Jorn

Kampfar – Til Klovers Takt Review

Kampfar – Til Klovers Takt Review

“For those of you posers that don’t know, Kampfar is untouchable in the pagan/black metal realm. And they’ve been ruling it with a bloody battle axe for almost 30 years. Now, they are back again to threaten my year-end list with Til Klovers Takt. But, unlike Profan or even Ofidians Manifest, Til Klovers Takt explores all that is Kampfar. It plays out more like a best-of-release than a standalone record. Each song explores songwriting structures from the band’s past and present. Yet, somehow, it’s brought together in a strategic tracklist. Welcome to pagan metal heaven.” Kamping bastards.

Munroe’s Thunder – The Black Watch Review

Munroe’s Thunder – The Black Watch Review

“Former Metal ChurchTrans-Siberian Orchestra and current Vicious Rumors vocalist, Ronny Munroe makes his long-awaited return this month with the debut of his Munroe’s Thunder project. Nearly 6 years in the making, The Black Watch is a loose concept album dealing with Scottish and English history and Ronny’s ancestor’s roles in it. William Wallace, Mary, Queen of Scots, and the wars for Scottish independence are touched on as the backdrop for the project’s ambitious and interesting blend of metal and hard rock, marrying strong Rainbow and Deep Purple influences with the prog-trad idioms of Savatage.” Your watch has begun.

Altaria – Wisdom Review

Altaria – Wisdom Review

“Finland’s Altaria are one of those fourth-tier melodic metal acts I stumbled upon back in the early aughts and took a flyer on. 2004s Divinity had a few worthwhile cuts but was largely forgettable faux-power/hard rock in the vein of Allen/Lande or Eden’s Curse. By the time 2006s The Fallen Empire hit I was less interested in what they were doing and essentially consigned them to the darkest corners of my music collection. I slept on 2009s Unholy and was mildly surprised to see their name emerge from the skunk weeds of the promo sump some 12 years after they last sallied forth. So what does fifth album Wisdom offer the curious listener?” Unsolicited wisdom.

Opera Diabolicus – Death on a Pale Horse Review

Opera Diabolicus – Death on a Pale Horse Review

“Along with Shaw and Levén, the band adds some stellar vocals from Madeleine Liljestam (Eleine) and Angelina DelCarmen (Charetta), and guitar solos from King Diamond legends Andy LaRocque and Michael Denner. But the backbone of the album is all the other guests. These lesser-known individuals supply the keys, strings, pianos, and organs that make up the record’s core. It’s an unbelievable lineup with a lot of moving parts. But, somehow, the band keeps this chaotic metal opera about ‘witchcraft, the black death and revenge!’ together.” Panic in the opera horse.

Blaze of Sorrow – Absentia Review

Blaze of Sorrow – Absentia Review

“It’s amazing the things you discover lurking around the Promo Pit. Blaze of Sorrow is not a band that has been on my radar, but between that album art (I mean, look at it), that name (Absentia is such a cool name it nets you twelve band name search results on Metallum), and the promise of “windswept, cascading black metal [that] is undoubtedly melancholic at heart” (I know, I know, marketing copy is marketing copy, but what can I say, it sounded good), I was sold on Blaze of Sorrow’s Absentia before I’d heard a single note.” Grand declaration of expectations.

Crobot – Motherbrain Review

Crobot – Motherbrain Review

“When you’re coursing through the frightening wastes that constitute the promo bin at AMG, it can be easy to get lost in the sea of variety that exists within. So sometimes it’s nice to cast complexity to the wind and settle for some good old-fashioned “heavy metal.” No subtle keyboard wizardry, no special effects to carry me into another realm, no technical nonsense, just distorted guitars and shouting in tune for forty-four minutes or so. Crobot, you are what I was looking for this day.” Simplicity is the Crobot key.

Yer Metal Is Olde: Katatonia – Tonight’s Decision

Yer Metal Is Olde: Katatonia – Tonight’s Decision

Katatonia are something like my anti Pokémon: when I first discovered them, circa Viva Emptiness, I shared none of the love that the rest of the metalsphere had for the Swedes, and yet it and each subsequent album would eventually dig the band a little deeper into what’s become their home at the innermost depths of my heartcicle. Like the infamous pocket monsters ov yore, each successive Katatonia offering has introduced new defining elements to their makeup, constantly evolving and establishing distinct historical chapters in their wake. Today we revisit Tonight’s Decision, an album that bade farewell to Katatonia’s violent youthful tendencies and set them on a course for dark prog greatness.” They chose…wisely.

The Projectionist – Visits from the Nighthag Part 2 Review

The Projectionist – Visits from the Nighthag Part 2 Review

“All was dark, the sound of falling rain my only companion as I watched the world from atop Black Mount Promo. Hushed whispers warning of The Nighthag’s return had found their way to my ears, and I had to be sure. Before long, Iightning split the sky, shattering the surrounding dark, and there she was: The Nighthag, back for Part 2 of her deadly visit to our lands, summoned by The Projectionist.” From hags to riches.