Greatest Of Deceivers
Though this is the first time I've happened upon NIDINGR, research has shown me that they've been together for a very long time. Yet this new album sounds just as fresh as if it was a debut, and that's because it's truly authentic. NIDINGR have made an absolute masterpiece on an album that truly matches it's intricate cover. Fans of DEATHSPELL OMEGA, BLUT AUS NORD, SECRETS OF THE MOON, SATYRICON, IHSAHN and others in that genre will be very pleased with this new approach to black metal that just sounds momentous. The disc has a clean production, yet still has a sludgy sound to it as the band plays with time signatures, djent and prog in what I would certainly have to consider one of the best black metal releases of the year. The drums blaze furiously, the vocals are bellowed forth with fierce emotion, and the guitars mix bleak atmospheres together with artistic magnificence. It is as if the massive serpents on the album cover literally expel themselves out from the artwork and crawl around in your mind, opening unseen cognitive potential through such technically calculated sounds that are as catchy as they are mysterious. With such songs like "The Worm Is Crowned" "Pure Pale Gold" and my personal favorite, "Mother Of Abominations" showing off the band's full potential, there is little more to say about this one, other than the fact that it's certainly one of the more interesting black metal discs that I've come across. I knew nothing about this band until I happened upon this album, and now I'm curious for more...
DECLINE OF THE I
Decline Of The I is a French post black metal project from A.K. who is most notable for his work in VORKRIEST, MERRIMACK, NEO INFERNO 262, MALHKEBRE, DIAPSIQUIR and others. They consider themselves a mix between BURZUM, NEUROSIS and CODE, so you can already guess that style of music on this disc is going to be very, cold atmospheric and slightly melodic. And you'd be right. To tell you the truth, DECLINE OF THE I has succeed where bands like BLUT AUS NORD have failed. The industrial landscapes that they create here are in many ways very much comparable to the 777: Cosmosophy album, but the ideas are actually followed through and offer much more than the over-melodic flatness on that record. Electronics are frequently featured and there are slight dance-laden moments on the disc, but let's not forget about this hitting where it counts, and that's in the black metal department. Even though "The End Of A Sub-Elitist Addiction" and "The Other Rat" might have a few dance beats in it, the song is for the most part, very bleak, cold and unforgiving. This is the very nature of the album, which is supposed to be "heavy, oppressive and neurasthenic." There is no real respite from the despair and agony that echo on this disc, and only the worst explosions of angst are featured within this recording. The album is lengthy, full of form and structure, and offers listeners a new experience in madness with each and every song. It's downright perfection and I would highly recommend it. Even though I was afraid that dub-step would creep in (and it did try to a couple of times on the album) it never did and wholly left me with the feeling of a false sense of hope, and an overwhelming sense of helplessness. The first part of a planned trilogy, this record is truly intriguing and diabolical. It's a masterpiece of misery.
The Sanctum Of Human Darkness
Dark Descent Records
This sophomore attempt from Finland trio Desolate Shrine certainly brings an air of distress amidst it's rage and sadistic atmospheres. Combining the very roughest of death metal with the very bleakest of aural assaults is one thing that's going to get this band noticed quite quickly. While there are slower tracks like "Plane Of Awake" and a brief atmosphere called "The Old Man's Visit" the band isn't afraid to thunder in brutality with "Pillars Of Salvation" or "Lair Of Wolf & 1000 Lions." There's also the lengthy masterwork, "Demonheart" which shows everything that the band is capable of and more. This is everything that I'd expect from the sights and sounds of hell itself, and would fit perfectly well as soundtrack for the suffering damned in the funereal abyss. Uncomfortable acoustics are played on this record, along with melodies that sound like anything other than beautiful. This is the album that one would expect to be listening to in their headphones if the Maya were indeed right and lakes of fire poured forth from the sun, purging all life from this planet. It's the very soundtrack to our demise and truly belts forth from every orifice, nothing less than a sense of chilling and forlorn evil.
Never Ending Nightmares
Dead Beat Media
Rogga and crew have given us yet another great slab of Swedish death metal, right after the release of REVOLTING's latest album, Hymns Of Ghastly Horror. This album is very much in the same vein as REVOLTING, but just doesn't play along the same lines of eerie melodies and sticks to straightforward death/groove. But that's not to say that there aren't any good lead melodies on the disc, because there are some great lead riffs and solos. The concept of the disc revolves mainly among purgatorial realms and vengeful spirits, which makes me question the band's moniker, as there's nothing on this album even related to technology. I've also noticed a slight recording error on opener "The Eight Fire Nakaras 2:08" but it's nothing that you will deter you from checking this album out. If anything, you'll probably never even notice it. The disc is made up of rather short songs, each one of them in the same vein of classic Swedish death metal like UNLEASHED, DEMONICAL, and others. This disc isn't very long, but it definitely solidifies itself as another strong album to add to your Rogga collection. As far as I'm concerned, damn near everything that this man has done is worth checking out and he's got a massive body of work, spanning several different bands and sub-genres of death metal. At any rate, it's good to see that there still are strong death metal bands out there playing the music the way it was from it's very inception. Though we've got "slam death" and deathcore making an affront to the genre, this album is a testament to the strength of classic death metal. I certainly recommend it, and it's well worth putting in your little one's stockings this holiday season. Remember, it's never too early to expose your children to real music.
Who We Are
Goomba Music/Turkey Vulture Records
Not to be confused with prog-power group BEYOND THE THRESHOLD, this Nu-Metal act is actually well worth checking out. Even though you might not necessarily care for the down-tuned riffs and SLIPKNOT style vocal approaches on some of the tracks like "Everchanging" you will also thrashers like opener "Blood Thirst" and "Never Again." Not only that, this band can actually produce some good solos and plays with core a little, which evolves the sound of Nu-Metal in my opinion. The production of the disc is slightly raw, but it's good that a modern Nu-Metal album didn't get stuck with over-production as it was when the genre was popular. At any rate, this disc is extremely catchy and whether or not you like bands like DOPE, PRIMER 55, HED PE, MUSHROOMHEAD,MOTOGRATER, SKINDRED, 36 CRAZYFISTS, you might just find something on this disc to like. Of course, don't expect anything super-intricate or technical, but there is some definite song structure on this one and it's much better than anything KORN's put out in a while (especially that dub-step disaster.) I cut my teeth on this kind of music, and remember how I used to listen to the first two Slipknot albums (Slipknot and Iowa) religiously, until I kept digging to discover what real metal was. But this is the stuff I grew up on and old habits die hard. Thankfully, this band preserves the nature of Nu-Metal in it's most extreme form, and adds much more meat to the package than bands of the past. The only track that I didn't care for on this album was the alternative rock ballad "Stuck Inside" which killed the aggression just a little. If you also remember those Nu-Metal days, this band will bring them right back to you, like a high-school flavored boomerang with memories that you'd sooner forget. Though not new or original, it does teach an old dog some new tricks. Just know that in the end, you're getting a solid mix of Nu-Metal and core. At any rate, it's better than anything that most of the popular hard rock and Nu-Metal bands have put out recently.
This is a black metal/post-rock/trance solo project by Tim Yatras, a Australian who also currently composes music for K-Pop and J-Pop music. Though the disc certainly has potential, calling this black metal is a bit of stretch. As such, calling this black metal because of a few harsh vocal scowls also does not work, as his vocals are far lacking from the ones in black metal bands like MGLA for example. While the overall composition of the disc is great with tracks like "An Overdose On Cosmic Galaxy" the poppy clean vocals overpower this disc and give it sort of an avant-garde style sense, if nothing else. Tinges of black metal do appear, but the harsh vocals sound much too feminine like in "Flowers Bloom and Flowers Fall, But I'm Still Waiting For the Spring" and these don't really work well with the music, making it sound like he's imitating a banshee. However, there are some good guitar solos on the record, and while they definitely sound like the kind of solos that you'd hear in j-rock, they seem to work well with the material. The disc is made up of nine tracks, but four of these are short interludes which completely fail to do anything more than sound like they just don't belong with the rest of the songs on the disc. Unfortunately, the most black metal that appears on this disc is "Your Smile Mirrors The Sun" where frantic blasts from the kit play amidst some atmospheric effects. In truth, this record is so overly bombastic that I'm not sure how many of you will actually check it out. Don't expect techno explosion, or black metal industrial rage. This is very pleasant natured J-Pop and K-Pop influenced black avant-garde metal from Australia. It won't be everyone's cup of tea, but I'm sure that there's an audience for it somewhere.