Immortal

Things You Might Have Missed in 2011: Winterus – In Carbon Mysticism

Things You Might Have Missed in 2011: Winterus – In Carbon Mysticism

So I’ve been digging through un-opened promos from this year that simply got missed due to scheduling or whatever and man, I’ve really hit the fucking jackpot with this one. I feel terrible that I missed it because it’s awesome. Lately, I’ve had a lot of issues with black metal as a whole. I am not alone in this. Even the ultimately reliable and excellent Taake kind of disappointed me this year. I’m not a post-black metal kind of guy and yet, for the life of me, I can’t find any black metal bands that really fucking rule these days. It’s like the scene just up and left the area I was inhabiting

Thulcandra – Under a Frozen Sun Review

Thulcandra – Under a Frozen Sun Review

The Germanic horde Thulcandra is back for another fast and furious bout of Dissection worship. For those who missed my review of their 2010 opus Fallen Angel’s Dominion, these chaps, lead by Stefan Kummerer (Obscura) are huge fans of the late, great Dissection and their debut was a loving tribute to their classic sound. Since I’m also a fan, their authentic and spot-on Dissection-isms (and occasional Immortal-isms) won me over enough to overlook the complete lack of originality. That release stands up well and I still spin it fairly often. Now comes their second album, Under a Frozen Sun and its a whole lot more of the same. Once again, they deliver expertly performed, melodic black metal with all the hallmarks of The Somberlain and Storm of the Light’s Bane albums. This time however, it feels slighty less fresh and engaging. Perhaps their homage schtick is growing old or maybe its the black metal weariness I’m feeling of late. Either way, while less successful than the debut, Thulcandra (or Dissection, I’m not sure which) retains just enough charm and appeal to make for some worthwhile moments of old school Scandinavian blackness, suitable for scowling and frowning in the snow. It also has several barnburners that rise above the continued pattern of staunch unoriginality.

Byfrost – Of Death Review

Byfrost – Of Death Review

One of my favorite albums from 2010 was Black Earth by obscure Norwegian black thrashers Byfrost. Hailing from the very same town as the mighty Immortal, it was hardly surprising they borrowed heavily from their better known neighbors for the musical direction of their debut. Although it was shamelessly derivative of Abbath and Co., it was also highly enjoyable blackened thrash loaded with vicious, razor sharp riffing. Since I had such a good time with that debut, I was obviously expecting good things from their second crusade Of Death. I would even say it was one of the most anticipated releases on my list for this year. Now that I’ve had some time with Of Death, my first reaction is that of disappointment. Perhaps my expectations were too high and while the music here is good indeed, its not up to the standards set by Black Earth. There’s a strange sense of musical ambivalence that overcomes me during some of the material and it feels like they lost their magic touch at times during the writing sessions for this album. Now, before you get the idea this is a bad album, it isn’t at all. There’s a lot of solid, heavy, ugly thrash with a pronounced black metal vibe to be found on Of Death. It’s just not quite as good as I hoped it would be after such a rabble-rousing debut opus. That damn sophomore jinx strikes again!

Demonaz – March of the Norse Review

Demonaz – March of the Norse Review

Hard to believe it, but it’s finally here! The long-awaited solo debut of Demonaz. Some of you may still remember Perfect Visions, the low bitrate demo and its problematic sound that was circulated years ago. I doubt that fans who heard it didn’t fall for the four songs immediately because despite the bad production the coldly distant, mysterious epic mood was something to worship, remember and hope for in terms of a future full-time debut. In due time an announcement was made and the record was given the title March of the Norse as well as record label home in Nuclear Blast, also responsible for Demonaz’s other obligations in Immortal. The only question is, was it really worth the wait?

Things You Might Have Missed 2010: Byfrost – Black Earth

Things You Might Have Missed 2010: Byfrost – Black Earth

Ahhh, my Immortal. Yeah, I love Immortal and I’m not afraid to admit it. Be it old Immortal, new Immortal, I love it all! I’m plenty keen on Abbath’s solo project I as well. Since Immortal and I can only record so much material and I always want more, I was happily surprised by the debut full length Black Earth from Norway’s own Byfrost (available on Painkiller Records). Hailing from the very same town as the mighty Immortal, Byfrost plays a style of blackened thrash so remarkably similar, that fans of the frigid ones can’t help but smile and thrash along. The vocal style of Heavy Harms (winning name) is nearly identical to that of Abbath and the overall song structures and riffing stylesÂwill remind you of Immortal and I equally.

Dream Evil – In the Night Review

Dream Evil – In the Night Review

Step over, Manowar, the new Kings of Metal are in town. Sure, they’ve been around for a while, and they’re a little more tongue in cheek than Manowar is, but Dream Evil, with the release of their new record In the Night, have risen from the ashes (of a DVD release?) to take the crown for themselves in their mighty, viking fists! These Swedes have put forth a strong offering filled with skull-crushing riffs, ball-grabbing vocals and unabashedly cheesy-as-hell lyrics, that would make Snowy Shaw blush, in order to try to re-gain the glory of their mighty album The Book of Heavy Metal.