard rock, Id rather go with Uriah Heep, Led Zep, or Deep Purple, rather than open this tin of herrings. No matter how good these herrings are. (St.Ded)

5-/5
HORNED NECROCANNIBALS
Bitches, Sex, and Ptomaine
2003
CD-Maximum
Orthodox death with an ancient meat-grinder gimmick
Could you ever imagine a robin with horns and preying on corpses? A paradox in itself but the very first robins of Russian death metal are exactly like that the Horned Necrocannibals! Their debut record is colorful and charismatic. The grim and oppressive guitar buzz, bone-braking drumwork, at times rushing in a double-bass avalanche, and the guts-ripping demonic roar make for the basis of the record. If comparisons are to be made, then Grave would definitely be the closest call. The more important thing here is the contrast the drive goes from zombified depression to ape-shit exaltation, the guitar solos vary from obscurantism and mysticism to bluesy motives of the post-epulation necrocannibalistic apathy. Separate praise would go out to the black malifecarous slant, the dinosaur wingspan of the vocal band, and the sound engineering. Burp!(St.Ded)

 

Copyright MetalKings.com 2000 - 2017

http://niidg.ru/


All rights reserved. Any reproduction without written permission from MetalKings.com is prohibited
Send your requests to ragdoll@metalkings.com

updates |  review archive |  interviews |  gig reports |  aggressor |  dark princess |  contacts |  home |  sitemap

@Mail.ru